Serena puts the boot in

Serena Williams shrugged off doubts about her fitness to cruise into the second round of the US Open with a 6-1 6-3 victory over Sandra Kleinova of the Czech Republic.

Serena Williams shrugged off doubts about her fitness to cruise into the second round of the US Open with a 6-1 6-3 victory over Sandra Kleinova of the Czech Republic.

The third seed, who missed the Olympics because of soreness in the left knee which was operated on last year, needed only 53 minutes to book her place in the next round.

But Williams admitted: “I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to prepare for this event. I’m taking it a day at a time.”

She warmed up for the match in the Arthur Ashe Stadium wearing knee-high black boots, a denim miniskirt and a studded black top but officials told her last month that the boots could not be worn during a match.

She unzipped the boots – which turned out to be leggings that came to the top of her trainers and started the match.

Earlier, American eighth seed Jennifer Capriati rallied to defeat Denisa Chladkova of the Czech Republic, 2-6 6-1 6-2.

Capriati committed nine unforced errors in the first set but just three in each of the next two sets.

Chladkova, meanwhile, had seven unforced errors in the first set but 22 over the next two.

Second seed Amelie Mauresmo of France, who was routed in the final of the Olympics by top seed Justine Henin-Hardenne, opened play at Arthur Ashe Stadium with a 6-4 6-2 victory over American Marissa Irvin.

Mauresmo, still searching for her first Grand Slam title, converted all four of her break-point opportunities, while Irvin was successful on only one of her five break chances.

“My serve was pretty good,” said Mauresmo. “I felt very comfortable on that side of the game.”

Also advancing were 12th seed Ai Sugiyama of Japan and number 16 Francesca Schiavone of Italy.

Sugiyama beat American Teryn Ashley 7-5 6-2, while Schiavone routed Czech Klara Koukalova 6-1 6-3.

Karolina Sprem was one of the first casualties among the seeds in the women’s event as the Croatian was defeated 6-3 2-6 6-4 by her compatriot Jelena Kostanic.

Sprem defeated Venus Williams in the second round at Wimbledon and was tipped to advance at least to the second week at Flushing Meadows.

Former Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez looked to be heading through when she took the first set 6-0 against number 31 seed Maria Vento-Kabchi.

But the Venezuelan recovered to win the next two sets and move into round two with a 0-6 6-2 6-3 win.

Tenth seed Vera Zvonareva, of Russia, is also in the second round after destroying Slovakian Henrieta Nagyova 6-1 6-1.

Alicia Molik is many people’s tip to fare well in this competition, and the Australian did not disappoint in the first round as she overcame Stephanie Cohen-Aloro of France 6-0 6-2.

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