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2011 U.S. OPEN DAY 13: (PHOTOS) Straight Sets, Straight To The Final - Serena Puts The Smackdown On Wozniacki

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Serena Williams, USA celebrates after defeating Caroline Wozniacki, Denmark in the 2011 U.S. Open semifinals.

Caroline Wozniacki
In straight sets with an ailing toe, American Serena Williams polished off World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 6-4 to set a date in the final on Sunday with Australia's Samantha Stosur.  The match will be televised at 4pm on CBS.

Though Serena began the match making quite a few errors, she overpowered and out served Wozniacki unquestionably. Wozniacki was able to hang in there for some of those long power shot rallies, but at no time was she ever a threat to the "former" world no. 1.

Serena will turn 30 later this month and has won the US Open in 1999, 2002 and 2008. Following Wimbledon last year, a foot injury put her out of competition for the rest of 2010 and a mysterious illness earlier this year had her on blood thinners. The American returned to competition at Wimbledon earlier this summer, advancing to the fourth round.

Post match Serena commented how how elated she was, especially in light of being an American at the U.S. Open during the commemoration of the tenth anniversary of 911 to a roaring applause from the fans.


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2011 U.S. OPEN: (PHOTOS) First Lady Of The United States Michelle Obama Visits And Hits The Court For The Let's Move! Tennis Clinic

Saturday, September 10, 2011

(L-R) USTA Chairman of the Board and President Jon Vegosen, MaliVai Washington, Billie Jean King, James Blake, First Lady of the U.S. Michelle Obama, Serena Williams, and USTA Board Vice President Katrina Adams

First Lady Michelle Obama started playing tennis after she finished Harvard Law School but had always wanted to attend the US Open.

She was finally able to make it for the very first time Friday.

She started the morning in SmashZone, the premier fan interactive attraction at the US Open. She played some 10 and Under Tennis with a group of kids from the Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program, along with tennis stars Serena Williams, Billie Jean King, John McEnroe, James Blake, Katrina Adams, Mal Washington and USTA Chairman of the Board and President Jon Vegosen, promoting tennis as a great way for children to stay active and healthy, which is a central part of her Let’s Move! Initiative, which works to combat childhood obesity.

The USTA and the First Lady teamed up earlier this year to encourage young people across the country to get active, try tennis and lead healthy lifestyles. Components of the collaboration included a public service announcement, which has aired nationwide featuring the First Lady along with tennis legends Stefanie Graf and Andre Agassi, as well as the construction and renovation of thousands of tennis courts across the country and the commitment to encourage 200,000 children to participate in the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award.

“I have been trying to get to the US Open my entire life. This is the first time I have been here. I couldn’t get here last year, so, yes, I am excited to be here,” the First Lady said. “I am so incredibly excited to finally be at my first US Open, but I am equally excited and proud to be standing in partnership with the USTA and all they have done for hundreds of thousands of kids across this country. You are an example of what we can do when we put our minds to it.”

Source: usopen.org

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2011 U.S. OPEN: Weather And Schedule Information As Of 6 PM ET Friday

(As of Friday, September 9, at 6:00 p.m. ET)
This is a reminder and update regarding the schedule changes for the remaining sessions of the 2011 US Open.*

The Men’s Semifinals (Session #24) remain as scheduled for Saturday day, September 10, with gates opening at 10 a.m. ET. The tickets from this original session #24 remain valid and are the only valid tickets for this session.

The Women’s Semifinals (Session #23) originally scheduled for Friday, September 9, are rescheduled to Saturday night, September 10, with gates opening at 5:30 p.m. ET. Tickets for day session #23 are now valid for Saturday evening only.
The schedule of play will be as follows:

•    Women’s Singles Semifinal featuring Samantha Stosur vs. Angelique Kerber with a start time of 6 p.m. ET in Grandstand.
•    Women’s Singles Semifinal featuring Serena Williams vs. Caroline Wozniacki with a start time of 8 p.m. ET in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Pre-match ceremonies begin at 7 p.m. ET.

