One of the premier tennis tournaments of the year returned to New York City last week.
Play officially began on Monday, but the excitement and buzz was brewing the week before, even if Hurricane Irene did temporarily put a halt to the fanfare over the weekend, including canceling the popular Arthur Ashe Kid's Day.
As players began arriving in Queens, several of the bigger stars met with the media to discuss the upcoming two-week tournament. Serena Williams, who missed last year's U.S. Open, is widely considered the favorite among the field of women, even after coming back from an injury.
"I feel good. I feel really good," she said. "It's been a good summer, so I feel solid."
As play began Monday afternoon, one of tennis' biggest stars nearly made a very early exit. The women's No. 3 seed, Maria Sharapova, lost the first set to 19-year-old Heather Watson and battled from behind to take the second. She easily dispatched of Watson in the third, but not before getting a big scare.
Afterward, Sharapova said it was one of her toughest first-round matches at a major championship ever.
"Yeah, no doubt that it was one of the toughest that I've had," she said after the match. "To be honest, it's quite expected. Obviously not really knowing too much about my opponent and not facing against her before, I don't know, she just came out and played really smart."
In other play on Monday, the men's No. 3 seed, Roger Federer, cruised past Santiago Giraldo in straight sets to advance to the second round.
For a complete schedule and tickets, visit the U.S. Openwebsite.