U.S. Open, Day 3: James Blake says farewell to tennis after first round loss

Shane Bacon
Busted Racquet

• James Blake announced before the U.S. Open began that he would be retiring, and while he didn't want it to happen in the first round, you can't help but love his effort in his five set loss to Ivo Karlovic. Blake lost in a fifth set tiebreaker, but took to the microphone to thank the fans that stuck around well after midnight to watch his final match, and gave an emotional speech as he walked away from tennis.

• Venus Williams, who won her first round match handily over No. 12 Kristen Klipkens, lost in the second round to Jie Zheng 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (5). It looked like the third set would be a stroll for Zheng, who went up 3-0, but Venus battled back to force a tiebreaker, and battled back in that after going down 4-1 in the tiebreaker. Williams got it back to 5-5 before a volley caught the net, giving Zheng match point, and a backhand sailed wide to allow Zheng to advance to the third round.

• Li Na, Juan Martin Del Potro and Agnieszka Radwanska were three of the higher ranked players to get their matches in despite some weather delays, all advancing on Wednesday despite a start and stop day.

This one belonged to James Blake, who won the first two sets on Wednesday night and looked like he would prolong his retirement to another day, but that was when Ivo Karlovic stepped in and spoiled the party.

Karlovic won the third and fourth sets, and while Blake battled back in the fifth to get to a tiebreaker, it was the big-hitting Croatian that advanced to the second round.

No matter how Blake went out, it was a great fight for the man that knew this would be his last dance, and he never stopped battling, even down the final challenge on the eventual match point serve by Karlovic.

This outfit got a lot of use in the nearly eight hours it took Juan Martin Del Potro to win his first round match because of the weather delays, but he looked solid in this Nike getup.

It was a good first round win by American Tim Smyczek, but nothing needs to change with that collar before the second round.

Thursday marks the return of some of the past champions of this event, including Serena Williams, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, all attempting to advance to the third round at the U.S. Open.

Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka are both set to play their second rounds as well, but the most exciting second round match will be American John Isner facing always entertaining Gael Monfils under the lights at Louis Armstrong Stadium.

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