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Category: Tennis

U.S. Open: Serena Williams fined for outburst, but no suspension


Serena Williams was fined $2,000 for her verbal outburst against chair umpire Eva Asderaki during Sunday's U.S. Open women's final.

In a statement, U.S. Open tournament referee Brian Earley said the fine was for the code violation of verbal abuse.

"This fine is consistent with similar offenses at Grand Slam events," the statement said. "After independently reviewing the incident which served as the basis for the code violation, and taking into account the level of fine imposed by the U.S. Open referee, the Grand Slam Committee Director has determined that Ms. Williams' conduct, while verbally abusive, does not rise to the level of a major offense under the Grand Slam Code of Conduct."

In the first game of the second set, when Williams appeared to have hit a winning forehand against eventual champion Samantha Stosur of Australia, Williams yelled in celebration before the ball landed. Stosur barely was able to touch the ball, but the winner was taken away because of the hindrance rule that allows for a point penalty if the "hindrance" is considered to be on purpose.

After the point penalty, which ended up giving the game to Stosur, Williams launched into a verbal tirade during the next changeover and, among other things, was heard to say, "What a loser," "You're a hater," "A code violation because I expressed who I am? Really. Don't even look at me. I promise you, don't look at me. ... Don't look my way." And, in a comment that could be interpreted as threatening, she said, "If you ever see me walking down the hall, walk the other way."

The $2,000 fine wasn't even the largest issued so far at the Open. Men's doubles players Mike Bryan was fined $10,000 for an "off court" incident after he and brother Bob Bryan lost in the first round. Because Mike Bryan can still appeal the fine, a U.S. Open official said, the nature of the offense would not be disclosed.

Williams was technically still under a two-year probation in major tournaments as a result of her obscene outburst during her 2009 U.S. Open semifinal loss to Kim Clijsters. Had Sunday's incident been deemed "major," Williams could have been suspended from the 2012 U.S. Open.


Who's No. 1 -- Serena Williams or Caroline Wozniacki?

Novak Djokovic seeks perfect end at U.S. Open to near-perfect year

-- Diane Pucin in New York

Photo: Serena Williams has a word with the chair umpire during the U.S. Open women's final Sunday. Credit: Don Emmert / AFP / Getty Images

U.S. Open: Serena Williams upset in finals by Samantha Stosur

Serena Williams

Serena Williams suffered another temper meltdown at the U.S. Open and then a momentous loss Sunday in the women's final of the U.S. Open.

Ninth-seeded Samantha Stosur of Australia won her first major championship with a 6-2, 6-3 win over 28th-seeded Williams on Sunday on Arthur Ashe Stadium. If the seedings made Stosur the favorite, Williams, who was already a 13-time major winner, was the heavy favorite.

But in the first game of the second set, as Williams hit what was about to be a definitive forehand winner to save a break point, Williams bellowed just before the ball landed. Chair umpire Eva Asderaki of Greece called Williams for a violation and the point was awarded to Stosur.

It also meant the game went to Stosur and as boos filled Arthur Ashe Stadium, Williams had a contentious discussion with chair umpire Asderaki that included Williams saying,"If you ever see me walking down the hall, look the other way."

The last time Williams played at the Open, in 2009, she lost to Kim Clijsters in the semifinals, a match that ended with a controversial foot fault called on Williams that caused Williams to burst into an obscenity-laden tirade that included a threat of shoving a racket down the throat of the lineswoman who made the call. It also resulted in a penalty point that ended the match in Clijsters' favor.

Sunday, after the code violation was called, Serena seemed to say, "I get a code violation for this? I express who I am. We're in America last I checked."

Stosur seemed momentarily unnerved by the incident and the Ashe crowd booed loudly for almost a minute and Williams came back to win two straight games to take a 2-1 lead from 0-1 down.

But the 27-year-old Stosur never changed expression or quit hitting winners. On her third attempt at match point, Stosur pounded a forehand return winner past Williams to complete the 1 hour, 13-minute win.

Williams was gracious on court during the awards ceremony, saying the point that was given to Stosur didn't matter because Stosur was playing too well anyway.


