Davenport Done, Roddick Comes Back at US Open
by Richard Vach | August 30th, 2008, 1:53 am

Federer Shaky, Roddick Impressive in Comeback at US Open

World No. 2 Roger Federer advanced in a very un-Federer-like performance Friday at the US Open, defeating Brazil’s Thiago Alves 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 in a match lacking the Swiss’ usual crisp movement and ball striking, and including a generous 46 unforced errors.
“He did well to scramble back quite a few balls,” Federer said. “But I wasn’t comfortable at net from the start. It just made it hard. And they be in the second set when it got tough, he dug out some shots and everything seemed to go against me on those break points. So it was kind of difficult mentally, but it was actually fun playing this well and really got the crowd into it. I was never really in danger, so it was actually pretty good for me. I knew the longer the match would go the more tired he would get, so it was a good match for me.”

World No. 3 Novak Djokovic needed no such spin on his performance Friday, fending off a dangerous aggressive performance from American Robert Kendrick 7-6(8), 6-4, 6-4.

“I kind of knew that before the match he’s going to go for his shots, because we played one time before, and I know him from a couple of years already, but he served really precise, and really, really strong,” Djokovic said. “So it was very difficult for me to get any rhythm on my return.”

In the featured night match, Andy Roddick turned around a thrashing he was receiving at the hands of Ernests Gulbis, winning 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 7-5 to advance. Gulbis was serving at 6-3, 5-2 before Roddick won five straight games to even the match at one-set all, taking charge with the support of a rowdy New York crowd.

“This is one of those I won just by effort by sticking around,” Roddick said. “I have to thank the crowd for that one.”

Roddick advances to face Italian Andreas Seppi.

Other seeded winners Friday were (5) Nikolay Davydenko (d. Agustin Calleri), (11) Fernando Gonzalez (d. Bobby Reynolds), (13) Fernando Verdasco (d. Rui Machado 6-0 in the fifth), (15) Tommy Robredo (d. Marat Safin 6-0 in the fourth), (18) Nicolas Almagro (d. Sam Warburg), (19) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (d. Carlos Moya in four), (23) Igor Andreev (d. Jeremy Chardy), (26) Dmitry Tursunov (d. Victor Hanescu in four), (28) Radek Stepanek (d. Chris Guccione in four), (30) Marin Cilic (d. Robby Ginepri in four), and (31) Seppi (d. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in four).

In all-unseeded play, Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller ousted former world No. 2 Tommy Haas from two sets down, and Finn Jarkko Nieminen outlasted Ivo Minar from two sets down.

Matches to look for Saturday include (1) Rafael Nadal vs. Viktor Troicki, (9) James Blake vs. Mardy Fish, (14) Ivo Karlovic vs. Sam Querrey, (7) David Nalbandian vs. (32) Gael “Force” Monfils, (4) David Ferrer vs. Kei Nishikori, (6) Andy Murray vs. Jurgen Melzer, and US Open Series title winners (16) Gilles Simon vs. (17) Juan Martin Del Potro.

Davenport Likely Exits US Open for Last Time

Only eight matches were played Friday at the US Open on the women’s side, but there was no lack of drama on Day 5 in Flushing Meadows.

Lindsay Davenport was the featured night match, and the former No. 1-ranked American exited in what was most certainly her last US Open appearance 6-1, 7-6(3) to France’s No. 12-seeded two-handed slugger Marion Bartoli.

At 4-5 down in the second Davenport broke back, but double faulted three times in a row to start her 5-5 game. She fought back to deuce, but then again double faulted to lose the game. Davenport then broke to force a tiebreak, but a doubles fault on the first point forecast an eventual 7-3 tiebreak loss. Thirty-three unforced errors and eight double faults were part of the American’s undoing.

“I gave myself a chance out there, but once my serve kind of left me, I felt like I didn’t have a lot of confidence to go up after it and I think that translated into my groundies in the tiebreak,” Davenport said. “My game’s not about just making balls in or getting serves in, and I felt like that’s what I had to do.”

