'Solid' Barty overcomes 'hiccup' at US Open

2 weeks ago 12
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Women's No. 1 seed Ash Barty knocked off Vera Zvonareva 6-1, 7-6 (7) in her first U.S. Open match in two years.

The reigning Wimbledon champion, Barty skipped last year's open because of the pandemic. Barty's Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon and at the 2019 French Open came on grass and clay. She's trying to make a major breakthrough on hard courts.

The 25-year-old Barty shook off a lull in the second set and won in a sensational tiebreak. She finished with 31 winners, including 11 aces.

Zvonareva was the 2010 U.S. Open runner-up.

Barty won Wimbledon for her second major title and now is back in New York after remaining in Australia last year when the event was played with no fans because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ashleigh Barty of Australia returns the ball against Vera Zvonareva of Russia during her Women's Singles first round match on Day Two of the 2021 US Open at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 31, 2021 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) (Getty)

"I was disappointed not to be able to come and play last year but I think playing here this year with fans makes it all the better," Barty said.

Ajla Tomljanovic, meanwhile, cruised past American Katie Volynets in straight sets 6-3, 6-1 to set up a date with 30th seed Petra Martić, of Croatia, in round two. Martić beat qualifier Dalma Gálfi in straight sets.

Tomljanovic cruised through 6-3, 6-1 to set up a date with 30th seed Petra Martić, of Croatia, in round two. Martić beat qualifier Dalma Gálfi in straight sets.

No. 4 seed Karolina Pliskova, the 2016 U.S. Open runner-up who lost to Barty in the Wimbledon final, beat American teenager Caty McNally 6-3, 6-4. Belinda Bencic, the women's Olympic gold medalist seeded 11th, beat Arantxa Rus 6-4, 6-4, and No. 17 seed Maria Sakkari topped Marta Kostyuk 6-4, 6-3.

Reilly Opelka, the No. 22-seeded man, swept past Soonwoo Kwon and fellow American Mackenzie McDonald upset No. 27 seed David Goffin 6-2, 7-5, 6-3. But Sebastian Korda, another promising young American, was eliminated when he retired against Nikoloz Basilashvili early in the second set.

Khachanov, the No. 25 seed, was knocked off by Lloyd Harris 6-4, 1-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

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