Williams sisters show their class
A review of the action from the women's singles on day one of the US Open at Flushing Meadows.
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Venus Williams was back in the pink as she thumped Wimbledon semi-finalist Kirsten Flipkens to reach the second round of the US Open.
It has been another tough year for the American, who won her first match for more than four months in Cincinnati last week.
She missed Wimbledon with a back injury and lost to Flipkens in her comeback event in Toronto after winning the first set 6-0.
But on Monday, with pink hair knotted above her head, she kept the momentum going and romped to an impressive 6-1 6-2 victory over the 12th seed.
Explaining the transformation, Williams said: "My serve was a lot better. In Toronto I wasn't really feeling that great about my serve. Just coming back I've had to do a lot of work on my serve.
"Honestly I think that made a huge difference. I think I was serving in the 40 percentages all my matches this summer, so it was very challenging. You can only go up."
Williams announced two years ago in New York that she was suffering from the auto-immune disease Sjogren's Syndrome, while at 33 she is one of the oldest women on the tour, but her appetite for tennis shows no sign of diminishing.
She said: "I stay positive because I know I can play great tennis.
"Sometimes you just have to go through more than what you want to go through. Sometimes you have to have losses. When I have losses, it always motivates me a lot to do better and to work harder.
"So I realise that I haven't had a lot of chances to play healthy this year, so I'm just going to have to keep working my way into it maybe more than some of the other players, but I know I can do that."
Serena Williams looked every inch the title favourite as she powered past Francesca Schiavone .
The pair opened the night session on Arthur Ashe, with top seed Williams beginning the defence of the trophy she won for a fourth time 12 months ago.
The 31-year-old has won eight titles already this season, including the French Open, and former Roland Garros champion Schiavone simply had no answer.
She won just six points in the first set as Williams sent the ball flying to all corners of the court with immense power and precision.
For a long time it looked like Schiavone would not win a single game as Williams made it 10 games in a row.
She had a point for an eleventh, which would have left her serving for the match, but this time Schiavone held off her opponent and finally got on the board with a forehand volley.
But that was as good as it got for the Italian as Williams wrapped up a 6-0 6-1 victory after exactly an hour when Schiavone put a forehand long.
Next up for Williams is Kazakhstan's Galina Voskoboeva.
Williams said drawing 2010 French Open winner Schiavone had focused her mind, which explained the one-sided scoreline.
"I was just out there trying to be focused," she said. "When you see you have to go up against a former grand slam champion, it's not very easy to see your name in a draw like that. You have to be very serious."
Asked whether she was happier for her sister or herself, Serena said: "They're equal. I was really excited to see Venus win. I know she's been working hard, she had a tough opponent, so for her to come through was just awesome."
America looked in danger of losing one of their big hopes on the first day but Sloane Stephens survived a long battle with Luxembourg's Mandy Minella.
The 15th seed lost the first set and was a break down in the decider but fought back to win 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7/5).
There is already a buzz about a potential meeting between Stephens and Serena Williams in the fourth round, which would be a repeat of a quarter-final match in Australia this year that Stephens won.
The 20-year-old blamed nerves for her slow start, saying: "I think just the whole being here at the US Open is a bit overwhelming. Literally everywhere you go every single person knows who you are.
"It's exciting to play at a home slam. It's exciting to be on the court and competing. I think I have to take advantage of the opportunity that was given to me, and I thought I did that well."
There were easy wins for both Agnieszka Radwanska and Li Na early in the day.
Radwanska is seeded third following the withdrawal of the injured Maria Sharapova and she coasted past Silvia Soler-Espinosa of Spain 6-1 6-2.
The US Open is the only grand slam at which Radwanska has not reached the quarter-finals, while her build-up included an unscheduled trip back to Poland for the funeral of her grandfather.
She was forced to miss her quarter-final in Cinncinati to travel home, but is carrying plenty of confidence into the year's final grand slam.
Radwanska said: "I really had a lot of good matches coming here. From Stanford to Cincinnati a lot of matches, and it was really a good run. Especially because every week it's different conditions and different balls, different courts.
"So it's a really tough period, I think, for the players, and I think that I prepared very good. I'm ready now to play here, and hopefully I can play the same good tennis."
Fifth seed Li, who could play her 2012 conqueror Laura Robson again in the third round, was almost as emphatic, defeating Olga Govortsova 6-2 6-2.
Wimbledon runner-up Sabine Lisicki had a tougher time against Vera Dushevina but came through 6-2 7-6 (7/3) while American Lauren Davis suffered the dreaded 'double bagel' 6-0 6-0 defeat against 18th seed Carla Suarez Navarro.
Ninth seed Jelena Jankovic has quietly been showing very good form this year and she overcame a potentially tricky hurdle in rising American star Madison Keys.
The 18-year-old reached the third round of Wimbledon but has been troubled by a shoulder injury and went down 6-3 6-4.
Eighth seed Angelique Kerber had to wait until late in the day to get on court against Lucie Hradecka and wasted no time getting off it again after a 6-1 6-1 victory.
No result was more welcome, meanwhile, than Alisa Kleybanova's 6-4 3-6 7-5 victory over Monica Puig.
This is the Russian's first grand slam appearance for two and a half years, during which time she has overcome Hodgkin's lymphoma, the same cancer with which British doubles player Ross Hutchins was diagnosed in December.