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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Tennis: US OPEN 2009 FLASHING MEADOWS


2141: Sam Querrey is through to the third round after beating fellow American Kevin Kim 7-5 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 6-4 and Serena and Venus Williams have won their first US Open doubles match for eight years, beating Spain's Arantxa Parra Santonja and Germany's Julia Goerge 6-2 6-2.
2138: Er, did I really just say 'no sign of the finish line yet'? Shvedova breaks Jankovic to love and will serve for the match next...
2136: Sorry about that Jelena. After me tipping her to go on and win this match, Jankovic's bid for a second-successive break saw her fail to win a point off the Shvedova serve. We're at 4-4 in the decider - and no sign of the finish line yet...
From Jess in Nottingham, via text on 81111: "Re 2015. Obviously Oudin is a big fan of Noel Edmonds' 90s friend. I think we should applaud her brave decision to stage a walking homage to La Blobby! (Plus secretly I quite like them.)"
2133: Eighth seed Nikolay Davydenko is under way against Jan Hernych on Court Seven. Well, it's 3-3 so they are quite well under way to be honest. Jankovic seems to have perked up since breaking back and, after holding easily enough, will be looking to repeat the trick here. Shvedova has just banged down an ace of 114mph, though, so that might not be easily done.
2129: I suppose that's a way to break Shvedova - with a scorching backhand winner into the corner at 15-40. We're all-square again in the decider... now, does anyone want to pick a winner?
From Ray in London, via text on 81111: "I have tickets for the Sunday day session on Ashe, BUT can't make head or tail of the scheduling - its not like good old Wimbledon! Any idea who might be playing?"
Er, no!
2125: But Jankovic remains a break down on Ashe, now trailing 3-2. She served well enough in that last game but needs to find a way to break Shvedova. And soon.
2122: It's looking good for the Williams sisters in their doubles match on Grandstand Court. Venus and Serena are 6-3 4-2 up against Spain's Arantxa Parra Santonja and Germany's Julia Goerge.
From Matt in Swansea, via text on 81111: "Re 2015. Mr Blobby was pink and yellow i think so no not a good combination."
2110: Querrey did take that third set in the end, he leads 2-1, and him and Kim are with serve at 3-2 in the fourth. Bad news for Janko, though, she's been broken again in the decider and trails 2-1.
2059: At a set down and 3-3 in the second-tie-break, Jankovic, last year's runner-up, was on the brink of defeat against Shvedova. Her response was to go on the attack, and despite a double-fault, Janko took four of the next five points to take the second set 7-6 (7-4). We're into a decider.
From Callum in Swindon, via text on 81111: "Re 2015. Oudin's trainers look like she's tried to emulate Rafa's colours from the French Open in one piece of clothing."
2055: More ups and downs for Jankovic. She had two more set points at 6-5, but instead was broken. We're into a tie-break now and, at 3-3, she has got to start producing the goods, sharpish.
2050: A bit of Andy Murray news for you now - his second-round match against Paul Capdeville will be the third match on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Friday. The first match is Vania King v Daniela Hantuchova then, not before 1800 BST, Serena Williams plays Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez. Murray is on after that, so should be on court for around 2000 BST by my reckoning.
2046: Elena Dementieva after crashing out of the US Open at the hands of Melanie Oudin: "I was really hoping to play well here but I just didn't feel the way I should feel. The match today was not exciting. She was not afraid. She was playing very aggressively, really enjoying this atmosphere, the crowd support and really going for the winners. It's just the beginning, but it looks like she has a good future."
2041: Still lots of work to do for Jankovic - two set points come and go at 5-4 and, instead, Yaroslava Shvedova breaks to level up the second set.
From anon, via text on 81111: "Re 2015. The only pink and yellow combination I can think of is rhubarb and custard sweets. So.... yes definitely a good combination!"

2034: There's an all-American 'little and large' battle going on at Louis Armstrong Stadium. 'Little' is 5ft 11in Kevin Kim, the world number 100, 'large' is 6ft 7in Sam Querrey, the world number 22. They shared the first two sets but Querrey is 5-3 up in the third. The home fans can't lose there, though, they have got something to shout about whoever wins.
2029: Janko's not finished yet though. She's just broken back and the second set is back on serve at 4-3. Elsewhere, Serena and Venus Williams have just started their first US Open doubles campaign for eight years, against Spain's Arantxa Parra Santonja and Germany's Julia Goerges. The Williams sisters won this title in 1999, and are already a break up, leading 2-0.
