Sunday morning it rained in NY but by early afternoon the skies, well didn’t clear but stopped crying rain. I got out to the open around 3pm, just in time to see Sloane Stephens take on Julia Goerges from Germany. The first thing I noticed was the extremely vocal group that was in the volunteer seating area in Armstrong. These guys were yelling for Sloane and one or two women too. I figured they were either well lubricated or paid cheerleaders for the Americans. It turned out that at least some were from Harvard and were given tickets in exchange for cheering on the Americans. The ironic thing was that the student (who told me he was from Harvard and when I asked admitted he was given a ticket in exchange for cheering) was German so wasn’t really cheering since Goerges as I said, is German! Some female students also said they needed to sit in the volunteer area since they were given tickets I exchange for cheering. They were quire enthusiastic and in the third set even go the wave going at 41 in the third. Sloane won the match in three sets; in the first set she was down a break but broke twice to win the set 63; in the second Goerges got an early break and held serve throughout the set to win it 63. Sloane looked pretty weary in the second, but, perhaps energized by the crowd, got an early break in the third and cruised from there. Stephens also picked up her pace of shot a bit at the beginning of the third set, while not increasing her error count.
After watching that match, I went to see Coco Vandeweghe and Horia Tecau from Romania take on Yung Jan Chan (TPE) and Nand Zimonjic (Serbia). Chan is Hingis’ women’s doubles partner so you know she’s a good doubles player. They played on Court 10 which has stands only on one side and a low stand on the other side. I sat one row up from the court, catty-corner to Coco’s mom and relatives (at least there was a family resemblance). Mixed is fun to watch and these two teams had some amazing points. Both women pummeled returns and volleyed well. Zimonjic has been around so long his beard is flecked with gray (is 41). Tecau is a very good mixed player, great volleys and Coco volleyed better than anyone in the men’s doubles match I watched yesterday! The crowd was avidly cheering for Coco and chanting her name. She enjoyed that, played well and the pair won 64 63.
After leaving that match I went to see a junior match featuring Amanda Anisimova from the USA, the #4 seed against unseeded Marta Jose Portillo Ramirez of Mexico. She just turned 16 and is quite tall, listed as 5’10”. I saw her play a couple of years ago and she’s certainly grown a lot. She’s a bit awkward around the court but has a lot of poise and confidence and murders her groundstrokes. The one she hit for a winner on match point Marta just laughed at, it was so powerful. Marta had a brace on one ankle and seemed to be limping a bit but had a rally from 15 to 35 in the 2nd set as Amanda seemed to lose focus. That’s perhaps a big difference between juniors and pros.
As that match finished, Martina Hingis and Jamie Murray dropped the second set of their mixed match. The third set is a match tiebreak for mixed at the US Open and it was an exciting one. They played Kveta Peschke, Czech Rep. and Marcelo Demoliner from Brazil. Both men got nervous towards the end of the match. Marcelo double faulted in the tiebreak and at 8-7, Murray to serve, he hit a half volley wide and double faulted. HIngis returned Marcelo’s serve and they won the point to level the tiebreak and won the next two points to advance to the quarters.
The last match I watched a bit of was Hurricane Tyra Black, USA and the 15th seed from Russia, Sofya Lansere. Lansere seemed a bit quicker and more disciplined on the court than Black who was alternating between blasting the ball (out a lot) and chipping forehands. I only watched a few games but the Russian won 63 75.
Oh, and that doubles match I was watching yesterday…Taylor Fritz/Reilly Opelka were edged by the Frenchmen Martin/Chardy 76 (5) in the set they played today, which I unfortunately arrived too late to witness.
And that’s a wrap on my Sunday trip to the US Open. One more day here and I’ll be watching mostly doubles and mixed and juniors tomorrow. It’s fun to do that, I can get courtside and the crowds really get into it too.
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