Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Venus Williams, USA on first night of 2011 U.S. Open
"I'm not sure I expected to be so sharp," Williams said.
In powering her way to a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Vesna Dolonts at the U.S. Open on Monday night, Williams served up to 126 m.p.h. and hit six aces. She won the point on 15 of 20 trips to the net. She compiled a whopping 28-7 edge in winners against the travel-weary Russian.
All in all, Williams looked far more dangerous than the average unseeded player does. And, yes, she is unseeded at Flushing Meadows because she's ranked only 36th after entering the tournament having played only 10 matches over the last 50 weeks.
"I just want to play tennis," said Williams, whose seven Grand Slam singles titles include the 2000 and 2001 U.S. Opens. The 31-year-old American hadn't played a match since June 27, when she lost in the fourth round at Wimbledon.
Then again, Williams is accustomed to missing time but still playing well. In 2010, she was sidelined between Wimbledon and the U.S. Open by a left knee injury, yet made it all the way to the semifinals in New York.
"Last year, I had little to no preparation also, too, so I hope can I play just as well as I did last year."
Gael Monfils, France, 2011 U.S. Open Opening Night
|Grigor Dimitrov, Bulgaria|
Monfils, who made the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows last year, was called for a double fault while facing break point at 5-4 in the third set. He challenged the call and the replay showed the ball squarely in. Given a second chance, Monfils saved break point then served out the match.
Dimitrov, ranked 52nd, was making his U.S. Open debut after making the second round at the Australian Open and Wimbledon earlier this year.