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Tennis - 31. August 2016.

US Open gets off to a flying start

First round scores 

Venus Williams

Venus Williams began her record-breaking 72nd Grand Slam campaign with a hard-fought win over Kateryna Kozlova on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The 2000 and 2001 champion has never lost an opening round match at Flushing Meadows, a statistic that looked in little danger when she pocketed the first set and moved 4-2 ahead in the second.

Kozlova, though, had other ideas, silencing the partisan crowd by rattling off five of the next six games to take the match the distance. A similar story looked to be unfolding in the decider, the Ukrainian falling 5-2 behind only to produce an unerring down-the-line backhand to break back in the ninth game. This time she was unable to complete the comeback, erring on the backhand to succumb the following game.

Despite a messy afternoon the No.6 seed, who finished with 63 unforced errors, was characteristically upbeat afterwards. "The errors told the story today," Williams said. "Once you're at this level everyone can play. Today I had to hit a lot of balls and I think that will help me going into the rest of the tournament."

World No.1 Serena Williams showed ruthless efficiency to dismiss former 2014 semifinalist Ekaterina Makarova and reach the second round of the US Open.

"I definitely think it's fair to label it a home court," the World No.1 said of Arthur Ashe Stadium during her on-court interview. "I love coming out here for this New York crowd and playing for you guys. It's super special here. I love it here, and I love you guys."

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