1. The new roof does come in handy.
Thursday was the first day where we really saw how the Ashe roof can make a difference. After a morning of menacing clouds, the tournament closed the roof in anticipation of an afternoon downpour. When the rains came, those inside Ashe barely knew it, as play continued without incident. The only indication of the deluge outside was the popcorn like noise of the rain hitting the roof. There are still issues with the amount of crowd noise that is reflected by the roof, whether open or closed, but getting to play a full day’s matches on a rainy afternoon was worth it.
2. Olympic Bump?
It’s true, those who made the trip to Rio are far more exhausted than those who didn’t. But, those who managed to walk out with a medal look positively energized here in New York. Jack Sock has parlayed his gold medal in mixed doubles into a nice run so far, taking out Marin Cilic on Friday, and Venus Williams looked especially sharp under the roof on Thursday as well. But perhaps no medal has done as much magic as Rafael Nadal’s gold medal in doubles, as he has looked very sharp all week, though the proof of his improvement will be how he deals with the tougher competition of the second week. By the same token, both Milos Raonic and John Isner, who decided to skip Rio, can’t say that the decision yielded results, particularly for Raonic, whose decision to focus so much energy on the US Open may have backfired, as he attributed the cramps he suffered in losing to Ryan Harrison to his nerves.
3. The British are coming!
Don’t look now, but we may be in the midst of a British invasion here in Flushing Meadows. While Andy Murray continues his strong summer run, a number of other Brits have made their mark this week. First, Dan Evans had a rain-delayed late night win over Alexander Zverev on Thursday, then Kyle Edmund made relatively quick work of a tired John Isner on Friday, and Johanna Konta continued her strong play this year by moving past Belinda Bencic 6-2, 6-1. In addition, while she ended up losing the match, Naomi Broady showed excellent form in a tight first set with Aga Radwanska on Thursday.