Nadal, Blake Escape at US Open; American Women Bomb
by Staff | August 26th, 2008
  • 56 Comments

Nadal, Blake Avoid Upsets on Opening Day at US Open

James Blake turned around an awful career five-set record on the opening day at the US Open, turning back fellow American “The” Donald Young in five sets 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 in a match ending well after midnight.

Top seed Rafael Nadal was also tested in a tight three-setter, defeating German Bjorn Phau 7-6(4), 6-3, 7-6(4).


“I think I help a little bit him, to play to this level,” Nadal told reporters. “Sure, he’s good player. He played well today. But I didn’t play with normal intensity. I play a little bit less intensity than last few months for sure…Probably I’m a little bit tired more than I usually.”

Other Top 10-seeded winners were (4) David Ferrer (d. Martin Vassallo Arguello), (6) Andy Murray (d. Sergio Roitman, bagel in the third), (7) David Nalbandian (d. Marcos Daniel), and (10) Stanislas Wawrinka (d. Simone Bolelli), all in straight sets.

Upset-makers Tuesday were Austrian Jurgen “Tuna” Melzer (d. (27) Feliciano Lopez in five), and Florida-via-Japan’s Kei Nishikori (d. (29) Juan Monaco in four).

“It was great win, I think because he’s a good player, and seeded,” Nishikori told reporters. “And, yeah, I didn’t think I was going to win, so I’m happy of it.”

Matches to look for on the Tuesday include Marat Safin vs. Vince “Ain’t Afraida Ya” Spadea, (12) Richard Gasquet vs. Tommy Haas, (22) Tomas Berdych vs. Sam Querrey, Dominik “The Dominator” Hrbaty vs. Guillermo “G-Lo” Garcia-Lopez, and (24) Paul-Henri Mathieu vs. Sebastien Grosjean in an all-French.

Chaky Loses, Americans Head for Exits at US Open

No. 10 seed Anna Chakvetadze felt the pain of meeting a practice partner countrywoman on Monday at the US Open, losing 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 to Ekaterina Makarova.

Top 10 winners into the second round Monday were (2) Jelena Jankovic (d. Coco Vandeweghe), (3) Svetlana Kuznetsova (d. Shuai Zhang), (5) Elena Dementieva (d. Akgul Amanmuradova), and (8) Vera Zvonareva (d. Barbora Zahlavova Strycova), all in straight sets.

“It’s very hard not to think about the Olympic Games and very difficult to refocus and get ready for the Open because still all my thinking is there in Beijing,” said the gold-medal winning Dementieva. “Yesterday, I was trying to go to sleep, but I couldn’t because I was watching the closing ceremony and my mind is still there.”

Former No. 1 Lindsay Davenport, competing in singles for the first time since April due to injury, eased past Aleksandra Wozniak in straights.

“I thought I played pretty well,” Davenport said. “I knew I drew a tough opponent in the first round, so happy to have played the way I did, and get through in the scoreline in the fashion I did.”

Falling in upsets were (22) Maria Kirilenko who lost to Tamira Paszek, and (24) Shahar Peer who was topped by Na Li.

The “B”-level Americans also headed for the exits, with losses by Ahsha Rolle, Shenay Perry, Vania King, Alexa Glatch, and Asia Muhammad.

Matches to watch for Tuesday are (7) Venus Williams vs. Sam Stosur, (6) Dinara Safina vs. American Kristie Ahn, and (32) Amelie Mauresmo vs. Nathalie Dechy in an all-French.

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
With all the talk about Rafael Nadal’s supposedly-new Nike classic wardrobe at the US Open, he debuts in his regular muscle shirt and pirate pants?…John McEnroe might be a candidate for the new ATP CEO slot — if he hadn’t gone apeshit at the Newport seniors event, flipping off the crowd en route to being defaulted…Five women have a chance to end the US Open in the No. 1 ranking.


