Monday, September 13, 2021

Weekend Tennis Roundup

The expression "You can't win 'em all" was never more relevant than over the weekend, when a fortnight of tennis bliss ended abruptly in two straight-sets affairs. Keep reading BELOW.

After completely winning me over with her crafty victories against Naomi Osaka, Angie Kerber, Elina Svitolina and Aryna Sabalenka, 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez was beaten by Emma Raducanu. It was nothing against the Toronto-born Brit -- whose parents are Romanian and Chinese -- but her win left me with a strong sense of disappointment after schlepping out to Flushing Meadows hoping to see Fernandez win the final she worked so hard to reach, only to see her supremely outmatched. 

Who are those guys?

(How psycho are we? Once Fernandez got down a break in the second we high-tailed it out of there to the Long Island Rail Road as to not have to watch the inevitable.) All credit to Emma, whose big game reminds me of a cross between a young Ana Ivanovic and Li Na. But truth be told she got a very easy draw en route to becoming the first qualifier to ever win a Grand Slam event, so here's hoping she doesn't disappear from the scene like so many recent young major winners have.

The men's side was an entirely different scenario, with Novak Djokovic chasing history in both most majors won and the calendar Grand Slam. After watching him drop sets to a host of players he shouldn't have, I wasn't exactly surprised that he finally cracked against Daniil Medvedev. (Dani might want to split his prize money with Alexander Zverev who surely softened the 34-year-old Serb for him.) While Russia is a horrible country that I'm never happy to see good things happen to, it's hard not to like Medvedev, whose personality is as endearing as his strokes are gawky. 

While not completing the Grand Slam was disappointing -- I came home from brunch to find Nole down a set and then I turned it off a few minutes later when he went down a break in the second and didn't check the outcome until after 7 p.m. -- it really would have only been a cherry on top of a career that by nearly all measures already makes him the greatest ever. (He is about to surpass one of Pete Sampras's remaining records of year-end No. 1s.) That said, it's hard not to think that his finally losing a Grand Slam final to one of the NextGen players won't give others confidence moving forward, only making his bid to break the three-way tie for majors with Federer and Rafael Nadal that much more challenging. (This may sound odd considering he won the first three majors of the year and reached the final of the fourth, but tennis is a game of confidence.) That there was no Wimbledon in 2020 and he got ejected from the 2020 U.S. Open may come back to haunt him in the Most Majors Department, making yesterday's loss even more costly. Kudos to Daniil for finally ushering in the new era, which we have long waited to see. I don't expect him to be a one-Slam wonder.

In other events ...

Big Joe Salisbury took home two U.S. Open titles, first teaming up with Rajeev Ram to win their second Grand Slam men's doubles title together with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory Friday over Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares.

He and American Desirae Krawczyk then took out dreamy Marcelo Arevalo and Giuliana Olmos 7-5, 6-2 in the mixed doubles final, capturing their second major title as a team.

And Sam Stosur and Zhang Shuai won their second Grand Slam women's doubles title together and denied Coco Gauff and Caty McNally their first with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory on Sunday. The No. 14 seeds previously won Australian Open in 2019. Nice to see the new mom -- and more openly gay -- Stosur add the title to her 2004 U.S. Open singles crown.

Elsewhere around the net ...

After first Zooming with him, Fernandez got to meet in the flesh with Juan Martin del Potro who returned to the scene of his biggest victory

Big man on campus 

Chatting with semifinalist Felix Auger Aliassime

With quarterfinalist Carlos Alcaraz and the teen's coach, former finalist Juan Carlos Ferrero

Latin X marks the spot 

Del Potro and the president of his fan club, John McEnroe

A sweet moment between Leylah and two-time U.S. Open champion Tracy Austin

The gals in the city at an event with the Andy Roddick Foundation

Cute to see the legendary Billie Jean King with future star Carlos Alcaraz

And it made me smile that an old lady and old generation player like BJK is actually taller than this rising star!

Ebony and Ivory: Frances Tiafoe and Bret Waltz make quite a team 

Dennis Novak, J├╝rgen Melzer and Mats Moraing led Austria to some sort of win

Mischa Zverev with Mats Wilander

After losing in the quarterfinals, German doubles specialist Kevin Krawietz returned to his rock band!

Maximilian Marterer and his alpaca friends

Albano Olivetti & Co.

23 candles for pretty boy Daniel Altmaier

I wish I had asked David O'Hare about countryman Sean James Murphy!

Someone celebrated too much

A fifth Challenger for Benjamin Bonzi, this time in Cassis

Italian-Argentine cutie Franco Agamenone picked up the trophy in Kyiv

His victim was Luca Pouille ...

whose return to the big leagues is starting to seem less and less likely

Pedro Martinez Portero confirms his place on the wall of champions in Sevilla, where he beat No. 3 seed Roberto Carballes Baena, 6-4, 6-1.

American Robin Montgomery has won the U.S. Open girls' singles title with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over No. 6 seed Kristina Dmitruk of Belarus. Montgomery, the No. 7 seed from Washington, D.C., became the first American to win the title since 2017, when Amanda Anisimova beat fellow American Coco Gauff in the final. Montgomery later won the girls' doubles title with Ashlyn Krueger, defeating fellow Americans Reese Brantmeier and Elvina Kalieva in a match tiebreaker 5-7, 6-3, 10-4.

Raducanu with 1968 U.S. Open champ Virginia Wade

Medvedev got the trophy, Karen Khachanov got the DNA

For a second there I thought Marcos Giron had become nonbinary

Hot threeway alert: Jordan Thompson, Tommy Haas and Ryan Harrison

Tommy's golf partners aren't too shabby, either

Partner No. 1 or 2?

35 candles for Fabrice Martin

I don't exactly know what Dominic Thiem was up to this weekend. But his hair is looking good for the first time in ages.

Outback action with Alex de Minaur and John Millman

Cute Croatian (is that redundant?) Nino Serdarusic and Antonio Sancic were winners at the Challenger stop in Banja Luka

Reilly Opelka is working his way toward gender fluidity 

Six of the Original 9 isn't bad

David Vega Hernandez is trophyworthy

Ulises Badio and Marko Djokovic looking concerned

I'd like to rub Noah Rubin the right way

Liam Broady for Bidi Badu

Jan-Michael Gambill's tits

Your weekly helping of Tobe Simon

Vasek Pospisil and an adviser to his fledgling players union

Vasek and Steve Nash

Alex Dolgopolov in Vienna

All the coffee in the world ...

couldn't keep Tom Hill from aging a few years coaching Maria Sakkari

Ryan Harrison beard is Mission Elite grade

And the body is too 

Borna Coric might need to try playing tennis left-handed as well

At least his legs still work ...

Bel Ami or bust

Dan Evans screwed Lloyd Glasspool in New York

Grand Central Hunks: Matt Ebden 


Neal Skupski in motion

I like Stan Wawrinka's new "team" 

Andreas Mies did well in his first major back since surgery

Pfister? I don't even know her

Mischa took a break from watching his brother not live up to his potential by visiting the Giants training camp

20 photos of Robert Farah carrying on like only he can ...

Farah and partner Juan Sebastian Cabal -- who won both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2019 -- lost in the first round in NYC, so it's probably just as well that he's getting lots of "content" ready for the next phase of his career.


Gian said...

Awww, no love for cute Italian Franco Agamenone (@francoagamenone) who one the Challenger title in Kiev this week? Finally coming into some success at the age of 28, not that the doping scandal helped.

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

@Gian: Added, thanks!