Teenager gatecrashes Serena and Federer party

Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:50am EDT
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Despite boasting 34 grand slam singles titles between them, Serena Williams and Roger Federer were forced to share the spotlight with a 15-year-old at the U.S. Open on Tuesday as all three advanced to the second round.

American wild card Catherine Bellis, the youngest player in the draw, took her place alongside the five-times U.S. champions by stunning 12th seeded Australian Open finalist Dominica Cibulkova of Slovakia 6-1 4-6 6-4.

The second-seeded Federer, looking to extend his record men's haul of slam titles to 18, posted a 6-3 6-4 7-6 (4) demolition of Australian Marinko Matosevic as the 33-year-old's boyhood idol Michael Jordan of basketball fame looked on.

"He was just my hero of all sports," said Federer, who has collaborated with Jordan on a sneakers design. "Besides (Stefan) Edberg and (Boris) Becker being my tennis idols, I had Jordan as my all-sports idol."

Williams advanced 6-3 6-1 over unseeded fellow American Taylor Townsend as she followed Federer onto the Arthur Ashe Stadium court to cap the second day of the championships.

Should she go on to win the tournament, the two-times defending champion would join Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova in fourth place on the all-time list of women's grand slam singles champions with 18 titles apiece.

"Hopefully, I can just build on this," said Williams, who has had a disappointing slam season with her best result a fourth-round exit at the Australian Open back in January.

Margaret Court (24), Steffi Graf (22) and Helen Wills Moody (19) are the only three women to have won more grand slam titles.   Continued...

Roger Federer of Switzerland comes to the net during his men's singles match against Marinko Matosevic of Australia at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York August 26, 2014.   REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton