US 11- Mid-Round Musings
With the semifinals set, it's obvious that the middle rounds were all about Russians and Williamses... oh, and a certain chaos-loving Serb.
=MID-ROUND AWARDS - 3rd to QF=
TOP PLAYER: Serena Williams/USA
...yep, she definitely has that "look" right now. (RU: Elena Dementieva/RUS)
RISER: Dinara Safina/RUS
...her moment of truth has arrived. (RU: Jelena Jankovic/SRB)
SURPRISE: Sybille Bammer/AUT
...seven-year old Tina should be proud of her mom for reaching her first career slam QF. (RU: Raquel Kops-Jones/Abigail Spears, USA/USA)
VETERANS: Cara Black/ZIM & Liezel Huber/USA
...both individually, and in combination. (RU: Flavia Pennetta/ITA)
FRESH FACES Madison Brengle/USA & Melanie Oudin/USA
...soon to be the next-great-hopes? (RU: Coco Vandeweghe/USA & Gail Brodsky/USA)
DOWN: Svetlana Kuznetsova/USA
...2004 seems like a lifetime ago. (RU: Arantxa Rus/NED)
COMEBACK: Anna-Lena Groenefeld/GER
...welcome back, ALG... err, I mean 'Last Qualifier Standing.". (RU: Lisa Raymond/Samantha Stosur, USA/AUS)
BEST MATCH THE LIKES OF WHICH WE WERE HOPING FOR FIVE YEARS AGO: QF - S.Williams d. V.Williams 7-6/7-6.
...after all this time, the sisters seem to have finally figured out how to put their love aside and play each other on the court as opponents. They're three-for-three in compelling matchups in 2008, with a combined three tie-breaks (plus a 7-5 set) and one match overcome after being down match point (Serena's win in Bangalore) -- a first in the now-seventeen match series.
WHERE'S MOMMY?: It took Sybille Bammer three hours and five minutes to put away Marion Bartoli in the 4th Round. It was the longest women's match in U.S. Open history.
DOES SAFINA'S COACH GET AN EXTRA PAYCHECK?: After he talked her down after she complained of exhaustion before her 4th Round match against Anna-Lena Groenefeld, maybe he should add "sports psychologist" to his title.
DIDN'T YOU USED TO BE...?: Svetlana Kuznetsova? Yeah, everyone likes her and all, but at some point she's got to start living up to the talent, right? Since she won the Open in '04, she's had one runner-up in Flushing... but also 1st Round, 3rd Round and 4th Round exits.
ALWAYS THE ZOMBIE QUEEN, NEVER THE BRIDE: Sure, she spent 7:36 on the court during her first four matches, but Jelena Jankovic is still alive and kicking... and having weird mental lapses occur with not only her opponents, but also the chair umpire. She couldn't actually walk the tightrope a little while longer in one of the wildest title-runs in slam memory... could she?
AND FINALLY...: Serena Williams is looking more and more like she'll have the last word in the women's competition, one way or another. If she takes her ninth slam title, she'll reclaim the #1-ranking for the first time since 2003, becoming the fifth different player to hold the spot this season (a new WTA record). She's already reached her first U.S. Open SF since 2002... so the trends are in her favor.
=DAY 11 NOTES=
In the only Main Draw singles match in the Day Session, Roger Federer won a tight, but mercifully three-set QF over qualifier Gilles Muller, 7-6/6-4/7-5. He'll face the winner of tonight's Djokovic/Roddick match.
...AWARDS UPDATE: with Cara Black & Leander Paes becoming the first champions crowned today, winning the Mixed doubles final over Liezel Huber & Jamie Murray, Black earns the "Doubles Star" award. Black & Huber have yet to play their Doubles SF against Anabel Medina-Garrigues & Virginia Ruano-Pascual, with Lisa Raymond & Samantha Stosur awaiting the winner in the final.
...in juniors 3rd Round action, the American girls continue to make their presence known. Coco Vandeweghe dumped Katarzyna Piter, while Melanie Oudin (over Asia Muhammad) and Madison Brengle (Christina McHale) notched wins over fellow Americans to reach the QF. Brengle will face off with Oudin in the next round in a match that will surely generate a good bit of interest at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center... especially for a Girls quarterfinal.
Four of the final eight in the Girls draw are Americans, and three Americans remain in the Boys competition. While the U.S. has seven in the combined Final 16, no other country has more than one. Maybe this group of youngsters really ARE going to amount to something.
*CAREER SLAM FINALS - ACTIVE*
13...Venus Williams (7-6)
11...SERENA WILLIAMS (8-3)
7...Lindsay Davenport (3-4)
4...Maria Sharapova (3-1)
3...Ana Ivanovic (1-2)
3...Svetlana Kuznetsova (1-2)
2...ELENA DEMENTIEVA (0-2)
1...DINARA SAFINA (0-1)
1...Marion Bartoli (0-1)
ALSO: Mary Pierce (2-4)
*2008 WOMEN'S SLAM SF - BY NATION*
*2008 GIRLS/BOYS QF - BY NATION*
7...United States (Brengle, Britton, Brodsky, Buchanan, Oudin, Vandeweghe. Williams)
1...Venezuela (Paz Franco)
*"DOUBLES STAR" WINNERS*
AO: Yan Zi/Zheng Jie, CHN
RG: Lisa Raymond/Samantha Stosur, USA/AUS
WI: Yan Zi/Zheng Jie, CHN
US: Martina Navratilova, USA
AO: Liezel Huber, RSA
RG: Katarina Srebotnik, SLO
WI: Cara Black, ZIM
US: Nathalie Dechy, FRA
AO: Alona Bondarenko/Kateryna Bondarenko, UKR
RG: Anabel Medina-Garrigues/Virginia Ruano-Pascual, ESP
WI: Samantha Stosur, AUS
US: Cara Black, ZIM
*LAST HOME PLAYER STANDING - 2008*
AO: Casey Dellacqua, AUS (4th Rd.)