Also Check Out:
Roddick, Blake Only Top 50-Ranked U.S. Men
Did Nadia Petrova’s Coach Just Drop An F-Bomb On Sam Stosur [Video]
Opinion: U.S. Women Bomb, Prepare for Complete Exit at Indian Wells; Where is Improvement?
James Blake To Retire After US Open
Opinion: Which Roddick Will Show at Washington?

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56 Comments for Nadal, Blake Escape at US Open; American Women Bomb

bobby Says:

This guy bjorn phau has a straight set win over federer in 1999 in washington.Federer was not yet in his prime but still it was a good win against an up and coming great.


freakyfrites Says:

Great day at the open! Rafa probably was tired, but I think Bjorn Phau played great. And Donald Young really amazed me! I hope he’s going to break through soon – love his all-court game.

Oh, btw, I heard that John McEnroe, Sr. (yes, the old guy in the suspenders, watching from the stands) has also put his name forward as the new ATP head! Tennis is so crazy. . .


Hypnos Says:

Nishikori, Young and perhaps soon Devvarman are the new wave of all-court players — great wheels and sweet shotmaking.

I guess if you liked Rios, Coria, Ferrer ….


Hypnos Says:

Oops, that would be “Ferrero”


zola Says:

Phau was lightning quick and Rafa was sloppy and slow.I read somewhere that Phau had a win over Agassi as well and he hung in there for the whole three sets. Amazing that he has such a low ranking!I am very glad that Rafa won in straight sets.

Between Blake and Young, I wanted Young to win only because Blake is very dangerous for Rafa. But boy, is Young annoying to watch. As if he is forced to get there and play. Compare his attitude with Gulbis or Del Potro…He has some growing up to do. Blake did not play his best but all these guys are coming from Beijing and feel tired. I am glad they get some rest after this.

btw, Rafa is blogging from NY for timesonline and is answering fan questions:

http://timesonline.typepad.com/rafael_nadal/2008/08/im-back-and-off.html


Allan Hardy Says:

I still can’t make up my mind on whether, if Rafa wins the U.S. Open, this makes him definitively better than Federer. Hmm.


Dan Martin Says:

If Rafa wins the U.S. Open it would certainly be a unique and lofty accomplishment – 3 slams in 1 year on 3 surfaces + Gold + at least 3 Masters Series Shields + Barcelona + ? between now and November …

Mac as CEO would be a terrible idea. For years he campaigned for the Davis Cup captain spot, but when things did not go his way with getting Agassi and Sampras to commit to playing regularly he quit after 1 year. Mac is a genius on court, but geniuses often do not deal well with less than ideal circumstances. McEnroe has been lobbying for the mythical Commissioner of Tennis (to coordinate ATP, WTA and ITF) title for years. If the position was ever created, he would likely quit when the first rough patch hit.


Bob Lewis Says:

Chakvetadze has really gone away. It has been lose, lose, lose, I expect on course to drop dramatically in ranking. The other is Kirilenko, seeming destined to find more success as a doubles player.


S Green Says:

Wow, Sam Querrey upsets Berdych in straight sets.


jane Says:

Not surprised about Berdych; his year has been abysmal ever since he rolled his ankle in Davis Cup. It’s too bad; hopefully he will come back around next year. I hope Sam can do well here.

I gotta say – for you girl tennis fans – Safin stopped my heart in that parade of champions. WOW! He looks even better dressed up. I wish he could get his tennis smoking again, and we could enjoy it all. Phew.


jane Says:

If Gasquet gets through against Haas, you’d think it’d be him Roger will face rather than Davydenko. It’d be great to see Gasquet play at his best and get deep anyhow. Roger might have a couple tough matches before that possible match up, against Stepanek and Verdasco, but his draw is easy overall, with no real threats.


freakyfrites Says:

Jane, you are so right about Marat! Did you see that slow mo they showed on t.v. of him kissing Tracy Austin during the parade (cheek kisses, of course.) Tracy looked ready to SWOON (or get horizontal in one way or another.)

I have a theory that even straight men are attracted to Marat – he’s just so good looking.


