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V.S. Aug 27th, 2008 10:28 PM

2008 Us Open
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Updated: August 24, 2:12 PM ET
Draw reveals Williams sisters could meet in U.S. Open quarters

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The Williams sisters would meet in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open, a bit earlier than their matchup in the final of the last Grand Slam, Wimbledon.

Venus and Serena, coming off a doubles gold medal together at the Olympics, found themselves in the same part of the bracket when the Open held its draw Thursday.

On the men's side, struggling four-time defending champ Roger Federer might have to get through No. 3 Novak Djokovic to reach the final. Djokovic, the Australian Open champ, owns something Federer lacks this year: a Grand Slam title.

New No. 1 Rafael Nadal avoided a potential semifinal matchup with Djokovic, but several hot players are in his half of the draw. No. 17 seed Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina has won four straight tournaments. American James Blake, the No. 9 seed, is coming off a breakthrough victory over Federer at the Olympics.

Top seed Ana Ivanovic could face No. 6 Dinara Safina in the women's quarters. Safina has been playing well lately and won an Olympic silver medal.

Serena Williams is seeded No. 4, and Venus Williams, who beat her sister at Wimbledon, is the No. 7 seed. Each is a two-time U.S. Open champ.

"I'm sure it's disappointing in the Williams household to see this draw," said four-time Grand Slam singles champion Jim Courier, now an analyst for USA.

V.S. Aug 27th, 2008 10:29 PM

Re: 2008 Us Open
No all-Williams final at U.S. Open

Last Updated: Thursday, August 21, 2008 | 2:16 PM ET Williams, seen at the Beijing Games, will be aiming for her third career U.S. Open title. (Elise Amendola/Associated Press) Sisters Venus and Serena Williams met in the Wimbledon final but it won't happen again at the U.S. Open.
The Williams sisters could meet in the quarter-finals of the final Grand Slam of the year, according to the tournament draw released on Thursday.
Venus beat Serena at Wimbledon for her fifth career Wimbledon title. The sisters suffered disappointment in the singles draw of the Beijing Olympics, but added the second doubles gold medal of their career, after winning in Sydney in 2000.
Ana Ivanovic of Serbia is the top women's seed at the Open. Her path to a second career Grand Slam title could include a battle with No. 6 Dinara Safina of Russia. Safina won silver at the Beijing Games, following up on Rogers Cup tournament win in Montreal.
Ivanovic is top women's seed despite a tough past two months, which saw her supplanted in the top spot of the rankings by countrywoman Jelena Jankovic.
Federer, Djokovic may meet

Roger Federer of Switzerland and Serbia's Novak Djokovic, who met in last year's U.S. Open final, would play this year in the semifinals if they meet at all. Federer is seeded second, one spot ahead of Djokovic.
Before they get there, one of them may have to contend with Andy Roddick. The eighth-seeded American skipped Beijing to prepare for the U.S. Open, which he has won before.
Canadian Frank Dancevic has a tough but winnable first match against No. 18 Nicolas Almagro of Spain. Should the Niagara Falls, Ont., native pull the upset, fifth seed Nikolay Davydenko of Russia looms in the third round.
Federer will be gunning for a fifth consecutive U.S. Open championship. He won doubles gold in Beijing with partner Stanislas Wawrinka.
Top-seeded Rafael Nadal has on his half of the draw fellow Spaniard David Ferrer, James Blake of the United States, Andy Murray of Scotland and David Nalbandian of Argentina.
Nadal officially took over the No. 1 spot in the ATP rankings on Monday, after Federer held the top spot a record 237 consecutive weeks.
Nadal has won major titles on clay, grass and hardcourts in the last three months, and has only lost to Djokovic, at the Cincinnati Masters. He avenged that defeat in the Olympic semifinals en route to winning the gold medal.
There will be a new women's champion. Justine Henin of Belgium, who beat Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova to win her second U.S. Open, made a surprising retirement announcement in the spring.
Former champion Maria Sharapova also won't be playing, due to a shoulder injury.
Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak, who won a tour event this summer in Stanford, Que., will take on a former champion in her first round match. The Blainville, Que., native meets Lindsay Davenport, the 1998 Open champion.
The U.S. Open, held in Flushing, N.Y., begins in earnest on Monday.

V.S. Aug 27th, 2008 10:30 PM

Re: 2008 Us Open
Williams sisters could meet in US Open quarters

By RACHEL COHEN – 6 days ago
NEW YORK (AP) — The Williams sisters would meet in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open, a bit earlier than their matchup in the final of the last Grand Slam, Wimbledon.
Venus and Serena, coming off a doubles gold medal together at the Olympics, found themselves in the same part of the bracket when the Open held its draw Thursday.
On the men's side, struggling four-time defending champ Roger Federer might have to get through No. 3 Novak Djokovic to reach the final. Djokovic, the Australian Open champ, owns something Federer lacks this year: a Grand Slam title.
New No. 1 Rafael Nadal avoided a potential semifinal matchup with Djokovic, but several hot players are in his half of the draw. No. 17 seed Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina has won four straight tournaments. American James Blake, the No. 9 seed, is coming off a breakthrough victory over Federer at the Olympics.
Top seed Ana Ivanovic could face No. 6 Dinara Safina in the women's quarters. Safina has been playing well lately and won an Olympic silver medal.
Serena Williams is seeded No. 4, and Venus, who beat her sister at Wimbledon, is the No. 7 seed. Each is a two-time U.S. Open champ.
"I'm sure it's disappointing in the Williams household to see this draw," said four-time Grand Slam singles champion Jim Courier, now an analyst for USA.

