Before all the hoopla of the day starts I'd like to post some statements made by players that may have gotten lost in the sauce over the last couple of days.
Let's start with Kim Clijsters interview after defeating Venus Williams. It should be noted that Kim, during her on court interview with Mary Jo Fernandez, when asked how it was juggling a child and a career said flat out that she has help so it's not so bad. Mary Jo didn't follow up on that. Wonder why?
Anywho here's what she said at the end of the interview posted on the official US Open Site
Q. You needed to measure yourself against some of the bigger names in tennis. Today you defeated Venus. How does this affect your confidence?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, you know, I know today that Venus wasn't playing her best tennis. In that sense it's hard to kind of compare anything in today's match. But there's a lot of other things personally that I'm taking out of this match. That's just the mental strength that I kept focusing on and just trying to although in that second set I wasn't hitting the ball, I was just trying to regroup.
Those kinds of things. Reading the game a little bit, adjusting my game a little bit to a couple of weaknesses that I had out there. That's a very positive thing for myself, where in the past I maybe could have just let it slip away a little bit.
Now I really felt comfortable at just getting back and just fighting through that match.
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Nikolay Davydenko, you remember him don't you, was interviewed by the Russian press and made the following statement. Thanks to "Oddman" and "HelenW" for the quotes that were originally posted on vamosbrigade.com
Kolya Davydenko has just finished his interview to Russian TV. He wasn't exactly complaining, because he smiled nicely all the time, so let's call it "he described some problems". He said that regardless of what organizers stated, all the courts in the US Open played differently. And a player who is placed in one and the same court has an advantage. Kolya played three rounds in 3 courts: Nos.4, 7 and 11. So he played 3 matches on 3 different surfaces, and every match was like the 1st one for him in terms of feeling the surface.
When asked whether he preferred playing against Soderling or Querrey, he said that he'd rather play against Soderling whom he hated, than vs Querrey, because there's a very good chance that Sod's match will be placed in Court 11, while Querrey's match will be definitely placed in one of the bigger courts.
Then his smile broadened to its extremity, and he said: "You want somebody to lose? Relocate him to a different court. From Ashe to Armstrong, for example". The next question was: "Are you speaking about Dinara?". The answer was: "Is that what they did to her? No, I was thinking about last year semifinals".
No wonder the American press avoids him like the plague. By the way he'll be playing on Armstrong today.
The last statement is from Dinara Safina. I have to say that watching Dinara take the court the other night the look I saw on her face was one of sheer terror. At least I thought it was. Maybe she was just past pissed.
At any rate this is a verbatim report by Diane Pucin that was posted to the LA Times.
Safina said she wasn't asked. She was told by tournament officials. "They came to us at 9:10 p.m. and just told us to switch to Armstrong," she said. "Basically, that's it. It was very unfair. The best player in the world to put on Armstrong. Their answer was that they prefer a five-set match to a three-set woman match."
Turned out the men's match was three sets too, Blake went out without much fight and the men's match ended up 10 minutes after Safina's upset.
"That's it, they don't want to listen, just move to Armstrong," Safina said. "I keep asking why we're playing on Armstrong at 10. They tell us just play, go on, go on 10 on Armstrong."
After speaking about the match and about how she had a game plan to go on the court and make Kvitova move all around, she instead came on the court, stood still and let Kvitova dictate play. "It's my brain," she said.
But then she went back to the other subject.
"I'm No. 1 player in the world," she said. "Why move me? American Blake because they want five sets instead of three. I always look forward to play night session on Arthur Ashe, it's best thing in the U.S. Open."
Kvitova didn't complain at all. "Yeah, doesn't matter to me," the 20-year-old from the Czech Republic said. "I'm not a star."
The problem was that thousands of night session ticket holders had to stand outside until the Roddick match ended after nine.
Tournament officials said they didn't want to delay the Robredo-Blake match because the winner was slated to meet Roger Federer next. Federer had finished his match about 2 on Saturday.
U.S. Open spokesman Chris Widmaier said, "You've got to balance safety issues, a big crowd, but the No. 1 factor is competitive integrity," he said. "If we had not split matches, the women's match would have been started at about 10:30 and who knows what time Blake and Robredo would have finished?"
European players have had beef with the US Open since about 2003 when an exhausted Juan Carlos Ferrero played the final after playing several days straight while his opponent got favorable treatment. Look it up folks.
Bizzaro Tennis World
This is a shot of Vera Zvonareva's knees at some point during her match against Flavia Pennetta last night. I have to say at some point because the wrapping ended up in quite a different state later in the match as can be seen below.
