Thursday, September 1, 2011

US Open 2011 Sidelights

One of the things I like about tennis majors are the surprises and historical significance they always bring. Like this year's US Open. It's just Day 3 and look what we've got.

Seemed like hurricane Irene just didn't come to New York. For 3 days now, the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis National Center at Flushing Meadows are enjoying fine weather. To think that the day before that, subways were closed and  the Big City were grappling with a rare hurricane of Category 4 level. The crowds kept coming, during day and night matches. Somebody else were affected by floods and devastation. The fans just love the US Open. 

Day 1 saw upsets not seen before since 1971. Last year's ladies major champions were eliminated or were just out of it...And so it kept the ladies draw wide open. First to go was last year's Australian Open champion, Kim Clijsters who withdrew because of injury. Then Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova got the boot to 48th ranked Romanian named Alexandra Dulgheru. Finally, it's French Open champion, the Chinese hero, Li Na who succumbed to another Romanian, 53rd ranked tenager Simona Halep in straight sets at that. The other Willliams, Venus, also is out of it after succumbing to a viral infection.What does that make? Well, top seed Caroline Wozniacki, the world's No.1 who haven't won a tennis major yet might do it this year.  Then there's Serena Williams, always a contender when she plays and when injury free. But my bet is still with my idol, Maria Sharapova. Oh, if only she plays consistently, less unforced errors, and with confidence in serving, not the double faults I always dread everytime she does it. Remember, she lost her semis match to Li Na at the French Open due to these.  She's tennis glamor girl. How I wish the other glamor girl and also my idol, Ana Ivanovic, who won her first round match, could go on and reach just even the quarter finals. And there's one more. Sergie Bubka, Jr., the son and namesake of one of the world's greatest athletes and perhaps the greatest pole vaulter of all time, Sergy Bubka of Ukraine, is playing in this tourney, and won his first round match. 

And for a bit of history. Just about this time 23 years ago, August 30, 1988, two young Americans, one 17 years old and the other 18 years,  made their opening debut in the US Open. The 18 year old won his match  in straight sets. His name was Jim Courier. The 17 year old lost his in 5 sets. But after that, his name became synonymous with tennis. His name: Pete Sampras. Do they need more introductions?


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