V.S. Aug 27th, 2008 10:30 PM

Re: 2008 Us Open
August 22, 2008

Williams Sisters May Meet in U.S. Open Quarterfinals

The United States Open men’s draw ended in confusion Thursday morning. As the last name went into the bracket at the Times Center in Midtown, the tournament officials realized that it had already been called. So they went around the room to every guest picker who had pulled a numbered chip out of a cup, piecing together the original order with help from the tiny screen on a photographer’s camera.
The momentary mixup was quickly rectified, although no matter how the first round shaped up, it seemed a foregone conclusion that the top three seeds would be duking it out come the semifinals. Indeed, the biggest question was which of the top two seeds, Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer, might have Novak Djokovic on his hands.
Djokovic wound up in Federer’s half of the bracket but could have a difficult time reaching the last four. The unseeded Marat Safin has the experience to create some havoc in Djokovic’s quarter of the draw, and he could face eighth-seeded Andy Roddick, who will start his tournament against Fabrice Santoro of France, in the quarterfinals. That leaves Nadal virtually free of elite competition for the first week of the tournament, which begins Monday.
“It’s hard to really think that Nadal is going to have any kind of bumps,” said Jim Courier, who won two Australian Open titles and two at the French Open. “He’s had a longer season this year than he’s ever had, yet he seems completely energized.”
On the women’s side, the Williams sisters could have a rematch of their Wimbledon final as early as the quarterfinals. That Venus and Serena Williams wound up in the same quarter of the bracket made the prospect of an all-Serbian women’s final between top-seeded Ana Ivanovic and No. 2 Jelena Jankovic a distinct probability.
Possibly standing in Ivanovic’s path are Amélie Mauresmo, who has spent much of the season recovering from injury, and Dinara Safina, whom Ivanovic could meet in the quarterfinals. Jankovic could face Lindsay Davenport early and the 2004 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in the semifinals.
But an added consideration for Ivanovic is that her stay in Beijing this summer was much shorter than that of many of her rivals. She withdrew with an injury as Elena Dementieva, who won the gold medal, Safina and Jankovic were all still competing last weekend. So were the Williams sisters.
“It’s a little bit of good news-bad news,” Courier said of the Olympics. “You won a gold medal — great. Bad news is you have to readjust quickly. But they’re professionals. If I was in their shoes, I’d rather come in with a full boat of confidence and be a little bit fatigued.”
Federer was also in Beijing, where he lost to James Blake in a quarterfinal. It should be a different story at the Open. Federer will be defending his four consecutive titles while facing minimal resistance through the first five rounds from a fairly shallow pool of top players.
But Courier said Federer might still be feeling residual effects from his bout of mononucleosis last winter.
“Did he really ever have time to catch up and get himself in peak physical condition?” Courier said. “I would say no. But if Roger gets confident, he could take this whole title, no question about it.”
The path to the semifinals seems just as smooth for Nadal, who is aiming to complete a remarkable year in which he has won the French Open, Wimbledon and an Olympic gold medal. David Nalbandian would be a likely quarterfinal opponent, should Blake falter.
In the semifinals, Nadal would face whoever emerges from what is probably the weakest quarter of the draw — David Ferrer is the top seeded player at No. 4. But the in-form Juan Martin Del Potro or the mercurial Andy Murray, who had an excellent tournament in Cincinnati earlier this month, could also reach the final four.
“He’s someone that looks to have the mental ability to do it,” Courier said of Murray. “The first time that we saw him come and play in the big spotlight, he handled it beautifully, and that’s a leading indicator.”
But overcoming Nadal and his current run could prove too much for even the top seeds.
“He’s got to be the favorite,” Courier said.

V.S. Aug 27th, 2008 10:32 PM

Re: 2008 Us Open
Posted on Sat, Aug. 23, 2008
All signs point to an intriguing U.S. Open tennis tournament

The Kansas City Star
Call this the wild card U.S. Open.
This country’s greatest tennis tournament, the fourth and final grand slam event of the professional tennis year, can often be unpredictable. But there are a couple of factors in play that could make this Open, which starts Monday and runs through Sept. 7 at Flushing Meadows, N.Y., an even more wide-open affair.
Foremost — and this applies to both the men’s and women’s draws — is the effect the Olympic Games will have on the players who competed in Beijing. Sure, it’s possible that Spain’s Rafael Nadal and Russia’s Elena Dementieva got a big boost in confidence from their gold medal performances. But it’s also possible that they, along with the many other Olympic competitors, will arrive at the U.S. National Tennis Center with varying degrees of fatigue.
“It’s hard to say how much (the Olympics) takes out of the players,” said John McEnroe, former four-time U.S. Open champion and lead tennis analyst for CBS’s coverage of the tournament. “It will definitely be an issue.”
The other X-factor, this one affecting only the men’s draw, is the vulnerability of four-time Open champ Roger Federer. He hasn’t won a major tournament this year, and to say he’s been beatable would be an understatement, as demonstrated by his surprising quarterfinal loss to American James Blake in Beijing.
That makes Nadal the favorite to win a third grand slam event this year, to go with his French Open and Wimbledon crowns — and that gold medal.
The women’s title, as usual, appears to be there for the taking, what with world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic nursing a hand injury, Maria Sharapova out with a bum shoulder, Serena Williams still fighting a sore knee and Venus Williams not having played much.
“Nadal is certainly the favorite,” McEnroe said. “But last year’s finalists (Federer and Novak Djokovic) both have reasons for wanting to win. It would be hard for me to picture one of those three guys not winning it.
“With the women, when I see the Williams sisters playing the way they’re capable, they’re the favorites.
“But it’s pretty unpredictable.”

