Germany’s Angelique Kerber maintained steady course as she seeks to displace Serena Williams from the top women’s ranking, with the second seed rolling into the second round of the US Open as her opponent quit after seven games.
The Australian Open champion and Wimbledon finalist was untouchable on Monday against Polona Hercog, who went down in a heap 6-0 1-0.
Kerber missed a chance this month to displace Williams atop the WTA as she lost the Cincinnati final.
The 28-year-old has the chance to complete the mission with the final grand slam of the season now underway.
Kerber, however, is keeping on point and steering clear of dream scenarios.
“I’m really trying to focus on my game, step by step. If the day (to take number one) comes I’ll be really happy,” she said.
“But it is really far away right now.”
2015 finalist Roberta Vinci, the seventh seed who shocked Williams in a semi-final a year ago in New York, started with a defeat of German Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-2 6-4.
“A year has passed, but it seems like yesterday. I have of course a great memory,” the Italian said.
“Today I just thought about the match and concentrated on the positive things of the last year.”
Two-time grand slam winner and ninth seed Svetlana Kuznetsov beat former French Open winner Francesca Schiavone of Italy 6-1 6-2, while double Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, the number 14, started with a defeat of Latvian Jelena Ostapenko 7-5 6-3.
Former top 10 Belinda Bencic, whose slow abdominal injury comeback meant that she had not won a match since the Wimbledon first round two months ago, staged a comeback over Samantha Crawford 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 6-4.
“I was frustrated in the first set,” the Swiss 19-year-old said.
“I did nothing to deserve to win that set. I was super-tight. There was nothing left to do but fight and try to win the next two sets. I don’t like to practice that much, so I don’t mind playing a longer match. I didn’t need to save energy as I was out for so long.”
Former No.1 Caroline Wozniacki began trying to correct an injury-plagued season of poor form, beating US player Taylor Townsend 4-6 6-3 6-4.