In her last singles event, Davenport withdrew with a bad knee that many thought would keep her out of the US Open. Was Davenport thinking about this being her last US Open as she left the court?

“No, I was so pissed off that I didn’t think about anything,” Davenport said.

This week Roger Federer commented that the main courts have the best linespeople and don’t really need the Hawkeye video replay, but both Davenport and Bartoli frequently challenged line calls that were overturned during the match.

World No. 2 Jelena Jankovic, in prime position to take over the No. 1 ranking after the early exit of Ana Ivanovic, rebounded from a shaky earlier performance to scrap like a champion in a tight 7-5, 7-5 victory over China’s Jie Zheng.

“She’s a very solid player and moves well on the court,” Jankovic said of Zheng. “She doesn’t give you many free points, so she’s really out there until the end. So really, if you want to beat her, you really have to beat her until the end. She’s not going to give up any time.”

World No. 3 Svetlana Kuznetsova, a former US Open winner, was one of the handful of players in the running for the No. 1 ranking during this US Open. But the Russian, not known for coming through in pressure situations, in addition had a bad match-up against No. 28 seed Katarina Srebotnik who was the victor 6-3, 6-7(1), 6-3.

“I had to go for it more and I was overdoing it,” said Kuznetsova, who also took time out to lambaste the press for distorting the message of players that are ‘too open’ with the media. “I couldn’t find the middle point. I was hitting far away, I was missing. I think she played her top game for me, like she played unbelievable. I still had chances not playing my game, but I was fighting, and I wanted so much to win that match.” In their last meeting Kuznetsova had escaped with a third-set tiebreak win.

Other seeded winners on the day were (5) Elena Dementieva (d. Anne Keothavong), (21) Caroline Wozniacki (d. Victoria Azarenka), (15) Patty Schnyder (d. Magdalena Rybarikova), and (29) Sybille Bammer (d. Tatiana Perebiynis, bagel in the second).

On tap for Saturday in Flushing Meadows matches to watch are (7) Venus Williams vs. Alona Bondarenko, (4) Serena Williams vs. Ai Sugiyama, (32) Amelie Mauresmo vs. Ivanovic-killer Julie Coin in an all-French, (6) Dinara Safina vs. Timea Bacsinszky, and (16) Flavia Pennetta vs. (19) Nadia Petrova.


COIN FOR YOUR THOUGHTS: France’s Julie Coin, after upsetting world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic, on what brought her to the U.S. to play for Clemson and try the pro tour: “Well, at that time, my, boyfriend told me like he wanted to go, and I was just like in university in France and practicing maybe three times a week. I had a good French ranking but I wasn’t doing really anything. So he told me that and I was like, oh, why not. I will practice every day and see like kind of what’s the — like what the professionals do except that they don’t go school. I liked it and I improved my level too there. So I decided after my last year I finished second in NCAA, so I thought maybe I have the level to play on the tour. My parents told me, yeah, you should try. Because they were good — they were playing in another sport but they were good at their sport and never got the chance to do it. So they kind of pushed me to do it I guess. Now it’s like I’m happy.”

RODDICK SKIPPING FISH WEDDING?: Mardy Fish on his upcoming nuptials and if any other athletes will be involved besides James Blake: “Tiger Woods is my best man. No, I’m kidding. That would be cool, eh? No, it’s in late September in Los Angeles. Stacy’s from LA. Mr. Roddick is in it, as well. However, I think he’s going over to Asia to play, so he’s not going to be able to make it. James’ brother, as well, Thomas, is in the wedding, too. I think that’s about it as far as athletes.”

FATIGUE FACTOR: Roger Federer on possible fatigue from his bout with mono still hampering his game: “Mmm, I mean, the fatigue, honestly, I’ve had it many times through my career, so I never look at it as, ‘Is it back,’ you know, something like this. I never really looked at it in this way. I mean, I was so tired after Beijing coming here, and then of course I’m a bit worried. But then I look back, maybe two years back, prior to Wimbledon I couldn’t move for a week. I still was able to win Wimbledon after that. Once the tournament gets underway you find energy somewhere, you know. So this is not the first time it happened, and so I don’t put it down as my sickness, you know. Maybe I put it down as sickness when I still feel a little bit slow sometimes. These are the moments when I might think, you know, this is maybe lack of practice still a little bit. But with recuperation I never really feel like I have a problem to recover, which is a good thing.”

