Around the Grounds: Day 4 at the 2017 US Open

Robert Cole/ALOST
When was the last time Roger Federer was pushed to five sets in the first two matches of a major? We now know that the most recent time is right now, as he's locked in a five-setter with Mikhail Youzhny. (Robert Cole/ALOST)
When was the last time Roger Federer was pushed to five sets in the first two matches of a major? We now know that the most recent time is right now, as he’s locked in a five-setter with Mikhail Youzhny. (Robert Cole/ALOST)

Let’s just get right to it, shall we?!

Day 4 of the 2017 US Open, which is today, has already been historic and has a chance to be monumentally so in a few minutes from me typing this. How has history been made already. We documented the last part of the match on my personal Twitter page, as American Shelby Rogers came back from 2-4 down in the third set to defeat No. 25 seed Daria Gavrilova, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, in three hours and 33 minutes. The length of time of the match now makes it the longest women’s singles match in US Open history. Rogers will be one of the subjects of a feature story coming up, about a number of American women having to play fellow Americans in the early rounds at the US Open and how strange that is to take place at their “home” slam. She came across as an unbelievably affable person, as well as a person who wears her emotions on her sleeves. (Of course she does, because she admitted to A Lot of Sports Talk yesterday that she’s a hugger!) We can’t wait to get a chance to hear from in the post-match press conference shortly.

It can be unbelievably historic in a few minutes, as, at the moment, Roger Federer is currently in the fifth set again, this time against Mikhail Youzhny, a person whom Federer is 16-0 against in his career! In Federer’s first match in Queens, he had to go five sets to defeat American youngster Frances Tiafoe, winning the fifth set 6-4. When was the last time Federer played and won two best-of-five matches in five sets to start a major? Has that ever happened? Well, as a one-time researcher, I guess I should get on the case, huh?

We will also get on the case of actually getting out onto the grounds to blog once more! Remember, 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.

1:16 AM EST: Before I leave, I must say that Elaine Philis is my life saver. That is all. Good night, everyone!

12:37 AM EST: Nadal finishes off Daniel, and we’re pretty much finished. Thanks so much for Jenny for being great company, and she has tagged me on a few videos that we’re in together on social media while we made our way to the front row. Look out for those – and my bad dancing..

12:21 AM EST: Amidst the dancing and sneaking down to park our butts in thousand-dollar seats, Nadal has taken control and is two games away from the match. It’s now 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 4-2. But Daniel is giving Rafa a good run, and the NYC fans are appreciatively of the hustle and fight of the Japanese.

12:17 AM EST: So we are officially into Friday, and I’m officially sitting two rows from the court with my real good friend, Jenny Lee! We danced together during a changeover. It was documented on Instagram. It’s a thing. You might go blind with my dancing.

11:06 PM EST: I love it when I pose a question that people are impressed with! The latest came about an hour ago, when I asked an ATP representative when was the last time a US Open featured, in men’s singles, at least four qualifiers advancing to the Round of 32, as is the case here at the 2017 US Open (Denis Shapovalov, Nicolas Mahut, Radu Albot, Mikhail Kukushkin). The person with the ATP, a lovely lady named Maria, emailed media relations guru Greg Sharko at the ATP, and he delivered the goods. It hasn’t happened at the US Open since 1999! The last time it happened in any Grand Slam was at Roland Garros in 2011, which had six men who qualified for the tournament advance to the Round of 32. Even more amazing about this statistic is that there are four qualifiers AND A LUCKY LOSER in the Round of 32, as Leonardo Mayer of Argentina, who lost in qualifying and is only in this event after Milos Raonic withdrew, has won his first two matches here. Craziness indeed. Oh, and you’re welcome!

10:28 PM EST: Taro Daniel wins the first set! He’s now looking to be the most famous person/place/thing named Taro as it pertains to crossword puzzles and crossword puzzle enthusiasts!

10:28 PM EST: Daniel sends a forehand long and it’s deuce. And now set point again after Nadal can only send a return of a drop shot long.

10:27PM EST: Then a double fault. Still set point.

10:26 PM EST: Double set point for Taro Daniel!

