US Open Diary: Day Two
Originally published on: 31/08/11 01:07
Over the last few years, we have come to love China’s Li Na for telling us how it is and today was no exception. Asked how disappointing her loss to Simona Halep was today, she responded: “I think it’s terrible feeling. I mean, two years in a row first round here, first round Indian Wells, Miami. I mean normally I like hard court a lot. But I think these two years I just doing s**t.”
Perhaps she was being a bit hard on herself, but it made a change from some of the platitudes that are usually banded around. The 29-year-old admitted to suffering a loss of confidence, even in spite of her Roland Garros triumph this June, and she knows that her opponents are particularly up for the challenge of defeating a Grand Slam champ. For Halep, it was indeed a sweet (6-2 7-5) victory.
The women’s draw is now without a reigning Grand Slam champion, since Kvitova left town yesterday and Kim Clijsters, defending US and Aussie Open champion, withdrew before the start of the tournament because of injury.
It was also a fascinating day of retirements after four players called time before the conclusion of their matches. None was as dramatic as the collapse of Elena Baltacha’s opponent, Jamie Hampton, who suffered a severe bout of cramp. Although we weren’t courtside to witness it, the British No.1 described the event at her presser.
“I thought it was quite nasty, actually,” said Baltacha. “The umpire set a court violation for time. I thought, ‘oh, the girl can’t even get up’. But then once the umpire said that, I think she won’t be able to get up, and then I managed to get down there and help her.”
Other casualties included Irishman Conor Niland, who had been matched up against Novak Djokovic on Arthur Ashe Stadium. He was suffering from food poisoning. Canadian Frank Dancevic and Austrian Marinko Matosevic were also on the retired hurt list today.
While the crowd on Arthur Ashe stadium were disappointed to see the World No.1 finish his match early, they welcomed Ana Ivanovic to court for her match with Ksenia Pervak. The safe hands of new coach Nigel Sears steered the Serbian safely through to the second round.
The day’s longest match was between Matthias Bachinger and Igor Kunitsyn on Court 16. The Russian came through in five sets in three hours and 25 minutes. The long-term effect of this was that the last match scheduled for Court 16 did not get on court until just before 7pm – Anne Keothavong against Chanelle Scheepers.
The night sessions begin at 7pm here in New York, so as Annie K battled it out in her match, Rafael Nadal took to Arthur Ashe Stadium to face Andrey Golubev. It’s testament to the political correctness of the USTA that in 2009 they stopped their habit of routinely scheduling women first for the night sessions. Tonight Rafa made Serena Williams wait for her first round match against the talented Serb youngster, Bojana Jovanosvksi.
Wednesday’s mouthwatering schedule is a little confusing, as it includes mens’ first round matches as well as women’s second round. First rounder Andy Murray faces Indian Somdev Devvarman not before 1pm local time and Andy Roddick is up against fellow American Michael Russell in the night session. Second rounder Maria Sharapova is the second night match – hopefully the Yanks don’t keep her waiting too long. She might set her dog on them.