It’s good to have a Williams-free opening Monday at the US Open — if you’re among the women’s throng chasing tournament favorite Serena and sister Venus, who are both scheduled for Tuesday in Flushing Meadows.
Slam winners and seeds No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, No. 3 Maria Sharapova, No. 5 Petra Kvitova, No. 7 Sam Stosur and No. 9 Li Na were opening-day winners on Monday at the US Open, where the defending-champion Stosur was happy to be back on the turf of her 2011 championship, away from the brighter lights of her home Australia.
“I love playing at home, but there is that increased, I guess, expectation,” Stosur said. “You’re in the spotlight a bit more back home and you see yourself on TV and the newspapers even if you’re not looking for it. It’s unavoidable; whereas here there are other players that are in that spot instead.”
Stosur rolled over Croat Petra Martic 6-1, 6-1, almost recording a “Golden Set.”
“Yeah, I knew at 4-Love, 40-love that I hadn’t missed a point and the match had been going pretty quick and obviously in my favor,” Stosur said. “It did pop into my head for a split second. Then I hit the double fault and it was erased…”
Sharapova eased past Hungary’s Melinda “The 5th Element” Czink 6-2, 6-2, while Kvitova topped Slovenia’s Polana Hercog 7-6(6), 6-1, and Na rolled past Brit Heather Watson 6-2, 6-3.
Li was 9-1 in the hardcourt lead-up to Flushing Meadows, but has not done well in New York.
“I’m really happy I won because the last few years I lost first round,” Li said. “When I saw the schedule, I told myself I had to do it myself, I really had to win the first match, otherwise it would be the same as last year and I’d have to pack, go to the airport and fly back home.”
Sharapova is coming off a few weeks missing play due to a stomach virus, with the pain leading her to take a pregnancy test, which came out negative. Azarenka in a late match rolled over Russian Alexandra Panova 6-1, 6-0.
Americans went 2-4 on the day as No. 31 seed Varvara Lepchenko and (WC) Mallory Burdette won, while Jamie Hampton lost to No. 11 seed Marion Bartoli, (WC) Melanie Oudin was bageled by No. 15 Lucie Safarova, (WC) Julia Cohen was bageled by (Q) Anastasia Rodionova, and 16-year-old (WC) Victoria Duval lost in straight sets to No. 23 Kim Clijsters in the featured night match.
“It was a whole lot more than I expected it to be, it was amazing,” Duval said. “I thought I did a good job, the coaches were pretty happy with me…there’s a lot of room for improvement, but definitely a good experience.”
Clijsters next meets Brit Laura Robson, who disposed of American wildcard Samantha Crawford.
On the upset tip Monday, Romania’s Sorana Cirstea came from a set down to beat No. 16 Sabine Lisicki in three, Czech qualifier Kristyna Pliskova surprised No. 18 Julia Goerges in straights, and Czech Lucie Hradecka handled No. 27 Anabel Medina Garrigues in straights.
Matches to look for Tuesday in Flushing include an all-American in Venus Williams vs. Bethanie Mattek-Sands, an all-American in (4) Serena Williams vs. Coco Vandeweghe, and (22) Francesca Schiavone vs. Sloane Stephens.
Title favorites Roger Federer, recently of the Wimbledon crown, and Andy Murray who won the Olympics, were the leading victors on Day One in Flushing Meadows, where rain early in the day made for lots of late-night matches.
The top-seeded Federer rolled past troubled American Donald Young 6-3, 6-2, 6-4, while the No. 3-seeded Andy Murray eased past American-turned-Russian Alex Bogomolov Jr. 6-2, 6-4, 6-1.
“Being back in New York as the world No. 1 is crazy and I really enjoy it,” said Federer, who improved to 22-0 in night matches at the US Open. “It brings the best out of me, the crowds are amazing and it makes it a lot of fun…Donald put up a great fight, he has had a rough year…He’s a great player, a great shotmaker.”
