Venus Leads First U.S. Open All-American Semis Since 1981

Venus Williams reacts after defeating Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic during her Women’s Singles Quarterfinal match . Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

For the first time since 1981, the U.S. Open women’s semi-finals will be an all-American affair with seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams and three first-Slam-title hopefuls in the mix.

Williams, seeking her third U.S. Open crown after 2000 and 2001, will face Sloane Stephens while 20th seed CoCo Vandeweghe and 15th seed Madison Keys collide in Thursday’s matches at Arthur Ashe Stadium, with the winners meeting Saturday for the championship.

“It’s pretty awesome,” said Keys after completing the foursome with a 6-3, 6-3 victory Wednesday over Estonian qualifier Kaia Kanepi.

“I thought it would be a really special moment. I’m happy I helped out and got my name in there.”

No matter who advances, it will set up the first all-American US Open final since 2002, when Williams lost to younger sister Serena.

“It has been a great two weeks for American tennis, seeing all the American players in the draw and all of them advancing so deep and competing so well,” Williams said.

“It’s great to see this resurgence and I hope it can continue.”

US ninth seed Williams, enjoying one of her finest seasons at age 37, is leading the charge. This year’s Australian Open and Wimbledon runner-up is the US Open’s oldest semi-finalist and the oldest in any Slam since Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon in 1994.

“It’s such a wonderful feeling because you put in so much work to be able to succeed at these moments,” said Williams, on the verge of making three Slam finals in a year for the first time since 2002.

Williams and Stephens in a showdown of African-American stars at Arthur Ashe Stadium show the namesake barrier-breaker’s dream of tennis racial diversity is alive in the 20th anniversary season of the world’s largest tennis venue.

“It’s great for American tennis. It’s great for African-American women,” Stephens said. “I hope that we keep it going.”

Ashe, the first black man to win a Grand Slam title when he captured the 1968 US Open, battled racism and bigotry with grace and patience until his death in 1993.

“He’s a total legend,” Williams said. “He played during a time where he couldn’t just focus on the tennis. I’m very blessed to be able to focus on my game. But he had to fight because of the color of his skin.

“It was a completely different time. So I can’t even imagine the pressure he was under. To come out of it with grace, as a champion, it’s incredible.”

Williams, whose first Slam final was on Ashe 20 years ago, will return to the world top five for the first time since January 2011, her highest level since being diagnosed with the strength-sapping illness Sjogren’s Syndrome.

Stephens, who missed 11 months with a left foot injury before returning at Wimbledon, beat Williams in the first round of the 2015 French Open in their only prior match.

“She’s a great player, a great person. She’s a great leader,” Stephens said. “I’m happy she’s still playing. She means a lot to the game.”

Stephens, ranked 83rd, has matched her deepest Slam run from the 2013 Australian Open.

“If someone would have told me when I started at Wimbledon that I’d be in the semifinals, I would have said they’re crazy,” Stephens said.

– Nervous car ride for Keys –

Vandeweghe eliminated Czech world number one Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 before Keys, who is 2-0 against Vandeweghe, shook off nerves to win.

“I was real nervous,” Keys said. “The car ride over I was definitely feeling it but once I got out here I felt really good.”

Vandeweghe’s best Slam charge was into this year’s Australian Open semi-finals while Keys made her deepest run to the 2015 Australian Open semi-finals.

In 1981, Americans Barbara Potter, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and eventual winner Tracy Austin reached the final four.

The latest US players have looked to Venus, Serena, Lindsay Davenport and Jennifer Capriati as role models.

“We wanted to be those same players in a later generation. Now that we’re older, we can put that into words, but we all wanted to be there,” Vandeweghe said.

AFP

Venus Williams And Kevin Anderson Progress At U.S. Open

Venus Williams rolled back the years to knock out Petra Kvitova and set up a U.S. Open semi-final clash with unseeded compatriot Sloane Stephens in New York on Tuesday, remaining on track for a place in her third grand slam final of 2017.

The 37-year-old needed 154 minutes and plenty of grit to down a battling Kvitova 6-3 3-6 7-6(2) as she kept alive her hopes of winning her first major since Wimbledon in 2008.

Williams, who won two of her eight grand slam titles at the U.S. Open in 2000 and 2001, began slowly and was down 3-1 before breaking Kvitova’s serve twice to take the first set.

Kvitova, on the comeback trail after sustaining a career-threatening injury during a home invasion late last year, hit back to force a third set but was unable to match her opponent’s composure in the decisive tiebreak.

Williams closed out the match to the delight of a noisy crowd at Arthur Ashe stadium but found time to pay tribute to her Czech opponent immediately after her triumph.

