US Open tennis

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Celebrities and fellow tennis players take to Twitter to congratulate Andy Murray

Andy Murray us open

By Romi Cvitkovic

Celebrities and fellow tennis players swarmed to Twitter to give their congratulations to tennis’ newest Slam winner, Andy Murray as he defeated Novak Djokovic in a nearly five hour championship match.

Congratulations, Andy! You are a true fighter and champion!

Have a look at the warm wishes below from players like Juan Monaco, Andre Agassi, Sabine Lisicki,Victoria Azarenka and Ross Hutchins and celebrities like Russell Crowe, Pau Gasol, Ewan McGregor, Rory McIlroy, Piers Morgan and Mario Andretti!

Brother of Andy Murray:
https://twitter.com/jamie_murray/status/245336246753320961

Coach of Roger Federer:
https://twitter.com/paul_annacone/status/245335706485026816

Novak Djokovic’s hitting partner:
https://twitter.com/dusanVemic/status/245347782024650752

Former ATP pro:
https://twitter.com/AndreAgassi/status/245329626342252545

Former WTA player:
https://twitter.com/rennaestubbs/status/245330910633938944

Former coach of Andy Murray and current ESPN commentator:
https://twitter.com/bgtennisnation/status/245327266672934912

Former ATP pro and current Tennis Channel commentator:
https://twitter.com/justingimelstob/status/245326824165478400

Former ATP pro and current ESPN commentator:
https://twitter.com/PatrickMcEnroe/status/245360333601005569

Former ATP pro and current tennis commentator:
https://twitter.com/Becker_Boris/status/245327250994626560

Tennis commentator:
https://twitter.com/cbfowler/status/245327657540136960

Fellow tennis players:

https://twitter.com/vika7/status/245372492724719616

https://twitter.com/picomonaco/status/245329102125535232

https://twitter.com/BMATTEK/status/245327932640342018

https://twitter.com/RafaelNadal/status/245474743921287168

https://twitter.com/RoscoHutchins/status/245328058427531264

https://twitter.com/laurarobson5/status/245404278741667840

https://twitter.com/AlinaJidkova/status/245328441929502721

https://twitter.com/sabinelisicki/status/245326925533433856

https://twitter.com/FeVerdasco7/status/245334413624365056

https://twitter.com/EVesnina001/status/245328765746561024

https://twitter.com/julienbenneteau/status/245418912496357376

https://twitter.com/rohanbopanna/status/245329273207025664

https://twitter.com/colin_fleming/status/245328145807441921

https://twitter.com/queen_v21/status/245371195078348801

https://twitter.com/TipsarevicJanko/status/245436059234758656

https://twitter.com/alekswoz/status/245327470595801089

Celebrities:

https://twitter.com/piersmorgan/status/245327601432928256

https://twitter.com/KevinSpacey/status/245401330376667137

https://twitter.com/michaelstrahan/status/245333351492366336

https://twitter.com/CarliLloyd/status/245343748937097216

https://twitter.com/joshgroban/status/245327829561126912

https://twitter.com/jeremypiven/status/245490264825819136

https://twitter.com/McIlroyRory/status/245326985256120321

https://twitter.com/paugasol/status/245326920764510209

https://twitter.com/coldplay/status/245412676682002432

https://twitter.com/Mattdavelewis/status/245326890682953728

https://twitter.com/mcgregor_ewan/status/245362051122335744

https://twitter.com/swish41/status/245531095863554048

https://twitter.com/druidDUDE/status/245339194560487426

https://twitter.com/AinslieBen/status/245490943447416833

https://twitter.com/russellcrowe/status/245329485598171136

https://twitter.com/iamwandasykes/status/245328330663014400

https://twitter.com/CRonaldoNews/status/245327942907994115

https://twitter.com/rioferdy5/status/245409028392488961

https://twitter.com/jamesbvalentine/status/245327604784168961

https://twitter.com/shanewest_1/status/245513909547720704

https://twitter.com/chrishoy/status/245436239069712384

https://twitter.com/frankieboyle/status/245430379920642048

https://twitter.com/JensonButton/status/245424738434965504

https://twitter.com/MarioAndretti/status/245327535670439936

Last, but not least, Prince Charles. Well, the parody account anyway…

https://twitter.com/Charles_HRH/status/245428577414283264

American hope for Jack Sock

Jack Sock in action at the US Open

By Ashley Babich

Andy Roddick shocked many in the tennis community this week when he announced his impending retirement at the 2012 US Open. (He even surprised some who don’t follow tennis so closely, as my grandma called to tell me, with much concern, that she heard the “cute American tennis player is retiring.”)

