Don’t Miss a Thing

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Portland Trail Blazers
Tuesday, 7 PM @ Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK 

KD is a favorite for NBA MVP this season.

Current 2nd and 3rd in the Western Conference, this is an intriguing match up. A win could move someone into 1st place, and the way Kevin Durant has been playing, most bets might be on the Thunder. KD threw up 54 points last week, but LaMarcus Aldridge and Damain Lillard might be even better than the Durant-Westbrook combo.

Montreal Canadiens vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Wednesday, 7 PM @ Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA

Crosby leads the league in points, and it’s not even close

The Penguins sit in 1st place in the Eastern Conference, while the Habs are in fourth. A big win in Pittsburgh could give the Canadiens the confidence they need to start climbing that ladder to secure home ice advantage in the playoffs. Montreal is strong defensively and kill 85.6% of power plays, so Crosby and Malkin will have their hands full.

Australian Open Men’s Single Semifinals
Friday, 2:30 AM @ Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Oh, the possibilities.

The Australian Open. While we aren’t quite sure who will be playing in the semifinals quite yet, you can bet it will be at least one of these two legends. All but one of the top eight seeds have made the quarterfinals, and with a Rafa-Roger semifinal possibly looming, it’s worth making up early for (or going to, if you’re lucky enough to live in Australia).

Michigan vs. Michigan State
Saturday, 7 PM @ Breslin Center, East Lansing, MI

No love lost in this matchup

In the only game of the weekend featuring two ranked teams, the #21 Wolverines are looking to knock off #3 Michigan State on their home court. Last year the Spartans demolished their rivals 75-52 at the Breslin Center, but then lost a nail-biter in Ann Arbor 58-57.

San Antonio Spurs vs. Miami Heat
Sunday, 1 PM @ American Airlines Arena, Miami FL

The shot that cost the Spurs their 5th title

The Spurs lost a heartbreaking 2013 NBA Finals to the Heat, and this will be the first time the two meet since Game 7.  San Antonio is in first place once again, while the Heat trail only the Pacers in the East. You can bet the American Airlines Arena will be packed to capacity, and the Spurs would love nothing more than to silence the Miami fans.

US Open Week 1: Q&A with tennis blogger Brian Stacey

Do you think there will be any early upsets like at Wimbledon?
It’s always my fear buying tickets to a tennis event that everyone I want to see will be long gone by the time I sit down to watch the semifinals. I’m sure if you’ve bought your US Open tickets for the second week, you’ve been fearing another Wimbledon-style upset fest. I think we’ll see one or two upsets, but not the bloodbath that was week one of Wimbledon.

IMG_1090On the men’s side, I think the likeliest upset is David Ferrer getting knocked out by Ernests Gulbis in Round 3 – if not before then. Ferrer hasn’t had a great summer and I don’t think an open draw is enough motivation to get him through. He took advantage in Paris only to get rolled by Rafa in the finals. That may get in his head a bit here too. As for earlier upsets, I think the top seven will have no problem making it through the first two rounds.

On the women’s side, I think Kvitova’s good run in New Haven could spell trouble for her second round match against Andrea Petkovic. Petko’s been slowly coming back from injury and, before her absence, was a real presence at slams. I think Petko takes it in three long sets. Ana Ivanovic has a tough second round against Varvara Lepchenko. Lepchenko will have the home crowd behind her and her heavy hitting could be a bit much for Ivanovic.

Roger Federer goes in seeded 7th – how badly does this hurt his chances?
Whether he goes in as the seventh seed or the 107th seed, I think Federer’s chances are always good. Sure, on his worst days, he can lose to 116th Sergiy Stakhovsky, but on his best days, Roger Federer is one of the greatest tennis players of all time. The problem with being ranked outside the top four is that Federer has found himself in Rafa’s quarter. Does this destroy his chances? Surely not, but it does make the path significantly harder. At least he’d have an easier Semifinal to rest up for either Djoker or Murray in the finals. Possible matchups aside, Fed’s biggest obstacle isn’t his seventh seed but his back. If he hasn’t fully healed, that could be problematic from the first point of the tournament.

Which American has the best chance at making the finals?
Obviously Serena on the women’s side has the best chance. She’s on fire this summer and probably more motivated than ever to make sure she doesn’t end the season with one lonely slam title. She’s got a tough draw, but if she can make it through Sloane Stephens in the fourth round, she’s golden until the finals against rival Victoria Azarenka.

There’s no way to be anything but bold on the men’s side, so I’ll be very bold: Ryan Harrison. If he makes it through Nadal in the first round, this could be the breakout slam we’ve all been expecting from him. That confidence, along with his big serve and heavy baseline hitting could be just what he needs to see his first major final. Long shot? Definitely, but it really is for all the US men this year.

