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Delpo Advances To Second US Open Final

  • Posted: Sep 07, 2018

Delpo Advances To Second US Open Final

The 2009 champion will face Djokovic or Nishikori

Juan Martin del Potro is moving into his second Grand Slam final. After the 2009 champion took the first two sets 7-6(3), 6-2, World No. 1 Rafael Nadal retired after experiencing knee soreness.

Nine years ago, the Argentine captured his first Grand Slam title here in Flushing Meadows. But four wrist surgeries would send him as low as No. 1,045 in the ATP Rankings in February of 2016. Now, the ‘Tower of Tandil’ is arguably better than ever, at a career-best No. 3 and trying to come full circle where he first broke through nearly a decade ago.

Del Potro owns more wins against the top player in the ATP Rankings than anyone else who has not held the spot with 10. He has three more than Michael Chang and Richard Krajicek, who are second on the list with seven victories against a World No. 1 apiece. 

While leading 4-3, Nadal got his right knee taped, before later ripping it off and getting it taped again early in the second set. But after the Argentine blasted a forehand winner to close out the second set — his 29th winner of the match — Nadal could not continue. 

The 32-year-old still holds a tremendous 24-5 record in major semi-finals overall. Nadal has won 11 of the pair’s 17 FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, including five of seven at Slams. The duo has met at four of the past five majors, including this US Open. 

It was tough to expect back-to-back breaks right out of the gate, but that’s exactly what happened, as both players made a series of uncharacteristic errors to lose their service games.

But then the competitors raised their levels, with both men going after their forehands more. Del Potro broke and held two set points at 5-4, but could not convert. Yet with the momentum seemingly on the top seed’s side, Del Potro was too strong from the baseline in the tie-break.

Del Potro is known to have one of if not the most dangerous forehand in tennis, but he was also plenty aggressive off his backhand wing. The Argentine developed a knifing slice after his wrist injury, but he hit through the ball quite a bit off that wing on Friday, striking a couple of massive passing shots for winners. He also did a good job using the wide serve in an attempt to open the court for an aggressive second shot in front of a crowd that included Alec Baldwin and Chevy Chase. 

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Sock/Bryan Clinch Second Slam In A Row, Win US Open

  • Posted: Sep 07, 2018

Sock/Bryan Clinch Second Slam In A Row, Win US Open

Bryan becomes all-time men’s doubles Grand Slam leader

Mike Bryan and Jack Sock clinched their second major championship in a row on Friday afternoon, defeating No. 7 seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 6-3, 6-1 in just 74 minutes to win the US Open, giving Bryan his all-time men’s doubles record 18th Grand Slam crown.

Bryan breaks a tie with John Newcombe for first all-time by triumphing at this level for the 18th time, also breaking a tie with his brother Bob Bryan by earning a record sixth victory in Flushing Meadows. At 40 years, 4 months, he also passed Indian Leander Paes as the oldest Grand Slam champion in men’s doubles during the Open Era. Paes was two months younger when he won here five years ago.

All-Time Grand Slam Men’s Doubles Title Leaders

 Rank  Player  Titles
 1  Mike Bryan  18
 2  John Newcombe  17
 T3  Bob Bryan  16
 T3  Roy Emerson  16
 T3  Todd Woodbridge  16

Bryan and Sock are the first team to win Wimbledon and the US Open in the same year since Jonas Bjorkman and Todd Woodbridge did it in 2003. The last time a doubles team won consecutive major championships was when the Bryan brothers triumphed at four Slams in a row from the 2012 US Open through 2013 Wimbledon.

They will share $700,000 for their efforts during the fortnight, and will add 2,000 ATP Doubles Rankings points to their total. That will propel them to the fourth spot in the ATP Doubles Race To London. Bryan/Bryan occupy the third spot due to their efforts before Bob Bryan got injured in the Mutua Madrid Open final in May. Until this US Open, the brothers competed together here every year since 1995. 

Bryan/Sock dominated on return in the match, consistently forcing the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runners-up to volley up during their service games as they approached the net with hard, low-flying returns. Sock was especially effective from the baseline with his electric forehand, which he lasered through the middle of the court time after time.

That kept Kubot and Melo from truly establishing themselves at the net and putting their opponents on the back foot. Bryan and Sock broke four times, while they were not broken. The Americans dropped just three first-serve points and played clean tennis, making only eight unforced errors, four of which were double faults. It was the completion of a dominant performance at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, as Bryan/Sock lost just one set in the tournament.

Kubot and Melo arrived in New York having lost five of their past six matches. But the Polish-Brazilian duo put forth a strong effort by reaching their second Slam final as a team. Kubot was trying to become the first Polish man to triumph in doubles here, while Melo was attempting to capture his second major crown. They will split $350,000 in prize money and add 1,200 points.

