Wednesday, September 4, 2013

More tennis! (there can never be enough)

When the US Open ticket presale happens, I always get one set of tickets for my pals and I to go, and one ticket for a solo trip over Labor Day weekend.  This year, I didn't figure the schedule out very well because I ended up seeing Djokovic play again.  Sigh.  Oh well.  At least it was a beautiful night...

I was frantically checking the Weather Channel app on my phone all day long Sunday, because rain was in the forecast.  Thankfully, the rains never came, though my god, it was humid, from the first step outside my apartment, to the crowded 7 train to the stadium, to my seats and finally on the way home.  I hereby apologize to anyone who ended up downwind of me.  Humidity is NOT my friend.

When I left my apartment, I figured I would try to get into the Tommy Haas match on Armstrong stadium, so I wouldn't have to watch Djokovic again.  I do love me some Tommy Haas.  Once I got off the subway, I was trying to scurry across the boardwalk to get there - didn't these people know that sauntering is too slow?!  Didn't they realize Tommy Haas was playing?!  I played dodgem to get around all those people, but, unfortunately, the line in Armstrong was so long, I knew I'd never get in.  So instead I wandered around the grounds, trying to decide what to eat and what to buy.  When I was there last Tuesday night, there was an adorable US Open t-shirt I was dying to own, but they said it was sold out.  Drats.  One clerk said there would probably be another shipment, which gave me hope.  Sunday night, that hope was extinguished.  None of the vendors had the cute green shirt.  Yet another reason to be annoyed I didn't get to the qualies - I always get my first pick of swag during qualies week.  AND my mom usually pays for it.  Oh well.  I did succumb to another Roger Federer t-shirt, which I was CERTAIN I would get to wear when he was in the finals next weekend.  More on that later...

I decided to head on into the stadium, Djokovic be danged, since it still seemed like it was going to rain at any minute and I knew my seat for the evening would be under the broadcast booth overhang.  I had my Nook in case of rain, so I was ready to go.  My seat was also, unfortunately, in front of a very obnoxious child who was clearly not a tennis fan.  She whined, she screamed, she talked, she kicked my seat, she was bored out of her mind.  Why her parents didn't take her out of the stadium periodically to calm down, I'll never know.  Well, why they even brought her is a bigger question, but whatever.  I put in my headsets to listen to USOpenRadio and tried to block her out.  But it wasn't easy...
Yet again, Djokovic's opponent was no match for him.  Joao Sousa, from Portugal, is a perfectly pleasant player, but was WAY out of his league.  He didn't win a game at all in the first set, and was on his way to getting bageled again in the second set, when he finally held serve, after a lot of deuce points.  I'll try to attach a video below of the crowd reaction when he finally held serve.  In my opinion, the crowd's support for Sousa ticked Djokovic off and he got rather ostentatious with his celebrations, which was stupid, since he was winning so handily.  Of course, I just don't enjoy Djokovic, so perhaps I'm just projecting.  :)

Djokovic won the match easily, 6-0, 6-2, 6-2, though he did have a tiny hiccup in the third set, serving for the match, when his serve got broken.  I briefly wondered if Sousa could actually come back and win a few more games, but, no.  Djokovic broke right back to win.  It wasn't a very compelling match, but there were some perfectly pleasant rallies and Sousa isn't difficult to look at.

I was really looking forward to the second match featuring Li Na, from China, vs Jelena Jankovic from Serbia.  I've enjoyed watching both ladies on tv over the years, but had never seen either of them play a live match.  My mom and I had seen them both briefly in practice, but I was eager to see them in match play.  Li Na came out on fire.  She was hitting winners left and right, and Jankovic found it hard to even get points!  Though, suddenly, as is her wont, Li Na suddenly started missing and had her serve broken.  But she quickly righted the ship and won the match pretty easily, 3 and love.  But there were some terrific rallies and some very clean hitting from both ladies throughout.  Even though the match was pretty quick and one-sided, it was still enjoyable to watch.  And Li Na is always a charming interview post-match.  
The weather turned out to be spectacular, so it was a lovely night to sit outside and watch tennis.  Thankfully, the obnoxious kid fell asleep at some point, so I could enjoy my tennis in peace, though there were some drunks in the audience who felt compelled to make remarks during the service tosses of the ladies.  The umpire had to tell people to shut up several times and at one point, she turned around and pointed at people.  Hopefully, security went and took care of them.  I'll never understand why people need to shout during a serve.  Before, after, fine.  But during?  Rude. 
 On my way out, I got a look at the guy whose job is to stencil all the winners names on the huge billboard in the courtyard.  There's a job for you.  But he attracted quite a crowd.  It was a slow steady walk back to the subway, with tons of people using the 7 train.  When I got up to the turnstiles, I could see my train just sitting there.  But there was a group of ten or so people, just standing blocking the turnstiles, looking at their Metrocards with quizzical looks.  Usually I stop to give a brief swiping lesson, but I was so hot and sweaty, I just wanted to get on that train.  I stopped and yelled, "Can I please get by?!," and one guy just nodded and stepped aside.  Thankfully.  Of course, once I transferred to my R train, I had to wait in the Roosevelt Avenue station for almost an hour, since the local trains were few and far between.  I probably sweated ten pounds off and had to resort to my Hot Flash Fan.  I'm glad I remembered to stick it in my bag. 
So ends my live viewing of the US Open for this year.  Someday, I hope to have enough money to actually buy a ticket for the second week, if not the semi-finals or finals.  Someday.  I actually had a dream that I was at the finals, and the match was between Tommy Haas and my Roger.  It was a sweet dream.  I had no idea that once Tommy lost,  Roger would be right behind him.  I was so sure that this tournament would be Roger's redemption for a sub-par year (by his astronomical standards).  I can't tell you the sadness and defeat I felt when he went out to Robredo.  Not that I begrudge Robredo, I don't.  I've always had a soft spot for him, but still.  Oh, Roger, what are we going to do now?  I wish I had been at your match - I feel as if I could've stood up, like Glenn Close did in The Natural.  And then you would've won.  And when you won, I could've said "I didn't want to see you fail."  Sigh.  If only life were like the movies...


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