US Open: Memories of a decade ago

Samantha Stosur advances to women's finals

Caroline Wozniacki, Serena Williams: Who's No. 1

-- Diane Pucin, reporting from New York

Photos: (Left) Serena Williams reacts as she plays Samantha Stosur during the U.S. Open women's final.Credit : John G. Mabanglo / EPA (Right) Australian Samantha Stosur hits a return to Serena Williams during the final.  Credit : John G. Mabanglo / EPA

9/11 anniversary: Memories of a decade ago


Ten years ago I was in New York for the U.S. Open and because of that and a couple of other random circumstances, there was a moment or two when I had a seat on American Airlines Flight 11, the first plane that was taken by terrorists and flown into the World Trade Center.

Back here again, a decade gone by so quickly and there is no embarrassment from me in saying, for certain, when the United States Tennis Assn. holds its 9/11 ceremony before the women’s singles final Sunday between Serena Williams and Samantha Stosur, tears will be shed. Mine.

Some things the U.S. Open doesn’t do well: preventing rain, having covered courts, needing ball kids with towels to mop up the spills from the sky.

But ceremonies the Open does do well and it seems appropriate to have “9-11-01” inscribed on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court.

I had to look up who won the 2001 men’s Open final, held on Sept. 9. It was Lleyton Hewitt, who beat the diminishing Pete Sampras, 7-6 (4), 6-1, 6-1.

On Monday, Sept. 10, instead of flying home to Los Angeles as planned, I got a new assignment: to write about the Yankees and Red Sox and Roger Clemens aiming for his 20th straight pitching victory. The game was rained out, of all things, but in the rescheduling of my flight home I briefly held a seat on American Flight 11 on Sept. 11.

Because I’m not much for getting up early, and because of the luck of the airline sticker upgrade lottery, I switched off Flight 11 to one later in the day. My husband woke me up that morning and from that moment, I will never not cry if I’m in New York.

And so I’m back again, 10 years later, staying at the same place, the Grand Hyatt.

It’s always the media hotel for the U.S. Open. Some hate it for its largeness and busy buzz and crowded lobby, but the hotel will always feel like home to me. It felt like a safe hideaway 10 years ago. After helping report on the awful personal tragedies around the city, that Hyatt room was where I’d go to cry.

It’s also attached to Grand Central Station where, within hours of the Twin Towers tumbling, people from all over the city had taped up handmade fliers or pieces of cardboard or business cards with photos and pleadings that if anyone had seen their father or mother, son or daughter, neighbor or friend who had suddenly disappeared, to please, please, phone or fax or text or email. A year later when I was back at the Hyatt many of those handwritten, hope-filled postings were still up. Two years later they were gone.

They stay in my mind, though, as if they had been written just yesterday. That day will always stay in my head, as if it were yesterday.


Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic reach men's final

Samantha Stosur advances to women's finals

Caroline Wozniacki, Serena Williams: Who's No. 1

-- Diane Pucin in New York

Photo: Fireworks are used during a U.S. Open ceremony to honor the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks on Saturday in New York. Credit: Charles Krupa / Associated Press

U.S. Open: Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, who's No. 1?

After Caroline Wozniacki, ranked No. 1 in the world, lost her U.S. Open semifinal match Saturday night, 6-2, 6-4, to 29th-ranked Serena Williams, Wozniacki was firm in her belief that her computer ranking is well-deserved.

"I'm still No. 1 in the world," the 21-year-old said. "I'm No. 1 in the race [for the season-ending ranking]. No one can take that away from me for now. I still think Serena played unbelievable today and she's a great champion."

With that said, Wozniacki said it would be hard to figure out now how to beat Williams.

"There's no one on the tour who is playing with as much power as she is and serving as well as she is," Wozniacki said. "Today she was just better than me. I have to accept that and just go back on the practice court and try to improve a few things and then try again next time. Serena has the power to overpower us."

Usually it's impossible to get a just-eliminated athlete from a major tennis tournament to pick a winner in the next match, but Wozniacki has her pick for Sunday's final between Williams and ninth-seeded Samantha Stosur. "Samantha definitely would have to serve well," Wozniacki said. "She definitely needs to get a lot of first serves in and serve well and try just to go for her shots.

"But I still think Serena has the edge and I still think Serena will win."

