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US Open Diary: Day One


 

Originally published on: 30/08/11 02:59

Over thirty thousand people – 32,909 to be precise – attended the opening day session of the 2011 US Open. No mean feat considering the havoc that Hurricane Irene caused, not so much with its winds and subsequent flooding but more because the transport network, including all 22 lines of the subway, were shut from 12noon on Saturday and only re-opened this morning.

Most of the players had to make do with indoor practise yesterday, or a more restful day than normal before the start of a Grand Slam. Last year’s finalist, Vera Zvonareva, revealed: “I didn’t play tennis yesterday. Some players went to play indoors. I didn’t, but I still went to the gym. I did my footwork drills, some drills with the racket as well.”

Maria Sharapova, meanwhile, spent time with a furry pal. “I went to the gym, I did a little workout. I played with my dog. I had room service,” said the former world No.1, who added that her dog kept trying to go back into his little bag. “That freaked me out because that’s a sign he wants to go home,” she added with a smile. Fortunately, Sharapova had no reason to take her pet back home despite being given a scare by Britain’s Heather Warson as she – like Zvonareva – advanced to the second round.

The same cannot be said for Petra Kvitova, Wimbledon Champion and No.5 seed who was blown away 7-6(3) 6-3 today, not by Irene, but by the Romanian Alexandra Dulgheru. The Czech racked up 52 unforced errors and ended any possibility that she might become the eighth woman in the Open Era to win Wimbledon and the US Open in the same year.

The Americans had to say goodbye to some of their hopefuls today. The colourful Bethanie Mattek Sands was beaten by Polona Hercog and 19-year-old Ryan Harrison, who had been in good form coming into the US Open, fell to a disappointing loss to Marin Cilic. “It’s pretty disappointing to be out of here when half the people haven’t even arrived yet with the hurricane,” articulated the youngster afterwards.

Compatriot Mardy Fish took centre stage on Arthur Ashe for the first match and was delighted to kick proceedings off on the prestigious court.

“It’s an honor to be able to start the tournament on that court. It’s just an amazing court and it’s just a great honour to be able to do that,” said the American No.1, who enjoyed a relaxing day on Sunday amid the Hurricane shutdown. “You’ve never had an easier Sunday before a slam,” Fish admitted. “We just stayed in the room and did a little treatment. I went to the gym and rode the bike. Nothing strenuous at all. It was great.”

The night session, which got underway at 7 pm local time, featured Venus Williams against Vesna Dolonts and then Roger Federer against Colombian Santiago Giraldo. No surprises there and so by the end of the day we had the distinct feeling that at Flushing Meadows, Hurricane Irene will soon be a distant memory as we really get stuck into the US Open 2011. Looking forward, the new Court 17, the fourth show court that can seat 2,500 people and where Tommy Haas defeated Jonathan Dasnieres de Veigy on Monday, looks like becoming a favourite of ours.

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