US 8- It was Seventeen Years Ago Today...
...Jimmy Connors taught the fans to play.
He'd been going in and out of style
But he was guaranteed to raise a smile...
All right, so it wasn't EXACTLY seventeen years ago TODAY -- it WAS Labor Day 1991, but it was actually September 2nd, not the 1st -- that Connors' magically improbable U.S. Open run reached the zenith of its surreal power on the brash one's 39th birthday with a back-from-the-brink 4th Round win over Aaron Krickstein, but it's close enough.
Of course, the latest Backspin Time Capsule centered around Connors' '91 exploits will be posted tomorrow, but after the mess that constituted CBS' coverage on Labor Day 2008 I just wanted to remind myself how good things COULD be.
All right, I'm over it now. On with things from Day Eight.
=DAY 8 NOTES=
Well, if the over/under for Severine Bremond's total games won against Serena Williams tonight was two then she more than accomplished her goal, doubling up in a 6-2/6-2 loss. Truthfully, though, one sort of got the feeling that Serena was nearly lulled to sleep by the lack of competition in the match (save for a few anxious moments at 4-2 in the 2nd when Williams was down 15/40 on serve) and was just trying to get through to Wednesday night's QF meeting with Venus without getting her red outfit too sweaty.
Maybe Bremond had the foresight to order room service at the hotel before she left for the National Tennis Center. It should be waiting for her when she gets back to her hotel room... and it'll still be warm, too, unless those final few games in the 2nd set pushed the chicken dish past the point of no return.
...oh, about the aforementioned CBS coverage. I don't know, apparently they only had one set of camera people working on Labor Day, since the only matches that were shown were on Ashe Stadium. Even while the Fish/Monfils match degenerated into an uncompetitive snoozer, and the tight 1st set of the Safina/Groenefeld match was discussed by the CBS announcers (they actually mentioned how much better it was than the match they were covering), we never got any actual live coverage of that match. Safina ended up winning 7-5/6-0... at least one set of which would have been nice to have seen made the air.
Seriously, did CBS hire all the old ESPN2 producers and directors? The network's U.S. Open coverage used to be so great because it actually managed to keep abreast of all the matches that were taking place simultaneously. Now, we apparently only get matches featuring American players from the biggest court on the grounds.
Actually, about the only thing that I got a kick out of on CBS today (though the Rafa Nadal/Sam Querrey match was at least interesting, even if it never really got to the level of "compelling") was Mary Carillo becoming the first person I've heard finally use the so-obvious-it's-criminal-that-it-didn't-come-into-practice-two-seasons-ago-like-it-did-at-Backspin moniker "A-Rad" for Agnieszka Radwanska during her match with Venus Williams. At least there was SOMETHING entertaining going on there, since Venus pretty much blasted through her as she has all her other opponents, 6-1/6-3. That all-Williams QF is going to be must-see viewing.
...as for the night coverage on USA Network? Well, considering it was shifted mid-way through the Murray/Wawrinka match to CNBC to make room for WWE Monday Night Raw, there's little to say that wouldn't be laced with contempt. Cute move, people. Yeah, it IS most definitely time for USA to get off the stage.
...just by being pushed A LITTLE, Nadal actually looked mortal against the 20-year old Querrey today, winning "just" 6-2/5-7/7-6/6-3. That potential SF matchup with either (probably) Andy Murray or Juan Martin del Potro just got a little bit more interesting (as did the most-definitely-on QF meeting with his-play-has-to-slack-off-soon-right? Mardy Fish).
BUT if Nadal were to win this title, that would mean he's pulled off consecutive titles at Roland Garros, Wimbledon, the Olympics and the Open. He'd go into 2009 with the shot to become the first to achieve over two seasons what Steffi Graf did in 1988 -- sweep all four slams and Olympic Gold. Graf's accomplishment was easily dubbed the "Golden Slam." But what would a potential five-event Rafa run be called? "Rafa's Golden Slam" is too much of a cheat, not to mention sounding like a two-for-one dinner special at Denny's.
...in the other Women's Round of 16 match, Flavia Pennetta put an end to Amelie Mauresmo's under-the-radar hopes of making a splash in New York. The Italian won 6-3/6-0.
...two of the top four Men's Doubles seeds -- #1 Nestor/Zimonjic and #4 Bhupathi/Knowles -- were bounced from the tournament today in the 3rd Round.
...in juniors, American Devin Britton knocked out Boys #2-seed Bernard Tomic, the Aussie who won the junior title at the Australian Open in January. In the Girls, Jelena Jankovic's 1st Round victim, Coco Vandeweghe, knocked out #13-seed Elena Chernyakova, while Quirine Lemoine (love that name) did what fellow Dutch #1-seed Arantxa Rus failed to do yesterday -- win her 1st Round match. She defeated one of the Romanian Bogdans, Ana, who's the #6 seed.