2024: Hmmm. Things are definitely not looking good for Jelena Jankovic against Yaroslava Shvedova - she's just been broken in the second set and now trails 6-3 4-2.

Great...or garish?2015: So, we're all agreed we are thoroughly impressed by American teenager Melanie Oudin today - she also beat Jelena Jankovic at Wimbledon this year so her win over Elena Dementieva was no fluke. I'm not so sure about her trainers though - does pink and yellow really go so well? Your thoughts please...
2010: A quick reminder. If you tune into BBC Radio 5 live now, you will hear their hour-long US Open tennis special live from Flushing Meadows, featuring Anne Keothavong, Andy Murray's mate Ross Hutchins and John Lloyd.

2004: And Fernando Verdasco is through too - the 10th seed only dropped six games as he swept past France's Florent Serra - including a bagel, hence the graphic. Verdasco's next opponent is Tommy Haas, that one should be a corker.
1958: Crikey, it's certainly been a good day for the home fans at Flushing Meadows. Jesse Witten, who caused an upset in the first round when he thumped 29th seed Igor Andreev, has repeated the trick with a 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 7-5 6-2 win over Maximo Gonzalez of Argentina. Witten, who had never won an ATP Tour level match before this week, is ranked a lowly 276th in the world - he will play either Novak Djokovic or Carsten Ball in round three.
1955: Will we see another contender tumble out of the women's draw today? We might you know. Jelena Jankovic is broken for a second time after seeing a forehand sail long and Yaroslava Shvedova has got the first set in the bag 6-3.

1949: Yep, Caroline Wozniacki is through to round three thanks to a thumping 6-1 6-0 win over Croatian qualfier Petra Martic - she will play Sorana Cirstea in round three.
1944: I'll be honest, I've not seen much of Yaroslava Shvedova, the world number 55, before now. First impressions? She likes to attack, a lot, and it's working against Janko - the fifth seed has been broken early in the first set and trails 3-2. And Wozniacki is closing in on a bagel - she's 6-1 5-0 up on Martic and serving for the match.
"The only line longer than the one for the burgers is the one at Court 11 where Jesse Witten is doing USA proud; 2-1 and a break up v Maximo Gonzalez."
1930: World number 70 Melanie Oudin on her shock win over Elena Dementieva: "I just went out like any other match, I played my game and I believed I could beat her. I can't believe I got through. The whole experience was amazing.
1925: Er, speaking of top women players who are yet to win a Grand Slam, stand up last year's US Open runner-up Jelena Jankovic. The Serb has just started her second-round match against Yaroslava Shvedova on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
"Oudin showed guts and courage but most importantly she showed a lot of class and completely outplayed Dementieva who many were tipping to go far in this tournament."
1918: Phew. After all that excitement I think it's time to catch up with what's going on around the courts at Flushing Meadows. Ninth seed Caroline Wozniacki has just taken the first set 6-1 against Petra Martic, while Petra Kvitova did the same against Tathiana Garbin - the winner of that one plays Dinara Safina in round three. One result for you too - Romania's Sorana Cirstea beat Canada's Stephanie Dubois 6-4 5-7 6-4.
1914: So, Elena Dementieva's wait for a first Grand Slam title goes on. A shame, and a big surprise, to see her go out so early after such a good year (she reached the semi-finals in Australia and Wimbledon) but Melanie Oudin fully deserved that win. Don't forget she was in tears midway through the deciding set because of her thigh injury.
1907: Top seed Dinara Safina after her unconvincing victory over Germany's Kristina Barrois, her second scrappy win this week: "I served three aces in one game and three double-faults in the next one - I am not consistent with my serve so it makes it difficult for me. But I am still in the tournament and it is good when you win and you have so much room to improve."
BBC Radio 5 live's Jonathan Overend tweeting from Flushing Meadows: "Safina's court time for first two matches - 4 hrs 48 minutes...What a struggle, but she gets the win."
1902: You want a shock? I'll give you a big one - Dementieva is out. Melanie Oudin needs three match points before sealing a brilliant 5-7 6-4 6-3 victory with a big serve out wide. She raises her arms in triumph and is given a terrific reception by the home crowd - the 17-year-old plays Christina McHale or Maria Sharapova next.
1859: Dementieva holds but that doesn't really matter too much. Oudin will serve for a place in round three.
1857: A solid hold for Melanie Oudin, who I will remind you is 17 and the world number 70. She leads 5-7 6-4 5-2 and is one game away from beating Elena Dementieva. The fourth seed serves to stay alive next (not literally, as I'm not sure that would be a good idea in women's tennis).
