Tuesday, September 15, 2015

26 most memorable 'merican moments from the 2015 US Open

26. National Collegiate Invitational showcases great American talent

It's a bit of an odd event, and the day I was able to watch was poorly attended in large part due to the weather, but being able to be up above courts 4, 5 & 6 and watch the likes of Gonzalez Austin, Brooke Austin (no relation), Chanelle Van Nguyen, Ryan Shane, Julia Jones, and the UCLA winners Mackenzie McDonald and Robin Anderson was a great treat. One thing it was missing was that college atmosphere. Perhaps the USTA powers that be can work with alumni groups or high school teams to ramp up the energy?

25. Melanie Oudin d. Wang Yafan 6-7(2) 6-3 6-7(5), QR2

Qualies weren't streamed, sadly, but following the livescore in that match was a trip. Melanie Oudin won the last 5 points of the match to reach the final round of qualies, where she fell to fellow American Jessica Pegula.

24. Brengle & Gibbs' twin comebacks

On back-to-back days in round 1, Madison Brengle and Nicole Gibbs recorded exhilarating comebacks. In a mesmerizing, befuddling battle, Brengle let Zheng Saisai serve for the match twice in the third set but came back to win 6-2 5-7 7-5. The next day, Gibbs took out Lourdes Dominguez Lino 6-3 3-6 6-4, winning the final 5 games of the match.

23. Tati's beatdown

Karolina Pliskova won the US Open series and was seeded 8th. Anna Tatishvili beat her 6-2 6-1. Just one of many poor results from WTA Top 10 players at this Open; Tatishvili's level had a huge amount to do with this result.

22. Holt & Smith win a tense 3rd round match on their way to the boys' doubles final. 

Memorable for me because I got to congratulate the Tracy Austin and the Peter Smith immediately following the win. :)
But also memorable for them because it was part of an incredible run for the wild cards, winning 3 match tiebreaks to reach the final, where the lost to the rising Canadians Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime.

21. Krajicek gets his first major win

Austin Krajicek d. Santiago Giraldo 3-6 7-6(6) 7-6(6) 7-6(1). The way they got to that score verged on incredible. Krajicek was down 4-6 in the 2nd set tiebreak and 3-6 in the 3rd set tiebreak, and was down a break in the 3rd set before he notched his first break of the match, and from there got his first main draw grand slam win.

20. Sock cramps out

Awful scenes from a young American with high hopes of making a run at his home slam. In 2014, it was Steve Johnson. In 2015 it was Jack Sock. In both cases they were winning their matches when the cramps came.

19. I see Di Lorenzo & McKenzie in person

I was impressed by what I saw from Francesca Di Lorenzo (headed to Ohio State) and Kylie McKenzie in their 3rd round wins against #4 seed Tereza Mihalikova and Valentini Grammtikopoulou, respectively, in the girls' singles event. Di Lorenzo, not big but smart and aggressive. 16-year-old McKenzie smacks the ball. The boys are getting all the oxygen these days but plenty of US girls are great prospects as well.

18. CoCo's racquet smash


17. Tommy Paul qualifies in men's singles

It wasn't the greatest run for American men in the singles qualifying tournament, but Tommy Paul absolutely showed he belongs on the pro circuit by overcoming 3 good players to make the main draw. It feels like every month he does something else to wow us. Good pattern.

16. CoCo throws me the ball

After winning her women's doubles quarterfinal with Anna-Lena Groenefeld.

15. Pegula shows her stuff

Buffalo's Jessica Pegula was a monster for 4.5 matches, beating #1 qualifying seed Margarita Gasparyan then fan favorite Oudin, both in straight sets, then getting her first major main draw win by upsetting Alison Van Uytvanck, also in straight sets. In the second round, she was up a set and a break against Dominika Cibulkova ... and eventually had 2 break points that would have allowed her to serve for the match ... but fell 7-5 5-7 3-6. But a breakout performance nonetheless.