Continue reading »

U.S. Open: Serena Williams beats Caroline Wozniacki to advance to women's final


Serena Williams was fiercely focused in defeating top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki in a U.S. Open women's semifinal Saturday night. Williams walloped winners from every place on the court and Wozniacki found out that, in tennis, defense does not win championships.

Williams, out of tennis for almost a year with a series of injuries, reached her fifth U.S. Open final with a 6-2, 6-4 victory.

The 28th-seeded Williams will play ninth-seeded Samantha Stosur on Sunday at 1 p.m. Pacific time in the finals. Williams will be aiming for her 14th major title and fourth U.S. Open crown, and she’s gotten to the finals without dropping a set.

Stosur advanced to her first U.S. Open final with remarkably little notice, considering she has already played the longest tiebreaker in women’s major tournament history and won the longest women’s match, time-wise, in U.S. Open history during this tournament.

Stosur, a 27-year-old from Australia, beat 92nd-ranked Angelique Kerber of Germany, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2, Saturday afternoon.

When Williams, 29, was leading 6-2, 1-0, she had whammed and bammed her way to 20 outright winners to none by the 21-year-old Wozniacki, whose signature style is to run down every shot and send it back. And at the end Williams had 34 winners to only five for Wozniacki.

Wozniacki couldn’t run down 120-mph serves or blazing backhands that kicked off the lines. Wozniacki ran out of her three review challenges in the first set in a desperate attempt to win points on video instead of on the court.

--Diane Pucin, reporting from New York


Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic reach men's final

Samantha Stosur advances to women's finals

Serena Williams moves into semifinals

Photo: Serena Williams powers through a backhand shot during her U.S. Open semifinal against Caroline Wozniacki on Saturday night in New York. Credit: Mike Groll / Associated Press

U.S. Open: Rafael Nadal joins Novak Djokovic in finals


Defending champion Rafael Nadal earned his way into the U.S. Open men's championship match on Monday with a 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 win over fourth-seeded Andy Murray on Saturday at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Nadal beat Murray for the fifth consecutive time and for the third straight time in a Grand Slam semifinal. Nadal will play top-seeded Novak Djokovic in the finals here for the second straight year. Djokovic eliminated third-seeded Roger Federer earlier Saturday in a five-set match.

Murray had 55 unforced errors to only 23 from Nadal in the 3 hour 24 minute match that ended Saturday's day session at the Open at 9:10 p.m. Eastern time.


Andy Murray beats John Isner in quarterfinals

Rafael Nadal dominates Andy Roddick

Samantha Stosur advances to women's finals

Serena Williams moves into semifinals

-- Diane Pucin, reporting from New York

Photo: Rafael Nadal. Credit: Charles Krupa / Associated Press

U.S. Open: Samantha Stosur into final

Samantha Stosur, who had previously played the longest tiebreaker in women’s major tournament history at the U.S. Open and won the longest women’s match time-wise in U.S. Open history, on Saturday advanced to her first major tournament final.

Ninth-seeded Stosur, a 27-year-old from Australia, beat 92nd-ranked Angelique Kerber of Germany, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2.

Stosur will play the winner of the second semifinal between top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki and 28th-seeded and three-time Open champion Serena Williams.

Kerber, 23, was in her first Grand Slam tournament semifinal and only the fourth semifinal of any type. Until coming to New York, Kerber, from Germany, had lost in the first round of the last four majors she played and was trying to become the fifth-lowest ranked Grand Slam finalist in the open era of tennis. Four of them were Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Kim Clijsters, Justine Henin and Serena Williams, all of whom had major wins on their resumes and were low-ranked because of retirements, injuries or pregnancies.

Stosur, who played in the 2010 French Open final, rushed to a 4-0 lead after only 18 minutes of the third set, asserting herself with her willingness to come forward. Overall, Stosur won 27 of 29 points at the net as Kerber sprayed shots long and wide, perhaps evidence of nerves.

The match was played on the Grandstand Court, the third-largest of the show courts at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center. Because of lengthy rain delays during the week and water damage that shut down Louis Armstrong Stadium, schedules put Stosur and Kerber on the smaller court because the two men’s semifinals were put on Arthur Ashe Stadium along with the Williams-Wozniacki semifinal.