Federer went on to tell the New York crowd in his gentle, democratic way that Young needs to work harder and take advantage of coaching.
On a day when few other top seeds were in action, other seeded winners were No. 17 Kei Nishikori, No. 23 Mardy Fish, No. 24 Marcel Granollers, No. 25 Fernando Verdasco, No. 30 Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez, and No. 32 Jeremy Chardy.
Fish is working with former No. 1 doubles player Mark Knowles in New York.
Fish is working with Mark Knowles this week in New York, and said the former doubles No. 1 has already had an impact on his game.
“He’s helped me a ton,” Fish said. “Maybe none more evident than tonight when I lost my serve in both of those sets to serve it out and still was able to mentally focus back and realize that I haven’t just lost the set, he’s just gotten even in the set so there’s still opportunities to win the set. In times past maybe I would have struggled with that scenario, especially twice in a row.”
American Jack Sock had the lone men’s upset of the day (as of 11:45 p.m. with two seeds still in action), upending No. 22 Florian Mayer who retired in the third set after losing the first two.
Notable unseeded winners on the day were James Blake who will next meet Granollers, American qualifier Tim Smyczek, and Nikolay Davydenko who will next face Fish.
“It’s obviously the biggest tournament for us Americans but I’m just trying to go about my business and treat it like any other week,” said Smyczek after beating fellow American and qualifier Bobby Reynolds.
The 32-year-old Blake beat Slovak Lukas Lacko in four.
“I can’t believe that it’s been 12 years I have been playing here just about every year,” he said. “It still doesn’t feel normal. It’s still an incredible feeling to be here and to be doing what I dreamed of as a kid.”
As midnight approached on Monday, both (12) Marin Cilic vs. Aussie Marinko Matosevic, and (16) Gilles Simon vs. American “Iron” Mike Russell were starting five-setters.
Notable men’s matches to look for on Tuesday at the US Open are (20) Andy Roddick vs. (Q) Rhyne Williams in an all-American, (2) Novak Djokovic’s debut vs. Italian Paolo Lorenzi, (6) Tomas Berdych vs. Belgian comer David Goffin, (11) Nicolas Almagro vs. Radek “The Worm” Stepanek, and Sergiy “No Equal Pay” Stakhovsky vs. (18) Stan Wawrinka.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
SERENA ON ‘DANCING WITH THE MEDIA’ — Serena Williams ripped the U.S. media for not ‘lifting her up’ during a pre-US Open press conference. When asked about doing the “Crip Walk” dance move after winning Wimbledon, and if she regretted it due to its gang nature, she got perturbed: “First of all, it was just a dance,” said the recent Wimbledon and Olympics champion. “I didn’t know that’s what it was called. Secondly, why are you asking me that? Like, that’s so…I mean, if anything you should be trying to ask me questions to lift me up, not bring up such things. I’m done with that question.” In terms of bending the truth in her press conferences, it appears Serena was at it again. The younger Williams sister said in regards to the dance she “didn’t know what it was called,” when she had identified it in previous interviews. When in doubt, kick the truth out.
