The US Open 2007

My Queens neighborhood in Flushing, while hardly asleep just like anywhere else in New York City, is more abuzz because of the US Open currently being held in Flushing Meadows Park at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. This annual sporting event started last Aug. 27 and will end on Sept. 9 during the much anticipated finals. With the Labor Day weekend, America's last hurrah to summer, falling smack within the US Open, hordes of vacationing tourists descended upon the city and the tennis aficionados among them trooped to the No. 7 train bound for Flushing. Forget about driving: finding a parking space is a nightmare due to the ongoing construction of the nearby Citifield Stadium (which will replace the Met's old home Shea Stadium).

The US Open venue is a mere one-stop ride on the No. 7 train from where I live so I decided to check on the crowd today before meeting some friends in Manhattan. It's a brilliant Saturday afternoon with sunny blue skies and a comfy 75 degrees Fahrenheit. As I walk on the elevated ramp from the subway station, I met some people with arms raised - their signal for anyone with spare tickets to sell. It so happened that tickets to the Day Sessions are all sold-out and a day like this is traditionally a scalpers favorite. Notices though are clearly posted: ticket resale is unlawful within 1500 feet of US Open. I doubt if scalpers are actually having a field day today. Police visibility is at a maximum.

I'm not a serious tennis buff myself but Federer, Williams, Henin, Roddick, Sharapova and Nadal are some of the big names that I admire and I occasionally follow a game on live TV broadcast whenever I'm not in front of my PC. I don't even intend to watch the games on any of the bleachers, whether at Louis Armstrong Stadium or at the mammoth Arthur Ashe Stadium. The tickets are stupendously expensive: during the finals, the cheapest ticket begins at $80 (promenade seating which is farther than China - you need binoculars!) to an astronomical $800 (club seating which could increase your chances of rubbing elbows with celebrities). Even admission to the US Open grounds will set you back at $50. Judging by the crowd, and the glaring public announcements of today's sold-out scenario, ticket fans seem not to mind at all.

What tennis fans will surely be talking about though is today's surprising results. Virtually unknown teenage players upset top-seeded pros in today's 3rd round of women's singles: Agnieszka Radswanka beat Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka beat Martina Hingis, Agnes Szavay beat Nadia Petrova, and Tamira Paszek beat Patty Schnyder. Looks like another roster of foreign-sounding names are making their mark. What a day for women's tennis!
The 140-feet high Unisphere, another relic of the World's Fair, is Queen's most iconic symbol and the centerpiece of Flushing Meadows Park.

The south gate of Arthur Ashe Stadium - the world's largest stadium purposely built for tennis can sit 22,000 spectators.

Another sold-out day, but where are the scalpers?

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