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Around the Grounds: Day 1 at the 2015 U.S. Open

After covering his doubles team's US Open National Playoffs victory in New Haven, we run into Julio Peralta (r.) again on the grounds in NYC.
After covering his doubles team’s US Open National Playoffs victory in New Haven, we ran into Julio Peralta (r.) again on the grounds in NYC, along with his fiancée, Catherine, and a USTA coach. Peralta will be the first Chilean man to compete in a Grand Slam since former Top 10 singles player Fernando González did so at the US Open in 2011. (A Lot of Sports Talk)

We’re back for more…and maybe back just in time for history!

Welcome to Year Two of A Lot of Sports Talk‘s live blogging extravaganza at the U.S. Open, as we walk around the grounds – and avoid Ashe Stadium for the most part – to experience one of the most fun times of the year for a sports fan and/or sports journalist. Honestly, your body is getting a workout (a big plus) while hopping around the largest public tennis facility in the world (an even bigger plus), getting to watch the world’s best tennis players battle from sun up to sunset…and beyond! If you’re in the New York City area and able to afford a day pass, as well as play hooky from work, you should be here! Now! What are you waiting for?

Oh, and there’s the whole thing about Serena Williams trying to win the calendar Grand Slam with a win here. That’s just small potatoes, right?! (Sarcasm alert!)

We’ll be in the borough of Queens for the first three days of the tournament,, so stay tuned and keep hitting the refresh button for our updates from the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Let’s have some fun, shall we? Latest entries are at the top of the page.

 

10:19 PM EST: While eating a meatball sub that I had to bring with me as the media dining room closed, here at Ashe as Coric, who lost first two sets, is now up a break on Rafa, 2-0, in the third. Might call it a night soon, unless Coric can win third set. Have to head all the way back to Brooklyn after this, so the sooner I can skedaddle, the better my circadian rhythms will be going forward. Oops, and Nadal breaks back to get us back on serve.

9:40 PM EST: Correction: no match on Armstrong now. Monfils retired at 6-2, 4-6, 0-5 against Ukrainian Illya Marchenko. Shame that the game’s showman won’t have any further part to play here. Was favoring his back when I was watching in media room before first trying to make it out to Armstrong. Well, looks like we’re going into Ashe now, with Rafael Nadal taking on last year’s young player of the year on the ATP Tour, Borna Coric of Croatia.

9:41 PM EST: Fognini closes out the American in fourth-set tiebreak, defeats the former NCAA Champion 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (2). Looks like just Ashe and Armstrong have matches going on now.

9:35 PM EST: Actually did a U-turn, and now am at Court 17, where American Steve Johnson is in a 4th set tiebreak against the always calm, cool and collected Fabio Fognini, with the Italian up two sets to one. Fognini jumps out to 3-0 lead in tiebreak. Not looking good for the American, despite the support from crowd.

9:10 PM EST: Heading over to see Gael Monfils on Louis Armstrong, but here’s a pic of those awesome Aussie fans…as well as a certain ALOST journalist. They asked me to join in the picture, I swear!

"Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!..."
“Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!…”

 

8:53 PM EST: Update on “insensitive comment” concern: Apparently, a customer complained to security when Aussie fans sang Aerosmith’s “Dude Looks Like a Lady,” apparently referring to Dolgopolov and his pretty boy looks. Security guard told me that the angry customer said, “We don’t do homosexuality here.” Am sure someone could look at that as insensitive, but someone definitely has their underwear in a bunch, don’t you think?!

8:52 PM EST: Funny moment as I walked up to take pictures of Aussie fans. Security guard reprimands group for supposedly chanting insensitive comments, but the chant they were saying was, “We love you, Grothy. We do.” Insensitive indeed, huh?!?! I know Aussie accent might be tough to pick up, but c’mon!

8:45 PM EST: Game. Set. Retirement! Groth holds and wins third set, 7-5, then Dolgopolov retires immediately afterward. Groth to the second round. Crazy Aussie fan pictures to come.

8:45 PM EST: And now Groth breaks, takes a 6-5 lead in third. With that record-breaking serve he has (north of 149 mph at times), gonna be tough for this to head to a tiebreak.

8:33 PM EST: We’re out and about now, and we’re on Court 6, with the Aussie bomber, Sam Groth, against the eclectic Alexandr Dolgopolov! The yellow-and-green-clad Aussie fans her, making noise, and just pushed Groth to break “The Dog,” evening the third set at 5-all, one set all. Standing next to a couple making jokes that would make Stiller and Meara jealous! Says the woman: “I wish Djokovic were my play toy.” Love them already!

6:24 PM EST: Allertova, speaking with yours truly, and admitting that, among other things, her native language is hard to learn, even for her while growing up!

[audio:https://s3.amazonaws.com/ALOST/Denisa+Allertova+interview+(08.31.15).mp3]

6:22 PM EST: Here is Denisa Allertova in post-match interview with Czech reporters, with one of the reporters being the biggest Portland Trail Blazers fan I’ve seen not in the Great Northwest!  Good thing he also didn’t get a tattoo depicting LaMarcus Aldridge to boot!

You think Allertova has ever heard of "Rip City" before?
You think Allertova has ever heard of “Rip City” before?

5:42 PM EST: Still getting settled in the media room before going out in earnest, but we just got to talk with Denisa Allertova, the Czech who defeated No. 10 Carla Suarez Navarro. After doing interviews in Czech with the Czech reporters, I told her I understood all the words she was saying in Czech. She follows by saying that Czech is hardest language to learn in the world, even for a native speaker like her! It can’t be THAT hard, can it?!

3:16 PM EST: Haven’t made it out to the courts just yet, but here’s American Lauren Davis, on the right, talking with the media; Davis won her first-round match against Great Britain’s Heather Watson, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (0).

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2:30 PM EST: Stand-up done and we have our first HUGE upset! (I don’t count Cibulkova over No. 7 Ana Ivanovic as a huge upset.) Last year’s men’s singles finalist, Kei Nishikori, goes down in five sets to Frenchman Benoit Paire! Have already seen a huge Japanese contingent in the media room, let alone the Japanese fans on the grounds. Definitely thought their stay watching Nishikori would last more than three hours.

2:10 PM EST: Before going to the courts, a stop at the practice courts to do an on-camera stand-up! Chances a passerby will knock over the camera and tripod, since there’s no cameraperson standing behind it? 39 percent.

1:36 PM EST: I would have gone onto the courts already, but I’m HUNGRY! Media credential comes with a daily $20 food voucher. Here’s where the first $10.50 went towards.  I’d say this is definitely a healthy meal!

Wings, fries, Snapple Iced Tea, US Open napkins and A Lot of Sports Talk!
Wings, fries, Snapple Iced Tea, US Open napkins and A Lot of Sports Talk!

1:05 PM EST:  Just arrived at the media entrance after having to walk a mile (seriously) to the credential pick-up area. The walk was necessitated by the construction being done at Arthur Ashe Stadium, which meant a straightforward shot to the media room became a semicircular walk around the stadium which included walking past two police vans and under a highway overpass. But hey, we’re here! And my shoulders are already killing me with the pounds of equipment in tow! Wanna work as my cameraman?


[Cover photo (Court Six at US Open) courtesy of Adesina O. Koiki/A Lot of Sports Talk]

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