The Women’s Final (Session #25) is rescheduled for Sunday, September 11, at 4 p.m. ET with gates opening at 11 a.m. ET. The Women's Singles Final will be preceded by the Women's Doubles Final at 1 p.m. ET. Tickets for the original Saturday evening Women's Final (session #25) are valid for Sunday only.

The Men’s Final (Session #26) is rescheduled for Monday, September 12, at 4 p.m. ET with gates opening at 1 p.m. ET. TIckets for the Sunday Men’s final (session #26) are valid for Monday only.

Match (Session #)New DateGates Open
Men's Singles Quarterfinals (Session #20)Friday, Sept. 910 a.m. ET
Men's Singles Semifinals (Session #24)Saturday, Sept. 1010 a.m. ET
Women's Singles Semifinals (Session #23)Saturday, Sept. 105:30 p.m. ET
Women's Singles Final (Session #25)Sunday, Sept. 1111 a.m. ET
Men's Singles Final (Session #26)Monday, Sept. 121 p.m. ET

*Subject to change.

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2011 U.S.OPEN DAY 11: (PHOTOS) Ciara, Kim Kardashian And La La Anthony Glam Up The Open While Cheering For Serena

(L-R) La La Anthony, Kim Kardashian and Ciara

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2011 U.S. OPEN DAY 9: ICON Awards Honor Diversity And Service At U.S. Open

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

CBS News personality (L)Betty Nguyen and cultural critic (R)Toure' were the hosts of the ICON Awards  Former NYC Mayor (C)David Dinkins was honored.

Billie Jean King
Rain couldn’t wash away the crowds as the ICON Awards honored trailblazers in the world of tennis and beyond.

The annual reception – hosted by CBS anchor Betty Nguyen and MSNBC host Toure, celebrated its third anniversary inside the Chase Center, on the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The gala has become one of the signature events at the Open, leveraging the international stage of one of America’s greatest sports and entertainment spectaculars to recognize and celebrate individual and institutional contributions in diversity and inclusion.

This year honorees included the Sportsmen's Tennis & Enrichment Center (formerly Sportsmen’s Tennis Club) of Boston, Mass., along with Rick Welts, President and CEO f the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. To cap off the night, a teary-eyed Billie Jean King introduced Legacy Award winner David N. Dinkins, 106th Mayor of New York City and longtime member of the USTA Board of Directors.

As the national governing body for tennis, the USTA is committed to the principles of fairness and equality. From supporting tennis programs in local communities to staging the crown jewel of the professional game—the US Open—the organization adheres to a simple statement that sums up a vital objective: "Grow tennis and make it look like America."

Toni Wiley, Executive Director of Sportsmen’s, stepped to the podium and thanked the members of the Boston community – including host Toure, who was a member of the Dorchester-area club as a child – for supporting the tennis haven for 50 years. It is the oldest African American-owned tennis facility in the United States.

“Its amazing that for 50 years, this club has been fighting to create a place in a Boston community for young people to learn a sport,” said Wiley. “For many families, that didn’t seem possible when the facility was first built.”

Welts was next introduced with a sharp video package featuring endorsements from the likes of NBA Commissioner David Stern, Hall-of-Fame Boston Celtics center and coach Bill Russell and Phoenix Suns owner Jerry Colangelo. Welts made headlines in May 2011 by publicly revealing his homosexuality in an interview with the New York Times.

USTA Chairman of the Board and (L)President Jon Vegosen and USTA Executive Director and (R)Chief Operating Officer Gordon Smith.

As one of the few openly gay executives in professional sports, Welts speaks out against the silence that envelops the subject of homosexuality in men’s team sports and serves as a mentor to gay individuals who harbor doubts about a sports career, whether on the court or in the front office.

“In men’s team sports, there’s a level of discomfort along all lines – we don’t like talking about sexual orientation, its uncomfortable,” said Welts. “I hoped that my story would resonate with young people who may be found themselves at some point in their life in the same situation as I was and wondered if they could ever follow their passion – that they’d be prevented from following a dream because of who they were.”

