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Arthur Ashe Stadium sparkled and shined on this night as more than 20,000 fans and an ESPN national-televised audience viewed the kickoff to the season’s final Grand Slam on a gorgeous New York City night, which featured a video and light show and a performance by Jordin Sparks.

“Our goal is to raise the bar and exceed expectations each year on Opening Night,” said Gordon Smith, USTA executive director. “We want to surprise the fans and leave them in awe and tonight we were able to do that. What an amazing night.”

Sparks sang her hit song “Celebrate” from the movie “Sparkle” she starred in with Whitney Houston, before her stunning singing of the National Anthem, which evoked memories of Houston’s powerful rendition of the song she performed before the Super Bowl in 1991. Houston opened Arthur Ashe Stadium 15 years ago with a performance of “One Moment in Time” in front of a sold-out crowd and some of the biggest names in tennis history.

USTA President Jon Vegosen, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and a host of other dignitaries and celebrities were on hand to enjoy the evening, as were Alec Baldwin, “Hunger Games” star Stanley Tucci, NBA star Carmelo Anthony, and seven-time Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter Gladys Knight, among others.

The evening's matches were Belgian Kim Clijsters, on her final tournament before retiring for the second time from the WTA Tour (playing against