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THAT’S A WRAP At the end of the summer, hundreds of professional tennis players converge on New York City to contend for the fourth and final Grand Slam tournament of the year: the US Open.
If you missed any of the excitement of this year’s tournament, never fear. In the following pages of Tennis Now’s US Open Wrap Up issue, we have the top news from all 15 days of the event, commentary and a gallery of our best photos from the tournament. I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to three professionals who helped Tennis Now cover the US Open comprehensively.
Whether it’s the heat and humidity, interruptions from the rain or late-night matches, reaching the final stages of the US Open can be a tall task for even the game’s best players.
james waterson editor
Natasha Peterson may have been held up in Cincinnati because of Hurricane Irene, but once she arrived in New York she worked tirelessly to enhance Tennis Now with her artistic and unique photography.
We were fortunate enough to have another photographer, Andy Kentla, supply us with his expertly framed shots of the top players, not only at the US Open but at other tournaments as well.
The first week of the tournament saw a series of highprofile upsets, including two of this year’s Grand Slam champions, Li Na and Petra Kvitova, as well as Maria Sharapova and Marion Bartoli.
Both Natasha and Andy epitomize professionalism in their craft, and we were very fortunate to work with them.
The men weren’t immune to the upset bug either, as Gael Monfils, Stanislas Wawrinka and even the Bryan brothers lost early.
Joe McDonald, our contributing columnist, stayed up until the early hours of the morning for two weeks writing articles that you just can’t find anywhere else. He manages to combine pop culture and tennis to create a very entertaining final product.
Yet, somehow, the cream always finds a way to rise to the top. This year was no exception.
Novak Djokovic outplayed defending champion Rafael Nadal in what was arguably the best match of the year to win his third Grand Slam event of the season, and Samantha Stosur became the first Australian woman in 31 years to win a major title. In short, this year’s US Open was momentous, thrilling and record breaking.
James Waterson email@example.com
Andy Kentla Natasha Peterson/Corleve Getty Images
Our gratitude also goes out to our dedicated and talented editorial team who made Tennis Now’s coverage of the US Open, and every tournament throughout the year, great.
Lastly, I send my warmest regards to you, the reader. Your interest and enthusiasm in the sport makes what we do possible, so please enjoy this magazine as a token of our appreciation to you.
Lauren Lynch Nick Georgandis Sean Bradley Robert Martin Ann Stark Dennis Bray
Front Cover: Stan Honda/Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
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WHAT’S INSIDE TOP 10 MOMENTS p.9
DAY BY DAY RECAP p.10–21
DONALD YOUNG COMES OF AGE
SUSPENDED IN TIME PHOTOS FROM THE US OPEN
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TOP 10 MOMENTS of the 2011 US OPEN Championship
Novak Djokovic wins his first US Open title against defending champion Rafael Nadal in a four-hour thriller.
Samantha Stosur becomes the first Australian woman to win a Grand Slam in 31 years.
Serena Williams makes the final despite being seeded 28th, her fifth trip to the Slam’s championship match.
The USTA remembers the events of Sept. 11. Queen Latifah performs a tribute prior to the women’s final.
First Lady Michelle Obama visits the US Open.
Four American men—Donald Young, Andy Roddick, Mardy Fish, and John Isner—reach the fourth round.
Three American women younger than 21 make it to the third round: Sloane Stephe ns, Irina Falconi, Christina McHale.
World No. 92 Angelique Kerber makes an incredible run to the semifinals.
Novak Djokovic is named a UNICEF Ambassador for Serbia.
Wheelchair champion Esther Vergeer wins her 39th Grand Slam—she’s unbeaten in singles since 2003.
DAY BY DAY RECAP
OH, TO BE 17 AGAIN Monday, August 29
Americans have long prided themselves on doing everything bigger and better, and the latest expansion to the USTA Billie Jean King
National Tennis Center is no exception.
To kick off the tournament, the USTA debuted destination court - No.
17 - much more of a miniature stadium than merely a court.
France’s Richard Gasquet and Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky got the
honor of christening the court with its first official match, which Gas-
quet won 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
The new court is a sight to behold: 2,500 seats, with an eventual ca-
pacity of 3,000, plus scoreboards at both ends, electronic line calling,
streaming TV and internet capacity cameras and even a view of trees behind the south end.
