Jamie Loeb, a 20-year-old from the Westchester town of Ossining who has been coming to the U.S. Open as a spectator as long as she can remember, left her childhood home with her mother, father and sister for the drive to Flushing Meadows early Tuesday morning.
She had a date to play her first professional match at Arthur Ashe Stadium against two-time Open runner-up Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark at 1 p.m.
What was the conversation like on the ride? "I just had my headphones on," Loeb said. Loeb, the NCAA champion at North Carolina, had just turned pro and, "obviously," she said, "I was kind of thrown into my first pro tournament."
Wozniacki needed only 67 minutes to complete a 6-2, 6-0 victory.
But Loeb called the experience, "awesome. Stepping on the court and everyone cheering and saying my name. It's something I'll never forget."
Not going the distance
Wozniacki said she is not allowing herself to think about another appearance in the Open final, after losing to Serena Williams last year. Nor, she said, is she planning to segue from the Open to running the New York City Marathon, as she did last year. "I might do it in a couple years again," she said of the marathon.
Among the nine players who retired in midmatch during another hot and humid day was 19-year-old Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis, who was leading 12th-seeded Richard Gasquet of France, two sets to one, when his legs started cramping. Kokkinakis made it through the fourth set but, after losing the first two games of the fifth, was forced to quit. He smashed his racket in frustration on the way out.
Hewitt not done yet
Lleyton Hewitt, the 2001 Open champion who is playing his last Flushing Meadows tournament at 34, also benefited from a retirement. Hewitt was leading Kazakhstan's Aleksandr Nedovyesov, 6-0, 7-6 (7-2), 1-0 when Nedovyesov left the court.
Hewitt, naturally, was asked to do a bit of reminiscing about his career and the opponents who challenged him the most.
"I guess, early on, [Andre] Agassi," Hewitt said. "He came back and took the No. 1 off me. Obviously, Roger [Federer] took the game to a new level, and then Rafa [Nadal]. It was obviously bloody hard to keep up with those guys."1/2 half hours to dismiss Isner's fellow tall American, Sam Querrey, in straight sets.