1 CAN RAFAEL NADAL FINISH OFF A NEAR-PERFECT SEASON? History says it will be tough. The gritty Spaniard has never advanced past the quarterfinals at the Open. Typically, he comes into the tournament fatigued from a long summer of play, and the quick, hard courts in Flushing Meadows never seem to suit his game. However, he still had plenty of juice to win gold in Beijing. And no one, perhaps in the history of the game, competes with such ferocity. A victory would seal one of the great years in men’s tennis history.
2 CAN ROGER FEDERER SALVAGE A LOST SEASON? If he does, it will certainly be considered an upset, which is astonishing to say, given the man’s greatness over the last five years. “It shows how precarious tennis can be,” said U.S. Davis Cup captain and TV analyst Patrick McEnroe, John’s brother. “If you lose a little confidence in your shots, you start to second-guess yourself. All of a sudden, you see players going out there believing they have a shot.” Federer is going to have to pick it up a notch to get by contenders like Novak Djokovic and Nadal, and thus far he hasn’t shown that ability.
3 WHO WILL STEP UP FOR THE WOMEN? Difficult to predict. Ana Ivanovic hasn’t been the same since winning the French Open and ascending to the No. 1 ranking. But having to miss the Olympics because of her injury could help in the long run. Serena Williams had to retire in a recent final in Stanford, Calif. because of her knee. Then she fell to Elena Dementieva in the quarterfinals in Beijing. The Olympics was the first tournament Venus Williams had played in since winning Wimbledon, and she also fell in the quarters. The momentum would probably have to go with Dementieva, who posted the biggest win of her career in taking home Olympic gold.
4 DARK HORSES? On the men’s side, it would have to be Argentinean Juan Martin Del Potro. He’s won four straight tournaments since Wimbledon, including two hard-court events in the U.S. He’s quickly moved to No. 24 in the world. American James Blake is coming off a semifinal run at the Olympics, where he upset Federer, but he’s too streaky to make it through the entire two weeks.
For the women, Russian Dinara Safina has had a very solid year that has included an appearance in the French Open final, three tournament wins and a silver medal performance in Beijing.
5 (EXPLORERS SPECIAL) WHAT ARE THE BRYAN BROTHERS’ CHANCES? Bob and Mike Bryan, who have been members of the Explorers each of the last four World TeamTennis seasons, will certainly be hungry. They haven’t won a grand slam tournament this year and had to settle for bronze at the Olympics.

V.S. Aug 27th, 2008 10:33 PM

Re: 2008 Us Open,6884797.story
From the Los Angeles Times

U.S. Open looks ripe for a Williams takeover

Serena Williams is ranked No. 3, Venus Williams No. 8, and in a jumbled and depleted women's field, one of the sisters could find a path to the title.
By Chuck Culpepper
Special to The Times

August 25, 2008

NEW YORK -- As the 7-train screeches into the Shea Stadium/National Tennis Center stop, the year's last tennis Grand Slam says hello with quite the goofy billboard shouting from out the right-side window.

It's Maria Sharapova pitching cameras, and while sticklers and other malcontents might point out that a torn rotator cuff means Sharapova won't actually, you know, play this U.S. Open, maybe the sign actually sort of works.

Ever since May, four months after Sharapova had won the Australian Open and some had howled at the moon about a possible Sharapova Slam, the women's game has become a strange brew of hodgepodge and mishmash.

If its Grand Slam year ends on a U.S. Open lacking both its defending champion and its billboard girl, well, that's probably apt.

The 2007 French and U.S. champion Justine Henin, perched at No. 1, retired stunningly in May. Sharapova entered the French Open as No. 1 but lost in the fourth round, whereupon Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic or Svetlana Kuznetsova could've snared the spot, which Ivanovic did.

Ivanovic came to Wimbledon and lost in the third round, whereupon Sharapova, Jankovic or Kuznetsova could've overtaken her, but none could. Jankovic finally did overtake her in early August, but Ivanovic since has overtaken Jankovic. Neither No. 1 Ivanovic nor No. 2 Jankovic nor No. 3 Serena Williams nor No. 4 Kuznetsova nor No. 5 Sharapova has won a tournament since the French.

If you think all of this hints it should be time for You Know Who and her younger sister You Know Who, you wouldn't be a nut case.

"I'm all about results and wish everyone the best of luck," Venus Williams, ranked No. 8, said Saturday, "but I'm really down with me winning this tournament, so . . . "

She didn't finish the sentence because the room busted up laughing, but her outlook achieved plausibility. It seems surely inaccurate -- but it's not -- that not one Williams has graced the last five U.S. Open women's singles finals.

Ever since Serena Williams, then 20, beat Venus Williams, then 22, in the 2002 final to portend Williams finals from there to eternity, Venus has reached one quarterfinal and one semifinal while having to withdraw twice, and Serena has reached two quarterfinals while having to withdraw once. Venus beat Serena in the fourth round in 2005, Henin beat both in 2007, both open 2008 Tuesday, and a disagreeable draw means they would meet in a quarterfinal.

With jet lag still wrathful from the trip from the Beijing Olympics, where the sisters won the gold medal in doubles, and with Venus saying she can't remember the day and Serena saying she hasn't adjusted as well as Venus, the draw peeved them not.

"Yeah, I have to get there first," Serena said, "and maybe I'll just go study, see what went wrong at Wimbledon," where she lost the final to Venus. "Hopefully I can rectify it."

They reiterated their plan to play for years and years -- "We're playing too well to think about the end," Venus said -- and they spoke of regaining Nos. 1 and 2, although Venus deadpanned, "That's the plan, but I don't think either of us is aiming for 2," which again broke up the room.

