Despite the lingering affects of Hurricane Irene, the U.S. Open tennis tournament begins in Flushing Meadows, NY on Monday. Play begins on both the men's and women's side at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City. Day one features some of the sports biggest names - and one or two that may become big names by the end of the tournament.
On the women's side, Russia's Maria Sharapova and the United State's Venus Williams are the two most recognizable names playing their first round matches today. Sharapova takes on Great Britian's Heather Watson at 1 p.m., while Williams takes on Russia's No. 91 seed Vesna Dolonts at 7 p.m.
Williams lost in the semi-finals of last year's U.S. Open to eventual champion Kim Clijsters and will be seeking her first singles title at Flushing Meadows since 2001. Several other U.S. women play Monday, including a match pitting Americans Jill Craybas and Madison Keys at noon. This July's Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic will begin her US Open with a match against Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania.
On the men's side, the very popular Roger Federer of Switzerland will play unseeded Colombian Santiago Giraldo in the first round in prime time Monday night. Federer starts his quest Monday for a sixth U.S. Open title, and by all accounts, should have an easy time with Giraldo.
American Mardy Fish, who is quietly climbing the tennis rankings (he currently sits at #8 in the world) will face Germany's Tobian Kamke at 1 p.m.. Fish will be looking to make noise at the Open and gain more widespread recognition from casual tennis fans. Croatia's Ivo Karlovic takes on Fernando Gonzales of Chile at 11 a.m., in what The Sports Campus proclaims as the match of the day.
Opening Rounds and recaps will be broadcast throughout the day Monday on ESPN2 and the Tennis Channel, as well as on USOpen.org Radio.