Lesson Learned: For Week 1, Skip Ashe and Head to Armstrong

“It seems like the best matches throughout the tournament happen either on Armstrong or on Grandstand. There’s been quite a few 6-0, 6-0s on Ashe, it seems like,” said Mardy Fish after his last victory (he’s currently down two sets to love to Djokovic).

We decided to look into his theory, and, boy, is he right.

In the first eight days of the tournament, Ashe has seen 35 matches, and only four of them have gone the distance–three of which were women’s matches–and 29 have been straight set matches. As Fish surmised, a lot of them have been blowouts. With Djokovic up an early break in the third set it looks like that will turn into 30 straight set matches out of 36 matches. Meanwhile, at Armstrong, there have been 27 matches, and eight have gone the distance. Using our trusty old calculator, that means you’ve got a 30 percent chance of a three-set women’s match or a 5-set men’s match whereas you’ve got onlly an 8 percent chance of a match going to the distance at Ashe. Likewise, at Armstrong’s little sister, the Grandstand, nine of the 24 matches have gone the distance, giving you a very solid 37 percent clip.

This doesn’t even take into account the exciting matches. In the last two days, at Armstrong, we had Mardy Fish’s thrilling five setter and Andy Murray’s stirring upset. The Grandstand hosted Ryan Harrison’s fantastic five set match on Friday. The only match that comes close to any of these that was played at Ashe was last night’s Dementieva-Stosur match, which ended in the wee hours of the morning, in front of an empty stadium.

This is, obviously, not that surprising. Ashe usually hosts the top seeds and, if all goes to plan, they should make quick work of their lower-ranked opponents during the first week. And Armstrong and the Grandstand, which hosts American upstarts or players in the Top 25–if not the Top 5–are built for better matches. But let it serve as a reminder: If you’re heading out here next year and you want to see good tennis, stick to the smaller stadium courts.

And, of course, starting as soon as the Wozniacki-Sharapova match, Ashe will become the exclusive home for great tennis from here on out.

  Lesson Learned: For Week 1, Skip Ashe and Head to Armstrong