Archive for August, 2009

31
Aug
09

Big John Isner the only surprise of day one!

Washington TennisRoger Federer and Serena Williams began their U.S. Open title defenses Monday with easy wins in matches that will probably stick only in the memories of the players they beat.

Federer defeated NCAA champion Devin Britton 6-1, 6-3, 7-5, and Williams rolled over wild card Alexa Glatch 6-4, 6-1 to fashion a predictable start to the last major championship of 2009.

“My goal was to not get crushed,” Britton conceded, “and make it interesting for a little while.”

He did, even breaking Federer’s serve in the second and third sets, though he was unable to follow either by winning his own serve in the next game. With his coach from Ole Miss in the stands at Arthur Ashe Stadium, Britton lost three straight games at love after going up 3-1 in the second.

“I was thinking, ‘I’m up a break. This is awesome,”’ Britton said. “Then it only lasted about 30 seconds.”

Glatch was in the same boat, pushing the second-seeded Williams in the first set before losing quickly in the second. One of America’s top juniors earlier in the decade, Glatch received a wild card for the U.S. Open, only to find she was playing one of the best Grand Slam players in history.

Williams, who has won the Australian Open and Wimbledon this year, is going for her second straight and fourth U.S. Open title.

“You just try not to think about the occasion,” Glatch said. “You try to pretend it’s any other court and you’re playing against any other opponent. But it’s very hard to do, especially when it’s your first time out there in the biggest stadium there is.”

Other winners in the first round included eighth-seeded Victoria Azarenka, 12th-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, 17th-seeded Amelie Mauresmo and 26th-seeded Francesca Schiavone. Paul-Henri Mathieu, No. 26 on the men’s side, was the first seeded player to lose, beaten by Mikhail Youzhny 2-6, 7-5, 6-0, 6-2.

American John Isner won a 16-14 second-set tiebreaker, the highlight of a 6-1, 7-6 (14), 7-6 (5) upset over 28th-seeded Victor Hanescu. Isner has missed a good part of the year with mononucleosis.

“It might have been a blessing in disguise,” Isner said. “I’ve felt fresh ever since I started playing in the States.”

Opening the day in Ashe Stadium was 2005 champion Kim Clijsters, who returned to competitive tennis this summer after taking two years off to start a family. She had a baby girl in May 2008.

Clijsters defeated Viktoriya Kutuzova 6-1, 6-1 and didn’t show much rust.

“Now it’s a matter of trying to keep this going,” the Belgian said.

She won the first seven and last 11 points of the match and grinded through her few hiccups, including three double-faults in the third game of the opening set, which extended to seven deuces before she pulled it out.

31
Aug
09

Women’s tennis needs Ivanovic at her best.

ana 33A year after winning her first Grand Slam at the 2008 French Open and taking over the No. 1 ranking as player and pinup girl in women’s tennis, Ivanovic had dropped to No. 13. Her slump included a failure to win back-to-back matches during a stretch of five tournaments from July to October.

In the months leading up to the U.S. Open, which starts Monday, Ivanovic worked with three coaches and parted ways with her full-time fitness trainer.

“Every day I question the things that I’m doing and the things people around me are doing, what can we do to get back on top,” Ivanovic said earlier this summer.

Getting to the top was an impressive climb in its own right.

Growing up in war-torn Serbia, Ivanovic practiced tennis in an empty swimming pool, one of the few safe venues available to players. The practice sessions were scheduled during the rare morning hours between NATO bombings. From that environment sprung a champion who seemingly has it all – brains, beauty and a great story – except for a clear answer for what went wrong after the 2008 French Open.

In recent months, Ivanovic said she has begun to assert herself more and make her own decisions. She’d grown tired of deferring to those around her.

“Now I can speak a little more openly and communicate with them,” she said. “… I’m not here to please them. I just want to get back and improve, so I have to be honest and say what I feel and what I think is going to help me get where I want.”

Her play in recent months remained suspect, with a third-round loss at the L.A. Women’s Tennis Championships in August to Samantha Stosur, then ranked No. 19; and a second-round loss the following week in Cincinnati to Melinda Czink, then ranked No. 59.

Funny thing, Ivanovic said, is that she knows precisely how she must play to reclaim her No. 1 ranking and win another Grand Slam.

“When I’m off the court, I know perfectly,” she said. “And I can tell everyone what works best and how it should be.”

Here’s how she knows it should be: aggressive. A self-confident Ivanovic is Ivanovic at her best.