The trees actually presented a bit of a problem when the court was under construction, as the stadium didn’t want to obstruct them.
Construction workers dug down several feet to give Court 17 a sunken feel, similar to some larger sporting arenas.
That task revealed something unexpected: tons of obstacles in the
ground including multiple concrete fixtures that were remnants of the ground’s original tenant, the 1964-1965 World’s Fair.
ROUGH START Tuesday, August 30
As the defending champion and No. 2 player in the world, Rafael
Nadal certainly expected to be challenged at this year’s US Open— just not this quickly.
In the first round, he got all he could handle from No. 97 Andrey
Golubev, although he never lost a set. Nadal posted a 6-3, 7-6 (1), 7-5 victory, largely thanks to Golubev’s 59 unforced errors.
“All the shots, he was trying to do a winner in almost every shot,” Nadal said.
“It was difficult for me to find the rhythm. But, yeah, it’s a positive
start winning in straight sets, even if was unbelievable that I won
straight sets. But is a victory in straight sets. So happy for the victory.
Happy to come back here New York. I think I didn’t play that bad.”
MCHALE’S GRAVY Wednesday, August 31
When you’re not only an American, but also a native of nearby New
Jersey, you’re going to get a big reception at the US Open regardless
of how you play. When you also happen to shock the No. 8 player in the world—well, that’s just gravy.
Nineteen year-old Christina McHale stormed into the third round with a 7-6 (2), 6-2 win against eighth-seeded Marion Bartoli to become the darling of this year’s open.
“I knew that like I had to try,” McHale said. “I couldn’t play like any sloppy games. I had to try and compete really hard in the second
set because I knew she was going to try even harder, too, to get the
second set because she lost the first.
“When I went from 3-0 to 3 2, I was like, ‘C’mon, Christina, don’t let it get back to 3-3. That game was a big game to get it to 4-2.”
McHale isn’t any stranger to upsets.
Last month, she scored wins against World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki and two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, and she
opened her US Open campaign three-set victory against Aleksandra
Yet this win may have topped it off for the young American.
YOUNG&RESTLESS Thursday, September 1
The first eight months of Donald Young’s 2011 season were about an ill-advised tweet. Finally, on the first day of September, the
22-year-old American reminded people that he exists on the court as well.
He outlasted 14th-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka 7-6 (7), 3-6, 2-6, 6-3,
7-6 (1) to earn one of the most important wins of his career.
“Two sets to one down, it was kind of disappointing because I was up an early break in the second,” Young said.
He broke Wawrinka twice in the fourth set to force a decider, but
he was broken early in the fifth set. Down 4-1 in the fifth set, Young
rallied to the victory.
“I was just really happy to come through in the end.”
SHOCKING SHARAPOVA Friday, September 2
Having reached the finals of Wimbledon and the semifinals of the
French Open in her previous two Grand Slam tournaments, the smart money was on Maria Sharapova to win the US Open.
Flavia Pennetta had other ideas.
The 26th-seeded Italian took a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 victory as Sharapova
struggled to control her own power. She hit 60 unforced errors and
12 double faults en route to losing to Pennetta for the second time in a row.
“I made way too many unforced errors,” Sharapova said.
“I fought back to get myself back in the match in the third set. I think the first three, four games on every game I had a chance to win that
game, whether it was a break point or it was a game point on my serve, and I didn’t win those games.”
Pennetta recognized Sharapova’s struggles, saying “I starting to be
really aggressive when she was serving. I try to just let her think too much and maybe make some double faults.”
SEEDS OF DOOM Saturday, September 3
Victoria Azarenka worked hard to earn her fourth seed at the US
The result was a definitive statement of Williams’ return to promi-
But because the USTA seeds players strictly on ranking, rather than
How dominant was the performance? Williams led 5-0 after only 20
Open. To that end, she never expected to have to face a player of Serena Williams’ pedigree so early in the proceedings.
current performance, the recently healthy Williams was seeded 28th instead of vastly higher, leading her into a third-round collision with
one of the game’s top players.
nence in the sport, as she claimed a convincing 6-1, 7-6 (5) win to head into the fourth round.
minutes, and while Azarenka fought back valiantly in the second set, it was not nearly enough.
