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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Seeds, Russians (save Anna) drew high marks during Open's first week

Posted: Monday September 1, 2003 12:40PM; Updated: Monday September 1, 2003 2:31PM

NEW YORK -- -- Venus. Serena. Pete. Monica. The first few days of the 2003 U.S. Open were* as much about who was out of the tournament than*they were*was about who was in. But this may in fact be a disguised blessing. It has made it easier to showcase the preposterous gifts of Roger Federer, the charm of Younes El Aynaoui, the crisp ball-striking of Kim Clijsters, the vast potential of Rafael Nadal, Dmitry Tursunov, Dinara Safina and Maria Kirilenko. Plus, seven days into the event, there have been no notable upsets -- which all but guarantees a compelling second week.

At the halfway point, we issue the following midterm marks. All grades are based on the Ohio State Buckeyes football curve. If you're not happy with your grade, we'll administer an oral exam. Just approach us after class and let it be known that you're an athlete.

A:

Pete Sampras: Got the grand sendoff he deserves without hijacking the event. Well done.

Top seeds: Who can recall the last time all but one of the top eight men's and women's players won during Week 1?

Mary Pierce: Playing her best tennis in three (injury-filled) years.

Taylor Dent: Serve-and-volley tennis lives on after all? Wildly entertaining win over Fernando Gonzalez could serve as a turning point in Dent's career.

Nannies: What with the success of fathers Andre Agassi, Todd Martin, El Aynaoui and Jonas Bjorkman, these will be a good few weeks for child-care providers.

Russian women: Five made the round of 16.

The doubles team of Francoise de Quincampoix and Irina Trina Karina Zalutskaya-Koukinova: The Holding Court hosts are, in a word, fabulous.

Jarrell Benevides: If there's a better ballkid out there, we haven't see him.

The crowds: Even with the glaring absences of star players, attendance hit record highs.

A-

Tamarine Tanasugarn: Perpetually overshadowed by countryman Paradorn Srichaphan, the Thai veteran makes strong run to fourth round. Now if only she'll remember: it takes six games to win a set.

B+

Mother Nature: She must have stock in G.E. and Disney. After gorgeous conditions during the first five days, the rains came in lockstep with the weekend CBS coverage.

USA: Quality of on-air "talent" runs the gamut from exceptional to exceptionally painful; but the hours of coverage are generous and the network has done an admirable job cutting away to compelling matches on the lesser courts.

B:

Ashley Harkleroad: We like the fighting instincts and blue collar game; but results still lag behind the considerable hype.

Ivan Ljubicic: As strong as he played against Roddick, his post-match rant was feeble.

Maria Kirilenko: Still needs seasoning -- but remember the name.

Rafael Nadal: See above.

Dmitry Tursunov: See above.

B-

English players: Granted, Tim Henman drew Roddick off the bat and didn't play poorly; but when was the last time there were no Brits left in the draw after Round 1?

C:

Chanda Rubin: A legitimate contender on paper, she came out flatter than Kansas and was out of the singes draw before the tournament was 90 minutes old.

Daniela Hantuchova: It's hard to believe she was a Top 5 player at the start of the year. Both mentally and physically -- and the two are intricately tied -- some serious upgrades are in order.

Concessions prices: Nothing says inclusion quite like an $8 burger.

Food nazis: Can we send the tough guy we saw threatening to eject a 70-year-old woman for bringing a sandwich to a tennis match on a trans-Atlantic business trip with that Cooper guy from the Expedia commercial?

Anna Kournikova: She's getting perilously close to celebrity boxing territory.
 

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I'm pretty sure it's the kid Flavio had words with while he was being drummed by Andy the other day. The ballkid was all over the place retrieving Andy's winners and Flavio's errors.

Anyone else have any other candidates?
 

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I agree! What little I saw of her on TV was very impressive!

I'm going to differ with Jon on Ashley, though. Two years ago she was over hyped. But, since she's made it clear she's serious about her game, I think the media has left her alone and she's progressing nicely under the AER. I never thought she'd win a major at 16. :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
jmp, I agree about Ashley, but he did give her a "B", so I don't think he's putting her down. I think I'd give her a B too; it's hard to justify giving her a better grade than that.
 

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I was impressed with Ashley.
I didn't realize that she could play that steady. I have a vivid image of the Serna match at the French. She outplayed Vera D.
 

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I like this report card thang. :)

Before the US Open I woulda given Pete an F cuz I thought he shoulda retire right after he won the US Open last year and then to drag this ish out for a year I was like wtf. :fiery: But then I checked my self after that ceremony for Pete cuz I realized why homeboy waited so long. He wanted to go out at the Open with his wife, his kid, his parents and sistas and brothas all there. He always bored the ish outta me cuz he didnt show much personality and I was sick of his ass winnin everything but when I seen him cry last week and holdin up his son I was like go head Pete. Enjoy your new life boo. :worship:
 
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