“But then, obviously when I’m on the court and emotions start (to) kick in and then it’s very hard,” she said. “I start to overanalyze everything and doubt a lot of things.”

How will she overcome that? A bemused smile stretched across her face.

“I’m still trying to figure that out.”

31
Aug
09

Nadal not planning to be the runner-up!

rafa 66Two months on the sidelines nursing tendinitis in both knees will not derail Rafa Nadal’s bid for the only grand slam to elude him, the Spanish world number three said as the U.S. Open kicks off in New York.

“I am not scared,” the 23-year-old Mallorcan told Spain’s El Pais daily. “I was out for two months and then (this month) I got to the quarter-finals at the Montreal Masters and the semis at the Cincinnati Masters.

“I know that here (at the U.S. Open) a quarter-final or a semi would be a very good result but I am coming to win,” added the six-times grand slam winner.

“When I retire nobody will remember if I get to quarters or semis.”

Australian Open champion Nadal said his first-round match against Frenchman Richard Gasquet, who is making his return after a ban for inadvertently taking cocaine, could be very difficult.

“He has the potential of one of the very best and if he has a good day it will be a very tough match,” he said.

“Although I know that if I play well I have a chance to beat Gasquet and a great deal more.”

31
Aug
09

Muuray will be more aggressive?

EU MONTE CARLO TENNIS MASTERSAndy Murray has said that he will play more aggressive tennis at the US Open this year as he believes the style of play is more appropriate for the conditions.

In July this year 79% of MurraysWorld readers voted that Murray needed to play more aggressively and at Wimbledon this year Larry Stefanki accused Andy Murray of being a “pusher”, claming his defensive tennis was preventing him from winning a Grand Slam.

I’ll try and come forward more in this tournament, because I think the conditions allow that. Obviously it depends on the way your opponent is playing, but the serve is the one big thing. I back myself to break serve at least once or twice in a set, so I give myself a lot of chances if I serve well.

31
Aug
09

It’s time for Andy Roddick to win his 2nd. Open.

federer_and_roddick_607466a

Andy Roddick would be a resoundingly popular winner of the US Open, six years after his victory here and the memorable press conference first liner about ‘you can forget all that future of American tennis crap’. Though Sam Querrey, his fellow American, won the US Open Series as the most consistent performer through the past month of hard court earnestness in tricky conditions, Roddick reached the final in Washington, the semis of the Montreal Masters (losing both times to Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina) and his only blemish was a first round defeat to Querrey in Cincinnati.

But all roads, at this time, seems to wind their way back to the 16-14 final set defeat to Federer on another momentous July afternoon. “I feel like maybe a bigger story was made of it than what I was feeling,” Roddick said on the eve of the Open, where he plays Bjorn Phau of Germany on the first Monday night session.

“There was never a point where I was going to just lay down afterwards or not come back and play hard or, you know, anything like that. If you look at the tournament as a whole, it was a very good event. I would have loved to have changed the last five minutes of it, but you look forward to another opportunity. The kind of the support I got from fans, from peers, from everybody, was pretty surprising in the best way possible and pretty humbling. For some reason I think that match hit home with a lot of people, and you know, maybe — I didn’t realise it. Obviously when you’re in London, you realise that it’s a big deal there and you kind of understand it, but I was really surprised when I had got back here as to how many people watched it and were affected by it. To be honest, that really helped the process.

“For the first two or three weeks afterwards I think it (my perspective) changed daily. But like anything, the more you distance yourself from it, you start remembering, the better things about it as opposed to the most disappointing things about it. You know, I promise you, I wish more than anything that I would have won that tournament, but at the same time, I’m still going to move on and keep going with the plan that we’ve set in place, because I feel like it is working.”

Roddick’s progress on the playing side has established his place back inside the world’s top five and there is no doubt he represents a real threat to the top order. And America is ever more ready for a standard bearer.

30
Aug
09

15 year old focused on winning her 2nd. junior Grand Slam.

Laura-Robson-Wimbledon-2009-Day-Nine-2_2324266British teenager Laura Robson’s is banking on her near miss at reaching the US Open first round to translate into a good run in the junior championship at Flushing Meadows next week.

The 15-year-old former Wimbledon junior champion lost a final-set tiebreaker last night in her final qualifying-round match, beaten 7-6 (8-6) 4-6 7-6 (7-4) by Eva Hrdinova of the Czech Republic.

