Thursday, September 03, 2015

Postcard From Flushing Meadows

Damian and I decided to make our first trip to the U.S. Open together a "choose your own adventure" theme, opting for a Day 3 day pass, which can extend into night -- sans the big stadiums -- depending on how adventurous you're feeling. Everyone always talks about how great it is to be so close to the action on the outer courts, but then they cave in and wind up at Ashe. The trick to success is having the right partner in crime -- and Damian was just the guy. After a bit of a slow start -- and some LIRR delays -- we got there just in time to watch Mardy Fish call it a career by flowing a chance to serve out a win against Feliciano Lopez, who wasn't quite as deliciano as usual thanks to a baseball cap necessitated by the sweltering heat. 

We got up close to Milos Raonic and Fernando Verdasco -- sadly not "and personal" with the Spaniard's ass -- over in the soon-to-be-done grandstand.

Oh, Fernando!

After spending some time in the grandstand, our first venture to an outer court turned out to be an exercise in patience, as Agnieszka Radwańska and her Polish opponent played dozens of deuces before we were allowed to enter the seats.

It's the one outer court that still has guards telling you when you can come and go, which had us rethinking of strategy for the day. 

But once Grigor Dimitrov came out on the same court, all of our worries seemed to fade away.

Of course, we were so close we could practically hear his heart beat, yet not even CPR could have resuscitated him enough to fend off tricky Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan, to whom he fell in five after coming back from two sets down. 

On a more user friendly outside court, where we literally just walked up and sat on a bench, Benoit Paire was his usual hysterical self, employing the Kenny Walsh slice forehand to great effect in his win over Marsel İlhan of Turkey. (This time the Frenchman held on to his racket throughout the match.)

We returned to the grandstand to see if Genie Bouchard would blow yet another match, but despite her best efforts, she pulled it out in three.

We then hustled over to Court 10 because Damian wanted to catch a little of the doubles match featuring Dominic Thiem, the Austrian player he thinks is Most Likely to Come Out as Gay. 

David Goffin and Dominic Thiem: Cute and Cuter

Not sure this theory is based on anything beyond his Stock '80s Gay Porn Bottom two-tone hairdo or not, but we got there just in time to see him and cutie David Goffin lose (badly) to Americans Michael Russell and Donald Young, who also advanced in singles.  

The best part of Michael Russell's game.

No sooner did the match end did Damian notice a former two-toned Most Likely to Come Out as Gay player -- Mr. Jan-Michael Gambill -- with whom we'd just been messaging on Instagram and Twitter after he posted a photo at Forest Hills with a group of tennis greats.

With the help of my brother Bill and Damian, I won the "How many can you name?" contest -- all of them, so it was funny to bump into JMG right after this online exchange. (He's huge in person and very friendly, although I didn't press him on any questions about gays in tennis.) 

He later posted that he was at the match to cheer on his good friend Michael Russell. 

This wasn't the first time Chris Evert turned her back on me. Hi, Pam!

We both wanted to see dreamy Vasek Popsispil, but since he cramped and lost his firstround singles match, we settled for his doubles with American Jack "Chipotle in Paris" Sock. 

The match was high-caliber and exciting, but the boys blew a match point and lost in three to the dreamy Latin duo of Leonardo Mayer and João Sousa, whose softened the blow. 

We caught a little of Serena Williams on a practice court, but couldn't get behind the velvet rope. Not sure who has a better ass, her or her coach.

And speaking of players who might come out ...

We got to see Tommy Robredo win handily versus big-boy Aussie Sam Groth, with whom he'd make a nice couple. 

Lastly, we caught Martina Hingis and Leander Paes take on American upstarts Claire Liu and Taylor Harry Fritz (below), who was born the month after Martina won the women's singles crown here.

The kids were no match for the veterans -- bowing 2 and 2 -- but what a joy it was to see Hingis play again up close. Her ability to create angles and find openings is still a thing of beauty, as is she.

The Swiss couldn't miss.


Anonymous said...

looks like you had a great time, now i'm really jealous! thanks for sharing the day and the pics, kenneth.

mike/ said...

today is Thiem's 22nd birthday! just a baby...

Brent said...

Wow, what a great day! But please tell Damian to UNTUCK that polo. Good grief!

Hot Studs said...

Nice pics, man. Good for you! :)