Practice Courts

AO Day 2: The Joys of the First Week

What is incredible to watch during the first week of a Slam is the upcoming generation of players. Sure watching Novak Djokovic dispatch an Aljaz Bedene in three clinical sets is fine. And defending champ Stan Wawrinka dispatching Marsel Ilhan in just under an hour and a half is fine also.

But the incredible drama of the first week happens when you leave the confines of the large show courts. Like yesterday in Court 6, the 12-seed Spaniard Feliciano Lopez was not expecting a five-set labor against American wild card Denis Kudla. But Kudla showed that he could make shots, and he even had three match points against Lopez in the fifth set. But thanks to a wicked sliced backhand and his serve-and-volley skills, Lopez was able to survive the scare and win the match 10-8 in the fifth.

Meanwhile despite Sloane Stephens losing meekly to Victoria Azarenka, it’s been quite the first round for American women. The winners:

Serena Williams
Venus Williams
Bethanie Mattek-Sands
Christina McHale
Irina Falconi
Lauren Davis
Madison Keys
Coco Vandeweghe
Varvara Lepchenko
Madison Brengle
Nicole Gibbs

Only five women who competed in the first round did not make it for America. I know this comes off as sounding very jingoistic, but I don’t mean it that way. I’m proud of these ladies, sure, but I’m not saying that America is the best. It’s not like I’m a compulsive liar who made a name of himself by sniping a bunch of people in Iraq for a war that was not justified.

One name that is not in the list above is Taylor Townsend. She played very well at times against Caroline Wozniacki, but nerves seemed to get the better of her. She has so much power in her shots and made 30 winners to Caroline’s 20. But the 34 unforced errors were glaring against Caroline’s clean game.

The first round is completed, and so far everything is going how I saw it. The top men are holding form while no woman is safe from an upset. I just really wish the players would stop it with the highlighter yellow. That is just fucking ugly.