The Serena Williams juggernaut shows no sign of losing speed, but all around her the leading powers of the women's game are making a hash of the opening round.
Coming on the heels of Venus Williams' severe struggles on Day 1, the events of Tuesday further highlighted the growing depth in the women's game.
First it was Safina (pictured) who nearly came unstuck against emerging Australian Olivia Rogowska – year of birth 1991 (now that's scary). Rogowska won the first set with some brilliant play before losing 6-4 in the decider, adding fuel to the critics who have questioned Safina's top ranking.
The Russian has never won a Grand Slam, yet she is rated ahead of Serena based on her results in smaller events. Still, precious few tennis observers see her as a favorite to lift this title.
Perhaps the inevitable criticism of this performance is unfair. Rogowska is just one of a brigade of fearless youngsters who refuse to lay down against the best women in the world.
Gone are the days when it was only the men's game that possessed depth.
If only someone could put up a serious challenge to Serena, then we'd really have a tournament on our hands.
Boos and bad karma to the U.S. Open line judge, who berated a ballboy for his acrobatic leap over an advertising board that resulted in a hilarious and spectacular trip during Andy Murray's victory over Ernests Gulbis. More feats of misguided athleticism from the ball staff are more than welcome.
Danish beauty Caroline Wozniacki was watched by a testosterone-fueled, largely male crowd for her first-round clash on Louis Armstrong Court, but she was not fazed by the attention and racked up a comfortable 6-4, 6-0 victory over Galina Voskoboeva. Wozniacki is a genuine threat to go deep into the tournament, and the male interest will only increase the further she progresses.
It would hardly be an upset, but No. 14 seed Marion Bartoli appears to be a sitting duck when she takes on Kim Clijsters. Clijsters' comeback is gathering steam, and the Belgian should have too much game for Bartoli.
MATCH OF THE DAY
Veteran Nicolas Lapentti turned back the clock with a dramatic come-from-behind victory over 19th seed Stanislas Wawrinka, overturning a two-set deficit to prevail in a five-set clash laced with heavy hitting and dramatic rallies.
Photo courtesy The Associated Press