Venus Escapes, Clijsters, Azarenka Tough

01 Sep 2009 by Hiland in 2009 US Open

US Open 2009 – Day 1 – Women’s Matches – Venus Escapes, Clijsters, Azarenka Tough

venus-jpgA packed house and huge television audience watched one of America’s biggest stars wind up day one at the 2009 US Open.  Third seeded Venus Williams was lucky to escape her first round match as day one proceeded without incident before huge throngs of fans.

At primetime, Venus took the Center Court against lightly regarded Vera Dushevina of Russia. The 22 year old gave Venus everything she could handle and raised questions about Venus’ fitness.  Williams emerged with a 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-3 win but it was not pretty.

In fact, at times it seemed downright lackluster and not very Venusesque at all.  Williams was only successful on 54% of her first serves and was broken six times.  Her service issues pose a serious problem for the Wimbledon finalist who has not played well since falling to her sister in London.  Of all the seeds on the court Monday, Venus seemed the most vulnerable.

As usual, sister Serena was impressive.  The second seed cruised past the overmatched Alexa Glatch of the U.S. 6-4, 6-1.  Serena seemed to improve as the match elapsed.

Improving Aussie, Samantha Stosur had her hands full with Japan’s tour veteran Ai Sugiyama.  Sugiyama pushed Stosur to the limit before falling 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.  In the seesaw match Stosur garnered seven breaks while Sugiyama scooped up six.  In a rarity, each player won 103 points.  The difference may well have been in Sugiyama’s six double faults.

Sania Mirza defeated Olga Govortsova of Belarus in the first round of U.S. Open 2009.jpgIndia’s Sania Mirza showed her true grit with a hard fought three set win over Olga Govortsova of Belarus.  Mirza a newlywed and tour heartthrob eeked out a 6-2-,3-6, 6-3 victory.  Mirza appears to have added some velocity to her first serve, long her downfall.

Seventh seeded Russian Vera Zvonareva continued her strong play with a straight set, 6-0, 6-4 triumph over Spain’s Vives Llagostera.  Zvonareva looks to have a clear path to her quarterfinal matchup against Serena.

In the upper bracket, former number one Kim Clijsters of Belgium was very impressive.  Her 6-1, 6-1 win over the Ukraine’s Viktoriya Kutusoza  was never in doubt.  Clijsters looked powerful and in shape for a run at Venus.  With more than $14 million in career earnings, Clijsters is well positioned for a run at the quarters and a likely pairing with Victoria Azarenka.

The 8th seeded Azarenka drew gasps from her followers with her dazzling play.  Her dominating 6-1, 6-1 win over Alexandra Dulgheru was typical of her powerful play of late.  Azarenka will be a force in this event and may well surprise Serena in the semis.

Poland’s Agnes Rawanska was also dominant in her 6-1, 6-2 tuneup with Patrica Mayr.  Agnes will next face Maria Kirilenko in an interesting second round match.  All in all, there were no startling surprises on day one.  But, for Vera Dushevina it was a day of missed opportunities.  Venus escaped but had better re-gain her focus or be prepared for an early exit.

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  • Venus Escapes, Clijsters, Azarenka Tough…

    A packed house and huge television audience watched one of America’s biggest stars wind up day one at the 2009 US Open. Third seeded Venus Williams was lucky to escape her first round match as day one proceeded without incident before huge throngs of f…

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