Vulcan Says:

Well, Karlovic looms large in Rafa’s section of the draw with his straight set victory over Minar, Kohlschreiber also won in straight sets.
And what about the way Phau played?…he appears to have found a solution to the high kicking Nadal backhand by jumping up to hit the ball…he hit a whole slew of backhand winners…that was no picnic for an opening round match.
About the ceremony last night that was some spectacle seeing all those great players in one place. The USO website has a great picture of all of them gathered together in one room.


Dan Martin Says:

Gasquet is so frustrating. At times he hits some jaw dropping shots. At other times he just does not quite have the “eye of the tiger” or the intangible quality to finish his opponent.

Jane – we’ve already got a few 5 set gems in 08. Freaky – thanks for the kind words in the other thread.


jane Says:

Yep Gasquet implodes again, though Haas has played really well. Gasquet can never seem to close out these key matches: shame that. And yeah Dan, frustrating is the word for Gasquet.

Safin – what can you say? A looker and funny to boot. He’s great. That speech about the linesmen, ump, “people off the court” and he never second-guesses himself: “They were wrong…of course”. Love it – although we all know it can backfire on Marat, it’s enjoyable nevertheless.

Freakyfrites – straight guys eh?


Leftykick Says:

Jane,

You will be happy to know that you will get at least one more glimpse of Safin at this years Open. Not dressed up though ;-)

Gasquet blows it again! I always thought that he would progress up the rankings faster than Murray. With his talent, I hope he re-groups and comes back stronger (mentally) next year.


Dan Martin Says:

Haas has been frustrating at times as well – an odd match up in that sense. Both guys can implode. Haas has overcome so many injuries and still plays a strong game of tennis.


JoshDragon Says:

I was a little surprised to see Spadea take Safin to five sets. Berdych really got demolished by Querrey. Did anyone see that match? How did Querrey win so easily?


Von Says:

“And what about the way Phau played?…he appears to have found a solution to the high kicking Nadal backhand by jumping up to hit the ball…he hit a whole slew of backhand winners…that was no picnic for an opening round match.”

Those high bouncing balls were difficult to handle as they came up to Phau’s shoulders and he’s only 5’9″. At times he got pulled off the ground by a couple of inches trying to return them for winners. I liked his attitude that even though he realized he was dealing with a tougher opponent he continued to fight to the end. More players should have that mind-set, and if they did, we would see more competitive matches and some upsets. Instead, their lack of belief makes them put up an invisible white “I surrender” flag, and they refuse to come out and/or keep on fighting.

Is it any wonder why Safin and Roddick are my two favourite guys on tour — they’re so handsome, with personality and charisma!! My only disappointment was that Roddick didn’t wear a jacket and dressed up more like Marat did. They’re both classy, debonair, suave and sophisticated, my kind of guys. Tracy Austin stated afterwards that she had to beg Marat for a kiss. Oh WOW.


Von Says:

“Berdych really got demolished by Querrey. Did anyone see that match? How did Querrey win so easily?”

Sam has been spending some time working with Gil Reyes, Agassi’s trainer, and he also worked with Darren Cahill in Vegas earlier this year, which enabled him to win the Vegas title. He has become fitter and has improved on his ground strokes making him more of an all-court player.

It was good to see Donald Young keeping up with Blake in the 5th set — his fitness has improved. With Sam and Young stepping things up shows that there’s hope for the younger American men to help keep American tennis alive. An encouraging development and one which I hope will be infectious with respect to Isner, et al


Blah Says:

Gasquet falls again. What a freaking surprise.
Even though I expected this I cannot help but be disappointed.


Christopher Robin Says:

I wonder if these tennis players take care of their hands like they should. They should start packing the Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Age Shield hand cream. It moisturizes for 24 hours and even has UVA/UVB protection too.


FoT Says:

I think Roger looked absolutely great last night at the parade. Very classy and he just wears clothes great. Plus, along with Johnny-Mac, he got the loudest ovation from the crowd!

Go Roger!!!


Von Says:

Dan Martin:

“Mac as CEO would be a terrible idea. For years he campaigned for the Davis Cup captain spot, but when things did not go his way with getting Agassi and Sampras to commit to playing regularly he quit after 1 year.”

