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Mondays with Bob Greene

 

STARS

US Open (First Week)

Maria Sharapova beat second-seeded Simona Halep 6-4 4-6 6-3

Petra Kvitova beat third-seeded Garbiñe Muguruza 7-6 (3) 6-3

Borna Coric beat fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev 3-6 7-5 7-6 (1) 7-6 (4)

Diego Schwartzman beat fifth-seeded Marin Cilic 4-6 7-5 7-5 6-4

Ekaterina Makarova beat fifth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki 6-2 6-7 (5) 6-1

Naomi Osaka beat sixth-seeded Angelique Kerber 6-3 6-1

Andrey Rublev beat seventh-seeded Grigor Dimitrov 7-5 7-6 (3) 6-3

Aleksandra Krunic beat seventh-seeded Johanna Konta 4-6 6-3 6-4

Denis Shapovalov beat eighth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4 6-4 7-6 (3)

Kurumi Nara beat eighth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3 3-6 6-3

Misha Zverev bet 10th-seeded John Isner 6-4 6-3 7-6 (5)

CoCo Vandeweghe beat 10th-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska 7-5 4-6 6-4

 

 

SAYING

“Every moment I am living now is something really special.” – Petra Kvitova, after beating third-seeded Garbiñe Muguruza to advance to the US Open quarterfinals.

“It’s prime time, baby. I love it.”Maria Sharapova, after boosting her US Open night match record to 18-0 with a three-set first-round win over second-seeded Simona Halep.

“What can I say?” —  Simona Halep, after losing to Maria Sharapova in a US Open first-round match.

“I always dreamed of being on center court, playing the best in the world. Finally happened, so I was ready for it. It was reality. I was really excited for it. I was going to give my best stuff no matter what, and that’s what I did.” – Frances Tiafoe, following his 4-6 6-2 6-1 1-6 6-4 first-round loss to Roger Federer.

“I was going in with nothing to lose. Yeah, I was having fun on the court. There were a couple times during the match I was just smiling, having a good time. I was enjoying the atmosphere. It’s a dream come true for me to play a night match on Arthur Ashe. I mean, I grew up wanting to do this.” – Denis Shapovalov, following his win over eighth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

“It does mean a lot definitely. It’s going to give me some extra confidence. But in the end of the day, it’s only tennis match.” – Borna Coric, after upsetting fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev.

“I’d rather watch football.” – John Isner, when asked if he would follow the US Open progress of compatriot Sam Querrey, the last American left in the men’s singles.

“Who doesn’t love a late show?” – Madison Keys, after beating Elena Vesnina in a match that didn’t end until 1:46 a.m.

“You have always the goal for years of reaching the top, but then if you are there, you actually don’t know what to expect, and then it’s just the process. You have to get used to everything. You have to schedule your day, plan completely different and it’s for sure tougher staying on top.” – Angelique Kerber, a former world number one on becoming the top-ranked player.

“It’s not like I can go and start real estate or something, restaurants. I’ve got no idea about that. Yes, I can afford to do those things, but I’ve got no idea. My job’s only to play tennis and it’s all I know. I’m not going to finish a doctor’s degree. I’m not the smartest person in the world.” – Bernard Tomic, saying he feels trapped in a sport he has played since he was a child.

“I take every match as a final.” — Garbiñe Muguruza.

“It just shows how blessed he is, how hard he works, everything he puts into his craft. It’s certainly amazing.” — John Isner on Roger Federer’s run at age 36.

“At the end of the day, I play for myself, for my team and for my country. Those three things I always take with me on the court. I play with my heart.” — Canada’s Denis Shapovalov.

“There’s a point in your life or in your career where things click, and from there on it’s like, ‘OK, I think I know how to win matches, how to handle myself in situations.’ That motif continues.” — Venus Williams, following her first-round victory over Viktoria Kuzmova.

“Maybe you don’t need to endure the pain … These thoughts have been circling my mind.” – Kimiko Date, announcing that she will retire from playing next month at the age of 46.

“I don’t know what I’m saying, actually.” – Naomi Osaka, after giving a lengthy answer to a question.

“It was just a very bad day, but it did not forgive my behavior in the match.” – Fabio Fognini, on his directing vulgar language towards a chair umpire, an action that resulted in Fognini’s expulsion from the US Open.

“A baby girl? Well, I hope she doesn’t play tennis.” – Garbiñe Muguruza, when told Serena Williams had given birth.

