Match of the Day
Venus Williams looked for all intents and purposes like a dead woman walking. Before I could even wrap my mind around her court mechanics she was down a break to Russian Vera Dushevina and it looked for all the world like all would be lost when in one of the rarest sights in women's tennis Venus called for the trainer who began massaging her left patella and quadriceps tendon. The talking heads intoned that Venus had not retired during a match since 2004 and that it had been awhile since she went out in the first round of a Slam.
But Venus returned to the fray and while she lost the first set in a tiebreak she scratched and clawed her way back into the second set winning it 7-5. At some point Richard Williams was asked about what was going on on court and after doing what all parents do, complain that his daughter doesn't listen and that she may have practiced too much coming into Flushing as well as saying her knee had been sore for five to six weeks he said that a wounded champion was dangerous.
He was prophetic. It looked for all the world as if Venus was going to try and slug her way out of her problems. She was hesitant to put weight on her now taped knee and while she was making shots and firing returns the third set looked as if it would go to Vera who was not playing badly at all. She stuck to her game plan and was giving Venus what for up until the start of the third set. It was then that the pressure of the situation seemed to get to her and she began making errors that she hadn't made in the first and most of the second set. In the end Venus took the third set 6-3. The match lasted two hours and forty three minutes.
What did Venus have to say for herself when all was said and done?
“I had a challenge on my hands today. But I wanted to win,” said the No. 3-seeded Williams, who made 54 unforced errors. “Each good shot, and each not-so-good shot, I put behind me and looked forward to the next one.”
Stories of the Day
The US Open has finally seen the light and is providing FREE live streaming from its own site. If you log onto USOpen.Org you will see a radial button saying "Watch Live". For many fans it worked very well all day. This fan gave up because either the feed wouldn't load, there was no sound, or both. By the end of the day it was working better for me. The images are clear and sharp and for now the service is free of charge. I'm guessing all the kinks will be worked out and fans will have a very nice source of coverage if you are at work or unable to receive television coverage.
ESPN Day One
Television coverage didn't start until 1p Eastern Time. That was the big difference at the beginning of the day. By the end of the day ESPN did what it said it would and provided coverage up until the last ball was struck on Arthur Ashe Stadium. There was no switching of coverage to one of their other channels and the coverage was typical of American tennis coverage, biased, gossipy and sometimes jaw droppingly out of touch. Most good sportscasters work from a script but very few of them let the viewer know it. Hannah Storm made it so obvious she was reading it was ridiculous. I have to say that I was impressed by Mike Tirico who usually covers other sports for ESPN. He was on a lot during the US Open Series and came prepared. He knew who everyone was and what they'd been up to coming into the US Open Series. Bring Tirico back guys. That is my only request. Otherwise congratulations on your first day.
Tennis fans had so much to choose from today it was almost embarrassing. I already mentioned the live streaming on the official US Open site. Tennis Channel was also providing multi court coverage as was ESPN360. There were glitches - I asked myself who was in charge of the feed - I was watching Vera Zvonareva's match and getting audio from a men's match but I also got to see Marion Bartoli, Tommy Haas playing Alejandro Falla, and other matches that were not being featured on television. There were matches I didn't see but that was because there was either no tv coverage on that court or they took place when I dozed off for a much needed nap before the evening session began.
There was only one epic fail and that took place when an unknown announcer mentioned James Keothavong was the chair for a match and then noted that player Anne Keothavong was his daughter. Needless to say Anne, who is injured, was not amused. I'm sure James wasn't either.
- Kim Clijsters has major serving issues. If she had been playing a higher ranked player she may not have escaped with a win.
- Andre Agassi proved to be a skilled analyst of the sport and spoke clearly and decisively from a player's perspective. He also showed that he's aware of the politics of the sport as well.
- Serena Williams let up and comer Alexa Glatch know that she is not ready for prime time just yet.
Thanks go to the fan who posted the following on Craig's blog about the Monogram's record against the seeds on his side of the draw.
Fed is 12-0 against Davydenko, 11-0 against Soderling, 10-0 against Youzhny, 8-0 against Robredo, 6-0 against Rochus, and 4-0 against Mathieu, Chela, and Starace.
- John Isner played a crazy tie break againt Roumanian Victor Hanescu that ESPN sensibly covered. As one fan put it Hanescu simply refused to win the second set squandering set point after set point before succombing 7-6(14) and going quietly in the third set tiebreak 7-6(5).
Matt Cronin reported the following via Twitter:
Donald Young says he got a USTA letter saying if he didn't cut off his parents as coaches, Player Development was done with him.
It's about damn time. He had to qualify for the Open and actually won a set before Tommy Robredo woke up.
Day 1 Results
As you can see from the results below there were a few five setters played today. Quite a few.