World number 460 Robson had scored two big upsets in getting to the final qualifying round beating players as many as 300 places above her in the rankings, but came up just short against Hrdinova, ranked 203 and 10 years her senior.

Robson put up a sterling performance to come back from a set and 3-0 down to tie the match and stand on the brink of making the main draw at 4-0 up in the third, only to wilt down the stretch as the more experienced Hrdinova pulled rank.

The teenager is now left to concentrate on her bid for a second junior grand slam title and is determined to take positives from her run in the senior qualifiers.

She said: “The first two matches were good and it was really fun and a really good experience. Only the third set of that match today wasn’t that fun. Well, half of it was.

“I think it’s definitely going to help. I’ll know what the atmosphere and everything’s like when I get to juniors.

“I thought I played really well for all of the matches really, it was just I didn’t finish it off the way that I wanted to.”

She added: “I was lucky enough to get a wild card into qualifying and then I’m just glad that something as unfortunate as this happened in a qualifier now rather than in two years in the main draw.

“It’s all about experience really, dealing with nerves and all that, it’s just something you have to get used to.”

30
Aug
09

Alexa Glatch has nothing to lose against Serena.

alexa glatchAlexa Glatch is the first round opponent for Serena Williams. A daunting task for any player, but the kind of challenge that brings out the best in this young American player. Just look at her recent record against players ranked much higher than she is. She almost single handidly won the Fed Cup semi final for the USA team, which indicates that she enjoys playing under pressure. If Serena takes her lightly, or as is her fashion she plays way below her standard for the first week of a Grand Slam, the defending champion will find herself sitting in the locker room on Monday night trying to figure out what went wrong.

In 2009, Alexa has 5 wins over Top 50 players and is 2-0 in Fed Cup competition.

She reached the third round of the Premier $4.5 Million Indian Wells WTA Tour Event as a wildcard; one of her wins was against World No. 29 Carla Suarez Navarro. At the Premier WTA Tour Event in Miami, Alexa advanced to the 2nd round before losing to #1 seed Serena Williams 6-2, 6-3. She made her Fed Cup debut in April in the semifinals against the Czech Republic. As a rookie, she was dubbed the MVP for keeping the US alive by pulling off upset wins in both of her singles matches against No. 29 Iveta Benesova and No. 48 Petra Kvitova in dominating, straight sets fashion. Her team won the deciding doubles match and the U.S. will have a chance to take home the Fed Cup Championship Trophy for the first time since 2000 when they compete against Italy in the finals in November.

In May, Alexa made her French Open red clay debut by crushing the 14th-seeded Italian Flavia Pennetta 6-1, 6-1 in the first round. To date this is the biggest win in her career.

30
Aug
09

Could these 4 be the finalists at the 2009 US Open?

_stars at us open

30
Aug
09

Serena’s new book debuts.

cover_2About The Authors.

 Serena Williams is one of the top athletes in tennis and in all of sports. At the age of 27, she has captured every major title. Growing up in Compton, CA, she was trained by her father on the public tennis courts before rising up the tennis ranks. Serena has wide-ranging interests aside from tennis, including starting her own fashion line and opening a school for children in Africa.

 Daniel Paisner is the author or co-author of more than forty books. He has collaborated on seven New York Times best-selling titles, including Denzel Washington’s A Hand to Guide Me, Whoopi Goldberg’s Book and Geraldo Rivera’s Exposing Myself. He lives in Port Washington, NY.

30
Aug
09

Elena Dementieva…..the one to watch.

Dementieva12

Elena Dementieva has won the US Open series. Following her win at Toronto and semis placing at Stanford and Cincinnati, Elena has 170 points. This is Elena’s 1st ever US Open series title.

All the 5 tournaments before the US Open are counted in the standings (Stanford, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Toronto & New Haven) and Elena is the 6th player to capture this title and if she wins the US Open could win an extra $1 million on top of the US Open prizemoney.

She enters this weeks US Open as the #4 ranked player, she’s within 50 points of Venus, and her form in the past month on the hard courts has been outstanding. She holds a winning record over Serena Williams and beat both Serena and Sharapova in winning lasts weeks Rogers Cup in Toronto. She is drawn in the top half at the 2009 US Open, on the same side as Safina and Jankovic, two players she will have to beat to make the final.

Elena has the best set of wheels of any player on the WTA tour, and two weeks of Grand Slam tennis fits her strength just perfectly. Have you ever seen her tired? She is the one to watch, and might be hoisting the trophy for her first Grand Slam win in  2 weeks time.




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