The much-awaited fourth and final Grand Slam event of the year, the 135th edition of the US Open kick started at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, Queens on August 31 and will continue to demand attention till September 13. Although for tennis fans across the world, the news of No.3 seed Maria Sharapova withdrawing from the tournament on Sunday must have come as a bit of a shock and disappointment but the first day of the tournament started off rather enthusiastically.
The younger Williams sisters and the defending champion fresh from a win in Cincinnati over Simona Helep opens the night’s play against No. 86 Vitalia Diatchenko of Russia. These two haven’t met before but Serena only took 30 minutes before Diatchenko retired at 6-2-2-0 down.
Rafael Nadal, seeded eighth, had been struggling with his form this season and there were murmurs and worries about him not being able to pull through the night. But he emerges like a phoenix and even though his hardcourt season hasnt been stellar so far, manages to beat Croatia’s 18-year old BornaCoric 6-3 6-2 4-6 6-4 and makes a splashing entry into the second round.
The opening match for Venus Williams but not as smooth as for her younger sister and she was forced to work harder than she had expected to secure a place in the second round by beating Puig of Puerto Rico. Venus managed to improve 17-0 in the first round of the US Open matches with a 6-4 6-7 (7) 6-3 win. Victory did not come easy to Venus and it took her two hours and 40 minutes to secure her place in the tournament. She is gearing up to meet fellow American Irina Falconi in the second round.
Top-seeded Novak Djokovic faced Brazil’s Joao Souza on Monday and he only needed 71 minutes to cruise through the second round by beating Souza 6-1 6-1 6-1. Novak did not face a single break point.
Only last year Japan’s Kei Nishikori had embarrassed Djokovic in the US Open Semi-Finals but the opening match this year against France’s Benoit Paire, sent him packing. Last year’s runner-up had to face a rather humiliating loss at 6-4 3-6 4-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 to the Frenchman. His Grand Slam dream ended on the very first day.
The opening day of the US Opens saw some upsets and some major wins and the line-up of day 2 guarantees that sports enthusiasts around the world simply have to be glued to their television sets. The Swiss maestro and world No.2, Roger Federer, is going to begin his bid for this sixth US Open Title and faces Argentine Leonardo Mayer. Simona Halep is against Arthur Ashe and she is sure to give her best in order to take another shot at Serena Williams. Andy Murray’s match against the bad boy of tennis, Nick Kyrgios, is expected to be filled with power-packed performances as fans hope to see some more antics from the flashy Australian but Murray could very well shut him down.
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