New York Report: U.S. Open


Bit of a controversy at the U.S. Open today, the second of a near washout. When several men’s matches were pushed out during a brief resumption of play, it rankled a few who felt it wasn’t safe enough to start a match.

Andy Roddick, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal all expressed concern to tournament referee Brian Early, and the USTA has released a statement which includes the phrase: “ Conditions may not be idea, but can still be safe.”

The USTA also said it isn’t looking at a retractable roof which, in hindsight, should probably have been installed when Arthur Ashe Stadium was built.


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U.S. Open

Memorable moments from men's draw

September, 4, 2011
9/04/11
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Julian Finney/Getty ImagesJuan Carlos Ferrero showed plenty of fight in his second-round win.
NEW YORK -- Through the first week of the U.S. Open, some moments can prove to be as thrilling as a Novak Djokovic between-the-legs winner. We have pared our highly subjective list of top moments in the men's draw to five.

1. From 0 to 60: He may have been ranked No. 105 coming into the tournament, but Juan Carlos Ferrero was no stranger to the U.S. Open stage when he upset No. 7 Gael Monfils in a marathon second-round match, 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4. Ferrero, 31, lost in the 2003 U.S. Open final to Andy Roddick. Monfils, a favorite of tennis crowds, reached the quarterfinals last year. After the match, he said he's never acting when he dives for the ball, and made a comic book analogy: "I know all the people think I'm like elastic. You know, I'm diving. If I stay a little bit longer on the floor, they're like, He's acting. I'm not like X-Man, you know."

2. Raggedy Andy: British fans can safely tune in to the U.S. Open for a little longer after Andy Murray's comeback win over Robin Haase. The No. 4 seed won 6-7 (5), 2-6, 6-2, 6-0, 6-4 but not before causing his countrymen more consternation. Guardian writer Kevin Mitchell said it was a match that could have served as a snapshot of Murray's entire career, which wasn't exactly high praise. Tennis watchers are looking to see if Murray can raise his game.

3. Forever Young: Donald Young gave the fans something to cheer with his five-set comeback win over No. 14 seed Stanislas Wawrinka in the second round, 7-6 (7), 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (1). The wild card was one of several young Americans to surprise, and he was engaging afterward. "[The fans] were everything," Young said. "I was kind of tired like midway through the third, fourth set. They were chanting my name, which is great, kind of like baseball chants. Yeah, you know, just reminded me and made me feel great that all these people really wanted me to win here."

4. Berdych retires: Although this wasn't necessarily a highlight, when No. 9 Tomas Berdych retired Saturday he was the 10th man to do so and the 14th singles player, a Grand Slam record. In the 2008 Wimbledon tournament, 12 singles players retired from their matches. Berdych was one of three men who retired with a right shoulder injury.

5. Luke, I am your father: There is a moment in every sport when an older athlete must tutor his possible replacement, and that moment may have played out at this U.S. Open when Roddick dispatched young Jack Sock in straight sets. Two big-servers from Nebraska, Roddick invited the 18-year-old to train with him in the offseason. It was the same thing Andre Agassi once did for a young Roddick. Sock isn't ready to take over yet, but a little mentoring from Roddick could set him on that path. "You know, it was just cool," Roddick said. "I could draw so many parallels to what he was going through."

Day 6 notes: Fish finds a following

September, 3, 2011
9/03/11
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AP Photo/Charlie RiedelHas Mardy Fish become a fan favorite in Flushing? Judge for yourself.
NEW YORK -- It might have been over for Mardy Fish, or at least that's what he thought after knee surgery. It was something he had to face as a professional tennis player in his late 20s with a daunting rehabilitation ahead of him.

"I remember looking at myself in the mirror and saying, This is not how I want to go out," Fish said. "I definitely remember that."

Fish fought back from that September 2009 surgery, dropped 30 pounds and became the top-ranked American man in this year's U.S. Open draw. He continued his campaign with a 6-4, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3) win over South Africa's Kevin Anderson in a third-round match Saturday.