From TeleKemis on 606: "I love guts and courage and Oudin has it in spades. Impressed me at Wimbledon and doing the same here. Well done."
1853: Don't write Oudin off just yet, mind. She has just broken again to lead 4-2 in the decider and the home crowd on Arthur Ashe Stadium are loving this.
From Jinadine on 606: "Chris, are you doing the live text today because Caroline is in mourning over Marat Safin?"
Yep, Cheesy couldn't face a world without Marat, so she's locked herself in her cellar - which she has turned into a shrine to the big Russian. If you've seen that episode of Alan Partridge where he meets his biggest fan, you'll know what I'm talking about.
1845: Well, Oudin certainly started well after that injury break, breaking again to lead Dementieva 3-1 in the decider, but clearly all is not well with her. She is in tears when her leg locks out when she tries to serve and some wayward shots see her instantly broken back. That's four breaks in a row in this match - it's anyone's right now, but Oudin's dodgy thigh won't help her cause.

1838: Blimey, the doctor looking after Oudin is not skimping with the bandages. I'd be surprised if the American can walk, let alone run, with all that strapping on her thigh. Still, she somehow manages to look quite dainty as she skips back to the baseline and we are quickly back under way. Did I mention it is quite hot at Flushing Meadows today? It's 23C and worth a sunshine graphic I reckon...
1834: Oops, I forgot to mention that Tommy Haas has wrapped up his win over Robert Kendrick. It was quite straightforward for the Hass-man in the end, with the 20th seed winning 6-4 6-4 7-6 (7-3) - he will play Verdasco or Serra in round three. Meanwhile, Oudin's hopes of an upset have taken a bit of dent, she has been broken back and is taking a medical time-out because of an injury to her left thigh.
1830: Elena Dementieva has been in decent form this year, and seems to have put her own problems on serve behind her. She's in a spot of bother against rising American star Mel Oudin, though, as the 18-year-old is a break up in the deciding set, leading 2-0.
1825: Enough of this talk of huge croissants, I much preferred it at the Australian Open when the 5 live boys were being menaced by giant moths. Anyway, Fernando Verdasco, the 10th seed, has just started his second-round match with Florent Serra, the world number 61 from France. Verdasco has started well too, breaking Serra in the first game.
BBC Radio 5 live's David Law tweeting from Flushing Meadows: "Laura Robson was on the bus with us this morning. Unlike us, she wasn't eating a croissant the size of a garden shrub."
1819: Yep, that was only Barrois' sixth double-fault, compared to 15 by Safina. The German, who is ranked 67th in the world, probably knows she came very close to winning today. Mind you, we could still have a shock on Ashe, where Melanie Oudin, the world number 70 has taken the second set 6-4 against Dementieva.
From findegorgorito on 606: "Irony of life, Safina wins it after a double fault from the German..."
1814: But that is the end. Barrois has been brilliant at times today, but here she was just awful. A couple of wild shots leave her 0-40 down and a double-fault seals Dinara Safina's progress with 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 victory. Not one of the top seed's finest hours, it's safe to say, but job done. She will play Italy's Tathiana Garbin or Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic in round three.
1806: Did I speak too soon (1802)? It certainly looks like it when another double-fault (number 15) sees Safina go 0-40 down. But she pulls herself together to save all three break points before dishing out some more racquet abuse when she flops a forehand into the net. Again, she manages to steady herself and, from deuce, a lucky net-cord and a wild return from Barrois puts Safina 5-3 up. Still, I wouldn't put it past her to hand the German another way back into this match...it's been one of those days.
From anon, via text on 81111: "Re 1722, Matt Maltby I could not have put it better myself. Safina needs encouragement, not people putting her down all the time! Serena should stop complaining, just because she wasn't number one for long! Come on Safina!"
1802: Ah, I fear that could be that for Barrois. After a couple of routine holds for both players, the German is again in trouble on her serve and even one of the worst Hawkeye challenges I've ever seen - for a Safina forehand that was about a mile in - cannot save her. That's another break, and the top seed now leads 4-3 after winning four of the last five games. We've had 11 breaks in this match, by the way, and 73 unforced errors from both players.
1757: Nadia Petrova, the 13th seed, is also through after beating Julie Coin 6-4 7-6 (7-3). Petrova will face Jie Zheng or Alize Cornet in the third round, with Cornet already 5-1 up in the first set of her match.
1753: Yep, Gisela Dulko is into round three after beating Alona Bondarenko, the 30th seed, 6-4 6-0. Dulko, who you probably remember created quite a stir at Wimbledon this year, will play either last year's runner-up Jelena Jankovic or Yaroslava Shvedova next.
ebjorshol on Twitter: "Dulko-time again! serving for the match and a bagel to Bondarenko. Lovely!"
