2015 US Open – Biggest Brow Raisers

5. A Roof for Arthur Ashe Stadium

Though incomplete, it was certainly hard to miss. At next year’s US Open Tennis Championships, Arthur Ashe Stadium will have a fully-operational retractable roof, ensuring continued play despite the rain. Mother nature did have an impact twice during this year’s Open, cancelling Semifinal play for the ladies on Thursday and delaying the start of the Men’s Final on Sunday. Did the delay affect Serena Williams’ pursuit of the sport’s first Calendar Slam since 1988? She fell to Roberta Vinci in a Semifinal rescheduled from Thursday night to Friday afternoon.

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Prior to Arthur Ashe Kids Day, I had a chance to take Brooke Taylor from Radio Disney on a tour of the of new roof structure, slated for completion before the snow flies this November.

4.5. Mistaken Identity

Standing outside the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan, waiting on transportation to the US Open, former top-4 player James Blake was violently tackled by an undercover police detective pursuing a fraud suspect. Prior to the take-down, the detective never identified himself or asked James for identification. The source of Blake’s frustration with the situation: Unneccessary excessive force. Not the fact that it happened, or the fact that the entire incident could be used to amplify ire over racial profiling. James: “I have resources to get to the bottom of this. I have a voice…But what about someone who doesn’t have those resources and doesn’t have a voice?…The real problem is that I was tackled for no reason and that happens to a lot of people who don’t have a media outlet to voice that to.”

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Turns out, the Instagram image officers were using to identify their credit card fraud suspect, was not an actual image of their perp. It was a photo of Australian businessman Sean Satha – a former investment banker – who bears a passing resemblance to the American tennis star. The scammer had used Sean’s image to mask his own identity online.

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4. Concussion – The Full Story from columnist Rosie DiManno

To put it kindly, Eugenie Bouchard’s year has completely sucked. After reaching the Quaterfinals of the Australian Open, she has been bounced in the first-round of nearly every tournament she’s entered, including Roland Garros and Wimbledon. In April’s Fed Cup Playoffs, she was soundly trounced by two lower-ranked Romanians, Alexandra Dulgheru and Andreea Mitu – then repeatedly ridiculed for a hand-shake snub during the draw ceremony. At the US Open, she appeared to be turning it all around. She reached the Round of 16, posting a win over Dominika Cibulkova. She’d won both her doubles and mixed doubles first-round matches. She was carrying a winning momentum into week-two…when late after a mixed doubles win with partner Nick Kyrgios, she slipped on the wet floor of a dark locker room, and suffered a concussion in the fall. She’d withdraw from the tournament and has withdrawn from future commitments, including the Tokyo Open.

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3. All-Italian Final – The Full Story

While it may not have been the marquee matchup most were expecting, the Ladies’ Championship match and its trophy ceremony will both be remembered for years to come. Italians Flavia Pennetta and Roberta Vinci were the unlikely finalists, both competing for their first-ever Grand Slam singles title. The day prior, Vinci had remarkably derailed World #1 Serena Williams’ quest for the first “Calendar Slam” since 1988, while Pennetta easily eliminated World #2 Simona Halep in straight sets. After the win, Pennetta announced that she would be retiring from tennis at the end of the season.

This was an adorable, unexpected, all-Italian finale bathed in carefree passion and adoration. It was pure, unapologetic, family-and-friends-first, laugh until you cry…Italy. Two great friends, who never in a million years expected to be battling for a Grand Slam title, taking the court to trade strokes like they’d done since they first started playing together at nine years old. It was familiar. It was animated. It was affectionate. Candid. Gracious.

2. “Novak Djokovic vs. Roger Federer XLII” – The Full Story

This. This has become an amazing back-and-forth rivalry between two of the greatest players ever to pick up a racquet. With his win in Cincinnati prior to the US Open, Roger Federer gained the edge in their career head-to-head: 21 to 20. After earning his 10th career Grand Slam title in New York, Novak squared the rivalry again…and he did it with an entire stadium rooting against him.

 

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1. Roberta Vinci – The Full Story

“This is the best moment of my life,” said Roberta Vinci in her on-court interview with Tom Rinaldi after the match. Truly, it was – defeating World #1 Serena Williams for the first time, reaching her first career Grand Slam singles final.

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