US OPEN BUZZ: The Varieties of Tennis Normalities

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Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

YOU CAN BET ON IT? According to the New York Times, a first-round match between Vitalia Diatchenko and Timea Bacsinszky at the US Open is under investigation by the Tennis Integrity Unit after a “match alert” was sent to the unit by the Russian bookmaker Fonbet. Betting was also momentarily suspended during the match by Bet365. Bacsinszky won the match 6-1, 6-1. Diatchenko has carried injuries and a protected ranking into Slam appearances, so betting on Bacsinszky to win yielded the thinnest of profits. But due to side wagers on scores, there were 10 times more bets than expected on the match.

HEADLINES

NOT SO DANDY ANDY IS DONE

MURRAY CAN’T GET OUT OF HIS OWN WAY

AN AGGRESSIVE KEI IS A SPECIAL KEI

ANDY MURRAY’S LOSS MEANS ADVANTAGE NOVAK DJOKOVIC

THE VARIETIES OF TENNIS NORMALITIES:

After a tough 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 win over Simona Halep, Serena said she was “feeling positive tonight, and that’s not normal. So I’ll go with it.” For her part, Simona Halep processed the pain of losing in three sets on Ashe Stadium and then told the press, “I’m okay, I’m normal.”

EVEN CHAMPS HAVE THEIR ROUGH EDGES:

Against Simona Halep, Serena Williams was only able to covert four of 20 break points, and she was 0 and 12 in the second set on break point chances.

SOMETIMES ACES ARE NOT ENOUGH: Against Simona Halep, Serena served three aces in a row in one game and still lost her serve.

THE BUMP REVISITED: The famous bump between Venus Williams and Irina Spirlea during their match in 1997 came to mind last night. Both players were in the house, and Spirlea’s presence also brought to mind Richard Williams’ scathing remark that she was “a big white ugly turkey.”

SOME LIKE TO WATCH VICTIMS TWITCH:

After Serena Williams went up 3-0 over Simona Halep last night, The New York Times’ Harvey Araton tweeted, “Always wonder what fans think when Serena starts this way: ‘Wow, she’s awesome’ or ‘Geez, I paid to watch this.'” The comment brought to mind the famous quip by tennis contrarian Ted Tinling, who said, “Competition is grand but people like watching a victim twitch. In fact, some prefer it.”

GO FIGURE: Kei Nishikori said the US Open was “like a big party on court.”…Kei Nishikori said Juan Martin del Potro had the best forehand in the game and Stan Wawrinka had the best one-handed backhand…Caroline Wozniacki likes to feel like a New Yorker, according to a Newsday story, and she often goes to public courts near the west side highway to practice. She told Jeff Williams, “They usually let me in to train for as long as I want. I kind of like being there because I feel like a proper New Yorker.”…Ranked No. 142, Juan Martin del Potro was the lowest-ranked quarterfinalist here since Jimmy Connors‘ memorable run 25 years ago…Novak Djokovic has won just eight sets and reached the semifinals, which is said to be a record

AMERICAN WOMEN: Ten of the last 16 spots in the US Open juniors girls tournament were American

JUST WONDERING: Is the mid-match rain delay the most underrated factor in tennis? So often, following the interruption, the momentum of a match switches.

NOT ANYMORE: Before Andy Murray‘s loss to Kei Nishikori, John McEnroe said, “Murray’s feeling good about being the Man after all these years being the Fourth Man.”

BUTTERFLY CHEERS: So many fans in Ashe Stadium wear headsets that carry the audio version of the TV broadcast of the US Open. So when Pat McEnroe said, “I just got a report that the [famous rogue] butterfly was released outside the stadium,” a discernible round of laughter echoed around Ashe.

THE TENNIS WORLD’S GONGED CRAZY:

After “the gong” – a rogue sound at Arthur Ashe Stadium – so impacted the Murray-Nishikori quarterfinal, the press room was not only filled with references to Evonne Goolagong, but also to Jo-Willy Gong-a and Pancho Gong-zalez.

BRING THE NOISE: Where else has noise played such a role in tennis as at the US Open? Take your picks: there are jet planes from LaGuardia, rumbling sounds from the Long Island Railroad, echoes under the roof, late-night roars and of course, now the famous gong.

QUOTEBOOK:

“Crazy atmosphere, really late match.” – Stan Wawrinka to the Arthur Ashe crowd after beating Juan Martin del Potro

SOUND CHECK: According to the USTA, “One of the three digital audio sound processors in Arthur Ashe Stadium malfunctioned. The malfunctioning unit is located at court level. The three processors are linked and work as a single unit.” The tournament decided to continue play during the Kei NishikoriAndy Murray match, since it would take up to 30 minutes to fix the problem.

NEWS AT 10: The Telegraph noted that the US Open “belched out a “News at 10″-style boing that reverberated around Arthur Ashe Stadium.”

HALL OF FAME NO-BRAINER: Both Andy Roddick and Kim Clijsters are on the ballot for being elected next year into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

BIG HITTERS: Going into their semifinal, Karolina Pliskova led the WTA with 439 aces and Serena was second.