1745: Over on Ashe, Elena Dementieva has run into a few problems against Mel Oudin, who now leads 3-1 in the second set. The fourth seed is still a set up though. Plenty of shouting back on Louis Armstrong, and this time Safina is making all the noise for a good reason. At deuce, Barrois leaves a looping forehand that drops in, then the German follows that with a double-fault (her fifth). She still leads 2-1 but we're back with serve in the decider.
BBC Radio 5 live's Steve Rudge tweeting from Flushing Meadows: "We have a tennis show tonight on BBC Radio 5 live from 2000 BST to 2100 featuring guest superstars @annekeothavong and @RoscoHutchins - and John Lloyd who doesn't tweet!"
From discoagogo on 606: "Why does Safina not sort out her serve? For someone who practises every day, you'd think she'd find some time to sort it out."
1736: Hmmm. Safina may be level now but she still can't serve for toffee. Another double-fault, her 12th, is followed by a couple of deliveries so limp they need crutches to get over the net. Safina takes her anger out on her racquet, slamming it into the ground repeatedly but, surprisingly, this doesn't help - she is broken and Barrois leads 2-0 in the decider.
From Jim in Glasgow, via text on 81111: "Re 1611, How about Navratilova against McEnroe in the greatest all-round players of all-time tournament!?"
1730: Not even another double-fault from Safina, her 11th today, can stop her wrapping up the second set 6-2. Barrois sends a backhand looping wide and we are all-square at one-set all. Will the Russian (repeatedly) press the self-destruct button again in the deciding set? We're about to find out.
1727: And Safina's not finished there either...some superb shots down either flank give her another break and she will serve for the second set next. Elsewhere, Dementieva has taken the first set 7-5 against Melanie Oudin and Tommy Haas is serving for the second set against Robert Kendrick. Oh, and out on Court 13, 13th seed Nadia Petrova has taken the first set 6-4 against France's Julie Coin.
1726: Sorry, but I've had to get my 'shock' graphic out. Safina holds - with some fantastic serving too - and now leads 4-2.
From Matt Maltby, in London, via text on 81111: "Re Ian at 1703. Safina is number one because she has been the most consistent and frequent winner on the women's circuit over 12 months...That's what rankings show, and they aren't an absolute judge of talent. Marat Safin could be judged one of the most talented players in the last 10 years, but never ranked that high, and quite right. If Serena Williams is so keen to be thought of as the best, maybe she should keep quiet and play a few more tournaments."
Dinara's big brother was actually number one between November 2000 and April 2001.
1722: It's Barrois' turn to collapse on serve (to love), and that unforced-error count is on the up - between them these players have managed 49 so far. Safina breaks again to lead 3-2 but the bad news is that she has to serve again herself next...
1718: But those problems on serve are still horribly apparent for the Russian, who screams at herself after hitting her 10th double-fault to give Barrois a break-point of her own. She's not a happy bunny, understandably, even less so when she flops a forehand into the net on the next point too. We're at 2-2 in the second set.
From TeleKemis on 606: "Sure would be interesting to be a member of the Safin family, that family must not need TV for entertainment purposes."
1710: That's more like it from the top seed. She strings together a couple of big forehands and has a point for 3-0. Safina thinks she has it too when a Barrois forehand is called long but Hawkeye thinks otherwise. She survives to hold with a dinked slice forehand winner and is on the board in this second set.
1708: I'm known to struggle with my serve as well, so I can sympathise with Safina. However, I'm not the number one women's tennis player am I? (Also, I'm not even a woman) More double trouble follows for Safina and, although she holds, the Flushing Meadows crowd seem to be taking a morbid fascination in her fate - the Louis Armstrong Stadium is filling up.
From Ian in Eastbourne, via text on 81111: "Another double fault to hand over the set to Barrois. Oh please can someone tell me how Safina is the worlds' premier female tennis player? My book of frequently asked questions is coming up blank."
1703: Erm, the statistics don't make very pleasant reading for Safina after that first set. She made 20 unforced errors as well as those six double-faults. Still, she's hit back to break Barrois in the first game of the second set so she's certainly not out of this one yet.
1700: No such problems for Tommy Haas, who has just clinched the first set 6-4 against Robert Kendrick. Melanie Oudin has hit back against Dementieva, however, and they are now back on serve at 4-5 in the first set.
