The 134th edition of the U.S. Open at Flushing Meadows got off to an electrifying start Monday in a bracket that features dominance, upsets and more.
While the biggest names such as Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova do not hit the hard courts until late in the day's proceedings, the opening salvo did more than whet the appetite of fans—it gave them some of the best action to date.
As the final Grand Slam of the season creeps through its infancy stages, here is a look at Monday's bracket results and some of the most notable storylines.
2014 U.S. Open Day 1 Completed Scores
|Nick Kyrgios def. No. 21 Mikhail Youzhny||7-5, 7-6, 2-6, 7-6|
|No. 23 Leonardo Mayer def. Albert Montanes||6-2, 3-0 (retired)|
|Matthew Ebden def. Tobias Kamke||6-4, 6-3, 7-6|
|Matthias Bachinger def. Radek Stepanek||6-3, 6-2, 6-2|
|Andreas Seppi def. Sergiy Stakhovsky||6-3, 6-1, 6-4|
|Thomaz Bellucci def. Nicolas Mahut||7-6, 6-4, 6-1|
|Pablo Carreno Busta def. Andreas Beck||6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6|
|Matthew Ebden def. Tobias Kamke||6-4, 6-3, 7-6|
|No. 22 Philipp Kohlschreiber def. Facundo Bagnis||6-2, 7-6, 6-3|
|Fernando Verdasco def. Blaz Rola||6-3, 3-6, 7-5, 1-6, 6-4|
|Aleksandr Nedovyesov def. James McGee||4-6,6-2, 6-1, 7-6|
|Benoit Paire def. No. 24 Julien Benneteau||7-6, 5-7, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4|
|Simone Bolelli def. Vasek Pospisil||2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3|
|No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga def. Juan Monaco||6-3, 4-6, 7-6, 6-1|
|No. 8 Andy Murray def. Robin Haase||6-3, 7-6, 1-6, 7-5|
|No. 2 Simona Halep def. Danielle Rose Collins||6-7, 6-1, 6-2|
|No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska def. Sharon Fichman||6-1, 6-0|
|No. 6 Angelique Kerber def. Ksenia Pervak||6-2, 3-6, 7-5|
|No. 18 Andrea Petkovic def. Ons Jabeur||7-6, 1-6, 6-3|
|No. 31 Kurumi Nara def. Aleksandra Wozniak||6-2, 6-1|
|No. 14 Lucie Safarova def. Timea Babos||6-4, 7-5|
|Saisai Zheng def. Stefanie Voegele||1-6, 6-2, 6-2|
|Belinda Bencic def. Yanina Wickmayer||6-3, 6-2|
|Jana Cepelova def. Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor||2-6, 7-5, 6-1|
|Shuai Peng def. Jie Zheng||6-3, 6-3|
|Tsvetana Pironkova def. Karin Knapp||6-4, 6-3|
|Monica Puig def. Tereza Smitkova||3-6, 6-3, 6-3|
|Johanna Larsson def. Virginie Razzano||6-0, 6-0|
|Timea Bacsinszky def. Kiki Bertens||6-7, 4-3|
|Alla Kudryavtseva def. Ying-Ying Duan||2-6, 6-2, 6-4|
|Anastasia Rodionova def. Camila Giorgi||1-6, 7-5, 6-3|
|Daniela Hantuchova def. Romina Oprandi||4-6, 6-2, 6-3|
|Shahar Peer def. Johanna Konta||6-2, 6-3|
|No. 9 Jelena Jankovic def. Bojana Jovanovski||6-2, 6-3|
|No. 21 Sloane Stephens def. Annika Beck||6-0, 6-3|
|No. 19 Venus Williams def. Kimiko Date-Krumm||2-6, 6-3, 6-3|
In the midst of a bit of a career resurgence, the other Williams sister has become just as important of a name to watch.
A mere weeks after knocking off sister Serena in Montreal, Venus enters New York as the No. 19 seed and took down Kimiko Date-Krumm in the first round, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. The triumph makes Williams a pristine 16-0 in the first round of the tournament, which she won last in 2001.
Williams fired off three aces and 17 winners while dominating at the net, winning 73 percent of the points there. That ugly first set is not a huge ordeal when put into context, either, as Jane McManus of ESPNNewYork.com does:
Venus Williams wins in 3. Seems to be the early trend here - women's seeds needing 3 sets. 2Halep, 6Kerber, 18Petkovic so far. #USOpen2014— Jane McManus (@janesports) August 25, 2014
The last thing a wide-open field needed—seriously, even Serena has looked shaky as of late, and the rest of the bracket is a mess—was for the veteran Williams to be in top form.
At this point, she assuredly is with injury issues in the rearview. Until that form dips, Venus is as critical to monitor as Serena.
The 2012 champion saw his opponent double his aces total (16-8) and underwent a serious bout with cramps yet still came away with the win Monday.
So it goes for Andy Murray.
Murray survived Robin Haase, 6-3, 7-6 (6), 1-6, 7-5, but did so in a display of grit. Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times paints the picture:
Cramps from all directions for Andy Murray. Like he's playing whack-a-mole with how quickly he switches the body part he's grabbing. #usopen— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) August 25, 2014
"When it starts to kind of go everywhere, you don't know exactly where it's going to creep up next," he said, per ESPN.com. "When you stretch one muscle, something else then cramps, too."
Like Williams, Murray's day was saved at the net, where he won 64 percent of his points. The world No. 70 seemed to have what it took to pull off the upset, but Murray was able to pull through despite his 51 unforced errors.
Murray next encounters Germany's Matthias Bachinger, where he will need an improvement in the fitness department to coast through. The match with Haase was too close in a way, and not every one of Murray's opponents will also suffer cramps or post more than 50 unforced errors.
If Murray is to thrive in a field already missing Rafael Nadal, he better hope Monday was a speed bump.
One of the contenders in most erratic form entering Monday was No. 2 Simona Halep, which her play on the court showcased in Round 1.
Halep was able to eventually move past Danielle Rose Collins, 6-7 (2), 6-1, 6-2, but a horrific first set was reminiscent of her early exit in New Haven. Her next two sets were more like the form she put on to win it all a few tournaments ago in Bucharest.
But again, the first-round—and really, first-set—struggles were a common occurrence Monday for a diluted women's bracket. For Halep, the newfound ranking put her under pressure she has never felt, as captured by McManus:
It's really difficult, the first round of the tournament. Today was a big challenge for me because I played the first match of this tournament on center court. It's not easy to manage the situation.
It's not easy. It's a little bit of pressure. I can say more pressure because everyone is telling me that I have a chance to win this title. But still I'm very far. I have to take match by match and to see if I can win more matches here. Every match like today was tough, and every match is tough here.
Observers can be forgiven for writing Halep off in the middle of the first set. Collins, who was playing in her first Open, was simply in better form, and the No. 2 seed was visibly distraught.
The tide turned quickly, though, as Halep used her first break opportunity to turn things around and dominate the rest of the way. She went on to convert on 80 percent of her first-serve points and fire 24 winners while posting 33 unforced errors to Collins' 41.
The key now is for the streaky Halep to turn the momentum gained into something she can build upon in future matches. Given the state of the field, that does not seem out of the question.