NEW YORK – We’ve had youth, we’ve had experience and we’ve had Young. We still have both No. 1s around, but we also have multiple players ranked outside the top 100. We’ve had temperatures in triple digits—and more than a dozen players withdraw mid-match on account of the heat. We’ve had Tiger in the box and a drone in the stands. We've had Coach Connors. We’ve had poignant goodbyes and emphatic hellos. We’ve had our fill of Rafael Nadal—in ubiquitous underwear ads, if not in the draw. We’ve had a classic five-set match to toast the Grandstand Court. Most importantly, we still have the possibility of Serena Williams winning a Grand Slam.
Through Saturday, before we commence Week Two of the 2015 U.S. Open, herewith our midterm grades.
For all the upsets coursing through the draw, none afflicts the real contenders—Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka on the men’s side. Serena Williams and, um…Serena Williams on the women’s side.
We have the SABR (Sneak Attack By Roger) has gotten more attention than the nine immaculate sets Federer has played. And YEMEN, (Young Emotion) the offshoot of Donald Young’s electrifying five-setters.
Into week two, marrying accuracy with brutal force. Next up: Serena.
British qualifier takes out both Garbine Muguruza and Andrea Petkovic, running her summer total to 16 and counting.
The Williams not playing for a calendar Grand Slam has looked like a potential contender—not least in a straight set win over Belinda Bencic—if only her sister didn’t loom.
Sure, Lleyton Hewitt would have preferred not to have lost in five sets—after failing to serve out the match—but a tip of the cap to a stalwart playing his last U.S. Open. And sure, Mardy Fish would have preferred not to have lost in five sets—after failing to serve out the match—but a tip of the cap to a stalwart playing his last U.S. Open. And same for Lisa Raymond on the women’s side.
The Italian may be known for his erratic play, but that implies good as well as bad. We saw the good Friday night (and Saturday morning) as he took down Nadal in five sets.
The jury may be out on whether her father supports Roger Goodell. But the jury is in on her 2015 U.S. Open: qualifying the main draw, winning a match and then taking a set off Domi Cibulkova is a strong showing.
Not the most heralded of the U.S. juniors but a lot to like here. Qualifies and plays a nice match against Andreas Seppi. And he doesn't turn 19 until May.
Plays a dynamite match against Serena Williams, winning the first set and putting herself in position to steal the match. Then there was a regression to the mean and Serena romped.
Predictably, he went through the spanking machine here. But he withstood the criticism, did the sackcloth-and-ashes routine, and played some decent tennis against Murray, showing off his mad skills and maddening decision-making.
Plays a gem of a match to beat Sloane Stephens. Then plays a stinker against Mattek-Sands.
Yes, stamina/fitness is part of the sport. But we’re at 16 mid-match retirements and counting—not to mention players finishing and then taking IV’s and being treated for severe dehydration in the locker room. At a time when the sport has—all together now—“never been more physical” maybe we need to reconsider the wisdom of best-of-five set in triple digit heat?
Serena Slam finalists
Wozniacki (2014 U.S. Open), Sharapova (2015 Australia), Safarova (2015 French) and Muguruza (2015 Wimbledon) all bounced before the third round.
Pay the eligible players first round losers money when they’re too hurt to compete. Then address why it is so many players are nursing one injury or another.
Yes, like so many players, he’s banged up. But a pity to see the defending finalist go out so meekly, squandering match points and losing to Benoit Paire on the first Monday.
Wraps up a thoroughly disappointing 2015 with a second round loss. A lot of talent. A little to show for it.