Teen steals limelight as Djokovic cruises

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FLUSHING MEADOWS — A teenage American girl with a squeaky voice and an incredible tale of survival stole the spotlight at the US Open on Tuesday with a stunning upset win over the former champion, Samantha Stosur.

Reuters

While Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic and the rest of the sport’s old order calmly went about their business, 17-year-old Victoria Duval became the toast of New York.

Making her second appearance in a grand slam event against the Australian who beat Serena Williams in the final just two years ago, the pint-sized Duval clawed and fought her way to a 5-7 6-4 6-4 first-round win.

It was a remarkable performance, but made all the more astonishing because of her background.

When she was seven years old, Duval was taken hostage by robbers at her aunt’s house in Haiti, a terrifying incident that convinced her parents, both doctors, to move back to the United States.

“It’s not a good memory, so I try to forget as much as I could about it. I don’t remember too much of it anymore, which is great,” she told reporters.

In 2010, her father was buried alive in the Haiti earthquake. He survived by digging himself out but suffered serious injuries, including broken legs, broken ribs and a punctured lung.

Duval took to tennis instantly and has quickly risen through the American junior ranks, but Tuesday’s win was by far her biggest.
With her family watching from courtside and chants of “U-S-A!” echoing around the Louis Armstrong Stadium, Duval had to battle all the way to beat the vastly more-experienced Stosur.
“I think I’m very much of a child at heart . . . (but) on the court, you have to be a warrior because that’s just the sport we are in,” she said.

Stosur paid tribute to Duval, saying she deserved the win, but said she had contributed to her own downfall with a whopping 56 unforced errors.

“I’m not going to be a sore loser and say she didn’t do anything,” said Stosur. “But, you know, I think I certainly helped her out there today, that’s for sure.”

Federer and Djokovic blasted their way into the second round with ruthless efficiency, crushing their hapless opponents in straight sets.

Defying the sceptics who had dismissed his chances of winning a sixth title in the Big Apple, Federer was in vintage form as he brushed past Slovenia’s Grega Zemlja 6-3 6-2 7-5 in a delayed afternoon match at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Djokovic then lit up Tuesday’s night session with a dazzling combination of power and precision to defeat Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis 6-1 6-2 6-2.

The world No 1 hardly broke sweat on a balmy New York night as he took the first step toward a possible fourth straight appearance in the final.

The 32-year-old Federer won the last of his five US Open titles in 2008. — Reuters