The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.
• Video: Carlos Berlocq may have lost to Roger Federer, but this was a sweet winner.
• SI.com’s Richard Deitsch assesses Victoria Duval’s future after her breakout win at the U.S. Open. Interesting to hear that she’s expecting to grow into a 6-foot frame.
• Steve Tignor weighs in on how the New York crowd was rooting not for No. 1 American John Isner but for his French opponent, Gael Monfils, on Thursday night.
But that’s the thing, or at least the first thing, to remember about what happened in Louis Armstrong Stadium last night: New York is part of the United States, but it’s not exactly like the rest of the country. Its population is more diverse, and it draws far more tourists from overseas. That’s doubly true at the U.S. Open. To take another, less-controversial example from Thursday: A few hours before Isner and Monfils walked on court, England’s Dan Evans talked about how surprised he was that there so many British people in the stands supporting him on Court 17. Even players from Luxembourg have their face-painted cheering sections here.
U.S. players are embraced in New York, of course, but so is charisma and drama and guts, no matter where it comes from — Jimmy Connors wasn’t the King of the Big Apple just because he grew up in Missouri; New Yorkers loved him because he brought a little Broadway, and a lot of grit, to the court. Last night the fans in Armstrong got plenty of showmanship from Monfils. What they were begging for was the drama. The chants of his name grew louder after he fell behind and began to mount a comeback. This match had promised to be an epic — I had written that they should have just started with the fifth-set tiebreaker — and that’s what the audience was determined to have.
• Reeves Wiedeman, writing for Grantland, on Juan Martin del Potro and the future of the men’s game.
Del Potro, however, was a different menace entirely. At 6-foot-6, his [2009 U.S. Open] victory made him the tallest Grand Slam champion in history, and his game was built not on defense but on the attack. His forehand rocketed around the court at 110 mph and his serve was an emerging weapon. But del Potro was no hulking bruiser. “You just don’t see this on a tennis court, someone so big and so smooth,” John McEnroe said at the time, predicting that del Potro could win multiple Grand Slams. The Argentine finished 2009 as the youngest player in the top 10, and Sports Illustrated predicted that, barring injury, he would dominate the next decade of men’s tennis.
Then came the injury. Early the following year, during an exhibition leading up to the Australian Open, del Potro hurt his wrist. Within the year, his ranking dipped to no. 484, and against the Big Four of Federer, [Rafael] Nadal, [Novak] Djokovic, and [Andy] Murray, a group he was supposed to expand to Five, he lost all but two of his next 16 meetings. The current golden era in men’s tennis has been littered with the carcasses of those sent back down the mountain, and it seemed del Potro might be another casualty.
• Talk about a tennis nerd: Andy Murray says he watches at least three sets of tennis a day on television. He’s also “desperate” for Anchorman 2 to come out.
• A tennis professional who takes the time to string her own rackets? Meet Paula Ormaechea.
• Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has split with coach Roger Rasheed.
• The return of Bernard Tomic’s Hat in screencaps.
• The Changeover looks at Petra Kvitova’s incredible trend of three-set matches. Of her 60 matches this year, half have gone the distance.
• The Brits are getting a little braggy about their U.S. Open success. Three Brits are into the third round.
• Non-tennis: Why professional athletes always win the battle with journalists.