We’re deep into day 4 of the 2011 US Open, there have been a few upsets, some unexpected wins, incredible matches, and even more impressive shot making from the players.
The seeds that have fallen were not expected, I was shocked that Petra Kvitova, who had won Wimbledon this year, lost in her opening match against Alexandra Dulgheru in straight sets 7-6, 3-6. Daniela Hantuchova got bumped out early too, the 21 seed didn’t play terribly, though she was outplayed by Frenchwoman Pauline Parmentier. Perhaps the more shocking seeded loser was Agnieszka Radwanska and Marion Bartoli, both being shown the exit door by piling the unforced errors and just not having the energy levels to play good tennis. Although, both players have had lengthy tournaments coming into the US Open.
On the men’s side there some early exits made by some of the seeds; Nicolas Almagro  got roped by Frenchman Julien Benneteau in straight sets, I expected to see South African Kevin Anderson take out Frances’ Michael Llodra easily, I was a little shocked when Mikhail Youzhny got bumped by Latvian Ernest Gulbis in straight sets – I was hoping for more a match from these matches.
Probably the two biggest shockers, one from the men’s doubles and one from the women’s singles; the Bryan Brothers lost their first round match and Venus Williams pulled out of the US Open after her first round match. I was shocked when the Bryans’ lost their match, this was the first time they have lost in the first round of any major tennis tournament since the 2001 French Open. The other shocker was Venus Williams pulling out of the US Open citing a health concern, apparently she has been diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome. After almost an entire tennis season off, Venus receives a new and more dangerous set back to her already stellar tennis career.
There is one player though, that I wanted to point out to you guys; Michael Russell. He played his first round match against American Andy Roddick, even though Russell lost, he captivated the hearts of spectators worldwide. I mean the guy is 33 years old, fit as a 20 year old, and has enough enough heart to fight to his death. He went toe to toe with Roddick, Russell played an amazing match and eve took a set off Andy.
Even though Russell could not capitalize on an early lead in the fourth set, I applaud his effort on center stage at the world’s biggest tennis tournament. The 5’8″ journeyman showed respect to Andy, the umpires, the fans, the game, and especially the ball kids. If you didn’t catch it, Russell thanked the ball kids every time they would bring him his towel. How awesome is that? I mean, how many tennis pros do that? That to me proves his character, just an amazing guy over all.
All in all it’s been a pretty standard start to the US Open, a few upsets, a few good matches, and the usual suspects en route to the second week of a hard court major. I’m sure that this weekend we’ll see some really entertaining tennis matches.