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I dreamed of playing Serena in a Grand Slam final – Osaka

  • Posted: Sep 07, 2018
2018 US Open
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 27 August-9 September Coverage: Live radio coverage on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra; live text commentaries on the BBC Sport website

Naomi Osaka says she “always dreamed” she would play her idol Serena Williams in a Grand Slam final after both reached this year’s US Open decider.

The 20-year-old became Japan’s first female Grand Slam finalist by defeating last year’s runner up Madison Keys 6-2 6-4 at Flushing Meadows in New York.

Six-time winner Williams is looking to match the record 24 Grand Slam titles won by Australian Margaret Court.

“I shouldn’t think of her as my idol, just as an opponent,” said Osaka.

“When I was a little kid I always dreamed I would play Serena in a Grand Slam final. At the same time I feel like even though I should enjoy this moment, I should still think of it as another match.”

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‘I love you Serena’

Osaka, who was aged just one when Williams won her first Grand Slam in 1999, is well-known for her entertaining interviews on the tour and in the past has discussed Netflix, memes and computer game Overwatch in news conferences.

After winning her first Masters title at Indian Wells earlier this year, she made what she described as “the worst acceptance speech of all time” – nervously saying her ‘thank yous’ before awkwardly lifting the trophy and posing for photographs.

Two years ago, she was asked a question about her career ambitions and responded by saying: “To be the very best, like no-one ever was.”

Realising she had caused confusion, she added: “That’s a Pokemon quote, I’m sorry. That’s the Pokemon theme song. But, yeah, to be the very best, and go as far as I can go.”

And after winning her semi-final win Osaka brought laughter from the crowd on Arthur Ashe Stadium with her answers in her post-match interview…

Interviewer: Thirteen break points faced, 13 break points saved, how did you do that?

Osaka: This is going to sound really bad but I was just thinking I really want to play Serena.

Interviewer: Why?

Osaka: Because she is Serena. Like what do you mean?

Interviewer: What was going through your mind as you went to serve it out?

Osaka: Don’t double fault.

Interviewer: Perhaps a message for Serena?

Osaka: I love you.

How Osaka marched to the final

Osaka, who began the season as world number 68, steamrolled her way into her first Grand Slam semi-final with a 6-1 6-1 demolition of Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko.

And she saw off two Belarusians in the third and fourth rounds – demolishing Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-0 6-0 before dropping her only set of the tournament in a 6-3 2-6 6-4 win over 26th seed Aryna Sabalenka.

The Japanese youngster broke into tears of joy following that win over Sabalenka but remained calm after her victory in the semi-final.

“I believe that Naomi is one of those individuals who really craves the big stage,” said her coach Sascha Bajin, who used to work with Williams.

“She always plays better on the big stages than she does on any of the other courts. If she’s sad, she’s going to show it. If she’s happy, she’s going to show it. There are no fake emotions.”

A breakthrough year

The 20-year-old was born in Osaka, Japan and moved to New York aged three before relocating to Florida. Her father is Haitian and her mother is Japanese.

The dual-citizen says going to Japan feels like a “super-awesome vacation” rather than home, but will have the hopes of a nation behind her when she faces Williams.

By reaching the semi-finals alongside compatriot Kei Nishikori, it marked the first time that a male and female Japanese player had reached the final four in the same Grand Slam.

And Osaka will break into the world’s top 10 with victory in Saturday’s final – capping off a terrific year that started so well with the victory at Indian Wells in March.

On her way to that title in California, Osaka beat four seeded players, including world number one Simona Halep and fifth seed Karolina Pliskova, as well as five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova.

She also beat Williams in Miami in March – just two years after her first appearance at a Slam at the Australian Open.

She announced herself in New York last year when she caused an upset to knock out defending US Open champion and world number six Angelique Kerber in the first round.

Before reaching this year’s US Open final, Osaka’s best finish at a Grand Slam was in the fourth round of the Australian Open – she had never gone beyond the third round prior to that.

The view from Japan

Japanese tennis journalist Aki Uchida

She became famous in Japan especially after she won in Indian Wells – that was big news.

She is half Japanese and half Haitian-American so she doesn’t look typically Japanese but her name is very traditional Japanese. So that contrast between her looks and her name makes her even more charismatic to Japanese people. And the way she acts on court is very Japanese.

Japan is having a lot of typhoons and earthquakes so it’s not a time for the country to be very happy and excited about sport. But right after she won this match, I was getting text messages from friends back home saying ‘you’re in New York and Naomi just won!’ So based on that, I think people who are not always into tennis are interested in her.

Now she is famous in Japan. I think she is one of the most well-known female athletes now.

