Day 1 of the 2011 US Open is in the books from Flushing Meadows, New York. Hurricane Irene passed through the area in time for the start of the tournament, and because the hurricane spared the National Tennis Center just outside of the city, play began as scheduled on Monday.
The first day of Grand Slam action usually goes as scripted, and Monday at the 2011 US Open was no different. But the lone shocker of the day was just that — a shocker in every sense of the word. The 2011 Wimbledon Champion, No. 5 seeded Petra Kvitova, was bounced by Alexandra Dulgeru in straight sets, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3. Sounds like the 21-year old felt a little out of her element as a Grand Slam champion with a bulls eye on her back:
“This is something new for me,” Kvitova said about her new status as Grand Slam champion. “I’ve felt a little pressure.”
Kvitova was the only seeded woman to lose on Monday. On the men’s side, No. 15 seed Viktor Troicki lost to Alejandro Falla, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, 7-5.
The evening session featured big name stars, a veteran American icon, and an entertaining and tightly-contested five-setter. Venus Williams played in front of the first night crowd of the fortnight against the 91st ranked Vesna Dolonts. The two-time US Open champ and 12-time major winner won 6-4, 6-3. Unsurprisingly, Venus looked a bit rusty and inconsistent despite the easy win.She has, after all, not played since losing in the fourth round at Wimbledon.
“I didn’t really know what to expect,” Williams said, adding, “I just tried to rely on experience and, I don’t know, just tried to get after it.”
Another legendary champion, Roger Federer, finished the day’s action with a straight set victory over Santiago Giraldo. I imagine most still in attendance at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center ventured over to the five-set battle going on between Juan Carlos Ferrero, the 2003 runner up, and 45th ranked Pablo Andujar. Ferrero looked awful in the first set, losing 6-1, but bounced back to win the second set 7-5. Andujar then took the third set, 7-5, before Ferrero easily leveled the match at two sets a piece with a 6-1 win in the fourth. In the fifth and the final set, things were all square at three games before Ferrero pulled away and won the final three games to advance on to the second round. He’ll face No. 7 seed Gael Monfils on Wednesday.
For more opening day coverage from the 2011 US Open, be sure to check out SB Nation’s tennis hub.