The conversation has been in play for a while, and most can’t discuss Andy’s retirement without immediately following up with a discussion about who will carry the torch for American tennis once Andy has moved on to happier days with his wife Brooklyn, and hopefully, babies.

While there are many players who could possibly be the face of American tennis, it will be hard to fill Andy’s red, white, and blue shoes. (Did you see those in his match against Tomic? Go America!)

Anyway, I’m here to talk about Jack Sock.

He’s 19-years-old, ranked 243rd in the world, and made his way into the US Open as a wild card. He made his first ever appearance in the third round this weekend and lost to the 11th-seed, Nicolas Almagro, 7-6 (3), 6-7 (4), 7-6 (2), 6-1, taking the Spaniard to three straight tiebreakers before easily giving up the fourth set.

Does Jack Sock have a lot to learn? Yes. In that match against Almagro, Sock converted just one of 11 break points and had 52 unforced errors overall in the match, compared to Almagro’s 24.

Yet, in my opinion, he has great potential to become, well, great. While his errors are hefty in number, so are his winners. He had 56 winners this match, while the world No. 12 Almagro had 53. Sock has an aggressive forehand, a great serve, and even gets up to the net for volleys from time to time.

In addition, his on-court demeanor is something to talk about. Compared to a couple of other Americans players, no names mentioned of course, Sock seems to be able to remain calm and manage frustration when things aren’t going his way. (Though, he might want to work on the nerves. Sock gave away some easy points in the always-stressful tiebreaks.)

While Sock still has growing to do, and matches to play, he does have some experience under his belt. He won the boys’ Junior US Open Championship in 2010, and he won the 2011 mixed doubles title at the US Open with fellow one-time American hope, Melanie Oudin.

During this fortnight, much conversation will be had about who our nation can cheer on next, and I think Sock has drummed up just enough excitement to keep his name in the mix. The next few years will prove telling for the American, though. Andy Roddick won his US Open title at the age of 21, so I guess we can sit back and watch as Sock chases down his own place in the history of American tennis.

And speaking of grandmas, Sock seems to have a pretty funny one. As he and Oudin kindly signed autographs for anyone who waited around in Court 17 after their exciting first-round mixed doubles win, his grandma snuck into the line and asked him to sign a band aid. Sock jokingly responded, “Get out of here, grandma. I’ll see you later at dinner.”

Caroline Wozniacki: a true tragic heroine at the US Open

Former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki goes down in flames during the first round of the US Open on Tuesday. (Photo via USOpen.org)

By David Kane, Special for Tennis Grandstand

How fitting that Caroline Wozniacki’s disastrous first round loss should take place beneath a full moon.

After all, three years ago “Sunshine” had her breakthrough Grand Slam victory at a US Open night match. Two years ago, she entered the tournament as the #1 seed under the shadow of Serena Williams’ absence, and took out Maria Sharapova in full shade, and last year she was thoroughly outhit under the lights by Williams, who definitively denied Wozniacki the opportunity to prove to pundits that she belonged at the top of the women’s game. Throw in today’s new low and one can trace Caroline’s time in Flushing and discover her to be a true tragic heroine.

The fight that had been Wozniacki’s trademark appears to have completely disappeared; even in matches against much stronger players, the image of a scrambling Caroline doing everything she can to keep the ball in play is a familiar one, and one we constantly witnessed as she grinded her way to the top of the world rankings. Seriously, when was the last time you remember Caroline Wozniacki not running down even the most surefire winners?

It was a game style that, devoid of power, rubbed most the wrong way, mostly because it didn’t seem fair that a “better” ballstriker or shotmaker could be undone by a “pusher” who did little besides putting the ball back in play. There were many moments where Wozniacki seemed destined to laugh last (on the court, at least), but ultimately I would argue that her hyperdefensive game, the very thing that helped her skyrocket to #1, kept her from the Grand Slam title she needed to validate her high ranking.