 

SEEDS DECIMATED

Seeded players tumbled out of the US Open like leaves on a September morn. And with a plethora of top players missing the year’s final Grand Slam tournament because of injuries, the field in the second week is a combination of newcomers and familiar faces. Among the latter are French Open champion Rafael Nadal, Australian Open and Wimbledon winner Roger Federer and seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams. Those sitting out America’s premier tennis tournament this year include former US Open champions Stan Wawrinka, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Serena Williams. By the time the second week started, 13 of the 20 seeded players were standing on the sidelines.

SOLID AS A ROCK

Last December Petra Kvitova’s left hand was severely cut by a home invader, threatening her tennis career. After being sidelined for five months, the Czech left-hander reached the US Open quarterfinals with an impressive victory over reigning Wimbledon champion Garbiñe Muguruza. “I tried to work really hard to play here again,” Kvitova told the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd. “It means a lot. It’s an incredible night to play in front of a great crowd. … It was a tough journey that I didn’t know how would end.” Muguruza cruised through her first three matches, dropping just nine games. And it appeared to be another quick victory as the Spaniard rushed to a 4-1 lead to begin the match. But Kvitova, with her powerful left-handed game, presented a different problem that Muguruza she as unable to solve. “Everything after what happened is something new and I really appreciate every experience that I have right now in life,” said Kvitova, twice a Wimbledon champion. Like reaching the fourth round of the US Open for only the second time in her career.

 

SERENA’S A MOM

Perhaps appropriately, Serena Williams gave birth to a baby girl during the US Open, a tournament the 35-year-old American has won six times. Williams has not competed since she won the Australian Open in January, her 23rd Grand Slam tournament titles, most in the Open Era and just one behind the record held by Australia’s Margaret Court. The birth was revealed by Williams’ coach, Patrick Mouratoglou. Neither Williams nor her fiancée, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, had officially confirmed the birth before the start of the US Open’s second week. She has said she plans to defend her Australian Open title in January.

Other women have won major titles after giving birth. Kim Clijsters of Belgium retired and had a child before returning to the tour at age 36 and winning three Grand Slam titles. Two Australians – Evonne Goolagong and Court – also won Grand Slam titles after giving birth.

 

SECOND CHILD

A day after Serena Williams gave birth to her first child, Novak Djokovic and his wife Jelena welcomed their second. Djokovic’s former coach, Boris Becker, said they named the baby girl Tara. Their son, Stefan, was born in October 2014. Djokovic has not played since Wimbledon and is not playing the remainder of the year in order to rehab an injured elbow.

 

SENT PACKING

Italy’s Fabio Fognini was kicked out of the US Open and fined USD $24,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct during his first-round singles loss. “Fabio Fognini is hereby provisionally suspended from further participation in the U.S. Open pending a final determination whether a major offense has been committed during his first-round singles match,” the Grand Slam Board said in a statement. The action came after Fognini unleashed a stream of vulgarity at chair umpire Louise Engzell. The Italian did play two doubles matches with partner Simone Bolelli before he was provisionally suspended. Fognini was cited for three code violations and fined USD $15,000, $5,000 and $4,000. If it is determined he committed a “major offense,” Fognini could also be fined up to USD $250,000.

 

SWEPT OUT

Germany’s Angelique Kerber became the first defending women’s champion to lose in the US Open first round in 12 years when she fell to Naomi Osaka of Japan 6-3 6-1. The last defending women’s champion to lose in the first round in New York was Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova in 2005. Kerber has not won any tournament since capturing the US Open last year. “I’m still the same player and the same person,” Kerber said of 2016 when she won two major titles and took over the number one ranking. “I think it’s just the matches and how I played last year from the beginning and how I’m struggling this year. … I will try to forgetting the match as soon as possible and looking forward again.”

 

SHARAPOVA’S BACK

A five-time Grand Slam tournament champion, Maria Sharapova answered many questions in her first match at this year’s US Open. That was when she knocked off second-ranked Simona Halep 6-4 4-6 6-3 to announce to the world that she was back. “This girl has a lot of grit, and she’s not going anywhere,” said Sharapova, who was playing in her first major tournament since the 2016 Australian Open. The 30-year-old Russian has served a 15-month doping ban and missed several tournaments with injuries. The US Open was her chance to announce to the world that she was back. “You sometimes wonder why you put in all the work,” Sharapova said, “and this is exactly why.” When her battle against Halep ended, Sharapova dropped to her knees, a gesture usually only seen at the end of a final.

 

SHE’S GONE

Maria Sharapova’s US Open run ended in the fourth round when she ran into 16th-seeded Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 5-7 6-4 6-2. It was the third time in her four matches that Sharapova was forced to go the distance. This time, her Latvian foe made her pay the price. Sharapova had 51 unforced errors to just 14 for the steady Sevastova, who controlled play with slices, drop shots and change of pace. Sharapova, on the other hand, depended on her power game, which on numerous occasions misfired. Sevastova advanced to the quarterfinals of the year’s final Grand Slam event for the second straight year.