...AWARD UDATES: with the QF set, Jelena Jankovic seals up "Zombie Queen" honors after having made it this far after spending 7:36 on the court over the course of her first four matches. Naturally, JJ is now a two-time winner. Meanwhile, "It Girl" nominees are pretty slim considering the veteran nature of most of the remaining women in the draw. I suppose Dinara Safina will likely get the honor for the second time in 2008, unless an American junior girl puts on a run similar to Laura Robson's at Wimbledon. As for "Ms. Opportunity," the contenders are far too numerous to count. Needless to say, the list includes pretty much everyone not named Williams.
...and, finally, I just saw the schedule for Night Nine, and the Jankobot-5200 will be booted up and ready for action against Sybille Bammer. With a little luck, she won't need to soak in the oil bath for two hours after another overtime session, either. It's nice to say that Queen Chaos will become the first non-American to get a night session encore at this year's U.S. Open.
*2008 WOMEN'S SLAM QF - BY NATION*
[at US Open]
6...United States 
*SLAM "ZOMBIE QUEENS"*
2007 W:I Venus Williams, USA
2008 AO: Jelena Jankovic, SRB
2008 RG: Dinara Safina, RUS
2008 WI: Nicole Vaidisova, CZE
2008 US: JELENA JANKOVIC, SRB
*JANKOVIC - TIME ON COURT BY MATCH*
1st Rd. - def. Vandeweghe (:57)
2nd Rd. - def. Arvidsson (2:44)
3rd Rd. - def. Zheng (2:09)
4th Rd. - def. Wozniacki (1:46)
TOTAL TIME: 7:36
*MULTIPLE 2008 US OPEN NIGHT MATCHES*
2...Andy Roddick, USA (2-0)
2...Serena Williams, USA (2-0)
2...James Blake, USA (1-1)
2...Lindsay Davenport, USA (1-1)
NIGHT NINE: Jankovic (1-0) and Roddick play again
*LONG 2008 WTA WIN STREAKS*
18...Maria Sharapova, January-March
17...Serena Williams, March-May
15...Dinara Safina, July-August
12...Dinara Safina, May-June
11...Tamarine Tanasugarn, June
10...ELENA DEMENTIEVA, AUGUST-CURRENT
10...Sara Errani, July-August
10...Venus Williams, June-August
*WOMEN'S SINGLES QF*
#16 Flavia Pennetta/ITA v. #6 Dinara Safina/RUS
#4 Serena Williams/USA v. #7 Venus Williams/USA
#5 Elena Dementieva/RUS vs. #15 Patty Schnyder/SUI
#29 Sybille Bammer/AUT vs. #2 Jelena Jankovic/SRB
*WOMEN'S DOUBLES QF*
#1 Black/Huber (ZIM/USA) v. #8 Yan/Zheng (CHN/CHN)
Kops-Jones/Spears (USA/USA) v. #5 Medina-Garrigues/Ruano-Pascual (ESP/ESP)
Cibulkova/Razzano (SVK/FRA) v. #4 Srebotnik/Sugiyama (SLO/JPN)
#10 Raymond/Stosur (USA/AUS) vs. Erakovic/Kostanic-Tosic (NZL/CRO)
*MEN'S DOUBLES QF*
Lindstedt/Nieminen (SWE/FIN) v. #7 Dlouhy/Paes (CZE/IND)
M.Gonzalez/Monaco (ARG/ARG) v. Soares/Vemic (BRA/SRB)
Robredo/Roitman (ESP/ARG) v. Lopez/Verdasco (ESP/ESP)
Kas/Petzschner (GER/GER) v. #2 Bryan/Bryan (USA/USA)
*MIXED DOUBLES QF*
#5 Black/Paes (ZIM/IND) def. Uhlirova/Damm (CZE/CZE)
Petrova/Bjorkman (RUS/SWE) def. Stubbs/Lindstedt (AUS/SWE)
Pennetta/Vemic (ITA/SRB) v. Craybas/Butorac (USA/USA)
Huber/J.Murray (USA/GBR) v. #2 Srebotnik/ZImonjic (SLO/SRB)
#6 Safina d. #16 Pennetta in 2
#4 S.Williams d. #7 V.Williams in 3
#5 Dementieva d. #15 Schnyder in 2
#2 Jankovic d. #29 Bammer in... umm, well, I'll SAY 2
TOP QUALIFIERS: Yaroslava Shvedova/KAZ & Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova/CZE
TOP EARLY ROUND (1r-2r): Venus Williams/USA
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): xxx
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): xxx
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: xxx
DOUBLES STAR xxx
JUNIOR BREAKOUT: xxx
All for Day 8. More tomorrow.
TOMORROW: Backspin Time Capsule: 1991 U.S. Open