NEW YORK —
“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,” the American said after winning the first four games and the last four games against Belgium’s Flipkens. “Sometimes you have to have losses.”
Their match was the day’s second in Arthur Ashe Stadium, and owing perhaps to the early hour — or the stricter security measures, including new metal detectors, that led to long delays for spectators entering the grounds — there were thousands of empty blue seats in the 23,000-capacity arena.
The place was full for the night session, when Serena Williams began her title defense with a 6-0, 6-1 victory, a performance so thoroughly impressive that her opponent, 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, was prompted in a brief moment of levity to seek comfort by hugging a ball boy.
“I don’t need a hug in that moment, I need a game,” joked Schiavone, who was trailing 6-0, 2-0 at the time.
Asked which meant more on this day, her own victory or her sister’s, Serena replied: “They’re equal. I definitely was happy to see Venus win. I really was happy for her. I know she’s been working hard. I know she had a tough opponent. For her to come through was just awesome. Obviously, I want to do well, too.”
The victory over Schiavone lasted exactly an hour, and light rain began falling right after it ended. Eventually, play was called off for the day, postponing 17-time major champion Roger Federer’s match against 62nd-ranked Grega Zemlja of Slovenia until Tuesday.
Earlier on Ashe, 12-time major champion Rafael Nadal delivered a straightforward, straight-set victory over 21-year-old American Ryan Harrison, part of a series of smooth performances by top players. Flipkens was one of two seeded women to lose, along with No. 29 Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia.