From what I’ve read so far, the early reaction to Venus Williams's dress is a mixed bag. I personally love this dress, the bright pink looks great against her skin tone, the racing stripe is awkward, but this dress certainly needed something in the front. The side pleat-situation gives Venus some curves, which she could definitely use. I think the pink is a great color for the U.S. Open too. It's just nice to see Venus in something new.
Dress aside Venus needed all of her game to fend off the charge of Russian Vera Dushevina. Dushevina took charge of a lethargic Venus from the get go, and really displayed some fine tennis against the much favored American. Dushevina gave herself a chance to serve out the match at 7-6, 5-4, but was unable to convert. That set off 7 games in a row for Venus to get her to 4-0 in the third set. Vera, not ready to give up just yet, fought all the way back to 4-3, before Venus closed her out 6-3 in the third.
According to the Australian media, Ai Sugiyama is set to retire at the end of 2009. The Japanese veteran has played over 60 grand slams, and has played more grand slams then any active player. Although Sugiyama has struggled lately in singles, she’s still keeping herself relevant in doubles. Partnering Daniela Hantuchova, they made the finals at the Australian Open (saving match points en route against the #1 ranked doubles team of Cara Black and Liezel Huber), before falling to the Williams Sisters.
Not much was expected of her against the red hot Samantha Stosur, the 15th seed, who’s continued her incredible year through the U.S. Open Series. Despite going up a break and serving at 4-3, Sugiyama was unable to finish off the hard hitting, and epic topspin that Stosur was producing. In the end Stosur won 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, not a bad way to end your grand slam career. Hopefully, even if she were to retire in singles, she’ll continue to play doubles. She’s a workhorse, and always seems to be enjoying herself out there, a true role model for the sport which is often inflicted by spoiled brats, who never seem to enjoy their court time.
17th seed Amelie Mauresmo looked to be cruising against young German Tatjana Malek taking what seemed to be an insurmountable lead of 6-2, 5-1. In what seemed to be a blink of the eye, Malek had climbed her way up to 5-4, and looked to threaten to take the second set away from the veteran Frenchwoman. Amelie who’s not had a great year, shown some great signs of life in defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova last week in New Haven. Amelie composed herself and finished off the German and will face Canadian Aleksanda Wozniak in the next round.
In the biggest surprise of the day 210 ranked qualifier Kai-Chen Chang of Chinese Taipei upset the 25th seed Kaia Kanepi 6-0, 2-6, 6-0 to win her first main draw match at a grand slam. This is actually Kai-Chen’s first ever grand slam, and is surprisingly the only player from Taiwan to qualify for the main draw (higher ranked Yung-Jan Chan & Su-Wei Hsieh both fell in qualifying 3rd and 1st Rd respectively). Another Asian qualifier Yurika Sema’s upset bid against Anna Chakvetadze took a halt after she won the 1st set, falling 4-6, 6-2, 6-1. Another upset falling short was that of Meghann Shaughnessy, unable to defeat Daniela Hantuchova [pictured]. Hantuchova won 6-2, 4-6, 6-1.
Other seeded winners today were (2)Serena Williams, (7)Vera Zvonareva, (8)Vika Azarenka, (10)Flavia Pennetta, (12)Agnieszka Radwanska, (14)Marion Bartoli, (18)Na Li, (20)Anabel Medina-Garrigues, (26)Francesca Schiavona, and (31)Elena Vesnina.
28th seed Sybille Bammer was the only other seed to join Kaia Kanepi in losing on opening day. This ruins the epic rematch of Bammer and Serena Williams. Bammer has beaten Serena twice, including once this summer.