Nadal, Agassi, Williams Sisters Kick Off US Open Monday

Posted on August 29, 2005

Blistering balls past Max "The Beast" Mirnyi in a practice session Sunday at Flushing Meadows, world No. 1 Roger Federer displayed his Swiss army knife of weaponry that has made him the favorite to repeat as champion at this year's US Open.

Earlier in the day, Andy Roddick showed why, along with Rafael Nadal, he is one of the few players who could truly test Federer at this year's Open, putting on an ace-and-forehand clinic in a practice set against Brit "Grinning" Greg Rusedski.

35-year-old Andre Agassi, addled by a back injury requiring cortisone shots, will be another player with Week Two intentions, showing he can still hang with the young guns earlier this summer with an L.A. title and a three-set loss to Nadal in the Masters Series-Canada final.

For an in-depth look at the men's draw, see:

Former US Open champ Marat Safin withdrew from the event Sunday with his ongoing knee problem (see: News, Notes, etc.).

On the women's side the plethora of injuries and illnesses that sidelined the top players during the U.S. summer hardcourt season have apparently healed somewhat, with Lindsay Davenport (back), Maria Sharapova (back, chest injury), Justine Henin-Hardenne (leg), Serena Williams (knee), Venus Williams (flu), Svetlana Kuznetsova (back), Anastasia Myskina (ankle), and Alicia Molik (ear infection) among others all posting this week in New York.

Davenport showed that tennis is a lot like rising a bike, picking up a racquet last week after an extended layoff to win the New Haven title (defeating Amelie Mauresmo) and re-take the No. 1 ranking from Sharapova.

Kim Clijsters gets the nod by many as the favorite to win her first-ever slam, with the former No. 1 sweeping to the US Open Series crown after a hot summer run that most recently included a win over countrywoman Henin-Hardenne in the Toronto final.

Kuznetsova, last year's champion, was in poor form even before her recent back injury, and after a horrible summer is given a less-than-zero chance of repeating her stunning run of 2004 where she defeated Russian countrywoman Elena Dementieva in the final.

Scheduled for the women Monday are (8) Serena vs. Chan, (10) Venus vs. Fujiwara, (1) Sharapova vs. Daniilidou, (4) Clijsters vs. Muller, (5) Kuznetsova vs. Bychkova, Washington vs. Mirza, Ashley "Anna 2.0" Harkleroad vs. Fabiola "The Fabulous One" Zuluaga, (21) Safina vs. Camerin, Dabek vs. (33) Douchevina, (26) Vaidisova vs. Peschke in an all-Czech, (18) Ivanovic vs. Lee-Waters, Irvin vs. Nakamura, Anne "Kosmo" Kremer vs. Raymond, Pastikova vs. Grande, Lisjak vs. Loit, Schruff vs. (28) Flavia "Of the Day" Pennetta, Pratt vs. Morigami, Perry vs. (14) Molik, A.Bondarenko vs. (30) Sugiyama, Pin vs. (20) Daniela "The Walking Stick" Hantuchova, (25) Schiavone vs. Kostanic, (9) Petrova vs. Birnerova, Randriantefy vs. Gambale, Zheng vs. Benesova, Mamic vs. Vento-Kabchi, Peng vs. Laine, Strycova vs. Bartoli, Granville vs. (22) Farina Elia, Pous Tio vs. Kirilenko, Jidkova vs. Castano, Salerni vs. Kirkland, and Domachowska vs. Peer.

On tap for the men Monday are (2) Nadal vs. Reynolds, (7) Agassi vs. Sabau, Gambill vs. Massu, (29) Haas vs. Luczak, Fish vs. "Dr." Ivo Karlovic, (9) Gaudio vs. Baker, (8) Coria vs. Mantilla, Bastl vs. Jenkins, Summerer vs. (18) Ljubicic, Daniele "Choppin'" Bracciali vs. (19) Robredo, Okun vs. (10) Puerta, (14) T.Johansson vs. Zabaleta, Hernych vs. Xavier "X-Man" Malisse, Behrend vs. Bjorkman, (23) Novak vs. D.Norman, (24) Youzhny vs. Florian "Oscar" Mayer, Galimberti vs. "The" Donald Young, (13) Gasquet vs. A.Martin, Soderling vs. Juan Ignacio "The Spitting Snake" Chela, Elseneer vs. Andreev, Saulnier vs. Tipsarevic, Juan "The Principality" Monaco vs. Ricardo Mello "Yello," and Kohlschreiber vs. (32) Berdych.