Thursday 15 September 2011

US Open - Day 4

As I came into the grounds, I met the lovely Steph, and we kept meeting up throughout the day, watching some of the matches together. Getting to meet people you know through twitter is really awesome, I have to say :)

After a routine scan of the practice courts (Monfils, Nadal, Melzer), I've had a very tight schedule, where I watched most matches for as long as I could.

The first match on the menu was Tipsarevic-Petzschner. I actually like them both, so it was tough to decide who to cheer for, but my heart was with Janko. I came to the court a little while before he gave Philipp a bagel (those Serbs do like their bagels and breadsticks...). Petz was obviously quite upset, and then cheered in mock celebration as he held his first game. Janko won the second set, and I was really hoping he could win it in three sets before I had to go - but alas, the match ended after four sets, and I left before that.

The reason was the "blockbuster" match between Roger Federer and Dudi Sela. My foolish hopes of an impossible upset were soon crushed by the 6-3 6-2 6-2 beatdown, but Dudi was the only loser on Ashe that day who managed to win more than 2 games in a set. Ashe saw 4 bagels, 3 breadsticks, and 4 sets of 6-2 on that Thursday, as the seeds demolished their lower-ranked opponents.

My next target was what turned out to be an epic 5-setter between Gael Monfils and Juan Carlos Ferrero. Many called it one of the best matches of the tournament, and rightly so - it had a little bit of everything, and a lot of amazing rallies and moments. I'm not sure if I came towards the end of the second set or in the middle of the third, but I sat on Louis Armstrong until the very end of the match, which Ferrero won with inhuman willpower, 7-6(5) 5-7 6-7(5) 6-4 6-4.

As soon as that match ended, I rushed to the adjacent Granstand, to watch Shahar Peer taking on American Sloane Stephens. Or rather, not taking on... Shahar lost the first set badly, then came back in the second, only to lose it in the tiebreak (after failing to serve it out). Thus, all the Israeli singles players were out in a matter of a few hours.

I stayed on Granstand and watched a little bit of Azarenka-Dulko, while waiting for the main dish of the day - my first Nole match of the US Open! I missed his first round, which collided with Shahar's, but here he played the last night match, so of course I stayed until the end.

Novak was playing against Carlos Berlocq. Or rather, he was playing with Berlocq, as if Berlocq was a puppet that Nole sent running all over the court. I was sitting next to a large family, and before the match they were playing the "Let's guess how many games will Berlocq win" game. The most common answer was around 7 - that was my guess, too. One person said 4, another said 3. With a final result of 6-0 6-0 6-2, we were all very far from the truth :D Quickly enough, the whole stadium just wanted Berlocq to have that first game. It took some time (not too much, the whole match was exactly 1h:30), but when he finally did, he got a lot of applause and cheering :) I won't lie, though, I kind of wanted it to be a triple-bagel at some point :P

On one hand, it was a little bit disappointing to see such a one-sided match. On the other hand, this match was somewhat exhibition-like at times, with some great points, and Nole obviously enjoyed himself :) He even hit that dreaded shot of all, the tweener, to bring up match point. Since it didn't stop him from winning the USO, I'll forgive him, but I hope that doesn't become a habit!

More pictures from day 4 are on my facebook page.

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