The general mood in the uncharacteristically empty Louis Armstrong stadium was one of befuddlement, and the spell didn’t break during the Dane’s medical timeout her knee. It failed to wane as Irina Camelia Begu, who also hadn’t beaten a top 10 player this year, smacked aces and winners past the “The Danish Wall.” And even the plaintive cries of children shouting, “Come on, Caroline!” were silenced when their player began shanking badly on her much maligned forehand side.

It was hard to get a read on the audience witnessing Caroline’s tragedy unfold, and why the audience hadn’t grown when the whispers of a potential upset got louder. Did everyone expect Wozniacki to make a miraculous comeback? The idea isn’t too farfetched, given her consistency and Begu’s complete lack of experience when it came to dealing with the situation in which she found herself. Perhaps, after the fall from number one, the first round loss at Wimbledon and the recent knee injury that ended her New Haven winning streak, this wasn’t the upset that it seemed to be.

She was injured; she hasn’t been playing that well. We can come up with a few excuses and move on.

The most tragic answer of all? Maybe whether it was an upset or not is irrelevant, that even if Wozniacki was 100% or playing better, she was never going to win this tournament anyway. The player who vowed to improve her game to win Slams at the start of the year is a shadow of her former self, true, but even her former self ostensibly lacked the firepower to take matches out of the hands of the best players, so while people may have expected her to beat an unknown from Romania, *where* she loses isn’t nearly as important as the sinking feeling that a loss was always on the cards for the latest victim of the Slamless #1 curse.

David Kane is an avid tennis fan reporting from the grounds of the U.S. Open. You can follow him on Twitter @ovafanboy.

Venus Williams wins at US Open, but faces tall task against Kerber

Venus Williams waves to the crowd after defeating Bethanie Mattek-Sands in straight sets. (Photo via USOpen.org)

By Romi Cvitkovic

Venus Williams looked be the player of old many Americans had grown to love in her defeat of fellow countrywoman Bethanie Mattek-Sands, 6-3, 6-1 on Tuesday.

It was one year ago this tournament that Venus Williams revealed to the world her battle with Sjogren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune diseases she has learned to tame. After taking six months off the WTA Tour to adjust her lifestyle, she returned in March to the Sony Ericsson Open. Since then, she has played a lighter schedule that paid off in her wining the women’s doubles gold again at the London Olympics.

“That feeling was amazing,” Williams beamed during her on-court interview. “That was my whole dream, of coming back from being ill, to play in the olympics and to … bring home gold.”

The victories have continued for the unseeded Williams, as she hit 22 winners and won 83% of first serves. After the initial hiccup of dropping her first service game, Williams took rein of the match, moving well, crushing forehands and forcing her opponent to the corners.

With all the health struggles she has had, she admits to physically and mentally “feeling great” and happy about being in the second round.

But what would it mean to get through to the second week and put herself in contention for third US Open?

“That’s what I’m here for!” she joked. “All the hours on the court, all these years. To bring home the Slam and have an American in the winning circle again would be great, so I’m going to try.”

As good as she looked today and try as she might to win it all, there are still doubts about how her body will hold up when the matches start going three sets. Her time playing for the Kastles in the Washington, D.C. humidity this summer revealed how quickly her energy level can diminish and tighten her legs up.

Up next for Williams will be No. 6 Angelique Kerber, the German who was a surprise semifinalist here last year. Kerber is 19-for-21 in three-set matches for the year, so Williams will have to summon everything in her to win it in straight sets.

Ana Ivanovic overcomes fears and wins at US Open

Ana Ivanovic wins on day two of the US Open

By Romi Cvitkovic

In her first hardcourt match back after a foot injury, 12th seed Ana Ivanovic focused her nerves and handily defeated relative unknown Elina Svitolina, 6-3, 6-2.

Ivanovic hit her opponent off the court with 26 winners, but while her second serve has found consistency, her first serve is still hovering in the mid-30s — something that she has been struggling with for years it seems.

In Montreal earlier this month, Ivanovic lost 6-0, 6-0 to Italian Roberta Vinci in the second round and picked up a foot injury that amounted to be a psychological recipe for disaster for a player that struggles with confidence to begin with.

Her injury hampered her mentally, but she was quick to note that it happens to many athletes.

“It’s part of the game in sport, and I always joke because people say, ‘Sport is good for you.’  But we are always hurting.  It’s hard on the heart, too… When you progress in a tournament you’re going to have aches and pains.”

A couple of days ago, fellow Serbian Novak Djokovic gave insight into why Ivanovic’s game has dropped since being at the top. She elaborated:

“Yeah, it is a lot to do with confidence,” Ivanovic stated. ” I think also since the first time I entered, the game has evolved and there is lot more girls that strike and they have nothing to lose.  But [for me], it’s just not [having] the belief of beating those top players at the moment.”

She’ll have to work hard if she wants to accomplish her goal of “breaking into the fourth round and getting into the quarterfinals” here at the US Open. Not one shy about her “overthinking” mind, she said that she will “really try to focus on taking it one match at a time, because sometimes when you get overexcited, it doesn’t really work for you the way you hoped for.”

The big-hitter could have her opportunity as she could face Sloane Stephens or Francesca Schiavone in the third round, and an easier competitor in Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth round.

Andy Roddick conquers qualifier and reveals birthday wish for US Open

Andy Roddick in action at day two of the US Open

By Romi Cvitkovic

Andy Roddick prevailed in straight sets over qualifier Rhyne Williams, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 at day two of the US Open in Flushing Meadows, hitting 20 aces and clocking his fastest serve at 141mph.

“I haven’t hit 140mph for about three years, so that was nice,” Roddick beamed during his on-court interview.

Though Roddick hasn’t had great success on the summer hard court season this year, getting booted in the first and third rounds of Cincinnati and Winston-Salem, respectively, he looked in form today.

The 20th seed won 90% of all first serves and 23-of-32 net approaches. His movement wasn’t hampered by the tricky windy conditions as he hit 37 winners for the match, and finished with a 127mph ace out wide.

With his 30th birthday only two days away, Roddick has a birthday wish in mind.

“I want to be around until next week,” he smiled. And what if he accomplishes that feat? “Then, we’ll re-negotiate!”

Turning professional in 2000, Roddick has now improved his record at the US Open to 41-11. And nobody has won more matches on Arthur Ashe stadium — not even Roger Federer.

Williams, ranked No. 289 in the world, made his Slam debut by blasting through the qualifying tournament last week, only to meet Roddick on tennis’ biggest stadium for his first main draw match.  But hey, don’t feel bad for him. He still won $23,000 for losing in the first round.

It’s all “Ova” – Day 1 musings from the grounds of the US Open

Anastasia Rodionova at Day 1 of the US Open

By David Kane, Special for Tennis Grandstand

At Wimbledon several years ago, Serena Williams mused that there were so many “-ovas” in the draw that she herself had adopted the Slavic suffix. Indeed, there may not have been a “Williamsova” on the grounds of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, but three years later, Serena’s words ring true; it is difficult to navigate between the outer courts without stumbling upon an “ova” or seven. Not just from Russia, though. In fact, the “ovas” quest for world domination has transcended the sport, with players representing countries across the globe. In my rain-interrupted Day One of the US Open, I watched three “ovas” who represented three different countries and stations in the tennis hierarchy (the veteran, the journeywoman, and the champion). For all of their differences, the women did share one thing in common yesterday: victory.

I began my day on Court 7 to watch 19th seeded Russian Nadia Petrova take on Jarmila Gajdosova, who had taken Australian citizenship during her two-year marriage to ATP player Samuel Groth. See what I mean about that world domination? Both had flirted with the upper echelons of the women’s game to various degrees of success; Petrova has been high as #3 with two Roland Garros semifinals, but has become more remembered for her mental fragility and heinous Ellesse dresses in recent years, while Gajdosova rocketed into the top 30 last year only to be derailed by inconsistency and her divorce from Groth. With an “ova,” it is so often their story, and not their baseline game, that makes them so compelling.