Venus Williams said “You know, when the situation get hairy, and it’s crazy out here, I try to tell myself to enjoy the competition and enjoy the battle, and I think I was able to do that tonight. Thank you guys for being here with me and seeing me through.”

Next up for Williams is another comeback kid in 16th seed Sloane Stephens, who only began her season at Wimbledon after foot surgery sidelined her for nearly a year.

Kevin Anderson spoiled the American party at the U.S. Open when the big-serving South African beat local favourite Sam Querrey 7-6(5) 6-7(9) 6-3 7-6(7) to reach his first grand slam semi-final in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The two big servers could not manage a break in the opening set and Querrey, who was hoping to be the first American male to make it to the last four here since Andy Roddick in 2006, moved 5-2 up in the tiebreaker but Anderson then played more freely and won five points in a row to take the lead.

There was an early exchange of breaks in the second set with Querrey opening a 6-1 lead in the tiebreak before suffering another meltdown and finding himself trailing 8-7.

This time, however, the 17th seed regrouped and equalised on his eighth set point when Anderson returned long, triggering a huge roar from the crowd.

But the stands gradually cleared up as the match was sent deep into the night.

Anderson got a decisive break in the sixth game of the third set as Querrey struggled with his first serve and the South African held twice, finishing it off with a forehand winner down the line to lead two sets to one.

The fourth set was tightly contested again and went into another tiebreak.

Querrey saved a first match point with an ace at 6-5, set up a set point at 7-6, which Anderson staved off by forcing his opponent to slice a backhand into the net.

The second match point was good enough for Anderson, who dominated the rally until Querrey’s forehand sailed long.

The 31-year-old Anderson, seeded 28th, will face Spanish 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busta for a spot in Sunday’s final.

U.S. Open: Del Potro, Federer Set For Quarter-Final Showdown


Roger Federer (L) and Juan Martin Del Potro (R). Image: Wikimedia

Juan Martin Del Potro produced a stunning comeback against Austrian Dominic Thiem on Monday to reach the U.S. Open quarter-finals in New York where he will meet Swiss Roger Federer, who beat Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber in straight sets.

The Argentine 24th seed, who lifted the trophy in New York in 2009 against Federer, came from two sets down to beat Thiem 1-6 2-6 6-1 7-6(1) 6-4 win on Grandstand court.

De Potro, whose career has been plagued by multiple injuries, called for the doctor twice during the opening set and looked to be on his way out at 2-0 down, but a break early in the third set gave him the extra confidence he needed to believe in his chances.

After winning the fourth set tiebreak with a blistering crosscourt forehand, the Argentine wrapped up victory when Thiem double-faulted on match point after three hours, 37 minutes of play.

Federer crushed Kohlschreiber 6-4 6-2 7-5 in just one hour, 49 minutes without facing a break point.

Unbeaten by the German in 11 matches prior to Monday’s clash, Federer started quietly and was content to feel out his opponent but it was not long until he turned up the pressure and broke his opponent with a thundering forehand before wrapping up the first set.

With the match on serve at 2-1, razor sharp Federer tore through six successive games to take the second set and go 1-0 up in the third.

With Kohlschreiber on the ropes, the 36-year-old Swiss seemed to ease up but he took the decisive break at 6-5 before closing out the match with a classic forehand winner.

If there was one worry about the Swiss in the one-sided contest, it was the sight of him leaving the court before the start of the third set to receive treatment on a back that had given him problems in the run-up to the grand slam.

Federer, however, downplayed the timeout, jokingly saying:

“I just needed s bit of a rub on my back, or my bottom, my… And I didn’t want to do it on court, and I wanted… whatever, I wanted to get it done as quickly as possible so Philipp wouldn’t have to wait!”

Nadal To Face Andrey Rublev In U.S. Open Quarters

Rafel Nadal (L) , Andrey Rublev (R)

World number one Rafa Nadal reached the quarter-finals of the U.S. Open for the first time in four years with a 6-2 6-4 6-1 victory over Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov on Monday.

Two-time U.S. Open winner Nadal is on course to win his second grand slam of the year after sealing the French Open title in June.

Russian teenager Andrey Rublev will play Nadal in the quarter-finals after beating ninth seed David Goffin 7-5 7-6(5) 6-3.

Rublev becomes the youngest man to reach the U.S. Open quarter-finals since Andy Roddick in 2001.

Although Rublev betrayed his young age with a couple of outbursts, it was nonetheless a mature performance from the 19-year-old as he set up an intriguing final eight showdown with world number one Nadal.

Top seed Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic dropped a single game as she beat American Jennifer Brady 6-1 6-0 in less than 50 minutes to progress to the quarter-finals.

The world number one, who lost to German Angelique Kerber in last year’s U.S. Open final, will face U.S. player CoCo Vandeweghe who beat Lucie Safarova later in the afternoon.

