On this week's episode, host Jon Wertheim runs through some of the top storylines of the 2019 U.S. open as the tournament turns the corner into the second week.
On the latest edition of the Beyond the Baseline Podcast, host Jon Wertheim checks in with Jamie Lisanti from the grounds of the 2019 U.S. Open as the tournament turns the corner into the second week to discuss some of the top storylines of the first half, including Serena Williams and her quest for major No. 24; Naomi Osaka's loss; Coco Gauff and her future; the possibility of a Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal matchup at the U.S. Open; Stan Wawrinka's chances in New York; and much more.
Jamie Lisanti: This is the most interesting thing to me: Go down the line on the women's side and next to all the names you have: 13, 23, 15, 25, 5, 16, 8 and 18. I don't see too many single digits there. And even so, I think some of the names in the top 10 or close to there are actually pretty surprising. Who are you most surprised about that's still standing here?
Jon Wertheim: I think I think you sort of nailed the storyline which is what we knew going in. It's a talking point in every major: these fields are wide open and any of three dozen players can win. And that's what essentially what we're looking at here. I mean it's worth pointing out that one of those high seeds you've mentioned is No. 8 Serena Williams.
And if you had told Serena Williams, hey listen Serena, by the second Tuesday of the U.S. Open, only one other top 10 seeds are going to remain. And that’s Elina Svitolina. And Halep’s not going to be here. And Naomi Osaka, who you last year, is not going to be here. And someone Simona Halep, who beat you in the Wimbledon final two months ago, she's not going to be here either. This has been a great first four rounds for Serena Williams and we've already set a record. We now are up to three straight years now where you're going to have four different winners at the majors. We've set a record now that we are now up to 13 majors where the player who won was not able to defend her title. That happened when Osaka went out.
And one thing I was I was struck by is when Osaka played Belinda Bencic. You've got the No. 1 player in the world, she's the defending champion, Naomi Osaka. And that was absolutely a 50/50 match in the eyes of most of the people that observed this sport closely. I mean it was no upset at all when Bencic won in straight sets. At some level it would be great if you had towering champions in addition to Serena. It would be great if you had reliable rivalries. You know we were we're looking up Federer and Wawrinka, which is not even a Big Three rivalry, but those guys have played each other 26 times. You don't have that right on the women's side.
But I think the big storyline for the women for me is that Serena Williams is three matches away from this goal that she has set for years and years and years of tying Margaret Court, winning her 24th major. It would be great if she could do it. It would be great if she could do it here. It would be great if you could do it here, a year after the catastrophe of last year's women's final. And boy has the draw opened. If she doesn't do it—I hate to even go here—but if she doesn't do it, this will be a sort of colossal missed opportunity because we said before the tournament a lot had to go right for Serena to get back on the board. And boy through eight or nine days, a lot has gone right.