Maria Sharapova rebounded from an early deficit against Maria Kirilenko to keep her perfect record in US Open

NEW YORK, NY, USA – Maria Sharapova wrapped up the first day of play at the US Open on Monday night, finding her range after falling behind 4-2 in the first set and reeling off 10 games in a row to make it past good friend and fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko in exactly an hour and a half, 6-4, 6-0.

Maria Sharapova rebounded from an early deficit against Maria Kirilenko to keep her perfect record in US Open

The No.5-seeded Sharapova looked shaky early on, just a little off on the timing of her groundstrokes and throwing in a handful of double faults as well as Kirilenko built the aforementioned 4-2 lead. But she found her range just in time to sneak the first set out and found her very best again in the second set, hitting a total of just three unforced errors in that set to cruise through to the second round.

Sharapova, who won here in 2006, is now 17-0 in her career in night matches at the US Open.

“I’m not really sure,” Sharapova said of the stat. “This is usually the time I’m sleeping, so I don’t know. You’d actually think it was the opposite. In the beginning of my career it was always a bit more challenging because I didn’t really know how to adjust to what I should do during the day, but I’ve certainly learned a lot. I know the waiting game a bit better than when I was a junior or a teenager.

“Now I really enjoy it. You feel the goosebumps when you go out on a night match on Arthur Ashe.”

All the other top seeds in action also won, with No.2 seed Simona Halep recovering after a scratchy first set to beat American wildcard Danielle Rose Collins, 6-7(2), 6-1, 6-2, No.4

seed Agnieszka Radwanska routing Sharon Fichman, 6-1, 6-0, No.6 seed Angelique Kerber rallying from a break down in the third set to beat Russian qualifier Ksenia Pervak, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, No.9 seed Jelena Jankovic beating Bojana Jovanovski, 6-2, 6-3, and No.10 seed Caroline Wozniacki scoring a 6-1, 3-6, 2-0 retirement victory against Magdalena Rybarikova when the Slovak had to stop due to a hip injury.

Halep, who has a shot at becoming World No.1 after this tournament, looked far from a World No.2 in the first set, but once that was out of the way she went right to work and cruised to victory.

“The first round of a tournament is really difficult,” Halep said. “It was a big challenge for me today because I played the first match of the tournament on center court. It’s not easy to manage the situation. But I think after the first set I did very well and played much better than the first set.

“I started a little bit nervous, but it’s normal. And she was playing really well, as well.”

Also among the winners was No.19 seed Venus Williams, who struggled in the first set – she had 19 unforced errors to just seven winners – but regrouped to beat Kimiko Date-Krumm, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Williams and Date-Krumm weren’t just battling each other, they were trying to fend off a bee attack.

“Kimiko has so much class she didn’t swat it,” Williams said. “So once it was my turn, I think I would have been remiss to swat it myself. Kind of came up with a strategy to hopefully follow her example in that. Just let the fly land on the racquet and in the towel – and I guess he’s on his way now.”

Monday was also the birthday of the late Althea Gibson, a tennis pioneer who broke down color barriers in the sport in the 1950s by becoming the first African-American to a Grand Slam title.

Williams was asked about her in her presser. “What she accomplished is something no one else did – to be not only the best player in the world during a time where she had no support, and in a time when it was hard to feel good about yourself because who you were was something that was considered inferior. So that was very difficult. I can’t imagine how she felt. She did it with class and she did it with grace. I’m very fortunate not to have had to play under those circumstances. I have had an opportunity to play well and be myself, and because of her, I’m really proud of who I am.

“Really, what she has done, you know, goes beyond words.”

The only upset on Day 1 saw Croatian qualifier Mirjana Lucic-Baroni beat No.25 seed Garbiñe Muguruza, 6-3, 7-6(4). Lucic-Baroni is no stranger to Grand Slam success – she made a fairytale run to the semifinals of Wimbledon as a 17-year-old in 1999, falling to Steffi Graf in three tight sets.

Posted by on August 26, 2014. Filed under Sports World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.