<
>

U.S. Open live blog

Day 1 blog

3:55 p.m.
We're done for the day, thanks for following along. We'll see what famous celebrity shows up in the Players' Lounge on Thursday.

3:50 p.m.
Biggest Practice Court crowd so far has gathered to watch Rafa and uncle Toni on Court 5.

3:31 p.m.
No doubt I'm showing my age, but does EVERYONE text message to communicate these days? Every player, when not on the court, has some form of a hand-held device and they aren't talking on it.

3:15 p.m.
Clement -- in four hours -- knocks off the tallest player in the draw, winning the fifth set 6-4.

3:05 p.m.: Question from Meg in Belgium:

    How do you feel about Federer's draw? His quarter is quite tough with Gasquet, Mathieu, Ivo and Andy. Will he lose any sets in advancing to the semis?


On paper he has a very favorable draw since he would get Roddick in the quarters and Blake in the semis if the draw plays out. However, he may also get John Isner in the third round. Not to say Isner is going to beat the three-time defending champion, but 6-10 Ivo Karlovic did take Federer to two tiebreaks in Montreal.

2:50 p.m.
Match of the day right now has to be 6-foot-10 Ivo Karlovic vs. 5-foot-8 Arnaud Clement. Their match started just after 11 a.m. They are now in the fifth set with Clement up a break. The Frenchman won the first two sets before Karlovic, who is the tallest player on tour by one inch, came back to force a fifth set.

2:45 p.m.
American Michael Russell is playing in Arthur Ashe Stadium, and the fans are chanting for his opponent. Granted, he's playing local favorite James Blake, who comes packed with his own fan club, The J-Block.

2:15 p.m.: Question from Joshua in New York City:

    What do you see as the two most compelling matches of the afternoon session? I am bringing my cousin from Israel who will see professional tennis for the first time.


Of the afternoon session, that's a tough one since a lot of the big names have already played today. (James Blake just got under way on Arthur Ashe.) Other than the two night matches (Sharapova and Roddick), you might want to watch Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands play (she's facing Alberta Brianti of Italy). It might be a lopsided match, but Krajicek is a player who could make a run into the second week. David Ferrer and Florian Mayer could also be a fun one to see because of its location, out on Court 11. (That's assuming Clement-Karlovic ever finish their match.)

1:59 p.m.
You would have thought American Bobby Reynolds (I will admit, I wasn't sure who he was at first) was from a boy band by the number of teenage girls he had swarming around him asking for autographs.

1:51 p.m.
If it happens in the third round, be sure to watch the match between Sania Mirza and Anna Chakvetadze. Mirza -- playing probably the best tennis of her career -- won her first-round match today in three sets over Kaia Kanepi. Mirza has two losses to Chakvetadze already this summer, but they played some the best tennis during the U.S. Open Series.

1:47 p.m.
Just ran into John Isner in the hall, and I can confirm he is a legit 6-foot-9. No doubt if he was an NBA player he'd be listed closer to 6-11.

1:30
Grace Jones now is hanging out with Svetlana Kuznetsova outside the Players' Lounge, while DYoung is back at the PlayStation playing more tennis (as is Jo-Wilfried Tsonga).

1:05 p.m.
Scenes from earlier in the day, wandering around the tennis center:

• American Donald Young was playing tennis bright and early Tuesday -- video game tennis, that is (Andy Roddick vs. Rafael Nadal on the PlayStation3 in the Players' Lounge).

• The upper righthand corner of the stands on Court 4 is a great place to get elevation (since you can't see through the hedge-covered fence) and watch players on Practice courts 1-3. This morning, the crowd gathered to watch Svetlana Kuznetsova (who went on to win her first-round match), Nicole Vaidisova and Anna Chakvetadze.

• On the outer courts, you saw one of the few banners made by fans. On Court 13, a group from Long Island who follow around the Japanese contingent, had a sign in Japanese that read "Go For It" in support of Akiko Morigami. From the stands of 13, you could hear chants of "Domcha! Domcha! Domcha!" following each point won by Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova, who was playing -- and went on to beat -- No. 23 Tathiana Garbin on Court 14.

• "What do you want my autograph for?" Thomas Blake said happily. Thomas was surrounded by autogrpah seekers and people who wanted their photo taken with the older brother of James Blake.

• Actress/model/singer Grace Jones greeted Novak Djokovic in the Players' Lounge with a kiss on each cheek, as the two chatted only 30 minutes before his first-round match against Robin Haase.

1 p.m.
Before we dive into Day 2, here's a few notes from late Monday:

• Jarkko Nieminen on 6-foot-9 American John Isner's serve: "But I just can say that this is the best serve I have seen on the court." Trying to prepare for Isner's serve, Nieminen had practice players who came in close to the service line and served from there "so I get the same angle where Isner is serving from." Nieminen did not break Isner's serve once in four sets (0-for-7 on break-point conversions).

• Isner, on the possibility of playing Roger Federer in the third round: "I got, you know, one more match till then. I'm not in any position where I can look ahead. Maybe [Federer] can, but not me."

• "I go all the way back to Rosie Casals. Chrissy Evert, the backhand, that treacherous backhand that she had." That wasn't a tennis analyst, but Aretha Franklin, who spoke in Interview Room 1 after singing "Respect" during the Althea Gibson tribute "Breaking Barriers."