James Blake says that, like cycling, he’s sure that players in tennis are doping and are able to stay ahead of the testers…The ATP says it will not encourage the men’s players to boycott the 2013 Australian Open. The men are seeking a bigger cut of money from the Grand Slam events. Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said in a June interview with Bloomberg News that tennis is far behind other sports in regards to what the players receive. “The issue is to make tennis a viable career for a player ranked from 80 to 200 in the world. It’s not right now. Depending on where you are from, you probably have to be ranked 120th in the world in the men, and 100th in the world in the women to break even. That’s just to break even. In golf, it’s triple that.”…Roger Federer telling the Wall Street Journal why he loves tennis so much: “It’s because I had a hard time in the beginning. I remember, I almost have to apologize for this: I won the Orange Bowl back in 1998, came to Miami and got the wildcard into the Masters 1000, the Super 9 back then. I got on court and I was like, ‘I hate this sport, I cannot play.’ And I lost like 7-5, 7-6, and I was not even trying. And I would go through such fluctuations of emotions. I hated practice, couldn’t stand some matches: ‘Oh my god, look at this guy, he only rolls the ball into play, or he only goes for broke, I can’t stand this, today I’m not in the mood.’ So I think I went through all of that so much early on. That I think this is why I’m happy.”…Donald Young, what to do with you? Waste more USTA money? Time for the USTA to move on. Coach Mom obviously has everything well in hand…China’s Li Na speaking to the New York Times on what she would change about the US Open: “Maybe take out the French fries. No, I mean, every time I was being the US Open I always can smell the French fries everywhere, you know. Sometimes good, but sometimes if you are hungry, it’s very tough to hold out.”…FOX News on the diet of Sam Stosur: “She likes to be adventurous’ and prefers a balanced approach versus Novak Djokovic’s gluten-free diet, for example.” — Uhhh, not sure that most people on gluten-free diets are on them because they “prefer” them, it’s most likely because they’re allergic to gluten. Dumbasses…The last four US Opens have been extended to Monday play for the final(s) due to rain. Got roof? No…USTA officials say a day of rest will be added between the men’s semis and final for 2013, and that Armstrong Stadium will get a roof sometime in the next six years when it is replaced…Text received during the Roger Federer win over Donald Young: “Most disengaged straight set win I have ever seen. Like an 8th grader holding a toy out of reach of a first grader for 90 minutes while yawning.”…With all the chunky U.S. juniors on tour, maybe it would be advantageous for U.S. college tennis to go to a third-set super-tiebreak?…Poor put-upon Serena Williams talking to The New York Times Magazine on her history with US Open on-court officials and linespersons. “I’m just thinking, Serena, say your prayers, fall on your knees. It’s frustrating, because it’s my home country, you’re playing for the home, but it’s like, the way the umpires have been makes me not want to play there. I’d rather play in Australia, or I’d rather play at Wimbledon.” — Yes, at Wimbledon they could even better appreciate you telling one of their linespeople you’re going to ‘shove a tennis ball down your f*****g throat.’ Cheers!…ESPN’s Chris Evert asks Kim Clijsters why she hasn’t been playing, not knowing she has been injured? Doh! Time to brush up on those player media packets in-studio…Best headline of the day from Deadspin: “Maria Sharapova Is Pimping Her Stupid Candy, And Other Important Storylines.”
TUESDAY AT THE US OPEN:
Arthur Ashe Stadium 11:00 AM Start Time
1. Women’s Singles – 1st Round
Nina Bratchikova (RUS) v. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)
Not Before:1:00 PM
2. Men’s Singles – 1st Round
Andy Roddick (USA) v. Rhyne Williams (USA)
3. Women’s Singles – 1st Round
Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) v. Venus Williams (USA)
Arthur Ashe Stadium 7:00 PM Start Time
1. Men’s Singles – 1st Round
Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) v. Novak Djokovic (SRB)
2. Women’s Singles – 1st Round
Coco Vandeweghe (USA) v. Serena Williams (USA)
Louis Armstrong Stadium 11:00 AM Start Time
1. Men’s Singles – 1st Round
David Goffin (BEL) v. Tomas Berdych (CZE)
2. Men’s Singles – 1st Round
Sam Querrey (USA) v. Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE)
3. Women’s Singles – 1st Round
Francesca Schiavone (ITA) v. Sloane Stephens (USA)
Not Before:6:00 PM
4. Women’s Singles – 1st Round
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) v. Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU)
Also Check Out:
Williams Sisters Rock the Garden; U.S. Women’s Tennis Otherwise on Life Support
Maria Sharapova: “I Feel Very Young And Fresh. That Puts A Smile On My Face”
Serena Williams, Halep Win at WTA Finals; Tues. Schedule
Serena, Venus Williams Battle Today at Miami, No. 1 Rank in Balance
Wozniacki Can Take No. 1 This Week in Beijing: Preview