1. The field has come to play.
We may very well end up with another Big Four final, but the rest of the field has not given up easily. While Novak Djokovic eventually pulled out the match in four sets, it’s worth reflecting a moment on the strong play of Roberto Bautista Agut tonight. Bautista Agut has established himself as a solid member of the second tier, but hasn’t always had the game to trouble the guys at the top. He showed some impressive ball striking tonight, as well as good variety and net play. More importantly, he showed confidence in taking the second set from Djokovic and continued to push the Serb until the last point. Over the past week, in addition to Fabio Fognini’s upset of Rafael Nadal, we’ve seen strong showings in defeat from Borna Coric, Nick Kyrgios, and Philip Kohlschreiber — while their efforts may not have brought victory, it shows their renewed belief that every player can be beaten.
2. Serena-Venus XXVI
While we may lament that it is a couple of rounds too early, it is fitting that Venus and Serena Williams will cross paths as Serena chases history. The Williams Sisters are so much a part of the tennis landscape, that it’s hard to imagine tennis before they brought their level of superstardom to the tour. Their US Open matches each mark a signpost along the way of progress in the sport — whether it was Venus being penalized (I would say unfairly) for a hair bead malfunction in 1999, or Serena’s controversial 2004 quarterfinal loss to Jennifer Capriati, where clearly erroneous line calls helped to usher today’s challenge system, or their christening of the first ladies’ final played at night in its own session in 2001, carving out an equal place for the ladies at the Open.
Serena, predictably, looked far more dialed in than she has been in New York thus far, in today’s match against Madison Keys. Keys, for her part, showed flashes of brilliance and the inconsistency that has kept her from breaking through. The good news is that she has time to figure it all out. And, Venus has tightened up her matches as well, winning her last two with greater ease than she has been as of late. While it’s hard to imagine Venus being the one to derail Serena’s dream, Venus has been willing and able to do it before. Given Serena’s focus, it’s hard to imagine anyone getting between her and that trophy, but stranger things have happened.
There are few scarier sights in sports than a competitor who suffers a head injury. While Genie Bouchard’s injury took place in a dark locker room Friday night, anyone who saw the footage of a sunglass and hoodie obscured Bouchard walking gingerly into the player’s entrance to Arthur Ashe Stadium, couldn’t help but be concerned. It’s hard to know what to do to prevent this kind of accident again — it seems like a random accident that could happen to anyone, but surely the USTA will be reviewing what can be done better going forward. Bouchard made a wise decision to withdraw from the competition — and let’s hope that she recovers quickly.
1. We might all like different players, but I think we can all agree that Jelena Ristic Djokovic is all kinds of adorable, right?
— Jelena Djokovic (@JelenaRisticNDF) September 7, 2015
— ATP Reactions (@ATPreactions) September 7, 2015
2. KIKI IS ON FIRE.
— We Are Tennis France (@WeAreTennisFR) September 7, 2015
3. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is looking very solid.
The Frenchman is looking as fit as I’ve ever seen him, and his serve has been literally unbreakable this tournament. Now he gets Marin Cilic (kudos to Marin for making it to the quarters when many expected him to crash out early, btw) in the quarters and a shot to make the U.S. Open semis for the first time in his career.
You go, Jo Jo.
4. VENUS AND SERENA AGAIN, OMG.
No coherent analysis at this time. Just amazement.
5. Feliciano Lopez made it to his first non-Wimbledon Slam quarterfinal, taking out an unsurprisingly flat Fabio Fognini. He’s almost 34, and playing some of the best tennis of his career.
6. No, seriously, Marriage Works.
7. I’m not sure that Ellesse really understands the power of social media.
— ellesse (@iloveellesse) September 6, 2015
8. Get well soon, Genie. There will be plenty of more opportunities to win tennis matches and make deep runs at Slams in the future. Take care of your health now.
9. Andrew and I recorded the newest podcast on Sunday, where we looked back through the action during the first week. Take a listen!