Indian summer at US Open
Sania Mirza and Somdev Devvarman make history as they power through to round two.
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2009 07:26 GMT

Mirza is no longer flying the Indian flag alone [AFP]
Sania Mirza and Somdev Devvarman sparked off celebrations in their homeland as they marked the first time a man and a woman from India reached the second round of the same major.

Mirza beat Belarussian Olga Govortsova 6-2 3-6 6-3 and Devvarman did for Portugal's Frederico Gil 6-3 6-4 6-3 before the stars took to the courts of the US Open on Monday. 

"For a long time I was the only one playing singles in the main draw for the grand slams, and it's great that Somdev is playing so well," said Mirza.

"I'm really happy that we have two Indians in the second round of a slam."


Parent power ruled the US Open hard courts as champion Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters on her comeback put their young upstart opponents firmly in their places to storm into the second round at Flushing Meadows.

Federer, seeking his third successive major following his triumphs at the French Open and Wimbledon, and Clijsters were both playing their first grand slam tournament following the births of their respective children.

For Clijsters, it marked her first major since the 2007 Australian Open but it seemed difficult to believe she had been away for more than two years as she pulverised 21-year-old Ukrainian Viktoriya Kutuzova 6-1 6-1 in 58 minutes.

New father Federer, who celebrated the arrival of twin daughters five weeks ago, took 88 minutes on Monday to down American grand slam debutant Devin Britton 6-1 6-3 7-5.

Clijsters and Federer were just two of five US Open champions gracing the Arthur Ashe Stadium on a blockbuster opening day of the hardcourt major.


Women's champion Serena Williams walloped fellow American Alexa Glatch 6-4 6-1 but her elder sister Venus Williams, the 2000 and 2001 winner, was just three points from suffering her earliest defeat at the Open before the hollering crowd carried her to a 6-7 7-5 6-3 win over Russian Vera Dushevina.

"I had a lot of help from the fans. I felt so much energy from everyone when I was serving to stay in the match in the second set. It feels good to play at home," Venus, who needed a medical time out to treat a sore left knee, told the crowd.

Andy Roddick, being tipped to win a second title here following his gut-wrenching five-set loss to Federer in the Wimbledon final, spared the fans another rollercoaster of emotions as he swept past Germany's Bjorn Phau 6-1 6-4 6-2.

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