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Oh no JoKo .... so close! What an incredible effort to come through qualifying and to get within a few points of making round three. Just fab and shows what's she's capable of! Didn't help being put third on court 7 and having to wait till almost 6pm before starting against Olga Govorotsova.
Uh oh. The kids are back in town. Juniors queuing up to get their creds!
It was the first match on court 7 that caused the problem. Deliciano looked to be cruising v Andujar - 2 sets and a break up - much to the delight of hundreds of Desperate NY Housewives :) but he somehow he got side-tracked and ended up winning 7-5 in the 5th - much to the delight of same housewives. Because 5 sets = numerous shirt changes!! And before you ask ... I was not courtside scouting or talent spotting :)
I went caking early doors. Grand Central Station is a must for breakfast and has a cupcake stand to die for. Plumped for the Red Velvet with buttercream icing. Just the one! Passed this whacky statue on Park Avenue on the way back. Reminded me that I should NEVER over-cake.
Bizarre statue on Park Avenue. Reminding me not to over-cake!
Watched bits and pieces of doubles and mixed while waiting for JoKo. Wins for Delgy and dad-to-be Skupper v Brunstrom/Cerretani, losses for Laura/Peer v Lisiki/Peng and Annie/Tatishvilli v Petrova/Kirilenko.
Annie K squaring up to Maria K in the dubs yesterday.....
Also clocked a bit of Jonny Maz mixed. What's he doing playing with someone called Vladimira? Scariest name I ever heard .....
Jonny Maz and Vladimira (scary name) Uhlirova in the mixed
Went to check out Andy hitting with Dani on P1. That's the furthest away practice court in the row of 5 that are reserved for the main seeds and screened from the public. It’s also the court that has the Sky Sports studio above it. I went for a look at their "green room" under the studio to find leather sofa, tv screen and enough make up to stock Selfridges. All for Marcus Buckland, apparently :) Yes, yes, that's a joke.
Biggest news yesterday was A-Rod announcing his retirement on the eve of his 30th birthday. He plays Bernie T tonight on Ashe. Should be a corker and possibly a tear-jerker. A-Rod one of the sharpest wits in the men’s game. Very funny guy! He said similar to Kim - that he's not prepared to play half-baked ....
So I'm headed home now so last blog from me. Got everything crossed for Laura today!!!
What a day at Flushing Meadows ... kicked off with Wimbledon champs Marray/Nielsen storming past the Italians Fognini and Chipolata. Possibly the shortest team in the draw. No, really, they are ... so of course Cipolla is perfect nickname fodder for me. He was also sporting a pair of shiny black shorts, almost wet look. I spent most of the match wondering what they were all about ......
Did a swift bit of shoe therapy early yesterday and bumped into Irina Camelia Begu (conqueror of Wozza) in Saks 5th Avenue. I was trying a pair of terribly dull Tory Burch pumps while she was buying some oh-so funky birthday boots. Presumably so she can kick some more butt? :) I was tempted by these however but common sense prevailed.
All that glitters is not gold. Sometimes it's a shoe.
I digress .... bagged myself a smoothie while I waited for the Laura Robson Show. The player resto at USO has a great smoothie station. Plumped for the strawberry and banana with a bit of yoghurt, honey and OJ. You can get extra shots of all sorts of healthy things like wheatgerm, peanut butter, cherry concentrate....
There's a whack of great food stations in there where u create your own dishes .... pick your ingredients and someone makes it up for u. Bliss. Sandwiches, pasta, pizza, sushi, salads ... and all kinds of roast options too. The only disappointment for me is the cake selection. I mean, carrot cake and choc brownies ..... zzzzzzzzz. That is NOT getting the job done. Sorry.
Right ... back to the tennis. What a win for MC Robbo. Outstanding. So so solid and composed. And will go down in history as the girl who ended tennis supermum Kimmy's singles career. Very sad to see Kim go. What an amazing ambassador she is for women’s tennis. Fun, friendly, humble, down to earth .... and of course a wonderful player and mum!
Ok I wasn't going to tell you this but I feel I have to share. I sat back row of tier 3 in the player section with Mao Hadad (Hev's coach). Quite high up. Bit like being at the movies. We got a bit hungry and brought in some fries and ketchup. Like proper fans....great fun.
Laura (the yellow dot) serving for the match v Clijsters. Yep that's how far up I was!!
Back out to see Jamie’s doubles which wasn't a good match sadly, then back in for Andy’s match. Night matches at USO are like no others. Amazing atmosphere. So noisy. Like everyone’s chatting the whole way through and never once is there a "Quiet Please". So different from every other Slam venue and crowd. Before the match, an 11 year-old cutie called Katie sang America is Beautiful on the court. How brave is that? She was adorable and just fab to listen to!
