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Around the Grounds: Day 2 at the 2017 US Open

Robert Cole/ALOST
Naomi Osaka delivered one of the biggest beatdowns ever suffered by a defending Grand Slam champion in the first round, holding Angelique Kerber to just four games won in the upset of Day 2 at the US Open. (Robert Cole/ALOST)
Naomi Osaka delivered one of the biggest beatdowns ever suffered by a defending Grand Slam champion in the first round, holding Angelique Kerber to just four games won in the upset of Day 2 at the US Open. (Robert Cole/ALOST)

 

The gauntlet has been thrown down to the 128 players who will be taking to the courts to start Day 2 of the 2017 US Open.

As per usual, Day 1 of the US Open provided enough drama and storylines to keep a tennis fan’s interest piqued, but what happened inside of Arthur Ashe Stadium to begin the night session on Monday has to rank right up there with some of the most memorable nights in the first week at the US Open in recent memory. Maria Sharapova, playing in her first Grand Slam tournament since her doping ban, slugged it out with Simona Halep for close to three hours in a match that was more fitting of a semifinal or final, given the players and the electric atmosphere that welcomed both players. The 2006 winner of the event made a triumphant return to Grand Slam play and won in three sets, the most emotional win in New York for a player who now is 18-0 all-time in night matches at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

A few of the players who will be taking the court today have also had glorious days in night matches in New York City, including former champions Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and last year’s reigning champion on the women’s side, Angelique Kerber, who is looking to regain her form after a subpar 2017 so far. Today also is an opportunity to watch Jelena Ostapenko in person, the fearless Latvian who won this year’s French Open. Oh, and Fabio Fognini plays today. Enough said.

Remember, everyone, the “refresh” button is your friend! We’ll be updating you constantly on different matches and storylines…as always! Again, the most recent blogs are on top.

11:52 PM EST: Game, set, match, bullet dodged: Federer! Tiafoe loses his footing while hitting a forehand and dumps it into the net. Federer and Tiafoe get big hands as they shake hands. Now Tiafoe getting a huge hand as he’s about to sign autographs and head off the court before Federer’s on-court ESPN interview.

11:51 PM EST: Double match point for Federer!

11:48 PM EST: Uh, oh! Two unforced errors on the forehand from Tiafoe and it’s 0-30. Federer two points away. Now 15-30 after a Federer forehand goes into the net.

11:46 PM EST: Then Tiafoe comes up with an incredible forehand winner from an acute angle…THEN ANOTHER!!!! WE’RE BACK ON SERVE!!!! HOLY #%@&!!!

11:45 PM EST: Federer’s serve gets him out of trouble and it’s back to deuce. Tiafoe challenges and loses…now has no challenges remaining.

11:45 PM EST: Forehand goes long from Federer! Break point for Tiafoe!

11:43 PM EST: DEUCE!!

11:41 PM EST: Federer dumps one into the net and it’s 0-15…now 30-15 after a winner and an unreturnable serve.

11:39 PM EST: At 15-15 on Tiafoe’s serve, Federer plays a poor drop shot to give Tiafoe the edge. The American wins the next two points after that, and he holds for 3-5. Federer now serving for the match.

11:35 PM EST: So much for a short night! We have been so busy editing pictures and photos that we haven’t had a real chance at doing regular commentary, but, we are on Ashe now! And Federer is up a break, at 4-2 in the fifth set against Frances Tiafoe. Yes, you read that right. That’s 19-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer playing in a fifth set against the upstart American, Frances Tiafoe. Federer holds, and it’s now 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 1-6, 5-2. Even when you think a night in New York City at the US Open will be boring, you’re usually proven wrong!

9:03 PM EST: Our apologies about being MIA for a little bit. There was the manner of food and editing a feature story that we had to take care of. We did see Madison Keys struggle, particularly in the second set, in her straight-set victory over Elise Mertens of Belgium. Now it’s Federer time. Hope to get out there for some of that match. At the moment, we are still inside, and editing photos for you. I can hear you expressing your appreciation for ALOST for all the work we do here in Queens!

8:58 PM EST: Bonus time! Here is the feature on Maria Sharapova’s triumphant return to Grand Slam tennis, penned (err, typed) by our Andrew Leffler. We think you’ll like it.

5:51 PM EST: Here are the official numbers of the extent of the chaos caused by today’s rain in New York. Out of the 64 scheduled matches today, seven have been completed, 11 of them were postponed after getting underway and 44 were cancelled. Two more matches are scheduled, with both being on Ashe (Mertens-Keys, Federer Tiafoe).

5:41 PM EST: Ostapenko just told ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi that she was told by US Open officials that the Nadal-Lajovic match had to end by 5:15 PM ET for her match to be moved and completed on Ashe. Nadal’s match ended at 5:08. Nadal, as well as being world No. 1, is such a gentlemen and finished in time for the ladies to get on the court.

5:33 PM EST: Finally out onto a court, and I’m experiencing “Penko Power” for the first time. Jelena Ostapenko just goes for it! No fear! It’s wonderful to watch…well, outside of when she’s spraying errors all over the place. Even with that’s she makes up for it and hits an enormous amount of winners – a good number of them that make you say “wow!” She’s closing in on the win, as she hold for 4-1 then broke for 5-1. It’s 15-15, Ostapenko serving for the match.

4:58 PM EST: It’s looking more likely that one of the matches that started on the outer courts earlier today will be completed on Ashe before the start of the evening session. That match involves the 2017 French Open champion, Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, who is three games away from winning her first-round match against Lara Arruabarrena of Spain. It is 6-2, 1-6, 3-1, and the match, which started on Court 17, will probably be moved to Ashe since Nadal is now making quick work of Lajovic.

4:56 PM EST: Slow news day here. More rain. All matches on the outer courts have been suspended, postponed or cancelled. Rafael Nadal is on Ashe, and he had a hairy time of it in the first set, needing a tiebreaker to win the first set against Dusan Lajovic of Serbia. It’s been one-way traffic ever since, and Nadal is up 7-6, 6-2, 4-1.

2:56 PM EST: Our photographer, Robert, is here, and we’re working on the Osaka-Kerber pictures as we speak. At lest we’ll have some tennis for you on here. Thank goodness for retractable roofs.

2:25 PM EST: Matches still suspended on the outside courts, but, on Ashe, we just saw a big upset. Naomi Osaka of Japan just put a beatdown on last year’s champion, Angelique Kerber, 6-3, 6-1. We know Kerber’s form has been sour in 2017, but this clearly has to be the low point. I’m trying to remember the last time a defending champion of a major lost in the first round in that same major the next year and won just four games. Let’s get research on that! Regardless, great win for Osaka, who was so close against Madison Keys on Ashe before losing in three tough sets.

12:43 PM EST: Play suspended on the outside courts. BOO!

12:11 PM EST: Because of the weather, I have the Burt Bacharach/BJ Thomas song in my head, Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head. It’s not the most pleasant earworm for me, but there are worse songs to have on loop in your brain.

11:55 AM EST: We’re here, but so is the rain. Play has started on the day, but there’s enough of a drizzle that some of the matches on the outside courts have stopped. Roof is closing on Ashe as we speak, and so are Magda Linette’s chances against top seed Karolina Pliskova, who’s walking through her first-round match.

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