US Open begins at Flushing Meadows in NY

Will Garbine Muguruza continue her imperious form this US Open and leap into her role as Serena Williams’ heir apparent?

She enters the US Open having reached at least the quarterfinals or better at ten consecutive tournaments this year, including a title defence at Madrid. Mother Nature should cooperate on Day One of the Open with sunny skies giving way to clouds and temps peaking in the upper 70s.

The very first round teases us with such mouth-watering clashes like Simona Halep vs Maria Sharapova, Petra Kvitova vs Jelena Jankovic and Ana Konjuh vs Ashleigh Barty.

Canadian Eugenie Bouchard is +6600 and opens play vs. Russia’s Evgeniya Rodina. The top seed is Karolina Pliskova (+700), who lost the 2016 final in three sets to Angelique Kerber (+1200).

Only a week or so later, on a cab ride to the Manhattan Plaza Racquet Club in Midtown, did it suddenly dawn on me that I hadn’t even picked up a racket in a year, was still suffering from a small tear in the elbow tendon of my hitting arm (the reason for not playing for a year), and knew virtually nothing about what I was walking into.

A clearly overwhelmed Rybarikova rightly admitted she “could do nearly nothing”.

She added: “I would love her to do well and winning would be awesome for her, because I personally did not think she would come back to play tennis at all after Sjogren’s [syndronme] and if she did come back from her Sjogren’s I thought she would only play doubles”. She was once the top women’s player in the world, and one-half of the Battle of the Sexes exhibition match with male tennis great Bobby Riggs in 1973. Pliskova will take home her first career major.

Venus is back in the hunt”. An ecstatic Muguruza couldn’t believe she’d become a “part of history” and achieved something she “dreamed of as a little girl“.

At 37, she is the oldest woman in the tournament, and is coming off a runner-up finish at Wimbledon.

Contrary to popular opinion, a maiden Grand Slam title may not always be the elixir of future tennis sovereignty.

Earlier this summer, California native Querrey had a surprising two weeks at Wimbledon, where he shocked three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray to make the semifinals, his best-ever showing at a Grand Slam event. “It only matters how far you went and what matches you have won”.

“She’s blowing hot and cold again”, doubters said in hushed tones.

Fifteen years Williams’ junior, 15th-seeded Madison Keys appears ready to navigate the U.S. Open draw after being reunited with her coach Lindsay Davenport and looking fully recovered from wrist surgery late last year.

And more “I told you so” s followed.

Opening proceedings on the main court on a mild day in NY will be third seed Garbine Muguruza of Spain, against local favourite Varvara Lepchenko. What does it mean for the U.S. Open?

In what was a purely dominant display, Muguruza cruised to a 6-3, 6-4 victory in the first round of the 2017 US Open.

For all of Muguruza’s natural gifts, including her powerful groundstrokes, wingspan and court coverage, she has yet to realise her best in NY and in four attempts has never advanced past the second round of the U.S. Open.

“I don’t have really big expectations, so I am going to take it very relaxed”, spoke Muguruza calmly. Forget about what happened previous years. Maybe this year, it is my year.

“I don’t know”, pondered Muguruza. So, Muguruza will be heedful of the unseeded American. But, there is a lot of pressure on the 23-year old from Venezuela. From there…let’s not get ahead of ourselves. “We’ll see how it goes”.

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