King then was introduced, to a standing ovation, and remarked that without Dinkins – who signed into legislation a 99-year lease to keep the US Open in Flushing Meadows – as the person most chiefly responsible enhancing the sport of tennis in New York City.

“Events like today’s ICON Awards tell us that we have made great strides in the right direction,” said Dinkins. “The leaps ahead have most often been sparked by heroic individuals and tennis has certainly had its share. Among them were my personal heroes Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe… had the misguided prevailed in barring Althea, Arthur and countless others from competition, we might not have known them. That would have been tragic. Were it not for their struggles and triumphs, we might not have ever experienced the genius of so many great champions in tennis.

“I’m personally gratified that the USTA embraces the goal of enabling everyone to enjoy the benefits of tennis, regardless of economic status, age, social class, disability, gender or sexual orientation,” added Dinkins.

“(Total inclusion) is a goal, but not yet a reality – we have some distance yet to go.”


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2011 U.S. OPEN Day 9: It's A Wash!

The latest forecast indicates worsening conditions with no projected breaks in the rain through the remainder of the day and into the night.  Due to this forecast, the USTA is cancelling the Tuesday, September 6 Day Session (session #17), and the Tuesday, September 6 Night Session (session #18).  Play will resume tomorrow, Wednesday, September 7 at 11 a.m. ET, gates open at 10 a.m. ET, weather permitting.

The USTA’s inclement weather policy is now in effect for both the day and night session of Tuesday, September 6.

For further information go to usopen.org.

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NOTE TO MARDY FISH: Calling Umpire Carlos Bernardes "Dumbass" Doesn't Make Your Dumbass Remark Okay!!

Mardy Fish, USA post-match interview after being knocked out by Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France.

Umpire Carlos Bernardes, Brazil
Oooooooh, what was I thinking? You were calling Umpire Carlos Bernardes a "dumbass" because your dumb ass doesn't speak French. Okay then, that makes it alllllll better. NOT!!

During the 2011 U.S. Open day 8 Labor Day match against Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga., Mardy Fish took it upon himself to be overheard saying, "I don't speak French dumbass" to whom I thought at the time was Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (still think so).

However, since then, during his post-match interview after being knocked out, U.S. No. 1 Mardy Fish clarified that he was not talking to his opponent Tsonga, but to the umpire, who happened to be Carlos Bernardes of Brazil.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, France and Mardy Fish, USA in fifth-set exchange about noises from the crowd

Fish went on to say with a smile and a smirk "I probably shouldn't have said that," as opposed to, I apologize for my dumb ass personal attack Mr. Bernardes.

You know Fish, you're a pretty well perceived guy, I know that I've always liked you and the person you "appear" to be, so since I saw you scratching your groin for half of the match, I'm going to chalk this foolishness up to jock itch and let it ride.

Mindsets about you can be reversed you know - watching and listening Mr. Fish, behave.

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2011 U.S. OPEN DAY 8: (PHOTOS) Spike Lee, Ciara, Star Jones And Others Spend Labor Day Supporting The Open

Serena's player box filled with friends and family.

Producer/director/actor/activist Spike Lee and son.

Media personality Star Jones accompanied by friend Chef Herb Wilson.

Singer Ciara, standing, and Serena's sister, Isha Price seated lower right.

Actress/model Blake Lively

Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics and his family.

Actress and singer Vanessa Hudgens

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2011 U.S. OPEN DAY 8: Serena And Tsonga Into Quarterfinals, And Fortunately Beat The Rain

 Serena Williams, USA

Ana Ivanovic, Serbia
With good friend Spike Lee in attendance cheering her on, three-time US Open champion Serena Williams advanced to the quarterfinals on Monday with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over No. 16 seed Ana Ivanovic on Arthur Ashe Stadium. "I thought she played really well," Williams said of Ivanovic's performance. "I think we could have both played a little bit better 'cause of the conditions. But I think we were just both trying to do our best."

