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September 8, 2011

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US Open 2011, Flushing Meadows, New York, USA
September 8, 2011
Editorial by Jane Voigt.


 

Jane Voigt Photo
Jane Voigt

They played
 
After two days of downpours, four cancelled sessions, and bickering between players and tournament officials about when to or when not to put players on court, the U. S. Open was back in business today.
 
Court 13 proved to be Andy Roddick's lucky charm, after a rocky start on Louis Armstrong Stadium where he and David Ferrer were originally scheduled. Two games into their match a hairline crack was discovered two-feet behind the baseline, according to a report on the tournament's website. The crack seeped water, creating a dangerous possibility: falling during a point.
 
Roddick and Ferrer left and came back when the problem was said to have been repaired. Before hitting a ball, over went Roddick to test it out. It wasn't fixed.
 
USTA Director, Pro Circuit/US Open Referee Brian Earley was called. Roddick had protested. Basically he was incredulous. Yesterday the heart-to-heart conversation between players and tournament officials about its decision to put them on court under uncertain weather conditions and today, this. Did rain soak some brain cells?
 
After belittling remarks directly aimed at Earley, Roddick hefted his big Babolat bag and marched off court. Cameras followed them inside the tunnel where you could overhear Earley say, "Court 13 is ready." Ferrer and Roddick hesitated. Then Roddick blurted, "Let's play." Decision made; off they went.
 
Roddick wasted little time asserting his game on Ferrer, the #5 seed. Although Roddick dropped the third set, as a fiery Ferrer fought back, the match was done in four: 63 64 36 63. The American is through to his first quarterfinal at his 'home' slam since 2007. He will play Rafael Nadal.
 
The Roddick match was one of four headliner matches percolating this morning in Flushing Meadow. Over on Arthur Ashe Stadium Andy's future opponent, Rafael Nadal, tamed Gilles Muller in straight sets. Lefty to lefty isn't a pleasant experience for the few lefties that wind up as opponents. However, the #2 seed Nadal didn't care who was across the net. He had no intention of extending the match beyond the minimum of three sets.
 
"When I had the chance to attack, I did," Nadal said after his match. "I played a few fantastic passing shots. That's important against Muller. He plays aggressive; he plays with mistakes, but at the same time with winners. So it's difficult to have the right rhythm against him."
 
All the men who advanced to the quarterfinals today faced an unprecedented schedule -- the possibility of playing four matches in four days. These won't be simple matches. Instead, they could be prolonged battles as higher seeds meet in the late rounds.
 
"That's not fair," Nadal continued. "I had a lot of interesting meeting with the TV, with everybody, that for sure is better to have the final on Sunday for them. But not for the players because two days in a row playing tough matches is difficult. Is a big tournament, and that's true. The U.S. Open is -- probably more important is the U. S. Open than the players, but the players are a big part of the show."
 
Nadal doesn't believe the tournament staff is the problem. "The problem is we don't have enough power in these kinds of tournaments. That's what have to change very soon."
 
That power will take time to accumulate and access. The ATP was created in 1968 but it is not a player's union; it does not represent players in negotiations with tournament officials. The players want that representation. They want a say in tournament operations.
 
Late in the afternoon, the Open announced that the men's and women's finals had been moved. Instead of playing Saturday evening, the women's final will be played on Sunday. Accordingly, the men will play on Monday.
 
While Nadal edged out Muller, Andy Murray ended American Donald Young's hopes of a quarterfinal berth. Young played nervously and inconsistently. He had moments of brilliance, but not enough to stop the #4 seed Murray. It was a straight set affair: 62 63 63. Murray is up against John Isner next.
 
The six-foot-nine Isner proved once again that serving from a tree wins matches. He kept crafty Frenchman Gilles Simon from unleashing his relentless game of agonizingly long points with put-away shots and, yes, lots of aces -- 26. Although Simon broke Isner five times during the match, Simon could not hold on to the lead, which was to Isner's advantage. Scoreline: 76(2) 36 76(2) 76(4).
 
By reaching his first Grand Slam quarterfinal, Isner's record since July becomes the best on tour at 21-4, according to Greg Sharko of the ATP.
 
On the women's side, Serena Williams fought off Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova mightily in the first set, as the young Russian hung with Williams until it matter -- the end of the set. Williams broke to take it 75. The second, and final, set was over in a half hour, 61.
 
With Wozniacki's win over Andrea Petkovic, the semifinal that people have waited for is all set ... Serena versus Caroline. The 13-time Grand Slam champion Williams versus a woman desperate to change the conversation that swirls -- how can you call yourself a legitimate number-one player with no majors on your resume?
 