Fish said he could feel the crowd support on Louis Armstrong Stadium.

"[It] feels like a sort of mini-Davis Cup court," Fish said. "I absolutely love that court. The atmosphere's outstanding out there. People are right on top of you. You can feel it. You can feel that they want you to win."

Fish, who turns 30 in December, has never been as recognizable here as his contemporaries Andy Roddick or James Blake. But he has had the most successful summer, with a title at Cincinnati and his first win over Rafael Nadal. Now, he said he can feel fans are starting to seek out his matches.

"I get the feeling, at least in the beginning of that match, that there were quite a few people there that maybe wouldn't have been there in years past," Fish said.

Matthias Hauer/US PresswireAmerican Vania King was eliminated in the third round for the second time in three years.


No. 1 spot: Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki started the day session with a win at Arthur Ashe Stadium, defeating American Vania King 6-2, 6-4 in a third-round match.

Wozniacki said the wind was pretty tough, and she had to give the ball plenty of margin for error over the net and within the lines.

"I found it very difficult to place the ball the places I wanted to, so quite a few times I was going for the safe serve," Wozniacki said.

King, 22, also reached the third round of the U.S. Open last year and said she has been recognized this year around the tennis center. She is still alive in the mixed doubles tournament.

"I felt like I had two really solid matches before this," King said. "But yesterday I had doubles and mixed. To be honest, if I had known I would do so well in singles I would have rethought the mixed."

Over and out: American wild card Sloane Stephens was the last of the young wave of up-and-comers who made a splash at the U.S. Open this year. With Stephens' 6-3, 6-4 loss to No. 16 Ana Ivanovic, Serena Williams is the last American woman in the singles draw.

AP Photo/Elise AmendolaAmerican Sloane Stephens will be in the top 100 when the next rankings are released.


With her performance at the Open, where she won two matches, Stephens will break into the top 100, which is another big step for the 18-year-old.

"My mom said beginning of the year if I broke top 100, she'd get me a car," Stephens said. "So obviously I'm going to get a car."

Ready for AARP: When No. 9 Tomas Berdych retired from his third-round match with a right shoulder injury, it highlighted an unusual trend at this year's U.S. Open -- a record number of retirements. With 14 players retiring from the men's (10) and women's (4) singles draw, a Grand Slam record has been set. The previous high was 12 at Wimbledon in 2008.

Berdych said that he had the same problems when he withdrew from Cincinnati, and pulled out against No. 20 Janko Tipsarevic, who was up 6-4, 5-0.

"I felt that already in the [second-round] match with [Fabio] Fognini, but I was able to finish it up," Berdych said. "I didn't even go to hit yesterday. Want to just have a treatment on that, relax and don't do anything and hoping that it's gonna be better, but it's not."

Stormy weather: The forecast calls for rain from Tuesday through Friday of next week, and on Saturday workers were spotted moving the court blowers into position through the corridors under Arthur Ashe Stadium. The USTA has a weather person on site to determine when windows appear to play matches on rainy days.

Personal trainer: No. 7 Francesca Schiavone may have won her third-round match, but she needed injury timeouts in order to make it through. The Italian indicated that she had an issue with a stomach muscle, which caused her a tremendous amount of discomfort during the 6-7, 7-6, 6-3 win over Chanelle Scheepers.

"It's great to come back after fight like this," Schiavone said. "In the meantime, it's bad to arrive there."

Young, Roddick, Isner win; Blake loses

September, 2, 2011
9/02/11
9:38
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AP Photo/Elise AmendolaFan favorite James Blake couldn't capitalize on a big Friday for American men.
Donald Young kept looking up at the clock as his match stretched from two hours, to three, to four and beyond.

He wondered, "Oh, man, am I going to make it the whole time?"

The 22-year-old American then proved to himself and the tennis world he had the physical and mental stamina to win a five-set match at a Grand Slam, upsetting 14th-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka in the second round at the U.S. Open.