MISC: Juan Martin del Potro has won 21 straight matches…At 18, Kei Nishikori is the youngest player left in the draw…What is the over/under on drop shots in the Murray/Melzer match…Rafael Nadal has won 40 of his last 41 matches…Rafael Nadal has more hard court wins (36) than anyone else on tour this year…David Ferrer has already won more hard court matches at the US Open (2) than he did all summer (1)…Sam Querrey has won two of three meetings with Ivo Karlovic…Serena Williams on losing: “I always believe the match is on my racquet. I think every time I lose is because of me, not because of the other person. So I think that’s pretty much dominance.”…James Blake presented a check for $10K to USTA Serves and the Harlem Junior Tennis & Education Program on behalf of his sponsor Evian…American Ashley Harkleroad is reportedly pregnant by her coach/boyfriend Chuck Adams…Roger Federer won his 600th career match Friday…Former ATP employee Craig Gabriel writing on his ‘most hated’ player, Vince Spadea: “American Vince (he has asked to be called Vincent) Spadea tries to be cool and when he talks it sounds like he took a masters degree in word slurring. In the first round of the US Open he lost to Marat Safin in five sets. Talk about a clash and contrast of personalities. Safin is one of the characters of tennis and by comparison on a scale of one to ten, Spadea would owe the scale 15 points. I often wonder when the 34-year-old from Boca Raton, Florida, will retire. It was only a couple of years ago that his parents stopped travelling weekly with him and the three of them would share the same hotel room. His parents never met a free buffet they didn’t like. One colleague joked: “They would come to tournaments to graze.”

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55 Comments for Davenport Done, Roddick Comes Back at US Open

zola Says:

Bartoli played great against Davenport but got tight and could not close the match. She needed two more games, still pretty good result. They were both very slow . no movement !

Fed did not play like Fed, but Thiago did not play like a qualifier either. where was this guys? Why is he not in top 100 or top 50? That backhand shot in from nowhere, will appear as one of the best shots of the tournament. I think he would have won the match if he had more experience.

I was verrrrry impressed by Gulbis. He is the whole package. He is funny, handsome and has a great touch at the net. Not to mention his poerful ground strokes. He just needs to play like that for a whole match not just a set and a half. Still, it was great to watch him. I thought I was watching a combination of Rafa and Fed in the first set. Right now he is a few points above Murray in my listing, just behind Rafa. Amazing player.

Roddick did well to stay on course and come back. Gulbis’s shots were passing by him with 120-130 mph speed. He did great to just hang in there and play his game. Seppi should be an easy match for him.

Willie Says:

Federer shaky? Fed did not play like Fed? Come on! Why am I not surprised? I think that’s just the level of his game in the last few months. But given the way he’s playing right now, he still got the balls to say that he’d expected Rafa to go through five sets against Heart. Is he being sarcastic or just under estimating a player who had just taken the No. 1 ranking from him and who actually plays better than him right now? Either way only shows his other side. What a pathetic loser this guy had become.

NachoF Says:

“But given the way he’s playing right now, he still got the balls to say that he’d expected Rafa to go through five sets against Heart”

Why would Federer’s way of playing have anything to do with him expecting Nadal to go to five sets against some other player??…. I guess I cant expect Nadal to go through five sets either cause I dont play tennis, right?

S Green Says:

Yesterday, I had 13 out of 14 right (was mute on 2). I was little lucky there.
My picks for today, aiming at 50%:

1. Rafa vs. Troicki: :Rafa (upset possible))
2. Blake vs. Fish :Blake (??)
3. Querrey vs. Karlovic :Querrey
4. Monfils vs. Nalby :Monfils
5. Ferrer vs. Nishikori :Ferrer (upset possible)
6. Melzer vs. Murray :Murray
7. del Potro vs. Simon :like DP but Not sure
8. Wawrinka vs. Cipolla : Wawrinka

Latent Talent Says:

Willie is an idiot, who doesnt have a sense of humour. If you watched Federer’s press conference, he says it in a light vein and made quite a few journalists chuckle.

