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Thanks to Christopher Camacho for additional content
Despite Hurricane Irene ripping through the Northeast over the weekend, the US Open started under a clear August sky Monday Morning in Flushing Meadows. Here are some of the notable results from both the Men’s and Women’s draws.
Top ranked American Mardy Fish notched an easy straight sets victory (6-2, 6-2, 6-1) over German Tobias Kamke. Fish efficiently converted on 7 of 8 break points while dropping serve just once against his opponent. The American has had a tendency to play long matches early on in Grand Slams. A quick victory is just what he needed to get some momentum going forward. Fish will face Malek Jaziri of Tunisia next, who beat Thiemo De Bakker (4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2).
World Number 1 Novak Djokovic also coasted (6-0, 5-1 Ret.) after his opponent retired late in the second set. The Serbian had won 11 of 12 games during which he won the first set 6-0 against Irishman Conor Niland. Djokovic wasn’t tested at all, but after experiencing shoulder problems last week, he’ll gladly take the easy victory. Djokovic will square off against Argentine Carlos Berlocq in round two. Berlocq defeated Pere Riba in straight sets (7-5, 6-0, 6-1).
Five-time champion Roger Federer earned a straight sets win against Colombian Santiago Giraldo (6-4, 6-3, 6-2). Federer played well enough to get off the court in under two hours but made 35 unforced errors. A good start for the Swiss, but he’ll have to put more first serves in and cut down on unforced errors as the tournament progresses. Federer will take on Dudi Sela of Israel in the second round after his five set comeback win over Thomaz Bellucci (4-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-0).
The biggest upset of the first round so far came when Latvian Ernests Gulbis knocked out the number 16 seed Mikhail Youzhny in straight sets (6-2, 6-4, 6-4). Gulbis smacked 41 winners and didn’t lose serve once the entire match. The 23 year-old has a huge game but has yet to fulfill his potential. Beating a steady player like Youzhny could serve as a huge boost to his confidence. Gulbis matches up with Gilles Muller of Luxembourg. Muller defeated Edouard Roger-Vasselin in three sets (7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4).
Defending Champion Rafael Nadal struggled in his opening match against Andrey Glubev of Kazakhstan, but the Spaniard pulled through in three sets (6-3, 7-6(1), 7-5). Nadal was broken six times and had to overcome deficits in the second and third sets to advance. Nadal played passive at times, leaving balls short in the court. Golubev had 41 winners to Nadal’s 18. The World Number 2 will have to be more aggressive going forward. Nadal’s next match will be against Frenchman Nicolas Mahut. Mahut beat Robert Farah in a marathon five setter (3-6, 7-6(4), 6-2, 6-4, 6-0).
The only thing clear about the women’s tournament is that there is no frontrunner. As the first round comes to a close, all of this year’s Grand Slam champions are no longer in contention. With Austrailian Open champion Kim Clijisters out of the US Open due to injury, Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova lost to Alexandra Dulgheru (6-7, 3-6) and French Open winner Li Na was defeated by Simona Halop (2-6, 5-7). There could have been many more upsets of other top-seeded contenders.
It was a shaky start to this tournament for #3 seed Maria Sharapova. The Wimbledon finalist ran into stiff competition from Great Britain’s Heather Watson. Sharapova lost the first set but battled back to win the match (3-6, 7-5, 6-3), overcoming 58 unforced errors and eight double faults. Her next opponent will be Anistasiya Yakimova who defeated Noppawan Lertcheewakarn (6-0, 4-6, 6-3).
The same could be said for #7 seed Francesca Schiavone. The 2010 French Open champion survived Galina Voskoboeva in three sets (6-3, 1-6, 6-4). Schiavone only won 50% of her first serve points and committed 16 double faults to go along with 38 unforced errors. Voskaboeva also had almost twice as many winners as Schiavone (32-17). Schiavone moves on to face Mirjana Lucic who knocked off Marina Erakovic (6-4, 2-6, 6-4).
Despite winning six tournaments this season, #1 seed Caroline Wozniacki has had to answer a lot of questions about her ranking because she has yet to win a major championship. In contrast, Men’s #1 Novak Djokovic has won this year’s Australian Open and Wimbledon, and is putting together the greatest season record since John McEnroe in 1984. Coming into the US Open, Djokovic has only lost two matches all year. Wozniacki dispensed of her first round opponent, Nuria Llagostera Vives in straight sets (6-3, 6-1). She will face Aranxta Rus who triumphed over Elena Vesnina (6-2, 6-4).
Finally, we come to the Williams sisters. It has been a difficult year for Venus who pulled out of the Australian Open in the third round, missed the entire French Open and was bounced early from Wimbledon. This is the first time she’s an unranked player at the US Open since 1997. She was sidelined for much of this summer due to a mysterious virus, but in her first match since losing at Wimbledon was victorious over Russia’s Vesna Dolonts (6-4, 6-3). Her next opponent will be Sabine Lisicki who defeated Alona Bondarenko (6-3, 6-3).
The last time Serena Williams was on the US Open court, she was mouthing off at a line judge during the 2009 final against Clijsters. After missing the 2010 tournament to injury, she announced her return by making quick work of Bojana Jovanovski in straight sets (6-1, 6-1). In a match that lasted 56 minutes, Serena had 21 winners and won 16 of 18 first serve points. Serena will now face Michaella Krajicek who defeated Eleni Daniilidou (3-6, 7-6, 6-1)
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