By Bob Greene
Women’s Singles: Serena Williams beat Victoria Azarenka 6-2 2-6 7-5
Men’s Doubles: Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan beat Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek 6-3 6-4
Women’s Doubles: Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci beat Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka 6-4 6-2
Mixed Doubles: Ekaterina Makarova and Bruno Soares beat Kveta Peschke and Marcin Matkowski 6-7 (8) 6-1 12-10 (match tiebreak)
Junior Boys’ Singles: Filip Peliwo beat Liam Broady 6-2 2-6 7-5
Junior Girls’ Singles: Samantha Crawford beat Anett Kontaveit 7-5 6-3
Junior Boys’ Doubles: Kyle Edmund and Frederico Ferreira Silva beat Nick Kyrgios and Jordan Thompson 5-7 6-4 10-6 (match tiebreak)
Junior Girls’ Doubles: Gabrielle Andrews and Taylor Townsend beat Belinda Bencic and Petra Uberalova 6-4 6-3
Albert Montanes beat Tommy Robredo 6-4 6-1 to win the AON Open in Genova, Italy
“I honestly can’t believe I won. I really was preparing my runner-up speech, because I thought, ‘Man, she’s playing so great.’ I’m really shocked.” – Serena Williams, after beating Victoria Azarenka to win her fifth US Open women’s singles title.
“Serena really deserved to win. She showed how true of a champion she is, and I’m honored to stand with such a champion. At the moment it’s tough, but I gave it my all, and stepping off this court I will have no regrets.” – Victoria Azarenka.
“Maybe I can compare it with Davis Cup. I enjoyed a lot playing this match with Janko, of course, because I won. But it was a very emotional match, one of the best emotional matches of my career.” – David Ferrer, after beating Janko Tipsarevic in a five-set US Open quarterfinal.
“It’s the last thing that I really want to achieve in my career, so that’s why it’s obviously very important for me. Like I said, winning the Olympics did, for me, take a bit of the pressure off. I did feel a lot better after that, maybe had less doubts about myself and my place in the game just now. But, yeah, winning a major is the last thing that I really want to do. It means a lot to me. You saw obviously at Wimbledon how much that meant to me. It’s obviously not easy to lose another slam final, so I hope this one is a different story.” – Andy Murray, after clinching a spot in the US Open final.
“It affects a lot because I have a higher toss. Then when I’m not able to serve and go for the first serve and not making some points, straight points from the serve, then that’s not my game. So actually, it was quite hard to adjust to that, because I’m normally not used to that. It was really, really tough one. … He dealt with that much better than I did.” – Tomas Berdych, on how the strong winds affected his play in his semifinal match against Andy Murray.
“I’m disappointed, you know. I really expected myself to play better tonight. Especially at night I have had such a great record. I don’t know. I felt good. Such an amazing summer I had. I really thought I was going to come out and play a solid match. I didn’t do that tonight. Obviously there is a bit of a letdown now.” – Roger Federer, after losing his quarterfinal match to Tomas Berdych.
“I regret that I have to withdraw from the US Open for precautionary measures. I was reluctant to do so but am following medical advisement. … I look forward to resuming my tournament schedule in the fall.” – Mardy Fish, after withdrawing prior to his fourth-round match against Roger Federer.
Victoria Azarenka was serving for the US Open title when Serena Williams woke up. Rallying from a 5-3 third-set deficit, Serena added the US Open to her Wimbledon and Olympic championships won earlier this summer. Ranked number one in the world and with the Australian Open trophy already in her possession, Azarenka was two points from her first US Open women’s championship with Williams serving at 30-11. But Serena, flashing the form that has dominated women’s tennis this summer, won 10 of the next 12 points and three straight games to take a 6-5 lead. When she broke Azarenka one last time, Serena collapsed to the court in yet another triumph, her 15th Grand Slam tournament crown. “I have no regrets. I felt like I gave it all there,” Azarenka said. “Could it have gone my way? Probably, yes. But it didn’t.” Williams is in fourth place in the Open Era for most Grand Slam titles behind Steffi Graf, who has 22, and Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, who are tied with 18 each.
Serena has won five Australian Opens (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010), one French Open (2002), five Wimbledons (2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012) and four US Opens (1999, 2002, 2008, 2012). “It hasn’t even sunken in that I’m the winner yet. It’s awesome,” Williams said. “Yeah, three decades – the ’90s, 2000s, 2010s, that’s kind of cool. It’s exciting to have this opportunity. And 13 years is a long time between the first and the last.
