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September 19, 2017

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Federer, Serena in cruise control, teen duo rocks

NEW YORK -- Five-time champions Roger Federer and Serena Williams reached the U.S. Open second round on Tuesday, but found themselves sharing the headlines with teenage upstarts CiCi Bellis and Borna Coric.

Federer claimed his 50th win of 2014 as the 17-time major winner, playing in his 60th successive Grand Slam and bidding to become the oldest major winner in over 40 years, defeated Australia's Marinko Matosevic 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) to register his 23rd win in 24 night matches in New York.

"It was a bit more difficult than I thought it was going to be in the third set. Marinko has a big game," said second seeded Federer who hit 10 aces and 41 winners and was cheered on by basketball legend Michael Jordan.

Federer will face another Australian, big-serving Sam Groth, for a place in the last 32 as he continues his bid for a record sixth U.S. Open but first since 2008.

Women's world number one Williams, the double defending champion who is also seeking a sixth title, was equally untroubled, defeating 18-year-old compatriot Taylor Townsend, 6-3, 6-1 in just 55 minutes.

Williams, like Federer, a 17-time major winner, has failed to make it past the fourth round at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon this year.

"This was the first Slam I ever won. I love coming out to play — I never want it to stop," said Williams, who was dressed in a leopard-print dress for the occasion and next tackles compatriot Vania King.

When the world number one won her first U.S. Open in 1999, CiCi Bellis wasn't even five months old.

But on Tuesday Bellis, ranked at a lowly 1,208 and aged just 15, knocked out Australian Open runner-up, Dominika Cibulkova, the 12th seed, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 to become the youngest player to win a match at the U.S. Open since Anna Kournikova in 1996.

"I went into the match thinking it was going to be such a great experience, but I never thought I would come out on top winning," said Bellis who, as an amateur, had to pass up the US$60,000 prize money to avoid jeopardizing a college sports career.

Coric, the 17-year-old world number 204 who was junior champion in 2013, also made a stunning Grand Slam debut with a convincing 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 win over 29th-seeded Czech Lukas Rosol, the man who dumped Rafael Nadal out of Wimbledon two years ago.

The upset put Coric into a second-round clash with history-making Victor Estrella Burgos, the Dominican Republic's first Grand Slam participant who is making his U.S. Open debut at 34.

"It's an amazing feeling," said qualifier Coric, who arrived in New York with the goal of making it into the main draw. "I said to myself, 'If I achieve that, that's going to be perfect'."

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