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US Open Federer sends out warning

By Eleanor Crooks

Roger Federer opened his bid for a sixth US Open title on Tuesday with a 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 victory over Grega Zemlja.

The match had been put back after being rained off Monday evening, but Federer was unperturbed, claiming his 65th win at Flushing Meadows in one hour and 33 minutes.

The Swiss dominated proceedings, suffering just one mishap when he dropped serve in the eighth game of the third set.

He quickly regrouped and broke Zemlja again in the 11th game before serving out victory. Federer is looking to reclaim the US Open title he won five consecutive times between 2004-08.

It would be his 18th Grand Slam championship victory.

Federer goes on to face Argentine Carlos Berlocq, who battled past Santiago Giraldo 6-3, 3-6, 6-7(8), 6-4, 6-2.

Federer won their one previous meeting, last year on clay in Rome, and will look to avoid a repeat of the shock second-round loss he endured at the hands of Sergiy Stakhovsky two months ago at Wimbledon.

Indeed, Stakhovsky was beaten in the first round at Flushing Meadows, losing to Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

The US Open lost two of tennis' rising stars in the first round as Grigor Dimitrov and Jerzy Janowicz were sent packing.

Dimitrov, the 25th seed, is yet to live up to his talent, with some standout victories accompanied by baffling losses.

This fell into the latter category, with the 22-year-old Bulgarian going down 3-6 6-3 6-4 5-7 6-2 to world number 95 Joao Sousa.

Janowicz's 6-4 6-4 6-2 defeat by Argentinian Maximo Gonzalez was even worse on paper but he was hampered by a back injury that took away the power of his fearsome serve.

Janowicz called the trainer onto Court 13 during the second set and, although he recovered from 4-1 to 4-4, there was no way back.

The 14th seed would have hoped to do damage here after reaching the semi-finals at Wimbledon.

His exit along with that of Ernests Gulbis yesterday makes a wide open third section of the draw even more so.

Milos Raonic is also in that section and he must fancy his chances of going a long way.

The Canadian 10th seed, who reached the Masters series final in Montreal earlier this month, beat Italian qualifier Thomas Fabbiano 6-3 7-6 (8/6) 6-3.

Asked if he feels he is ready to challenge at a grand slam, he said: "I think I can put myself in that position.

I just have to make the opportunities and convert them. I think if I play well, I can get very close if not do it.

"It's still a long way to go, a very long way."

Meanwhile, Petra Kvitova went the distance again as she moved into the second round with victory over Japan's Misaki Doi on Arthur Ashe.

The seventh seed plays a remarkable number of three-setters and a second-set lapse cost her again here.

However, she recovered well in the decider to defeat Doi 6-2 3-6 6-1.

Kvitova, the 2011 Wimbledon champion, has been consistent only in her inconsistency this season.

And yesterday's win was a fifth three-setter out of her last six victories.

The Czech next meets Serbian Bojana Jovanovski, who put out Germany's Andrea Petkovic 6-2 6-4.

Sixth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki held off qualifier Duan Ying-Ying to win her first-round match at the U.S. Open.

With boyfriend Rory McIlroy in the stands, Wozniacki fought off a set point in the second to win 6-2, 7-5.

Ana Ivanovic was the first winner of the day, the 13th seed thrashing Anna Tatishvili 6-2 6-0 in just 58 minutes.

Belfast Telegraph

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