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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday August 30, 2022

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday August 29, 2022

Day 1 of the 2022 US Open was like no other in history. With Queen Serena taking the court in the night session, in what is likely her last Grand Slam appearance, the tournament broke an all-time attendance record, with fans coming out in throngs to have a last look at Serena, even if they didn’t have a ticket on Ashe.

Tennis Express

Serena was a star attraction but she wasn’t the only one moving the needle on Day 1. Here are 10 thoughts on an amazing opening day in Flushing Meadows.

1. It Begins and Ends with Serena

It wasn’t surprising that the American icon was able to get past Danka Kovinic, 6-3, 6-3, on Monday night in Arthur Ashe Stadium. What was surprising is that the tournament rolled out the red carpet for Williams and celebrated her career despite the fact that it hasn’t officially ended yet.

It was perfect! Giving the people the opportunity to celebrate Williams’ career – and legacy – is what this US Open is all about. Credit to Serena, and the tournament, for recognizing that it was the right thing to do, however painful it is for Williams to be closing the curtains (and she’s made no secret about it). And doing it after a victory, with spirits soaring, made the occasion even more special.

With tennis – and political, and entertainment – luminaries in the house (Mike Tyson sitting next to Martina? Bill Clinton chatting with Dr. Ruth? Cmon, you can’t make this stuff up!) the people got a chance to celebrate Serena’s brilliant career, and to ponder what she has meant to the sport, and to society. Goosebumps – bring on round two (and doubles with Venus!).

2. Tsitsipas goes down!

While Serena was doing her thing, it was easy to miss the fact that Stefanos Tsitsipas, one of five men with a chance to claim the No.1 ranking after the US Open, went down in flames to Colombia’s Daniel Elahi Galan. Take nothing away from Galan, he’s a solid player and has been on the rise for a few years now. But Stefanos? Is this how you parlay a huge victory over World No.1 Daniil Medvedev in Cincinnati? Raise your hand if you don’t get it (mine’s up).

3. Down goes Simona!

Day 1 had some shockers, that’s for sure. Daria Snigur is another rising talent, but nobody saw the Ukrainian qualifier and former Wimbledon girls champion in 2019, defeating Simona Halep in the opening round. Halep has struggled in New York in the past, but many felt that the two-time major champion was turning a corner after finding inspiration while working with Patrick Mouratoglou.

Score one for Ukrainian pride, and a big one at that.

4. Bianca’s Back!

Bianca Andreescu – she of the 11-1 lifetime record at the US Open – scored a handy three-set victory over tricky Harmony Tan to set a second-rounder with [15] Beatriz Haddad Maia in New York. That’s a second-rounder to circle for sure. Do it now, because it might be easy to forget about it with all the other incredible second-rounders on tap in the lower half of the draw.

Andreescu has uploaded a picture of herself holding the US Open trophy as her phone’s screen saver as a visualization aid. A nice benefit of winning the tournament on your debut – you can use it as motivation going forward.

5. Brandon Holt Upsets Fritz

Another massive upset that would have normally created giant tremors in Queens: Brandon Holt (aka Tracy Austin’s daughter) defeating top-ranked American Taylor Fritz in four. Incredible effort from Hold to make the jump from qualifying, and he handled himself brilliantly in press, showing big respect for Fritz, and crediting him for being a great mentor. It’s a disappointing end to a solid Grand Slam season for Taylor. Perhaps there just wasn’t enough left in the tank at this stage of the year.

6. Player to watch - Maria Sakkari

In good spirits, coming around from a confidence perspective and, as we all bloody well know: DARN TALENTED. Sakkari, the No.3 seed who faces China’s Wang Xiyu in round two, is in a comfortable section of the draw. It could be her time to get off the proverbial schneid and show us that Spartan side of herself once again.

7. Quote of the Day: Serena Williams on whether the US Open will be her final tournament

“I've been pretty vague about it, right (smiling)? I'm going to stay vague because you never know.”

8. Nice one, Andy

Good win for Andy Murray to ease past 24th-seeded Francisco Cerundolo in straight sets on Armstrong. Extra good because there were no signs of the cramps that have sabotaged Murray this summer in North America. His second-rounder against American Emilio Nava is winnable for sure, but Matteo Berrettini looms in round three. It will, once again, be a tough ask for Murray to reach the round of 16 at a Slam, which is something he has not done since Wimbledon 2017. Have to think that it’s coming for Murray, even if it doesn’t happen this week in NYC.

9. Tweet of the Day: Coco Gauff

10. Thiem dream will wait til next year.

Sorry for Dominic Thiem and Stan Wawrinka, two beloved players who went down early on Day 1. For Thiem, who lost for the first time against Pablo Carreno Busta in eight matches, it felt inevitable. The Dominator simply isn’t ready to dominate, but it’s great to see him back on court. As for Wawrinka, who retired down two sets to Corentin Moutet, he likes to speak of his belief and how he is inspired to return to form, but today was another clear sign that he has a longer to go than many believe. Here’s hoping that both can put in the hard yards during the off season and create upside surprises in 2022.


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