I think it makes more sense to rely on what the credible journalists and ex-players and colleagues who know Roger very well, say about Roger than a frustrated jerkovich fan who knows jerkovich will never be able to break through into the league of extra-ordinary gentlemen that Rafa and Roger inhabit.

Willie is the same moron who called Nadal a dope a week or so before.

Latent Talent Says:


Correction : Ignore the 1st line, that is a general post and not addressed to you, NachoF!

jane Says:

“Gael “Force” Monfils” – good one Richard.

I hope to see the Simon / Del Potro match; I wonder if Simon will win? He’s the type to “hang around” in a match.

Willie Says:

Latent Talent,

First of all, I think name calling is uncalled for. Second of all, I am not the same Willie who called Nadal a dope. Whoever the moderator in this site can confirm that by doing an IP check. Why would I, I am a big fan of Nadal. You can confirm that as well by checking all my previous posts.

For Federer fans, whatever he says will always be taken in good perspective but for other fans it may not.

jane Says:

This Karlovic vs. Querrey match is fun to watch; they’re well matched, not only because of stature, but serve and games too. Querrey has the better all round game, though, so he should win; he’s up two sets already.

The problem for these two is that they can rely so heavily on their serves that, as the announcers pointed out, they get tight whenever they have to hit a shot! Funny. This is also why other players can still beat them. Relying solely on a serve is going to backfire, so both need to keep developing their games, and ideally another weapon – volleys, forehands,whatever.

S Green Says:

How did you like that Querrey beating Karlovic in straight?

jane Says:

S, I liked it! I’ve always liked his laid-back style. Looks like Wawrinka might blow your chances of an A+ eh?

S Green Says:

Yeah, looks like I lost on Wawrinka. It is tough to get A+ all the time. See I’d be happy if I get 4-5 right out of 8 (remember aiming only 50%?).

S Green Says:

Rafa-Troicki has been a power match so far. I am loving it.

matt Says:

Troicki is playing great, fearless, and Nadal is a bit slow and has problems again with his blisters.

jane Says:

S, looks like Warinka woke up and smelled the coffee and decided to have a bagel with breakfast; that’s going to a 5th.

Yeah Troicki is good. Too bad a few errors have cost him here and there, but he’s got game.

I wonder if Murray’s in trouble today? H hasn’t been able to crack Melzer’s serve thus far.

YY Says:

Murray is now down 2 sets! Hope Nadal gets through in str8 sets.

S Green Says:

Yeah, good to see Wawrinka turning it around. I am confident now he’ll win this one.

Troicki is good, but he still needs to improve a lot and be consistent. He’s fallen apart after being broken at 2-3 in the 2nd set. He’s given up now. Looking at the first few games, I thought he’d take at least 1 set, but that’s not going to happen any more. Rafa wins in straight set easily now.

About Murray, he’s in trouble now, with 2 sets down.

jane Says:

What’s up with Murray; this should be a routine win. Melzer’s good, but he’s not THAT good. I wish they were showing some of that match so I could see what’s going on.

Consistency: the name of the game….

jane Says:

Troicki vs. Nadal match was boring at the end with Rafa dismantling his opponent. I wish they’d’ve shifted over to the Murray match or Wawrinka 5th set.

Querrey doesn’t have a hope against Rafa: he might be able to keep a set tight, but there’s no way he’ll have an upset.

S Green Says:

Rafa bagels Troicki to win the match. That must hurt the Serb’s feeling. It’s all good for Rafa to be able to play such dominating match. He gets better as the tournament goes on.

matt Says:

Murray is playing too defensive. He should take more chances.

And Nadal has won the last eleven games to win 6-4,6-3,6-0, but it didn’t look that easy when he was 1-3 down in the second set and Troicki was playing great in that moment. It all changed suddenly.