ATP RESULTS - MONDAY, 31 AUGUST, 2009
Singles - First Round
 R Federer (SUI) d D Britton (USA) 61 63 75
 A Roddick (USA) d B Phau (GER) 61 64 62
 N Davydenko (RUS) d D Kindlmann (GER) 63 64 75
 R Soderling (SWE) d A Montanes (ESP) 61 36 61 64
 T Robredo (ESP) d D Young (USA) 64 36 62 63
 R Stepanek (CZE) d S Bolelli (ITA) 64 64
 T Haas (GER) d A Falla (COL) 75 46 76(7) 62
 J Blake (USA) d R Ramirez Hidalgo (ESP) 61 64 75
 P Kohlschreiber (GER) d A Seppi (ITA) 60 64 64
M Youzhny (RUS) d  P Mathieu (FRA) 26 75 60 62
J Isner (USA) d  V Hanescu (ROU) 61 76(14) 76(5)
 L Hewitt (AUS) d T Alves (BRA) 60 63 64
M Chiudinelli (SUI) d P Starace (ITA) 76(3) 76(2) 60
M Granollers (ESP) d M Zverev (GER) 26 75 36 64 60
J Hernych (CZE) d R Schuettler(GER) 16 76(5) 64 26 63
G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) d P Polansky (CAN) 64 64 57 36 61
M Ilhan (TUR) d C Rochus (BEL) 36 63 36 75 75
R Kendrick (USA) d M Vassallo Arguello (ARG) 63 62 62
S Devvarman (IND) d F Gil (POR) 63 64 63
O Rochus (BEL) d I Kunitsyn (RUS) 63 60 62
S Greul (GER) d G Lapentti (ECU) 63 46 36 60 76(9)
J Chela (ARG) d O Hernandez (ESP) 64 64 62
M Gicquel (FRA) d D Tursunov (RUS) 62 57 63 63
L Mayer (ARG) d A Golubev (KAZ) 64 46 75 63
On the women's side Kaia Kanepi (25) lost to a qualifier, and Sybille Bammer(28) lost as well.
WTA Results Monday, August 31, 2009
Singles - First Round
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. (WC) Alexa Glatch 64 61
(3) Venus Williams (USA) d. Vera Dushevina (RUS) 67(5) 75 63
(7) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) d. Nuria Llagostera Vives (ESP) 60 64
(8) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. Alexandra Dulgheru (ROU) 61 61
(10) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) d. Edina Gallovits (ROU) 60 64
(12) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Patricia Mayr (AUT) 61 62
(14) Marion Bartoli (FRA) d. Rossana de los Ríos (PAR) 61 60
(15) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. Ai Sugiyama (JPN) 64 46 64
(17) Amélie Mauresmo (FRA) d. Tatjana Malek (GER) 63 64
(18) Li Na (CHN) d. Ioana Raluca Olaru (ROU) 76(4) 63
(20) Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) d. (WC) Gail Brodsky (USA) 64 64
(22) Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) d. Meghann Shaughnessy (USA) 62 46 61
(Q) Chang Kai-Chen (TPE) d. (25) Kaia Kanepi (EST) 60 26 62
(26) Francesca Schiavone (ITA) d. Yvonne Meusburger (AUT) 61 62
María José Martínez Sánchez (ESP) d. (28) Sybille Bammer (AUT) 64 16 76(5)
(31) Elena Vesnina (RUS) d. Lucie Hradecka (CZE) 64 76(5)
Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) d. Laura Granville (USA) 61 76(7)
Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) d. (Q) Valérie Tétreault (CAN) 63 46 61
Melinda Czink (HUN) d. Maria Elena Camerin (ITA) 63 64
Maria Kirilenko (RUS) d. (Q) Mariya Koryttseva (UKR) 62 61
Anna Chakvetadze (RUS) d. (Q) Yurika Sema (JPN) 46 61 62
Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) d. (Q) Vesna Manasieva (RUS) 63 64
Sania Mirza (IND) d. Olga Govortsova (BLR) 62 36 63
Jill Craybas (USA) d. (Q) Carly Gullickson (USA) 63 76(5)
Stefanie Voegele (SUI) d. Alberta Brianti (ITA) 67(10) 61 63
Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) d. Jelena Dokic (AUS) 63 64
Michelle Larcher de Brito (POR) d. Mathilde Johansson (FRA) 16 75 61
Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) d. Iveta Benesova (CZE) 63 64
(Q) Angelique Kerber (GER) d. Andrea Petkovic (GER) 64 57 63
(Q) Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) d. (Q) Marta Domachowska (POL) 26 62 63
(WC) Vania King (USA) d. Anastasiya Yakimova (BLR) 21 ret. (left foot injury)
(WC) Kim Clijsters (BEL) d. Viktoriya Kutuzova (UKR) 61 61
Vera Zvonareva was wearing colors that should never, ever, be paired together. Add to that what looked like a back brace was showing through the cut out in the back of her top. She usually looks very stylish on court.
The Hot Mess award goes to Venus Williams. She was wearing one of her own creations and I swear it was like the dress reflected what was going on in Venus mind during her match. Puff sleeves with open seams. Uneven hem line. Racing stripes down the front. And a doodle on the back.
I could hear Tim Gunn clucking and see Heidi Klum's "WTF" look.
All of the women seem to be wearing some shade of pink be it rose or fuschia. There was also a lot of purple around.
I may be heading out to Queens on Wednesday. I'll know better tomorrow.