1. This was not a particularly good match. This match is to a good match what a crab is to a crabcake. You need to dig around what we saw tonight to find the good pieces to put together a good match.
2. Francis Tiafoe can hit some incredible shots and really embraced the moment. He had plenty of answers for Federer’s flash. But he had fewer answers for the workaday points Federer used to take control of the match.
3. There was something rumpled about Federer at the start, wasn’t there? Whether it was the worry about his back, the back itself, or the wear and tear of a season, but, to me, he didn’t look his usual night match self.
4. If you need one of those Chase chargers at the venue during a night session, get there early. Or better still, bring your own phone charger and avoid the aggravation.
5. It’s better to kick people out of your seats at the start than to be nice and then get kicked out of the other seats you squatted in because you didn’t want to rock the boat.
6. Bravo, US Open crowd, for cheering for Tiafoe for a good part of this match. I understand how popular Federer is, but it was nice to see a young guy who was bringing the goods get his due.
7. I’ve complained ad nauseam about the noise trapped in by the roof, but two things: (1) it gets really quiet when Federer is playing, and even more so when he is playing badly and (2) the roof’s a welcome addition because at least attendees (not to mention TV audiences) will get to see some tennis on a rainy day like today.
8. This might have been the best commentary I’ve heard the McEnroes do involving a young American player. I thought it was appropriately complimentary while still offering insights into what can be improved.
9. Were those velour sleeves on Federer’s warm up jacket? Is there any hope that he will go complete velour tracksuit down the road? I have visions of him and Rafa going all Britney and Federline with this. Please?
10. The 7 train back to Manhattan at 12:30 am is one of the circles of hell. I’m pretty sure Dante described everything I saw tonight — people practically lying down to save seats, a couple who I’m pretty sure conceived a child in front of me, and indeterminate long stops between stations with no explanation. It’s things like these that contribute to New Yorker Latent Rage Syndrome. There should be a special primal scream car to alleviate the tension. It would also be useful for those who already insist on engaging in primal scream therapy on the train as a matter of routine.
11. After two nights of exciting tennis, Venus and Jo-Willy, you’ve got a lot to live up to.