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Around the Grounds: Day 4 at the 2019 US Open

Robert Cole/ALOST

 

akoiki-passport2 – by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief

 

NEW YORK – The heat and humidity have come back to the grounds of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Which players will be best in handling the temperatures — and the pressure — the US Open is sure to bring today?

The rain has gone away and the sun is again out to play as A Lot of Sports Talk continues its Around the Grounds live blog, covering the 2019 United States Open Tennis Championships. Looking at the draw, I notice some former Grand Slam champions, specifically here in Queens, that we will be able to see outside of the main show court, Arthur Ashe Stadium. Yay!

On Louis Armstrong Stadium, defending women’s champion Naomi Osaka is the second match on Louis Armstrong (taking on Poland’s Magda Linette) while 2014 champ Marin Cilic is the final match there tonight, taking on German Cedrik-Martel Stebe. At around the same time Osaka will be taking the court in the afternoon, 2016 men’s champion Stan Wawrinka will be on Court 17 taking on France’s Jérémy Chardy. We are certain to make it to Ashe in the daytime as well, however, as American Frances Tiafoe and No. 6 seed Alexander Zverev will lock horns in a match that, knowing Zverev’s recent history in Grand Slams, should take five sets to complete.

Oh, and then there’s Coco Gauff, who will be the first night match on Armstrong as she plays Timea Babos of Hungary.

Once again, stay tuned to all of our commentary and our Around the Grounds coverage of Day 2 of the US Open and keep hitting the refresh button for our updates from the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Like always, we absolutely encourage you to contact us on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram and let us know where on the grounds we should blog from. We always love your feedback.

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

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9:21 PM EDT:  For the past 45 minutes, we’ve been at the Gauff/Babos match, which is at 6-2, 4-6, 3-2 to Gauff. It’s on serve. Been so enrapt with the high-quality tennis that we just can’t afford to look down while rallies are going on! Apologies! We’ll update when we can come up for air!

6:02 PM EDT:  In the match, Townsend came to the net 105 times!  ONE HUNDRED AND FIVE TIMES!! 63-of-105 in her advances to the net! Hello, 1983 tennis!

5:59 PM EDT:  TOWNSEND WINS!!! Biggest win of her career, and she’s beyond overcome with emotion (and tears). She admits as much in the post-match interview with Rennae Stubbs.

5:55 PM EDT:  Halep gets tight! Hits a forehand long and it’s 5-4 Townsend! Taylor can serve out the match now!

5:53 PM EDT:  Six points played, honors shared evenly!

5:49 PM EDT:  Match point saved! Three straight points won from Townsend and we now are in a final set tiebreak! Breathe in! Breathe out!

5:47 PM EDT:  Townsend wins the first two points on her serve, then two backhand passes from Simona make it 30-30!  OUCH!! A Townsend overhead smash completely fluffed by Townsend and it’s match point for Halep!

5:43 PM EDT:  Halep saves two break points and holds for 6-5. And, just like that, Townsend now serving to stay in the match after serving for the match just minutes ago!

5:42 PM EDT:  Backhand winner from the baseline by Townsend and it’s break point! 30-40! Then an unforced error creates deuce!

5:39 PM EDT:  Halep breaks on a Townsend backhand at the net that clips the tape. 5-5!

5:38 PM EDT:  Clutch forehand volley stick from Townsend on break point! Deuce No. 2. And now another wonderful backhand stick-save-and-a-beauty winner! Break point once again!

5:36 PM EDT:  HALEP SAVES TWO MATCH POINTS! DEUCE! (Halep with backhand winner at 40-30.) And now a backhand dumped into the net by Townsend and now it’s break point for Halep to even the match!

5:35 PM EDT:  MATCH POINT FOR TOWNSEND! 40-15!

5:31 PM EDT:  Great return from Townsend on a Halep second serve, but her backhand volley after approaching the net is dumped into the net. Game, Halep! Townsend to serve for the match after the changeover!

5:30 PM EDT:  Back-to-back holds and Townsend, with the second of those two holds, is one game away from the match. 5-3 to the Chicago-born Townsend. At 30-30 on Halep’s serve, a Townsend running forehand clips the tape and just lands out. Game point to Halep.

5:22 PM EDT:  TOWNSEND HOLDS WITH A OVERHEAD SMASH! 4-2 Townsend!

5:19 PM EDT:  Townsend fends off two break points, nails a forehand volley to force deuce!

5:16 PM EDT:  Winner No. 23 for Townsend, a forehand at the net, and Townsend converts the break! 3-2 to the American, and now three games away from the biggest win in her career!

5:13 PM EDT:  Townsend holds for 2-2 in the third, and now a forehand winner and she’s up 15-0…now 30-0! A chance to break for Townsend, who has 10 more winners in the match than Halep (22-12). Now triple break point for Townsend!!!

5:12 PM EDT:  Out here on Ashe right now (though now waiting for the changeover to sit down) and Townsend is up 40-30 on her service game and down 1-2. Man, it sucks missing the changeover and having to stand! Damn this plantar fasciitis!

4:59 PM EDT:  So we were at Taylor Townsend’s final round qualifying match in person last week, and she was down a set and 1-5 in the second set tiebreak. From two points away from defeat in qualifying to forcing a third set in the second round of the US Open main draw against the most recent women’s singles Grand Slam champion. You can’t make this stuff up. Well, you can, but people would not believe you.

4:53 PM EDT:  Back out onto the court and we get to see Benoit Paire do Benoit Paire things! On Court 6, Paire completes his efforts to pull defeat from the jaws of victory, blowing a two-sets-to-love lead to Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia. (Bedene once represented Great Britain, from 2015 to 2017.) After a Paire backhand goes wide and Bedene collapses onto the court in celebration, Paire refuses to shake hands with the chair umpire or Bedene, picks up his racquet bag and leaves. A smattering of boos ring out from the crowd for the lack of sportsmanship, and deservedly so. But, then again, not the most surprising thing given the person involved. OK, back out to more courts.

4:01 PM EDT: Apologies to you all, as I got Majchrzak’s interview time wrong. It is now at 4 PM. Will get quotes from him, then go out to Courts 4-6 and/or 17 to see Wawrinka, who is up two sets to one on Chardy.

3:27 PM EDT: Sascha has now played in 11 five-set matches over the last two years, more than any other player on the ATP Tour. He’s the marathon man!

3:25 PM EDT: Definitely a disappointing moment for Tiafoe, as his last two matches on Arthur Ashe Stadium have been five-setters that he’s lost against Top 5 players. He almost knocked out Roger Federer in the first round in 2017 and now a near-miss against Zverev today.

3:23 PM EDT: Still waiting for Majchrzak and, at the moment, Zverev has match point on Tiafoe (and, yes, it’s in a fifth set). A return from Tiafoe goes long and that’s it. Zverev wins 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3. The two players of the NextGen class have a warm embrace at the net. They are genuine friends, at least from the looks of it!

3:06 PM EDT: Waiting in the media room now to talk with Kamil Majchrzak, the lucky loser who has now made it into the third round!! He beat Pablo Cuevas in five sets, and I’m all excited because my lucky-loser-to-ultimate-winner-in-a-Grand-Slam story is working out to perfection!

2:50 PM EDT: Honestly, I can stay in a room and hear Andrea Petkovic talk for hours! No joke!

2:36 PM EDT: Starting the day in interview room 2, where Andrea Petkovic is after her upset victory over No. 6 seed Petra Kvitova, 6-4, 6-4. If you don’t remember our fun interview with Petko from two years ago, here it is! You’ll enjoy it, and you’ll also get to know why sitting in a room with Andrea is a must!

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