As it happens, Venus has remained at No. 8 since her repeat title at Wimbledon, but Serena's name has navigated the hodgepodge to No. 3 behind Ivanovic and Jankovic, who epitomizes a weary tour.

Jankovic's body seems to have protested her penchant for playing often, and when she spoke of the Olympics, where she reached the quarterfinals, she spoke of injections.

"I really tried my best," Jankovic said. "And I was taking the injections so I don't feel the pain when I was going on, you know, to play my matches. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to go on court and play. But now . . . it's finished, and now it's just a matter of, you know, getting, you know, firm again, getting all these muscles back and feeling like I used to feel before when I was fit and ready to play."

Beneath the mishmash does lurk one constant, if you'll look to No. 7 in the rankings. There's Dinara Safina, who turned up in Berlin in May ranked No. 17 and known for her talent but also wiring that sometimes short-circuited.

She won in Berlin, reached the final at the French, won in Carson and Montreal, reached the final in Beijing, conquered 10 different top-10 players along the way, belongs among the favorites especially in this shaky climate, and reminds that sports can be mysterious.

"Somehow I started to go out there and started to believe I'm a player and I can compete with them," she said. "Maybe before it was missing, this. And then I could not give them answers, but now I go out there and for their game I can always give them my answer, my game. . . . That's why I start to beat them."

V.S. Aug 27th, 2008 10:34 PM

Re: 2008 Us Open
Williamses among many tough cookies

By Cindy Shmerler, Globe Correspondent | August 25, 2008
NEW YORK - Venus and Serena Williams burst into the room like a tornado, breathless and talking in staccato sentences. But the sisters weren't yammering about the US Open, which begins today, or about the No. 1 ranking in women's tennis - currently held by Serbia's Ana Ivanovic but coveted by both of them - or about the Beijing Olympics, where they took the gold medal in doubles, or even about Hurricane Fay, which forced them to make a brief pre-Open rest stop in California rather than their hometown of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Instead, what the sisters wanted to talk about was far more basic than the storm front at Flushing Meadows. In this case it was cookies, specifically a sandwich cookie promotion. It had something to do with twisting, dunking, and licking them faster than a football-playing sibling combo named Manning. With the Williams family, tennis is always an afterthought.
"We were just on a whirlwind with the Olympics," said Venus, who defeated her younger sister to win her fifth Wimbledon last month but, by the unfortunate luck of the draw, could meet her in the quarterfinals here. "Obviously, we had an unbelievable summer. We're just trying to make sure that one of us ends the summer off with a bang. That's where it is now."
"I'm definitely not into predicting," said the fourth-seeded Serena, when asked if two Serbs, top-seeded Ivanovic and second-seeded Jelena Jankovic, will face off in the final. "I can only say that we've been working hard and hopefully our hard work will pay off."
Quipped Venus, "I'm all about my results and wish everyone the best of luck. But I'm really down with me winning this tournament."
With no defending champion on the women's side - Justine Henin retired unexpectedly this past June - the winner of the final major of the year is anybody's guess. Ivanovic, the French Open champ, and Jankovic have traded the No. 1 ranking, with Svetlana Kuznetsova riding closely on their heels. (Ivanovic was forced to pull out of the Olympics because of a thumb injury, which clouds her US Open future.)
Maria Sharapova, who captured the Australian Open in January and won the US Open two years ago, again has struggled with a tender shoulder, while part-time player and fulltime mom Lindsay Davenport withdrew from Wimbledon and the Olympics on wounded knee.
The hottest player in the women's game right now may well be a slimmed-down Dinara Safina, younger sister of the mercurial 2000 US Open men's champ Marat Safin. Safina has won 16 of her last 17 matches, her only loss in the final of the Olympics to Dementieva. She also reached the final of the French Open and captured the summer US Open Series, representing the best results on the North American summer hard-court circuit. Should Safina also capture the US Open, she would earn $2.5 million, the largest payout in tennis.
"It's just coming too fast," said the sixth-seeded Safina, who could meet Ivanovic in the quarterfinals and one of the Williamses in the semis. "I'm not used to it . . . I still cannot really take a breather and realize what's going on. I'm coming in and in a dreaming situation right now."
This time last year, Roger Federer was residing in tennis dreamland. The 27-year-old Swiss star came into the 2007 US Open as the three-time defending champ and having reached the final of all three majors, winning at the Australian Open and Wimbledon and falling to Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros. By the time he had won his fourth consecutive US Open there was talk that he would hold the No. 1 world ranking in perpetuity.
But Federer's dream has turned to dross and Nadal is no longer simply the King of Clay, but of the entire tennis universe. So far this year, the 22-year-old Spaniard has won his fourth straight French Open, beating Federer in the final, his first Wimbledon (where he defeated Federer, 9-7, in the fifth set in what is thought by many to be the greatest Wimbledon final in history), and the gold medal at the Olympics. Last Monday, he officially overtook Federer atop the world rankings.
"The pressure is the same," said Nadal, who has never gone past the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows but whose path to the final this year is far less cluttered than Federer's, especially with last year's runner-up, third-seeded Novak Djokovic, in the same half of the draw as Federer. "When you want to win, the goal is still the same and the pressure is still the same. The goal is still continuing to improve my tennis and continuing to play a very good tournament. That's the only goal."
"It will be interesting to see how he handles [being the top seed]," said Federer, who is in the same half of the draw as Russian Nikolay Davydenko, American Andy Roddick (who skipped the Olympics in hopes of topping the field here instead), and Chilean Fernando Gonzalez, the Olympic silver medalist. "For five years I was expected to win every tournament I entered. Maybe now it changes a little bit. Rafa will now feel what I had to feel for a very long time."
Could there be storm clouds brewing overhead or is it simply the winds of change blowing fiercely through the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center?

