What a day. After spending the first 24 hours moaning about things, I suddenly realised why I had come to NYC. Today is only one day of the tournament but it could not have gone much better. The only thing that went wrong was that I had trouble with my SD card in my camera, so mobile photos only today, something I hope to get sorted.
After a long day travelling and getting my ass down to Woodbury Common to do my brains (too much value), I decided to stroll into the Billie Jean King Tennis Center to watch Evans v Mannarino. I was a little worried going into it as Mannarino can be ‘tricky’ to say the least. Evo showed his battling qualities though and found a way through. There was a decent British following today and a lot of us were sat in close proximity. Everyone was very vocal and doing their job of trying to keep him on it and our man did the rest. Pumped.
A lot has been said by some in the past about how he has struggled in the heat but it looked like Mannarino was struggling more. The Frenchman was often seen crouching to the ground and lying against the advertising boards in between points. This wasn’t classic Evo but when it mattered he stepped it up. I thought Dan started to get things going slowly and the forehand was starting to look good in the end and the slice was skimming the net as per usual. I like the way the lad served it out, I love to see him getting in behind his shots and putting the volley away. It looks like one of the main reasons he has split with Felgate and I have to say it looks fair enough to me. He says he wasn’t aggressive enough during the grass-court campaign and it looks to me that he is trying to get his serve and game back to being very attack-minded. I could be totally wrong about this but I think that he feels he would have beaten Joao Sousa at Wimbledon playing this way. Let’s see how we get on against Lucas Pouille Wednesday. It is certainly winnable.
After that, it was time for a good smoke and then I went and saw Zach Svajda as he was two sets to one up against Paolo Lorenzi. There was quite a buzz for the 16-year-old American. He looks to have a very good game and hits the ball very well. Lorenzi wore him down from two sets down though. You could see Svajda simply had to win the fourth set as he was struggling physically. Lorenzi really is a Wiley campaigner though and thrives on these contests.
It was then off to the Arthur Ashe for the evening session. Absolutely bricking it. I really didn’t want to be there when Rena lost to that ‘skinny b***h’. Guess what? She still hasn’t. This was Williams at her assertive best. She stood at the net before the toss snapping her wrist with extra ferocity practising her service action as if to say ‘you fancy this today, yeah?’
It was a remorseless performance and absolutely no pity was taken as you would expect. Rena saved all five of the break points that she faced and was all over Sharapova from the word dot! There was no part to her game that looked out of line here and having this as a first-round encounter has got her at it straight away. I don’t think the Russian played particularly poorly, she was simply not good enough and totally outplayed. If she is happy with that and taking a beating once in a while then I am more than happy with that too. In all truth, this was a rivalry for about two months and 16 years later people still have the balls to call it that(20-2)! Jokers. Up the Rena!
Federer then took on Sumit Nagal and I have to say Fed was dreadful for a set. The errors were unreal and Nagal stepped up and took advantage to win the first from a breakdown. Having double-faulted though at the start of the second set to drop serve, Nagal’s chances seemed to evaporate. You always knew that if Federer started playing here then the matchup would be kind and that is what happened pretty comfortably in the end.
It was a day of few upsets as such, Fognini went to Reilly Opelka, though the American was a slight favourite prematch and Taylor-Fritz surprisingly fell to Feli Lopez. The biggest upset was Angie Kerber going to Kristina Mladenovic, the German really suffering from a lack of confidence. There was also a pretty interesting handshake between Maria Sakkari and Camila Giorgi. The Italian lost 6/1 6/0 and basically pushed Sakkari’s hand away at the net.
I was planning on doing a YouTube video or a podcast out here but as it stands I am going to struggle to do both. Shame as today would have been a great start to it. Time to build long term though and get things right and do it the correct way. Right?
On too day two.
Andy Del Potro