 

SURPRISE

This was the time for Great Britain’s Johanna Konta to shine. Somebody forgot to tell Aleksandra Krunic. The Serbian finally won a US Open match for the first time since 2014, shocking Konta 4-6 6-3 6-4. “First rounds in every tournament, and especially at slams, it can be tricky,” Konta said. “She played quite freely, and I think she was able to find her level much quicker and more consistently than I.” Three years ago, Krunic reached the fourth round in the year’s final major, upsetting Petra Kvitova en route. Since then, she has lost in the first round – until now. “Today it was all about intensity,” Krunic said. “I am proud of myself. I was tactically able to do the things I had in my head.”

 

SUFFERS ANOTHER INJURY

Frenchman Gael Monfils retired from his third-round match after suffering a leg injury. Seeded 18th, Monfils lost the first set to David Goffin 7-5, then quickly fell behind 5-0 before summoning a trainer to the court where he had his right thigh massaged. Monfils, whose career has been interrupted time and again because of injuries, won one game before calling it quits. Already this season Monfils has suffered injuries to his Achilles, knee, ankle and now leg.

 

SAYONARA

For the second time, Kimiko Date is retiring from tennis. Saying she was no longer able to perform at the best of her abilities due to physical issues, Date will end her playing career after next month’s Japan Women’s Open, which will be held two weeks before she turns 47. Date made her latest comeback in May after undergoing multiple surgeries, including a knee cartilage transplant earlier this year. Once ranked fourth in the world, Date retired in 1996, but returned to the sport 12 years later. She won eight WTA titles, the last in 2009, and reached the semifinals of three Grand Slam tournaments. “I was determined to continue my challenge until the day I could no longer ignore my inner voice,” she wrote, saying it was an old shoulder injury that had begun to act up, not her reconstructed knee. “I had survived painful knee surgery, overcome harsh rehabilitation and hard training to get in shape to play in a tournament, which I feel is a great accomplishment. However, when I compare my level of play to before my injuries, I realize there’s a gap and it’s not easy to fill.”

 

SURFING

New York: www.usopen.org/

Genova: www.atpgenova.com/

Quebec City: www.coupebanquenationale.ca/en/home/

Tokyo: www.jta-tennis.or.jp/jwo/tabid/549/Default.aspx

 

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

 

MEN

US Open, New York, New York, USA, hard, second week

127,000 AON Open, Genova, Italy, clay

 

WOMEN

US Open, New York, New York, USA, hard, second week

 

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

MEN

$150,632 Pekao Szczecin Open, Szczecin, Poland, clay

 

WOMEN

$226,750 Coupe Banque Nationale, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, hard

$226,750 Japan Women’s Open, Tokyo, Japan, hard

 

DAVIS CUP

World Group Semifinals

Belgium vs. Australia at Brussels, Belgium, clay

France vs. Serbia at Lille, France, clay

 

World Group Playoffs

Kazakhstan vs. Argentina at Astana, Kazakhstan, hard

Switzerland vs. Belarus at Biel, Switzerland, hard

Portugal vs. Germany at Lisbon, Portugal, clay

Hungary vs. Russia at Budapest, Hungary, clay

Colombia vs. Croatia at Bogotá, Colombia, clay

Netherlands vs. Czech Republic, at The Hague, Netherlands, clay

Japan vs. Brazil at Osaka, Japan, hard

Canada vs. India at Edmonton, British Columbia, Canada, hard

 

Group I, Relegation Playoffs, 2nd Round

America Zone: Dominican Republic vs. Peru at Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, hard; Asia/Oceania Zone: Korea vs. Chinese Taipei at Yang Gu, Korea, hard; Europe/Africa Zone: Slovakia vs. Poland at Bratislava, Slovakia, clay

 

Group II, 3rd Round

America Zone: Barbados vs. Venezuela at Widley, Barbados, hard; Asia/Oceania Zone: Pakistan vs. Thailand at Islamabad, Pakistan, grass; Europe/Asia Zone: Sweden vs. Lithuania at Båstad, Sweden, clay; Denmark vs. South Africa at Aarhus, Denmark, hard

 

Venus Williams

Venus Williams



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About Admin
Randy Walker is a communications and marketing specialist, writer, tennis historian and the managing partner of New Chapter Media – www.NewChapterMedia.com. He was a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Tennis Association’s marketing and communications division where he worked as the press officer for 22 U.S. Davis Cup ties, three Olympic tennis teams and was an integral part of USTA media services team for 14 US Opens. He is the author of the books ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY and THE DAYS OF ROGER FEDERER

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