Marvin A Azrak
As expected, the two days that spanned round 1 offered a plethora of upsets and enrapturing matches. Still, nothing eclipsed the assiduity Serena Williams received in her sendoff encounter against Donka Kovinic.
When the legend walked out on the court to the record-setting 29,402 assemblages, the most at a US Open night session, there was an impeccable roar bequeathing goosebumps. The tennis queen didn’t disappoint, lengthening her singles career for at least two more days after a 6-3, 6-3 heartening straight sets win. Elsewhere, three male contenders and a former women’s grand slam champion all bowed out as part of a buoyant start to years final slam.
As the time for the first ball of Serena Williams sendoff match drew closer on opening day, ESPN tailed away from the ongoing ones and launched into a Serena tribute, meddling through her top 10 career moments, as well as several tribute videos. When Williams won points, the crowd erupted as if it was match point; when she didn’t, you could hear a pin drop in Arthur Ash stadium. There were solicitous points that portrayed the picture of a player that hasn’t played much this year, as crucial indecisions by Serena saw her get down 0-1 and 2-3. But divine will, skill, and thrill overtook the 41-year-old, for she saved four break points to puncture a 4-0 spurt for a 6-3 first set victory to the delight of the rambunctious stands, serenading their hero. In the second, Serena broke the overmatched Danka’s serve and didn’t relinquish it, completing the sweep. Following her infamous victory twirl, a ceremony was held in Williams’s honor with a heartfelt speech by hall of Famer Billie Jean King, who lauded the future one with gratitude for “changing the game” and drawing more eyeballs to the sport, “Especially those with color.”
If this was Williams’s last victory, it was perfect, and the crowd was abutment in fabricating the onliest first-round atmosphere. But they’ll throw their rampart behind her again when she faces NO2 in the world, Anett Kontaveit, on Wednesday night in what’d expected to be another packed house with millions more watching worldwide.
SIMONA HALEP OUSTED:
The 124 seed upended two-time grand slam champion and world NO7 Simona Halep in Ukraine’s Daria Snigur 6-2, 0-6, 6-4 in the first round on Monday. Snigur raced to a 5-1 third set lead before Halep scrapped and clawed to pull within 5-4, but the serrated Daria held firm to complete the upset, which she dedicated to her native land as they continuously battled Russia.
Daria participated in the “Tennis for peace” charity week antecedent to the US Open.
The event raised $1.2 million, according to the United States Tennis Association.
Snigur is one of five Ukrainians in this year’s draw.
BULLSEYE FOR DART IN SHOCKING WIN:
NO 88 ranked Harriet Dart snuck her first-round bullseye between the eyes in a 7-6 (8), 1-6, 6-3 stunner over 10th seeded Daria Kasatkina. With reigning US Open champ Emma Radacnau’s loss, another win could see Dart leave NY as British # 1 per theguardian.com
Two-time US Open champion Naomi Osaka fell to the 19th seed, American Danielle Collins, 7-6(5), 6-3 in the first rounds final match on Tuesday night. Osaka initially was up a break at 3-0, but Collins roared back and didn’t look back the rest of the way, even overcoming a break deficit in the second set en route to her win.
SWIATEK MAKES LIGHT WORK OF RD1:
Top-seeded Iga Swiatek, the odds-on favorite to take home the trophy, looked the part in her 6-3, 6-0 demolition of Jasmine Paolini.
REIGNING CHAMPION DETHRONED:
It was an unforgettable fortnight last year for 18-year-old qualifier Emma Radacanu, who touched down in Néw York a week early because she had to play in qualifiers, needing to emerge victorious in three straight matches to crack the main draw. Two weeks later, she’d triumphed to the summit by rollicking to a 10-0 record and an improbable grand slam title. Over the last 12 months, Emma struggled to remain on the court due to injuries, yet obtained a recent deluge that allowed her to grasp a sense of impudence proceeding the start of her title defense on Tuesday. Yet the 11th seeded Emma was repulsed by the prolific Alize Cornet, who became the third player to tackle a defending champ in round one of the following year’s major, romping her 6-3, 6-3. We’ll officially crown a new star next Saturday.
18-year-old teenage sensation Coco Gauff kicked off her maiden title quest with a rousing 6-2, 6-3 win over Leolia Jeanjean. The 12th seed has championship aspirations at this year’s open.
NOT MUCH ON VENUS:
Van Uytvanck defeated fan-favorite Venus Williams 6-1, 7-6(5). The 42-year-old has been mum on retirement plans, unlike her sister Serena.
WIMBLEDON CHAMP WAS JUST THAT:
Elena Rybakina became the first player representing Kazakhstan to win a Grand Slam at Wimbledon in 2022, but her pursuit of a US Open title has been suspended to 2023. Qualifier Clara Burel subjugated the grass court winner on the robust hard courts 6-4, 6-1 in round 1.