Isn’t it John McEnroe, Sr., who’s campaigning for the ATP Chairman job, and not John, Jr., to whom, I’m assuming, you’re referring in the foregoing quoted portion of your comments?


Mary Says:

It’s nice to see Fed not in a some Project Runway wardrobe.
But he is dressed in a way where if the whole tennis thing does not pan out, he is set to serve drinks poolside in a moderate-priced hotel in Cancun.


NachoF Says:

Federer seems confident… :)


jane Says:

Mary,

The color of Roger’s outfit is not flattering; he looks a little washed out, and my husband thinks he looks like he should be delivering UPS packages. I think blue suits Roger best.

But he’s delivering some serious tennis instead of UPS packages ;-) He definitely seems confident.


Mary Says:

Fed seems confident, but there is still the air of “I really want to end this season now!” I want to be here…maybe.


JCF Says:

“I have a theory that even straight men are attracted to Marat – he’s just so good looking.”

Ummm… from a straight man, no.


NachoF Says:

To me, when I think of the almighty unbeatable Federer I think of his red shirt outfit he wore when he won 2007 Masters Cup


Mary Says:

I’ve been waiting poolside forever for the refill on my Pina Colada, Roger!


NachoF Says:

Thats it…. great display of tennis from Fed.


Mary Says:

I’m still laughing over them playing “Still the One.”
It was a good match. Good for him!

Webmaster:
Štěpánek is playing tomorrow, would it kill you to put his pic up on the page?!


Von Says:

“To me, when I think of the almighty unbeatable Federer I think of his red shirt outfit he wore when he won 2007 Masters Cup.”

Red and Black are definitely power colors. You want to negotiate big time, wear red.

The taupe color is nice, but not for tennis. These guys need people to color coordinate their wardrobe if they are going to wear colors. Nothing looks nicer than a crisp white outfit. People are coordinated by seasons according to their skin tone and the new taupe is not suited to most of the men. Fed’s face looks green with the light reflecting the taupe onto his face. A bad choice of color for this season. Berdych and Donald Young wore the taupe too, and it doesn’t do a thing for them. I suppose it’s Nike’s post- summer/pre-fall’s new colors. I like Lacoste which Roddick wears. The players need to follow the safe rule, when in doubt wear white and/or black. Those two colors go with everyone’s complexion.

_____________
JCF: I answered your post on the other thread; hope you saw it.

Mary: Ditto for you too.


Von Says:

Mary:

“I’m still laughing over them playing “Still the One.”
It was a good match. Good for him!”

That’s what I meant in my previous posts on the underdog un NYC. On paper he might appear as the underdog, but NOT so with that New york City crowd. He has got to change the color though. No can do.


Ryan Says:

Fed’s back


jane Says:

Von,

I agree; I like the Lacoste gear a lot. It was a savvy choice by Andy to wear their line.

I thought the taupe wasn’t quite as bad on Donald Young, and he had the black hat framing his face to perhaps balance things out, but taupe looked like a weak choice for both Berdych and Roger’s complexions. You’d think the Nike people could do a little better, given all of their cash & cache.


Von Says:

jane:

“….but taupe looked like a weak choice for both Berdych and Roger’s complexions. You’d think the Nike people could do a little better, given all of their cash & cache.”

I’m surprised that Fed’s fashion consultants didn’t have an input into his wardrobe color selection. One of the first things I did when I began working was go to a class on “dressing for success”. After that, my wardrobe choice became a breeze, because I knew what colors best suited me and looked just for those colors. Once in a while I would deviate from my color choice and then I’d be upset and have buyer’s regret. Color and cut are extremely important, and I think Fed would also look better if his shirt had a little more room/give than so pasted to his body. Hey people, don’t shoot me; it’s my opinion OK. Thanks. :)


jane Says:

It’ll be interesting to see how Roger takes this win and translates it deeper into the tournament; I remember at the AO this year he played fantastic in the early rounds, looking like in his “superman” Roger days, but then he met Tipsarevic and things got much tighter thereon out. His next match should be another easy one as he meets a qualifier.

