Aug/19

18

Unbelievable Opening Day at the Qualis

Every once in a while you look at a Qualis Schedule of Play and go “Wow, what a day!” Tomorrow at the US Open is one of those days. I am to meet Scoop at the 125th Street train station at 10 am after he rides his bike in for New Joisey and I ride in from White Plains. To do so, I have to ride from White Plains to the Post Road in Mamaroneck and then all the way into the Bronx where I go past the Bronx Zoo and Yankee Stadium and then cross the Willis Avenue Bridge into Manhattan. Anyone want to join me along the way, I’ll be on my gold Trek steel road bike. Then Scoop and I cross the RFK Bridge into Queens, ride down Northern Blvd to Roosevelt Blvd and lock our bikes just outside the front gates.

Here are the matches you’ll probably find Scoop and I at tomorrow:

Start the day with Sebastian Ofner v Hyeon Chung or Mikael Ymer (the younger of the two Ymer brothers, 20, and ranked #109) and Thai-Son Kwiatowski. Tommy Paul v Yannick Hanfmann ain’t chopped liver either. The juicy second match of the day is one of my all-time fave’s Nicolas Mahut, 37 (French players don’t quit they just can’t qualify for slams anymore and then they go off and probably play money tournaments until they’re 50. Anyone remember Marc Giquel?) v the crazed UCLA Frenchman, Maxime Cressy. And can you believe, another crazed man, possibly the craziest on tour today, Ryan Harrison plays at the same time versus Dominic Koepfer, the German. Then there are two more of my all-time fave’s playing in the third match of the day, Ernests Gulbis against a Japanese player and Dudi Sela vs Steve Diez of Canada.

I mean this is the best day possibly ever I’ve seen (and I’ve been going to the Qualis forever) at the US Open Qualis. Still, to follow is Stakhovsky, another of my all-time fave’s, Rankumar Ramanathan, who I’ve seen do very well at Newport, Korda, a promising American young gun, and top it off with Mischa Zverev v Denis Istomin. I mean does it get any better than that?

See you at the Qualis!

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49 comments

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 18, 2019 at 9:08 pm

    Also 14 or 15 yr old Reece Brantmeier plays Allertova, Reese just won 16s nats in San Diego. Chung also plays. Lots of good matches.

  • Hartt · August 18, 2019 at 9:56 pm

    That sounds amazing. Am looking forward to hearing about the matches you see.

  • Dan Markowitz · August 18, 2019 at 10:14 pm

    Uh, Scoop, did you read my article? I mention Chung, but I guess you’re a real big Chung fan.

  • Thomas Tung · August 18, 2019 at 10:24 pm

    Wish I could join you guys at the US Open Qualis, but due to my recent hernia surgery, I’m out of commission recovering. Hopefully I’ll be able to go to the US Open in the coming week.

  • Jeff · August 18, 2019 at 10:47 pm

    Hard to believe Chung has sunk so low. What a flash in the pan.

    I am sure you guys will see some good practice sessions too. Also her about some good coaching rumors. Hopefully see which players have the hottest girlfriends as well. Have fun boys.

    Don’t forget about the juicy matchup in Winston-Salem between Andy Murray and Tennys Sandgren. These two have never met.

    Does anyone know if Jo Tsonga made the made draw or is he in qualies?

  • Jeff · August 18, 2019 at 11:02 pm

    One interesting part of Medvedev’s run is how much air time his beautiful blonde wife got in Cincy. It’s like the TV people just figured out how gorgeous she is and they cut to her a lot after I don’t recall seeing her in Montreal.

    One positive with the rise of these Russian men is the Russian beauties they attract. We all remember the babes that Safin had back in the day. Congrats to Medvedev

  • Andrew Miller · August 18, 2019 at 11:25 pm

    Amazing it’s “Korda, a promising American”…!

  • catherine · August 19, 2019 at 1:31 am

    Jeff – why don’t you just follow the cuties and forget about what’s happening on the court ? Who’s going to win the USO babes contest ?

  • Jeff · August 19, 2019 at 2:01 am

    Catherine, no worries, you and the ladies can chime in with the hottest guys on the ATP. Some Twitter tennis site just did this poll actually but I forgot who won. Feliciano?

    Have at it ladies!