What are Radwanska’s chances of breaking through?
You could argue that winning one of her three Premier titles would be a breakthough. Or, taking a set off Serena in the 2012 Wimbledon final. But, with so many slamless #1’s, I think it’s fair to say it’s not a breakthrough until you’ve earned that grand slam title. Unfortunately for Agnieska Radwanka, she’s had a rough summer and I’m not sure it’s going to translate to a good run at Flushing Meadows. She’s likely to hit a very tough R4 against Wimbledon Finalist Sabine Lisicki before a quarterfinal matchup against Li Na (or Jelena Jankovic if she finds her form, which may be more worrisome than Li Na). After that, she’d have the semifinals against Serena and Final against Azarenka. With her consistency looking shaky this summer, I’m not sure she has it in her.

Brian Stacey is a longtime tennis fan who joins TicketCity for the two weeks of the US Open to to talk all things tennis & answer your questions via social media during the tournament. Brian tweets his thoughts over at @Roddickulous and blogs when time permits. He still believes that Andy Roddick will win a Wimbledon title and has eternal optimism about US Men’s tennis. When not tweeting about tennis, Brian works to bring the best credit card offers and advice over at CreditCardGuide.com.

10 Things To Know If You’re Going to the US Open

1. Don’t look so confused. Know what kind of access you get with your US Open ticket. You can learn more about how “Grounds Admission” tickets differ from regular US Open tickets here.

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2. There is no retractable roof,  so rain can be a factor. Try not get upset- most ticket companies, like TicketCity, have a Rain-Out Policy.

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3.  Come hungry. US Open food village has just about every type of food imaginable from deli classics and burgers, to ice cream, seafood, kosher dishes, pizza, barbecue and alcoholic beverages.

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4. Admission to the USTA grounds is free on Arthur Ashe Kids Day.

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5. But you’ll need to buy a ticket to the Stadium show, featuring kid friendly performers like Austin Mahone and Fifth Harmony.

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6.  Choose the fastest way to get there. The best way to get from Manhattan to the stadium is to either take the #7 subway train or the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR).

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7. Leave it at home. Backpacks, hard coolers, glass bottles, alcohol, video cameras, computers or laptops, weapons, banners or signs, noisemakers, or tennis racquets are not allowed on the premises.

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8. Don’t get stuck in line. Enter  by the South Gate. East Gate is packed with morning crowds coming off the subway/LIRR.

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9. Wear sunglasses. (A hat and sunblock will also make you happier.)

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10. Sleep is for rookies. There have been some legendary matches during the night session that stretched well past midnight. So drink your coffee!

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Still have questions? Visit our US Open page for more info.

2013 U.S. Open tickets 12% More Expensive than 2012

Just about one month in advance of the U.S. Open Tennis Championship, many sessions have sold out for America’s Grand Slam event. But with seven countries represented in the current ATP Top 10, it is international flavor, which has created big demand for a taste of U.S. Open tennis tickets.

US Open PricesOverall, 2013 U.S. Open Tennis tickets are averaging $348 per seat, 12% higher than last year’s figure.  Sessions 1-22 of the U.S. Open run through the Men’s and Women’s quarterfinals. The odd-numbered sessions mark the daytime sessions, which kick off at 11am. The even-numbered sessions are those in the evening, which begin at 7pm. In terms of average ticket prices, it is no big surprise that tickets get progressively more expensive as the tournament goes on. However, get-in prices remain relatively inexpensive and rather consistent throughout the first 22 sessions.

Although one might think that U.S. Open tennis tickets to the Men’s Final would be the most expensive session of the tournament, it is actually only the second most expensive. Session 24, containing the Men’s Semifinals and Women’s Doubles Final on Saturday, September 27th, is currently the most expensive session ticket of this year’s U.S. Open, at an average price of $799 dollars and a get-in price of $145.

U.S. Open tennis tickets to the Men’s Final check in at an average price of $744, with a get-in price of $130. In last year’s tournament, fans got to see Andy Roddick, the last American to win the U.S. Open back in 2003, make it all the way to the fourth round before falling victim to 2009 Champion Juan Martin del Potro. Following the loss, Roddick retired from professional tennis. Without an American in the top 19 of the ATP World Tennis Rankings, it looks like tennis fans will once again have to wait yet another year for an American to become the first to win the U.S. Open since Roddick.

Tennis comes alive at the US Open in August

In a conference call with reporters on Friday, seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams announced that the bad back that forced her out of Wimbledon shouldn’t keep her out of the US Open, reinvigorating the anticipation for August.

I’ve covered majors including Wimbledon and the French Open, but in my opinion, nothing compares to a night match at the US Open.  Here’s why.