The first three days of the Open may be its most spectator-friendly. With two fields of 128 to be pared down, there is a full-capacity atmosphere from Arthur Ashe Stadium to Court 17. The harried pace continues through Wednesday, when the women’s field moves into the second round.
Thursday is devoted to the second round on both sides. The pickings before the beginning of the long holiday weekend are nearly as numerous as those on the first three days, and you’ll be seeing players who’ve proven, through one round at least, that they are match-tough. As usual, the very top seeds — and lower-seeded stars such as Serena Williams and Andy Roddick — are scheduled to play in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
While the men will still be completing the second round, the women’s tournament, with just 32 players remaining, begins to outpace the men’s progress by entering the third round, when two seeded players can meet for the first time.
For the first time, the men’s and women’s singles action moves exclusively onto the show courts and the larger outer courts — such as Courts 7, 10, 11, 13 and (new this year) the renovated Court 17 — that have grandstand seating. Sunday includes the women’s fourth-round matches, inaugurating the tournament’s high-stakes second week.
Labor Day may well be the U.S. Open’s sweet spot, when fourth-round matches allow fans to choose among an abundance of high-quality struggles. Even a grounds pass (and a wait in line) will get you a seat in the unreserved upper seats in Louis Armstrong Stadium or at Grandstand.
Tuesday completes the men’s fourth round and features the first of four women’s quarterfinals. Expect all of these pressure matches to be scheduled for Arthur Ashe Stadium, where you’ll need a ticket for a reserved seat.
The trick to watching the final few rounds, starting with Wednesday’s first men’s quarterfinal, is simple: Get into Louis Armstrong or Arthur Ashe Stadium. Without a reserved seat, you can take your chances in line for Armstrong or Grandstand, or watch the juniors, wheelchair and doubles competitions on the outer courts.
Note: Rainouts may affect schedule