But do people think Roger’s game looked back on track (now that we’ve discussed his outfit – lol)? His serve is definitely a weapon. I noticed his coach was in his box too.


Dan Martin Says:

I think 2008 has for Roger seen him have more trouble holding serve in key situations than in the past (first set vs. Djokovic in Oz Roger was up 5-3 and got broken twice to lose the set 7-5 and the 2nd set at Wimbledon vs. Rafa Roger got up a break and was broken twice to lose the set). Roger has also not broken serve quite as often in 2008. I am saying nothing profound when saying that serving and returning numbers make a big difference between winning and losing in tennis. If Roger serves a little better maybe he wins that 1st set in Oz and 2nd set at Wimbledon. Not saying he wins the match with those two sets, but he certainly would have been in a better position to win.


jane Says:

That’s funny Dan because I thought Roger’s been serving well but it’s his returns that have dropped off; certainly the stats back that up, as he is better in the service categories than he is in the return ones. Meanwhile Djoko and Rafa are higher in return categories, so in those instances it might have had something to do with the returners rather than Roger’s serve. Maybe those key moment breaks have had to do less with the serves and more with sloppy serve games, i.e., UEs? Even though the match was quite lopsided tonight there were 20 UEs from Roger’s end. But I know the differential to winners has a lot to do with that too.


Von Says:

Fed has definitely been having problems with his returns; he seems to overhit at times. There’s also the shanking problem with his forehand which was not as pronounced tonight. And, when he becomes nervous or maybe tired, we never know which, he seems to be content with just pushing the backhand not quite knowing where it would land. I honestly don’t feel we can use this match as the benchmark for his future performance if, and when, he’s tested — that will be the true determinant.


JCF Says:

“I agree; I like the Lacoste gear a lot. It was a savvy choice by Andy to wear their line.”

The story behind that was quite hilarious. Roddick is such a funny guy. That’s what I like most about him. There’s not too many other guys on the tour that can genuinely be called funny.


S Green Says:

Jane,
It was not Jose Higueras in Fed’s box. If I am not wrong it was Swiss Davis Cup coach Severin Luethi on trial, a prospective candidate for Fed’s new coach.


jane Says:

S Green,

Really? I thought Mac or someone said it was Higueras. Either way, it’s probably a good thing that Roger is considering getting a serious coach.

——-

JCF,

Do tell – what’s the funny story behind the choice? I didn’t know there was one.


JCF Says:

He was in contract with Reebok at the time (back in 04 or early 05), and he was doing a press interview caught off guard. Andy wasn’t expecting it. He was wearing a La Coste shirt, and the deal with Reebok was that he couldn’t be seen on TV wearing a different branded shirt, so he quickly grabbed a band-aid and stuck it on top of the crocodile logo.

It didn’t fool Reebok however.

Roddick’s defense was “Tsunami relief, man!”. (The Tsunami had just killed a few hundred thousand asians not long earlier.)

Reebok dumped him and said it was in their best interests not to renew their contract with him. And La Coste, laughing all the way to the bank offered him a contract.

He’s not only funny, he’s spontaneous.


freakyfrites Says:

Higueras was definitely in Fed’s box. Johnny Mac and Ted Robinson talked about it and showed him next to Roger’s Swiss friend – 2 seats away from Mirka. Yes, way Jose. They’re still together, even though you’d never know it from Roger’s interviews.
They must still be in the part time stage.


Bob Lewis Says:

I see this group is determined not to discuss women’s tennis. Are we burned out on it revolving around the Williams sisters? Without female stars of similar record to the top men, is it only about the rarified games of the top few men?


Colin Says:

Women’s tennis? Well, today we had the unusual event nowadays of a British woman getting to the 3rd round of a slam, and beating a seed (admittedly not a very high seed!). Anne Keathovong doesn’t exactly sound British, but she was born here, of Cambodian parents. I think she’ll play Dementieva next, so that will probably be the end of that, but she’s done well. I believe the last British woman to win the USO was Viginia Wade, and that was a while back.


