US Open 2011: The view from the bleachers – picture special

With the final Major of the year at the half way stage, we bring you some different snapshots from New York

It’s only at the half way stage, but this year’s US Open has already been marked by drama and breaking records.

Not content with an earthquake in New York during qualifying week, Flushing Meadows had to batten down the hatches on launch weekend as Hurricane Irene blew her way across Queens. First casualty: the huge opening jamboree, Arthur Ashe Kids Day.

Come the first round and the No6 men’s seed withdrew, swiftly followed by Venus Williams in the women’s competition. The tournament would go on lose a further 14 men and women through retirement by the end of the week””a Grand Slam Open era record.

The home crowd experienced another mini earthquake when the Bryan brothers lost their opening doubles match, but Serena Williams made serene progress: 49 minutes to beat her second-round opponent and then a straight-sets win over No4 seed Victoria Azarenka.

The Italian women have shone, a British quartet of women reached the main draw, and two of them””Elena Baltacha and Laura Robson””reached the second round, which is more than two reigning Grand Slam champions””Na Li and Petra Kvitova””managed to do.

Yet, as week two gets under way and the first rain of the main tournament threatens to arrive, the top four men are still in place and still looking good.

So too, by the way, is the women’s top seed, Caroline Wozniacki, despite naysayers who refuse to consider her as a contender for the title.

That’s the news in a nutshell. Here, though, are some views from the bleachers””with not a headline in sight.

us open 2011

Seeking the shade: in the early days, it was easy to find relief from the baking sun. As the week wore on, people had to find more novel ways to keep cool.

us open 2011

Sweet Caroline poured from the loudspeakers as Wozniacki won her third match so far. Quite right. Maria Sharapova may be the pin-up in New York, but Wozniacki is the more graceful in movement.

us open 2011

And Roger Federer is so sick of questions about turning 30 that he decided to show everyone he is as flexible as the next man.

us open 2011

He may be 33 and struggling back from the latest in a catalogue of injuries, but Tommy Haas prepared to leave, if not blood, then more than his share of sweat on the court in the process.

us open 2011

It’s harder than it looks to keep up the pace to the bitter end of a long, hot schedule at Flushing Meadows.

us open 2011

David Nalbandian has had more success than most in beating Nadal in the past, but Nadal fought off the elegant challenge of the man he called “one of the players with most talent on the tour.” Nadal also revealed afterwards that the two of them are very good friends who have often practised together. He didn’t need to say it: their embrace after the match said it all.
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