What Katie Did. Sang to about 15k people on Ashe last night. Wow.
At the changeovers, there's a shedload of fan engagement including a Kiss Cam, prize giveaways from the tourney sponsors - from frozen yoghurt or Heineken deliveries to spotlighted fans - and a karaoke. No kidding. The music blares and the words get flashed up around the stadium so u can join in. It’s crazy but a lot of fun. Definitely tests the players’ concentration.
Funny of the night. Little kid few rows behind me calling Andy's opponent Ivan Sausage. Too good!
Off to watch the JoKo Show later plus 3 girls dubs matches ... busy busy busy. But might find time to visit the Salon Jean Faurel - that a hair and beauty salon which is free in the player area to competitors and their guests. It’s got my name all over it ... I mean, this supporting is terribly stressful :-)
Salon Jean Faurel. Pamper time for players!
What a day for JoKo! First she qualifies through 3 tough matches, then she takes out Timea Babos in straight sets. Her first Slam win and it was a cracker. Played crazy hot in crazy heat to bag the first set 6-2 then went 5-1 down ... longest game in history at 5-3, saved a zillion set points ... and BOOM 6 in a row for 7-5. Amazing resilience and fight. Loving that ...
JoKo shakes on it! Big win for her.
Angie Kerber won the shoot-out on court 17 with AK47 while sporting her One Arm Bandit look in the warm up. The top was a bit of a talking point ... reminded me of a throwback to Flashdance. Yeh yeh showing my age … suffice to say Annie had the better looking outfit. As you’d expect from our in-house fashionista.
The One Arm Bandit warm up top. As worn by Angie Kerber. Very odd. The top, not her.
AK47 serves it up to Angie Kerber.
Watched a bit of Dr Ivo v Jimmy Wang on court 7. I'm a bit of an Ivo fan. Ever since I met him in 2003 when he was ranked 120 and training in same place as Jamie in Paris. He was incredibly shy back then but as his tennis improved, so did his confidence and he's like a different person now. One of my favourite tweeters @ivokarlovic. Check him out.
Passed an understandably sizeable queue at the Esurance booth - James Blake was doing a signing session. Most of the players have obligations to personal or event sponsors during the bigger events. Autograph sessions are popular with the fans and usually last about 30 minutes. Other appearances might include corporate or kids’ clinics, meet and greets at sponsor suites, photo shoots with local celebs or at local attractions or with any charities linked to the event. These are all agreed well in advance with the players’ agents.
James Blake signing autographs at the Esurance booth. Big queue. Was tempted ...
Last bit of Brit watch yesterday was the Flembo/Hutch dubs win. Gotta love their energy on court. Reckon that's worth a good few games every match. Great body language, great teamwork. They even chest bump. Yeah really! Quite brave from Flembo because Rossco is one of the sweatiest players I've ever met. You could wring him out. Literally.
Took a peek at the Fan Zone as well. Lot of interactive stations - Nintendo Wii style - and 5 mini bays (rather like mini squash courts) where fans could hit sponge balls against an Arthur Ashe stadium backdrop, be videoed and view themselves playing at USO on a laptop afterwards. Pretty neat.
Fan Zone - let's u play in the USO - virtually! Really cool.
So it’s hot again today. Better get capped and factor 50'd. Looking forward to watching MC Robbo v Kim Clijsters on the big court. I'm feeling good about this one ...
Didn't see this one coming!! :)
Tuesday 10ish ... Starbucks on 51st and Lexington ... with the lovely Darren Cahill. Not sure about his suit, t-shirt + trainers combo but he paid so what's to complain about? :)
Heading into the courts soon to watch Jamie practice and to book my seat on court 17 for The AK47 shoot out against Angelique Kerber. Or as Brad Gilbert calls her CurveBall. He has nicknames for everyone. Really. One of my all-time favs is The Sneezer. Paul Henri Mathieu. Genius.
Court 17 is a relatively new show court. Sat on it for the first time yesterday for Heather v Li Na. The player boxes are corner courtside with the worst possible view - in my opinion. So I plonked myself back row behind the baseline. Bit like being at the movies ... (And yes I did have my bag of Pik n Mix from the Lindt outlet store) but much easier to read the game from behind the court even if it does mean you’re exposed to some very suspect characters... like journos Neil Harman and Simon Briggs! Just kidding guys ...
Opening game of Heather v Li Na on court 17.
