It was another banner week for the US Open Series, aka, the Greatest Road Trip in Sports. Once again, though, few top players decided to make the roadie last week and we were left with “stars” Frank Dancevic and Dmitry Tursunov playing for the Indianapolis title, and Anna Chakvetadze and Sania Mirza battled in the Stanford final.
I watched some of Indianapolis, but what I didn’t see was American teen Sam Queerey smacking 10 straight aces. That’s right, he hit 10 straight aces in a row. Forget Pete’s six straight years at No. 1 or Fed’s 23 straight wins in finals, Nadal’s 81 on clay, 10 straight aces might be the ultimate untouchable record. That’s ridiculous. Hitting four straight is next to impossible, but 10?
Of course it’s not that ridiculous when you consider who Sam did it against: Returner extraordinaire James Blake, who I’m guessing was standing near or inside the baseline trying to crush winners off those serves instead of moving further back and playing the percentages. Regardless of Blake’s strategy, I tip my hat to Sam, who should be well within the Top 20 in by the end of the 2008 US Open. Unbelievable.
Also unbelievable was watching Andy Roddick get dumped by the Canadian Dancevic in the Semifinals on Saturday. For Roddick’s sake, I hope the cause of his physical distress during the match was a bad tuna sandwich and not the heat, which really didn’t seem that bad (I didn’t see a lot of people in the crowd “fanning” themselves, a good barometer that it really is hot!). The last thing you want to do as a player is melt on a court against a guy from Canada. Either way, Andy should not be losing that match, and he knows it. Credit to Dancevic for handling the situation and closing out A-Rod.
While I didn’t watch any of the matches from Stanford, I did manage to catch the pregame intro on ESPN2 Saturday night, during which Mary Joe Fernandez praised the US Open Series for bringing the stars out to play. If by stars she means Chakkie and Daniela Hantuchova, well…
And so now after two gripping weeks of the US Open Series, if anyone cares you have Radek Stepanek/Dmitry Tursunov tied for the men’s lead, while Anna Chaktvetadze heads the women’s list.
Things look brighter on the women’s side this week for the Series with Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams scheduled to play in San Diego, so it looks like some of the stars are finally going to support the series, and not just by appearing in the commercials.
That’s not the case for the men, however. If you take away Roddick from the Washington draw it’s basically a bad event for American fans. What’s incredible is that the clay event in Sopot, Poland, arguably has a better field than its US Open Series rival in D.C. How the hell does that happen? Isn’t this the summer hard court circuit??
Washington’s top four seeds are Roddick (#5), Tommy Haas (#12), Marat Safin (#22) and Arnaud Clement (#30) giving the event four players in the Top 30 and just two in the Top 20.
Sopot has Nikolay Davydenko (#4), Tommy Robredo (#7), Juan Chela (#20) and Filippo Volandri (#28) as its top four players. According to my math that’s also four players in the Top 30, but three in the Top 20 and two inside the Top 10 for Sopot. So on paper, by the numbers, Sopot wins! And that shouldn’t be happening during the hard court season with a month to go before the US Open. But that’s the sked…
And if anyone reading this is on the Sports Illustrated editorial staff, lovely that you plugged Lleyton Hewitt and Anastasia Rodionova in your latest, July 30 issue, “Who’s Hot/Who’s Not” list – Hewitt “hot” for hiring Tony Roche, ‘Nova “not” for smacking a ball at some heckling fans in the crowd – but you misspelled Rodionova in the text. While you have it right in the headline (weird), in the copy below you have it twice spelled “Radionova” with a first “a” and not an “o”. Hope you guys add the “o” version to your spell checker as I’d hate to see you again screw up one of the best names ever in tennis.
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