From what fans saw today, Caroline Wozniacki has stepped on the gas. She has picked up the pace of her shots, her racquet head speed was markedly faster, her shoulder rotation much quicker. Her ground strokes landed deep in the court, presenting lots of problems for Petkovic, the woman who had defeated Wozniacki this spring at the Sony Ericsson Open with a power game Wozniacki had no answers for. The German was expected to beat Wozniacki today, too.
 
The improvement and this result from those improvements with her stroke production might not get her past Serena Williams. However, they will certainly change the level of competition between them.
 
Samantha Stosur, the #9 seed, defeated Vera Zvonareva, the #2 seed. Stosur will play Angelique Kerber, the first lefty to reach the semifinal in New York since Monica Seles in 1996. Kerber defeated Flavia Pennetta who can't seem to get past the quarterfinals at this slam.
 
Finally, the world number 1 Novak Djokovic defeated Serbian countryman Janko Tipsarevic, for his spot in the quarters. Tipsarevic played aggressive tennis, giving an all-out effort until 3-0 in the fourth set. He retired with a leg injury. Scoreline: 76(2) 67(3) 60 30, retired.
 
Djokovic can wait for Roger Federer, who bested Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 64 63 63. Their match is on for the evening session.
 

 

 
[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) d [20] Janko Tisparevic (SRB) {sunglasses} 76(2) 67(3) 60 30 retired
 
Novak Djokovic 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Janko Tisparevic 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Novak Djokovic 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Janko Tisparevic 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Novak Djokovic 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Janko Tisparevic 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Novak Djokovic 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Janko Tisparevic 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Novak Djokovic 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Janko Tisparevic 2011 US Open New York Tennis

 
 
[3] Roger Federer (SUI) {grey shirt} d [11] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 64 63 63
 
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Roger Federer 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Roger Federer 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Roger Federer 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Roger Federer 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Roger Federer 2011 US Open New York Tennis

 
 
[28] John Isner (USA) {yellow shirt} d [12] Gilles Simon (FRA) 76(2) 36 76(2) 76(4)
 
John Isner 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Gilles Simon 2011 US Open New York Tennis
John Isner 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Gilles Simon 2011 US Open New York Tennis
John Isner 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Gilles Simon 2011 US Open New York Tennis
John Isner 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Gilles Simon 2011 US Open New York Tennis
John Isner 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Gilles Simon 2011 US Open New York Tennis

 
 
[2] Rafael Nadal (ESP) d Gilles Muller (LUX) {white headband} 76(1) 61 62
 
Rafael Nadal 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Gilles Muller 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Rafael Nadal 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Gilles Muller 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Rafael Nadal 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Gilles Muller 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Rafael Nadal 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Gilles Muller 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Rafael Nadal 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Gilles Muller 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Rafael Nadal 2011 US Open New York Tennis

 
 
[28] Serena Williams (USA) d [17] Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) {pink dress} 75 61
 
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Serena Williams 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Serena Williams 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Serena Williams 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Serena Williams 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Serena Williams 2011 US Open New York Tennis

 
 
[4] Andy Murray (GBR) {red shirt} d Donald Young (USA) 62 63 63
 
Power Blower 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Brad Gilbert, Patrick McEnroe 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Donald Young 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Andy Murray 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Donald Young 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Donald Young 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Donald Young 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Donald Young 2011 US Open New York Tennis
Andy Murray 2011 US Open New York Tennis

 
Earlier Columns from this Event:
 
September 6, 2011 US Open: Over The Years
September 5, 2011 US Open: The Big Stories - Tipsarevic, Ferrero, Djokovic, Dolgopolov
September 4, 2011 US Open: The Outliers - Nadal, Nalbandian, Roddick, Benneteau
September 3, 2011 US Open: Embellishments - Wozniacki, King, Monaco, Haas
September 2, 2011 US Open: Moving Closer - Pennetta, Sharapova, Isner, Ginepri
September 1, 2011 US Open: Will the Real Top Seeds Please Stand Up - Federer, Sela, S Williams, Krajicek
August 31, 2011 US Open: Big Day - Murray, Devvarman, Stosur, Vandeweghe
August 30, 2011 US Open: A Kid In a Candy Store - Nadal, Golubev, Blake, Huta Galung
August 29, 2011 US Open: The Youngsters, Plus One - Fish, Kamke, Dulgheru, Kvitova
August 28, 2011 US Open: Before It All Begins
 

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