1. God, I love it when matches live up to the hype. That’s what happened with the Victoria Azarenka vs. Angelique Kerber match on Saturday afternoon, which might have surpassed their phenomenal WTA Finals match from 2012 in shot-making, quality and drama.
Andrew and I have talked about this on the podcast often, but Kerber has that perfect combination of offense and defense that seems to bring the best out of her opponents, which leaves her in so many epics against players of all different playing styles, from Radwanska to Sharapova to Venus to Azarenka
I hate that she had to go out in the third round, because this match was so much more than that, but kudos to Kerber for a great season so far. Her Slam results–a first-round loss and three third-round losses–don’t do her improved form justice, and hopefully by next year her ranking will be high enough and her health good enough that she can go deep into Slam draws again. (She’s only made one Slam QF in the last three years, and hasn’t been to a Slam SF since Wimbledon 2012.)
As for Vika? Well, let’s just hope she keeps this form up. Because it’s great and she’s great and not to get super far ahead of myself, but geez, a Vika/Serena final would be GREAT GREAT GREAT.
2. But do you know what’s not great? Vika’s on-court interviews after matches. I don’t know why or how she always manages to make them the most awkward interviews ever, but she does. It’s like a gift; a really, really, really shitty gift.
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) September 5, 2015
3. Donald Young is into the fourth round of the U.S. Open after coming back from two sets down for the second time in three matches, against players ranked No. 11 and No. 22 in the world. (Simon and Troicki)
He was bageled in the second set on Friday, and then had a MTO for the trainer to look at his lower back, and it really seemed like he might retire. BUT INSTEAD HE PEAKED. This guy is still alive in the singles, doubles, and mixed draws, you guys. He’s won six matches in the last week, including two five setters and a four setter. Suddenly, Donald Young is the Iron Man, and man, do I love a twist in the third act like that.
He’s only 26 years old, which in today’s pro tennis climate gives him many years ahead of him, and I hope he continues to build on weeks like this.
Just look at his celebration and try not to have ALL THE FEELS.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 5, 2015
4. Excuse me for being all #MERICA right now, but it really was a great first week for the stars and stripes, with two men and four women into the fourth round. John Isner has gotten there in terrifyingly straight-forward fashion, and Varvara Lepchenko has made a surprise appearance as well, joining the Williams Sisters and Madison Keys. Lepchenko’s journey has been a harrowing one, and I always love to see her story get the attention it deserves. I think she and Azarenka will have a fun match.
5. Dance Horia, DANCE.
(I don’t have to have a reason to post that, do I?)
6. I love how everyone deals with pressure differently.
Halep: “Before every match I speak with my coach and I tell him, Tell me that you have no expectations from me. That’s worked for me.” — WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) September 6, 2015
Victoria Azarenka: “I love pressure. It makes me better.” pic.twitter.com/jotNHATZTI
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) September 6, 2015
7. Get well soon, Eugenie Bouchard. Please. Head injuries are no joke, and while it would be equally as sad and scary if she had this happen after a loss, it just really is unfortunate that it happened when she was finally getting her groove back. I hope she can play in singles, but the most important thing is that she recovers well–taking the court with a head injury is not the answer.
8. God it was great to lounge around all day today and watch tennis and intermittently nap. I love this sport.
1. A fitting sendoff for the Grandstand
One of the quirks of the Grandstand court over its history is the shadow cast by Armstrong, forcing players on the Grandstand to play from shadow to sunlight to win. The last two matches on the Grandstand today were that story of shadow to sunlight writ large. Donald Young came back from two sets to love down for the second time in the tournament, and has now matched his best ever US Open result — and created a better storybook run than he did in 2011. More importantly, while he was understandably emotional about the win, he showed real confidence in his game and his fitness in continuing to fight. While the reigning French Open champion is not generally considered a good draw, Young’s inspired play, and a seemingly flat Stan Wawrinka should make for an interesting match on Monday.
Many thought that Young’s comeback win should have been the end of singles play on the Grandstand, but I’m glad we didn’t miss out on Sabine Lisicki’s third set comeback against Barbora Strycova, or the not-so-friendly handshake afterwards.
When you’re just here for the handshake pic.twitter.com/HXrHCQdS8l
— WTA Reactions (@WTAreactions) September 6, 2015
2. #GetWellGenie This says it all
It was easy to assume that Genie Bouchard’s withdrawal from doubles and mixed doubles was the result of either a) her wanting to capitalize on good singles results or b) Jimmy Connors. But when word came out that she sustained a head injury after slipping and falling in the locker room, the tenor of the situation changed drastically. Bouchard is young, and whether or not she is able to play on Sunday, the most important thing is that she takes care of her health. But what a bad piece of luck for someone who has started to put the pieces together after a painful dry spell.
3. Fight club with Vika
There may be no player whose fight is as fun to watch as Victoria Azarenka’s — if only because she relishes it so much. Her match against Angie Kerber is easily a contender for WTA match of the year, for its combination of drama and shotmaking. So we should be thrilled, right?
— sascha Bajin (@BigSascha) September 5, 2015
At least there was no singing.
4. Take back the night
Tonight’s straight set wins by Simona Halep and Andy Murray during tonight’s night sessions were likely only a relief of journalists covering the matches, people with full subscriptions, and those of us hoping to get to bed before midnight for once. It may even be worth a little dance.
That said, after a full night’s sleep, I’m expecting some magic tomorrow (though probably not at night, given the scheduling).