There's No Stopping the U.S. Open, Now In Full Force in NYC
Hurricane Irene couldn't stop the annual U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York City. As soon as the storm blew over, the stars of tennis showed up for what is the final grand slam of the tennis season—although some players, such as Andy Roddick, were delayed, and those flying in from Europe often had to arrive in the middle of the night. Even the stands aren't full, and they usually are for this late-summer event. But wait a bit for hotel rooms to fill and tourists to mob Queens, and the U.S. Open will be rockin' by Labor Day weekend.
The first round of the Open saw some surprises and close calls, delighting those who found themselves near the action. Last year's Australian Open women's winner, Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, was out in the first round, tossed aside by a player no one had heard of, Alexandra Duigheru of Romania. Rafael Nadal, who's been suffering defeats since the spring at the hands of Serbia's Novak Djokovic, narrowly got by his first round match. he still won in straight sets, but not before he had to stare down several break points and the attack of the little-known Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan.
James Blake, one the United States' great hopes, also just squeezed by his first round opponent, an unlikely Dutchman named Jesse Huta Galung. The normally confident Blake suddenly lost a set, taking the match to four sets. Blake double-faulted several times but eventually pulled out a win with a howl of relief.
The only top player who simply rolled to victory was Serena Williams (U.S.A.), who's been playing little of late. She participated in two matches over the summer, won them handily and immediately got a 28th seed for the U.S. Open. Don't be fooled by the seed number. Every critic and sportswriter out there is betting on Serena to walk away with the trophy, especially now that her sister Venus has withdrawn from the tournament citing abdominal pain.Continued on the next page