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Nadal, Venus, Henin win; favorites keep rolling at U.S. Open

Nadal, Venus, Henin win; favorites keep rolling at U.S. Open

Rafael Nadal recovered from a slow start, Venus Williams overcame a few glitches and Justine Henin ran right into the next round at a U.S. Open where the favorites kept rolling on Wednesday.
Nadal dropped the first six points of his match against No. 123 Alun Jones of Australia and later called out a trainer to check on his shaky knees.
The second-seeded Spaniard eventually hit his stride and, once again relying on his legs, moved into the second round 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
"I have to improve in the knees so much more if I'm going to continue in the tournament," Nadal said.
Williams had some speed bumps _ six double-faults, 20 unforced errors _ in beating Ioana Raluca Olaru of Romania 6-4, 6-2.
"I want to be the last one standing with a plate over my head," the two-time Open winner and current Wimbledon champ said. "I'm not stressed out on a few shots. Feel a little wiser."
Henin also advanced into the third round, defeating Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 6-4, 6-0.
The top-seeded Belgian, bidding for her seventh major title, broke Pironkova's spirit midway through the final set.
Caught close to the net, Henin raced back to the baseline, her legs churning at a full speed for a shot that won her the point. Pironkova flipped her racket in the air, then tried to catch it and missed.
"I know I have to work hard because I know a lot of surprises can happen, even if it looks easy," Henin said. "You have to be careful all the time."
Former Open champion Marat Safin, crowd pleaser Ana Ivanovic, No. 8 Tommy Robredo, No. 11 Mikhail Youzhny, No. 14 Elena Dementieva and No. 19 Sybille Bammer also won in straight sets.
"Hopefully, it'll continue this way and keep it short," Safin said after beating Frank Dancevic of Canada 7-5, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (7).
Jones, a wild card playing in his first Grand Slam outside Australia, led Nadal 3-1 in the first two sets. Nadal evened the first set at 4-4 and broke Jones at 5-5 before finishing it off.
But in the second set, Jones held on to his lone break.
In the third, Nadal led 2-0 but was broken immediately and Jones went up a break at 4-3, after which Nadal called a trainer to check on his bandaged knee. Nadal broke Jones' serve to even the score at 4-4 and won the set off Jones' serve with a backhand down the line.
Losing the third set seemed to stay on the mind of Jones, who lost the next five games before holding serve, briefly stalling Nadal's move into the second round.
Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Jelena Jankovic were scheduled later in the day. Tim Henman, playing his final Grand Slam event, was set to play his first-round match.


Updated : 2021-05-14 13:21 GMT+08:00