Tennis in Flashing Meadows

Ever since eiron and I went to our first ever US Open last year, we were hooked. So this year we went there again with our friends last Wednesday evening. This time we went to the game in the second week of the tournament so there were less matches for us to catch but higher quality (in my opinion at least). We caught the quarter-final of the women's single first (Sharapova vs. Golovin) and then the men's single (Roddick vs. Hewitt). Our seats were a little bit better than last year. We were at the very top of the stadium last year (second to the top row). This year, we were half way between the top and the third level.

The women match was not as exciting as we hoped. Sharapova was not at her top form and her forehand shots were wild at times. Though I have to say her serving technique was close to perfect. I wish I could serve like her! Unfortunately Golovin did not raise her game enough to win so Sharapova went on to win this year tournament.

As for the men's quarter-final, Roddick won the match in straight sets and again not very exciting. We all hoped that Hewitt would put up a good fight and took it to at least 4 sets match.

Nonetheless, Wednesday was very enjoyable and we noticed that the tournament was much better organized this year compared with last year. There are more choices for food (indian, sushi, and even crepe! Of course we had to try out the new food. We ended up having Baluchi's indian for dinner and then had crepes during the break between matches), more giant screens around the area for people to watch the game while taking a break, etc. American Express has much more freebies for card members this year. All card members received a free single ride Metro card. We all got two free cards, once on our way in and another on our way out. Then there was the free radio AMEX gives out so we could listen to the TV commentary live inside the stadium. It made the whole experience so much richer, since one of the major missing ingredient in going to a live match is commentary.

However, MTA still did not run extra trains when about 20,000 fans came out from the stadium at around 12:15AM. We've just missed the 12:06AM train and the next one was not due for another hour! We ended up getting a car back to the city and then subway home.

Then on the next day I got lucky. One of the guy I worked with had two tickets for Saturday day game and wasn't able to go due to family function. So eiron and I went to Flashing Meadows for the third times in as many weeks yesterday and watched two very exciting men's semi-final matches.

The weather turned out to be much hotter than we expected, with the sun beating down on us with only a slight breeze inside the stadium. Lots of water and cold drinks were consumed at the highly inflated prices, but what can you do. I hope some of the profits go back to the USTA or the Tennis Center so our money is not spent in vein.

The first match was Federer vs. Davydenko and the Russian put up a decent fight but ultimately was no match for the world's number 1. The second match was Roddick vs. Youzhny and was much closer fought. Twice they went to tie-break and each player won one. Roddick's big serve and forehand powered him through the match in the end.

We left the stadium around 6PM and after having been on the go for nearly nine hours, we decided not to go to a friends' party at 7PM. We did manage to grab some Chinese food on our way home to satisfy our hunger. The hot dog and chicken wings did not fill us up enough, despite the rather large amount of money I paid for them.

All in all, very enjoyable US Open and we will definitely go again next year. Hopefully we will be able to get even better seats next year. Perhaps on the second level!

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