Gajdosova, or “Jarka” as she is known to friends and fans alike, has had a rough 2012, losing twice as many matches as she’s won, but had to feel optimistic at the prospects of playing Petrova, who went 0-2 during the US Open Series, punctuated with a second-set retirement only two weeks before. Unfortunately for the Aussie, Petrova’s serve, her signature shot, was on in a way I haven’t seen it in many years. Hitting 15 aces, Nadia held serve with ease and only faced one break point in the first game of the match (which she predictably saved with a big serve). However, things are rarely straightforward for the Russian whom the New York Times once described as “tall, prim and sturdy;” the serve was “on,” but the return and backhand were decidedly “off,” which made for a tense two-set match that culminated in a tiebreaker in the second set upon returning from the two and half hour rain delay. It was in the ‘breaker that Petrova ran away with it as convincingly as she could, and booked a place in the second round.

It was during this match that I took time to analyze the so-called “vocal frustration” and perceived “brattiness” of “ovas” like Nadia. Not a warm player on the court, she didn’t so much celebrate winners so much as she would appear miffed that it had taken her *that* long to get it right. Tennis can be a beautiful game, with swings, according to Mary Carillo, “that defy the imagination.” But ultimately, tennis is a sport, with a winner and a loser. More and more for Petrova and “ovas” like her, success is not winning, but being perfect, and with that kind of pressure, no wonder we’ve seen such disastrous meltdowns from her and her compatriots.

Anastasia Rodionova is a player who doesn’t just desire perfection; she demands it, from herself, the linesmen, and those who come to watch her play. Although only ranked as high as 62 in her career, this attitude has made the Russian-born, Australian naturalized Rodionova infamous among fans. I’ve been watching her play matches at the US Open for a decade, and the reputation isn’t totally unwarranted; on the court, she has two emotions: indignation, and amusement born out of said indignation. On one hand, it’s admirable that Rodionova expects so much from her petite, 5’5” frame. On the other hand, her flat, hard-hitting game is as high risk as I’ve ever seen; when it’s “on,” it’s that poetry in motion Carillo described, but when it’s not (even for a minute), god help us all.

However, “The Rodionova Show” has been much more consistent than controversial since she arrived in Flushing. Fresh off a stint with the Washington Kastles, Rodionova is determined to turn around a disappointing year, even adopting the undefeated Kastle’s motto “Refuse to Lose,” into her tweets. This mentality has translated beyond matches in general; in three qualifying matches, the only player to win more than three games in a set was Caroline Garcia, the young Frenchwoman who nearly beat Maria Sharapova at last year’s French Open. Taking to Court 10 against American Julia Cohen didn’t seem like a tall order on paper, but don’t forget that “Nastya” requires perfect match conditions. Between the fireworks of the US Open Opening Ceremonies and the ghastly shrieks of one inebriated Cohen fan, the first few games looked dicey as the Aussie fell behind an early break.

One would think that a player like Rodionova would balk the notion of rowdy fans cheering her errors. But I was reminded last week of an odd piece of trivia: Anastasia Rodionova is the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medalist, and beat Sania Mirza in front of the most partisan crowd I’ve ever seen. Rodionova herself seemed to remember her love of playing the villain as well, and steadied herself back into playing the laser-like baseline game that had taken her through qualies, and romped into the second round winning 11 of the final 12 games. It seems foolish to crave for perfection in a sport where one is automatically given at least two tries at a serve, but if perfection is athletic nirvana, Rodionova has come dangerously close to achieving it this week.

Speaking of perfection, I would be remiss in leaving out Petra Kvitova. The 2011 Wimbledon champion made a strong case for being remembered as the player of the year when she won her maiden Slam and ended the season undefeated indoors. But she is another player who has, in the past, been felled by her desire for perfection. Until this summer, the word on Petra was that she couldn’t play on the hard courts of North America. Why? She was allergic. It’s an uncharacteristically “diva” excuse for a most unpretentious young woman, but with a 2-3 record in North America last year, it was hard to argue with the facts. Thankfully, with titles in Montreal and New Haven, the Czech star has concluded that she is not a Lenglen-esque one-continent wonder, and can indeed dominate in the land of the free.