RG: Alize Cornet & Emilie Loit, FRA (3rd Rd.)
WI: Anne Keothavong & Elena Baltacha, GBR (2nd Rd.)
US: Serena Williams, USA (in SF)
*LAST HOME NATION CHAMPIONS*
AO: Chris O'Neil, 1978
RG: Mary Pierce, 2000
WI: Virginia Wade, 1977
US: Serena Williams, 2002
AO: Mark Edmondson, 1976
RG: Yannick Noah, 1983
WI: Fred Perry, 1936
US: Andy Roddick, 2003
#4 S.Williams def. #6 Safina in 2
...Safina has to hit the wall sometime this summer, and the odds are that it'll probably be here. Even so, don't expect it to be easy for Williams. Safina beat Serena earlier this year. But that was on clay in Berlin, before Serena lost at Wimbledon and got that eye of the tigress. As good as The Russian Cat has been, if Serena is "Serena" she should bully her way through since it'd be hard to see her having a letdown after defeating Venus since lasting longer than her sister was never her ultimate goal coming into New York.
#5 Dementieva def. #2 Jankovic in 3
...truthfully, you could never put anything past either of these two. They're both great movers, while Dementieva might actually have the more effective serve (bite my tongue) if her nerves don't throw off her toss and the rest of her motion goes with it. Jankovic is more of a defensive player, while Dementieva's groundstrokes allow her to be more offensive on a point-by-point basis. Hmmm, this could be good. If their nerves get the best of them, this could be the most rollercoaster match you'll ever see in your life. If they don't, it could be great. Going against the "Jankovic gravitational pull theory," I'll give Dementieva the slight edge.
*WOMEN'S SINGLES SF*
#6 Dinara Safina/RUS vs. #4 Serena Williams/USA
#5 Elena Dementieva/RUS vs. #2 Jelena Jankovic/SRB
*MEN'S SINGLES SF*
#1 Rafael Nadal/ESP vs. #6 Andy Murray/GBR
#8 Andy Roddick/USA or #3 Novak Djokovic/SRB vs. #2 Roger Federer/SUI
*WOMEN'S DOUBLES FINAL*
#1 Black/Huber (ZIM/USA) or #5 Medina-Garrigues/Ruano-Pascual (ESP/ESP) vs. #10 Raymond/Stosur (USA/AUS)
*MEN'S DOUBLES FINAL*
#7 Dlouhy/Paes (CZE/IND) vs. #2 Bryan/Bryan (USA/USA)
*MIXED DOUBLES FINAL*
#5 Black/Paes (ZIM/IND) def. Huber/J.Murray (USA/GBR) 7-6/6-4
*GIRLS SINGLES QF*
Gail Brodsky/USA vs. #12 Kristina Mladenovic/FRA
Coco Vandeweghe/USA vs. #11 Tamaryn Hendler/BEL
#5 Elena Bogdan/ROU vs. Gabriela Paz Franco/VEN
Madison Brengle/USA vs. #2 Melanie Oudin/USA
*BOYS SINGLES QF*
#1 Yang Tsung-Hua/TPE vs Rhyne Williams/USA
#3 Grigor Dimitrov/BUL vs. Chase Buchanan/USA
Filip Krajinovic/SRB vs. #4 Henri Kontinen/FIN
#11 Cedrik-Marcel Stebe/GER vs. Devin Britton/USA
*GIRLS DOUBLES SF*
Mallory Burdette/Sloane Stephens (USA/USA) vs. #5 Richel Hogenkamp/Arantxa Rus (NED/NED)
#3 Noppawan Lertcheewakarn/Sandra Roma (THA/SWE) vs. Beatrice Gumulya/Jessy Rompies (INA/INA)
*BOYS DOUBLES SF*
#6 Peerakit Siributwong/Kittipong Wachiramanowong (THA/THA) vs. Nikolaus Moser/Cedrik-Marcel Stebe (AUT/GER)
Marcelo Arevalo/Alex Llompart (ESA/PUR) vs. #2 Henri Kontinen/Christopher Rungkat (FIN/INA)
TOP QUALIFIERS: Yaroslava Shvedova/KAZ & Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova/CZE
TOP EARLY ROUND (1r-2r): Venus Williams/USA
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): Serena Williams/USA
TOP LATE ROUND (SF-F): xxx
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q3: #15 Olaru/ROU def. #22 Larcher de Brito/POR 6-2/6-3
TOP EARLY RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 2nd Rd. - #2 Jankovic/SRB def. Arvidsson/SWE 6-3/6-7/7-5
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): QF - #4 S.Williams/USA def. #7 V.Williams/USA 7-6/7-6
TOP LATE RD. MATCH (SF-F): xxx
FIRST SEED OUT: #24 Shahar Peer/ISR (1st Rd.-Li Na)
UPSET QUEENS: Chinese
REVELATION LADIES: Slovaks
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: Anna-Lena Groenefeld/GER (4th Rd.)
IT GIRL: xxx
MS. OPPORTUNITY: xxx
COMEBACK PLAYER: Anna-Lena Groenefeld/GER
CRASH & BURN: #1 Ana Ivanovic/SRB (lost 2nd Rd to #188 Coin)
ZOMBIE QUEEN: Jelena Jankovic/SRB (7:36 on court in first four matches)
LAST AMERICAN STANDING: Serena Williams/USA (to SF)
DOUBLES STAR Cara Black/ZIM
JUNIOR BREAKOUT: xxx
All for Day 11. More tomorrow.