US Open: Week 1 Summary
by Abe Kuijl | September 3rd, 2007, 6:25 pm
  • 19 Comments

One week into the year’s final Grand Slam event, let’s do a quick round up of what we have seen so far.

The Home Team

Serena Williams and sister Venus both won a Grand Slam this year, but other than that, it hasn’t been an exceptionally great year for American tennis. Now that the tours are back on American soil, the US men and women start putting up better results again. We’ve seen plenty of Sam Querrey and John Isner during the US Open Series, not to mention the revival of James Blake and the decent performances of Andy Roddick. In New York, credit goes out to Donald Young, John Isner again, but also Ahsha Rolle, for upsetting Tatiana Golovin is a commendable achievement for the 22-year-old from Miami.


Serena Williams and sister Venus both won a Grand Slam this year, but other than that, it hasn’t been an exceptionally great year for American tennis. Now that the tours are back on American soil, the US men and women start putting up better results again. We’ve seen plenty of Sam Querrey and John Isner during the US Open Series, not to mention the revival of James Blake and the decent performances of Andy Roddick. In New York, credit goes out to Donald Young, John Isner again, but also Ahsha Rolle, for upsetting Tatiana Golovin is a commendable achievement for the 22-year-old from Miami.The heavyweights, Roddick, Blake and the Williamses, are all still around and in good shape to do some further damage. In what will be the highest anticipated match-up of the tournament so far, Venus takes on Ana Ivanovic on Sunday for a quarterfinal spot. Before that happens, sister Serena faces Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli. We’ll see just how match-ready Serena is when she takes on the Frenchwoman.

The Upset

Maria Sharapova is out of a Grand Slam event before the fourth round for the first time since 2004, when she lost in three sets to Mary Pierce, also in the third round of the US Open.Maria Sharapova is out of a Grand Slam event before the fourth round for the first time since 2004, when she lost in three sets to Mary Pierce, also in the third round of the US Open.The defending champion in New York fell 6-2 in the third set to Agnieszka Radwanska, the 18-year-old world No.32 from Poland. Sharapova led 2-0 in the final set, before she dropped the next six games. That’s another shocking loss in 2007 at a Slam for Maria, after being crushed by both Williamses this year in Australia and London, and going down hard to Ana Ivanovic at Roland Garros.

The Young Ones

Agnes Szavay, Victoria Azarenka and the before-mentioned Radwanska. These young Eastern Europeans have totally opened up the bottom half of the draw, taking down Michaella Krajicek and Nadia Petrova (Szavay), Martina Hingis (Azarenka), and of course Maria Sharapova (Radwanska).Agnes Szavay, Victoria Azarenka and the before-mentioned Radwanska. These young Eastern Europeans have totally opened up the bottom half of the draw, taking down Michaella Krajicek and Nadia Petrova (Szavay), Martina Hingis (Azarenka), and of course Maria Sharapova (Radwanska).Oh, and 16-year-old Tamira Paszek from Austria upset good old Patty Schnyder in that bottom half as well. The days of predictable women’s events have long gone.

The Injury

Rafael Nadal will never fall in love with hard courts. Not as long as they keep getting him injured or he sees himself playing five feet behind the baseline all the time. Rafa is having knee problems, but so far he is still enjoying a pretty comfortable draw. On the other end, Federer is looking in great shape.Rafael Nadal will never fall in love with hard courts. Not as long as they keep getting him injured or he sees himself playing five feet behind the baseline all the time. Rafa is having knee problems, but so far he is still enjoying a pretty comfortable draw. On the other end, Federer is looking in great shape.

The Classic

There’s only one word to describe the Djokovic – Stepanek second round match: Wow. The tennis wasn’t always that great, but these guys both show a lot of character and certainly know how to get a crowd involved in a match. Their contrasting styles made for a highly entertaining encounter to watch. It was too bad the tiebreak was a little bit of an anticlimax the way it played out.

There’s only one word to describe the Djokovic – Stepanek second round match: Wow. The tennis wasn’t always that great, but these guys both show a lot of character and certainly know how to get a crowd involved in a match. Their contrasting styles made for a highly entertaining encounter to watch. It was too bad the tiebreak was a little bit of an anticlimax the way it played out.

The Breakthrough

Even though I don’t rate the Blake – Santoro encounter as high as the Djoker’s win over Stepanek, this was pretty darn good to watch as well. Is there anyone on this planet who would debate Santoro’s nickname, The Magician?Even though I don’t rate the Blake – Santoro encounter as high as the Djoker’s win over Stepanek, this was pretty darn good to watch as well. Is there anyone on this planet who would debate Santoro’s nickname, The Magician?For Blake, his win over the veteran Frenchman was a career milestone. Entering the match on a 0-9 five set record, the American finally managed to dig out a win in a fifth set.