U.S. Open: Officials Cancel 44 Matches Due To Rain

Spectators make their way through the rain on Day Two of the 2017 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 29, 2017. Abbie Parr/Getty Images/AFP

 

Steady rain prompted US Open officials to cancel 44 singles matches and postpone completion of 11 others under way when showers halted play Tuesday on the New York hardcourts.

Reigning French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko’s first-round match against Spain’s Lara Arruabarrena was under consideration to be moved under the roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium for completion.

The Latvian 12th seed led the Spaniard 6-2, 1-6, 3-1 when rain halted their match.

A US Open statement said weather forecasts predicted “continuous rain throughout the remainder of the day,” prompting the wipeouts of outer court matches.

US Jennifer Brady is protected from the rain during her Qualifying Women’s Singles match at the 2017 US Open Tennis Tournament on August 28, 2017 in Flushing Meadows, New York. DON EMMERT / AFP

Still on the schedule were night matches sending 19-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer of Switzerland against US teen Frances Tiafoe and US 15th seed Madison Keys against Belgium’s Elise Mertens.

World number one Rafael Nadal’s first-round match against Serbian Dusan Lajovic was in the first set on Ashe when the decision was made to end outer court play for the day.

The roof on Ashe was closed after the first set of the day’s opening match — world number one Karolina Pliskova’s win over Magda Linette of Poland.

AFP

Nadal Tops ATP Charts For Second Week

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal attacks the U.S. Open which starts on Monday as world number one for the second week running.

The Spaniard took over the ATP rankings summit last week for the first time since July 2014.

The 31-year-old, aiming for his second Grand Slam of the season in New York after his success in the French Open, tops the latest ATP charts released Monday with 7645 points.

The top 10 were unchanged with Andy Murray, who pulled out of the US Open on Sunday with a hip injury, in second and Roger Federer third.

ATP rankings on August 28

1. Rafael Nadal (ESP) 7.645

2. Andy Murray (GBR) 7.150

3. Roger Federer (SUI) 7.145

4. Stan Wawrinka (SUI) 5.690

5. Novak Djokovic (SRB) 5.325

6. Alexander Zverev (GER) 4.470

7. Marin Cilic (CRO) 4.155

8. Dominic Thiem (AUT) 4.030

9. Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 3.710

10. Kei Nishikori (JPN) 3.195

11. Milos Raonic (CAN) 2.870

12. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 2.690

13. Roberto Bautista (ESP) 2.525 (+2)

14. David Goffin (BEL) 2.525 (-1)

15. John Isner (USA) 2.425 (-1)

16. Jack Sock (USA) 2.345 (+1)

17. Nick Kyrgios (AUS) 2.325 (+1)

18. Tomas Berdych (CZE) 2.310 (+1)

19. Pablo Carreno (ESP) 2.225 (-3)

20. Lucas Pouille (FRA) 2.210

AFP

Stan Wawrinka To Miss Rest Of 2017 Season Due To Injury

U.S. Open champion, Stan Wawrinka, will not defend his title in New York later this month and will also miss the rest of the season due to a knee injury, the Swiss said on Friday.

The 32-year-old battled with the injury throughout the grasscourt season and was knocked out in the first round at Queen’s and at Wimbledon.

“I am sad to announce that after talking with my team and doctor I had to make a difficult decision to undergo a medical intervention on my knee,” Wawrinka posted on Facebook.

“This was the only solution to make sure I will be able to compete at the top level for many more years.

“I also want to take this opportunity to thank my fans for sending plenty of messages of support during the last couple of days. I will see you all in 2018!”

The world number four had already announced on Wednesday that he was withdrawing from the Rogers Cup, that begins Monday in Montreal and the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati due to injury.

Wawrinka joins world number five Novak Djokovic on the sidelines, with the Serb also missing the rest of the season due to an elbow injury.

World number one Andy Murray, who is struggling with a hip problem, is also a major doubt ahead of the final grand slam of the calendar year, which begins on Aug. 28 at Flushing Meadows. The Briton withdrew from the Rogers Cup on Thursday.

Djokovic To Miss U.S. Open Championship – Report

Former world number one, Novak Djokovic, is in doubt for the U.S. Open due to his elbow injury, Serbian media reported, citing the country’s Davis Cup team doctor.

Djokovic retired hurt during the quarter-finals at Wimbledon and said he was considering taking a break from playing to recover from the long-standing injury to his right elbow.

Serbia’s Sportski Zurnal reported that the 30-year-old could face up to 12 weeks on the sidelines.

“He has a bruised bone due to excessive playing,” it quoted Zdenko Milinkovic as saying.