S Green Says:

Since Nadal-Troicki match is over, they should show us Murray-Melzer match.

S Green Says:

Justin tv, 1st link from the left, has Murray match.

YY Says:

S Green… Wawrinka managed to win in 5. Still on course for a perfect score but Murray is still in danger.

jane Says:

Got it, just as Murray got broken back. Looks like Murray’s going O-U-T! His first serve percentage is in the low 50s. Couple that with matt’s comment that he’s playing defensively (as he is wont to do; he needs to fight against that) and it’s a recipe for a loss.

I see Nalby and Monfils are taking the court; should be another interesting match. I like Monfils to come through.

Wawrinka scraped through, and he’ll benefit from Murray’s loss here, as will Rafa perhaps in the long run.

Maybe Simon or Del Potro will come through in this section? And there could be your surprise in this tournament. If Murray goes out, which he’ll likely to do now, then that section is open to a degree. Murray’s blown it here; this was a nice draw for him.

I guess it’s possible he could win this 3rd set in a tiebreak and push it to 5 sets. If he does, then I like his chances. But it’s do or die right now.

jane Says:

YAY!!! Murray got the 3rd set. Come ON Murray!!

YY Says:

Murray won the tie-break!

S Green Says:

Not only he won the 3rd set, Murray’s taken an early break to lead 3-0 in the 4th. It sure looks like it’s heading into the 5th set.

matt Says:

I don’t know if Melzer has physical problems or something, but it is really strange what he’s doing this fourth set.

He is clearly tanking…

jane Says:

It will go five sets – phew!! In five, I like Murray. Besides which, as Mac points out, Melzer seems spent physically.

You’re still on track S – as YY pointed out – you might get that A+ yet!

S Green Says:

Now I am pretty sure that Murray will win this match (unless he decides to give up).

matt Says:

It is just so strange. Melzer doesn’t care about the match. He just want to go home or something…

matt Says:

It is a physical problem it seems, because he can’t run anymore.

That’s why he is over-hitting (and sending out or to the net) just every shot.

S Green Says:

Melzer just got broken. It’s over.

S Green Says:

Congratulations to Murray for such a spectacular victory, reminiscent of the 5-setter he played against Gasquet at Wimbledon, with 2 sets down and close to losing.

jane Says:

Murray: the feisty Scot with muscle. I love his never-say-die attitude, and I really want to see him in the semis – at least.

Alright ANDY!

Von Says:

Good for Murray to win in 5, but seriously speaking, Melzer should not give a player of Murray’s caliber any problems. Melzer is a 3 set player who fades after the second set, and that’s the reason he’s ranked so low. His best surface is clay where he can pull off those drop shots that will not be as effective on hardcourts. He likes to end his long rallies with the drop shots which enable him to stay in the match. I had picked Murray to win it in 3 and am very surprised the match went to 5 sets. Anyway, I’m happy he won and hopefully he’ll go deeper.

jane Says:

I agree Von: Melzer shouldn’t have troubled Murray as much as he did. I think it was partly the serve. Murray did get a break until the 3rd; he just couldn’t get a read on Melzer’s serve, which is surprising given that Murray is know as a good returner. Also, Murray’s own serves were weak early on in the match. Like the other Andy early on last night, Murray’s service % was low 50s.

Speaking of which, Happy Birthday to ANDY and Ernests!

S Green Says:

Monfils is 2 sets up and looking good. Roger Rasheed, Hewitt’s previous coach, seems to have turned Monfils into a stronger player.

S Green Says:

Congratulation to Monfils for a straight set win, and thanks for the dance. The crowd is loving him.

Von Says:

I think Monfils’ jig is absolutely hilarious. it beats Stepanek’s worm dance. He’d blend in very well with the Scots in their Highland dances. LOL.

jane Says:

Maybe Murray should switch to a highland jig? Instead of the muscle flexing? He’d compliment the Monfils’ dance & Step’s worm?

In all seriousness, Gael looked forceful today; Nalby looked done. I am liking Monfils’ chances after that performance. Whoa.

