Monday, August 30, 2010

2010 US Open: Day 1

Hrmm, hrmm. I really wish I could go to this year's Open, especially, since many of my friends recently moved to the area, but alas apartment-hunting and life-planning comes first. Conveniently, ESPN's coverage of tennis picks up just as I need to not be running around Flushing Meadows, so I can more or less keep up with everything in real time. Yeah, technology!

Anyway, the first disappointment of the day came in the form of Francesca Schiavone [6] def. Ayumi Morita 6-1, 6-0. Normally this wouldn't be much of a disappointment, but a few days ago Jon Wertheim provided false hope by picking this match as the Blue-Plate Upset Special. Lies, Wertheim, lies. Oh well.

This was somewhat balanced by the reemergence of Kei Nishikori, who mysteriously disappeared after making the 4th round of the tournament in 2008. From what I saw on Slamtracker, he seemed to have a few ups and downs (he was up 3-0 in the first set before having to win it in a tiebreak), but sort of got a lucky pass when his opponent retired while down 2-5 in the second set. Unfortunately his next opponent will be Marin Cilic, which will be quite difficult...

Kim Clijsters, meanwhile, started with an 18-minute first set, followed by a streaky 7-5 second set. I guess all that matters in the end is that she wins the matches, but it was enough streakiness to convince 57% of online pollees that she will not successfully defend her title. I'm not particularly feeling it myself, but then again, I never really FEEL a Clijsters Grand Slam win. It's not that I don't like her--I do and I really do want her to win more major tournaments--but there's something about her that just makes me expect that she will fail to deliver when it matters most. I guess some reputations die hard.

The saddest match? Daniela Hantuchova [24] def. Dinara Safina 6-3, 6-4. I like both of them--in fact I have a free, large poster of Hantuchova on my bedroom wall--but I was really going for Safina here. It seems almost unreal that just a year ago she was ranked No. 1 in the world, but since then she's had injury after injury and has been struggling to find her form again. It's unfortunate that such a matchup had to happen in the first round, but that's tennis, I suppose. Keep at it, Safina!

During Andy Roddick vs. Stephane Robert, John McEnroe claimed that Roddick is a sure bet for the Tennis Hall of Fame. His reasoning? The credentials of those already etched in there. He does have a point... and therefore Roddick deserves to get his name in there... but Roddick is not Hall of Fame material. One Grand Slam, people!

As I write this, Robin Soderling vs. Andreas Haider-Maurer is in the fifth set. I would like nothing more than to see Soderling lose now, except maybe to see Rafael Nadal finally complete his career Grand Slam. Considering that Soderling is up a break, though, and Nadal in general, both seem slightly unlikely to happen. Sigh.

Also as I write this, the day's controversy has just happened. At deuce at 4-all in the fifth set, Gael Monfils may or may not have touched a ball that was called out. He's simply playing on, but Robert Kendrick's glare is not really having any of it. Ooh, drama. Even Patrick McEnroe can't tell. The crowd has suddenly started chanting "U-S-A! U-S-A!," which for some reason Monfils is enjoying immensely. Lol.

A tidbit I learned today is that there is a heat index rule for women, but not for men. What? If the heat index goes over 87 (degrees?), then if a women's match goes into a 3rd set the players are allowed to take a 10-minute break before the last set. There is no equivalent rule for the men, even though they play five-set matches. Why? And while the US Open is the only Grand Slam to offer equal prize money to both men and women, I feel like rules like these sort of nullify arguments that the purses ought to be equal. Heat is dangerous to both men and women, no?

By the way, this year's official US Open website is quite annoying to navigate. All of those scroll-over tabs? No thank you. ESPN also has developed an annoying habit of flashing its full-screen logo when it cuts between cameras on the same court.

No comments: