New York City – Britain, buoyed by the Andy Murray feelgood factor, celebrated US Open first round wins for Laura Robson and qualifier Daniel Evans on Monday as Agnieszka Radwanska and Li Na cruised into the second round.
As the first day of the final Grand Slam of the season got underway at Flushing Meadows, Robson, the first British woman to be seeded at a major for 26 years, won nine games in succession to beat Spanish veteran Lourdes Dominguez Lino, 7-5, 6-0.
The 30th seed, who ended Kim Clijsters' career in New York 12
months ago on her way to the last 16, next faces either France's Caroline Garcia or Shelby Rogers of the United States.
But she was over-shadowed, however, when world 179 Evans, making his debut after coming through qualifying, swept past Japanese 11th seed Kei Nishikori, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.
Nishikori, who made the third round, last year, committed 38 unforced errors.
The 23-year-old Evans had never won a main draw match at the Grand Slams until Monday and his reward is a second round clash against either Australia's Bernard Tomic or Albert Ramos of Spain.
Polish third seed Radwanska, who has never got beyond the last-16 in New York, eased past Silvia Soler-Espinosa 6-1, 6-2 and next faces another Spaniard, Maria Teresa Torro-Flor.
“I think two-sets match for the first match is always good,” Radwanska said. “I prepared very good. I'm ready now to play here and hopefully I can play same good tennis.”
Chinese fifth seed Li also reached the second round with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Olga Govortsova of Belarus.
Li, a quarter-finalist in 2009, next plays Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden.
Later Monday, second seed Rafael Nadal, the 2010 champion, and Roger Federer, the former five-time champion and seeded a lowly seventh this year, begin their campaigns.
Nadal, who is undefeated on hard courts in 2013 and arrives in New York with back-to-back Masters titles in Montreal and Cincinnati, faces American wildcard Ryan Williams.
Federer concludes the night session on the showpiece Arthur Ashe Stadium against Slovenia's Grega Zemjla.
Defending women's champion Serena Williams, a four-time winner, kicks off the evening action against Francesca Schiavone, the former French Open winner from Italy.
Venus Williams, the back-to-back champion in 2000 and 2001 and the second oldest woman in the draw at 33, starts her 60th Grand Slam event against Belgian 12th seed Kirsten Flipkens, a semi-finalist at Wimbledon last month.
As well as tennis A-listers, the tournament will also welcome rock royalty with Lenny Kravitz, the Grammy Award winner, one of the warm-up acts at the opening ceremony which also features Oscar-winning actors Kevin Spacey and Cuba Gooding.
Meanwhile, 12 months after 2003 champion Andy Roddick quit the sport, another US veteran, James Blake, announced his retirement on Monday.
The 33-year-old, who reached as high as four in the world back in 2006 but now stands at 100, won 10 tour titles and made the US Open quarter-finals the same year.
“This is my last tournament,” said Blake. “I have had 14 pretty darn good years on tour, loved every minute of it, and I definitely couldn't have asked for a better career.” – Sapa-AFP