Young rallied for a 7-6 (7), 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (1) victory in 4 hours, 20 minutes Friday.

"In tennis terms Donald Young became a man today," tweeted Patrick McEnroe, the U.S. Tennis Association's head of player development.

Timothy A. Clary/Getty ImagesDonald Young won a marathon five-set match to advance.


It was McEnroe who made some pointed comments in April that Young needed to apologize after the player posted an obscenity-laced message on Twitter, criticizing the USTA for not automatically giving him its wild card into the French Open.

Young made amends, and he says his relationship with the USTA is good.

His game is suddenly looking a whole lot better, too.

In 2005, Young became the youngest boy to finish a year as the world's top-ranked junior player, but he has struggled to find the same success on tour.

He reached his first semifinal at Washington last month and at No. 84 has his highest ranking since May 2008.

"I would like to think I'm a pretty tough person deep down," he said. "Just had to grow up a little bit."

In the third round of a major tournament for the second time, Young next faces 24th-seeded Juan Ignacio Chela.

Fellows Americans Alex Bogomolov Jr. and John Isner will meet in the third round. The 28th-seeded Isner beat another U.S. player, Robby Ginepri, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4. Bogomolov won 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 against "lucky loser" Rogerio Dutra da Silva, who got in when sixth-seeded Robin Soderling withdrew because of illness.

It was American vs. American it the night session as Andy Roddick got the better of Jack Sock 6-3, 6-3, 6-4.

James Blake lost to fifth-seeded David Ferrer 6-4, 6-3, 6-4. At 31, Blake is talking like a 21-year-old -- at least in terms of looking toward a future of playing tennis with retirement not even in the conversation.

Blake, who played two years of college tennis at Harvard, called it "ridiculous" that many observers had already written off Young at the age of 22.

"He can have a pretty darn good career from 23 to 30," Blake said.

Day 5: McHale's run ends in Round 3

September, 2, 2011
9/02/11
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AP Photo/Charles KrupaChristina McHale


Christina McHale of Englewood Cliffs, N.J., worked hard to get to the night match at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Friday night, winning two matches earlier in the week at the U.S. Open.

Finally, against No. 25 Maria Kirilenko and with the crowd on McHale's side in a seemingly air-conditioned arena, she was simply overpowered.

Kirilenko was superior at the net and more consistent from the baseline. McHale was on the defensive for the duration of the 1-hour, 29-minute match. McHale finally looked like the 19-year-old newcomer she is, losing 6-2, 6-3.

"I was too passive today," McHale said. "The other day [against No. 8 Marion Bartoli] I took my chances when I had them."

Over the course of the first week, McHale has led a contingent of promising American women, including Sloane Stevens and Irina Falconi.

Falconi also lost Friday, 6-0, 6-1 to No. 22 seed Sabine Lisicki.

'Hurricane Irina has left New York City'

September, 2, 2011
9/02/11
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Irina Falconi, the kid from Washington Heights who heralded the resurgence of American women's tennis by winning two matches in the U.S. Open, was as turns calm and funny after a straight-sets loss to No. 22 seed Sabine Lisicki 6-0, 6-1 Friday. No impatience, no temper, just the same measured answers Falconi had after she beat the No. 14 seed, Dominika Cibulkova, Wednesday.

AP Photo/Paul J. BereswillIrina Falconi waves goodbye after her breakthrough week.


"I came in here defending 60 points and I made 100," Falconi said. "I made some cash, I got some media -- there's nothing but positives to take from this week."

Her coach, Jeff Wilson, who trains Falconi in Alpharetta, Ga., explained that Falconi doesn't have a big sponsor or wealthy parents footing the bill, which keeps her grounded.

"She's playing with her own money," Wilson said, "so there's a high level of perspective about what's important and what's not important."

Lisicki dominated Friday's match and brought to an end Falconi's part of a young American story that includes Christina McHale and Sloane Stephens. On the men's side, wild cards Jack Sock and Donald Young have won big matches.

