U.S. Open Friday, second-round recap

courtesy of Nick Vayn

Hello everyone,

I spent most of the day in the Grandstand today. Although all the matches went straight sets, there was still some good tennis on display.

First up was David Ferrer vs. Igor Sijsling. After both players dug out of 0-40 holes early, Ferrer dominated the first set. Sijsling had very little to hurt Ferrer with; his groundies were average, his serve was just ok, and he didn’t have anything that looked like a go-to shot. I didn’t understand how he could win points consistently, but credit to Sijsling for realizing what was happening and going to plan B once he was down a break in the second. He started slicing more and coming to net frequently, which allowed him to start holding much easier. That wasn’t going to work long-term but it made the match much more competitive. Ferrer got into a 0-15 hole serving for the second set at 5-4, and Sijsling was in control of the next point as well; he came in, got an easy high volley, and put it right back to Ferrer. Ferrer calmly hit a monster backhand pass for a winner, and served out the set easily.

Ferrer got up a break in the third and it looked like the match was over. But as I’ve said before, being up two sets and a break is very dangerous this year. Sijsling started playing better: he was chasing down balls, hitting huge forehands down the line, volleying with precision, and hitting gorgeous drop-volleys even Ferrer couldn’t get to. He was so good for most of the set we dubbed him “Sizzling.” Ferrer let down a little and Sizzling got his break back, leading us to a highly entertaining tiebreak. It went back and forth point after point, with Ferrer having most of the chances but unable to close it out, even on his own serve. Sizzling was using great touch to stay in points, and continued to mix it up throughout the ‘breaker. He actually had one or two set points, but Ferrer was too solid on big points in the end, winning the tiebreak 14-12, and thus the match. Easily the best tiebreak I have seen this year. I felt we would have been in for some great tennis had it gone another set or two.

Instead we got Petra Kvitova vs. Pauline Parmentier. This match was one of those that causes you to pick up the schedule and say ‘eh, what’s up next?’ Both players were missing shots from the start, with Parmentier especially skilled at shanking balls off the top of the frame and into the stratosphere. I don’t think I could mishit the ball that high if I tried 100 times. She was providing plenty of souvenir balls for folks all over the Grandstand, serving the role of a benevolent ball fairy. The most exciting part of the match occurred when the Shankstress mishit a ball about 30 rows up into an empty sea of grandstand bleachers (shockingly, this match was not a draw). Nobody was within 10 rows of the ball, and you could see little thought bubbles above everyone’s heads in the general area: ‘should I bother trying to get up and get the ball?’ A man in white all the way near the top started lumbering down, and at the same moment a kid in green started running upwards on his short, stubby legs. A hush and expectant anticipation descended on the stadium and the two combatants realized they were facing one another for the precious ball. The guy in white lumbered faster… the kid in green ran with as much desperation as his stubby legs could muster… the crowd turned its full attention to the race that was far more exciting than the match. They were neck-and-neck from opposite directions, and arrived at the ball row at the same time. The crowd gasped. Who would get it? They both lunged downwards with searching hands. The players and chair umpire stopped play and looked up at the spectacle. Time stood still.  The crucial moment flashed by, and then the lumbering guy in white snatched the ball and raised it over his head in triumph. Then he looked at the kid with his sad green shirt and sad little legs, realized he might not get out alive with that ball, and handed it over to the kid. The crowd, about to boo, cheered loudly, and the man in white waved and primped to the cheering throng of 100. Then, everyone went back to sleep as the match resumed. Parmentier hit a few big serves, but it could not make up for her inability to find the tennis court, as she went down in two mercifully quick sets. Kvitova wasn’t even all that good; she just missed less.

