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Kvitova, Bouchard steamroll into second round at U.S. Open

By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and runner-up Eugenie Bouchard launched their U.S. Open campaigns with a bang, blasting by their respective first-round opponents in quick fashion on Tuesday.

Third-seeded Kvitova of the Czech Republic crushed Kristina Mladenovic of France 6-1 6-0, while Bouchard was nearly as efficient in dismissing Olga Govortsova of Belarus 6-2 6-1 in the Flushing Meadows sunshine.

"I'm very happy. First round is always nerves," said the hard-hitting Kvitova, who won the lead-in tournament in New Haven last weekend. "It was the same today. When I wake up, I start to feel nervous. I was just glad how I played today."

Kvitova stumbled at the first hurdle here after winning her first Wimbledon crown in 2011.

"The other grand slams are a big challenge for me right now. I remember 2011 when I lost my first round after winning Wimbledon, so I'm just glad that I'm better already," she said with a smile.

The 20-year-old, pigtailed Bouchard, the only woman to reach the semi-finals of the year's first three majors, eradicated questions about her hard court form with an overwhelming win.

Seventh-seeded Bouchard, who won one match in three events since losing to Kvitova at the All England Club last month as she was bothered by knee and hamstring injuries, ripped 19 winners and forced 24 errors from an outclassed Govortsova.

"Obviously I would have liked more matches, but that's the way it is sometimes. I feel like I practiced well before, and that was the best I could do at that moment," said aggressive baseliner Bouchard. "I still feel very confident with myself and I'm happy with today."

They were joined in the second round by eighth-seeded former world number one Ana Ivanovic, 11th-seeded Italian Flavia Pennetta, 16th seed Victoria Azarenka and 2011 champion Sam Stosur.

Failing to follow a procession of seeds into the second round was former French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia. The 20th seed was upset by 82nd-ranked Marina Erakovic of New Zealand 3-6 6-2 7-6 (3).

On the men's side, 10th seed Kei Nishikori of Japan, 13th-seeded American John Isner and 25th seed Ivo Karlovic of Croatia were among first-round winners.

Nishikori dismissed American wild card Wayne Odesnik, Isner ousted compatriot Marcos Giron, and Karlovic eliminated Jarkko Nieminen of Finland.

Sam Querrey gave local fans another cause to cheer with a 6-2 4-6 6-4 4-6 6-3 win over Maximo Gonzalez of Argentina.

The day session served as an appetizer to a hotly anticipated night program featuring 17-times grand slam winner Roger Federer and two-time defending champion Serena Williams.

STOSUR TURNAROUND

Former champion Stosur carried her recent momentum into New York with a first-round win that extended a perfect record for Australians to five-for-five before a loss by Ashleigh Barty to Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of Czech Republic ended the streak.

Stosur pushed past 49th-ranked American Lauren Davis 6-1 6-4 to put behind her a shock, first-round ouster at Flushing Meadows last year to American qualifier Victoria Duval.

The win by 21st-ranked Stosur, only the third player to beat Serena Williams in a grand slam final, continued a turnaround after six losses to opponents ranked outside the top 60 had dropped her out of the top 20 for the first time in five years.

Last week, the hard-hitting Australian showed signs of a revival. The 30-year-old Stosur beat Bouchard in New Haven before eventually falling to Kvitova in the semi-finals.

"I am feeling good," she said. "Going to Connecticut last week and playing well there and making semis, I think is a huge boost. I couldn't really be pleased more with the way that I have had this lead-up."

Ivanovic showed off her self-assured hard court form with a 6-3 6-0 rout of American Alison Riske, who had lost to the Serb 7-5 7-6 this year in New Zealand.

"It was very tough first-round match. We had a tough one in Auckland," said Ivanovic, who has wins over Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova in battling back into the world top 10.

"The confidence is on a high level," said Ivanovic. "I had a great season behind me."

(Editing by Frank Pingue)

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