Sport Tennis The good, bad, ugly and plain weird: US Open first round

The good, bad, ugly and plain weird: US Open first round

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It’s been a funny old start to proceedings at Flushing Meadows.

The weather’s been hot and so has the action, with nine Aussies already eliminated.

But both our seeded players – Bernard Tomic and Samantha Stosur – progressed and are favoured to move into the third round.

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Thanasi Kokkinakis pulls out of US Open
Sam Groth saves the day for Australia

And there’s been plenty to entertain tennis fans, as you’ll see below.

The good

It was great to see Lleyton Hewitt progress to the second round in such comprehensive fashion.

The US Open is where Hewitt won his first grand slam, in 2001, and he turned the clock back with a brilliant first set against Aleksandr Nedovyesov.

Hewitt, who will retire after next year’s Australian Open, led 6-0 7-6 (7-2) 1-0 when Nedovyesov pulled the pin with a shoulder injury.

He’ll now play Tomic in the second round after he beat Boznia-Herzegovina’s Damir Dzumhur in four sets.

Nick Kyrgios’ third set – in his eventual loss to Andy Murray – was pretty impressive, too, but with swearing, arguing and his usual array of antics, he did little to convince his critics that he has learned from the past few months.

This rally was pretty good, though, as he followed a facing-the-crowd-through-the-legs shot with a sublime winner.

American Donald Young might not be a household name, but he was responsible for arguably the best first-round win.

Young, two sets and 3-0 down against 11th seed Gilles Simon, thrilled a packed Court 17 crowd with an outstanding five-set triumph.

And, to finish, how about this catch from a ball kid? Superb.

The bad

What’s going on with the women’s seeds?

Ivanovic tried to fire herself up - but failed. Photo: Getty
Ivanovic tried to fire herself up – but failed. Photo: Getty

Of the 32 seeds in action on day one, 10 were sent packing in the first round – including Lucie Safarova (sixth), Ana Ivanovic (seventh), Karolina Pliskova (eighth), Carla Suarez Navarro (10th).

And how about Kyrgios’ shot selection?

On several occasions, he played overly ambitious strokes, but one in particular – a between-the-legs half-volley when he was pushing for a break during the second set – was particularly peculiar.

American legend John McEnroe said on ESPN: “An absolute brain freeze. Absolute stupidity. He could have volleyed that away for another break-point chance.

“I hope he learns from these bonehead moves. He should be a seed already, at least 20. You don’t want to be remembered as a clown. You want to be remembered as a player.”

The oppressive weather has not been great, either.

With temperatures topping 32°C and humidity high, a record 12 players withdrew from the first round of a grand slam.

Of those retirements, one was Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis, who, at one stage, led two sets to one against 12th seed Richard Gasquet.

He could not deal with the weather, though, and trailing 2-0 in the final set, was forced to call it a day due to exhaustion.

He cried that it was “absolute torture” in that heat and was reduced to serving underarm before retiring on the umpire’s advice.

And, again, things don’t look great for Australia at a grand slam.

Hewitt, Tomic, Stosur and Sam Groth were our only players to progress, with nine first-round losers.

The ugly

This was pretty poor from Victoria Azarenka.

And while we acknowledge Kokkinakis was completely exhausted, this reaction after deciding he had had enough was unnecessary and didn’t look good.

The plain weird

Getting booed by the crowd? No worries.

Italian Fabio Fognini decides that the best way forward is to wind them up further by blowing them kisses.

And Kyrgios had a solution for the tough heat – taking a nap during breaks in the match.


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