AUSSIE WARRIOR Sunday, September 4
Once ranked as high as fourth in the world, Samantha Stosur slid to
drawn-out second set, Stosur claimed the third set 6-3 to advance
was likely thinking she was in for a quick victory when she took the
“I lost track of the score. Didn’t know at one point if I was serving or
Australian would concede in the second-set tiebreaker, which Kirilen-
“Obviously, with all those challenges in the tiebreak as well, it was su-
ninth by the start of the US Open because of a first-round flameout
at Wimledon. Squaring off against No. 25 Maria Kirilenko, Stosur
opening set 6-2.
But Kirilenko wasn’t about to give up. Neither the Russian nor the
ko won 17-15, a new record at a women’s Grand Slam tournament.
Despite losing a tremendous amount of momentum in the
to her first Grand Slam quarterfinal of 2011. Stosur said that the tiebreaker was so long that she forgot what the score was.
receiving or when we should be changing ends, what was going on,”
per exciting. The crowd was really into it. Couldn’t really hear myself think at times because it was so loud.”
WITH A BULLET
Monday, September 5
Often called a paper champion because her No. 1 ranking is not
“It definitely gives you confidence to pull this match out. I felt like I
dropping the first set before rallying back for a thrilling 6-7 (6), 7-5,
““I think I handled the wind pretty well as well, so I’m just happy to
backed up by a Grand Slam title, Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki
showed her mettle against former top 5 player Svetlana Kuznetsova,
6-1 victory to propel herself into the quarterfinals.
Unforced errors were Kuznetsova’s bane as she committed 78, compared to 26 for Wozniacki.
played some good tennis out there. We had some unbelievable rallies at some points. I was moving very well,” Wozniacki said.
be through to the quarter-finals. I could have been sitting here and been out already. But I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved today.”
THE RAIN REIGNS
Tuesday & Wednesday, September 6–7
Mother Nature kept her all-time undefeated streak alive by wash-
ing out all but 15 minutes of play and making a number of players,
particularly defending champion Rafael Nadal, more than a bit testy
as they were shuffled on and off the courts. Nadal fell behind Luxem-
bourg’s Gilles Muller 0-3 in the first set of their match on Wednesday, but roared back on Thursday to take the match in three.
Eventually, order was restored and the tournament was extended
only one day, pushing the men’s final to Monday for a fourth con-
secutive year, and costing the female finalists a day off between the semifinals and the championship match.
FEDERER’S REVENGE Thursday, September 4
On Thursday, Roger Federer learned that revenge is very sweet
Tsonga’s 17 winners and 34 unforced errors. Perhaps most impres-
forward 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 victory.
The win set up yet another showdown against Novak Djokovic: their
indeed. In the quarterfinals, Federer avenged his losses at Wimbledon
and the Rogers Cup to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga with a surprisingly straight-
Despite the win, Federer wasn’t flawless. He broke Tsonga to go up
2-1 in the first set, only to drop his serve when play resumed after a rain delay at 3-2. Federer broke again to go up 5-4, and he played a
quick service game to close out the set.
The Swiss then claimed a 4-1 advantage before a string of errors led
to Tsonga breaking and holding to reach 4-3. Federer held his nerve,
though, as he broke back and finished off the set on his serve. Federer
played an excellent third set, as Tsonga had only one break-point
Altogether, he hit 29 winners to 30 unforced errors, compared to
sively, Federer won 45 percent of his returning points, which led to six breaks of serve.
ninth match at a Grand Slam tournament. Federer said he was excited to be playing Djokovic on such a big stage once again.
“He’s been having an amazing season so far, so it’s a challenge right
now in the men’s game. That’s what I like, who I like to play against,”
Federer said. “I think we’re both gonna play aggressive. He’s mov-
ing well since years now. He’s probably taken his game up to a bit of
a higher level, but mostly in terms of confidence I think. But I think
when we do play against each other it’s always exciting. We have
great rallies against each other. You know, I like playing against him because it’s a battle of the baseline a bit if you like,.”
NADAL BULLS RODDICK Friday, September 9
Before his showdown with Andy Roddick in the quarterfinal, Rafael
American could do. Nadal returned all of Roddick’s powerful serves,
than usual in his match against David Nalbandian in the third round.
