Court: Louis Armstrong Stadium
Why It Was Memorable, In One Sentence: Two great characters and favorites of mine from the 80s—the French showman vs. Dr. Dirt—played a late day-session crowd-pleaser in front of an old-fashioned, raucous Open crowd. (Wilkison, at right, from voodemar.com)
Honorable Mention: Aaron Krickstein d. Vitas Gerulaitis; 1983, third round. This was a clash of generations, serve-and-volley Vitas was on his way out, and the 16-year-old baseliner, Krickstein, was on his way in. I watched the first two sets, which Vitas won easily, from a seat in the Grandstand, and left. When I came back for the fifth, there were no seats left anywhere. I watched, standing up and bent over, from a tiny window of space on one of the staircases near the top of the stadium. Since then, that sense of overflow was what the Open has always been about to me.
Court: Louis Armstrong Stadium
Why It Was Memorable, In One Sentence: It remains the longest match played since U.S. Open records have been kept (5:26), and it pitted one of the great serve-and-volley players against a grinder for the ages, yet it rarely gets mentioned in those “greatest match ever” debates.
Honorable Mention: The match that finally convinced the establishment to commit to electronic line-calling was a 2004 quarterfinal between Serena Williams and Jennifer Capriati. In the last game of that tight three-setter (won by Capriati, 6-4 in the third), the umpire awarded Capriati a point that should have been given to Williams. Worse yet, televison replays showed that Capriati additionally benefited from at least two bad calls against Williams in the critical, final game. The outcry over the injustice paved the way for Hawk-Eye.
Court: Arthur Ashe Stadium
Why It Was Memorable, In One Sentence: This rematch of the 1997 U.S. Open final wasn't their highest-quality clash, but it was one of the most dramatic, popping with with corner-to-corner rallies, tactical shifts, a spirited fight, and a fully engaged crowd.
Honorable Mention: Andre Agassi's stirring comeback from a two-set deficit to defeat James Blake in the 2005 quarterfinals, 3-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (6), provided a pulsating climax—and perhaps the most electrifying atmosphere I've experienced at a U.S. Open night match. When Agassi drilled a forehand return to end a two hour, 51-minute thriller after 1 a.m., everyone in the arena stood in appreciation, giving both men an extended standing ovation as Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" blared over the sound system, still entranced by the magic they conjured.
Why It Was Memorable, In One Sentence: You couldn't fit any more into this one—people in the stands, drama on the court, games in the final set.
Honorable Mention: Roger Federer's nighttime win over Andy Roddick in the 2007 quarterfinals. It didn't feature a break of serve until the third set, and Roddick played with inspired aggression. Naturally, Federer won in straights. It was also one of the last high-profile matches in the Swiss' era of invincibility, 2004-2007.
Tuesday, August 19: In Defense of John Isner
Tuesday, August 19: Tennis Tuesday vs. The Real Housewives of New York City
Wednesday, August 20: Catching Up with Matt Cronin
Wednesday, August 20: Welcome to the U.S. Open: Qualifying Report
Thursday, August 21: Throwback Thursday: Our Favorite U.S. Open Matches #tbt
Thursday, August 21: Cover it Live, Live from the U.S. Open Draw
Thursday, August 21: U.S. Open Expert Picks
Friday, August 22: The Stars Spell "Roger"
Friday, August 22: Men's Bracket Breakdown
Friday, August 22: Women's Bracket Breakdown
Saturday, August 23: World View: Tennis is Global, Not National
Sunday, August 24: Svetlana Kuznetsova's Title, 10 Years Later