U.S. Open Update: Everything taking its course

The third round of the 2009 U.S. Open has nearly finished amidst the surprisingly welcoming weather at New York’s National Tennis Center. So far, there haven’t been many surprises. The top 16-ranked men all advanced rather seamlessly. Serena and Venus have had an easy time as well. Unfortunately, they are in the same draw and will likely meet in the semis. The other top female players are, as always, playing below their rank, as upsets and narrow victories are happening left and right.

This has been a topsy-turvy U.S. Open for the women: No. 8 Victoria Azarenka’s 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 loss to No. 26 Francesca Schiavone on Friday came a day after No. 4 Elena Dementieva and No. 5 Jelena Jankovic were upset. All told, 11 of the 20 highest-seeded women are gone, and the third round is only halfway done.

No. 1 Dinara Safina made it to Saturday’s third round, but barely. She needed more than 4 1/2 hours to get through two three-set victories.

The best men have faced no such problems: No. 3 Rafael Nadal’s 6-0, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory Friday night in the last match of Day 5 means the men seeded 1-16 all reached the third round at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in the 41-year Open era.

Once again, the lovely Ana Ivanovic failed to perform well in a Grand Slam, losing to Kateryna Bondarenko in the first round. Maria Sharapova, however, has advanced to third round and is currently in the third set against American Melanie Oudin. It would be great to see the former No. 1-ranked star face Serena or Venus in the finals.

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Woods struggling at U.S. Open, shoots a 74 in Round 1

After rain delayed the opening round of the 2009 U.S. Open on Thursday, play resumed on Friday and perennial favorite Tiger Woods is off to a brutal start.

Woods shot a 74 in Round 1, which leaves him 4-over-par after his first day. The 74 marks his second worst start ever at the U.S. Open, with his worst coming in 2006 when he shot a 76 in the opening round.

For comparison, when Woods won the U.S. Open in 2000 he shot a 65 in the opening round and when he won again in 2002, he shot a 67 in Round 1. Compared to his 74 this year, he would appear to have his work cut out for him, but don’t forget he shot a 72 in Round 1 last year and won his third-career U.S. Open so he’s not out of it – not by a long shot.

As of this post, Drew Weaver and Graeme McDowell lead all play with 69, but not all golfers have wrapped up play yet in the first round. So considering he’s only five shots back of the leaders with 54 holes to play, Woods has a ton of time to make up ground.

Check out the Official Site of the U.S. Open for updated scores and more on this year’s event.

2009 U.S. Open Predictions

The 2009 U.S. Open is set to kick off tomorrow from Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, New York. Not surprisingly, Tiger Woods is favored to win this year’s Open, although there are some intriguing long shots that could potentially come out victorious.

As with all of my predictions, I recommend to wager everything you own because I’m usually right. I’m 634-0 in my sports predicting career and I won’t hear differently.***

The Winner: Tiger Woods 3/2
Maybe someone with bigger plums would go against Tiger, but I feel good about the size of my plums and I’m going with the favorite. Woods won the Open last year and has done so three times in his career. My insiders (i.e. everything you read on the internet) tell me that the Bethpage Black Course is all about long, accurate drives and if that’s the case then Tiger should do well. Woods should also be well rested since he doesn’t bother with a lot of the other PGA Tour events on the schedule (he’s competed in just seven events so far this season) and because I hear he’s really, really good at golf (more inside information).

The Sleeper: Retief Goosen 35/1
The Goose could be loose this weekend because no one putts better on fast greens than Retief. He’s a grinder and won earlier this year at the tough Innisbrook Resort Copperhead Course. Goosen has also won the U.S. Open twice in his career and experience counts in a major.

The Long Shot Sleeper: David Toms 50/1
Like Woods, Toms excels at long, accurate drives and that should play well on this course. In 14 events this season, he’s finished in the top-10 six times and has experience winning a major. Granted, the last major win won was in 2001 (PGA Championship), so some believe he’s already peaked. Me? I say he’s due.

***There is no factual documentation that proves that Anthony is 634-0. Take his picks as mere suggestions and by no means should you “wager everything you own” because there’s a good chance Anthony was drunk while handicapping this event.

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