Von Says:

Monfils has to show progress. His coaching arrangement with Roger Rasheed, who was Hewitt’s old coach, is conditional with respect to Monfils taking his game seriously, or else Rasheed didn’t want any part of him. Thus far, that arrangement has worked out admirably, and hopefully it will continue to put forth more good results.

jane Says:

“His coaching arrangement with Roger Rasheed, who was Hewitt’s old coach, is conditional with respect to Monfils taking his game seriously, or else Rasheed didn’t want any part of him. ”

Yes, I heard the commentators mention this today. It was fun listening to both P-Mac and J-Mac in the booth for this match.

Von Says:

“It was fun listening to both P-Mac and J-Mac in the booth for this match.”

I’m sorry, but I can’t stand Johnny Mc’s commentating. Last night I was about to lose it with him and Robinson. JMac is definitely approaching his dotage. He talks non-stop and his echo, Robinson, sucks up to him so much, it’s nauseating, ditto for Carillo. Johnny Mac cannot work with anyone who’s got an opinion of their own. He likes being consulted for his expertise on air by his co-host commentator — it gives him power. JMac has every young player in the top 5 and as soon as they lose a match, they’re done in his eyes. I would like to watch a match instead of having to listen to the incessant chatter of the commentators, which makes concentrating on the match difficult. Tracy Austin is another incessant chatterer. I hear all of the tennis goszsip from the commentators, e.g., Carillo, Austin, Robinson and dick Enberg. With them around I don’t have to read any articles; they serve a purpose. OOHHLALALA!!!! :P

jane Says:

I like J-Mac’s commentating; however, I have noticed, since Wimbledon, or maybe the French, that he does say the obvious. But today they had some things to say about coaching and Monfils which were new to me. And yes, the booth does seem to be a bit of a gossip pit!

It’s interesting comparing this coverage to British coverage, which I’ve watched sometimes through justin tv. They know when to just let the point play out and be quiet. And I find them to be, overall, less biased: J-Mac and Carillo tend to gush over the hottest players, the number 1 and/or the up-comers.

I like Courier’s analysis of games; he has some smart things to say about Gasquet the other day that weren’t just to do with his lack of mental fortitude, but were about his forehand and how he times it, which can cause it to break down.

Robinson is just an echo.

Now Simon’s up breaks in the 4th, so that one will likely go 5.

It is tough to make a call on the young guns and their futures. But generally, I think they just need more time in the oven. Some may come out baked, others may rise. Ha-ha :-)

S Green Says:

del Potro beats Simon. Ferrer on the march. So far so good.

S Green Says:

A sudden turn of event: Nishikori breaks Ferrer. This could be the one upset I feared.

jane Says:


If Ferrer does crash out (which it looks like he will at this point) you should lose only half a point since even though you predicted Ferrer would win, you also mentioned the possibility of an upset. Overall, good calls!

Now we just have to see if Blake holds to seed.

S Green Says:

Ferrer says not yet, like he did Nalby last year in a similar situation.

S Green Says:

That upset was bound to happen. Ferrer had chance, but Nishikori just played better, did not give up all the way to the end.
Congratulations to Nishikori, 1st ever Japanese to advance to Round of 16 at a grand slam !
I am happy for him.

jane Says:

I’m happy for Nishikori too; Ferrer hasn’t done so well on hard courts this year, at least not since the AO, and definitely not this summer, so the upset is not that surprising.

Fish is up an early break.

S Green Says:

Blake loses in straight set. His poor performance went beyond my double question marks. This loss does not change any equation. Actually, it is better that Fish won.

JCF Says:

When did Nishikori make his mark? I’d never heard of him last year, and I still don’t know what he looks like (his profile at USO site has no photo). He’s been talked about a lot lately, along with Cilic, Simon, and JMDP. Did these guys all have their breakout years in 08?

jane Says:


Nishikori beat Blake at Del Ray this year to take the title, and he pushed Rafa at Queens, taking a set off him.

Cilic I started hearing about at the AO, JMDP on clay, and Simon on the summer hardcourt swing.

So yeah, they’re all pretty much 2008 phenomena.

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