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Friday, Sep 25th

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Five-time US Open Champion Roger Federer continued to power his way through the draw at Flushing Meadows, taking just 92 minutes to ease past the challenge of Germany's Philipp Kohlschrieber.

The veteran German, who hadn't beaten the Swiss legend in any of their previous 10 meetings, wasn't to have a successful outing in meeting no.11, but he did achieve something that few others have against Federer this summer, and that is to break the legends serve on no less than 2 occasions.

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Serena Williams' quest to recreate history at the 2015 US Open got off to the perfect start as she dropped just 5 points en route to crushing Russian Vitalia Diatchenko 6-0, 2-0 before the world no.86 retired from the contest citing a pre-existing injury which prevented her from playing to her potential.

The world no.1, looking to repeat Steffi Graf's 1988 accomplishment of winning all four Grand Slams in the same year, is already holding all 4 Major titles, having won the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon earlier this year, and is the reigning and defending US Open champion.

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2014 US Open runner-up Kei Nishikori came to Flushing Meadows hoping to go one better this year than he did the last. Unfortunately for the Japanese sensation he ran into a much bigger and stronger opponent in 6 foot 5 inch Frenchman Benoit Paire, ranked 41 in the world. Paire fired 21 aces to stun the no.4 seeded Nishikori in 5 highly entertaining sets, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4.

Nishikori appeared to have the match in his grasp when he pulled ahead 6-4 in the fourth set tiebreak, earning himself two match-points, however, Paire refused to surrender, winning the tiebreak 8-6, before picking up a crucial break in the fifth game of the decider, and closing the match in style with some booming serves.

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Seventh seed Ana Ivanovic of Serbia was sent packing on Day 1 of the US Open as the action kicked off on the opening day at Flushing Meadows with a stunning upset on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Ivanovic, given the honour to open proceedings at the US Open on the marquee court, ran into an old foe in world no. 50 Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia, a player who always tends to do well at the Grand Slams and was a semi-finalist earlier this year at the Australian Open.

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New York City will be missing a huge chunk of its usual amount of September glamour with Russian diva Maria Sharapova announcing late yesterday that she will not play in the US Open.

A champion here in New York in 2006, Sharapova hit the practice courts last week in an effort to get ready for the tournament and was scheduled to play Daria Gavrilova later today, but despite having gone through the pre-tournament media formalities, Maria made a late decision not to play at the US Open due to a nagging knee injury.

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The official draws for the 2015 US Open were conducted in New York on Thursday, setting the stage for the final Slam of the season. Canada will be represented in the singles main draw by Eugenie Bouchard (Montreal), Vasek Pospisil (Vancouver), and Milos Raonic (Thornhill, Ont.), all of whom received direct entries into the tournament.

Bouchard is seeded No. 25 and will play American Alison Riske, world No. 56, in the first round. Bouchard holds a 4-1 record over Riske, including a victory earlier this year at Eastbourne. The 21-year-old’s best result at the US Open is the fourth round, which she accomplished last year. She is in the same quarter as No. 3 Maria Sharapova and could face No. 7 Ana Ivanovic in the third round.

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Serena Williams is one of the best tennis players of all time and according to some experts, the best female tennis player who has ever lived. She has won 21 major singles titles and doesn’t look to be stopping anytime soon. She is the reigning champion of the Australian Open, Wimbledon, French Open and U.S Open and at the moment she is virtually unbeatable. There are other great female tennis players out there, but recently, nobody has been able to come close. So realistically, does anybody even have a chance of beating her at the U.S Open?

The answer to that is probably no. Betfair’s odds for her to win at the time of writing are 23/20 and reflect just how unlikely it is that anyone will dethrone her.  The other potential challengers are Victoria Azarenka (6/1) and Maria Sharapova (8/1) and they will be praying for a miracle if either of them are to even hope of claiming any silverware this year.

Even though the odds are highly stacked against them, the other top seeds shouldn’t give up all hope just yet. The great thing about sport is that anything can happen. Serena has been beaten before, so they know that it isn’t impossible. Many pundits believe that the best way to approach a match with the world number one is to play a very aggressive game.

There have been some massive upsets in recent history including Garbine Mugbruza’s win over Williams in the second round of the French Open in 2014. In 2013 the 23rd seed, Sabine Cisicki knocked Williams out of Wimbledon to end a 34-match winning streak.

Azarenka can also take some solace in the fact that she has beaten Williams fairly recently. This was a very close match in the final of the 2013 Western and Southern Open in Cincinatti. The former world number one won the match 2-6, 6-2, 7-6. Williams got her revenge later that year though and defeated Azarenka in the US Open final.

Sharapova has only managed to defeat Williams once, in 2004. Every time the two of them have met since then, Sharapova has lost. Some believe that this is because the Russian breaks down mentally against Williams, and Williams on the other hand gets mentally tougher. Sharapova needs to have the belief that she can win again.

As it stands, the wise money is on Williams to win yet another grand slam title.


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