The third set was more competitive, as Roddick earned his first break
Nadal looked vulnerable. He had to save numerous set points in his
first-round match against Andrey Golubev, and he made more errors
Yet in the fourth round, the Spaniard blitzed Gilles Muller, and the
signs were there that he was due to play a great match. And unfor-
tunately for Roddick, he happened to be Nadal’s opponent when the
World No. 2 found his game.
From the beginning of the match, it was obvious there was little the
and the Spaniard blasted winners from all areas of the court.
After little more than an hour, Nadal won the first two sets 6-2, 6-1.
points of the match, but he couldn’t prevent Nadal from breaking him
once and serving out the match.
The dominant result sent a message to the other players: Nadal had
found his game again, and it would take something extraordinary to keep him from winning the US Open title.
13 THE GREAT ESCAPE
Saturday, September 10
The phrase “the shot heard around the world,” has morphed from an
Djokovic won 17 of the next 21 points to book his spot in the final. For
American Revolutionary War reference to an excessively used sports
Federer, the match was a nightmarish déjà vu of last year’s semifinal,
After the match, Federer said he couldn’t understand how someone
cliché. But down 15-40 at 3-5 in the fifth set against 16-time Grand
Slam champion Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic gave us a shot that fits
Federer sliced a serve wide to Djokovic’s forehand, and the man who
back to win.
could play such a shot on match point.
can do no wrong this year drew his racquet back, rotated his body,
“I never played that way,” Federer said. “I believe in the hard-work’s-
how it happened,” Djokovic said. “I read his serve and I was on the
can you play a shot like that on match point. But, look, maybe he’s
and the Swiss double faulted on Djokovic’s second break point to
The win set up Djokovic’s sixth showdown in a final this year against
and ripped a crosscourt winner that clipped the sideline.
“The forehand return, I cannot explain to you because I don’t know ball and I had to hit it hard, and it got in, luckily for me.”
At 40-30, a Federer forehand clipped the net cord and dropped out, bring the No. 1 back on serve.
in which Djokovic also saved two match points in the fifth set to come
going-to-pay-off kind of thing, because early on, maybe I didn’t always work at my hardest. So for me, this is very hard to understand how
been doing it for 20 years, so for him it was very normal. You’ve got to
defending champion Rafael Nadal.
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14 STUNNING STOSUR Sunday, September 11
In a stunning display of controlled aggression, ninth-seeded Samantha Stosur won her first Grand Slam title after she defeated Serena
The decision angered the American, and the New York crowd got
ing many tournaments this year because of injury and illness.
composure and went on to win five of the next six games.
Williams 6-2, 6-3 in the US Open women’s final.
Williams was heavily favored going into the match, despite not playShe blitzed her way through the draw, beating former No. 1 Ana
Ivanovic in straight sets, as well as Victoria Azarenka and top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki in the semifinals, while Stosur had to battle through several long matches to reach the final.
Serena also had more experience on this stage, as she’s won 13 Grand Slam titles while Stosur, 27, had been in only one final.
Yet it was Stosur who looked like the more composed player from the beginning of the match.
She used her big forehand and great serve to keep Williams off bal-
ance, and she closed out the first set after 31 minutes.
At 30-40 in the first game of the second set, the chair umpire deduct-
ed Williams a point because she screamed “c’mon” during a point.
on her side. For the next two games, Williams blasted winners past
Stosur. Yet, facing 15-40 on her serve at 1-2, the Australian kept her
“I’ve played matches where I feel like I played lights out, can’t miss
a ball, and, you know, it’s fantastic, but to do it under these circum-
stances in this kind of final against a player like Serena, for sure I’m
gonna think it’s one of the best days of my career, of my life of playing,”
With the win, Stosur became the first Australian woman to win the US Open since Margaret Court did in 1973.
“I’m still kind of speechless,” Stosur said. “I can’t actually believe I won
this tournament. I guess to go out there and play the way I did is obvi-
ously just an unbelievable feeling, and you always, you know, hope and you want to be able to do that, but to actually do it, is unbelievable.”
DJOKER, SMOKER, MIDNIGHT TOKER Monday, September 12
It was a match that had it all, contested between the two best players
of the year. There were blistering groundstroke winners, deftly carved drop shots, and punishing rallies that left both players hobbled at the
end of the more than four hour match.
Yet it was the indomitable Novak Djokovic who won the day, beating de-
“I think that actually helped me to get into the rally better, because he was expecting maybe a bit stronger serve so he was returning short
and I was taking my chances. I had to make the points very short,
because it’s obvious that he is the one that’s physically fitter than me
on the court today after the third set was done.”
fending champion Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-1 in Monday’s final.
