U.S. Open: James Blake lighting up the night
James Blake had thought about limping away from tennis after he lost early at Wimbledon. His knees ached even after a 10-week break taken specifically to let them settle down after tendinitis flared up. But the rest didn't seem to help and at the age of 30 and cautious about overdoing medication such as anti-inflammatories that might help his pain, retirement seemed an option.
But after Wimbledon, Blake came home and reconsidered. He took some painkillers and hit the practice courts with a new aim, to enjoy the U.S. Open.
And Thursday night at Louis Armstrong Stadium, with the crowd chanting, "James, James, James," Blake hopped and skipped and leapt into his forehands and then bowed to everyone after his 6-7 (1), 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 win over Canadian qualifier Peter Polansky, a 22-year-old who is ranked 205th in the world.
Blake's ranking isn't so much better, 108, and he needed a wild card to get straight into the main draw here. Next up could be third-seeded Novak Djokovic, who plays the final match Thursday at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
-- Diane Pucin, reporting from New York