Mondays with Bob Greene
2 September 2013
US Open – First Week
Ekaterina Makarova beat third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4 6-4
Flavia Pennetta beat fourth-seeded Sara Errani 6-3 6-1
Lleyton Hewitt beat sixth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro 6-4 5-7 3-6 7-6 (2) 6-1
Camila Giorgi beat sixth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki 4-6 6-4 6-3
Alison Riske beat seventh-seeded Petra Kvitova 6-3 6-0
Carla Suarez Navarro beat eighth-seeded Angelique Kerber 4-6 6-3 7-6 (3)
Li Na beat ninth-seeded Jelena Jankovic 6-3 6-0
“I don’t want to play. I don’t want to stay out there on the court.” – Sara Errani, after losing to fellow Italian Flavia Pennetta in a second-round match.
“I’ve got a new confidence in myself. I believe that I belong here.” – Alison Riske, following her upset victory over seventh-seeded Petra Kvitova.
“This sweet 16 may be even better than my sweet 16 pool party.” – Alison Riske, tweeting after she upset formerWimbledonchampion Petra Kvitova to move into the fourth round.
“It was a high-quality match. I was really focused. I just tried to be positive a lot on my serve. My defense was good. I generally have been playing better defense this year, moving better and trying to be faster.” – Serena Williams, after her win over Sloane Stephens.
“She’s number one for a reason. She played pretty well herself. She did a lot of things well.” – Sloane Stephens, talking about Serena Williams after losing to the top-ranked player.
“I’m very goofy off the court. I think I’m very much a child at heart. But on the court you have to be a warrior because that’s just the sport we are in.” – Victoria Duval, after the 17-year-old qualifier upset former US Open champion Samantha Stosur.
“I had a couple of days to practice, to adjust to the courts, to prepare for the Open. I don’t want to make any excuse. It’s not because I went back home that I lost today. It’s not that, for sure.” – Agnieszka Radwanska, after losing to Ekaterina Makarova.
“I guess it’s always a new day, always a new battle. It comes down in the end of performing better than your opponent, winning those big points, and being hungry to try to win matches, which that’s never a problem for me.” – Tommy Haas, when asked if his experience is key to his winning.
“I’m still ranked in the top 10. OK, I have had better years, no doubt about it. But I can still play great tennis and sort of 10 months ago I was world number one.” – Roger Federer.
“It has been a great 12 months. We’ve been getting the breaks.” – Bob Bryan, who with brother Mike is seeking to become the first men’s doubles team to win all four Grand Slam tournaments in the same year since 1951.
“Maybe today was the best match of my whole life.” – Li Na, following her win over Jelena Jankovic.
“Clearly when you win everything, it’s fun. That doesn’t necessarily mean you love the game more. You just like winning, being on the front page, lifting trophies, doing comfortable press conferences. It’s nice. But that doesn’t mean you really actually love it. That maybe shines through more in times when you don’t play that well.” – Roger Federer.
“Obviously when you’re number one, everyone is trying to beat you and everyone is playing their best tennis against you. It’s like you have a bulls eye on your back. But, you know, as much as it’s tough, it’s also nice position to be in.” – Ana Ivanovic, when asked what she missed about being ranked number one in the world.
“It’s one of my favorite Grand Slams because everything starts for me here in my career. It’s always special when I’m coming back. I have such great memories. I just take the positive energy from here and also fromManhattan. And, yeah, it’s a great city, great tournaments, and I really enjoy my stay always here.” – Angelique Kerber.
“I feel like I have always wanted to be a tennis player and I have always wanted to win a Grand Slam, and then I kid of got greedy and I kept wanting to win more.” – Serena Williams.
“No matter what seed you are, you need to win. Nothing is given to you. You need to win equally as many games and points to advance to the next round.” – Caroline Wozniacki.
“I think I get lazy on the court, my tennis sort of comes a bit slow. I don’t really know how to put guys away. I think that’s my problem. I get off to a good start, I’m comfortable, I’m winning. I can’t really find that edge to close out the match.” – Bernard Tomic, after being upset by Daniel Evans.
“The reason why guys do well is not when they go to the toilet or whether there’s a bit of rain or feathers or whatever. It’s down to hard work and having good people around you.” – Andy Murray.
STICKING TO FORM
Sloane Stephens didn’t pull off an upset this time. In a much-anticipated US Open showdown, top-ranked Serena Williams crushed Stephens 6-4 6-1 to gain a spot in the quarterfinals of the year’s final Grand Slam tournament. When the two played in the Australian Open in January, it was Stephens who came away the victor. “It definitely felt like a bigger match because Sloane is such a great player, but I had to stay focused in the moment,” the defending champion said. “I just tried the whole time to do what I wanted to, stay calm and stay relaxed.” At age 31, Williams is seeking to become the oldest US Open women’s champion. She won eight of the last nine games in the match. The 20-year-old Stephens is the second highest ranked American – behind Williams. “I thought I played good. I played pretty solid,” Stephens said. The problem was she was playing Serena Williams.