The Downfall

What is going on with Fernando Gonzalez? The Chilean has been awful for the past months and has never lived up to the form he displayed at the Australian Open in January. Gonzo dropped out in the first round in a five-set loss to Russian Teimuraz Gabashvili. With a lot of points to defend for the rest of the year, Gonzalez will have a tough job maintaining his Top 10 position. What is going on with Fernando Gonzalez? The Chilean has been awful for the past months and has never lived up to the form he displayed at the Australian Open in January. Gonzo dropped out in the first round in a five-set loss to Russian Teimuraz Gabashvili. With a lot of points to defend for the rest of the year, Gonzalez will have a tough job maintaining his Top 10 position.

The Letdown

Not in Roger Federer’s half of the draw for a change, Lleyton Hewitt looked a serious threat to make a run deep into the second week at the Open. His two biggest rivals in the bottom half, Djokovic and Nadal, were either getting drained or suffering from an injury. Just when his chances were increasing to do well, Hewitt fell to Agustin Calleri from Argentina in the second round. Such losses are not going to get you back into the Top 5, Lleyton.

Not in Roger Federer’s half of the draw for a change, Lleyton Hewitt looked a serious threat to make a run deep into the second week at the Open. His two biggest rivals in the bottom half, Djokovic and Nadal, were either getting drained or suffering from an injury. Just when his chances were increasing to do well, Hewitt fell to Agustin Calleri from Argentina in the second round. Such losses are not going to get you back into the Top 5, Lleyton.

The Farewell

Unable to rid himself from a lingering back injury, 32-year-old Tim Henman felt there was nothing he could do but retire from the sport. In his last Grand Slam event, Henman pulled off one of his best wins of the year, taking out 27th-seeded Dmitry Tursunov in four sets, the Russian who had beaten him in five of their six previous meetings. Hard-hitting Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga ended Henman’s Grand Slam career in the second round. Henman will play his last match at Wimbledon next month, when Great Britain takes on Croatia in a promotion/relegation Davis Cup tie.Unable to rid himself from a lingering back injury, 32-year-old Tim Henman felt there was nothing he could do but retire from the sport. In his last Grand Slam event, Henman pulled off one of his best wins of the year, taking out 27th-seeded Dmitry Tursunov in four sets, the Russian who had beaten him in five of their six previous meetings. Hard-hitting Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga ended Henman’s Grand Slam career in the second round. Henman will play his last match at Wimbledon next month, when Great Britain takes on Croatia in a promotion/relegation Davis Cup tie.

The Malfunction

Was someone not paying attention, or did the system screw up itself? Either way, when Nicole Vaidisova challenged a service call in her first round match against Russian Alla Kudryavtseva, Hawk-eye projected the ball hitting the line, followed by the text OUT. After the umpire made an emergency call and the players waited for the decision, the projection was shown again and the text changed to IN.

Was someone not paying attention, or did the system screw up itself? Either way, when Nicole Vaidisova challenged a service call in her first round match against Russian Alla Kudryavtseva, Hawk-eye projected the ball hitting the line, followed by the text OUT. After the umpire made an emergency call and the players waited for the decision, the projection was shown again and the text changed to IN.

The Warning

More decision-making drama. Serena Williams was reprimanded by chair umpire Damian Steiner in her third round match against Russian Vera Zvonareva on Friday for reading notes on the changeover. It was a bad call by Steiner, who should have known that players are allowed to read notes on court as long as they brought them with them before the match started. Steiner eventually relented.More decision-making drama. Serena Williams was reprimanded by chair umpire Damian Steiner in her third round match against Russian Vera Zvonareva on Friday for reading notes on the changeover. It was a bad call by Steiner, who should have known that players are allowed to read notes on court as long as they brought them with them before the match started. Steiner eventually relented.


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19 Comments for US Open: Week 1 Summary

Shital Green Says:

I don’t know how many of you entered into the Tennis Channel’s Racquet Bracket, but I did. Nine of the top 15 predictions so far foresee the final between Fed vs. Djoko. Three of them foresee Fed vs. Nadal. Other 3 are already wrong in their prediction of Fed vs. Hewitt. Twelve of those foresee Fed as the winner. They could be right, but I still hope the contrary and a new era.

Wlliams are already legends in Women’s Tennis, giving America 30 Grand Slam trophies, which includes 14 singles, 6 doubles each, and 4 mixed doubles, since 1999-to date. Except 2004 and 2006, they gave us 1 GS every year since 1999. This year at the US Open it could be their 7th encounter in the GS final. That could be it for American Tennis for this year as far as GS goes: Sarena’s Aussie and Venus’ Wimby unless Roddick surprises us . I hope he does.


Shital Green Says:

It was sad to see Blake losing to Haas despite his 3-1 record against him on hard court. It was close, and Blake had a chance to win this one. He had a match point in the 5th set before going into the tie break. Once you are in the tie break, it is no longer who plays better but who can show mental fortitude, and Blake cam back from 3 match point deficit, but he was unlucky to lose at the end.


