venus & serena

*Round one of the 2014 US Open has come to a close, with struggles for sure, but not very many surprises.

The Marquee players, Serena Williams, Roger Federer John Isner, Maria Sharapova, Petra Kvitova, Ana Ivanovic, Victoria Azarenka, Venus Williams, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Maria Sharapova, Sloane Stephens, Simona Halep, Agnieszka Radwanska, Ana Ivanovic, John Isner, Gael Monfils, Eugenie Bouchard, Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniaki, David Ferrer and Jo-Wilifred Tsonga, all pulled through their first round matches, but things weren’t that straightforward for some of them.

Romanian Simona Halep started on day one on Arthur Ashe against a young American qualifier, Danielle Rose Collins, who came out playing “lights out” tennis against the jittery world no. 2. Halep lost the first set, but found a way to turn the match around and she escaped an early departure with the score line 6-7,6-1,6-2.

Venus Williams had nearly the same narrative, except she started strong then the wheels fell off early in the first set. She was up a game with three break points to lead 2-0 against the oldest woman in the tournament, 43-year-old Kamiko Date-Krumm of Japan, but she couldn’t convert; the first set was all down hill from there. Venus couldn’t find her rhythm and the unforced errors began to mount, causing her to lose the set 2-6. She recovered at the beginning of the second, however, by securing an immediate break, then went on to comfortably take it, 6-3. She built on that momentum and cruised all the way to a 5-0 lead in the third, but the wheels, once again, began to fall off. She couldn’t close the set out and allowed Date-Krum to stage a mini-comeback, drawing closer to the former champion’s score. But as tensions rose for Venus, Date-Krumm ultimately succumbed to her own and handed Venus the win through unforced errors while serving at 3-5 in the third. The final scoreline was Venus, 2-6,6-3,6-3.

Andy Murray was similarly met with turbulence on day one, but it was of a different nature. He comfortably took the first set, 6-3, but then experienced a loss of concentration and inexplicable discomfort that turned the match into a drama-filled seesaw. The Brit, who’s struggled the entire 2014 season, ultimately ended up on top, but not before dropping a set and trailing 0-4 in another against his unseeded opponent. Murray sealed it with a 6-3,7-6,1-6,7-5 scoreline, but now has plenty of questions to answer about his erratic play.

Caroline Wozniaki of Denmark (aka Serena Wiliams’ tour “bestie”), Angelique Kerber (GER) and Jo-Wilifred Tsonga (FRA) all dropped sets as well on day one, but were able to come out with first round wins, Wozniacki’s by retirement.

Also on day one, Russia’s Maria Sharapova and Serbia’s Novak Djokovic both cruised to easy wins over Russia’s Maria Kirilenko (aka Sharapova’s former “bestie”) and D. Schwartzman respectively; Agnieszka Radwanska completed her first round drubbing of Canadian Sharon Finchman in just 48 minutes, with a 6-1,6-0 scoreline; and American, Sloane Stephens, true to form for her at Grand Slams, took her opponent, Germany’s Annika Beck to the woodshed with a 6-0,6-3 beat down.

On Tuesday, the legend that is America’s Serena Williams played the future of American tennis, Taylor Townsend, in a night match on Ashe. It was relatively highly anticipated due to strides Townsend has made on the WTA tour recently, but she was unable to trouble Williams, a veteran, not only on the tour, but at the US Open. Williams has won it five times and obviously knows her way around the at-times-hot-and-blustery Ashe stadium court. The top seed and two-time defending champion easily dispatched the youngster, sealing deal with a 6-3,6-1 scoreline.

Another accomplished US Open seed, however, wasn’t so fortunate. Dominika Cibulkova, the tournament’s no. 12 seed was eliminated after a three-set battle with a 15-year-old American. Catherine Bellis qualified for the tournament by winning a junior’s tournament, but played well beyond her age in sending the Slovakian packing. Bellis is now this year’s Cinderella story on the order of USA’s Melanie Oudin, who toppled several top players on her way reaching the quarterfinals back in 2009.

The only other remotely surprising outcomes of the first round were American Donald Young going out in the first round to Slovak, Blaz Kavcic in straight sets, 7-5,6-4,6-4; 21st seeded Mikhail Youzhny being taking out by Australian teen sensation Nick Kyrgios 7-5,7-6,2-6,7-6; former US Open champion, 20th seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova, going out to unseeded New Zealander, Marina Erakovic, and Jack Sock retiring due to injury against Spaniard Pablo Andujar. Krygios had already earned a name for himself by decisively taking out then world no. 1, Rafael Nadal recently during the Wimbledon championships and his ascension continues. The young Aussie, whom they call “wild thing” plays a mature game, but his age shows in his temperament as he was issued three code violations on Monday for tantrum-throwing (launched a ball out of the stadium, spewed audible expletive and racquet abuse). He came just one violation shy of being booted from the tournament.

For a full list of Round One results, click here.

For the schedule for Round Two play, click here.