The Williams sisters, looking ready for New York, both advanced in the opening day of the U.S. Open. Venus, whose hair--yet again--was fabulous, beat Kirsten Flipkens 6-1, 6-2. Serena went her one better, defeating Francesca Schiavone 6-0, 6-1. Following that night match, the younger Williams sister appeared (in a sharp Nike blazer) on the set of ESPN and chatted for quite a long while with commentators.
There were no surprises today, and that includes the fact that Sloane Stephens had to fight like crazy to pull out a three-set win over Mandy Minella, who has become somewhat more threatening lately. Stephens might think twice before permanently adopting this Thrill Ride (and I do miss her, by the way) style of tennis (also makes me think of Kvitova), in which she grabs the victory at the last moment. But she did advance to the second round, beating an obviously crushed Minella (who was up a mini-break in the third set tiebreak) 4-6, 6-3, 7-6. Stephens' next opponent will be Urszula Radwanska.
Besides the Williams sisters and Stephens, other USA players who won their first round matches were Jamie Hampton, Coco Vandeweghe and Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
Ayumi Morita withdrew from the tournament because of a back injury, and Olivia Rogowska became the lucky loser.
Alyssa Kleybanova had her first win at a major since the 2011 Australian Open. The Russian player, who had to leave the tour for a while because of illness, defeated Monica Puig.
The U.S. Postal Service has issued an Althea Gibson commemorative stamp, which became available to postal customers on Friday. Gibson won the U.S. Championships (the precursor to the U.S. Open) twice.