Stosur's only moment of uncertainty in the final set came when she was up 5-0 and had the chance to serve out the match. Stosur committed three unforced errors and was broken, and then lost two straight games. But finally, on her second match point, Stosur smashed a backhand volley emphatically past Kerber.


Roger Federer loses to Novak Djokovic in five sets

Andy Murray beats John Isner in quarterfinals

Rafael Nadal dominates Andy Roddick

Serena Williams moves into semifinals

-- Diane Pucin, reporting from New York

Photo: Samantha Stosur hits a return to Angelique Kerber during their semifinal match Saturday. Credit: John G. Mabanglo / EPA

U.S. Open: Roger Federer loses to Novak Djokovic in five sets


Roger Federer couldn't convert on two match points while serving in the fifth set and, for the second year in a row, the five-time U.S. Open champion was beaten by Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of the U.S. Open. The top-ranked Djokovic, who is 63-2 on the year, beat Federer, 6-7 (7), 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 in 3 hours 51 minutes.

Djokovic will play the winner of the second men's semifinal between defending champion Rafael Nadal and fourth-seeded Andy Murray on Monday at 1 p.m. Pacific time.

The fifth set was was even until Federer got a service break in the eighth game. Djokovic sent a forehand long to give Federer a 5-3 lead, and it was in the next game that Federer had two match points. On the first, Djokovic pounded a forehand return winner, raising his racket to his ear while begging the pro-Federer crowd to cheer for him. They did.

Djokovic ended up breaking Federer's serve and then winning the final three games.

The beginning of the match was delayed by about an hour because of rain, but once play started, the sun came out and the conditions quickly became draining with heat and humidity.

There wasn't even a break point in the first set and the crowd was on its feet as the tiebreaker began. Federer took an immediate advantage by winning the first two points and four of the first six. But Federer needed five set points before he won the 55-minute first set.

It was in the second set when Djokovic became out of sorts. He frequently gestured to his own box and when there was someone who became ill at the very top of the stadium, Federer didn't notice the hubbub but Djokovic stopped, looked and asked for play to be held up because the movement was bothering him.

Federer got the break in the second set in the third game when he whipped an elegant forehand up the line. Djokovic did get one break point on Federer's serve but he couldn't convert and soon Federer was up two sets to none. Federer was 182-1 when wins the first two sets. But that loss came at Wimbledon in the quarterfinals to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

In the third set, Djokovic began moving his feet better and hitting deeper. He held serve at love and, with the help of a Federer double fault, finally broke Federer for the first time for a 2-0 lead. In what must have felt like only minutes, Djokovic took the third set.

Federer wiped his face, Djokovic was pumping his fists and Djokovic immediately broke Federer to start the fourth set, keeping Federer pushed back and unable to hit deep enough to the Serb.

When Djokovic consolidated the break for a 2-0 lead and won the first point of the third game, he had taken 12 of 13 points and Federer seemed both baffled and exhausted. When Federer did finally hold to stay down 1-2 in the fourth, Federer yelled, "Come on," one of the few times in the first 2:34 of the match that Federer uttered a sound.

Federer didn't win a point off Djokovic's serve in the fourth set until the final game when Djokovic double faulted and Federer hit a winning forehand. Eventually Djokovic did hold tod win the set, 6-2. After 2:56, the fifth set began.


Andy Murray beats John Isner in quarterfinals

Rafael Nadal dominates Andy Roddick

Serena Williams moves into semifinals

--Diane Pucin, reporting from New York

Photo: Roger Federer returns a forehand to Novak Djokovic during their U.S. Open quarterfinal match on Saturday in New York. Credit: Charles Krupa / Associated Press

U.S. Open: Rafael Nadal crushes Andy Roddick


Defending champion and second-seeded Rafael Nadal met little resistance from 29-year-old American Andy Roddick on Friday in a U.S. Open men's quarterfinal. The Spaniard beat Roddick, who won the 2003 Open title, 6-2, 6-1, 6-3, eliminating the last U.S. man in the singles draw.

Nadal will play fourth-seeded Andy Murray on Saturday in the second semifinal, after top-seeded Novak Djokovic meets third-seeded Roger Federer. The men's semifinals will begin at 9 a.m. PDT.

