Thursday, August 31, 2017

Grounds for Happiness

Here's a lengthy-but-quick photo roundup of our trip yesterday to the U.S. Open. Damian and I got grounds passes, which generally means you will miss some of the marquee players who are on Ashe Stadium. But with Tuesday's virtual rainout, organizers had no choice but to spread everyone out throughout the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, which allowed for some incredibly intimate tennis watching, as you will see. 

We started with Tomas Berdych versus Ryan Harrison. Although I knew Berych was built, I had no idea how massive he was until I was 10 feet from him. (Look at those tree trunks above.) I'm frankly shocked he can move as well as he does carrying all of that around.

Ryan, of course, was as adorable in person as you would imagine. He gave Berdych a little something to think about in the third set, but was really no match for the big-hitting Czech. (Harrison also lost in the first round of doubles on Thursday.)

I see Tomas was injured today, however, and ended up losing to the guy we saw next, below.

Russian Andrey Rublev all but blew Slovenian-born Aljaž Bedene off the court.

But the 28-year-old, who now players for Great Britain, was awfully easy on the eyes.

From HERE.

Always a thrill to see Feliciano Lopez, who won in four over Russian Andrey Kuznetsov

Norbert Gombos of Slovakia was a thing of beauty, but fell in five to Serbian Viktor Troicki. (They were wearing matching Lotto shirts, shorts and shoes.)

Was excited that Tracy liked my tweet!

Lucas Pouille let a two-set lead slip away versus Jared Donaldson ...

Jan-Michael Gambill's protégé in action

but bouncing back to win it in five. Our theory was the young American's, um, unusual haircut distracted him. Both were gunning to be added to my Hottest Asses in Men's Tennis list ...

The highlight of the excursion was undoubtedly the battle of the youngsters, Alexander Zverev vs. Borna Coric. Although Zverev suddenly finds himself seeded 4, Coric had beaten him en route to the 2013 U.S. Open juniors title and once on the pro circuit.


After winning the first set, it looked like Sascha's current stature was going to be the deciding factor. But Coric was not intimidated. And the match wound up being one of the most exciting things I've seen in years, with each player opting to set points up slowly and methodically instead of just going for winners right out of the gate. In the end Coric saved three set points at love-40 down in the fourth set before outplaying the fellow 20-year-old in the tiebreak to win it in four exhilarating sets.

During the post-match interview, Coric seemed sort of dazed and confused ... and adorable!

Back on the outer courts, Benoit Paire and Sascha big brother, Mischa Zverev, put on an entertaining match of cat-and-mouse tennis ...

with Mischa and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat winning in five. (Is Colours by Alexander Julian making tennis clothes now?)

We caught one second of Petra Kvitova's win over Alizé Cornet, but ended up getting this close to her.

Latvian hunk Ernie Gulbis wasn't having much luck against South African Kevin Anderson in the Battle of the Giants. But it was fun watching him mope around ...

And on the other side of the sidewalk the Battle of the Munchkins went on, with Diego Schwartzman (5-7) coming out on top of  Janko Tipsarević, who claims to be 5-11 but is 5-9 on a good day.

Sloane Stephens kept her comeback summer in tact, outslugging Dominika Cibulková in three tough sets.

And then the night ended with another bonus, with Garbiñe Muguruza -- who would likely have been on Ashe -- following Zverev-Coric on the (new) Grandstand. I'd never heard of her opponent, Duan Ying-Ying, a 28-year-old from China. But you'd never guess she was currently ranked 92 the way she came out and out-Muguruza'd the Wimbledon champ for most of the first set, with incredibly powerful and well-places groundstrokes. But as is often the case where an unknown quantity plays a big name, once she got broken, the match was virtually over, with Muguruza cruising to a 6-4, 6-0 win. The perfect ending to a perfect day -- and night -- at Flushing Meadows! 

P.S. Why does everyone now think the world is their living room?


Rian G. said...

Great recap and thanks for the pics! So jealous you were close to all that hotness!

Unknown said...

Is Kevin Anderson Russian now? Did Putin invade South African politics, too? Or is there a different KA?

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

Ha! No, just a brain fart. Thanks for the catch.

BillyG said...

I'm salivating, my friend. It wasn't only the weather that made it so hot there! Love this!