The final result was a fitting end to a season dominated by Djokovic.
the first and second sets.
in six of those finals, and dethroned him from his No. 1 spot.
From the first point, Djokovic showed the willingness to go for his
shots and execute his game plan, even when he was down a break in
He also showed remarkable mental strength in recovering from being broken while serving at 6-5 in the third set to come back and win the fourth set against a weary Nadal.
Especially so because he struggled with back pain at the end of the
final set, and he received medical treatment after he held his first ser-
vice game. Even after that, his service speed suffered, which Djokovic said may have been a good thing.
He won the Australian Open, his first Wimbledon and US Open title,
as well as five Masters Series tournaments. The Serb defeated Nadal
His success this year puts him level with Jim Courier and Guillermo
Vilas for Grand Slam titles (four), and he is one of five men in the Open Era who has won three major titles in one year.
“It’s definitely going to take a lot of effort to try to repeat even half of
what I have done this year for next year. Look, I’m trying to enjoy the present, enjoy this moment, and then I will think about future later,”
SCAN WITH YOUR SMART PHONE TO SEE MORE OF DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA BEHIND THE SCENES
VINDICATION Donald Young Comes of Age by James Waterson
Donald Young knows a thing or two about
expectations, and after his five-set win against Stanislas Wawrinka in the second round of the US Open, he may know something of vindication as well.
As a 15 year old, Young won the Australian Open junior title, and later that year he became the youngest year-end World No. 1 as a 16 year old. His early success spawned a well-publicized sponsorship deal with Nike and an early attempt at a pro career. He received wildcards as early as 2005, and for years tennis writers and pundits wondered: When would Young finally break through? After several years, the question became: Would it ever happen? Why isn’t he succeeding yet?
“I think I got (all of the attention) when I was 15, 16. But, you know, at the time it’s great, you know, people are really wanting you to win and they really want you to win. To get attention obviously, you know, when you’re younger you’re kind of excited about it. At least I was. I can’t speak for everybody,” Young said.
“When it doesn’t happen you’re really disappointed, more so because you want to win yourself. Then you start thinking about what are people thinking when you’re playing, you know, and that’s definitely not the way to go about it.” In 2008, Young broke the top 100 for the first time in his career. He reached a career-high No. 73, but he couldn’t quite push beyond that mark. The questions continued and Young started questioning his path.
“You know, at times you don’t [want] to I mean, I think every player when they lose I match is, I quit. This is the worst tennis I ever played in my life and it’s over,” he said. “I got to the point when that was happening quite a bit and I really wanted it to stop. Honestly, plan B would have been to go to school. My friends have a lot of fun at school, and I thought I was missing out.” And then, this year happened.
Young fought his way through qualifying and beat Andy Murray to reach the third round in Indian Wells. He then advanced to his first ATP Tour semifinal at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington D.C., where he beat Jurgen Melzer and Marcos Baghdatis before losing to eventual champion Radek Stepanek.
Those wins gave the American the belief that, yes, he could compete on the top level.
“I feel like, you know, I haven’t won that many matches, but in D.C. and this year I’ve had the biggest wins in my career and I put together matches in a row. It was quite tough for me to put together two, three in a row,” he said.
“That’s a big thing. I could win one match and not another. When you put matching together in a row against players of this caliber, it gives you confidence and you feel like you belong.” That belief helped him come back from a 2-1 set deficit and 1-4 down in the fifth set to beat Wawrinka, and it carried over into his match against Chela.
His confidence also may have been bolstered by a training session with Pete Sampras earlier this year. “We practiced together a couple times. Played a game of 21. He beat me. He let me know that wasn’t good. And he talked and called me a little princess and everything,” Young joked.
five-set match against a man who reached the Australian Open quarterfinal. He went on to beat another top 30 player, Juan Ignacio Chela, next to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career.
Although he lost to Murray, millions of tennis fans watched Young’s coming of age story play out in the first week of the US Open. And it’s these kinds of results that propel a young player to achieve even greater things.
“ I’m starting to feel like my
“When he was driving off, he was like, I expect to hear some big things from you. That made me sit back like, Wow, Pete Sampras just said he expects me to do some big things. That gave me a lot of confidence and pushed me to work even harder.” The end result was that Young won his first career
game is coming together.