China’s Li Na’s memories ofRomearen’t that pleasant. After all, that’s where she was upset by Jelena Jankovic. When the two met at the US Open, Li made sure it didn’t happen again. “Last time I lost to her inRomeI was feeling so said,” Li said. “I said, ‘You have to remember how you felt afterRomeand not have that feeling any more.’”
Agnieszka Radwanska isn’t sure exactly what happened. She only knows her being upset had nothing to do with the death of her grandfather. The Polish star won the first four games of the match, and then lost 12 of the next 16 games. “I wouldn’t know what happened,” Radwanska said. “She was a little bit nervous in the beginning but started to play better and better, and she hit the ball very well. I didn’t do anything to win that first set.” Radwanska left theUnited Stateslast month to attend the funeral of her grandfather inPoland. ‘s preparations for Flushing Meadows were complicated last month when she left theU.S.during the Cincinnati Masters to attend her grandfather’s funeral inPoland. “I don’t want to make any excuse. It’s not because I went back home that I lost today,” Radwanska said. “It’s not that, for sure.” After falling behind 4-0, Makarova won the next eight games to capture the opening set and take a 2-0 lead in the second. Radwanska had moved up to number three in the seedings when Maria Sharapova withdrew from the tournament.
Victoria Duval says she’s a warrior on the tennis court. Samantha Stosur agrees. The 17-year-old American qualifier stunned the former US Open winner in a first-week match on the hard courts of the BillieJeanKingNationalTennisCenter. Ranked 296th in the world, Duval is a self-described goofball who saysGary the Snail is her favorite character on SpongeBob SquarePants. Born in theUnited States, she grew up inHaiti. In her first US Open – last year when she received a wild-card in to the main draw – she lost quickly to another former champion, Kim Clijsters. This time Duval had to qualify, then drew Stosur as her first-round opponent. Stosur, who won theUS Open two years ago, said she felt she gave the match away, committing 56 unforced errors. Duval agreed. “Obviously it’s a great feeling to beat a past champion. And Sam is amazing,” Duval said. “Although she didn’t play nearly her best today, I played amazing, so I’ll take it.” Duval’s exuberance was short-lived. She lost to Daniela Hantuchova in the second round.
TheBryanbrothers – Bob and Mike – are trying to accomplish a feat that hasn’t been done since 1951: complete a calendar-year Grand Slam tournament men’s doubles sweep. A pair of Canadians almost ended the dream. But the 35-year-old Americans rallied to win 10 of the final 13 games and defeat Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil 6-7 (1) 7-5 6-2. “We’re lucky to be alive here,” Mike Bryan said. The last men’s doubles pair to win a calendar-year Grand Slam were Australians Ken McGregor and Frank Sedgman. And they are the only ones to have won all four major titles in the same year. TheBryanswon the gold medal in last year’s London Olympics and are already the first men’s doubles team in the Open era to hold all four Grand Slam tournament doubles titles at the same time. Against Nestor and Pospisil, theBryansswitched return sides for the first time in at least three years after dropping the first set. “It was Bob’s idea,” Mike Bryan said. “He just came up to me. He’s like, ‘You want to switch?’ It’s a pretty big deal because we just never practice the other way.” The tactical change paid off. The Bryans have won a record 15 Grand Slam tournament doubles crowns, an ATP record 92 doubles titles and are seeking their fifth US Open crown after titles in 2005, 2008, 2010 and last year. They are already assured the season-ending world number one ranking, the earliest such clinch ever recorded, and they are the only men’s doubles duo with at least 50 wins at every Slam.
Nicolas Massu has called it a career after 17 years. The former Olympic champion announced his retirement in his nativeSantiago,Chile. Massu reached a career-high ranking of ninth in the world in 2004, the same year he won gold medals in both singles and doubles at the Athens Olympics. It was the first Olympic gold medalsChilehad ever won in any sport. The 33-year-old said he’s proud that his children will know that is “part of the history” ofChile.
Adel Borghei is working the lines at the US Open. United State sanctions againIranhad prevented the 32-year-old Iranian from his job as linesman atAmerica’s Grand Slam tournament. The United States Tennis Association (USTA) said his appeal had been approved and he could officiate at the year’s final major. “I feel I am part of the team now,” Borghei said. “That story is done. Now I’m looking forward to the next day. I have to do a good job here.” Borghei had obtained a visa and worked at several tournaments around the world before arriving in theUnited States. But while he was officiating the Rogers Cup inMontreal, he received an e-mail from US Open officials saying “currentUnited Stateslaw” prohibited them from “retaining the services of a resident ofIran.” Two lawyers appealed to the Office of Foreign Assets Control, part of the Treasury Department, to obtain what is called a specific license, which would allow Borghei to work at the Open. One of the lawyers working his case said it was the quickest turnaround he had seen for a case like this in more than seven years.
