NEW YORK, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Russian wild card Maria Sharapova laid down a marker on her first return to a grand slam in 19 months, battling past Romanian second seed Simona Halep 6-4 4-6 6-3 in two hours and 42 minutes on Monday to enter the second round.
Sharapova, back on court at Flushing Meadows for the first time in three years, was understandably rusty after a string of nagging injuries, but showed skill, grit and determination as she improved her record against the Romanian to 7-0.
Venus Williams led the American charge into round two with a 6-3 3-6 6-2 win over Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia, while Sloane Stephens beat Italian Roberta Vinci, who was runner-up two years ago, 7-5 6-1.
John Isner, the men’s 10th seed, took care of business with a 6-1 6-3 4-6 6-3 win over France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert, while Sam Querrey also impressed in his 6-4 6-3 6-4 victory over Frenchman Gilles Simon.
Fellow American Jack Sock, the 13th seed, suffered a shock 6-2 7-6(12) 1-6 5-7 6-4 defeat to Australian Jordan Thompson, while in the women’s draw, British seventh seed Johanna Konta was ousted 4-6 6-3 6-4 by unfancied Serbian Aleksandra Krunic.
Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza earned her first victory on Arthur Ashe Stadium with a 6-0 6-3 win over Varvara Lepchenko, while twice Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova scraped into round two with a 7-5 7-5 win over Serb Jelena Jankovic.
Australian Bernard Tomic was dumped out by Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller 3-6 6-3 6-4 6-4, while women’s fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki cruised to a 6-1 7-5 win over error-prone Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu.
Wimbledon runner-up Marin Cilic, who won the U.S. Open in 2014, bested American Tennys Sandgren 6-4 6-3 3-6 6-3, and appeared unhindered by the adductor injury and foot blisters that ailed him during his loss to Roger Federer at the All England Club.
Highlights from day one of the U.S. Open tennis championships on Monday (all times GMT):
- Fourth-seed Alexander Zverev had to battle hard in a gruelling first set tiebreak against qualifier Darian King, but the German found his rhythm in time to win their first-round encounter 7-6(9) 7-5 6-4 in just under three hours.
Five things to watch out for on Day 2 of U.S. Open
Zverev struggles past qualifier King
SHOWCASE-Tennis-Sharapova belies own doubts back in New York spotlight
Venus leads American challenge at U.S. Open
SHOWCASE-Sharapova sparkles on return to grand slam stage
Tomic ‘not the smartest’ after U.S. Open flop
Wozniacki rolls through first round
Konta falls as Krunic delivers first shock
Cilic wins Tennys match to reach second round
Mats point: New faces to emerge at U.S. Open
Muguruza powers past Lepchenko in opener
Kvitova wears down Jankovic to reach round two
- Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova, the women’s 11th seed, had a slow start against unseeded compatriot Jana Cepelova, losing the first set in a tiebreak, but fought back to win the match 6-7(5) 6-3 6-2.
- Maria Sharapova marked her return to grand slam action with a 6-4 4-6 6-3 first-round victory over second seed Simona Halep in a match that lasted 2 hours and 42 minutes.
- Sharapova extended her head-to-head advantage over world number two Halep to 7-0.
- The 30-year-old Russian, who returned from a 15-month doping ban in April, recorded her first victory over a top 10 player since beating Petra Kvitova in the Fed Cup final in November 2015.
- Fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki kicked off her campaign with a 6-1 7-5 first-round victory over Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania.
- Two-times runner-up Wozniacki aims to go one better on her 11th appearance at the Flushing Meadows.
- American Sam Querrey booked a place in the second round with a 6-4 6-3 6-4 victory over France’s Gilles Simon.
- Querrey, who reached his first grand slam semi-final at Wimbledon earlier this year, registered 31 winners and claimed 20 off 27 points at the net on his way to victory.
- Wimbledon quarter-finalist Gilles Muller fired 27 aces on his way to a 3-6 6-3 6-4 6-4 first-round victory over Australian Bernanrd Tomic.
- Ninth seeded American Venus Williams beat Slovakian qualifier Viktoria Kuzmova 6-3 3-6 6-2 to reach the second round.
- Twice champion Venus preserved her personal record of never losing in the opening round of the U.S. Open in 19 appearances.
- American Sloane Stephens reached the second round with a 7-5 6-1 win over 2015 finalist Roberta Vinci of Italy.
- Canadian Denis Shapovalov beat Russian Daniil Medvedev 7-5 6-1 6-2 in the first round to claim his first ever grand slam main draw win.
- Serbian Aleksandra Krunic fought back from a set down to clinch a 4-6 6-3 6-4 victory over seventh seeded Briton Johanna Konta.
- Wimbledon semi-finalist Konta struggled to find her touch for the majority of the match, landing only 45 percent of her first serves. She also finished with a disappointing tally of 42 unforced errors.
- Big-serving American John Isner fired 22 aces on his way to a 6-1 6-3 4-6 6-3 first-round victory over France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
- Isner will meet South Korean Chung Hyeon in the second round.
- Fifth seed Croatian Marin Cilic beat American Tennys Sandgren 6-4 6-3 3-6 6-3.
- Cilic, the 2014 winner, recorded 55 winners and 57 unforced errors to seal a victory after two hours and 47 minutes.
- Eighth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga produced 38 winners to claim a 6-3 6-3 6-4 first-round victory over Romania’s Marius Copil.
- The 32-year-old Tsonga has struggled at the last two grand slam events, losing in the first round at Roland Garros before a third round exit at Wimbledon.
- Kazakh qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin beat twice semi-finalist and 21st seed David Ferrer 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-1.
- American Sofia Kenin upsets 32nd seed Lauren Davis 7-5 7-5.
- The 18-year-old wild card reached the second round of a grand slam for the first time in her career.
- Petra Kvitova beat Serbian Jelena Jankovic 7-5 7-5 to reach the second round.
- The 13th seeded Czech has reached the second round of all three grand slams she has played since returning to action in May, following a lengthy injury layoff.
- Third-seeded Spaniard Garbine Muguruza beat American Varvara Lepchenko 6-0 6-3 to reach the second round.
1515 PLAY BEGINS AT FLUSHING MEADOWS (Compiled by Hardik Vyas, Aditi Prakash and Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Ed Osmond, Pritha Sarkar and John O’Brien)