Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic returns a shot against Misaki Doi of Japan during their first round match on day two of the 2013 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre at Flushing Meadows, New York City, yesterday.
NEW YORK: Former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and 2009 US Open runner-up Caroline Wozniacki withstood challenges from tenacious Asian rivals to reach the second round of the US Open yesterday.
Czech seventh seed Kvitova, the 2011 Wimbledon winner, fought off Japan’s 92nd-ranked Misaki Doi 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 while Danish sixth seed Wozniacki dispatched 133rd-ranked Chinese qualifier Duan Ying-Ying 6-2, 7-5.
Duan made 46 unforced errors but kept pressure on Wozniacki, who battled to avoid a repeat of last year’s US Open first round ouster while boyfriend Rory McIlroy, a two-time major golf champion, watched from the stands.
“She just went out and hit on every shot,” Wozniacki said. “If she was in the court or not, it was going 100 mph. I had to keep going. I had to fight for every point. She couldn’t keep up that level forever.”
Duan broke Wozniacki in the second game of the second set and exchanged breaks on the way to a 5-2 lead, but Wozniacki broke in the ninth game, fought off a set point in the 10th to pull even at 5-5, then broke again in the 11th.
Serving for the match, Wozniacki was pushed to break point twice, saving the first with a forehand winner and the last when Duan hit a backhand long, then won after one hour and 41 minutes when Duan netted a forehand, booking a date with a South African foe, Chanel Simmonds or Chanelle Scheepers.
“She got a little tight at the end,” Wozniacki said. “And I got a bit lucky as well.”
Doi, a 22-year-old left-hander whose only prior US Open appearance ended with a 2011 first-round cramping retirement, tested Kvitova in breezy conditions.
“The wind was quite difficult for us both,” Kvitova said. “In the first round of Grand Slams it’s difficult all the time so you have to be focused. I didn’t play my game all the match. I didn’t have focus. I have to have more confidence.”
The US Open is the only Grand Slam event where Kvitova, who booked a second-round match against Serb Bojana Jovanovski, has not reached the semi-finals, her best runs being to the fourth round in 2012 and 2009.
“I like Wimbledon, which is very calm,” Kvitova said.
She added: “Here it’s more crowd and big show. I like matches on the big stadium too but the people are everywhere. It’s too much crowd.”
Kvitova is the highest-ranked rival in the quarter of the draw with Belarus second seed Victoria Azarenka, who begins her quest for a return to the US Open final later against German Dinah Pfizenmaier.
Serb 13th seed Ana Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open winner, beat Georgian Anna Tatishvili 6-2, 6-0 in 58 minutes.
Canadian 10th seed Milos Raonic fired 28 aces in beating Italy’s Thomas Fabbiano 6-3, 7-6 (8/6), 6-3, while US 13th seed John Isner blasted 16 aces to down Italy’s Filippo Volandri 6-0, 6-2, 6-3.
Elsewhere, Argentine qualifier Maximo Gonzalez upset 14th seed Jerzy Janowicz 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 as the Wimbledon semi-finalist from Poland struggled with back pain.