Falconi took an unusual route to the WTA Tour by opting to play two years of college tennis at Georgia Tech, where she was going to major in history, technology and society. She agonized for three days over the decision to turn pro and dreaded the moment she would have to tell her coach she was leaving the team.

The decision looks pretty good right now. Asked how she would sum up the week, Falconi showed a touch as a headline writer.

"Hmm," she said. "Hurricane Irina has left New York City."

Day 4: Ossining's Loeb has come a long way

September, 1, 2011
9/01/11
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Jamie Loeb knows one thing. No matter what, she is staying in New York.

The 16-year-old wildcard entry into the qualifying tournament for the juniors is at an age and a talent level where she could opt for expensive training academies in Florida and make tennis her full time job. Except for one thing.

“I like being at home,” Loeb said.

The Ossining, N.Y. teen saw first-hand that it didn’t work for her older sister Jenna, the New York State girls tennis champion a record three straight times. Instead, Jamie is ready to carve a path that includes studying online from home, training in part at the USTA Training Center-East and playing in high-level tournaments such as the one that begins Friday on the grounds of the Billie Jean King USTA National Tennis Center.

Her brother Jason, a gym teacher in the Bronx, is taking her back and forth to the tennis center as she practices. The northeast has better coaching these days, but the level of competition may not be as consistently high as it is in Florida, and playing indoors so much of the year isn’t optimal. Yet Loeb is not ready to pack up, given two brothers and a sister that can support her game from home.

The Loebs are a tennis family, and Jamie -- nine years younger than her next youngest sibling -- had to be competitive in order to keep up.

“She just has a lot of passion and focus and fight -- the intangibles that a lot of people don’t have,” said eldest brother Jason, 31.

Right now, Loeb is the top-ranked junior girl in the USTA Eastern Division, and the third ranked nationally. Like her champion sister, Loeb won the NYS high school title as a sophomore. Jenna is listed at 5-foot-3, and Jamie is 5-6. Without a height advantage, Jamie knows footwork and technique are that much more important. It’s something she works on with coach Jay Devashetty.

Loeb still feels strange stepping onto the tennis center grounds with a racket in her hand during the U.S. Open, but she has earned the right to be here.

Her first match is at 10 a.m., where she will play No. 6 seed Su Jeong Jang of Korea.

“I feel these past years I’ve been improving a lot and training hard and I feel like it’s paid off and now I’m here,” Jamie said. “It’s pretty exciting. It’s been a long way.”

Serena Williams 'so over' 2009 outburst

September, 1, 2011
9/01/11
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Serena Williams had a tough exchange with a journalist in the press conference after her 49-minute win in the second round. She was asked about the exchange with a line judge at the 2009 U.S. Open, where she used some vibrant profanity to debate a call. The episode made headlines at the time, but Williams did not want to answer questions about the incident on Thursday.

"I'm so over it," Williams said. "You should be, too."

When pressed, Williams said the reporter should find someone else to discuss the topic with.

"Well, then you can talk about it maybe with some of the journalists," Williams said. "Gosh, that was like so long ago. I've died basically and come back and nobody's really writing or thinking about that."

Williams had surgery to remove a pulmonary embolism last April. She was later treated for a hematoma. Both are serious medical conditions, yet she won two tournaments leading up to the U.S. Open and is considered a favorite despite being the 28th seed.

Day 4: Serena makes short work of Krajicek

September, 1, 2011
9/01/11
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In just four hours, 40 minutes, all three of the matches slated for Arthur Ashe Stadium, the biggest court at the U.S. Open, were complete. No. 28 Serena Williams needed just 49 minutes to beat Michaella Krajicek, 6-0, 6-1.

With customers buying tickets specifically to get a full day of tennis at Ashe, the USTA could opt to move another match to Ashe and have it completed in time for the night session, which starts at 7 p.m.

Day 4: McHale gets sneak peek at Kirilenko

September, 1, 2011
9/01/11
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Christina McHale, the Englewood Cliffs, N.J., teen who won her second-round match Wednesday, the farthest the unseeded player has ever gotten in a Grand Slam event, could get some scouting help today from the women's doubles draw.

Set to face Maria Kirilenko in the third round on Friday, McHale will also face the No. 25 seed today in doubles.

McHale and partner Rebecca Marino face Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova in the second match on Court 6. If she is able to notice anything specific about Kirilenko's game, it could come in handy in the singles draw, where it ultimately counts.

Of course, anything McHale reveals about her own game could help Kirilenko.

UPDATE: McHale and Marino lost 6-1, 6-1.

Day 3: Falconi, McHale fly flag for New York

August, 31, 2011
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After her win, Irina Falconi unfolded the American flag she keeps in her gear bag and held it aloft over Arthur Ashe Stadium. She knew her fellow American, Christina McHale, had won earlier and she wanted to send a loud message about American women’s tennis.

“It’s coming, it’s coming,” said Falconi, who grew up in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. “No need to wait any longer.”

In one day, two young underdogs from the New York area gave the hometown crowd something to cheer about, injecting a little excitement to the U.S. Open women’s draw on the day Venus Williams left a hole.

It wasn’t long ago that McHale was a visitor at the U.S. Open, scouting the grounds of the Billie Jean King USTA National Tennis Center for famous players willing to sign an autograph. Now, the 19-year-old from Englewood Cliffs, N.J. found herself having to sign a few of her own after a 7-6 (2) 6-2 win over No. 8 seed Marion Bartoli in a second round match on the Grandstand Court.

Not long after McHale’s win, a victorious Falconi raised the flag after beating No. 14 Dominika Cibulkova 2-6, 6-3, 7-5. The 21-year-old, who grew up in Washington Heights, had her match moved to Ashe after Williams withdrew citing an autoimmune disease called Sjogren’s Syndrome.

“I've heard so much about media talking about American tennis,” Falconi said, “and I really wanted to portray that there's a huge wave of American players.”

Williams, her titles and her name recognition, leaves a gap at the U.S. Open. Not having Williams, Kim Clijsters, defending Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova and defending French Open champ Li Na leaves a void. Crowds that might have cheered for the sport’s stars instead roared for two local fighters on show courts Wednesday afternoon.

“I think there's a lot of American players, young American players, right now that are all kind of pushing each other,” McHale said. “So I think it's exciting.”

Neither McHale nor Falconi, both unseeded, had ever won in the second round of a Grand Slam event before. McHale beat world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki earlier this year, but the stage for Wednesday’s win made it memorable.

“I had never really, at the Grand Slams, made it past the second round,” McHale said. "Yeah, [the Wozniacki win] was a good win for me, too, but I think to have it happen here at the Grand Slam is exciting for me.”

After starting the third set down 0-3, Falconi’s last shot was one for the highlight reel. She served, and Cibulkova hit it back low enough to clip the net and fall short into Falconi’s court. Falconi darted wide toward the net and got the ball, returning it for a winner and leapt in celebration.

“In the third set, I thought to myself, ‘This is now or never,’” Falconi said. “I just started really zoning in on what I had to do to win every single point and it paid off.”

McHale has been training at the USTA Training Center-East, where she has hit with Patrick McEnroe, the USTA’s general manager of player development. But her parents have said, growing up, McHale never went through the normal developmental channels.

McHale learned the game in Hong Kong while her father was on assignment there. Falconi went the nontraditional route as well, learning on the courts of Inwood Hill Park with an old wooden racket. She even went to Georgia Tech for two years before leaving to pursue a professional career.

Not only are McHale and Falconi friends who have living in the New York area in common, but they both speak fluent Spanish. Falconi moved to New York from Ecuador when she was 3 years old, and McHale’s mother came to the U.S. from Cuba as a 2-year-old.

“I think the fact that her and I both have New York roots, we're from up here, it's just unbelievable,” Falconi said.

