Serena joins Venus in round two
Serena Williams looked every inch the title favourite as she beat Francesca Schiavone to join her sister Venus in round two of the US Open.
Williams and Schiavone opened the night session on Arthur Ashe, with the top seed beginning the defence of the trophy she won for a fourth time 12 months ago.
The 31-year-old has won eight titles already this season, including the French Open, and Schiavone simply had no answer as Williams wrapped up a 6-0 6-1 victory after exactly an hour.
Next up for Williams is Kazakhstan's Galina Voskoboeva.
Williams said drawing 2010 French Open winner Schiavone had focused her mind, which explained the one-sided scoreline.
"I was just out there trying to be focused," she said. "When you see you have to go up against a former grand slam champion, it's not very easy to see your name in a draw like that. You have to be very serious."
It was a good day for the Williams family, with sister Venus earlier posting one of her best results of the year with a dominant victory over 12th seed Kirsten Flipkens.
Asked whether she was happier for her sister or herself, Serena said: "They're equal. I was really excited to see Venus win. I know she's been working hard, she had a tough opponent, so for her to come through was just awesome."
Williams also claimed she was happy to have lost her last match before the tournament, a final defeat by Victoria Azarenka in Cincinnati last weekend, because it lifted a little of the pressure.
"I'm happy because people are spreading the love," she said. "It's still a lot of expectation, but it's a little more spread now. I feel good about that."
Schiavone is never a player to hide her emotions and her growing frustration was evident. In the third game of the second set, she resorted to hugging a ball boy to relieve the tension.
Asked what she thought when she saw the draw, Schiavone said: "Oh, s**t. But it's normal. She has two legs, I have two legs. Two arms. We are the same. We are human. One has to win. She was much, much better than me."
America looked in danger of losing one of their big hopes on the first day but Sloane Stephens survived a long battle with Luxembourg's Mandy Minella.
The 15th seed lost the first set and was a break down in the decider but fought back to win 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7/5).
There is already a buzz about a potential meeting between Stephens and Serena Williams in the fourth round, which would be a repeat of a quarter-final match in Australia this year that Stephens won.
The 20-year-old blamed nerves for her slow start, saying: "I think just the whole being here at the US Open is a bit overwhelming. Literally everywhere you go every single person knows who you are.
"It's exciting to play at a home slam. It's exciting to be on the court and competing. I think I have to take advantage of the opportunity that was given to me, and I thought I did that well."
There were easy wins for both Agnieszka Radwanska and Li Na early in the day.
Radwanska is seeded third following the withdrawal of the injured Maria Sharapova and she coasted past Silvia Soler-Espinosa of Spain 6-1 6-2.
The US Open is the only grand slam at which Radwanska has not reached the quarter-finals, while her build-up included an unscheduled trip back to Poland for the funeral of her grandfather.
She was forced to miss her quarter-final in Cinncinati to travel home, but is carrying plenty of confidence into the year's final grand slam.
Radwanska said: "I really had a lot of good matches coming here. From Stanford to Cincinnati a lot of matches, and it was really a good run. Especially because every week it's different conditions and different balls, different courts.
"So it's a really tough period, I think, for the players, and I think that I prepared very good. I'm ready now to play here, and hopefully I can play the same good tennis."
Fifth seed Li, who could play her 2012 conqueror Laura Robson again in the third round, was almost as emphatic, defeating Olga Govortsova 6-2 6-2.
Wimbledon runner-up Sabine Lisicki had a tougher time against Vera Dushevina but came through 6-2 7-6 (7/3) while American Lauren Davis suffered the dreaded 'double bagel' 6-0 6-0 defeat against 18th seed Carla Suarez Navarro.
Ninth seed Jelena Jankovic has quietly been showing very good form this year and she overcame a potentially tricky hurdle in rising American star Madison Keys.
The 18-year-old reached the third round of Wimbledon but has been troubled by a shoulder injury and went down 6-3 6-4.
Eighth seed Angelique Kerber had to wait until late in the day to get on court against Lucie Hradecka and wasted no time getting off it again after a 6-1 6-1 victory.
No result was more welcome, meanwhile, than Alisa Kleybanova's 6-4 3-6 7-5 victory over Monica Puig.
This is the Russian's first grand slam appearance for two and a half years, during which time she has overcome Hodgkin's lymphoma, the same cancer with which British doubles player Ross Hutchins was diagnosed in December.