September 4th, 2014

Friday Tennis Blog: Serena Up Against Test in Friday US Open Semifinals

Friday Blog

Bryans Chestbump_FeaturedBRYANS ONE WIN FROM TITLE NO. 100 — Bob and Mike Bryan gained the US Open doubles final on Thursday, with the top seeds defeating unseeded fellow Americans Scott Lipsky and Rajeev Ram 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. Not a shocker considering the brothers have four US Open titles to their name, but a win in the final would be their landmark 100th as a team. “Going for 100 on Sunday is going to be something special,” Mike Bryan said. “We’d love to get it done now and here at the Open.” It was only one year ago that the Bryans came up short in their quest to win a calendar Grand Slam, falling at the US Open after winning the Australian, French and Wimbledon. In the US Open final the Bryans brothers will face No. 11-seeded Spaniards Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez, who beat them earlier this year at the French Open.

Martina Hingis

Martina Hingis

RETURN OF THE OLDSTERS — Are the ATP and WTA tours now the senior tours? The 36-year-old Bryan brothers are in the US Open men’s doubles final against 32-year-old Spaniard Marc Lopez. The women’s doubles final will feature 33-year-old Martina Hingis and 32-year-old Flavia Pennetta. Serena Williams at 32 is No. 1 in the world and in the US Open women’s singles semifinals. “Some of the young kids, they don’t remember me anymore,” the former singles and doubles No. 1 Hingis, who coaches WTA teen Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, said with a laugh. Where in the 1990s the average age of a player was roughly 25, nowadays it is roughly 28, with many more over-30 players. “The number of men’s tennis players who are over the age of 30 who qualify for Grand Slam tournaments like the US Open and Wimbledon has doubled or even tripled in recent years,” said Shankar Vedantam, NPR social science correspondent. “So [Roger] Federer, who’s going to turn 33 this year, is actually not an outlier. He’s actually part of a wave.” Thirty has become the new 20, at least on the tennis court.

US davis cup logoUS OPEN TO DAVIS CUP — Less than a week after the US Open winners are crowned, the top U.S. men will take to the court in Chicago in an effort to keep the U.S. Davis Cup team in the World Group for 2015. On Sept. 12-14 the U.S. will host Slovakia indoors at the Sears Center Arena in Chicago, with the loser banished to zonal play for 2015. John Isner and Sam Querrey will lead the U.S. in singles, while Bob and Mike Bryan will be the heavy favorites in the doubles. The Slovaks will counter with No. 65-ranked Martin Klizan and No. 84 Lukas Lacko, with possible doubles players Norbert Gombos and Michal Mertinak. Other World Group Playoffs match-ups will be Serbia at India, Spain at Brazil, Argentina at Israel (to be played in Sunrise, Fla.), Colombia at Canada, Uzbekistan at Australia, Croatia at Netherlands, and Belgium at Ukraine.

Serena Up Against Test in Friday Semifinals

Serena stands alone. Not an unfamiliar position.

World No. 1 Serena Williams is the lone American remaining as the US Open has reached the men’s and women’s singles semifinal round. On Wednesday Serena rebounded from an 0-3 deficit in the opening set to defeat Flavia Pennetta in straight sets.

In the Friday women’s semifinals she will face No. 17-seeded Russian Ekaterina Makarova.

“I have played two lefties already and I often practice with [American] Varvara [Lepchenko],” said Serena about her preparation for the Russian. “She’s a lefty. I think that’s been good for me, so I’m ready for the lefty. I think it will be a good match. She’s beaten me before. I am obviously going to go in there and just try to do the best I can.”

Makarova defeated the younger Williams sister in the round of 16 at the 2012 Australian Open in straight sets.

Serena’s match, to take the court not before 3:45 p.m. EST, will be preceded by the other semifinal, No. 10 seed Caroline Wozniacki against China’s unseeded Shuai Peng at 1:45 p.m.

If the seeding hold in the semifinals, the final would be an all-BFF championship, with buddies Serena and Wozniacki facing off for the third time this summer. Serena defeated the Dane two times during the US Open Series hardcourt events, both times in three sets.

They Said It

“Whoever’s more mad usually wins.”
Mike Bryan on who leads the communication during their doubles matches

CiCi Bellis

CiCi Bellis

“It’s kind of the price you pay when you do well, so I can’t really complain about that.”
— 15-year-old American Catherine “CiCi” Bellis on the media attention she received at the US Open after upsetting a seeded player in the main draw, then drawing large crowds at her matches in the juniors draw

“The fans are finally being coddled. I love the three new courts and five practice courts on the west flank of the grounds, with a viewing area looming up between both sets of courts. I am still obsessed by the new [phone] charging stations. Did I mention they were free?”
— Tennis writer George Vecsey writing for the New York Times on new features at the 2014 US Open

Tennis on TV This Weekend

TV multi colorFriday
12:30-6pm — US Open women’s semis/mixed final (live), CBS

12-6pm — US Open men’s semis/women’s doubles final (live), CBS

12:30-2:30pm — US Open men’s doubles final (live), ESPN2
4:30-7pm — US Open women’s final (live), CBS

5-8pm — US Open men’s final (live), CBS

* Times subject to change