  • Jeff · August 19, 2019 at 2:07 am

    The race for London has also gotten interesting. The top 6 look like locks – Novak, Rafa, Roger, Thiem, Medvedev and Tsitsipas. However, I would expect at least 2 of that group not to play in London.

    Bautista Agut and Nishikori currently hold the last two spots. I don’t expect either to hold on.

    The next four are Fognini, Zverev, Goffin and Monfils. Fognini and Monfils have never made it, though Monfils qualified once but had to pull out. These guys should be desperate to get in and Monfils could be boosted by the Svitolina relationship.

    Amazingly, No. 13 and not to be counted out is Felix. A big run in New York and he could be in position to qualify and what a story that would be.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 19, 2019 at 4:39 am

    Felix lost in qualies Last year so a run for points is very possible. I see him making London.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 19, 2019 at 4:41 am

    Chung has donaldsoned down the rankings but hes back and hopefully healthy.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 19, 2019 at 4:42 am

    Thomas, will miss you!, wish you a speedy recovery but stay tuned we will keep you updated.

  • catherine · August 19, 2019 at 5:31 am

    Jeff- Svitolina hasn’t been boosted by the Monfils relationship as far as I can see. Her mind’s not on the court. She’s probably thinking about what next to stick on GEMS and how many likes she and GM are going to get or when/if Gael is planning to propose 🙂

  • catherine · August 19, 2019 at 5:38 am

    Also Jeff – I was thinking about the babes in the box so logically we should be looking at and rating the hunks watching the girls play – boyfriends, husbands etc. The women tend to be a little shyer but I suppose Mr Wozniaki could win that one – Sloane’s other half is quite nice looking too. Wonder if Simona’s Macedonian squeeze will turn up at USO ?

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 19, 2019 at 6:09 am

    Wozniacki practice with Kerber yesterday in Hamptons.

  • catherine · August 19, 2019 at 7:09 am

    Kerber often practises with Woz. Also with Julia G if she’s around.

    I’m not sure how helpful it is for Angie. Or who she can talk strategy with now. Not with Pa Wozniacki I shouldn’t think. Predict Caro will go out early in NY.

  • Hartt · August 19, 2019 at 7:12 am

    Scoop, after your comment about Félix I checked the “Race to London” and was surprised to see he is No.13. He should be able to pass a couple guys ahead of him, but I don’t see him getting to number 8. But he could get an alternates spot, and even that would be amazing for a 19-year-old.

  • Hartt · August 19, 2019 at 7:17 am

    I had missed Jeff’s comment about Félix, could have saved myself some work.:)

    But FAA did get through qualies last year. Remember his dramatic match in the first round against Shapo when Félix had to withdraw because of a racing heart rate? Fortunately FAA had surgery to correct the problem, so that should not be an issue any longer.

  • Hartt · August 19, 2019 at 8:08 am

    There were several important changes in the men’s rankings today. The big one, of course, was Medvedev jumping 3 spots to No.5. RBA made the top 10 for the first time, moving up 1 spot to No.10. FAA finally made the top 20, reaching No.19.

    An big jump was Rublev moving up 23 spots to No.47. This should allow him to get into the main draws of tourneys instead of playing qualies.

  • catherine · August 19, 2019 at 8:22 am

    Looking back at Cincy – I wouldn’t take the results there as any guide to the USO. The courts were soooooo slow – I’d say the slowest hard courts I’ve seen this year. Why do tournament organisers think this is good for the game ? Were they made slow with specific players in mind ?

  • Hartt · August 19, 2019 at 8:26 am

    Fed said the Cincy courts were very fast. I haven’t seen the rating for them. The heat would also affect how quickly the ball moved.

    But I agree about the slowing down of the hard courts in general. The Montreal director even admitted that they’d made the surface grittier this year.

  • Hartt · August 19, 2019 at 8:38 am

    I found this chart comparing the court pace index for the Masters tournaments in 2017 and 2018 (PeRFect tennis). Only Shanghai was even rated medium!