Even with the win, Serena will remain fourth in the world in the WTA rankings, while Azarenka, despite the defeat, will stay atop the rankings. “It was still a great achievement,” Azarenka said. “I feel proud of myself in one way, but still sad. But in a few days when I go home, I’ll be more than happy with the summer. I think I’m in pretty good shoes sitting here as a finalist of the US Open.
SKIPPING THE STORM
With the weather more to his liking, defending champion Novak Djokovic reached his third straight US Open men’s singles final by besting fourth-seeded David Ferrer in a storm-delayed semifinal. The Spaniard led Djokovic 5-2 in the opening set in windy conditions in Arthur Ashe Stadium at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Play was halted because of an impending rainstorm as thunderstorms and tornadoes raked the New York City area on “Super Saturday.” “I was a different player,” said Djokovic, who was seeded second. “I felt much more comfortable on the court today than I did yesterday, (when) obviously the conditions were more brutal. We were all praying for less wind today. He handled the wind much better than I did.” The men’s final, scheduled to be played on Monday for the fifth consecutive year, had Djokovic taking on third-seeded Andy Murray. “I don’t think there’s any clear favorite,” said Djokovic, who has won five majors in his career. “He’s looking for his first Grand Slam title. I’m sure he’s going to be very motivated, and hopefully we can come up with our best tennis for this crowd.”
Going into the final, Djokovic was riding a 27-match winning streak on hard courts. That includes winning the Australian Open the last two years as well as last year’s US Open. The Serb played in his 10th consecutive Grand Slam tournament semifinal, equaling Rod Laver and Ivan Lendl for the second-longest streak behind the record 23 set by Roger Federer.
Tomas Berdych was playing Andy Murray, not the wind. But it was the wind that got Berdych steamed up. With gusty winds causing havoc, Berdych committed 64 unforced errors as he lost his semifinal match 7-5 6-2 1-6 7-6 (7) on the final Saturday. “Our sport deserves to have some rule if the conditions are like that,” Berdych complained. “You don’t play because of the rain.” The second semifinal, which pitted defending champion Novak Djokovic against Spain’s David Ferrer, was suspended because of the foul weather. The women’s final was also pushed back until Sunday because of forecasts for severe weather. “This is just about somehow trying to deal with the conditions and then trying to put ball over the net,” Berdych said. “Sometimes was even impossible, but that’s how it is. … I made like 62 errors in all the matches before I get to the semifinals, so I don’t see any reason that my game would just crash. It was something that really affected my game.”
Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci won their second Grand Slam tournament title of 2012 by beating the Czech Republic’s Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka. Seeded second, the Italian duo added the US Open crown to the French Open title they won in June. “It is better to finish with a win,” said Errani, who lost to eventual women’s champion Serena Williams in the semifinals. Errani also has taken the top spot in the doubles rankings, while Vinci has risen to number two. “We played an amazing year, so this is very important for us,” Errani said. “We played good from Australia, where we made the final, and we won Paris. Of course it’s an amazing year. We hope to continue.”
Filip Peliwo of Canada and American Samantha Crawford came out on top in the junior tournaments. Peliwo, who was seeded second and the Wimbledon junior champion, won the junior boys crown by stopping Britain’s Liam Broady in the title match. The 18-year-old is the first male to reach all four Grand Slam tournament junior finals in the same year since Stefan Edberg won all four in 1983. The last player to win Wimbledon and US Open junior boys in the same year was Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria four years ago. “I have to say I’m a lot more relieved now than I was at Wimbledon,” Peliwo said. “At Wimbledon it was just excitement, and right now I just got a huge weight off my shoulders.”
Crawford rallied from a 2-4 first-set deficit to beat Anett Kontaveit of Estonia 7-5 6-3. “I thought she came out playing really well,” the 17-year-old Crawford said. “As the match went on I started serving better and playing better overall. It feels awesome.”
The Bryan brothers – Bob and Mike – keep rewriting the record book. The American twins beat Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek to capture their 12th Grand Slam tournament title. They had been tied with Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde for the most titles in the Open Era. The Bryans also matched the Open Era record by appearing in their fifth US Open men’s doubles final, tying the mark set by another American pair, Bob Lutz and Stan Smith, who reached the final in 1968, 1974, 1978, 1979 and 1980. The Bryans also tied Smith and Lutz by winning their fifth US Open. It was the first Grand Slam tournament title for the twins since Wimbledon in 2011. The last year they failed to win at least one major title was 2004.