There are good matches tennisheads talk about for years where the players play sublimely, the on court intensity is fierce, and the eventual winner looks like he or she has been through a war.
Then there are the matches that go into the "What the fuck was that" category. Unfortunately for Vera her match last evening will forever be in that category.
Vera was once known only for her emotional outbursts on court not her tennis. She had turned that image around recently playing very well and containing her emotion. Last night she played great for a set and a half. Then Flavia woke up and began to play tennis the way she had been coming into the Open. Forcing and then winning a second set tiebreak despite Vera having had multiple match points Flavia stood by watching as her opponent literally came apart at the seams.
It was not a pretty sight folks but like the proverbial train wreck you're horrified but can't look away. All Flavia did in the third set was keep the ball between the lines while Vera flailed around unable to let go of that second set melt down. Flavia served her a bagel.
My main criticism goes to the commentators though. Cathy Rinaldi had impressed me a couple of days ago with her work but last night I think she let her partner, not sure who he was, have run of things. I'm not a broadcast journalist let alone a commentator so I don't know the etiquette involved in who does what in the booth. I do know that Cathy was the professional last night and that at some point she should've done a Virginia Wade and just cut the idiot off. Most fans know about Vera and her towel. If you've never seen it before it's striking and a little off putting but you're being paid to commentate. Move on. It's not a running gag, especially when the player is in the middle of a complete meltdown. Is it too much to ask that the people commentating on tennis have some familiarity with the sport and its players? Like him or not Chris Fowler has come a long way from when he first started and he did it by asking questions. Mike Tirico came to work prepared and can talk with the egomaniacs of the ESPN booth as an equal. It seems that the people who are working the live streams aren't held to such a high standard. Shame since for those of us without Tennis Channel the online streams were all that was available.
Thoroughly Modern Tennis
I get it. I really do. Serve and volley tennis is the preferred style of play for Australians and Americans. Maybe the Brits get thrown in there too. Nothing makes me roll my eyes more than when a commentator, seeing the style used as a tactic by modern era players goes on for twenty minutes about how wonderful it is to see it and if only more players would use it the game could be what it was in their youth.
Newsflash folks. It ain't coming back as the only way to play. It can be part of a players arsenal and should be, but no one is going to take the court and only play serve and volley. That's why it was painful to watch Taylor Dent last night. His story is compelling and you can't help but pull for him knowing that he didn't have a snowballs chance in hell with his anachronistic playing style.
Whichever Jensen that was doing commentary last night was flogging that dead horse to no end however and in the end I turned the sound off because of his cheerleading. Once again his partner let him run with it. The commentary was less about the match and all about Taylor, his parents, who he came on the scene with and serve and volley.
If Dent is going to try and make a go of it in the modern world of tennis he's going to have to learn to use serve and volley as a tactic. This is what some of the old warhorses don't want to discuss. They want to ignore the technology that has changed the game, some even started a push to go back to wooden racquets awhile back, but time waits for no one. Taylor has talent. He's going to have to do what Andy Roddick has done and embrace the modern.
Order of Play Day 8 (Singles Only)
Arthur Ashe Stadium 11:00 Start Time
1. Women's Singles - 4th Round
Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) v. Gisela Dulko (ARG)
2. Women's Singles - 4th Round
Melanie Oudin (USA) v. Nadia Petrova (RUS)
3. Men's Singles - 4th Round
Roger Federer (SUI) v. Tommy Robredo (ESP)
Arthur Ashe Stadium 19:00 Start Time
1. Women's Singles - 4th Round
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) v. Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS)
2. Men's Singles - 4th Round
Novak Djokovic (SRB) v. Radek Stepanek (CZE)
Louis Armstrong Stadium 11:00 Start Time
1. Men's Singles - 4th Round
Robin Soderling (SWE) v. Nikolay Davydenko (RUS)
2. Women's Singles - 4th Round
Petra Kvitova (CZE) v. Yanina Wickmayer (BEL)
3. Men's Singles - 4th Round
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) v. John Isner (USA)
American juniorAsia Muhammad wiped up the court with French number one Kristina Mladenovic yesterday. Major surprise.
Sloane Stephens also won her opening round match. Heather Watson of Great Britain and Noppawan Lertcheewakarn also won on the girls side.
As for the boys number one Yuki Bhambri won easily while Chase Buchanan needed three sets to move to the next round. Bernard Tomic won in straight sets.