Today was our first day at the US Open. As we found out Nadal was playing in the evening session after we already had day session tickets, we scored two tickets for the evening session and made it a marathon. We started the day off right at the Starbucks by our hotel, fueling up with oatmeal (me) and a bagel (Kate). Then we hit the subway and trekked out to Flushing Meadows.
First up at Flushing Meadows was the men’s doubles quarter-finals and $5 water as we were dying of thirst – Evian of course as they are a sponsor of the Open. We got to watch the Bryan brothers smoothly move into the semi-finals in three sets in a match that lasted under two hours.
A mini-break followed in which more water was obtained (it was hot in the morning) and I gave into the siren song of a hot dog, or “frank” as they call them here. I have to admit the hot dog was excellent (Safeco Field take note), but apparently New Yorkers are purists when it comes to “franks” – there was only catsup and yellow mustard on offer – no relish, no onions – sigh. The tennis, of course, made up for the lack of relish and onions. Cjlisters handily put down Li to move on to the semi-finals.
Last match of the day session was Cilic v. Murray. Now, Murray is No. 2 in the world but Kate has never seen him win. Apparently, she is indeed a Murray curse, because Murray went down and Cilic will advance to the quarterfinals.
We had about 2 1/2 hours to kill between the day and evening sessions so we scoped out some of the stores, perused the food court and decided to give Mojito Cafe a whirl for an early dinner. This was a mistake. We ordered chorizo and queso fundido for a starter – it came out cold, with stale tortilla chips (how hard is it to get a fresh bag of Tostitos?). My appetizer/entree was better, although not what I expected. I ordered the bocaditos. My experience with bocaditos is that they are basically a stuffed pastry. At Mojito Cafe they consisted of four stale tortilla chips topped with shredded pork and plantains. Setting aside the tortilla chips the flavor was very good but WTF with the chips?
Ah well, Serena Williams and Nadal awaited us, so we got over our bad food experience, watched Venus Williams on the practice courts and then headed into the stadium for the main event. Serena took down Flavia Panetta in two sets, but it was not an easy victory. Panetta made Serena fight for each point and the match was the best of the day until Nadal met up with Monfils. All I can say is – WOW – this was a super tense match for Nadal fans. Nadal lost the first set to Monfils in a tie-breaker. He then turned things around and won the second set 6-3 and the third 6-1. Monfils looked poised for a comeback in the fourth set but Nadal finally put him away 6-3 in what Kate termed a “four set thrilla.” Match time? Almost 3 hours.
As we exited Flushing Meadows at 12:30 am, our end of day score card was: Evian: $23.75; One good hot dog and otherwise bad food: $97; Memories of Nadal beating Monfils: priceless.