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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 August 2007, 17:19 GMT 18:19 UK
Sharapova opens defence in style
Maria Sharapova
Sharapova wasted little time in taking her place in round two
Maria Sharapova began the defence of her US Open title in blistering fashion with a 6-0 6-1 win over Italy's Roberta Vinci at Flushing Meadows.

The Russian, wearing her much-hyped new red dress, was in great form in the first of Tuesday's night matches.

There was no sign of the shoulder and leg injuries she has struggled with recently and she served superbly on her way to winning in 50 minutes.

Sharapova goes on to face Australia's Casey Dellacqua in the second round.

"It's great to be back, to step on to this court at night - just feel the vibes and be on the centre court again," said Sharapova.

"Every corner I turn here I get goosebumps. When you come back to the place you won your second major, it's incredible.

You have to keep evolving and keep trying to get better

Martina Hingis

"And to come in to defend my title when I am healthy, that's the best part."

Svetlana Kuznetsova began her bid to regain the title she won in 2004 with a routine win over Klara Zakopalova.

The fourth seed took 64 minutes to dispatch Zakopalova of the Czech Republic 6-2 6-3.

Martina Hingis opened her campaign with a 6-0 6-3 win over France's Mathilde Johansson, while Nicole Vaidisova beat Alla Kudryavtseva 6-1 6-2.

But ninth seed Daniela Hantuchova went out, beaten 6-4 3-6 6-1 by Julia Vakulenko of the Ukraine.

"Obviously it was not my best performance today," said Hantuchova. "I had my opportunities but I think she played very well, especially in the third set. I had my chances and didn't take them."

Hingis believes she will benefit from the two-week break she took ahead of the US Open.


The Swiss, who made only eight unforced errors in her first-round win, said it helped her "get the hunger and get the spirit back."

The 1997 champion, now world-ranked 18, said she tried not to dwell on past glories.

"I know nobody can take that away from me. You have to keep evolving and keep trying to get better," she said.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Russian sixth seed Anna Chakvetadze took 46 minutes to reach the second round with a 6-1 6-1 triumph over American Ashley Weinhold.

India's Sania Mirza, the 26th seed, recovered from a second-set blip to beat Estonia's Kaia Kanepi 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 6-1.

"I'm playing better every day and learning and improving," said Mirza. "I feel confident and I'm hitting the ball well. It's my goal to make it to the second week here."

Seventh seed Nadia Petrova of Russia defeated Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky 6-3 6-1.

Patty Schnyder eased past Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic 6-3 6-0, while Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia caused a minor shock, eliminating number 23 seed Tathiana Garbin 6-4 6-3.



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