Not without some struggles, though. All those match wins may have been great for Kvitova’s confidence, but they’ve done little to leave her fresh for the last Slam tournament of the year. Against the tattooed Slovak Polona Hercog, Kvitova was often undone by what appeared to be her own exhaustion. She was a step slow, so her perfectly timed groundstrokes were off and she danced on the faultline of losing the first set. For a woman who had only won New Haven two days earlier, disaster (and another early round US Open loss) seemed imminent. But yesterday, the Hard Court Education of Petra Kvitova was on full display. On the shaded Grandstand court, Petra appeared to realize during the tiebreaker that she would not be perfect. That didn’t mean she wasn’t good enough to win the match.

And win, she did. She rediscovered the striking mental fortitude that took her within 70 points of the number one ranking last year, took the tiebreaker, and dominated the second set 6-1. I left the match feeling optimistic about the Czech’s chances this fortnight. Petra wasn’t perfect, true, but how often does one win a Slam because they played perfect tennis? The moment when they hear their name and get to hold the tophy aloft and realize that tournament is “ova” is perfect enough.

David Kane is an avid tennis fan reporting from the grounds of the U.S. Open. You can follow him on Twitter @ovafanboy.

Federer, Murray advance, Kvitova burning out at US Open

Petra Kvitova through to second round of US Open

By Romi Cvitkovic

With the absence of Rafael Nadal giving the men’s draw a shakeup, many were expecting early upsets and surprise winners on the men’s side, but it was several seeded women who went crashing out today in the first round. Check out this and other big headlines from Day One of the U.S. Open below, including Andy Murray, Sorana Cirstea, Jack Sock, Petra Kvitova, Roger Federer, and Brits Laura Robson and Heather Watson.

Andy Murray struggles more than scoreline reveals

In what turned out to be a closer match than anyone anticipated, Murray struggled getting his rhythm early on against Alex Bogomolov, Jr. with four breaks of serve to start the match. He eventually prevailed 6-2, 6-4, 6-1, but his 28% first serve percentage made it very touch-and-go in the first set. He began cramping in his left leg after running down a dropshot in the third set, and admitted that he was “struggling a bit” with the wind, humidity and cramping, and needed to “better hydrate” for his next match.

Upon winning match point, there was not even the hint of contentment in his demeanor, and it was obvious he was not satisfied with the way he played. If he expects to go far, he’ll have to get his mental game in order … and drink more fluids.

Jack Sock outplaying his No. 243 ranking

Defending US Open mixed doubles champion, 19-year-old Sock almost had the biggest win of his career, but instead he’s into the second round when his opponent No. 22 seed Florian Mayer retired due to dizziness, 6-3, 6-2, 3-2 ret. Breaking the typically hard-hitting Mayer with his immense serving, Sock bombed his fastest serve at 134 MPH, and hit 34 winners to Mayer’s 8. Mayer was clearly not on top of his game, but Sock did everything right: held his serve, approached the net, and won several Hawkeye challenges in a row.

I had Sock as my “upset of a seeded player” pick last week, even venturing so far as to say he could easily make the third or fourth round. That seems to be all reality now instead of a distant vision.

Giant-killer Sorana Cirstea stuns Sabine Lisicki

If you know women’s tennis, it’s really not that big of a stretch to see Cirstea win this matchup. For those not familiar, Cirstea took out several top players this year already: world No. 7 Sam Stosur in the first round of the Australian Open, No. 11 Marion Bartoli in Madrid, and No. 8 Na Li in the second round of Wimbledon. The 22-year-old Romanian seems to do her best damage at Slams, but has failed to capitalize on the US Open — her best showing being the third round back in 2009. With the surprise takedown of Julia Goerges by Kristyna Pliskova today, Cirstea’s 1/8 has opened wide up, giving her a clear path to a fourth round matchup against No. 1 seed Victoria Azarenka.

Roger Federer gives Donald Young some space

In what was supposed to be a straight-forward opener for Federer, the Swiss Maestro allowed Young to win nine games. It’s unacceptable for a guy that only recently broke a 17-match winning streak to take more than the equivalent of one set from the “King of Tennis.” Sure, it’s just the first round and players tend to have the worst nerves then because anything can happen, but Young won 39% of all points played! Federer needs to stop these shenanigans and get it into gear next round. Oh, and Federer is now 22-0 for all US Open night matches played. No pressure.

