No. 3 seed Venus Williams, the last American standing in the men’s or women’s quarterfinals, improved to 8-0 career against Italy’s Francesca Schiavone, moving into the semifinals on Tuesday at the US Open after a 7-6(5), 6-4 win.
“I’ve played Francesca for so many years,” Venus said in the battle of two 30-year-olds. “There have been times she’s had me down, but fortunately I would come back…I don’t think either of us was able to play our normal game because it was so windy. You end up playing a little safer. But when the stakes were higher, I was able to raise my game.”
In the semifinals the elder Williams sister will face No. 2 seed and defending champion Kim Clijsters, who outlasted Aussie Sam Stosur in three sets in the final women’s night match.
Clijsters blamed the windy conditions for the third set, which was a series of back and forth service breaks.
“For these last 10 days the weather conditions have been really hard, and it’s really hard to get a rhythm out there,” Clijsters told ESPN. “I haven’t been serving well the last weeks and with the wind it just makes it harder.”
Four fourth-round men’s matches were played on Tuesday, including an all-Spanish meeting in No. 1 Rafael Nadal vs. No. 23 Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez, which due to the number of long matches did not begin until around 11 p.m., and was still being played as of press time.
The winner of the Nadal vs. F-Lo match will meet the possibly spent No. 8 seed Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco, who outlasted fellow Spaniard and No. 10 seed David Ferrer in five sets and almost 4-1/2 hours 7-5, 7-6(8), 3-6, 3-6, 7-6(4).
Nadal commented on the Hot Sauce vs. Ferrer match before taking the court, watching the conclusion of the match in the locker room and feeling conflicted as his two countrymen battled.
“Two great players make a fantastic job, one have to win, one have to lose,” Nadal said.
No. 20 seed Sam Querrey was the last American man standing as of Tuesday, until he was outlasted by No. 25 Stan Wawrinka in a five-set marathon 7-6(9), 6-7(5), 7-5, 4-6, 6-4. Querrey seemed to cramp and run out of gas in the fifth, as Wawrinka struggled with a thigh injury.
“I was pretty sad in the locker room for a little while,” Querrey told reporters. “I mean, I don’t feel that great right now. You know, pretty tired. My body is tired.”
No. 12 seed Mikhail Youzhny of Russia advanced into the quarterfinals on Tuesday after defeating downward-spiraling unseeded Spaniard Tommy Robredo in four sets. Youzhny will next face Wawrinka.
“I play three matches or four matches against Stan, and all matches were different,” Youzhny said. “He have really good backhand, one hand.”
Matches to watch for Wednesday at the US Open are (31) Kaia Kanepi vs. (7) Vera “The Crying Game” Zvonareva, (3) Novak Djokovic vs. (17) Gael “Force” Monfils, (1) Caroline Wozniacki vs. unseeded Slovak Dominika Cibulkova, (2) Roger Federer vs. (5) Robin Soderling, and in doubles Americans (1) Bob/Mike Bryan vs. Spaniards (12) Marcel Granollers/Tommy Robredo, and (2) Liezel Huber/Nadia Petrova vs. the American-Aussie love pair of (5) Lisa Raymond/Rennae Stubbs.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
No American men in the quarterfinals at the US Open for the second straight year, ouch…Only one American quarterfinalist this year at a Slam, Andy Roddick at the Aussie Open…Venus Williams responding to being told that Francesca Schiavone said Venus doesn’t like playing her: “I like seeing my name next to her name. I’m good with that.”…Venus Williams’ book, “Come to Win: Business Leaders, Artists, Doctors and Other Visionaries on How Sports Can Help You Top Your Profession,” debuted at No. 5 last week on the New York Times best seller list…SI.com’s tennis writer Jon Wertheim on the women playing a best-of-five final at the Slams: “Amen. I could go for that. Nothing worse than a 65-minute women’s final. But again, asking the women to play best-of-five just ain’t gonna happen.” — Really? Raise your hand if you want to see a three-hour women’s final, comprised of athletes not used to playing that long?…Now it’s tour qualifying or USTA Pro Circuit/Challenger events for Melanie Oudin. No more tour wildcards for her until the WTA Tour rolls back around to the U.S. in February 2011 at Memphis…S.L. Price writing for SI.com: “Last week, in a column in The New York Times, Richard [Williams] leveled another racial broadside at the pro tennis tour, saying that some unnamed tennis authorities, scared that blacks will “take over tennis like they did football and basketball and baseball,” don’t want another Venus or Serena to emerge. “Institutions that could help blacks refuse,” he said. “I think they drive blacks away from tennis.” Never mind that the USTA offered phenom Donald Young all manner of training camps, practice partners and coaching, or that, with U.S. tennis facing a talent drought, promoters, agents and marketers would throw parades if a great black player were to emerge…”…Martina Hingis is throwing out the tease again about making a comeback in doubles only: “I’ve been asked here and there, with Lindsay [Davenport],” Hingis told reporters at the US Open on Tuesday. “But she wanted to come back too soon and I wasn’t ready for that. Then she won in Stanford…I don’t know, I couldn’t say right now, it’s always maybes. I need to find a partner first and commit to really wanting to do it. I really enjoyed playing TeamTennis, playing singles and doubles, and the doubles felt really good.” — Tease! Just get Anna Kournikova on board and get the Spice Girls train rolling again…Greg Rusedski on countryman Andy Murray, writing for The Mirror: “He needs someone who can shield him and someone who he is going to respect and trust, and who is going to call the shots properly. A month ago Stanislas Wawrinka hired Peter Lundgren who helped [Roger] Federer and Marat Safin win Grand Slams. His tactics were spot on and that is what Murray needs. The British No. 1 has got to make a decision, but there are not many top coaches available 20 to 25 weeks a year.” — Maybe…Greg Rusedski is available! He could teach Murray that one-handed backhand that looked like he dislocated his elbow every time he hit the ball.
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