Yeah, people do it at their own time. Not everybody does it when everybody expects it to be done,
I wish it could have been earlier. It’s starting to come now and
I’m excited about it.
SUSPENDED IN TIME
ennis is a game of split-second decisions. In a three-hour match, the result is often
decided by the player who makes the best
choice in the high-pressure moments. In this image
taken by Natasha Peterson, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga prepares to hit a forehand against Mardy Fish. What
happens next could determine the outcome of the match.
Thatâ€™s the beauty of photography: a moment can be forever immortalized with the outcome unknown.
Tsonga could miss the next shot, which may lose him the set, or he hit a winner on break point. Great tennis photography leaves the viewer wondering what comes next, and the anticipation can be very exciting.
With that said, Tennis Now is proud to present
our collection of the most memorable photos of the US Open.
Maria Kirilenko hits a forehand to American teenager Christina McHale
in the third round of the US Open. Kirilenko ended McHaleâ€™s surprise run, beating her 6-2, 6-3. Photo Credit: Natasha Peterson/Corleve.
Serena Williams faced a potentially tough path to the final, as she had to face World No. 4 Victoria Azarenka in the third round, former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic and top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki to reach the final. She beat them all in straight sets before falling to Samantha Stosur in the final. Photo Credit: Natasha Peterson/Corleve.
Unlike Serena, Stosur had to fight through three marathon matches to
reach the final. In addition to becoming the first Australian woman to win a major title in 31 years, Stosur lost a 32-point tiebreaker, the longest
womenâ€™s tiebreaker in Grand Slam history, to Maria Kirilenko in the fourth round. Photo Credit: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images.
Novak Djokovic entered the US Open as the clear favorite. Heâ€™d won the
Australian Open and Wimbledon earlier in the year, had recently become No. 1, and he beat Rafael Nadal, who he took the top spot from, in five
finals this year. Although he looked on edge throughout the US Open, he
proved his status as the No. 1 when he took down an in-form Nadal in the
final. Photo Credit: Andy Kentla.
Nadal won three Grand Slam titles last year, including the US Open, only
to have Djokovic disrupt his season by beating him in six finals. Although
his confidence appeared shaken, Nadal summoned his best tennis against Andy Murray in the semifinals. Unfortunately for the Spaniard, his best wasnâ€™t good enough against his Serbian nemesis in the final. Photo Credit: Natasha Peterson/Corleve.
Natasha Peterson captures Djokovicâ€™s movements during his match
against Alexandr Dolgopolov. Photo Credit: Natasha Peterson/Corleve.
Ana Ivanovic hits a forehand during her match against Serena Williams.
Ivanovic refused to be intimidated by the younger Williams sister, but her serve let her down and she lost in straight sets. Photo Credit: Natasha Peterson/Corleve.
Eager young fans try their best to get an autograph after a night match at the US Open. Photo Credit: Natasha Peterson/Corleve.
Maria Sharapova, one of the top contenders to win the US
Open title, strikes a forehand during her loss to Italyâ€™s Flavia
Pennetta in the third round. Sharapova hasnâ€™t advanced past the fourth round since she won the title in 2006. Photo Credit: Natasha Peterson/Corleve.
Donald Young receives a standing ovation from the
crowd during his match against Juan Ignacio Chela. Young won the match, and advanced to the fourth
round of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career. Photo Credit: Natasha Peterson/Corleve.
Top Right: Christina McHale hits a
forehand during her straight-set upset
of Marion Bartoli in the second round. McHale was one of several young
American women to advance to the end of
the first week.
Photo Credit: Natasha Peterson/Corleve.
Bottom Right: Chinaâ€™s Peng Shuai stretches
for a backhand return in her match against
Julia Goerges. Peng went on to lose to Flavia
Pennetta in the fourth round.
Photo Credit: Natasha Peterson/Corleve.
Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion, returned to
Flushing Meadows after missing the 2010 tournament because of
injury. Although Del Potro won his first two rounds in dominant
fashion, Gilles Simon outlasted him in the third round. Photo Credit: Natasha Peterson/Corleve.
Rafael Nadal towels off during his match against Andrey Golubev in the first
round. Nadal faced set points in the second and third sets, but he rallied both times to win in straight sets.
