Americans Roll On at Flushing Meadows – The American Spectator

There will be Americans — men and women — in the quarter-finals of the U.S. Open later this week, and at least one of each in the semis. This is serious progress, much better than the U.S. Congress’s ability to reduce the national debt and decrease the power of the administrative state.  

This is not to stray into politics, ably covered in nearby columns by quick pens, but to discuss history in motion. American men getting close to victory in their own top tournament for the first time in 20 years is not to be compared to the breakdown of our presidential politics, but it is historically no less, and possibly much more, important. It is about Americans doing well by working hard within a fixed frame of rules, and that is the real strength of America and its claim to being an exceptional nation. (READ MORE: The Non-Binary Athletic Category Hurts Female Athletes)

The women’s draw shocker was the upset of defending champion Iga Swiatek by hard-hitting Latvian Jenela Ostapenko. With her out, if our lassies can hold off the no-name-country devuskis, one of them will be the first to raise the trophy since Sloane Stephens in 2017.

In a dramatic fourth-round match played in the Arthur Ashe Stadium, Florida’s Ben Shelton beat New Jersey’s Tommy Paul to make it to the final eight. California’s Taylor Fritz beat Dominic Stricker, a qualifier from Switzerland who did well for a first appearance at Flushing Meadows, beating seventh-seed Stephanos Tsitsipas in the second round.  And Maryland’s Frances Tiafoe, who was a semi-finalist last year, ran over Australian wild card Rinky Hijikata, who also merits mention for getting this far.  

Shelton, age 20, topped John Isner’s ace tally for the U.S. Open this year 56 to 51, though I could be off by a handful. He took the lead among competitors this year for fastest serve with a couple of shots at 149 mph; it was pretty hard keeping your eye on the ball at that pace, but I am pretty sure he hit several more in the 140s, and he was often hitting 132, 134, but he also hit one at 60 that tripped up Paul. 

For effort and skill, both Shelton and Paul deserved the win, but points matter, and though they both showed quick reflexes and are wizards of all-court coverage, changes of pace, and long rallies, in the end, Shelton’s power service and clutch play made the difference. 

Taylor Townsend lost over Labor Day to Karolina Muchova, who is a serious contender to meet one of her American friends in the final, or, now that Swiatek is out, one of the talented girls from the un-nameable countries. (READ MORE: ‘How Is a Man Outrunning Women?’ Wonders the New York Times)

Townsend and her Canadian partner in doubles, Leyla Fernandez are doing fine. Ben Shelton grabbed something to eat after his win over Paul and joined her, I mean Miss T, in mixed doubles to overwhelm the Indo-Indonesian team of Rohan Bopanna — one of the greats of the doubles format for many years — and Aldila Sutjadi.   

Beat them cold, two sets. America has been a Pacific power since the glory days of “Mad Jack” Percival and Matthew Perry, and with our Indian and Australian allies, we are going to make sure it stays that way, but this is tennis, not maritime strategy, and I refer you to the Naval War College’s Mackubin Owens for more on the latter. 

The USTA, for its part, celebrated Military Appreciation Day with a variety of demonstrations and remembrance of Lt. Joe Hunt, USN, who was given a leave [liberty?] in 1943 to participate in — and win — the U.S. Nationals (pre-U.S. Open); his fighter plane crashed in the Atlantic two years later. 

Jessica Pegula took care of Elena Svitolina, who wears Ukraine on her racquet as well as her sleeve. I personally would like to see Ukraine stay free — how we can help ought to be better debated in our higher councils of government, but what do you expect? But I oppose politics intruding in sports. If she wants to bring them in by refusing handshakes with opponents from no-name countries, well, freedom of expression, but it’s not my can of balls. 

Anyway, Pegula, who is a big fan of her hometown football team, the Buffalo Bills, is a serious contender, and her win was as solid as Svitolina’s defense was tenacious — three sets. Now she must get past perennial contender Madison Keys, no sure thing. (READ MORE from Roger Kaplan: US Open Dominated by Americans — Plus Marijuana and Michelle Obama)

Next door, the Mets were beating the Mariners and will be in Washington this week to play against the lowly Nationals, and the mighty No. 7 was packed with festive and friendly folks sporting blue and orange jerseys. The health authorities here warn of a new epidemic, but the show goes on.  

UPDATE! It was hot, and there were a record-breaking 200 thousand people — or more! — over Labor Day Weekend, the first week beat all records, topping half a million visitors! Coco Gauff, seeded 6th, faces Jelena Ostapenko from Riga, the tennis capital of the Baltic, who shocked defending champ Iga Swiatek! After her three-set beaut against Caroline Wozniacki, Coco carries on as her doubles partner No. 3 seed and Buffalo Belle Jessica Pegula took a sweet 16 beating by their mutual friend Madison Keys. Gauff told her consultant and retired racquet great Martin Gilbert to stop yakking at courtside. The girl doesn’t need the distraction; she knows the force is with her.

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