Li Na is on fire right now, backhand to die for ... Heather played a really good match, went down 6-2, 6-3 but will have learned loads about consistency of quality from playing a top tenner. Matches like this are gold dust for emerging players. Let’s them see what they are aiming at and how tough you have to be mentally and physically to keep up with them.
There was a monster black cloud hovering over Flushing Meadow during Hev's match and it burst at 6-2, 5-3. We are talking monsoon here. Seriously. Had everyone running for cover. Including me and where did I find a bit of shelter? Behind the counter of a hamburger stand ... thanks to Cici the Hispanic server who let me stay there till it calmed a bit. Spotted Hev being escorted to player building under 3 (yes 3) umbrellas and barefoot. The ground was so puddled that u don't want to get your shoes n socks soaked. Nothing worse ... See, u learn something every time you read my blogs, don't you?
Check out that black cloud hanging over Arthur Ashe ... well in NY, when it rains, it pours.
Everywhere was mobbed. First day of tourney so every player and their entourage is in town. Standing room only in player lounge and resto. Nightmare.
Standing room only in the player lounge during the rain delay. Centre of attention was Riley Blake, baby daughter of James.
Anyway, play resumed a bit later. Andy got through in straight sets. 4 breaks of serve in the first 4 games and Mr Lendl turns round and says "this is what you’re used to watching in the women’s matches". Cheeky.
Late start for MC Robbo in the Teen Clash v US qualifier Samantha Crawford who is a flashy dangerous player. Watch out for her. 6-3, 7-6 win for Laura and a 2nd round match up with Kim Clijsters. Bring it on.
MC Robbo - many happy returns ... of serve :)
Busy day again today as JoKo plays 3rd match on court 15 v Timea Babos. And Flembo/Rossco are on this pm also. Popping into Fan Zone today too so look out for some tweets about those activities via @set4sport. Good to have a Fan Zone rather than a Kids Zone because adults and older youngsters like to try too .... :)
More tomorrow ...
Follow Judy on Twitter - @judmoo
Big day in the Big Apple. Hurricane Heather has breezed (get it??) into town ready to mix it with the form player of the summer Li Na. They’re 1st up on court 17 today - that's the 4th biggest court at Flushing Meadows - and it’s bound to be mobbed. Li comes in with 2 hard court singles titles behind her. But so does Hev - she added the Dallas dubs trophy to the one she bagged In Stanford just before the Olympics. Way to go Hev......as u can see I'm adapting to my American surroundings y'all. Almost fluent.
Bethanie Mattek-Sands brought a splash of colour to court 4...turquoise hair? Knee sox? Yep, she's different. And fun.
Andy's on Ashe around 1pm, though there's rain and thunder and lightning on the way according to the weather buffs. It always makes me laugh when the courts gets puddled here because the Mop Squad get stuck in with towels and hand held dryers. Yeah really. You’d never catch anyone doing that in Scotland.
Mr Lendl supervises "bomb practice" with Andy
Laura's 3rd up v American qualifier Samantha Crawford with the winner probably facing Kim Clijsters who's playing her final US Open :( Miz Robson was filling her down time yesterday with a spot of babysitting. Ex LTA physio Sophie Scott popped in with 4 week old Ben and Auntie Laura was doing a great job on the pacifying.
Oh look! Its the Wimbledon champions - Jonny Maz n Freddie N - lighting up Flushing Meadows!
Sat beside Brad Gilbert on the bus into Flushing yesterday. He was telling me that on Saturday there was a "Get off the Couch" day for kids. Sponsored by Nike so many of their contracted players and coaches were pulled in to help out between 9am-3pm. Well there were 6000 kids there apparently with dozens of on court activities aimed at getting children active. How good is that? I should have switched them all on to Set4Sport ... :)
Qualifier JoKo on court 5 yesterday watched by Will Smith. Ok ok I'm kidding. Its MIB4 Julien Picot, her coach :)
Watched all 11 Brits in practice yesterday. Great to have such a big presence here. Did occur to me as I circled the outside courts that it would help fans a lot if the scoreboards on the practice courts could show who was practicing. Can't tell u how many people asked me if I could tell them who the players were. And here's another little piece of info for you ... the main seeds can hit on courts P1-P5 which are right in front of tourney building and are screened from the public. The other players are on the outside courts and hit either 2 to a court or 4 to a court depending on their status. Sessions last 45 mins on outside courts and 60-90 mins on the screened courts.
That's it for today. I'm off to get the bus to the site and book my seat for The Heather Watson Show ....
Follow Judy on Twitter - @judmoo
27/08/12 - 09/09/12, Flushing Meadows
25/01/15 - 01/02/15 - Sunderland Tennis Centre
02/02/15 - 08/02/15 - Scotstoun Leisure Centre