Day 3: Del Potro battling back after surgery

August, 31, 2011
8/31/11
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AP Photo/Mike GrollFormer U.S. Open champ Juan Martin del Potro topped Italian Filippo Volandri on Wednesday.
NEW YORK -- Juan Martin del Potro is a different player this year, two years removed from his U.S. Open title and one year after wrist surgery. But after a decisive first-round win, he isn’t overestimating his chances to grab his second crown.

"Today, many players are playing better than me," he said.

Del Potro didn’t look like he missed a step as he easily won his first match of the 2011 U.S. Open on Wednesday afternoon. And he is constantly encouraged by his fans -- who may believe in him more than he believes in himself right now.

"I feel like the final was yesterday, because when I was walking around the street or when I talk with the fans, they say, 'I remember your final. You can repeat,'" del Potro said. "'You can win again.'"

Under the midday sun at Louis Armstrong Stadium, the No. 18 del Potro overpowered Italian Filippo Volandri, 6-3, 6-1, 6-1. The match took 1 hour, 28 minutes. The 6-foot-6 Argentinian had 18 aces in the match, his fastest serve clocking in at 130 mph.

Volandri had a chance to challenge del Potro in the first set, yet down 5-3, Volandri double-faulted twice as he was broken to cede the first set. The Italian came into the Open with a 10-match losing streak.

Del Potro's serve is still not as strong as he would like, his consistency is not as good, and he can feel the change of the weather in his wrist on a humid day.

Last season, del Potro missed the chance to defend his title when he needed surgery on his right wrist. He was off the tour until September 2010, and has won two ATP Tour titles -- Delray Beach and Estoril -- since his return.

With the win over Volandri, he has won eight straight matches here dating back to his title run.

When he stepped into the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, del Potro said he felt very heavy with emotion. He can remember watching the U.S. Open on television and hoping to win it someday. He recalled the Argentinians in the crowd, the people who rooted for him as he faltered against Roger Federer in the 2009 final.

"And so [to] be playing here after [my] win here, it's special," del Potro said. "It's my favorite tournament, so I'm really happy to take the opportunity to play here again."

Over and out: Robin Soderling, the No. 6 seed on the men’s side, pulled out of the tournament Wednesday morning with a viral illness. He has only played one tournament since Wimbledon due to a wrist injury. Soderling had reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open twice in nine appearances. Rogerio Dutra da Silva of Brazil will replace Soderling in the draw and will face No. 618 qualifier Louk Sorensen.

Day 3: Venus Williams withdraws

August, 31, 2011
8/31/11
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Starpower at the U.S. Open continues to fade as Venus Williams withdrew from the tournament with an unspecified illness. The loss of such a prominent player further dampens the shine on the women's draw. Defending champion Kim Clijsters, who won the Australian this year, coupled with losses by Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and French Open winner Li Na in the first round means there are no defending Grand Slam players left in the draw.

On the bright side, there are some young American women who have performed well, including New Jersey's Christine McHale, who beat No. 8 Marion Bartoli 7-6 (2), 6-2 in the second round on the Grandstand Court.

UPDATE: Williams said she was diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome, an autoimmune disease that causes fatigue and joint pain. Follow the developing story here.

Day 2: James Blake wins first-round match

August, 31, 2011
8/31/11
12:06
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Nick Laham/Getty ImagesJames Blake is on his way to the second round.
James Blake, a fan favorite at the U.S. Open, won his first-round match over Jesse Huta Galung, 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 on Tuesday.

Fifth-seeded David Ferrer will be Blake's next opponent.

Blake, 31, was born in Yonkers, N.Y., and attending Fairfield (Conn.) High School. He reached the U.S. Open quarterfinals twice, losing to Andre Agassi in an epic 2005 match and to eventual champion Roger Federer in 2006.

Day 2 notes: Azarenka errs early, not often

August, 30, 2011
8/30/11
8:16
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Julian Finney/Getty ImagesVictoria Azarenka raced through her first-round match.
NEW YORK -- Victoria Azarenka knows security is tight at the U.S. Open, but she made a slight faux pas on Tuesday, before her first match of the tournament. After hitting with Julia Goerges, Azarenka grabbed Goerges' ID tag and walked off court with it.