Von Says:

Hello Colin:

“I believe the last British woman to win the USO was Viginia Wade, and that was a while back.”

As a little girl I greatly admired Virginia Wade and when I saw her at the US Open, I couldn’t help but think how very classy she is. She was so graceful from the few times I saw her play. I also like the Aussie Evonne Goolagong. She was so very sweet, not at ll like the women on the tour at the present time.

On another topic, and on a different thread, I had asked for your help in clarifying for me whether the Aussie football is the same as the Brit Rugby, playing the egg shaped ball. Also, is European Football still properly referred to as Association Football? I was discussing this with JCF and wasn’t sure whether the name was changed. I would appreciate your input. Thanks.


jane Says:

Bob, Colin, Von,

My two cents on Women’s tennis are as follows:

The Serb girls have talent but are having troubles closing out their matches. Also, Jankovic is too defensive, and Ivanovic has no confidence.

The Williams sisters are still good, when they choose to dedicate themselves, but one will be canceling the other out here.

In my view the two best, in terms of form, women players here are the Gold and Silver medal winners: Dementieva and Safina. They are the two I like to do well anyhow. I’d like to see one of them hoist the trophy a week from Saturday.

Davenport is always a dark horse threat but with the nagging knee issues I can’t see her winning it or anything.


Von Says:

Colin:

My statement should have read as follows:

As a little girl I greatly admired Virginia Wade and when I saw her at the US Open “on Monday evening” …,


Vulcan Says:

JCF Says:

It didn’t fool Reebok however.

Roddick’s defense was “Tsunami relief, man!”. (The Tsunami had just killed a few hundred thousand asians not long earlier.)

Reebok dumped him and said it was in their best interests not to renew their contract with him. And La Coste, laughing all the way to the bank offered him a contract.

He’s not only funny, he’s spontaneous.

Your comments…as well as Roddick’s…are disgusting. If you think the death of “several hundred thousand” (the ccrrect number is 184,000) human beings is “funny” and “spontaneous”…you need help.


Von Says:

Vulcan:

I think you should do a little research on Roddick’s contribution toward the Tsumnami disaster, which was more that the majority of the tennis players, before you speak. You might want to withdraw that statement. You don’t like the guy, which is obvious, and because of that, it’s so easy to think the worst of him and jump to unwarranted conclusions, however, you’re entitled.


JCF Says:

“Your comments…as well as Roddick’s…are disgusting. If you think the death of “several hundred thousand” (the ccrrect number is 184,000) human beings is “funny” and “spontaneous”…you need help.”

Nowhere did I say that those deaths were funny. I just admired Roddick’s wit. He’s a natural. I didn’t find what he said insensitive at all. It’s not like he was laughing at them or believing that they deserved it. Whether you like his game or not, he is an entertaining fellow, and seems to have an endless barrage of instant classic one-liners.

Von,

Aussie football is called AFL. It’s the only place where you’ll find this kind of football, because the AF stands for Aussie Rules. It uses a red oval shaped ball. It’s a full contact sport with lots of tackling (you grab the guy with the ball from behind, and he’s forced to kick it, as he’s not allowed to shake you off… I think). You couldn’t do this stuff in Soccer. I’m not a fan of AFL but the Aussies are crazy over it. Olympics coverage got trumped in favor of it. Yeah, a four year worldwide event plays second fiddle to something that’s on every week. Unbelievable.


JCF Says:

Oops.. AF obviously doesn’t stand for Aussie Rules, though the latter is what it’s commonly referred to as.

AFL = Australian Football League.

You still won’t find it anywhere else, but don’t worry — you’re not missing much.

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ATP - Apr 14 WTA - Apr 14
1 Rafael Nadal1 Serena Williams
2 Novak Djokovic2 Na Li
3 Stanislas Wawrinka3 Agnieszka Radwanska
4 Roger Federer4 Victoria Azarenka
5 Tomas Berdych5 Simona Halep
6 David Ferrer6 Petra Kvitova
7 Juan Martin Del Potro7 Angelique Kerber
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