1657: Oh dear. That just about sums up Safina at the moment. Her sixth double fault of the match ends up costing her the first set after 57 minutes. She just crumbled to be honest - her first serve must have landed halfway up the net... and she is going to have to do it the hard way again here.
BBC Radio 5 live's Steve Rudge tweeting from Flushing Meadows: "OK, everyone a bit tired today, apart from Alastair Eykyn who is eating muffins to get through it. I have a feeling its gonna be a day of banter!"
1649: A double-fault by Barrois brings up a first set-point for Safina, but she wastes it with a sloppy forehand into the net. She soon has another one, thanks to a sizzling backhand passing shot down the line, but the German saves herself again - she holds and it's tie-break time...
1643: Hmmm, things aren't getting any easier for Safina who, if anything, is getting even noisier. She fails to put away a couple of overheads and her misery is compounded when Barrois takes the point thanks to a lucky net-cord. That brings up a break-point, which Safina saves with an ace. She holds to lead 6-5, and celebrates with a clenched fist and a yelled 'C'mon'. She needed that.
1637: Around the courts, Dementieva is still a break up against Oudin, leading the American 3-1. And Tommy Haas has also got his nose ahead in the first set of his match against Robert Kendrick - the 20th seed has finally broken after a string of chances and leads 4-3.
1632: Aaargh. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. Safina puts together a string of dreadful shots to throw away her chance of taking the first set. Barrois is still alive, and she didn't even do much apart from wait for Safina to make the mistakes.
1630: Fair play to Barrois, she is taking the game to Safina and the 27-year-old has hit some lovely backhands, including a beauty of a winner down the line. It's the top seed who has just broken again, however, and she will serve for the first set next at 5-3 up.
From Mel, via text on 81111: "Re 1611: I agree Roddick against Sharapova would be an amazing match. Anyone want to suggest a new tournament for such mixed matches?"
1622: Barrois has had a couple of dreadful drop-shot attempts (one didn't even reach the net) already today but she fares rather better with a delicate little lob over Safina when both players are at the net. She holds to love too, and clearly fancies her chances here. It's 3-3.
1620: Elena Dementieva has just started on Ashe, against Melanie Oudin. Not sure what kept her but she has started well, breaking the American in the first game - there might be a lot of that sort of thing about today.
1616: Safina and Barrois have both held serve and it is now 2-2... now, that's not usually newsworthy but is definitely worth mentioning the way things have been going.
1615: Andy Murray ISN'T playing today by the way. The Scottish second seed gets an extra day's rest after beating Ernests Gulbis in the last match on day two. He faces Chile's Paul Capdeville on Friday. Murray seems pretty confident too, saying: "I know what his technique and his game is like. It's not going to be any surprises. He hits everything well although he doesn't move particularly well, so I'm going to try and exploit that."
1613: Oh, and don't forget to get involved yourselves too - you can use 606, text via 81111 or even Twitter. I'm waiting...
1611: So, what else is going on today? Later on, the likes of Jelena Jankovic, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Caroline Wozniacki are in action before fourth seed Novak Djokovic continues his campaign with a second round match against Carsten Ball of Australia. The night matches feature Maria Sharapova and Andy Roddick (not playing each other, obviously, although that would be worth watching).
1609: Erm, it seems Safina is still not quite firing on all cylinders. She serves two double faults as she is broken in the very first game by Kristina Barrois, the world number 67. Having said that, she has just broken back to level at 1-1.
1607: Safina has been getting a bit of stick because she is still to win a Grand Slam title but at least she has got big brother Marat on her side. Speaking after his defeat by Jurgen Melzer yesterday, in his US Open swansong, the 2000 men's champion said: "Everybody is hard on her, saying why is she number one. Is she a real number one or not? Who cares? I mean, she's number one in the world. I have to protect my sister. The poor girl, she's trying her best. She's doing really well."
1605: Let's hope for Dinara's sake that she puts in a better performance than she did against world number 167 Olivia Rogowska in round one. Lest you forget, that encounter featured 113 unforced errors, 24 double faults and 15 breaks of serve. Those sort of stats remind me of the last time I played Cheesy.
1602: Yep, Russian duo Elena Dementieva and Dinara Safina kick us off on Arthur Ashe and Louis Armstrong. Dementieva, the fourth seed, is up against Melanie Oudin of the United States while Safina, the world number one, faces Germany's Kristina Barrois.
1559: So, no more Marat Safin, or even Fabrice Santoro? I cried all night at the thought of Grand Slams without those two. How will the US Open cope without them? Er, very easily actually - we've got a bumper day of action ahead of us. Don't go anywhere for the next 12 hours...

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