V.S. Aug 27th, 2008 10:44 PM

Re: 2008 Us Open
Posted: Monday August 25, 2008 5:02 PM

Fly to the Olympics and back; jet lag at the Open

NEW YORK (AP) -The rings of the Olympics are not the only ones in common for Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and the Williams sisters.
Chances are those tennis champions also share dark circles under their eyes, courtesy of the just completed Beijing Games and cross-continent flying.
Fresh off a gold medal in men's singles at the Olympics - jet lag notwithstanding - Nadal began his quest for his first U.S. Open title on Monday as the newly minted No. 1 player in the world.
"It was tough, because two weeks ago I went from Cincinnati to Beijing, 12 hours, and went 12 more hours (to New York),'' this year's French Open and Wimbledon champion said before facing Bjorn Phau in the first round. "It's tough, but I don't want to think about that.''
No, he has more important issues to worry about, such as solving Federer on a hardcourt as he finally deduced his rival on Wimbledon grass last month. Nadal is seeking his third straight Grand Slam title, though he's never passed the U.S. Open quarterfinals.
Federer flamed out in singles in Beijing, but captured gold for Switzerland in doubles before heading to New York to try to defend his U.S. Open title for a fourth straight year.
There is no time to sleep at all, let alone on the hot Nadal, who just ended Federer's reign as the world's top player after an incredible 237 weeks.
The extensive travel and time zone jumping has been tough, but Federer has been gearing up for it. The Olympic tournament ended last Sunday, giving even the finalists a week to get to New York and become acclimated.
Of the 64 men who played singles in Beijing, 51 are also in the U.S. Open field. Likewise, 55 women are doing the double that comes along every four years.
"I'm just going to try to recover from a whole lot of traveling we've had,'' said Federer, a 12-time Grand Slam champion. "You do a lot of prevention, you know, stretching, massage and a lot of sleep, eat healthy kind of thing.''
While Nadal had his first match on Monday, Federer and Olympic women's doubles champions Venus and Serena Williams weren't scheduled to begin their U.S. Open singles play until Tuesday. Federer and Venus are the headliners under the lights late Tuesday, but Serena is slated for the day session.
"Well, I'm still trying to get over the jet lag,'' Serena said. "Venus seems like she isn't having a problem, but I don't handle jet lag as well as she does. Hopefully it won't be an issue.''
Venus did, however, lose track of the days as she prepared to shoot for her third U.S. Open title.
"We got here Thursday. I really don't know what day it is anymore,'' she said on Saturday. "I thought today was Friday, but I'm here at the right time.''
Elena Dementieva, the Open's No. 5 seed and the gold medal winner in women's singles in Beijing, was first on Arthur Ashe Stadium court on Monday and eliminated Akgul Amanmuradova 6-4, 7-5 in about 90 minutes.
Dementieva stopped home in Moscow following her Olympic win over countrywoman Dinara Safina on Sunday. After showing off her medal and celebrating with her family for one day - including a visit to her tennis club - Dementieva was back on the move. She arrived in New York on Wednesday.
"Yesterday, I was trying to go to sleep, but I mean I couldn't because I was watching the closing ceremony,'' Dementieva said. "You know, my mind is still there. I was trying to stay as focused as I could, and the court was not easy. I think the first round is never easy.''
Andy Roddick is feeling better after dealing with an injury to his right shoulder that has limited him since his loss to Janko Tipsarevic in the second round at Wimbledon on June 26.
Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion, sat out the French Open because of the injury and decided to bypass Beijing to work on his hardcourt game and avoid any problems the travel could present.
Whether he gained an advantage by playing in North America remains to be seen.
"I don't know. There's a week in between,'' he said. "For my sake, being able to get two tournaments, getting matches in, and at least playing my way into shape a little bit after the injuries, was probably a good move as far as my tennis goes.''
Dementieva also wasn't sure if the added matches would be a plus or minus heading into the year's final Grand Slam.
It didn't matter, anyway. Winning Olympic gold was her biggest goal.
"I don't know what is the best, to be a little tired but very comfortable and very positive or just to be fresh and not to play in the Olympic Games,'' the 26-year-old Russian said. "It's just another challenge, and we'll see if I can handle it.''
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V.S. Aug 27th, 2008 10:45 PM

Re: 2008 Us Open
US Open day one quotes Venus arrives fresh from doubles victory with sister Serena in Beijing

"When I went to Beijing I left him for two weeks and it was heartbreaking - not so much my husband, but my son."
Lindsay Davenport lets her husband know the score after leaving him and son Jagger behind to play in Beijing.
"People just come to me and say, 'Oh, I'm happy for you', you're always losing in the final. It's so great that you finally win something big."
Elena Dementieva enjoys finally entering the winner's circle at the Olympic Games.
"We got here Thursday. I really don't know what day it is any more. I thought today was Friday."
Venus Williams struggles with the time difference after flying in from China.
"In the first set I felt like I was playing against a wall."
Li Na on her remarkable turnaround in beating Shahar Peer 2-6 6-0 6-1. "I still think Federer is playing great tennis, but the mindset of the other players has changed because he's lost more this year than he has in the past."
Andy Murray on the struggling defending champion. "It was the joy of it. I didn't have the pressure of playing at Wimbledon as an English player. I could come here and get on with it."
Virginia Wade, the 1968 champion, on why she loved playing at the US Open.