10:22 PM EST: We’ve gotten food and we’re now at Ashe. And guess what?! Taro Daniel has just broken Rafa, and he will serve for the first set at 5-4. Please don’t tell me that another rout on paper is going to go the distance again, right? There goes another good night’s sleep if that happens!

9:43 PM EST: The past three hours have been a bumper crop for Japanese media! Not only did Nara play just now, but Nao Hibino (vs. Lucie Safarova) and Yuichi Sugita (vs. Leonardo Mayer) also played this evening. Oh, and Taro Daniel is getting set to play Rafael Nadal on Ashe. We’ll be there shortly. Sayonara, Grandstand!

9:40 PM EST: Nara, who has just earned her first-ever win against a Top 10 player, said she was nervous on match point but just wanted to hit. And hit she did! Back to the media room before the dining room closes at 10!

9:39 PM EST: Nara converts at the first time of asking, and Nara is off to the Round of 32 – and eliminates former US Open champion Kuznetsova in the process!

9:38 PM EST: Match point for Nara as Sveta gets jammed on the forehand!

9:37 PM EST: Sveta hooks a forehand wide and it’s deuce.

9:36 PM EST: At 30-30, Nara has an overhead at the net and absolutely butchers it long! It’s break point for Sveta!

9:34 PM EST: Never made it out to see Mayer, but he did close out the match and I did ask him two questions after the match, though I needed a translator. I’m on the Grandstand now, as Kurumi Nara of Japan is two points away (30-15) from eliminating former US Open champion and No. 8 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova.

8:15 PM EST: Of some of the options in terms of which court to go to next, the one that most appeals to me now is Court 13, where lucky loser Leonardo Mayer of Argentina is up two sets to one over Yuichi Sugita, 6-7, 6-4, 6-3, 3-2. Mayer, who lost in qualifying, entered the draw after Milos Raonic withdrew from the event last Thursday. Now, he has a chance to advance to the third round and he’s just three games away from the victory.

7:36 PM EST: A European-based reporter who is helping out covering the Japanese players here at the US Open just told me that he liked my questions that I asked to Federer as well as Shelby Rogers in the media room.
Totally blushing right now!

7:33 PM EST: It is a marvel to watch Roger Federer in these post-match press conferences. Right now, he had a Q&A in English that lasted about 20 minutes, then had a Q&A in French and in Swiss that lasted about 10 minutes, then did an on-camera interview in German, then answered questions French and Swiss radio. He’s a Renaissance Man. He’s an icon. He’s…Roger.

7:10 PM EST: Roger Federer just answered a question of mine in the press conference. Trying not to pass out.

6:45 PM EST: Just heard from “The Voice” in the US Open media room (Jordan) after coming back to it that this is the first time Federer has started any major needing to play five sets in the first two rounds.

6:30 PM EST: Whew! Federer dodges another bullet! An overhead smash clinches it for Fed, as he wins 6-4, 6-7, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. Is this a good thing for Federer in terms of his US Open chances that he’s come through in these matches in five sets in the first two rounds? Or does this mean the needle on his gas tank will be on “E” before too long?

6:23 PM EST: Here at Ashe Stadium now, and I’m here as Federer has match point…and it’s saved by Youzhny. This was the same situation Federer was in on Tuesday, when he was up 5-2. Tiafoe held, then broke for 4-5. Can it happen again? If it does, will it rain cats and dogs outside. (I don’t mean it metaphorically. Will cats and dogs actually fall from the sky?)

6:10 PM EST: Again, here is the link to my Twitter page, with a whole thread on the Rogers-Gavrilova match, which I definitely had to talk about in real time, even if we didn’t have the blog up at the moment. What. A. Match.

6:07 PM EST: Finally got the Internet to work on Court 10, and it’s after Shelby Rogers just completed an emotional victory over No. 25 Daria Gavrilova in three sets. Rogers was 2-4 down, but then, in a span of 30 minutes, had triple match point on Gavrilova’s serve at 5-4. Gavrilova saved the match points, then the match went into a tiebreak, which Rogers won! I’m tired just typing this, but not as tired as the ladies out there, as the time on the clock reads 3:33!!!! That is a loooong time to play a best-of-three set match! Bravo, Shelby!

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