Roddick received medical treatment on his left thigh twice during the match but when Nadal broke Roddick's serve in the very first game it was an indication that Roddick had no weapons to hurt Nadal, who made the semifinals at the Open for the fourth straight year.

For the second time this year, the top four seeded men have advanced to the semifinals at a Grand Slam event (it also happened at the French Open), and for the third straight major, Nadal and Murray will play each other in the semifinals. Nadal beat Murray in straight sets at the French Open and in four sets at Wimbledon.

Murray said the sport benefits when the top four men compete at the end of a major.

"I think it's good for tennis," Murray said. "What people would like to see would be for you to play your best tennis here."

Wimbledon just missed having the top four when Jo-Wilfried Tsonga upset Federer in the quarterfinals, and David Ferrer upset Nadal in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open to keep the top four out of the semis in Melbourne.

After Roddick's loss in 1 hour 53 minutes, he shook Nadal's hand and said, "Good luck," and he waved his baseball cap at the crowd.


Andy Murray beats John Isner in quarterfinals

Rain washes out another day at U.S. Open

Serena Williams moves into semifinals

-- Diane Pucin, reporting from New York

Photo: Rafael Nadal follows through on a forehand shot against Andy Roddick in their U.S. Open quarterfinal on Friday in New York. Credit: Mike Segar / Reuters

U.S. Open: Andy Murray outlasts John Isner in men's quarterfinal

Photo: Andy Murray. Credit: Al Bello / Getty Images.  

Fourth-seeded Andy Murray outplayed 28th-seeded John Isner in the place where Isner usually excels -- the tiebreak.

And because of that, Murray advanced to the U.S. Open men's semifinals with a 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (2) win over the 28th-seeded Isner on Friday at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Murray became only the seventh man in the open era of tennis to reach the semifinals of all four major tournaments in the same year. Top-seeded Novak Djokovic became the sixth on Thursday.

Isner had seemed out of the match after the first two sets, when he played with little energy. But after sneaking away with the third set, Isner was the more active player in the fourth set.

Murray was talking to himself, and in the ninth game of that set, Isner had two break points on Murray's serve. Murray saved one with an ace and a second by forcing Isner into a forehand error. Murray ended up holding serve in that game with a forehand passing shot for a 5-4 lead.

In the tiebreak Murray got the first advantage, 2-1, when Isner double-faulted. Isner won a point with a service winner to draw within 4-2, but on the next point Isner drove an easy forehand into the net to give Murray a 5-2 lead. That allowed Murray to serve out the 3-hour, 24-minute win.

In Saturday's semifinals, Murray will play the winner between Friday's men's quarterfinal between defending champion and second-seeded Rafael Nadal and 21st-seeded Andy Roddick, now the only American man left in the draw.

Djokovic and Roger Federer have already won their way to the semifinals.


Rain washes out another day at U.S. Open

Serena Williams moves into U.S. Open quarterfinals

Rain-altered schedule takes players out of comfort zone

-- Diane Pucin in New York

Photo: Andy Murray. Credit: Al Bello / Getty Images.

U.S. Open: Men's final will be Monday for fourth year in a row

The U.S. Open, after hearing criticism from Andy Roddick and defending champion Rafael Nadal about a schedule that might involve playing four matches in four days, announced that the men's final will now be Monday at 1 p.m. PDT. This is the fourth year in a row the men's final will end a day late.

The rest of the remaining schedule has changed as well.

Friday will have the two remaining men's quarterfinal matches: Nadal against Roddick and fourth-seeded Andy Murray against a second American, John Isner.

The women's semifinals, which are usually on Friday, are now scheduled for Saturday beginning at 3 p.m. PDT. Serena Williams will face Caroline Wozniacki in one, and Samantha Stosur goes up against Angelique Kerber in the other. 

The women's final will be Sunday at 1 p.m. PDT. CBS will televise all the matches beginning with Friday's men's quarterfinals.


Rain washes out another day at U.S. Open

Rain-altered schedule takes players out of comfort zone

Serena Williams moves into U.S. Open quarterfinals

-- Diane Pucin in New York

Photo: Fans sit through a rain delay at Arthur Ashe stadium in New York on Wednesday. Credit: Patrick McDermott / Getty Images


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