14. Querrey a grand slam finalist

Teaming with Bethanie Mattek-Sands, our old friend Sam Querrey got his first grand slam hardware with the mixed doubles runner-up finish. He also teamed with Johnson to reach the men's semifinals, upsetting the Bryan Brothers in the first round. Sadly, Querrey had a couple of lapses in key moments in his final matches - in the mixed final super tiebreak, up a mini-break at 5*-4, Sam double faulted. They went on to lose the set 10-7. And in the men's doubles final, in the 3rd set tiebreak, up a mini-break at 5*-4, Sam double faulted.

But hey, I got his autograph!

13. Kenin a junior grand slam finalist

Sofia Kenin can add the girls' singles finalist trophy to her Orange Bowl, Carson, and Junior Fed Cup titles. She fell in the final to #2 seed Dalma Galfi (HUN).

12. Bethanie brings it

Mattek-Sands not only reached the mixed doubles final (and could well have made the women's doubles final had Lucie Safarova pulled out of the tournament after the draw was made), she reached the 3rd round in singles, dominating Vandeweghe (see #18) and then was up a set and at 5-5 against Serena Williams before order was restored.  Highlights here.

11. Isner makes the 4th round

After 3 years of losing the Phillip Kohlschreiber, John Isner lived up to his seeding (helpfully avoiding PK) and didn't drop a set in route to a close encounter with the Federer kind. If not for a breakthrough performance by fellow former collegiate Kevin Anderson, Isner would be sitting at #10 in the Race to London.

10. Michael Russell goes out in style

Denied a singles wild card - even a qualifying wild card - 37-year-old Michael Russell did not despair but rather teamed with Donald Young to accept a doubles wild card, then proceeded to win two matches including a thrilling upset of #14 seeds Farah/Cabal before falling in the 3rd round to Johnson & Querrey.

Mike also called a mean match on the streaming matches! Hope to hear more of him as a commentator.

9. Lisa Raymond also goes out in style

She lost in the first round of doubles with Madison Keys (whom she's helping to coach, awesomely) and thought that was it for her, but got into mixed doubles as a last-minute alternate with Jamie Murray. The two won a round over Scott Lipskey and Abigail Spears and nearly made the quarters, falling 10-8 in the super tiebreak to Cabal/Shvedova.
8. DY amazes

Q. How thrilling was Donald Young's first round win over Gilles from 2 sets down?

7. DY astonishes

A. Almost as thrilling as his third round win over Viktor Troicki from 2 sets down.

6. These guys

5. James Blake assaulted by a cop

It was bad enough before the video was released.

Then the video was released.

4. Victoria Duval

What else can you say? Cancer-free and in shape, won a qualifying match as a wild card. All the happy gifs and emojis.

3. Mardy Fish goes out his way

He served for the 3rd round, and then ended up losing to eventual quarterfinalist Feliciano Lopez, so maybe it wasn't exactly how he wanted to leave the game. But just being able to get out there, having overcome so much. We were verklempt.

And proud.

2. Venus & Serena

Still going after all these years, at the highest level, on the biggest stage. The last 2 Americans remaining in the singles for the umpteenth tournament. What a family.

1. Serena doesn't win but really it's not the worst thing ever

She won the slam a couple of months ago, but it wasn't the calendar slam so I guess some of the fizz went out of the champagne but MY GOODNESS. She won her 33rd consecutive match at a major, and her 26th consecutive match at the US Open, and faced more pressure than possibly any tennis player in our lifetimes. So what, her last point at the US Open didn't end in triumph like everyone just kind of assumed it would. She is still among the most accomplished athletes to ever lace up a pair of shoes. As they say, #respect.

1 comment:

  1. Serena getting four slams in a row is just as impressive as winning the calendar slam without doubt. It's unfortunate the way it worked out, because as soon as she won Wimbledon, the tennis world got excited about the potential calendar slam instead of celebrating an already amazing accomplishment. Hopefully now we can look back at Serena's run and see how great it was. Great piece!