Petra Kvitova burning out

Not a fan of the humidity of North America, Kvitova recently got a new inhaler and it seemed to be doing the trick for the summer hardcourt season: Montreal title, Cincinnati semifinals, and New Haven title over the weekend. But all the tennis and travelling has been catching up to her, as she was forced to a first set tiebreak against No. 65 Polona Hercog which she barely won. With her movement and energy clearly hampered, she would be lucky to make it to the fourth round against Marion Bartoli. And don’t even think about seeing Sharapova in the quarterfinals. Sorry.

Young British women split successes

The younger of the two, Laura Robson, hit a bit of luck as she drew 17-year-old newbie Samantha Crawford in the first round. Her compatriot Heather Watson, however, drew world No. 8 Na Li. Robson struggled with her serve hitting under 50% and only converted on three-of-nine break points. But she used grit and prevailed in the second set tiebreak finally winning 6-3, 7-6(6). Watson wasn’t so lucky. Li came out firing on all cylinders, keeping Watson to only five total games. The take-away from both British youngster? There’s still time to develop, but those serves are really hindering you. Robson will get her reward in the form of a second round matchup with Kim Clijsters.

US Open: Day One by the numbers

Roger Federer overcomes Donald Young in straight sets to advance to the second round of the US Open

By Romi Cvitkovic

Day One of the US Open by the numbers:

51 - The number of minutes it took Sam Stosur to defeat Petra Martic, 6-1, 6-1 en route winning the first 19 points. That’s almost five straight games!

16 - The age of the youngest competitor, Victoria Duval, who lost to Kim Clijsters, 6-3, 6-1, but introduced her bubbly personality to the world.

0 - The number of second serve points (out of eight) that Alex Bogomolov, Jr. won in the first set against Andy Murray. He eventually lost 6-2, 6-4, 6-1.

2 - The number of games most people thought Donald Young would win against Roger Federer after only recently breaking his 17-match losing streak.

9 – The number of games Young actually won. Not bad.

22 - The number of US Open night matches Federer has won.

0 - The number of US Open night matches Federer has lost.

3 – The surprising number of match points it took Federer to defeat Young.

9.63 - The number, on a scale of 1 to 10, of how good Jack Sock thought his second serve was in his win over Florian Mayer.

1 - The number of break points (out of six) that Petra Kvitova converted in the first set in her win over Polona Hercog, 7-6(6), 6-1.

92 – The percentage of first serves won in her defeat of Melinda Czink, 6-2, 6-2.

-22 - The winners-to-unforced errors differential for both Melanie Oudin in her loss to Lucie Safarova, 6-4, 6-0, and Sabine Lisicki in her loss to Sorana Cirstea, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.

12 - The number of aces Mardy Fish hit in his three-set battle over Go Soeda, winning 7-6(3), 7-6(2), 6-3.

6 - The number of match points it took newly-minted American Varvara Lepchenko to finally close out the match over Mathilde Johansson, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.

1 – The number of games Victoria Azarenka allowed her opponent Alexandra Panova to win in her  whipping of her, 6-0, 6-1.

87 - The percentage of first serve won by Fernando Verdasco in the second set during his win over Rui Machado, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.

48 - The first serve percentage of Laura Robson in her win over Samantha Crawford, 6-3, 7-6(6).

60 - The length of the first set in the match that eventually saw Kristyna Pliskova upset Julia Goerges, 7-6(4), 6-1.

292 - The total number of points played in the 3-and-a-half-hour match where Tim Smyczek prevailed over fellow American Bobby Reynolds, 1-6, 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

They said what?! Quotes from Day One of the US Open from Sharapova, Isner, Murray and others

Andy Murray during his first-round win over Alex Bogomolov, Jr.

By Romi Cvitkovic

Tennis players are vocal by nature due to always being interviewed and probed by media, commentators and fans. So they make a lot of funny, quirky, quizzical and sometimes insightful comments. Here’s the roundup of the best player quotes from Day One of the U.S. Open.