STRANGE ROUTE TO TITLE
When Brazil’s Bruno Soares found he and Australia’s Jarmila Gajdosova couldn’t get direct entry into the US Open mixed doubles tournament because of his team’s low ranking, he turned at the last possible moment to his old partner, Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova. “A couple minutes before the sign in, I thought I was out with Gajdosova and I started (thinking about) Katia, because with her I would be in,” Soares said. “Five minutes to go, I’m here in the referee’s office and I find out Katia is practicing in the park. My coach went running all the way over there and talked to her and called me with like 30 seconds to go and said, ‘You can sign.’ So very last minute, 11:59, I signed us in. I guess it worked out.” It did indeed as Soares and Makarova won the title, beating fourth-seeded Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic and Marcin Matkowski of Poland in the title match. “The best feeling,” said Soares, who became the first South American man to win a US Open mixed doubles title.
SWISS MISS INTO HALL?
Martina Hingis of Switzerland has been nominated for induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, as have Michael Stich of Germany and Czech Helena Sukova. Other nominees for induction into the Newport, Rhode Island, USA, shrine includes veteran Thelma Coyne Long of Australia, who won 19 Grand Slam tournament titles from the 1930s to the 1950s, and former players Charlie Pasarell of the United States and Ion Tiriac of Romania, who each became successful tennis promoters. Now 31 years old, Hingis won the Australian Open and Wimbledon at the age of 16. She quit tennis for the first time in 2003 at the age of 22, suffering from ankle injuries. Returning to the sport in 2006, she finished the following year ranked seventh in the world. But she quit again after testing positive for cocaine at the 2007 Wimbledon. She served a two-year ban while maintaining her innocence. In her career Hingis won five Grand Slam tournament singles titles, nine doubles crowns and one mixed doubles championship. The Hall of Fame’s 2013 class will be announced early next year and an induction ceremony will be held on July 13.
Damian Proano of Quito, Ecuador, was just seeking an autograph. The problem was he ran onto the court at Louis Armstrong Stadium at the conclusion of a match between defending champion Novak Djokovic and Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka. Proano was grabbed by security, arrested and charged with wrongly being on a playing area of a major venue sporting event. Richard A. Brown, Queens District Attorney, said that while the 40-year-old Ecuadorian may have been just an overzealous fan, it was a reminder of how a spectator during a match in Hamburg, Germany, ran onto the court and stabbed Monica Seles. “There is no such thing as being too careful,” Brown said in a statement. Brown said the law prohibiting interference with a professional sporting event was passed by the City Council in 2003 after a spectator walked onto the basketball court during a New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden to speak with player Latrell Sprewell.
SET FOR LONDON
Andy Murray has assured himself of a spot in the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, which will be held in London from November 5-12. That came when Murray won his quarterfinal match against Marin Cilic on the hard courts of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, guaranteeing the Scot a place among the world’s top eight players in the final tournament of the year. Murray is the fourth singles player to qualify for the elite field, joining Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Four singles spots are still up for grabs, with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, David Ferrer, Juan Martin del Potro and Tomas Berdych among those in contention.
Genova: Andre Begemann and Martin Emmrich beat Dominik Meffert and Philipp Oswald 6-3 6-1
Quebec City: www.challengebell.com/
Davis Cup: www.daviscup.com
St. Petersburg: www.spbopen.ru
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$220,000 Tashkent Open, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, hard
$220,000 Bell Challenger, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, hard
$100,000 Ningbo International Challenger, Ningbo, China, hard
Spain vs. United States at Gijon, Spain, clay
Argentina vs. Czech Republic at Buenos Aires, Argentina, clay
World Group II Playoffs
(Winners advance to World Group in 2013)
Kazakhstan vs. Uzbekistan at Astana, Kazakhstan, clay
Germany vs. Australia at Hamburg, Germany, clay
Japan vs. Israel at Tokyo, Japan, hard
Belgium vs. Sweden at Brussels, Belgium, clay
Canada vs. South Africa at Montreal, Quebec, Canada, hard
Brazil vs. Russia at Sao Jose do Rio Preto, Brazil, clay
Italy vs. Chile at Napoleon, Italy, clay
Netherlands vs. Switzerland at Amsterdam, Netherlands, clay
World Group III Third Round
(Winners advance to Group II in 2013)
American Zone: Dominican Republic vs. Mexico at Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, clay
Asia/Oceania: Indonesia vs. Philippines at Jakarta, Indonesia, hard
Europe/Africa: Latvia vs. Ukraine at Liepaja, Latvia, hard
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$509,114 Moselle Open, Metz, France, hard
$410,850 St. Petersburg Open, St. Petersburg, Russia, hard
$136,148 Pekao Szczcin Open, Szczcin, Poland, clay
$500,000 Korea Open, Seoul, Korea, hard
$220,000 Guangzhou International Women’s Open, Guangzhou, China, hard