Sport Tennis Arina Rodionova gives Australia a winning start to US Open

Arina Rodionova gives Australia a winning start to US Open

Arina Rodionova
Arina Rodionova gave Australia an ideal start to the US Open. Photo: Getty
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Arina Rodionova is savouring another milestone after continuing her breakout season to be the first Australian through to the second round of the US Open in New York.

Australia’s only first-round Wimbledon winner last month backed that up to advance with a 7-5 7-5 victory over Dutchwoman Richel Hogenkamp.

Five more Aussies were on court at Flushing Meadows on Tuesday morning, Bernard Tomic played 19-seeded Gilles Muller and Thanasi Kokkinakis faced Janko Tipsarevic.

JP Smith was set to meet Thomas Fabbiano, Jordan Thompson took on Jack Sock and Ashleigh Barty was scheduled to play Ana Konjuh.

Rodionova next faces Greece’s Maria Sakkari for a place in the third round of a grand slam for the first time.
Rodionova rallied from an early service break down to post her maiden main-draw win at Flushing Meadows, six weeks after achieving the same feat at The All England Club.

“I didn’t feel that much pressure when I was down a break because I have a strong return and I knew I can break back once or twice a set,” she said.

“It was an interesting match because it was tough with the wind, so we both weren’t serving great today.

“Obviously the nerves also kicked in a bit; first round, it’s quite tough to play the first match, you never know what’s going to happen.

“I’m really glad it finished my way.”

The victory guaranteed Australia’s wildcard playoff winner another career-high ranking inside the world’s top 120, as she edges ever closer to securing direct entry to the slams for the first time.

“This win really helps me mentally to understand that I belong where I want to reach, top 100, because I’ve had quite a few wins this year against top-100 girls,” Rodionova said.

“I’m just gaining confidence match by match.”

The 27-year-old credits her rise to being in peak physical condition after battling injuries for much of her career.

“I actually saw the statistic yesterday that the average age in the top 100 is 27.4,” Rodionova said.

“More experience probably helps and you start to understand your body a bit more, what you should do how you should train.

“But now that I’m injury free at moment it obviously helps around the court.

“I feel great. I’m moving well and feel I’m in my prime time at the moment.”