US Open Begins in Wake of Irene – Early Day One Matches

Despite a hurricane travelling through the area just over 24 hours previously the US Open got underway on Monday with just a two-hour delay disrupting schedules as cleanup teams tried to restore the grounds as best they could before the gates opened.

Anybody who may have feared a subdued day one, understandably, due to disruptions to preparations quickly had their worries allayed.

Just days after admitting she was worried about her recent form, the new Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitova crashed out in round one to world No.49 Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania.

“Still I have bad timing for the hard court and I didn’t have some small steps before the shots,” she had said after early round exits from Cincinnati and Toronto. “Sometimes my serve is like up and down. It’s also right before the US Open, so I have a week off now. Hopefully it’ll be better. Of course I won a Grand Slam so it’s going to be more [pressure], but it’s not in my head.”

Petra Kvitova

And certainly she seemed ready for a fight during the first set as her and Dulgheru traded blows before entering a tie-breaker on Louis Armstrong Court.

But she dropped it, and could never quite get herself firing in the second. A surprised Dulgheru rushed to take it 6-3 and complete an unlikely victory. She will now face her compatriot Monica Niculescu in round two who defeated Austria’s Patricia Mayr-Achleitner 6-3, 6-3 on court nine.

Top American seed in the men’s draw Mardy Fish kicked off play on Arthur Ashe Court and dropped only five games against Germany’s Tobias Kamke in a 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 win that made the sport look extremely simple.

But his compatriot, Ryan Harrison, lost in straight sets to Croatia’s Marin Cilic, who progressed 6-2, 7-5, 7-6(6).

Tomas Berdych, Richard Gasquet, Flavio Cipolla, Bernard Tomic, and Janko Tipsarevic were among the male players to make it through in straight sets, while Michael Llodra was one of the first stars taken to five sets by Romania’s Victor Hanescu before triumphing 6-2, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Teenage British star Laura Robson went through earlier than planned when Japan’s Ayumi Morita retired at the beginning of the second set with a shoulder injury, while German star Julia Goerges progressed by dropping only five games in a routine 6-3, 6-2 win over her compatriot Kristina Barrois.