Photo Credit: Natasha Peterson/Corleve.
Rafael Nadal shows his intensity during his match against Andy Murray in the semifinals. Photo Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images.
Five-time US Open champion Roger Federer strikes a forehand during his dominant performance against Juan Monaco in the fourth round. Federer went on to avenge his Wimbledon quarterfinal loss to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga before falling to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images.
A beautiful wide-angle shot of the menâ€™s final on day 15 of the US Open. Photo Credit: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images.
AMERICAN HOPE Melanie Oudin & Jack Sock Win Mixed Doubles by Joe McDonald
Meet America’s newest sweethearts: Melanie Oudin and Jack Sock.
Yes, that’s the very same two you are thinking of. Sock is the 18 year old from Nebraska who reached the second round of the US Open, and Oudin is the very same girl who stormed to the quarterfinal in 2009. And besides sweethearts, you can also call them champions after their improbable run in mixed doubles, beating the Argentinian team of Gisela Dulko and Edwardo Schwank 7-6 (4), 4-6, 1-0 (8) to give America its first win in the US Open.
“It’s pretty cool,” Oudin said. “Just we kinda can’t believe that we actually won a Grand Slam. Like, I have a title now. Especially because like we said, we didn’t even know if we were going to be able to play mixed doubles here because we didn’t know if we would get a wildcard.”
The two decided to partner up this year despite never playing together before. Sock turned pro a few months ago, while Oudin was looking for someone to play with. It worked and they really clicked on the court during the past week as the duo used their strengths to their advantages while complementing each other on the court.
“It was actually like really easy playing together, because we’re really comfortable with each other,” Oudin said. “It kind of worked really well because he like jokes a lot when we’re playing and he keeps me relaxed, and sometimes that’s what I have been having trouble with, is staying relaxed playing.”
For Sock, this was the first time he’s played mixed doubles on the tour and never played most of these doubles teams. He said it was different for him playing with a girl because of the way women play. “I think obviously it’s different
don’t have the same type (of play) sometimes they’ll stay back or something or not move as much,” Sock said. Yet that doesn’t mean they were totally clueless out there as they hit balls with some of the players.
“You’re out there playing tennis still,” he added. “I mean, like the Americans I knew Bob (Bryan) a little bit; I played Bob before. She has obviously practiced and played with Liezel (Huber). Generally don’t know much about them, but you just go out and play and try to have a good time and see how it goes.”
It also helped that both players had experience in Ashe before. Sock played against Roddick in the second round, while Oudin was on the big bowl back in 2009. This prevented any Ashe shell shock that young players experience.
“I haven’t played this tournament probably as much as her or as many matches,” Sock said. “But I think for me being able to play probably last year playing in the juniors for the full week and being able to play on the weekend probably made it more comfortable for me. And playing last year in the first round of the men’s it was definitely more comfortable for me this year to just go out and play and not have the same nerves or anything.
“It’s the American slam, so I think most Americans probably feel pretty comfortable.”
Oudin added: “Of course I have lots of memories from a couple years ago playing there. It’s definitely nice every time I walk on the court. I think about everything. But it was great to have another win on that court, especially with Jack, who I know pretty well. And, yeah, I mean, it’s very exciting for us.”
So now it’s time to celebrate. Both players still have bright futures ahead of them in singles, but now they are a force in mixed doubles.
If they can get in to Australia as a wild card they will play that slam. Otherwise expect them back next year to defend their title.
And by that time, America’s sweethearts may have more championships to talk about.
HUBER& RAYMOND DOUBLES CHAMPS
Another pair of Americans, fourth-seeded Lisa Raymond and Liezel Huber, defeated defending US Open champions Vania King and Yaroslava Shvedova 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3) to win their first Grand Slam title as a team.
King and Shvedova were within three points of the championship three times, but they couldn’t close the deal.
“We really relied on our experience today and sticking together,” Raymond, who won the US Open doubles title in 2001 and 2005, said. “Even when we were down when they were serving for the match. Just grinded it out, and now we’re sitting here as US Open champions.” The win elevates Huber to the World No. 1 doubles ranking, putting her above Kveta Peaschke and Katarina Srebotnik.
“I’m speechless, really,” Huber said after finding out. “I think that ranking definitely doesn’t define you as a person.”
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