Shital Green Says:

I made a mistake above. The Williams will meet in the semi of the 1st half of the draw if they get past the quarters, Sarena against Henin and Venus against Jankovic. I see Venus’ chance better to win the slam this year.


Woota Says:

Is it just me, or is everything repeated twice? Is it just me, or is everything repeated twice?


jane Says:

Talk about a HOT first set by Feliciano Lopez! Rafa must be giving him some tips…good for Lopez.


ty Says:

Looks like Lopez is coming down out of his tree, too bad was looking like an entertaining match. I would like to see what Andy was thinking back in the locker room or wherever he is seeing Fed down a set and getting knocked off the court.

Too bad Andy, looks like another slaughter coming against Fed.

An odd thing happened this week, I’ve actually found Donald Young to be one of my favorite players to route for for some reason even though I criticized him greatly for turning pro at 15 and losing every match. It’s amazing what a little confidence can do for a player, I hope he continues to improve.

P.s. Why is everything repeated in the column?


jane Says:

Too bad Felicino’s serve failed him in the 3rd set as it was so strong in the 1st two sets. But credit to Federer for hitting that great backhand at the end of the 2nd to break Lopez and take the set away – that’s really what turned the early momentum and broke Lopez’s confidence. We’ll see if he can muster any in the 4th – already down the early break.

Roddick better get ready – conspiracies or no, it’s looking more and more like he’ll be facing Roger. And we might have two men in black, although one much fancier.


jane Says:

Abe -

Maybe I missed it, but I think someone is missing from your week one summary – the young Latvian, Gulbis, who wiped the court with Robredo.

Who IS this kid? I wonder if he can take out Moya, and if Djok prevails through the next round, will he be facing this upstart? I see that he’s ranked in the 80s or something in the world, but where did he come from? I’ve never heard of him before. Anyone know something about this Lativian??


Alistair Says:

We all love James Blake, but there’s a bit of a showboat side to him (more uncharitably a “drama queen” side) that gets in the way of him winning matches he ought to. Stop performing for the cameras, James – play “just” to win.


Bob Buttons Says:

Blake looks like a chemotherapy patient. And he has a big @$$. I hate him, and am happy he lost! He is a big showboat as well. He needs to stop saying “too good” as well..


pow Says:

Oh come on, teen-aged Gulbis is playing in only his 3rd grand slam tournament, beats a top ten player EASILY and reaches the 4th round, and he doesn’t even get a mention? While Asha freaking Rolle who only made a mild dent in the draw and Querrey who lost on the first round gets praise?

Just because he’s from an obscure country doesn’t mean you should be allergic to him.


zola Says:

Abe,
thanks for this summary.
two points:
1- every paragraph of your text has been published twice!

2- CAn you clarify this? Will the finalist from the top half of the draw ( Federer of course) play semis on Friday and the finalist from the bottom half plays semis on Saturday? or will they both play the semis on Saturday?

I am hoping for the latter, because it will be quite unfair to give one day of rest to one finalist and no rest to the other one.


jane Says:

Zola -

I don’t know for sure, but typically “Super Saturday” features both men’s semifinals and the women’s final. If they stick with this traditional format, then you should get your wish.


Patricia Says:

Both semi-finals take place Saturday, which is mostly a “for tv arrangement” I believe – Super Saturday. USO is the only slam that does it.


zola Says:

Jane and Patricia,

thanks a lot. It is good to know and it would have been unfair othewise.

this has been a great tournament so far with weather cooperating. a complete contrast to wimbledon. I hope Rafa makes it to the final this time too.


mike cavallon Says:

Wht is there no simple chart of results so far? Would that be to simple and easy?


Tejuz Says:

if Nadal and Djok plays the second semi on Saturday… and if it goes the distance.. whoever comes through will have a tough time against Roger on Sunday.. cuz the match will be played in afternoon. Somehow i feel its not fair to have semi and finals played on back to back days.


ross Says:

US open is the only tournament that does that – semi and final on sat and sunday. With best of 5 sets, its a disaster. No wonder most US open finals are so washed out, since at least one of the two players has had a tough match the day before.

Today is the US Open finals – federer Roddick. The winner takes the title, since no one else can challenge them. Nadal is out. Djoke is now too tired to bounce back.


grendel Says:

Tejuz and Ross: you both make the assumption Fed will be in final.

It’s one thing to say something is likely. Very different to say certain. And after all, Davydenko hasn’t lost a set yet. Fed only has to be slightly off colour – and these things happen, what could be more improbable than Bartoli beating Henin for instance – and Davydenko can sneak in. And his game has always given Fed, to say the very least, something to think about.

Still, I hope you’re right……………..

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