V.S. Aug 27th, 2008 10:46 PM

Re: 2008 Us Open
Federer, Ivanovic, Williamses go at US Open today

NEW YORK (AP) — Roger Federer, bidding for his fifth straight U.S. Open title, is scheduled to begin Tuesday, as were No. 1 Ana Ivanovic and the Williams sisters.
Federer takes on Maximo Gonzalez, Ivanovic goes against Vera Dushevina, Serena Williams plays Kateryna Bondarenko and Venus Williams goes against Samantha Stosur.
Olympic champions Rafael Nadal and Elena Dementieva showed their mettle at the U.S. Open, overcoming early challenges to win Monday in the start of what's expected to be a wide-open tournament.
Former champs Lindsay Davenport and Svetlana Kuznetsova also opened with straight-sets victories. Many of the stars like to hurry through the first round — it takes seven wins for the title, and any rest is welcome.
Playing for the first time as the world No. 1, Nadal swatted his very first shot wide against No. 136 Bjorn Phau. The Wimbledon and French Open champ was two points from dropping the first set when he surged and, despite needing to bandage a nasty blister, won 7-6 (4), 6-3, 7-6 (4).
"I didn't play with normal intensity," Nadal said. "Probably I'm a little bit tired."
Asked whether he was more worn down mentally, physically or emotionally from Beijing, he said: "I think it is a little bit of everything."
Nadal got a stiffer test from the German qualifier than many anticipated, and shook his head near the end of a match that lasted nearly 3 hours.
No. 9 seed James Blake had to play past midnight to survive a five-set match against 19-year-old fellow American Donald Young. With the help of two key calls overturned on challenges in the last two games, Blake won 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.
Dementieva looked like gold while taking the final four games to defeat Akgul Amanmuradova 6-4, 7-5. The fifth-seeded Russian was glad to win quickly and give her mind and body a break.
"It's very hard not to think about the Olympic Games," Dementieva said. "Very difficult to refocus. I mean, all my thinking is there in Beijing."
Tenth-seeded Anna Chakvetadze was the top player to lose, beaten by Ekateria Makarova 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 in a matchup of Russians.
The final Grand Slam event of the season figured to be a scramble on both sides.
Nadal seems like the natural favorite, yet has never gone beyond the quarterfinals in five previous tries at Flushing Meadows. The 22-year-old Spanish dynamo took a while to find his rhythm against Phau, whose spirited play made him a crowd favorite.
Fans at Arthur Ashe Stadium, often quiet during early daytime sessions, cheered when Phau dived for a shot, rolled over on his back and chased a return.
In the night's last match, they got behind Young, the former No. 1 junior player in the world. Young came back from down a break to win the fourth set. Serving with the final set tied 4-4, he seemed to have the momentum.
But Blake took control after he successfully challenged to take a point away from Young at the start of the game. Blake went on to break Young to go up 5-4, then served out the match. He successfully challenged again in the last game to reach triple match point.
"Maybe a little experience came through for me at 4-all in the last set," Blake said.
The women's draw is even more tricky, now that 2007 champion Justine Henin has retired and Maria Sharapova is out with an injured shoulder.
Six different women have won the U.S. Open in the last seven years, and Dementieva is seeking her first major championship. To her, the Olympic singles title counts.
"The biggest goal for the year was Beijing," she said. "In Russia, if you stop anyone in the street and ask what is a Grand Slam, I don't think many people can tell you. But everyone knows the Olympic Games. There is nothing bigger."
During a quick stopover in Moscow to see her mom and drop off her gold medal, she found out how much the win meant.
"People just come to me and say, 'Oh, I'm happy for you. You're always losing in the final. It's so great that you finally win something big,'" she said.
Dementieva put together a workmanlike win over Amanmuradova. Her opponent from Uzbekistan served for the second set ahead 5-3, but Dementieva still had enough energy.
"I don't know what is best, to be a little bit tired but very comfortable and very positive, or to be fresh and not play in the Olympic Games," she said.
No. 2 seed Jelena Jankovic advanced with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over American CoCo Vandeweghe.
Li Na, who beat Venus Williams in Beijing, beat No. 24 Shahar Peer of Israel 2-6, 6-0, 6-1. The No. 23-seeded Davenport defeated Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada, 6-4, 6-2 and No. 3 Kuznetsova beat Zhang Shuai of China 6-4, 6-2.
No. 8 Vera Zvonareva of Russia, No. 12 Marion Bartoli of France, No. 14 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus and No. 15 Patty Schnyer of Switzerland also won.
No. 22 Maria Kirilenko of Russia lost to Tamira Paszek of Austria 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.
On the men's side, fourth-seeded David Ferrer of Spain beat Martin Vassallo Arguello of Argentina 7-6 (1), 6-2, 6-2 and No. 6 Andy Murray of Britain beat Sergio Roitman of Argentina, 6-3, 6-4, 6-0.
Also winning were No. 7 David Nalbandian of Argentina, No. 10 Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, No. 16 Gilles Simon of France and No. 17 Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina.
No. 27 Feliciano Lopez of Spain lost to Jurgen Melzer of Austria 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2, 2-6, 6-4. The No. 29-seeded Juan Monaco of Argentina lost to Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-2, 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.

V.S. Aug 27th, 2008 10:48 PM

Re: 2008 Us Open
Six in the mix: Race for women's No. 1 is wide open
By Douglas Robson, Special for USA TODAY
NEW YORK — If it seems like the No. 1 ranking in women's tennis is a game of musical chairs in which no one stays seated at the end, take solace. The top slot is that up for grabs.
For the first time since the computer rankings were introduced in 1975, six women could emerge from the U.S. Open with the No. 1 position — a record number of contenders heading into a major, according to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.
Three players control their destiny: No. 1 Ana Ivanovic, No. 2 Jelena Jankovic and No. 3 Serena Williams. A win and they would leave New York peering down on the rest of the field.

