Thursday, September 1, 2011

US Open Report: First Three Days

Fireworks at the Opening Night of the US Open

256 players entered the tournament and after only three days, there are only 112 players left. So let's take a quick look at what's been happening at the US Open.

Lots of early retirement and withdrawals

With former US Open champions Kim Clijsters and Lleyton Hewitt withdrawing before the tournament even began, it should've been a sign that things are not well in Denmark. Through the first three days 10 players retired mid-match, including three Japanese and two Irish players. Three other players withdrew, most notably 6th seed Robin Soderling and 2-time US Open champion Venus Williams. Venus withdrew before her 2nd round match after she was diagnosed with Sjögren's Syndrome, an autoimmune disease.

Americans strong showing so far

There were 29 Americans in the 128-Draw and 16 of them made it to the next round including top contenders Mardy Fish, Serena Williams, and Andy Roddick. Even with Venus' untimely withdrawal, there will be at least two American women in the third round as Christina McHale and Irina Falconi have already upset seeded players Marion Bartoli and Dominika Cibulkova. In the men's side, at least two Americans should make it as there are two all-American matches upcoming (Roddick-Sock and Ginepri-Isner)

Shocking and not-so-shocking upsets

Soderling, Bartoli, and Cibulkova were just three of the 12 seeded players that fell on the first three days of the tournament. The biggest shock is probably the ousters of 5th seed Petra Kvitova and 6th seed Na Li, the reigning Wimbledon and French Open champions, in the first round! Both have had slumps after their Grand Slam triumphs, but to have none of the women Grand Slam winners reach the 2r (Australian Open champ Clijsters is gone) is weird. Other seeds that have fallen include 10th seed Nicolas Almagro, 12th seed Agnieszka Radwanska, 15th seed Viktor Troiki, 20th seed Yanina Wickmayer, 21st seed Daniela Hantuchova, 32nd seed Ivan Dodig, and 32nd seed Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez. And speaking of upsets, top doubles seed the Bryan Brothers were surprisingly knocked out in the first round.

Top contenders still dominant

The top four men (Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Andy Murray) have not lost a set, though the latter three experience momentary hiccups on their way to winning. Serena is in a class of her own, especially with all of the injuries, withdrawals, and losses of certain key players. With that said, there are still four other Grand Slam winners left in the draw to deal with as well as a few more former/current world no. 1s and slam finalists that are itching to be the fourth surprise winner this year.

Hurricane Irene affects US Open

With Hurricane Irene barreling down up and down the East coast and hitting New York City a day before the start of the Open, it's a bit of a miracle that Day 1 went off with almost no hitch. Other than a few players having difficulty getting into the Open due to weather-related delays, Irene did very little to effect the Open. The tennis center thankfully had very little damage from the storm and the subway system was in operation from day 1. It has also helped that for three days now, the weather has been absolutely picture perfect, day and night.

Finally some miscellaneous topics

Golf-tennis love connection all over the place as Caroline Wozniacki reveals her relationship with US Open gold champ Rory McIlroy and former paramour Adam Scott watched Ana Ivanovic win her first round match... Meanwhile 658 people including Mardy Fish and Andrea Petkovic set a new Guinness World Record... And finally, defending champ Rafael Nadal strips down.

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