Things We Learned on Day Six of the 2014 US Open


1. This was pretty great:

2. Genie Bouchard’s three-set win over Barbora Zahlavova Strycova wasn’t pretty, but it was the kind of win you want to see from a top player. We’ve seen other top 10 players falter already in the tournament on their bad days (see: Petra Kvitova, Simona Halep, and Agnieszka Radwanska), but Bouchard’s still in the draw. Her form may not be great right now, but there’s still time for her to get back to playing her best tennis for the biggest matches.

3. The 6-3, 6-3 scoreline in the Serena Williams’ win over Varvara Lepchenko doesn’t do justice to how well Lepchenko played. She was coming up with some incredible shotmaking for most of the match, but Serena was simply too good. If Serena had been having an off-day, Lepchenko might have made it closer. For a straight sets win, it was a highly entertaining match. And Serena looks dangerous.

4. It’s amazing that Philipp Kohlschreiber has beaten John Isner three times in a row at the US Open. And I was surprised that Kohlschreiber managed to win all three tiebreaks in tonight’s match — not an easy feat against Isner. Great effort from him, prevailing in another very tight match against the big-serving American.

5. Victoria Azarenka looked much more like her old self today, beating Elena Vesnina, 6-1, 6-1. The good news for her is that instead of facing a potentially dangerous Petra Kvitova, she will face qualifier Aleksandra Krunic in the fourth round. Despite Krunic’s impressive run, Azarenka should be able to handle her, and hopefully set up an interesting quarterfinal match against Genie Bouchard. I would be very eager to watch that match.

6. I cannot wait for the match tomorrow between Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki. It will be such a high-stakes match for both players, with that side of the draw opening up so much. I love the WTA.


1. This is creepy and inappropriate:

(In response to comments that I received on Twitter when talking about this: 1) As much as he’s probably impressed by her good overheads after working on Team Nole for so long, he’s not referring to her tennis; and 2) Yes, female commentators and coaches should refrain from publicly commenting on the looks of the male tennis players too (Judy Murray/Deliciano). However, it’s not the same thing due to power inequalities and the rampant history of sexism in society, particularly where it relates to female athletes. Plus, Boris is not just a former top tennis player–he’s a paid coach and commentator who should be giving all tennis players, male and female, the respect of being talked about as athletes first and foremost.)

I really wish this was just a one-time or one-person thing, too:

Ugh. Boris is not alone. I will keep calling it out, and I hope we all do.

2. Howard Bryant has a fantastic article over at ESPN that deftly covers a wide range of topics in American tennis, from Donald Young to Sloane Stephens to Taylor Townsend and the weight conversation.

And speaking of power imbalances, he does a good job addressing a lot of them and talking about why context is so important:

White people cannot easily stereotype black people without incident, and men (or the public in general) cannot talk blithely about a woman’s weight, athlete or not. The racial- and gender-coded overtones cannot be overlooked, and they shouldn’t be. This is not an issue about oversensitivity. It is an issue about power. The fat guy in the movies still ends up with the supermodel. The fat girl doesn’t.

Thus, to [Amy K.] Nelson’s point, it doesn’t work to merely say that [David] Wells was criticized for being overweight and thus Townsend, as an athlete, becomes similarly fair game. Ostensibly, we were watching tennis, but through tennis these conversations are sitting, snoring elephants in the room, and they should be had.

The veneer that “everything is even” is really its own shade of suggestion that key differences and sensitivities and historical perspectives can be ignored by the people in power — men, in this case — when they cannot.

3. Aleksandra Krunic is just adorable, and wow, did she play an incredible match against Petra Kvitova today. It’s pretty mind boggling that she’s ranked as low as she is.

Her entire presser is fabulous, but I particularly looooved this:

Q. Two questions: You said you were watching the Wimbledon final. Were you rooting for Petra or Bouchard?

ALEKSANDRA KRUNIC: Petra. I like Petra a lot as a person. She’s very down-to-earth and I respect her a lot. I like when I can say hi and talk to the players that are much higher ranked than me and I don’t feel such a difference in our levels. Because still we’re all human beings, you know, and that someone is doing a better job in tennis than me doesn’t mean we’re not on the same level as people, you know, as personal.

4. John Isner lost to Kohlschreiber AGAIN, you guys. In the third round of the U.S. Open. AGAIN. The good thing is that this time, he actually seems as pissed off about it as I am:

Q. Were the nerves coming from pressure you put on yourself because it’s the last major and you want to do well?

JOHN ISNER: It’s everything. I put pressure on myself. You want to play well in front of that crowd, which is fantastic. A lot of things, you know. Sometimes it’s tough to overcome. It’s not why I lost, wasn’t simply because of nerves. He played well. He played the bigger points better than me. You know, I got to be better than that. It’s just as simple as that. He beat me fair and square, obviously. But I feel like I’m better than that. I just didn’t show it out there today. It’s very disappointing.

Q. Going to Chicago, how do you see that matchup happening?

JOHN ISNER: I’m not thinking about it at all right now. I just have to try to get over this one because it stings really badly. So my focus right now is, you know, not focused on Davis Cup right now. I’m just focused on getting over that one mentally because it will be tough.

5. I will admit that I didn’t watch a lot of tennis today. The brain needed a break. I’ll be back to watching as much as possible and writing as much as possible tomorrow.

Random tweets I favorited: