Shahar survives opening jitters to advance

Pe’er surges into second round with 6-4, 7-5 conquest; Clijsters, Schiavone cruise.

SHAHAR PE’ER 311 (photo credit: AP)
(photo credit: AP)
Shahar Pe’er advanced to the second round of the US Open on Monday, but not before overcoming a tougher than expected encounter at the first hurdle.
The 23-year-old Israeli, seeded No. 16 at Flushing Meadows, had to battle for an hour and 41 minutes to beat world No. 871 Jelena Kostanic Tosic 6-4, 7-5.
Next up for Pe’er – who has struggled in recent months, reaching just one quarterfinal in her past six tournaments – is a second-round meeting with the winner of the late match between Pauline Parmentier (105) and Alberta Brianti (89).
The biggest worry for Pe’er on Monday was yet again her serve, with the Israeli losing her first two service games of the match and facing 10 break points throughout the encounter against a player who has won just one match in 2010.
In other action, Defending champion Kim Clijsters started to drift on a windy day but found her footing in time to win her 15th straight match at Flushing Meadows.
The second-seeded Belgian beat Hungary’s Greta Arn 6-0, 7-5 in the first round Monday.
She fell behind 4-0 in the second set, and the 104th-ranked Arn had a chance to serve out the set at 5-4. But Clijsters got the break, then did it again to clinch the straight-set victory.
“I’m just glad to finish that second set off and not let it go three sets,” she said.
A year ago, Clijsters was a wild card entry in only her third tournament back after 21⁄2 years away from the sport.
Now she’s one of the favorites to win the Open.
Melanie Oudin and Francesca Schiavone also know how quickly perceptions can change. Oudin struggled with higher expectations since her crowd-pleasing run to the US Open quarterfinals last year. So did Francesca Schiavone after her breakthrough French Open title in June.
But neither showed any signs of the pressure in cruising to dominant first-round wins.
Oudin, the 18-year-old from Marietta, Georgia, needed just 56 minutes to beat Olga Savchuk of Ukraine 6-3, 6-0.
Schiavone, the Italian who won her first Grand Slam weeks before her 30th birthday, dispatched Ayumi Morita of Japan 6-1, 6-0 in 58 minutes.
Oudin snapped a four-match losing streak and won for only the fifth time in her past 18 matches. A year ago, she became the darling of the tournament, upsetting Maria Sharapova and Elena Dementieva en route to becoming the youngest US Open quarterfinalist since Serena Williams in 1999.
Schiavone, seeded No. 6, had been just 3-6 since winning at Roland Garros. She lost in the first round at Wimbledon and dropped her opening match at three other tournaments. Her only three victories came against opponents outside the top 65.
Schiavone had no difficulty against the 83rd-ranked Morita, facing just one break point and hitting 28 winners.
Russia’s Dementieva, the No.
12 seed, also advanced easily, beating Olga Govortsova of Belarus 6-1, 6-2.
Fellow Russian Nikolay Davydenko, the No. 6 seed on the men’s side, beat American Michael Russell 6-4, 6-1, 6-3. No.
11 Marin Cilic and No. 22 Juan Carlos Ferrero also advanced.
Five-time winner Roger Federer was one of four past US Open champions scheduled to play in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday, along with Andy Roddick, Venus Williams and Clijsters.
Another previous winner, Lleyton Hewitt, was slated to be in Louis Armstrong Stadium.
On TV: US Open early-round coverage (live on Eurosport from 6:45 p.m.)