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US Open Day 1 Recap: Big Names Tumble

Heading into the final Grand Slam of the year, a few key storylines emerged.

For the men, a fierce fight for World No.1 was unfolding, with Rafael Nadal, Daniil Medvedev, Carlos Alcaraz, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Casper Ruud all capable of reaching the sport’s pinnacle by the end of the US Open.

In the women’s event, an almighty clash looked set to occur between Iga Swiatek and Simona Halep deep in the tournament, the two in-form women who were the bookies’ favorites to take down this year’s title.

And finally, all eyes were on the impending retirement of tennis great Serena Williams, as she plays what is expected to be her last tournament before signing off on a 20+ year career.

Yet one day into the US Open, many of these storylines have already taken unexpected turns.

Tsitsipas Crashes Out of Another Grand Slam Early

Greek’s Stefanos Tsitsipas has never been beyond the third round in the US Open, despite consistently sitting among the world’s top five players.

Many were expecting this to be the year that the 24-year-old broke his poor run at the tournament and made a deep charge in the US Open. With a potential World No.1 spot on the line, much was anticipated from Tsitsipas’s 2022 performance.

However, less than 24 hours into the tournament, Tsitsipas is packing his bags to head home.

Coming up against Columbian qualifier Daniel Elahi Galan, Tsitsipas was shocked 6-0, 6-1, 3-6, 7-5. To say he was shocked is an understatement—the aggressive World No.94 came out swinging, winning the first 11 games of the match. It took 54 minutes before Tsitsipas was on the board, and even though he did mount a strong fight back, claiming the third set and fending off eight match points, it was too little too late for the Greek.

Stefanos Tsitsipas’s US Open is over, as are his chances of being World No.1 anytime soon.

Simona Halep Makes it a One-Horse Race in the Women’s Draw

The nature of WTA tennis makes it hard to pick outright favorites ahead of a tournament—usually, whoever turns up and is hitting the ball well with confidence, is the one who will cut their way through the draw.

However, heading into the US Open, Iga Swiatek and Simona Halep stood head and shoulders above the rest of the draw as favorites to win the title.

Swiatek was obvious—World No.1, a 37-match winning streak earlier in the year, multiple recent Grand Slams. However, Halep had recently launched a comeback to the peak of the women’s game, having re-entered the women’s top 10 and notched up some good results on American hard courts.

Now, after the first day’s play, the women’s draw has again been reduced to having one clear favorite, as Simona Halep suffered a first-round defeat to Daria Snigur.

Halep will be stinging as not only did she lose 6-2, 0-6, 6-4, but the defeat came at the hands of a 20-year-old qualifier, who had never won a tour-level match before. The Romanian was broken five times and left to ponder what went wrong as she watches the rest of the US Open from the sidelines.

Serena Williams Keeps Dream Alive

Imagine the fairy tale—Serena Williams, in the final tournament of her career, wins the US Open in front of a home crowd, 23 years after first winning it as a 17-year-old.

Well, this dream is still alive for now, after Williams won her opening match at the US Open yesterday.

Having lost three of four matches since her return to tennis this year, Williams righted the ship and dispatched Danka Kovinic 6-3, 6-3 to the delight of a packed-out stadium. The win was her 107th at the US Open, and she will be hoping for a 108th in a few days’ time.

However, her next match-up should prove a little more challenging—No.2 seed Anett Kontaveit looms in the second round.

How the US Open Odds Have Shifted After Day One

With these significant upsets on day one of the US Open, outright odds for the tournament winner have shifted as well.

Here’s a look at how the men’s odds have changed with no Stefanos Tsitsipas in the mix:

  • Daniil Medvedev +187
  • Rafael Nadal +333
  • Carlos Alcaraz +500
  • Nick Kyrgios +600
  • Matteo Berrettini +1200
  • Jannik Sinner +1400

Improving in the odds are Medvedev, Alcaraz, and Kyrgios, with Medvedev now the overwhelming favorite to defend his US Open title and retain the World No.1 position.

On the women’s side of the draw, Simona Halep’s departure has also impacted the odds:

  • Iga Swiatek +375
  • Cori Gauff +900
  • Ons Jabeur +1100
  • Caroline Garcia +1400
  • Aryna Sabalenka +1600
  • Elena Rybakina +1800
  • Naomi Osaka +2000

Swiatek remains well ahead of the pack, while Gauff moves into the second favorite, while the next rung of challengers all improve their odds slightly.

Tune in for more action and updates over the coming days as these fascinating storylines continue to unfold at the US Open.

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