More open than ever

Sportstar - - CHESS COLUMN - PAUL FEIN

The US Open — Act IV of the “As the Ten­nis World Turns” drama — ar­rives soon. Ev­ery player has a fi­nal chance at this last Grand Slam event to redeem or cap their year, set­tle a score, or break through with a big win or two. Amaz­ing par­ity marked the three pre­vi­ous ma­jors as six dif­fer­ent men and five dif­fer­ent women made the fi­nals. Will this in­trigu­ing trend con­tinue?

The Flush­ing Mead­ows hard courts even out the odds be­cause both grass court and clay court stand­outs can fare well there. Sti­fling heat can stim­u­late fight­or­flight re­sponses in gru­elling matches. The new shot clock, im­ple­mented to speed up play, could ex­as­per­ate dawdling and ex­hausted play­ers. And don’t for­get the Fan Fac­tor. US Open spec­ta­tors, bois­ter­ous in the day and rau­cous at night, can en­er­gise the play­ers they love or de­flate the play­ers they loathe. Let’s gaze at the ten­nis galaxy and see which stars will shine most brightly and how much charisma they pos­sess.

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