MARIA SHARAPOVA, on her stomach bug that kept her out of Montreal and Cincinnati:

“I had some tests done, some blood-work, some ultrasound stuff… It was really weird. They told me I was fine, not pregnant. I’m like, ‘Can I get my money back?’”

JOHN ISNER, on his open draw: 

“I believe I can beat anyone, but I also know anybody can beat anybody out here.  I’m not looking past anyone.  I’m not good enough to do that.”

JOHN ISNER, on the margins in tennis:

“[The margin] is so thin. Just a couple days ago [in Winston-Salem] I was down a match point and my opponent had a volley that he probably makes nine times out of ten and he didn’t make it.  So I realize how lucky I was or how fortunate I was to win that event.  I’m coming up here riding a five‑match winning streak instead of a one‑match losing streak.  I know that Djokovic, that forehand he hit last year against Roger sort of went for broke and he made it.  The margins are so thin. ”

JOHN ISNER, on his appreciation of Roger Federer and his 17 Slams: 

“That’s unbelievable.  The closest I’ve come to winning a Grand Slam is one quarterfinal, and he’s won 17 of them.  It’s hard to even put into context how great he is.  His consistency is ‑‑ we might not ever see it again.  In my opinion, he’s the greatest of all time, and he’s still doing it now.  I don’t see him slowing down any time soon, either.  He’s very gifted, that’s for sure.”

ANDY MURRAY, on the challenge of adjusting his strokes based on windy weather conditions:

“The breeze is a lot stronger than it has been.  From one of the ends you had to do a lot of defending, a fair amount of running.  That was probably the hardest thing rather than the heat. It’s just quite challenging … when you’re playing down at the far end you’re trying to hit the ball flatter to get it through the wind.  And then when you have the wind with you, you’re trying to play with more spin and therefore you’re changing your strokes a little bit.  It can be tough to stay in a rhythm.”

ANDY MURRAY, on how he felt after winning the Olympic gold medal:

“I knew after that match that everything you’ve kind of gone through as a player was worth it because it was the biggest win of my career by far.  I’ve had many tough losses. … I’ve had a lot of doubts after losing.  Even after the Wimbledon final a few weeks previously, you have a lot of doubts about yourself.  But after winning a match like that you kind of forget about all of those things.”

JACK SOCK, on how good his serve was on a scale of 1 to 10:

“I think my second serve was a 9.63.”

SAM STOSUR, on realizing how close she was to a golden set against Petra Martic: 

“I knew at 4‑Love, 40‑Love that I hadn’t missed a point and the match had been going pretty quick and obviously in my favor.  It did pop into my head for a split second.  Then I hit the double fault and it was erased and I was quickly on with the next point.”

JAMES BLAKE, on being one of the older American players and getting the “grandpa” jokes dished at him: 

“I knew I was going to get [the old guy jokes], because when I was a kid starting out around here I dished them out.  So I knew they would come back to haunt me.  I remember I used to make fun of Todd Martin… for taking so long to warm up, for his gray hair, for all that kind of stuff, for just in general being old.  He said, ‘Just wait, just wait.  You will be, too.’  Now I’m getting it from everyone.  I deserve it, because if I dish it out, I’ve got to be able to take it.  I’m getting the old jokes, the grandpa jokes, and I’m okay with that.”

JAMES BLAKE, on Federer: 

“The guy’s a freak.  He’s so good.  It’s really incredible.  I could spend another hour talking about the things I’m impressed with by him… It’s so easy to go out and roll your ankle or tear up your knee or for your back to be sore.  For him not to do that is amazing.  I think it shows how much work he probably puts in stretching, getting his body strong enough and physically ready to play all these slams.”

JAMES BLAKE, on Serena Williams’ dominance on the WTA Tour: 

“You know what’s impressed me most about her is her mind… her will to win. You don’t want to be playing against her.  She’s mentally the toughest person I know out there on the WTA Tour by far.  She wants to win every single match.  Doesn’t just want to win, she wants to beat you badly… She’s a superstar that moves the needle when it comes to selling product and getting tennis on TV, to selling ads.  She’s unbelievable.  If I ever get a chance to play mixed doubles, she’s the one I want as my partner.”

 

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