    Tournament CPI 2017 CPI 2018 Year on Year Difference
    Indian Wells 27.4 27.9 +0.5
    Miami 30.3 30.4 +0.1
    Monte Carlo 24.9 22.1 -2.8
    Madrid 20.9 21.6 +0.7
    Rome 22 18.9 -3.1
    Toronto* 36.3 28.8 -7.5
    Cincinnati 33.6 31.6 -2
    Shanghai 42.9 39.9 -3
    Paris 37.5 34.6 -2.9

  • Hartt · August 19, 2019 at 8:40 am

    Unfortunately, the chart format got lost, making this much harder to read. But the info shows that the courts were slow, and getting even slower.

  • Andrew Miller · August 19, 2019 at 9:08 am

    Hope qualies is fun and interesting. The US Open grounds are nice. The stadium and outer courts are like different worlds. It’s interesting to hear about the practice matches, away from NYC. Are you guys going to head to the Bronx WTA? Must be convenient for players – they can get some points and cash, then enter the Open with some match play.

  • catherine · August 19, 2019 at 10:02 am

    https://www.ubitennis.net/2019/08/serena-williams-us-open-outburst-best-moment-past-decade-claims-coach/

    Love this from Patrick. Wish someone would put a padlock on his mouth.

  • catherine · August 19, 2019 at 12:48 pm

    Petko bt Zhang SS in the Bronx. Nice result for Andrea and plenty of cultural history around to inspire her pen (or laptop)in off-court moments.

  • Andrew Miller · August 19, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    Sheesh, Isner and Querrey both have Wimbledon slam semifinals in their pockets. My mistake. I thought Querrey was the last slam semifinalist since Roddick’s retirement. I’ll reassess – Isner and Querrey have definitely both reached their potential. Isner matched Querrey’s semifinal run, plus his Miami title.

    At this point they both have done well. I’m impressed they held off Fritz and Co until now. And they both went further than Blake and Fish, while equalling Ginepri with his slam semifinal in 2005. Good for them.

  • jg · August 19, 2019 at 6:07 pm

    Both Harrison and Gulbis got thumped today badly, how could either of them lose serve that many times?

  • Andrew Miller · August 19, 2019 at 6:30 pm

    Noah Rubin goes off script to talk about personal problems of players including alcohol on tour. Wow. From Guardian.

    “As well as match-fixing, a lot of tanking goes on because people are tired, or they’ve got planes to catch,” Rubin says. “People are like ‘they must be getting money for this’, but often they just don’t want to be out there.”

    Rubin lets out a sigh, and continues: “It all adds up, the loneliness, the failure – you feel like a failure constantly. There are some real problems on tour, a lot of people take time off. Depression is prevalent, there’s lots of alcohol and substance abuse because that’s just how people deal with tennis.”

    On the depression point, a Telegraph investigation last year revealed how widespread mental health challenges are in the sport. This year’s French Open champion Ashleigh Barty took an extended break in 2014 due to emotional exhaustion.

    Alcohol and substance abuse has been less reported on in tennis, but Rubin insists it is a real issue. “It’s not yet in the public domain,” he says. “I don’t know if people realise alcohol abuse in tennis is a thing.

    “I know a lot of players who to cope and to get ready for the next week spend 12 hours drinking. I don’t drink myself, I never have.

  • Harold · August 19, 2019 at 6:54 pm

    Dan,

    The sequel to the Spadea book, a lower rung journeyman tales of woe on the tennis tour

  • Dan Markowitz · August 19, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    Well, Harold, I was talking today out at the Open (by the way, Scoop and I made it out there on our bikes…I traveled much further than Scoop though to get to 125th St), about the interest in possibly doing a book with Gulbis, but he got beaten so badly by a Japanese player I’ve never heard of. So I don’t think a comeback a la Spadea by Gulbis, who’s about the same age as Spadea was when he made his comeback, is in the cards.

    I watched some of the Harry match and boy was he awful. Scoop said he heard his wife afterward tell someone he was injured, but I think some players in wheelchairs could’ve played better than Harry today. Dominik Koepfer of Germany, former Tulane player, gave Harry a beating. Harry was his usual high-strung, surly, moody self, ragging on the female umpire and one time a fan in front of me cheered for Koepfer before the point was won and Harry turned to the guy to chew him out and complained to the umpire who warned the guy against doing that.

    Across from Harry was Tommy Paul playing another German, Yannick Hangman, who had a tremendous backhand and broke Paul as he served for the match, but played a horrendous tie-breadker that Paul won. Paul has skill and flash, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on him becoming a fixture in the top 50.

