Monday marked the first day of the US Open at Flushing Meadows in New York, and once again there was British interest as Laura Robson and Dan Evans stepped onto the famous hardcourts in the opening afternoon.
Alex Ferguson was there to visit. Here's 10 things he learned from the opening day of the US Open...
1) Laura Robson started slow and then roared hot
Laura Robson, given her first seeding in a Grand Slam (No.30), sputtered and then sparkled in her battle with Spaniard Lourdes Dominguez Lino on the spanking new Court 17. From early on it was obvious who was the more talented player but Robson committed unforced error after unforced error almost continuously throughout the first set, until she finally got it together to win out 7-5. She then exploded in the second set, completely outclassing her more diminutive opponent to win 6-0, much to joy of a crowd that contained more than enough Brits.
2) Not all British fans are perfect
The Brits didn't exactly recreate the spirit of Centre Court on Court 17, but our cheering - which grew as the crowd did - definitely seemed to help the young lady. She told us so. What she didn't see was the British fan coming in carrying four beers, and then committing the sporting suicide of spilling one of them (an expensive mistake) on someone sitting in front of them. Oh, and to the blonde British lady who snootily waited for us to stand up and let her through without using the words "Please" and "Thank You", words fail us. World, we promise you ALL British people aren't like this. Oh, and I know that I'm not perfect, too!
Robson exploded in the second set, completely outclassing her more diminutive opponent.
Quotes of the week
3) My bad, Daniel Evans
Sorry to miss you, Daniel Evans. We were watching the Laura Robson match and didn't think you would pummel 11th seed Kei Nishikori 6-4 6-4 6-2 in the speed that you did, but you did. And when we DID try and come to Court 13, it was full of fans who wanted to watch the upset, too. It's not our fault the Brits were taking over Flushing!
4) It's a wonderful world!
Flushing Meadows' version of Court One at Wimbledon - The Louis Armstrong Arena - is AWESOME. It's built into the ground, it's available to any old fan who gets in, and it can create quite the atmosphere. On Monday, it created quite the match as US youngster Sloane Stephens and Mandy Minella battled. As the neighbouring arenas emptied, the Louis Armstrong filled, so for the end of the final set the atmosphere was absolutely cracking. Sloane Stephens won the third set tie-break, by the way.
5) Luxembourg... best fans EVER
OK, so maybe EVER might be a little strong, but the three face-painted Mandy Minella fans from Luxembourg who roared on the unseeded player into a near-upset of the US favourite were absolutely brilliant. It must be the joys of living a tax free existence!
6) We saw two Court Ones today
We don't normally harp on about Court Ones, but if there's a closer stadium to the old Court One at Wimbledon than the Grandstand at Flushing Meadows, then please let us know. It's got the overhangs. You can stand and watch proceedings standing up on a platform. The only thing that's missing is the cocktails. It's really sad to note that they are going to tear the place down and put up somewhere new. The coffers of the US Tennis Association wins, but do the fans?
7) We won with the weather
I'm not going to harp on about this - especially if you went to the evening session at Arthur Ashe, which was hit by a downpour a few minutes after Serena Williams demolished Francesca Schiavone - but the weather during the day was really lovely. Yeah, there were a few teardrops from the sky here and there, but nothing really to worry about.
8) Everyone loves an opening ceremony
Opening ceremonies are undoubtedly cool. But why have one at night, when the tournament has already started? It's a little nutty. Was the drum group and Lenny Kravitz REALLY necessary? Oh, and while we're sure that the corporates enjoyed it, it certainly didn't help the fans who wanted to watch Roger Federer (we saw enough of them wearing 'RF' hats and shirts) play on Monday night - his game was rained off (he'll play on Tuesday).
9) Missing you, Murray
Andy Murray didn't play on Monday. And he's not playing on Tuesday, either. Thanks to a quirk of TV scheduling, he's playing on Wednesday. And the media's always been quick to claim that the Wednesday start will be damaging to his campaign. So, we have that excuse then!
10) Queuing is an horrific experience... for a match on the outside courts!
Driving into the promised land of Flushing Meadows and the Billie Jean National Tennis Center, we expected to be able to park up and be in pretty swiftly. Instead, we parked about two miles away from the stadium, just behind the old World's Fair grounds, and we got a bus in. But that wasn't the worst element: we had to wait well over an hour in a queue to get in (both entrances), thanks to the fact that there were just SIX metal detectors for around 50,000 people. Oh, and there was no-one to tell you what was going on - which frustrated everyone dearly. But once you're in, everything is really accessible and that was pretty great. Every court, apart from Arthur Ashe, is enterable on the 'Grounds' ticket... and that gives the tennis fan more than enough tennis for the day.
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