Rain interrupts play during Day 1 of the U.S. Open. (Michael Heiman / Getty Images )
NEW YORK -- Samantha Stosur, the defending women's U.S. Open champion, sneaked on and off Arthur Ashe Stadium Court, beating Petra Martic of Croatia 6-1, 6-1 in the opening round in a match that took only 51 minutes and beat, by a few minutes, the first rain storm of the tournament.
It likely won't be the last. Right now the word is there will be no play here before 2 p.m. (11 a.m. PDT).
Stosur upset Serena Williams in the 2011 finals for her only major title, and she showed no evidence of nerves as the first player on Arthur Ashe in front of a smattering of fans in the 20,000-seat arena. Stosur served 10 aces and won 19 of the 22 first serves she got into play. She also was aggressive with her ground strokes, hitting 22 winners to only seven from the slow-footed Croatian.
Stosur, 28, an Australian, hasn't won a tournament this year and lost in the second round of Wimbledon and the first round of the Olympics. But her ease of movement around the big court and her willingness to approach the net -- where she won nine of 12 points -- kept Martic on her heels all during the short match.
Coming up next at Ashe Stadium will be men's Olympic gold medalist Andy Murray, the third-seeded man, against Alex Bogomolov Jr., and then third-seeded Maria Sharapova against Melinda Czink.
It seems likely the night session will not start at its 7 p.m. EDT scheduled beginning. Kim Clijsters, seeded 23rd and retiring at the end of the year, plays Victoria Duval and world No. 1 Roger Federer is scheduled to face American Donald Young, who is 3-21 this season.
Also close to victory before rain shut down proceedings was ninth-seeded Li Na, who won the 2011 French Open and was a finalist at the 2011 Australian Open. Li led Heather Robson of Great Britain, 6-2, 5-3. Wild-card entrant James Blake, 32, who is ranked only 115th in the world, leads Slovakia's Lukas Lacko 7-5, 6-2, 0-0. It was Lacko who upset Rafael Nadal in the first round of Wimbledon earlier this summer.
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