The final match on the Grandstand was Janko Tipsarevic vs. Brian Baker, and it featured some excellent rallies. In the first game, Baker actually clubbed two returns for winning shots, but Tipsy was not daunted. He was absolutely dominant on serve the whole match, hitting aces or unreturnables every time any of his service games got close. He didn’t even face a break point until he served for the match. I had never seen Baker before, and although he has some nice shots, he doesn’t have any weapon to speak of, though he does everything fairly well. Tipsy took the first set behind one break, dodging a 15-30 hole when serving for the set wth two big serves. The second was a blowout, with Janko getting two breaks and running away with it. Baker was more competitive in the third, using the drop-shot nicely. But he was usually losing the rallies, and Tipsy quickly got up a break and had chances to make it two breaks at 4-1. Baker was able to hold to at least force his opponent to serve for the match, and Janko crumbled at 5-4 like a house of tattooed cards. Two double-faults, no first serves, and a bad error at 30-40 gifted the break back to Baker and the third set threatened to be a fight…for a few minutes, anyway, since Tipsy recovered quickly and broke Baker to take the match.Tipsy

A few matches were still going on the outside courts, and Philipp Kohlschreiber vs. Benoit Paire was the obvious choice. I arrived at the beginning of the fourth set, and as I watched Paire botch every type of shot imaginable I started to wonder how it was possible that he had won two sets. The fourth set was not as close as the 6-2 score, and Paire played only slightly better in getting down 4-1 in the fifth. He was on the brink of going down in flames but saved several break points in his next service game with aces. Then the match went from  ordinary to memorable in one moment of utter stupidity from Kohlscreiber. At Ad-Paire, Kohl got a popped up volley about 10 inches from the net, and was there in plenty of time. He could have hit it anywhere easily, but instead he took a full windup and absolutely nailed Paire in the leg area. As Paire looked at him, Kohl just walked back to the baseline with no apology, fake or otherwise. He basically told Paire, “I’m kicking your butt, and now I’m going to try to pulverize you physically for no good reason.”

The already loud French fans started booing and jeering, and all of a sudden most of the crowd starting pulling for Paire. The most important thing that Kohl accomplished, however, was making Paire start caring again. With a determined look in his eye, Paire won the next point and just stared down Kohl, who refused to look at him. For the next few games, every time Paire won a point he would amble up to net, stare in the direction of Kohl, and give him what amounts to a “How do you like me now, Punk?” At one point he hit a slice drop-shot winner and just posed for a minute with arms outstretched before the staredown. Paire finally held to 2-4, then broke back immediately on some Kohl errors. Phillip had a break point at 4-3 but missed a return so badly he actually cracked himself up; the laughter sounded like that of a mental patient, and Paire pulled out a big fist pump when he held for 4-all a few points later.Benoit PaireThere was no shortage of people trying to see this match, and some of them were more inventive than others. A few climbed on the chain link fence behind the court and popped their heads above the court railing like gophers. The players didn’t like seeing floating heads in places they didn’t seem to belong, so the chair ump had to shoo the fence gophers back down every time they popped up, which was every 10 minutes. I can only imagine their chagrin at thinking they had a brilliant idea of how to see this jam-packed match, only to be foiled by the chair ump.

The players held for 5-all, and with the crowd at a fever pitch, Paire broke with the help of the most casual drop-shot I’ve ever seen. He just swiped at a ball on his backhand like he was shooing away a fly and dropped it an inch from the net with sidespin. It’s a shot you’d attempt if you thought your previous ball was out. After the break, Paire pulled out the Hewitt lawnmower, and deservedly so. But this match would have another twist, and Paire could not get anything resembling a first serve in the court at 6-5, and got broken back. In the tiebreak, Paire seemed to have run out of anger and reverted to the 4th-set version of himself, missing a bunch of shots and losing it in a fairly routine fashion. If only he could have gotten Kohl to hit him again. I expected fireworks during the handshake, but they walked up and shook like nothing happened. Good to see, but not good from a drama perspective. Regardless, the last match of the day delivered something interesting.

in the same Rolex Cellini Replica style as the team replica watches. I find the engraving far more satisfying, but would have liked to see a bit more depth to it. There is a little more branding on the PRC200. Firstly, Burberry handbags the 6 oclock sub-dial sports a basketball image in grey. Additionally, the pushers are edged with red (top) and blue (bottom), Breitling Replica Watches UK which is, to me, the coolest thing.