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TENNIS / U.S. OPEN

Venus Williams runs long; Andy Roddick keeps it short

The No. 3-seeded woman overcomes knee injury to beat Vera Dushevina, 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-3, on first day of U.S. Open. Fifth-seeded man routs Bjorn Phau in 95 minutes.

September 01, 2009|Diane Pucin

NEW YORK — Venus Williams kept Andy Roddick up late. "You know, I wasn't very patriotic today," Williams said. "Close to a three-hour match, I didn't help Andy out at all."

It wasn't quite three hours, but it took Williams 2 hours 43 minutes to beat 47th-ranked Vera Dushevina, 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-3, Monday night in a U.S. Open first-round match in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Because of that match length, Roddick didn't take the court until 11:09 p.m. in New York.

And the fifth-seeded Roddick played like a man in a hurry. It took him only 1 hour 35 minutes to run through Bjorn Phau of Germany, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.

The third-seeded Williams seemed weary from the start. She needed a trainer early to tend to a sore left knee. And she was frazzled after a series of foot-fault calls.

Afterward she said "it would take a lot of prayer" to help her and her knee heal in time for Round 2.

The Williams-Dushevina marathon was the first jolt of energy on what had been a pedestrian opening day.

Until Williams' escape, the tournament could have been called the Serena Williams Shopping Network, a.k.a. the U.S. Open.

Serena, the defending women's champion and the second-seeded player, used the opportunity of her opening-day 6-4, 6-1 win over Alexa Glatch of Newport Beach to hawk some products.

Williams' autobiography, "On the Line," is to be released today.

And for the non-readers, she let the world know that her jewelry designs -- including, as she said, "everything, earrings, necklace, lucky ring" -- that she wore Monday is available on the Home Shopping Network.

But don't bash Williams for her promotional product placement. She was asked about all of this stuff, and her news conference was more entertaining than the day-session tennis on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court.

Stat of the day

John Isner had 42 unforced errors to 17 by his opponent Victor Hanescu. But Isner won the match, 6-1, 7-6 (14), 7-6 (5). Why? Isner had 25 more winners (57 to 32). Sometimes it pays to be the aggressor.

Upset of the day

Well, that would be Isner, ranked No. 55, who lost most of his summer after a diagnosis of mononucleosis in May. Isner is unseeded and Hanescu was seeded 28th.

Quote of the day

Roger Federer, when it was pointed out he had become the first player in tennis history to earn $50 million in prize money after his first-round win: "No need to write about that."

Today's

featured matches

In day matches, beginning at 10 a.m. PDT: Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia, who won here in 2004 and at the French Open this year, will play Julia Goerges of Germany; Dinara Safina, who is seeded No. 1 but has never won a major title, faces Olivia Rogowska of Austria; fourth-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia (semifinalist here in 2008, runner-up in 2007) plays Croatia's big-serving Ivan Ljubicic; and rising star Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, seeded ninth in the women's draw, faces Galina Voskoboeva.

In night matches, beginning at 4 p.m.: Maria Sharapova will take on Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria; second-seeded Andy Murray plays talented 21-year-old Ernests Gulbis of Latvia; and 22nd-seeded Sam Querrey, who won the U.S. Open summer series, faces fellow American Michael Yani.

--

diane.pucin@latimes.com

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