As the Year’s final Grand Slam began in New York on Monday, the question uppermost in the minds of tennis lovers concerned two past champions; Roger Federer and Serena Williams. Both players have won tournament majors 17 times each and they still make their presence felt in the world of tennis. Serena has not had a good outing in 2014 but at 32, she can still make her opponents feel the heat of her big-serving game. Roger Federer, on the other hand, has put his wretched 2013 performance way behind and almost claimed this year’s Wimbledon crown, before Novak Djokovic came back to deny him the opportunity. After Wimbledon, however, Djokovic had a long break and he found the going difficult in a couple of ATP 1000 Masters’ tournaments. Also since Rafael Nadal is not playing this year due to a wrist injury, Federer stands one big chance of recording his 18th Grand Slam victory. As for Serena, it is the consistency that bothers her. If she is able to improve her first-serve scores, she can be unstoppable. Her best performance in the three Grand Slams this year has been reaching the fourth round. Her draw includes Sam Stosur and the vastly improved Ana Ivanovic and Eugenie Bouchard. Regardless, Serena has the ability to corner a late-career glory.
In their first round matches on Tuesday, Federer and Serena looked in good form as they beat their opponents. While the second seeded Federer took two-and-a-half hours to defeat world no.76 Marinko Matosevic of `Australia 6-3, 6-4, 7-6, top-seed Serena had a relatively easier passage into the second round with a 55-minute 6-3, 6-1 win over compatriot Taylor Townsend. Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and runner-up Eugenie Bouchard also made it to the second round. Federer’s conqueror in Toronto’s Rogers Cup, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Argentinian Juan Monaco 6-3, 4-6, 7-6, 6-1, eighth seeded Andy Murray also took four sets to beat Dutchman Robin Haase and third-seeded Stan Wawrinka overcame a tough challenge from Czech Republic’s Jiri Vesely.
Others who played and won their first round matches on the opening day included; Novak Djokovic, Simona Halep, Maria Sharapova, Venus Williams, Milos Raonic, Agnieszka Radawanska, Angelique Kerber and Caroline Wozniacki. Only three seeded players fell on the first day and they included Frenchman Julien Benneteau, Spanish woman Garbine Muguruza and Russian Mikhail Youzhny, who was ousted by the 19-year old fiery tempered Australian Nick Kyrgios. With his memorable victory over Rafa Nadal at this year’s Wimbledon, the 7-5, 7-6, 2-6, 7-6 first round victory against Youzhny proved that the Australian is not far away from making waves in the men’s tennis scene. Against the 21st seeded Russian on Monday, Kyrgios sent down 26 aces, and except in the third set, played a better game. The Australian’s only problem is his temper, as he was seen violating the code three times for audible obscenities and thrashing balls in rage. If he had done it just once more, he would have been shown the door by US Open organizers. This way, Kyrgios would have earned the dubious distinction of being defaulted from a grand slam to follow Jeff Tarango at Wimbledon 1995. But fortunately, Kyrgios just managed to hold his urge and came through 7-1 in the decisive tie-break. Kyrgios has two coaches; Todd Larkham at home and Josh Eagle on road with him. But more than anything else, the two guys are busy in trying to calm down their ward.
On day 2 of US open, more seeds tumbled out of contention. While Lukas Rosol was the lone men’s seed to lose, three women; Dominika Cibulkova and Svetlana Kuznetsova went out of the competition. Cibulkova’s sensational defeat was the talk of Flushing Meadows because she lost the match to a rank newcomer and amateur CiCi Bellis of the US. The 15 year old American, seeded 1208 in the world, upset the 12th seeded Cibulkova in three sets 6-1 4-6 6-4 with the Court Six crowd rooting for her. Eighth seeded Serbian Ana Ivanovic brushed aside Alison Riske of US 6-3, 6-0, American Madison Keys beat Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia, Sam Querrey of USA took five sets to beat Argentine Maximo Gonzales and another American John Isner entered the second round beating compatriot wild-card entry Marcos Giron.
Third day will begin with round two matches and those who play on Wednesday include; Maria Sharapova, Venus Williams, Tomas Berdych, Lleyton Hewitt, Stan Wawrinka, Sloane Stephens, Grigor Dimitrov, Ryan Harrison, Caroline Wozniacki. An important men’s match on day 3 will be between Bulgaria’s Dimitrov and wild card American Ryan Harrison. The two of them met at Wimbledon this year with Dimitrov winning that match in straight sets but Harrison can be a threat to Dimitrov in US.
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