Federer and Clijsters headline US Open start

Five-time former winner Roger Federer and reigning women’s champion Kim Clijsters were both scheduled to be in action on the opening day of the US Open at Flushing Meadows on Monday.

By (AFP)

Published: Mon 30 Aug 2010, 11:33 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:49 AM

Federer, whose five-set loss in the final to Juan Martin del Potro last year ended a 35-match winning streak dating to 2005, goes up against another Argentinian in the shape of little-known Brian Dabul in the late match on the Arthur Ashe Stadium Court.

Clijsters, whose triumph last year just weeks after she stepped out of retirement was one of the sports stories of the year, takes on Greta Arn of Hungary in the second match in the dayside session on the same court.

Also due to be in action were French Open finalist Robin Soderling of Sweden, who plays Austrian qualifier Andreas Haider-Maurer, and 2003 champion Andy Roddick of the United States, who faces Stephane Robert of France.

Venus Williams, who carries home hopes of a win following the withdrawal through injury of sister Serena, starts against Roberta Vinci of Italy.

Federer, who won just his second tournament of the year at Cincinnati in the buildup to New York, admitted that his loss from two sets to one up against Del Potro last year would act as an extra stimulus this time around.

“Maybe there is an extra incentive for me to try to win it again after being two points away last year,” he said.

“It was a disappointing loss for me. I felt like that was one of the finals I should never have lost.

“In the end Del Potro played great and deserved the victory. It was a tough one to swallow.”

Federer rebounded at the start of this year by winning the Australian Open in late January but he failed to get past the quarter-finals either at the French Open or Wimbledon, both won by Rafael Nadal, who also took away his world number one spot.

Top seed Nadal is not due to play before Tuesday or Wednesday and the dream final is being billed as a first-ever meeting between him and Federer at Flushing Meadows. In fact the last time they played on US soil was in the spring of 2005.

Nadal, who reached the semi-finals here in the last two years, needs a US Open title to become the seventh player in history to complete the career Grand Slam.

There was little in his performances in Toronto and Cincinnati to suggest he is edging any closer to breaking that duck, but Nadal feels he is making progress each year.

Clijsters, who has been under treatment for a hip injury sustained in playing in Montreal, paid tribute to top seed Caroline Wozniacki, who she beat in last year’s final and who is top seed this year.

“She’s a great player. I mean you don’t get there by luck or by wildcard or anything,” she said.

“She definitely deserves to be up there. I think she moves well. She anticipates well. She can read an opponent’s game really well.

“She’s still young physically. She can still handle the long matches and playing a lot of tournaments.”

Fitness and energy were likely to be key components in a first week of the tournament forecast to be marked by hot, sunny weather.

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