PHOTO GALLERY: Images from the U.S. Open
No. 4 Svetlana Kuznetsova, No. 6 Dinara Safina and No. 7 Elena Dementieva need to win or reach the final and get help from others to claim the top spot. (No. 5 Maria Sharapova is injured and not in the mix).

Dementieva, the Olympic singles gold medalist, says it's obvious why the scramble to the top so tight. "Because Justine is not here anymore," the Russian says of former No. 1 Justine Henin.
Henin's abrupt retirement before the French Open and her decision to remove her name from the rankings is certainly a big factor, because the Belgian had a sizable points lead.
"Justine was so far ahead of everybody else that we wouldn't be talking about this if she was still playing," Fed Cup captain and TV commentator Mary Joe Fernandez says.
But it's more complicated than that.
Injuries have affected everyone from Ivanovic (thumb) to Serena and Venus Williams (knees) to Jankovic (knee). The rolling 52-week ranking system, in which points drop off from the same week the year before, coupled with a reconfigured calendar because of the Beijing Olympics created some unusual results.
Serbia's Jankovic, for instance, blew several chances to ascend to No. 1 then found herself atop the rankings Aug. 11 a week after losing in the quarterfinals at Montreal. On Aug. 18, compatriot Ivanovic reclaimed the top ranking without even playing a match and is now the U.S. Open's top seed.
"It's kind of weird that they're switching week to week with no tournaments," says former No. 1 Lindsay Davenport, who defeated Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada 6-4, 6-2 Monday to reach the second round.
2007 U.S. Open runner-up Kuznetsova points out that becoming a dominant No. 1 takes more than avoiding injuries or benefiting from quirks in the calendar.
"Even people who don't have injuries have mental ups and downs," says the 2004 U.S. Open winner from Russia, whose career high ranking is No. 2. "That's normal. The life we live is hard, it's lonely, traveling all the time — a lot of things affect you."
The upshot is that this year the top ranking already has been passed around five times among four players (Henin, Sharapova, Ivanovic and Jankovic). That is the most since the 2005 season, when two players swapped it five times.
The all-time high since the advent of computer rankings in 1975 was eight changes among four players in 2002 and eight swaps among three players in 1995. That record could be in jeopardy.
"The following months are going to be changing a lot like this," said Kuznetsova, who advanced to the second round by defeating Shuai Zhang of China 6-4, 6-2.
By comparison, Roger Federer's extraordinary 237-week reign at No. 1 that ended Aug. 18 coincided with 14 changes among the women.
For surging players such as Safina, the confluence of events presents a golden, and perhaps unforeseen, opportunity.
"I don't think she thought in a million years that all of a sudden she'd be in that position," Fernandez says of the French Open and Olympic finalist, who hit a career high of No. 6 two weeks ago.
For the half dozen in the hunt, the U.S. Open is now a more critical springboard to finishing the year atop the rankings.
"Whoever wins here will probably go on and play well in the fall and most likely end the year at No. 1," Fernandez says.
Whether all the back-and-forth is good also is a topic of debate.
Davenport, who is back at the Open as a 32-year-old mother, said it was "unfortunate" and perhaps "confusing" to fans unaware of the computer's workings.
"I think for the fans, they don't really know … who's No. 1 this week or is it a big deal now or not?" the three-time major winner from California says.
Kuznetsova, 23, disagrees.
"It's wide-open, and I think it's interesting," she said. "Now it's unpredictable, and it's a good chance for everybody."
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V.S. Aug 27th, 2008 10:49 PM

Re: 2008 Us Open
Serena wins comfortably

Serena Williams made light work of her first-round US Open clash with Kateryna Bondarenko, winning 6-1 6-4 on Tuesday.
The fourth seed, who was runner-up at Wimbledon earlier this summer after losing to sister Venus, needed just 56 minutes to sweep aside the Ukranian at the Arthur Ashe stadium.
Incredibly, Williams did not drop a single point on her serve in the first set as she raced ahead inside 20 minutes, powering down 12 winners.
Bondarenko avoided a first-set whitewash by securing the fifth game, and she dramatically improved in the second set, winning her first four service games to hold the 1999 and 2002 US Open champion at 4-4.
Williams held serve with a sublime lob to go 5-4 and then saw out the match when the world number 46 hit a backhand long in the next game.

V.S. Aug 27th, 2008 10:50 PM

Re: 2008 Us Open
US Open quotes of the day

"When he plays his best, I would take everything what he has: his power, fighting spirit. I mean he reads the game very good, and when he plays he's the best everything. When he plays his worst game, then I don't need anything."
Dinara Safina on what she would most like to take from her brother Marat's game.
"I think forever I'm going to be his little sister.
Dinara Safina on whether she will ever be able to overshadow her brother - as she spends an entire press conference answering questions about her brother.
"I think if she will do everything opposite of what I've been doing throughout the years she will be number one in the world for a long time. That's as simple as it is."
Safin with some advice for sister Dinara
"It's like talking to the wall, the same thing. Doesn't make any difference, so what I can do? They want me to be happy and they want me to be great in the press room, like be nice, speak nice and all these things. Why should I?"
Safin is still seething about being called for a foot fault at the end of the fourth set against Vince Spadea. Safin won in five.
"It's stupid rules that somebody made it in, I don't know, 1850, and now they give me the problems with these things, and it shouldn't be that way."
Safin again. Still angry.
"I'm 28. I've been already on tour for 10 years, and I want to enjoy my tennis. I don't want to fight. I just want to have a nice match, win or lose, and go home. That's it. I don't want to face the foot faults and all these things."
Guess who?
"Rodney Dangerfield. Vinny Spade. That's like my alter ego, actually, my rap name."
Spadea considers changing his name to bring about a change in fortunes.
"The Spadea line has kind of like been downgraded to like hats and T?shirts on my website."
Spadea admits his clothing range hasn't quite taken off as planned.
"I don't even remember holding up the trophy. I didn't even know I won this tournament."
Has age caught up with 1999 and 2002 winner Serena Williams?
"The other thing I thought was weird too is the gymnasts are so much smaller than you actually think. On TV they're small, but when they walk in packs, looks like a group of second graders. They look about 14 and they're about 4'8"."
Sam Querrey shares his memories of the Olympic village.
"There was this guy, I think he's from Great Britain, playing badminton. Stocky guy. We were watching him on TV and he won. We were eating lunch and he walked in with a sleeveless shirt like he was the man of the Olympics. So kind of funny."
Another Beijing tale from Querrey.

