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2011 U.S. OPEN WEEKEND UPDATE: The Tsonga, Serena and Young Trains Roll On ... Blake And Stephens Derailed

Monday, September 5, 2011

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, France

Jo-Willie Tsonga, the No. 11 seed, imposed his bigger, higher-risk game on Fernando Verdasco and triumphed convincingly in straight sets, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4, in a marquee matchup of two sluggers known for their aesthetically pleasing, but also bruising, tennis.

The early Saturday evening match was technically the last of the day session, beginning roughly the same time as the Ashe night session, and day ticketholders packed the Grandstand to overflow, with lines stretching around the block to get in.

Surely, though, this will be Tsonga’s last match on Grandstand; next up, in the Round of 16, he plays the red-hot American Mardy Fish.

Serena Williams, USA

Despite her No. 28 seed, Serena came in as the consensus favorite and proved to be just that, dropping only three games in her first two matches against Serbia’s Bojana Jovanovski and the Netherlands’ Michaella Krajicek, respectively. In the third round, the 29-year-old three-time Open champion looked poised to take a fourth, knocking out the No. 4 seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, 6-1, 7-6(5) on Saturday.

Next up, Serena will face No. 16 seed Ana Ivanovic of Serbia, the 2008 French Open champ, who has also breezed through her matches in straight sets. The road from there should only get tougher as five top-10 seeds remain: No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, No. 2 Vera Zvonareva, No. 7 Francesca Schiavone, No. 9 Samantha Stosur and No. 10 Andrea Petkovic.

Donald Young, USA

In front of a boisterous and supportive crowd on Sunday, American Donald Young defeated the No. 24 seed Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career. Young played smart, gritty tennis, matching Chela’s consistent baseline game when he needed to and employing more offensive firepower than his higher-ranked opponent. Young hit 46 winners to Chela’s 19, and converted on five of 10 break point opportunities to take a hard-fought 7-5, 6-4, 6-3 win.

This latest upset for the No. 84-ranked Young continues a roll like no other he's had in the pros. His three wins here equal the number of Grand Slam victories he’s had in his entire career, having won two matches at the 2007 US Open and one match at the 2010 Australian Open. It follows on the heels of his second round win over the No. 14 seed Stanislas Wawrinka, a match that saw Young score the first five-set victory of his career. His ranking had fallen to No. 146 as recently as this past February, but Young came into the Open with the highest ranking he's had since May of 2008, and after this tournament it will climb much higher.

"This is what you work for, this is what you dream of," Young said after his win. "I'm just excited to be able to do this in New York, in my home country's major."

James Blake, USA

Friday was a day of missed opportunities for James Blake. The American, a quarterfinalist here in 2005 and 2006, found himself with a break advantage in both the second and third sets against No. 5 seed David Ferrer, but couldn't quite capitalize in front of a boisterous home crowd.

Ferrer, the Spaniard, broke back in each of the last two sets, winning the match 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 on Grandstand.

It was "The People's Court" to start the afternoon -- or at least seemed that way. Blake, once a top-10 player and a Harvard grad with New York ties, looked primed to capitalize on a maximum-capacity crowd that was loudly in his corner. 

For Blake, it was the first time since 2001 that he hasn't advanced past the second round at the Open. He has continued to climb his way back from a right knee injury this year and at one point was ranked as low as No. 173 in the world. He entered into the Open this year ranked 63rd.

Sloane Stephens, USA

American teenager Sloane Stephens lost in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4 to Serbian Ana Ivanovic on Friday evening. She never really seemed able to find her footing, but did attempt to do so as the match went on. Unfortunately, sufficient response to give herself a fighting chance never materialized.

Post match she said “I was so caught up in being tight and nervous and not really handling the situation well to just freaking out, like, ‘What are you doing?’ ” Stephens said. “I was thinking like a 10-year-old. Everything kind of got to me at the end. I tried to fight it as best I could. But at some point, it catches up to you.”

“My serve is something that I usually can count on, and today it wasn’t there.”

source: usopen.org

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2011 U.S. OPEN DAY 4: Serena Is Taking No Prisoners!

Friday, September 2, 2011

 Serena Williams, USA

In 2010, Venus Williams tried for a US Open title with her sister sidelined. This year, the roles are reversed, as Serena Williams continued her summer comeback Thursday, defeating Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands 6-0, 6-1.

The win comes one day after Venus removed herself from the main draw, citing a recent diagnosis of Sjogren's Syndrome - an autoimmune disease where white blood cells can damage the vital organs of the body and cause fatigue and joint pain. Serena, who herself has battled medical maladies such as foot lacerations, a hematoma and a pulomary embolism since her last Open appearance in 2009, steamrolled Krajicek - a qualifier - in a tidy 49 minutes to make it two-for-two for her inside Arthur Ashe Stadium in the last 48 hours.

The abrupt announcement shocked many in the tennis world and created a Google search rush on "Sjogren's Syndrome." Yet, despite being concerned as any family member would be, Williams revealed that putting her sister out of her mind "wasn't that difficult."

"I know she's a fighter and she's really strong," Williams said. "She's great. I think she's really happy now that she knows what it is after all this time. I think, if anything, it's gonna help her now to treat it and go forward."

The three-time Open champion channeled the dominant form she displayed in years past, when she was winning titles in 1999, 2002 and 2008. As the crowd in Ashe shouted words of encouragement to the American favorite, Williams fired 10 aces and converted five-of-six break point opportunities.

Krajicek, meanwhile, did not convert her only opportunity to break in the match and committed 18 unforced errors. Very little went right for the 21-year-old journeywoman, making her first main draw appearance since 2007 when she also lost in the second round. The victory was so lopsided that when Krajicek finally won a game, a soaring roar of applause met her modest triumph - it was just one of those days.

"I told her after the match: 'Welcome back,'" said Williams of Krajicek. "I know she's been going through a really tough time, and not to be discouraged - I hope she doesn't because she's played well.

"She qualified here and won a round, and she never gave up today no matter what the score looked like. I thought it was a really tough match. It was good for her and, you know, she's still young. Her whole life is ahead of her."

Williams defeated Serbia's Bojana Jovanovski in the first round, 6-1, 6-1, in her first match since losing in the '09 semifinals to eventual champion Kim Clijsters. Seeded 28th, Williams could be involved in a star-powered clash on Saturday should No. 4 Victoria Azarenka advance over Argentina's Gisela Dulko. The two play later in the day inside Louis Armstrong Stadium.

If it is Azarenka, Williams believes that she will "definitely be the underdog."

"(Azarenka) has been doing everything good," Williams said. "She moves her feet I think better than anyone on tour, to be honest. She's always moving, and that's really enabled her to get ranked high where she is and have such a great year ... I feel like I have nothing to lose in this match if I have to play her."

source: usopen.org

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Posted by Shelia
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