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Social Sound Off: The week that was

Social Sound Off: Week 1
By Nicholas J. Walz
Sunday, August 31, 2014

In the tournament’s first seven days, we’ve seen the fall of five of the top six seeds in the women’s singles draw – of that group, only defending champion Serena Williams survives to see Labor Day. We also got a glimpse of the future, as 15-year-old American junior CiCi Bellis earned her first Grand Slam main draw victory and became an instant sensation in taking down No. 12 Dominika Cibulkova.

By contrast, only one Top 10 man – David Ferrer, who lost on Sunday to Gilles Simon – is out. No. 1 Novak Djokovic won Wimbledon but came into the Open struggling on hard courts, with a pair of third-round exits in Toronto and Cincinnati. The Serb has been flawless here, with three straight-sets wins. Roger Federer also is through to the men’s round of 16 for the 14th consecutive year, though he needed to brave the rain and an early deficit to Spain’s Marcel Granollers on Sunday. Federer’s quest for a sixth US Open crown as a 33-year-old  (it’s been a dozen years since a player past the age of 30, Pete Sampras in 2002, has earned the US Open crown) remains a popular storyline.

With so many to choose from, asks you to sound off: What was the most interesting storyline to emerge from Week 1 at the Open?

To review some suggestions:

Serena sails: The 32-year-old women’s No. 1 has played six matches in two draws – she’s also teaming with sister Venus in women’s doubles – and hasn’t been close to peril in any of them. Williams will need to defeat Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi on Monday to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal of 2014.  

Top-seed-turvy: Only five of the women’s top ten seeds have reached this year’s round of 16, tied for the lowest advancement of top seeds into the fourth round since the women’s main draw expanded from eight to 16 seeds in 1976. In 2001, the US Open began seeding 32 players.

Bellismania: For three days, fans clamored to know more about the USTA Girls’ 18 national hard-court champion, CiCi Bellis, a California high school sophomore who happened to knock out one of this year’s Australian Open finalists.

No Djoke: No. 16 Philipp Kohlschreiber is next up for Djokovic, and five Top 10 players are still alive in his half of the draw. Those who questioned his chances to reach a fifth consecutive US Open final are now slightly less vocal.

Fed focus: No men’s player hit the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center with as much momentum as the Swiss, and now he’s back in the round that tripped him up in 2013 when then-No. 19 Tommy Robredo shocked the five-time Open champ in straight sets.