World number one and French Open champion Swiatek eased past Italy’s Jasmine Paolini 6-3, 6-0 in just 67 minutes.
Victory was a relief for the 21-year-old Pole who had suffered early losses at warm-up events in Toronto and Cincinatti.
“In matches, being a little bit stressed and tight, it can get a little bit worse, but still, I feel like my level is just better,” said Swiatek who next faces 2017 champion Sloane Stephens.
“We’ll see if I’m going to hold on to that.”
Alcaraz, the 19-year-old world number four, was made to sweat by battling Sebastian Baez, winning the first two sets 7-5, 7-5 before the Argentine retired injured 0-2 down in the third.
A tough finish for Sebastian Baez.Carlos Alcaraz is into Round 2 after Baez retires. https://t.co/ZhdOGUUgIu
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) 1661885304000
“Nobody wants to see a match end like this. Sebastian is a great player, fights to the last ball and deserves better things,” said Alcaraz, a quarter-finalist in 2021.
As the temperature soared beyond the 30-degree mark, 42-year-old Venus Williams and Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina were high-profile casualties.
A salute to a living legend.@Venuseswilliams waves to the crowd in Arthur Ashe Stadium. https://t.co/qdl6019nms
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) 1661893863000
After seeing Serena Williams stave off impending retirement by reaching the second round on Monday, big sister Venus was eyeing an 80th career win at the tournament.
However, Venus, who first played the US Open in 1997, was defeated 6-1, 7-6 (7/5) by Belgium’s Alison van Uytvanck, the 28-year-old world number 43.
“Three letters is W-I-N. That’s it. Very simple,” said two-time champion Venus, now ranked 1,504, when asked to explain why she keeps playing.
However, she remains without a win since Wimbledon last year.
Rybakina lost 6-4, 6-4 to French qualifier Clara Burel, ranked a lowly 131, on the back of 37 unforced errors.
Burel had been on the verge of elimination in the qualifiers when she had to save five match points in her final tie.
Olympic champion Belinda Bencic sent close friend Andrea Petkovic into retirement with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 win.
Hugs all around 🤗@BelindaBencic and NY give @andreapetkovic some love after the match!#USOpenhttps://t.co/vqZu91GyBL
— wta (@WTA) 1661894943000
Petkovic, a former world number nine and a Wimbledon semi-finalist in 2014, twice broke down in tears at her post-match news conference.
“I always fought for every point. I always was the most professional I could be. I always invested in my body. I always trained the hardest and the best I could,” said Petkovic.
Britain’s Cameron Norrie, the seventh seed, raced past France’s Benoit Paire 6-0, 7-6 (7/1), 6-0.
Bizarrely, Paire started packing his bags at 0-5 down in the third set and he was a beaten man after only 98 minutes.
“Maybe the heat was getting to him,” said seventh seed Norrie.
The result made ugly reading for Paire who dropped the first set in just 18 minutes and the third in 19.