The 13-time major champion, yet to drop a set at the tournament, played a clean match in windy conditions. "It was crazy. I didn't even go for winners at any point," said Williams. "I just tried to get it over because it was so windy. It was like, Wow. It was definitely tough. But you just have to win in all kinds of situations."

Each player started the match off well, with the 28th seeded Williams firing an ace out wide to begin and Ivanovic crushing a cross-court return winner on the second point. But after Williams held, Ivanovic was shaky in her opening service game, hitting two double faults and floating a backhand long to hand the American the break.

The Serbian, however, showed signs of the form that saw her win the French Open and attain the No. 1 ranking in 2008. For a few games, she managed to control her nerves and broke back when trailing 3-1 on her second break point opportunity after Williams netted a backhand. At 30-30 in the following game, Ivanovic unleashed back-to-back first serves to even the set at 3-3.

From there though, Williams took full control of the match. A solid forehand put Williams up 4-3, and she broke the Serbian for a second time after Ivanovic tossed in a double fault. Leading 5-3, 40-15, Williams closed out the set with a strong forehand that the 23-year-old was unable to handle.

The 29-year-old American converted an early break in the second set and maintained her advantage the rest of the way through to notch her third victory in three meetings with the Serbian. Williams was solid in all areas of her game, finishing the match with nine aces, winning 83 percent of her first service points. She also had a positive winners-to-unforced errors ratio of 16 to 12 respectively. While Ivanovic struck 20 winners, she committed 29 unforced errors and also hit eight double faults in the 74-minute defeat.

Williams increased her 2011 undefeated hard-court record to a 16-0 mark, which includes titles at Stanford and Toronto, and advances to her ninth quarterfinal at Flushing Meadows. In the final eight, Williams will take on 17th-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. The 20-year-old Russian, a former US Open junior champion, upended No. 7 seed Francesca Schiavone 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 in two hours and 41 minutes.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, USA

Mardy Fish, USA
Mardy Fish’s excellent summer is over.

In a match played in extremely complicated, swirling winds in Arthur Ashe Stadium, the top-ranked American surrendered a two-sets-to-one advantage to the athletic and charismatic Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and finally ran out of steam in five long sets, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. The 3-hour, 45-minute match kept the massive night-session crowd at bay, shut out of Ashe and forced to congregate on the esplanade watching the big screen for more than an hour.

Through three sets, Fish appeared to have the advantage, using a focused and contained game, punctuated by frequent trips to the net to withstand that powerful artillery of the Frenchman. Yet Tsonga kept swinging freely and turned the match around in the fourth set with a crucial service break at 4-4.

Behind tremendous serves that routinely topped 130 mph and forehands that saw Tsonga lift off the ground to pummel the ball, the Frenchman hit through the windy conditions.

“The wind was really hard today,” Tsonga said. “You play against yourself, against your opponent. It’s really difficult.”

This was the first meeting between the two versatile veterans, who are still hoping for that elusive Grand Slam breakthrough. The Frenchman has more big-match experience, having been to the Australian Open final and the semis at Wimbledon.

Tsonga, 26, advanced to his first US Open quarterfinal by crunching 51 winners, including 12 aces. Although not known as a returner, the Frenchman crucially converted on four of six break-point opportunities.

The strong winds may have propelled both players – each of whom is known for his all-court game – toward the net even more than usual. It was an effective ploy for both Tsonga and Fish; together they attacked the net 121 times (with Tsonga winning 63 percent and Fish 69 percent of those points).

Fish began limping noticeably at the end of the fourth, and he was treated on court for a strained knee prior to the start of the final set. Tsonga immediately came out firing and seized the early break after a ricochet net rally that saw Fish push a backhand volley long, followed by a rifled forehand pass.

Tsonga has an excellent record in five-set matches, having now won seven of nine. He has been working with Andre Agassi's former trainer, Gil Reyes, who told him to “trust your legs and make it burn,” Tsonga said.
Appropriately enough on this Labor Day, he did. “Today I make it burn,” he said.

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