MEDVEDEV RENOUNCES RETURN WITH AUTHORITY:
The reigning champ was “happy” to be back on the grounds where he cataloged Tennis’s version of the 2007 Giants deperfecting the 18-0 Patriots when he defeated Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in a match where Djokovic was vying for the calendar slam and title #21 which would’ve broken the three-way tie atop the leaderboard at the time with Rodger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Danil has aspirations of a repeat, which he’ll likely have to do if he aggrandizes the #1 ranking. The quest kickstarted with a convincing 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 win over American Stefan Kozlov.
KYRIGOS WINS AUSSIE BATTLE:
Wimbledon runner-up NO 23 seed Nick Kyrigos, one of the tournaments sleeper picks, defeated fellow Australian Thansai Kokkinakis 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(4) in 2 hours to reach the second round of the US Open, where he’ll face 50th ranked Benjamin Bonzi.
HEAR THAT, HOWEL:
American JJ Wolf shocked NO16 seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, for just his 10th career win on the ATP tour, with three of them having come in Flushing.
THIEM OUTTHEME’D BY PBC:
The phantasm 2022 campaign for Dominic Thiem continued as the 2020 US Open champion succumbed to 15th ranked Pablo-Carreno Busta 7-6, 6-1, 5-7, 6-3 in a tedious 3 hours and 18 minutes. Dominic led 4-2 early but was broken back and never recovered until the third set when he gritted his teeth into the contest by cracking his opponent’s serve. But it wasn’t enough as Pablo broke in the fourth and staved off the valiant comeback attempt for the win.
FAA TOUGHS OUT WIN:
Sixth-seeded Felix Auger Aliassime fended off a feisty Alexander Ritschard 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in 3 hours and five minutes to maintain his pursuit of climbing over the quarterfinals jump of a slam alive.
TSTIPAS BOWS OUT:
Entering the tournament, nobody not named Djokovic or Nadal had bagel’d Tstipas in a set before. Just 55 minutes into his encounter with qualifier Daniel Galan, he trailed 6-0, 6-1, wounding up being tagged for the 6-0, 6-1, 6-3, 5-7 defeat despite saving a remarkable eight match points forcing his opponent to truly dig deep for the biggest win of his tennis career.
FRITZ DREAM HOLTED:
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and that was the case for Taylor Fritz, as the 10th seeded American was dispatched by USA rookie Brandon Holt, who in his grand slam debut surmounted the experience with a 6-7(3), 7-6(1), 6-3, 6-4 shocker. On the bright side, Fritz, who expressed his indignation with player-coaches being allowed to have input during matches for the tournament, won’t need to worry about that any longer.
TOMMY CAPTURES ELUSIVE WIN:
29th seed Tommy Paul won his maiden US Open match in five tries with a 4-6, 6-3, 2-6, 6-0, 7-5 victory over Bernbae Zapata Miralles. He will clash with Sebastian Korda in an all-American second-round bout.
2012 US Open champion Andy Murray drubbed 24th seeded Francisco Cerundolo 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 for his 16th career appearance in the US Open’s last 32.
ALCARAZ NETS ONE:
Carlos was in verdure anatomy throughout his 7-5, 7-5, 2-0 win over Sebastian Baez, who pulled out in the third set due to injury.
NORRIE TEARS OPPONENT INTO PAIRS:
Cam Norrie bludgeoned Benoit Paire 6-0, 7-6(1) 6-0 in an hour, 38 minutes, and even stopped on his way out to take pictures with fans(Insert photo) on his way off the court.
RUBLEV TOUGHS OUT WIN:
In 3 hours, 41 minutes, the ninth-seeded Andre Rublev eked out a win over Laslo Djere in five sets, 7-6(5), 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4. The lengthy match featured prolonged rallies and gritty holds of serve, making for
a compelling show.
QUERRY FALLS IN SWAN SONG:
The 34-year-old stalwart Sam Querry has decided to put down his racket for good, announcing his retirement from Tennis before the tournament and bowing out in a 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(8) 6-3 loss to 73-ranked Ilya Ivashka. Sam finished his singles career at #287, a far cry from eclipsing the 11th seed as he did in his prime in 2018.
JANIK SINNER SQUEAKS BY IN FIVE-SET THRILLER:
It wasn’t easy, but the world NO11 liberated past his first test with a 5-7, 6-2, 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 constraining win over 93-ranked Daniel Altmaier.
Shappovalov “LUCKY” IN RD 1 VICTORY:
Five-setters don’t typically conclude in under three hours, but it transpired between NO18 seed Dennis Shappovalov and Marc-Andrea Huesler, with Dennis topping it 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 in what felt more of a relief than a win.
NADAL RETURNS, WINS RD1.
Back in New York for the first time since winning it all in 2019, Rafa overcame a slow start for a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 win over 21-year-old wild cards Rinky Hijikata who made the most of his US Open debut hanging with Nadal for three hours, didn’t succumb to defeat until match point #5, and even saved three break points in the fourth set when it could’ve gone aury, helping seal the deal.