Fifty U.S. Open parting shots
NEW YORK -- Cleaning out the notebook from the 2008 U.S. Open.
Now about that Roger Federer obituary ...
Serena Williams won her ninth major, and the most underrated narrative in sports continues.
Is there any doubt Andy Murray will win a major one day. The Scot has turned the "tri-valry" into a "Gang of Four" with his clever brand of tennis.
Jelena Jankovic may still bear the dubious tag as Best Player Never to Have Won a Slam, but she came close to winning. She wins that second set against Serena and she's right in the match. And we already eagerly await her winner's speech.
Here's everything you need to know about Rafael Nadal: with a chance to turn in the most impressive season since Rod Laver's Slam -- three Slams on three surfaces, plus Olympic gold -- he loses a semifinal match to Murray. As he leaves the court, he stops to sign autographs and pose for photos.
Time to build that roof, boys. Find a corporate sponsor and go to it. After 12 blissfully smooth days, this event cratered a bit over the weekend. Put a roof over Armstrong. Hell, put it over the Grandstand. Anything to avoid the fire drill of last weekend.
Now Novak Djokovic can relate to Willie Randolph, A-Rod, Carlos Delgado, Isiah Thomas, Tom Coughlin and the rest of 'em. The New York crowds are tough. Today's hero is tomorrow's goat. Still, you have to wonder whether his disastrous public relations after the Andy Roddick match didn't have something to do with his listless performance against Federer in the semis.
If Elena Dementieva gets blown off the court by a Williams sister, it's one thing. But I suspect she has welts on her backside from kicking herself for losing a thoroughly winnable semifinal against Jankovic.
The Bryan brothers, Bob and Mike, won the men's doubles trophy for the second time, beating Leander Paes and Lukas Dlouhy in the final.
Liezel Huber and Cara Black beat Lisa Raymond and Sam Stosur to take the women's.
Nice tournament by Dinara Safina, who made a run to the semis before meeting the Serena buzzsaw. And from the "withering self-assessment department," she earned fans for life with this gem: "I think I was behaving like a really spoiled girl on the court today. This I cannot permit myself playing in semifinal of Grand Slam. So I have to really learn from these things if I want to get better."
Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria beat American Devin Britton (a serve-and-volleyer!) to win the men's event. Coco Vandeweghe beat Gabriela Paz to win the girls' event. And some encouraging news for the USTA from the juniors' draw. There were four Americans in the girls quarters and eight in the round of 16. (And weirdly enough, there were no Russians.)
Lost amid the dispute with Novak Djokovic: Roddick squandered a real, if not outright golden chance to win another major. With the rest of the field dog tired, both from Beijing and from being pushed in previous matches, you had the sense there was an opportunity for AR here. He plays a flat first set against Djokovic in the quarters, gets himself back in the match, stands on the verge of pushing the thing to a fifth set, then he suffers a mental lapse, plays a loose few games and -- poof! -- a four-set loss.
Leander Paes and Cara Black won the mixed doubles, beating Jamie Murray and Liezel Huber in the final. And it's not just Marat Safin. Jamie Murray went home to England before he could watch his brother compete in the finals.
Nice to see Nadal getting the full New York experience. No, not the jog in Central Park, the evening at the sports bar or taking in Phantom of the Opera. He made Page Six.
What a tournament for teenagers -- though, to the disappointment of the U.S. Open organizing committee, none were American. Marin Cilic, Kei Nishikori, Juan Martin del Potro, Caroline Wozniacki, Viktoria Azarenka. Future top tenners, all.
As for Americans, soon-to-be-married Mardy Fish did himself proud reaching the quarters. And Sam Querrey ought to leave with soaring confidence, reaching Round 4 and giving Nadal a run for his dinero. Another disappointing Open for James Blake.
The storybook men's player was, of course, Gilles Muller, who qualified and then reached the quarters. But how about a shout-out to Anna-Lena Groenefeld -- who's been to hell and back in the past few years -- and showed herself to be a good bet to return to the top 20?
Still looking for video confirmation here, but multiple sources tell me that during the Nicolas Almagro-Gilles Muller match, Almagro hit a defensive lob a mile into the sky. So high, that -- again, mid point! -- he ran to the baseline and toweled off, before coming back on court and losing the point.
Our moles tell us that we can expect to see Hawkeye on the Grandstand next year.
If you haven't seen it (and have seven minutes to waste) watch Roddick and Djokovic "impress" each other. Wonder if their dispute didn't originate here.
I'm paraphrasing here, but not by much. After her fourth-round win, Jankovic was interviewed by Mary Joe Fernandez. "So, you looked good," said MJF. "Thank you," replied JJ, batting her eyes. "My mother thinks I've lost weight." A few minutes later, JJ grabs the mike. "I have one more thing to say." MJF sighed. "Oh no."
This marked the final U.S. Open telecast by USA network, ending a 25-year-run. Over to you, ESPN. And while we hear it's a fait accompli that John McEnroe will make the move, here's hoping that somehow there's room for Tracy Austin, Bill Macatee, Al Trautwig, Ted Robinson and Jim Courier as well.
Oddest item handed out by the concierge in the players' lounge. A pamphlet for a Midtown bar offering "$10 Beer Pong."