    I had a short day out at the Open and the last match I watched was Nicolas Mahut vs Maxime Cressey. Mahut had French coaches like Terry Champion in the stands; Cressey had a player from Notre Dame as his coach. Creepy was serve and volleying on every serve and he had a monster flat backhand, but he suffered from the heat and Mahut exposed him in the third set, winning 6-2.

    Looking forward to going back tomorrow. The heat is unpleasant, but it’s nice to walk around without the crowds.

  • Andrew Miller · August 19, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    Noah Rubin article at Telegraph.co.uk. stuff I’d imagine takes place on tour, but Rubin puts it all out there. I’m not for Instagram but that’s where Noah blogs.

  • Hartt · August 19, 2019 at 8:20 pm

    Dan, thanks for your report. Am looking forward to hearing about tomorrow’s matches.

    I was glad to hear that Mahut won today, as well as Mischa Zverev, two “oldies” still out there fighting.

  • Andrew Miller · August 19, 2019 at 8:29 pm

    Noah Rubin blog and podcast here. It’s great stuff. I’m not an Instagrammer but I read some of the posts, and they are like Scoop interviews.

    Instagram
    https://www.instagram.com/behindtheracquet/?hl=en

    Podcast
    https://mikecation.podbean.com/

  • jackson · August 19, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    Rafa posted a couple of pictures of a gorgeous spot in the Bahamas where he spent his week off. He’s already in New York and practiced on Ashe today with Fernando Verdasco.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 19, 2019 at 10:22 pm

    Have not felt this physically fried in a long time. One hour hit at 8 am with a very good womens college player then biking from NJ to meet Dan at 125th St then all the way to US Open. Then spanning the grounds for scoops and action and seeing old faces. Then biking all the way back without Dan who had his chaffeur pick him up from Flushing Meadows. Many highlights today, the first was seeing the 14 year old Reese Brantmeier who just won the 16s nationals in San Diego vs a NJ girl Valencia Xu, Reese won the first set today in qualies 63 vs Denisa Allertova, a 26 yr old who once was top 50. That’s incredible result for a 14 yr old. But she lost the second set 64 then got rolled in the third 61. Inexperience and inconsistency and probably being overwhelmed by the moment – playing on court 17 stadium vs a WTA veteran. Dudi Sela may have played his last US Open, he lost 64 in the third to Steve Diez of Canada, one of those sub journeyman who pops up every two or three years. The best match was Aragone vs Kwon, both were very vocal and intense and Kwon prevailed 64 in the third. Maybe the big surprise was 17 year old Californian Jensen Brooksky beating Uchida 63 62. Site fav Maxime Cressy, serve and volleyed to a 75 and 45 pressure cooker vs Mahut but the 37 year old upped his game and won 61 in the third. Mahut was pinpoint on his passes and Cressy pulled an ab and later cramped in the thigh and looked clearly hampered by the heat and the physicality of playing such offensive high risk daredevil tennis. Very good match. Sebi Korda won the first set then lost to Coppejans 61 in third. Raonic was hitting with Berretini on grandstand, both players looked like robots lacking spirit in the minutes I observed. Xinyu Wang, the teeanger from China, beat Barabra Haas in 3, with former no.1 doubles player Barbora Krejcikoa watching unnoticed. Anna Kalinina lost to Ann Li and walked by me after and the first thing she said to her coach who joined her next to me was, “Pusher.” Mike Mmoh looked in control of Kolar when I left in the first set but he lost 61 76 after. Mmoh has the talent but something seems to be missing. Maria and Keys were doing a photo shoot on court for Evian in Armstrong during the lightning delay. I did a First and Last with Jose Higueras, who admitted he could not remember his first pro match. Water bottle prices is up to $7 now an hamburgers have been raised to $12.50. Good crowd on hand and some famous faces were on the grounds – Taylor Dent, Mackenzie McDonald, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Kathy Rinaldi, Higueras.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 19, 2019 at 10:32 pm

    Also saw Ramanathan in the hallway under new grandstand after he lost 76 76 to an Italian I never heard of, being lectured by his coach, a man I never saw before.

