Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A Night at the US Open 2016

Arthur Ashe Stadium on September 1, 2016.

It was another wonderful time at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens for Round 2 of the US Open 2016. I went to an evening session like I did in 2014 and this time the two matches I saw were Serena Williams (six-time US Open women’s champion) versus Vania King, and Juan Martín del Potro (the 2009 US Open men’s champion) versus Steve Johnson.

A Honey Deuce cocktail.

I like the energy of the evening sessions plus the cooler temperatures and the fact that the sun has gone down so you don’t have to worry about getting a sunburn. Before heading to Arthur Ashe Stadium for the matches I made sure to swing by the Grey Goose bar to try a Honey Deuce, the signature cocktail of the US Open, made with Grey Goose vodka (naturally), lemonade, and Chambord. Each drink is topped with honeydew melons shaped like tennis balls and the reusable cup lists the names of past champions on both the men’s and women’s sides going back to 1968. It’s a refreshing drink and I highly recommend it. I found several recipes online if you want to make one at home yourself! Here is one I found on the Town & Country website, with a backstory of when and how the drink was created.

The new roof at Ashe Stadium. It was closed for the Serena Williams match.

Because it had been raining for most of the day the new roof at Ashe was closed. It feels like quite the party inside when they get the steam machines, disco lights, and music going. One song played during changeover was “Crazy in Love” by Beyoncé, featuring Jay Z. Serena was seen on the Jumbotron smirking when she heard it and the reason why was revealed seconds later when the camera showed Beyoncé and Jay Z were both in the audience! Cue the crowd cheering and applauding because that’s what happened.

I wanted to see if I could find Beyoncé without having a cameraman do it for me and sure enough, I spotted her. I did it by first finding Serena’s mother, Oracene, who always wears a hat. Once I found her, I saw Beyoncé one row behind her!

Beyoncé in the third row on the right. Serena’s mother Oracene is the lady in the center in a hat!

Beyoncé smiling as she hears her own song being played! Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images.

Serena awaits Vania’s serve.

Serena was dominant from start to finish against Vania. You won’t be surprised to learn that she won in straight sets, in just over an hour. What I was surprised by was how many people left as soon as the match was over, Beyoncé included!

I like Serena’s evening session look! Photo by Mike Hewitt.

Serena being interviewed by Pam Shriver after her win.

I stuck around for the second match between Juan Martín del Potro, from Argentina, affectionately known as Delpo, and the American Steve Johnson. Prior to the match, an announcer said the roof would be opening. There was a countdown clock before it happened and music played and lights flashed as the panels separated. It took about five minutes. The roof makes it very loud in the stadium when it’s closed and the noisiness is only a little better when it’s opened. The chair umpires kept asking the crowd during both games to settle down and be quiet between points! The roof does cut down on the breeze in Ashe, which I was glad about since last time I went it was so windy that I was freezing.

Everyone was taking pictures of the roof as it opened, myself included!

Before the start of the second match the roof was opened with great fanfare.

Steve Johnson vs. Martín Del Potro (in black and yellow).

The match between Delpo and Johnson was longer but Delpo was ultimately victorious and took the match in straight sets. Delpo just won the silver medal at the Rio Olympics and has been trying to make a comeback after multiple wrist surgeries the past few years. I don’t know if he will take it all the way like he did in 2009 but so far he’s made it to the quarterfinals, where he will play Stan Wawrinka. I am happy to see him doing so well—he is talented and humble, 6’6, and very easy on the eyes!

Delpo won in straight sets. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images.

Apparently not that many tennis fans are into Delpo, judging by the number of empty seats by the end of the match. My son and I were literally the only people in our section by the end of the night and had the place to ourselves. I hope if Delpo makes gets to the semi-finals, things will change. Who doesn’t love a good comeback story?!

Delpo after his win. Look at the empty seats!

Let me know if you have either attended the US Open this year or been following along on TV. Who do you think will win for the women or the men?


GSL said...

I'll be pulling for Andy Murray and with Serena so dominant and Sharapova out over PEDs, the women hold no interest and I've always said that women are more interesting athletically in tennis, gymnastics, and figure skating.

Jill said...

Hi there GSL, I am pulling for Andy too. I would love to see him win again. If Serena is on her game I expect she will win her 7th title but if it's not her, my money is on Angelique Kerber. The two of them played the highest quality women's final I have ever seen at Wimbledon in July. Serena certainly earned that win and had to battle for every point. Great post on Edith Wharton, btw, maybe I will re-read one of her novels this fall. xx

Rosemary Nardone said...

Nice post. I attended the tournament for many years, last one being in 2011. It just seemed to be so over crowded and I wasn't enjoying as much as I used to. The night matches are the best, and most relaxing. I like watching in Armstrong or the old Grandstand much more close to the action. I would like to get back for a day or two and see all the changes they have made to the site. Sad to see Murray lose as now I have no favorites left. Rafa was my other who lost way too soon.

Jill said...

Hi Rosemary, I think you will like the changes made to the entire complex if you ever go back. It seemed a lot roomier to me. I know they are tearing down Armstrong after this tournament. I am listening to the men's final as I type this and Stan is up on Novak. I hope he can clinch it for his first US Open title!