on September 1, 2009 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

New parents Federer & Clijsters punish youngsters

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Parent power ruled the U.S. Open hard courts Monday as champion Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters put their young upstart opponents firmly in their places to storm into the second round at Flushing Meadows.

Federer, seeking his third successive major following his triumphs at the French Open and Wimbledon, and Clijsters were both playing their first grand slam tournament following the births of their respective children.

For Clijsters, it marked her first major since the 2007 Australian Open but it seemed difficult to believe she had been away for more than two years as she pulverized 21-year-old Ukrainian Viktoriya Kutuzova 6-1 6-1 in 58 minutes.

New father Federer, who celebrated the arrival of twin daughters five weeks ago, took an 88-minute break from nappy changing duties to down American grand slam debutant Devin Britton 6-1 6-3 7-5.

Clijsters and Federer were just two of five U.S. Open champions gracing the Arthur Ashe Court on a blockbuster opening day of the hardcourt major.

Following them on to the arena was 2008 women’s winner Serena Williams, who walloped fellow American Alexa Glatch 6-4 6-1.

Her potential semi-final opponent and twice former champion Venus Williams and 2003 titlist Andy Roddick were set to complete the program during the night session.

Before the Americans took their places under the spotlight, Clijsters showed that she too could be challenging for the trophy despite playing in only her third tournament this year.

Crediting part of her fitness to “chasing around after (18-month-old daughter) Jada” she gave the hapless Kutuzova the run around with her solid groundstrokes to set up a re-match with Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli, whom she beat in her comeback match at Cincinnati earlier this month.

“(I was) a little more nervous than usual,” Clijsters, dressed for the occasion in a red, white and blue outfit, said after returning to Flushing Meadows for the first time since winning her only grand slam title here in 2005.

“Driving up here this morning, just seeing the court, the memories came back. It’s a very special court to me and I really enjoyed it.”

HIGH GOALS

Those sentiments were shared by Federer, who is not only looking to extend his record grand slam haul to 16 but is also eager to match Bill Tilden’s 1920s feat of winning six U.S. championships in a row.

“That’s what I’m here for, trying to equal Bill Tilden’s record,” said Federer, who became the first tennis player to earn more than $50 million in prize money.

“You can set different types of goals. Mine are at a very, very high level.”

Despite being a new father, the Swiss world number one made no allowances for a 1,370th-ranked opponent playing only his second tour-level match at the tender age of 18.

Playing before a crowd of 23,000, the American wildcard suffered a bad case of stage fright in the opening set as he saw it flash by his eyes in 18 minutes.

He recovered slightly and even had the audacity to break Federer’s serve twice in the next two sets — which he described as “the best 10, 15 seconds of my life” — but that was where his bragging rights ended.

“My goal was to not get crushed… I was pretty scared,” Britton said as he summed up the match.

“His forehand is just crazy. Everything he does is unbelievable.

Joining him at the exit was Japan’s Ai Sugiyama, whose record 62nd consecutive appearance in a grand slam ended with a 6-4 4-6 6-4 defeat by Australian 15th seed Samantha Stosur.

Former world number one and 17th seed Amelie Mauresmo was a 6-3 6-4 winner over Germany’s Tatjana Malek.

Seeds Nikolay Davydenko of Russia, Robin Soderling, the French Open runner-up, and Spaniard Tommy Robredo all safely negotiated their way into round two.

(Editing by Steve Ginsburg)