“Novak is in Toronto undergoing some further tests with specialists.”

The 12-times grand slam champion won the U.S. Open in 2011 and 2015. This year’s tournament begins on Aug. 28.

Read Also: ITTF Names Quadri, Shao Top Seeds For Nigeria Open

 

Koepka Wins U.S. Open

Courtesy: Reuters

The winds of change were blowing at the U.S. Open on Sunday as Brooks Koepka sailed to a four-stroke victory at Erin Hills, making it the seventh consecutive major that has crowned a first-time winner.

A changing of golf’s old guard has been underway for some time but the 117th U.S. Open signaled that it can be considered complete with neither Phil Mickelson and/or Tiger Woods teeing up at major for the first time since the 1994 U.S. Masters.

Fans now run to see Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day, the youth movement having firmly taken hold.

Koepka, South Korea’s Kim Si-woo, Japan’s Hideki Matusyama, Englishman Tommy Fleetwood and Americans Brian Harman and Rickie Fowler were the names battling for major glory on Sunday, rather than the likes of Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink and Ernie Els.

Sentiment and nostalgia will always find a place on the leaderboard, as 37-year-old Sergio Garcia showed by notching his first major win at the Masters in April, while 50-year-old Wisconsin-native Steve Stricker provided an emotional touchstone in an Erin Hills swan-song.

But the year’s second major belonged to the young guns who tackled the longest layout ever for a U.S. Open.

Koepka, who looks as if he would be at home in a National Football League huddle, held firm against buffeting winds and crushing pressure to claim a sensational four-shot victory over Harman and Matsuyama.

The muscular American, who started the day one back of the lead, tamed his nerves and a wind-whipped course, carding six birdies, including two to kick-start his round, against a single bogey for a five-under 67.

Koepka’s winning total of 16-under equals the lowest score to par for a U.S. Open, matching Rory McIlroy’s victory at Congressional in 2011 on a par-71 layout.

After days of being humbled, Erin Hills turned nasty for the final round as heavy winds pummeled the links-style layout adding an intriguing wrinkle to the year’s second major.

But Koepka would not be blown off course producing a near-flawless final round, subduing the winds with a mix of power and precision.

“Obviously the wind picked up and I felt like that played right into my hand,” said Koepka, who considers himself a good ball-striker and good putter.

β€œAnd I felt confident all week, so to feel as confident as I did on a Sunday of a major and coming down the stretch was pretty neat.”

One of golf’s biggest hitters, the 27-year-old also demonstrated a killer instinct along with a deft touch with the putter, rolling in a monster 41-foot birdie putt at the eighth.

Dufner Happy With Memorial Win, Looking Forward To U.S. Open

Jason Dufner saved the best for last, biding his time through a late lightning delay before sinking a 32-foot putt to win the Memorial tournament in Ohio on Sunday, June 4.

It was the longest putt Dufner had holed all tournament and completed an epic comeback for the American, who earned a three-stroke victory over compatriot Rickie Fowler and India’s Anirban Lahiri at Muirfield Village in Dublin.

He carded a 68 to finish at 13-under-par 275, becoming the second Ohio-born player to win the prestigious event after Jack Nicklaus, the tournament’s host and founder.

“Being a champion now, it’ll be very special for me to look back and know that I’m a part of an event that Mr Nicklaus puts on out here on the PGA Tour,” Dufner said.

A day after shooting a miserable 77 to turn a five-stroke lead into a four-shot deficit on Saturday, Dufner roared back in the final round for his fifth PGA Tour victory.

Dufner’s victory was not as comfortable as the final margin might suggest.

He had to wait out a weather delay of more than an hour after his drive had settled into thick rough at the par-four 18th. His lie was so bad that when play resumed he could not even scythe a wedge back to the fairway.

However, his ball found a better lie in lighter rough and he punched his third shot to the middle of the green.

While there was no pressure on the long putt, Dufner sank it anyway.

Fowler, meanwhile, bogeyed the last to shoot 70 and ended up tied for second with Lahiri, whose 65 was the day’s best score.

Overnight leader, Daniel Summerhays double-bogeyed the last to finish six shots behind after a 78.

Caroline Wozniacki Win Sevastova To Reach U.S. Open Semi-Final

Caroline-WozniackiFormer world number one, Caroline Wozniacki, has reached the semi-finals of the U.S. Open, with a ruthless 6-love 6-2 win over Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova.

Sevastova, the first Latvian to reach a grand slam quarter-final, saw her U.S. open hopes come to a painful end when she rolled her ankle chasing down a ball on Wozniacki’s opening serve.

After watching Sevastova crash to the court and then get up, Wozniacki said she had taken no chances with a spot in the semi-finals on the line.

The next game will be her fifth US Open semi-final.