Oops.

The No. 4 Azarenka made few mistakes on Arthur Ashe Stadium in a 6-1, 6-3 win over Johanna Larsson on Tuesday morning. Azarenka, who has reached at least the fourth round of all three majors this year, won 12 of the first 14 points. The first set was over in 25 minutes.

"I think this court really suits my game," said Azarenka, who is from Belarus. "I like to be aggressive. I like to dominate and be in control of the points. The surface is a little bit faster than probably clay, but I don't know. I like hard courts."

The court on Ashe has been assessed as a little slower and softer than some of the other courts at the Billie Jean King USTA National Tennis Center. Mardy Fish and a few other players weren't happy with that, but Azarenka had no complaints. About that or anything else considering how decisively she won.

Larsson, of Sweden, lengthened the points in the second set, but the 5-foot-11 Azarenka simply overpowered her unseeded opponent. Larsson had trouble with her second serve as well, only winning 20 percent and committing five double faults. By comparison, Azarenka won 77 percent of second-serve points and didn't double-fault at all.

"I think my serve was the biggest key today, to be in control of the match," Azarenka said. "I'm pretty pleased with that."

Azarenka, 22, pulled out of a tournament in Cincinnati leading up to the U.S. Open due to an injured right wrist. She said she didn't feel any pain during the match.

One thing Azarenka did not want to address was the fact that No. 28 Serena Williams is so nearby in the draw that the two are on track to meet in the third round.

"We'll talk about that later maybe," Azarenka said.

Time to convert: The No. 1 seed in the women's draw, Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki, breezed through her first-round match here, 6-3, 6-1 over Nuria Llagostera Vives. Commentators have Wozniacki pegged as consistent enough to rake up top seeds in tournaments, but too soft to ever win one.

"They can say what they want," Wozniacki said. "I'm the type of player I am. I've won a lot of tournaments. I'm the No. 1 in the world. Of course I can still improve, but everyone can."

She also revealed that she has talked to Martina Navratilova about being her coach, but scheduling concerns have made tough. "Maybe in the future," Wozniacki said.

Lucky Duck: Donald Young, an American who has endured years of next-big-thingness at the U.S. Open, pulled off a three-set win with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 win over lucky loser Lukas Lacko.

"Today was the first really complete match I played well and played confident," Young said. "Yeah, I played well the whole time."

Lacko, ranked No. 156, wasn't the lowest-ranked player in the men's draw, but he wasn't far from it. Young was put on Court 17, which has been refurbished as a small stadium-style outer court. He is the first American man to win there.

"It's awesome," Young said. "I didn't know that. I'm just happy to win the first match and happy to be on that court, which is great."

A little something: Two things you can generally count on at the U.S. Open cafe -- the food will be good, and you will overpay for it. If it's a difference of $15 or $18, you might as well get something you like. At the Fulton Fish Market counter you can pick up a credible cold Maine lobster roll for $17.50 on a grilled bun. Fries are $4.75 extra.

Falconi crest: Irina Falconi, a New Yorker now living in Atlanta, won her first-round match on Monday and on Tuesday found out that the win raises her ranking enough to qualify for the main draw of the Australian Open. It's a big jump for Falconi, ranked No. 78 coming into the U.S. Open. Her win over No. 44 Klara Zakopalova was her first in a Grand Slam event.

On Wednesday she is slated to be the third match on Court 11 against Dominika Cibulkova. Now if only the kid from the Bronx could get a good slice of pizza in Georgia.

This and that: Andy Roddick turned 29 on Tuesday. His birthday generally falls on the first week of the Open. ... No. 11 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga took his first-round match 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 over Yen-Hsun Lu. ... American wild-card Sloane Stephens pulled out a tough one over Reka-Luca Jani 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (3).

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