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Queens Chronicle

‘Open’ all night: Tennis is just part of the attraction

Flushing Meadows, USTA light up the night

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Posted: Thursday, September 6, 2012 10:30 am

Corona native Joan Dellicicchi left for Long Island decades ago. But she picked a good day to attend her first US Open last Thursday.

She, and seemingly everyone else in Louis Armstrong Stadium, was rooting for unseeded American James Blake, during his straight-set drubbing of 24th-ranked Marcel Granollers of Spain in the twilight.

“I’m rooting for Blake, Sloane Stephens, all the Americans,” she said as Blake took his warm-up volleys.

The lights came on sometime in the first set, and in a tidy 99 minutes Blake advanced to the third round, and Flushing Meadows had ushered in the night session.

Roger Federer, with five US Open singles titles, and Venus Williams with two titles apiece in singles and doubles play, got prime-time slots under the lights at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Crowds on the concourse were dazzled by the lighted water fountains and watched the proceedings inside on the overhead big screens while dining, shopping or just milling about among the crowds.

“I come in the daytime too, but I like the night session,” said Paulette Landers of Middle Village, who works in real estate in Rego Park. “I like the atmosphere. It’s a lot of fun.”

Larry Roher is the former president of the Le Havre Owners Corporation in Whitestone, and has been coming to the Open for more than 30 years.

He also enjoys the atmosphere and ambience of the night session, but also has practical reasons.

“You don’t have problems with the sun,” he said, enjoying a meal seated with a group in the food court.

Jerry Arenella of Farmingdale on Long Island also prefers the cooler temperatures at night, with a few exceptions.

“It depends on the player,” he said. “I’ll come out in the daytime to watch Federer play.”

Dellicicchi, whose daughter Carol comes every year with friends, also saw American Mardy Fish advance to the third round, along with Feliciano Lopez of Spain, before partaking in the fine al fresco dining outside Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Her one complaint is the designation of the Billie Jean King Tennis Center as being in Flushing Meadows.

‘It was the same when they opened Shea Stadium [in 1964],” Dellicicchi said.

“This is Corona,” she said. “I grew up here near Louis Armstrong’s house, which is now landmarked. I went to Our Lady of Sorrows school, which is landmarked, and I went to Flushing High School. I grew up near the Lemon Ice King in Corona.

“Flushing Meadows was somewhere we went on picnics when I was a kid,” she said. “This is Corona territory.”

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