Tennis: U.S. Open underway in New York City

Ana Ivanovic, of Serbia, returns a shot to Dominika Cibulkova, of Slovakia, during the first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Monday, Aug. 31, 2015, in New York. (Matt Rourke/AP)

The biggest tennis event in America is underway at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City. The U.S. Open kicked off yesterday and some major upsets have already shaken things up. 

The No. 4 ranked men’s player Kei Nishikori fell to Frenchman Benoit Paire in the first round, eliminating him from the 64-player field. On the women’s side, No. 7 ranked Ana Ivanovic lost to unranked Dominika Cibulkova and No. 8 ranked Karolina Pliskova was handily defeated by Anna Tatishvili. 

In the men’s field, Novak Djokovic is the favorite to win as the No. 1 ranked player. The Serbian already has two Grand Slam event wins in 2015 at the Australian Open and at Wimbledon. He has played some of his best tennis this year and looks to make his fourth Grand Slam final this year. His toughest competition looks to be No. 2 Roger Federer, No. 3 Andy Murray, and No. 8 Rafael Nadal. 

At age 34, Federer is setting the example for aging players in the years to come. He still moves gracefully on the court and has won five ATP tournament titles this year, only one less than Djokovic. Murray has been to the semifinals of every Major this season and will be desperate to get over the hump. 

Nadal has seen his ranking drop to No. 8 as the result of recent injuries, but he will not be overlooked by any of his opponents. The Spaniard has 14 career Major wins and has three ATP tournament wins already in 2015. 

French Open champion Stan Wawrinka will present a challenge to any of the top players and 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic will be out to defend his title.  John Isner will likely be the crowd favorite in New York as the American player with the greatest chance to make a deep run. He is playing the best tennis of his career and might be due for a Cinderella run in his home country.
    
The women’s field is Serena Williams’ to lose. The more dominant of the Williams sisters has won the last four Grand Slam events and will be going for a “Serena Slam” by winning all four Majors in 2015.

Others to watch include Romanian Simona Halep, left hander Petra Kvitova from the Czech Republic, and No. 4 seed Caroline Wozniacki. Halep is looking for her first Grand Slam title and will undoubtedly be hoping somebody can eliminate Williams before a potential finals matchup. Kvitova is the last women’s player not named Serena to win a Major. She won Wimbledon in 2014 before Williams began her historic run of dominance. 

There are always early surprises at the U.S. Open and anything can happen, but all eyes will be on these top ranked stars in the first few rounds.


Aaron Esposito is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at aaron.esposito@uconn.edu.