Williams Sisters' Matches Kick Off US Open

First-round matches part of tribute to first black Grand Slam champion
By Joseph Fasano,  Newser User
Posted Aug 27, 2007 5:25 AM CDT
Number eight seed Serena Williams, of the United States, celebrates during the U.S. Open Arthur Ashe Kids' Day at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center Saturday, Aug. 25, 2007 in New York....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – When the US Open kicks off today, Serena and Venus Williams will play their first-round matches immediately following an opening tribute to the first black Grand Slam champion, Althea Gibson. The 50th anniversary of the first US Open title won by the "Jackie Robinson of tennis," who died in 2003, will be the centerpiece of tonight's ceremony.

On the court, top seed Roger Federer is after his fourth consecutive US Open title, a feat last attained by Bill Tilden (1920-26).  The Swiss phenom hasn't lost at Flushing Meadows since 2003. Counterpart Justine Henin is nursing a shoulder injury and may still be in better shape than defending champ Maria Sharapova, beset by shoulder and shin woes. (Read more Venus Williams stories.)