Andy Roddick will make his debut on the senior tour next February when he plays the ATP Champions Tour stop atDelray Beach,Florida,USA. The American will join John McEnroe, Mats Wilander, Pat Cash and the rest of the seniors at the newly-named Delray Beach Open by The Venetian Las Vegas.
SHOWDOWN AT THE GARDEN
Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray will be featured at the seventh annualBNPParibas Showdown atNew York City’sMadisonSquareGarden. The match will key World Tennis Day onMarch 3, 2014. Besides the match between two of the top players in the world, brothers John and Patrick McEnroe will team up against brothers Mike and Bob Bryan. “I’m excited about coming to the Garden next year,”Murraysaid. “Ivan (Lendl) has told me plenty of stories about matches and other events that have taken place there. There is so much history attached to the venue and it should be a great night for both Novak and me.”
James Blake says he’s though playing on the ATP Tour, but hopes to stay in the game and eventually become captain of the United States Davis Cup team. “I don’t have any specific plans,” the 33-year-old Blake said. “Way down the road I would obviously love to be back in tennis as the Davis Cup captain. (Jim) Courier has got those guys playing unbelievable right now, so I wouldn’t step on anyone’s toes. But in the future, that was such a great part of my career that I’d love to be a captain, as well.” Blake was on the American team that won the Davis Cup in 2007. He called it the “proudest moment” of his career. “Being a part of that team was such a joy,” Blake said. “Andy (Roddick) was our clear-cut leader. I thanked him for everything he did, for our team and for me, to make my life easier, taking all the pressure off me. But that match inPortland, he won, I won, and theBryanswon. We all played a role in that, and that was something that was so special to me. Those weeks are something I will never forget.” Blake reached as high as fourth in the world rankings, but a string of injuries, including a broken neck and a knee injury that required surgery, hampered him in recent years.
$$$ FOR NEW YORK
TheNew York Citymetropolitan area will get a bigger financial boost from the US Open than it will when the Super Bowl is played in the region next February. Stephen Greyser, business of sports professor emeritus at theHarvardBusinessSchool, says the US Open will give an estimated USD $720 million boost to the area in its two-week run. That’s more than the USD $430 million the Super Bowl is expected to bring when it’s played at suburban East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA, in February. Greyser notes that one reason is that the Super Bowl is a one-game affair played on one weekend. Chris Widmaier, managing director of communications for the United States Tennis Association (USTA), said the biggest driver of the US Open’s economic engine is that it’s a global sporting event that attracts international tourists and their dollars. Besides filling hotel rooms, restaurants and other services, the year’s final Grand Slam tournament accounts for an estimated 13,000 seasonal jobs.
US Open: www.usopen.org
Quebec City: www.challengebell.com
Davis Cup: www.daviscup.com
ATP World Tour: www.atpworldtour.com/
International Tennis Federation: www.itftennis.com
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
US Open,New York,New York,USA, hard (second week)
$113,721 AON Open Challenger,Genova,Italy, clay
US Open,New York,New York,USA, hard (second week)
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$235,000 Tashkent Open,Tashkent,Uzbekistan, hard
$235,000 Bell Challenge,Quebec City,Quebec,Canada, hard
World Group Semifinals
CzechRepublicvs.ArgentinaatPrague,Czech Republic, hard
World Group Playoffs
(Winners are in 2014 World Group)
Spainvs. Ukraineat Madrid, Spain, clay
Croatiavs.Great BritainatUmag,Croatia, clay
Switzerlandvs. Ecuadorat Neuchatel, Switzerland, hard
Germanyvs. Brazilat Warsaw, Poland, clay
Belgium vs. Israel at Antwerp, Belgium, clay
Japan vs. Colombia at Tokyo, Japan, hard
Group I Second Round Playoff
Americas Zone: Dominican Republic vs. Chile at Santo Domingo Este, Dominican Republic, hard; Asia/Oceania Zone: Chinese Taipei vs. Indonesia at Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, hard
Group I First Round Playoff
Europe/Africa Zone: Slovenia vs. South Africa at Ljubljana, Slovenia, clay
Group II Third Round
Americas Zone: El Salvador vs. Venezuela at Ciudad Merliot, El Salvador, hard; Asia/Oceania Zone: Philippines vs. New Zealand at Lapu-Lapu City, Philippines, clay; Europe/Africa Zone: Latvia vs. Finland at Riga, Latvia, hard
Asia/Oceania Zone at Dubai, United Arab Emirates, hard: Cambodia, China-Hong Kong, Iran, Malaysia, Oman, Pacific Oceania, United Arab Emriates, Vietnam
Asia/Oceania Zone at Dubai, United Arab Emirates, hard: Bahrain, Bangladesh, Iraq, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Turkmenistan