Roger Federer and Serena Williams began their U.S. Open title defenses Monday with easy wins in matches that will probably stick only in the memories of the players they beat. Federer defeated NCAA champion Devin Britton 6-1, 6-3, 7-5, and Williams rolled over wild card Alexa Glatch 6-4, 6-1 in fashioning a predictable start to the last major championship of 2009.
“My goal was to not get crushed,” Britton said, “and make it interesting for a little while.”
He did, even breaking Federer’s serve in the second and third sets, though he was unable to follow either by winning his own serve in the next game. With his coach from Ole Miss in the stands at Arthur Ashe Stadium, Britton lost three straight games at love after going up 3-1 in the second.
“I was thinking, ‘I’m up a break. This is awesome,’ ” Britton said. “Then it only lasted about 30 seconds.”
Glatch was in the same boat, pushing the second-seeded Williams in the first set before losing quickly in the second. One of America’s top juniors earlier in the decade, Glatch received a wild card for the U.S. Open, only to find she was playing one of the best Grand Slam players in history.
Williams, who has won the Australian Open and Wimbledon this year, is going for her second straight and fourth U.S. Open title.
“You just try not to think about the occasion,” Glatch said. “You try to pretend it’s any other court and you’re playing against any other opponent. But it’s very hard to do, especially when it’s your first time out there in the biggest stadium there is.”
Federer is looking for his sixth straight U.S. Open title. Win or lose, the opening-round victory made him the first player in tennis history to reach $50 million in prize money