Story from BBC SPORT:

V.S. Aug 27th, 2008 10:51 PM

Re: 2008 Us Open
August 26, 2008, 9:09 pm
Venus Williams Cruises Into Second Round

By JOSHUA ROBINSON Williams in action Tuesday night. (Jeff Zelevansky/Reuters)
Venus Williams began her campaign for a third Open singles title Tuesday night with a 6-2, 6-3 defeat of Australian Samantha Stosur and started on a collision course toward the quarterfinals where she could meet her sister, Serena.
At times, it was a clinical, ruthless display of power and confidence that sent a clear message to the rest of the women’s field. At others, particularly in the second set, the sluggishness from having played half a world away in the Olympics seemed to creep into her game.

Williams entered as the seventh seed because she has played so few events on the tour this year, in part due to a right knee injury. She was also seeded seventh at Wimbledon, where she reached the final at the All-England Club without dropping a set before beating her sister, Serena, to win her fifth championship there.
Wimbledon also provided the breezy, green setting for the previous meeting between Williams and Stosur, and perhaps Stosur thought it would be easier this time around. After all, that encounter came in the Wimbledon women’s doubles final when the Williams threat came in stereo. But even without her sister and doubles partner, Williams was never troubled.
Williams was aggressive from the start, lurking well inside the baseline on Stosur’s serve and charging the net with abandon. She broke Stosur in her three of her first four service games and three more times in the match. Stosur returned the punch once in the first set, but couldn’t deliver the shots on her other break points to capitalize.
Stosur found her groove — or something closer to it — in the second set and even stole a 3-1 lead after taking Williams’ serve. But Williams found another gear and muscled her way back to 3-3 and then to the victory.
“I knew she had a lot of ability, a lot of power,” Williams said of Stosur. “But that’s when I play my best, when I’m down.”
Both players were in Beijing earlier this month and both were unceremoniously ousted from the singles tournament. Williams lost in the quarterfinals while Stosur lost in the second round to Serena Williams. The difference was that Stosur and Raymond bowed out of the Olympic doubles tournament while the Williams sisters went on the win the gold medal.
“I’ve had the best summer ever,” Williams said after the match. “Of course we wanted to come here, but winning a gold medal and playing for your country, there’s no comparison.”
As always at the Open, there was great interest when Williams removed her warm-up jacket. In the past, she has modeled sequined getups and backless numbers, sometimes bordering on the outrageous, in the line of duty. But on Tuesday, she wore a simple black outfit.
As the saying goes, you can never go wrong with a little black dress and Williams didn’t. Though her crushing forehand, backhand and serve might have helped, too.

V.S. Aug 27th, 2008 10:52 PM

Re: 2008 Us Open
Serena Williams still bitter over treatment from umpires

20 hours ago
NEW YORK (AFP) — Eight-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams says the reason she doesn't have more US Open titles to her name is because the umpires and linesmen have ganged up on her in the past.
"One year I really ran into a lot of bad luck where I got the worst calls possible," said Williams who rolled to an easy 6-1, 6-4 win over Kateryna Bondarenko in her first round match at the 20.6 million dollar US Open on Tuesday.
"Honestly, I couldn't even hit a shot because I was so nervous they would call every ball out.
"That really wasn't my fault. I probably would have won that year, and I was gonna win that year. Unfortunately it didn't work out."
Williams won the US Open in 1999 and 2002 and has come close in other years. In 2004, she had an on court meltdown during a quarter-final loss to fellow American Jennifer Capriati.
Williams hit a backhand inside the sideline at deuce in the first game of the final set that was called good by the linesman but overruled by chair umpire Mariana Alves.
The umpire was eventually dismissed from the tournament and the organizers apologized to Williams for the blunder.
Some feel that was the driving force to bring in instant replay. "I think it's true," Williams said.
This was the first career meeting between Williams and 46th ranked Bondarenko.
The 26-year-old Williams continued her solid play this season on hardcourts by firing six aces en route to a victory in just 56 minutes on Tuesday.
Williams won 92 percent of her first-serve points, needing just 19 minutes to win the first set.
The fourth seeded Williams is one of three players in this event who have a chance to be ranked number one in the world if they can win the final major of the season.
Williams scoffed at suggestions that the Serbian duo Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic were dominating women's tennis this year. Ivanovic and Jankovic are the top seeds in New York and ranked one and two in the world.
"I can't sit here and say someone is going to dominate when I'm still playing tennis," Williams said.
Despite all her success over the years, she admits to moments of uncertainty.
"I'm definitely mortal," Williams said. "And, yeah, I do struggle with self doubt.
"Sometimes when I'm in a match I do get tight and I get nervous.
"I always try to think of like, you know, current players that can work through that, like (Rafael) Nadal and (Roger) Federer.
"If they can do it I can do it too. So it takes me out of that moment."
On making a run at this year's event she said, "I don't know because I keep losing matches I shouldn't lose."

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