  • Jeff · August 20, 2019 at 12:59 am

    Wow must Harrison suck to get beat by Koppfer like that. Dan you have described every Harrison match. And clearly that demeanor has hurt him because when the wheels come off boy do the wheels come off.

    That’s why you rarely see the Big 3 argue and act like that. I have always believed tennis is an emotional sport as it is, why add fuel to the fire? That’s why I like the Brad Gilbert approach of trying to get your opponent to self-destruct like he did in his storied career.

    Murray acts like a lunatic out there and I think that is why he couldn’t touch the big 3. Speaking of which Sandgren handed him his lunch in Winston-Salem.

    Who would win now between Murray and Harrison?

    I put some money on Donald Young to defeat Jason Jung. (Say Young-Jung about 10 times fast) Why? Jung had a grueling Aptos and lost in the final Sunday and just got to NY. I think he will be gassed.

    Jung runs an interesting blog that is far more in-depth than the nonsense Rubin spews out about depression and whatnot. Check it out: https://jasonjungtennis.wordpress.com/

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 20, 2019 at 7:15 am

    Jeff, Jason Jung is a super overachiever, very nice blog he operates. Extremely nice by Todd Martin to lend a helping hand by giving JJ that earned WC. Class move by Martin.

  • Hartt · August 20, 2019 at 7:51 am

    Jeff, thanks for the link to Jason Jung’s blog. I always enjoy hearing what the tour is like for “regular” players, as opposed to the stars.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 20, 2019 at 7:55 am

    And awesome that Jung was able to maximize that WC and turn it into a career best result. All made possible by the great Todd Martin. Risky move by Martin but it paid off for all.

  • Hartt · August 20, 2019 at 8:06 am

    Amanda Anisimova’s father, who was also her coach, was found dead yesterday. No cause of death was announced, but the speculation is a heart attack. Amanda will turn 18 at the end of this month. It’s hard to imagine how devastating this is for the young woman, who has had terrific results already in her career.

  • Dan Markowitz · August 20, 2019 at 8:30 am

    The problem with JJ’s blog it’s devoid of real detail. That’s the problem with an athlete in most cases writing a blog or a book, most have no idea how to write. God is in the details! Writing 101.

    Scoop and I met a young player, 17, Elliot Spizzirri of Greenwich, Ct. who is in the Juniors US Open and he practiced with Federer at the US Open this week. He said it was a surreal experience. He said people don’t think Fed hits with a lot of spin, but his ball has more spin on it Spizzirri said than any other player he’s played with. He also said Fed’s ball moves in the air like a knuckler, it’ll change directions in mid-flight.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 20, 2019 at 8:30 am

    RIP Mr Anisimov. This will be devastating for Amanda. I can’t think of another young teen player who has had to deal with such a tragedy as a parental death while still a teen and at the starting gate of her pro career. Condolences to the family.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 20, 2019 at 8:33 am

    Dan, nice connect with Elliott. Nice kid, looks like a helluva player. He shared some nice details about Facing Federer, we should have recorded him. He was also watching Cressy vs Mahut. Cool insights about Federer, reminds me of what a Rios sparring partner said about Rios’s balls, they had strange movements. The top players can do magical things with a tennis ball.

  • Andrew Miller · August 20, 2019 at 9:00 am

    Rios hit pretty flat? Could even see the letters on the ball. Racquet made the right sound also. Thought all players had the ping sound off the racquet…nope.

  • Andrew Miller · August 20, 2019 at 9:06 am

    Anyone hitting a better ball than you gentlemen expected? A special thing about the US Open is beyond stadium court the action is pretty close to the spectators. Some “show courts” aren’t the goliaths of the tournament stadiums.

    Like any pro tournament yet not!

    Caught Coria one year. He was more crafty than I expected. JC Ferrero was more ruthless than I expected (this was in a year where he was among the best in the world and considered a safe bet to hang around).

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 20, 2019 at 10:02 am

    Koepfer looked awesome. So did Kwon. So did Paul and Hanfmann. SO did Xinyu Wang. So did Mahut. Everyone looks really good actually. Every court. I would say the player who did not look very good was Harrison and Gulbis. Even the 14 year old Brantmeier was superb. Emma Navarro, a big American junior going to Virginia, lost 61 61 to Rbyarikova.

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