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Fifty things

What we learned from a great two weeks at the Open

Posted: Sunday September 9, 2007 10:28PM; Updated: Monday September 10, 2007 12:37AM
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The fans came in record droves, the rain didn't come at all, the top seeds won and the Djoker got away. Cleaning out the notebook from a generally excellent 2007 U.S. Open.

Roger Federer won the men's title again, playing well when he had to. This Greatest Of All Time (GOAT) discussion is in danger of becoming moot.

Justine Henin -- and it's no longer Hardenne, Dick Enberg -- finished off a convincing two-week Federer impersonation when she beat Svetlana Kuznetsova in the women's final.

• After deploying all the right moves during the first six rounds, Novak Djokovic couldn't catch a break in the final. But saying that he captured the public's affection during this event would be an understatement.

• Though the threadbare "bottom half" of the women's draw lived down to expectation, credit Kuznetsova with winning six straight matches. Still, consider this: she won $700,000 as the runner-up and she only had to beat one top-30 opponent along the way.

• Awfully nice tournament for David Ferrer. He doesn't play the prettiest tennis, but he grinds, hustles and never quits. Hard not to admire the guy. One could say the exact same thing about Nikolay Davydenko -- at least while there's been no guilty verdict on these match-fixing allegations.

• The good news for Andy Roddick: he was able to summon perhaps the best tennis of his life -- much better than when he won the title four years ago -- for his quarterfinal match against "Darth Federer," as someone in his camp facetiously called him. The bad news: he was still unable to win a set.

• Speaking of which, I'm not sure I can recall watching a higher quality women's match than Henin-Venus Williams. The women's game took a beating this tournament, from round one through a lackluster final. But I thought it was largely undeserved. The women's matches committed that cardinal American sin: they didn't look good on television. The majority of the matches were fine, it's just that the featured night matches were usually unsightly blowouts.

• Speaking of hard to recall ... the men's doubles draw was memorably weird. The Bryans lost early. So did Jonas Bjorkman and Max Mirnyi. Mark Knowles and Daniel Nestor faltered in the final Grand Slam together. Most of the top seeds lost early. In the end, Julien Knowle and Simon Aspelin took the title.

• The women's doubles draw was also mottled with upsets. Nathalie Dechy (playing her 47th consecutive Major!) and Dinara Safina won the title beating Yung Jan Chan and Chia-Jung Chuan in the final.

Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania, best known as Roger Federer's practice partner, took the boys' title. Kristina Kucova of Slovakia beat Agnieszka Radwanka's sister, Ursula, in a third-set tiebreaker to win the girls' event.

Max Mirnyi and Victoria Azarenka beat Meghann Shaughnessy and Leander Paes to win the mixed doubles. Speaking of Shaughnessy, we're wishing a speedy recovery to Meghann's cousin, Alise, who suffered a concussion when she was elbowed by a rude fan.

• As much as we try not to conflate Venus and Serena Williams, it ought to go acknowledged that, on the heels of little sis' debacle, Venus was exceptionally sporting after her loss to Henin.

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