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US Open 2018: Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic aim for another final in New York

  • Posted: Sep 07, 2018
2018 US Open
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 27 August-9 September Coverage: Live radio coverage on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra; live text commentaries on the BBC Sport website

Former champions Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will bid to set up a 53rd meeting with victories in the US Open semi-finals on Friday.

The pair have met more than any two men in the Open era and could meet for a fourth time in a final in New York.

Spanish defending champion Nadal faces Argentine third seed Juan Martin del Potro in the last four as he aims for an 18th Grand Slam title.

Two-time winner Djokovic follows against Japan’s Kei Nishikori.

  • Williams powers into ninth final
  • Osaka reaches historic first final

Nadal and 2009 US Open champion Del Potro have met twice in Grand Slams this year, at the French Open and Wimbledon with Nadal winning on both occasions.

But the world number one has spent nearly four hours longer on court than Del Potro at Flushing Meadows, including a gruelling four-hour 49-minute marathon against Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals.

“It will be a very tough one,” three-time US Open winner Nadal said.

“At Wimbledon he’s a great player, he’s a great player everywhere. But the challenge of playing him on hard courts, of course, is even higher for me personally.

“I know that I will have to play at my highest level to keep having chances of success. I am focused on trying to make that happen.”

The pair’s meeting at Wimbledon in the quarter-finals lasted almost five hours with Nadal winning a thrilling fifth set.

“It could be another big battle, as the Wimbledon match was,” Del Potro said.

“Of course, I like to play always with the number one of the world, it doesn’t matter the tournament or the conditions.

“I just have the chance to play the greatest in this sport, and it’s amazing for me.”

Djokovic still going in ‘toughest’ US Open

Djokovic is aiming for a 14th Grand Slam title, which will take him level with American Pete Sampras in third in the men’s all-time list.

Temperatures have soared during the tournament and the Serb says the conditions have been the “toughest” he has faced at Flushing Meadows.

He has beaten 21st seed Nishikori in each of the pair’s last 13 encounters but lost their only meeting at the US Open, as Nishikori reached his only Grand Slam final in 2014.

“For sure it [the 2014 win] is going to give me good confidence, even though I didn’t remember,” Nishikori said.

“Maybe I will try to watch the match again.

“I don’t have a great record against Novak, but always it’s been a tough match the last couple of years.

“I’ve seen a chance, but I haven’t been able to make the last step.”

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US Open 2018: Storms disrupt Hewett and Reid semi-final

  • Posted: Sep 07, 2018
2018 US Open
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 27 August-9 September Coverage: Live radio coverage on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra; live text commentaries on the BBC Sport website

British defending champions Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid’s wheelchair doubles semi-final was postponed because of poor weather at the US Open.

The second seeds were leading Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez and Japan’s Shingo Kunieda by one set after taking the first 7-5.

It was a gruelling first set which lasted one hour and 18 minutes.

The match was originally delayed because of extreme heat and then moved from Arthur Ashe Stadium to court 12.

Thunderstorms and rainfall meant all outside court matches were abandoned for the day, while the two women’s singles semi-finals were held under the roof of Arthur Ashe.

Britain’s Lucy Shuker and her partner Sabine Ellerbrock from Germany also had their women’s doubles semi-final against top seeds Diede de Groot and Yui Kamiji called off.

Compatriot Andy Lapthorne was also due to take on American top seed David Wagner in the men’s quad division.

All four British players will play in a packed schedule in New York on Friday.

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'It is really incredible' – Williams powers into ninth US Open final

  • Posted: Sep 07, 2018
2018 US Open women’s final
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Date: Saturday, 8 September Time: 21:00 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and text commentary on the BBC Sport website.

Serena Williams has another shot at winning her first Grand Slam title since giving birth after defeating Anastasija Sevastova in 66 minutes in their US Open semi-final.

Williams, beaten by Angelique Kerber in the Wimbledon final in July, won 6-3 6-0 against Latvian 19th seed Sevastova.

The 36-year-old American will play Japan’s Naomi Osaka in Saturday’s final after the 20th seed beat Madison Keys.

Victory will equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles.

“It is really incredible. A year ago I was literally fighting for my life at the hospital after having the baby,” said Williams, who missed last year’s US Open because of the birth of her child, Olympia.

“Every day I step out on this court I am so grateful to have an opportunity to play this sport.

“So no matter what happens in any match, I already feel like I have already won.”

  • Osaka through to first Grand Slam final
  • Nadal & Djokovic target US final
  • US Open semi-finals as they happened
  • Live scores, schedule and results

Serena in stats

  • The American will compete in her 31st Grand Slam final and ninth US Open final.
  • Having lost her past two semi-finals at Flushing Meadows, Williams will make her first appearance in the final since beating Caroline Wozniacki in 2014.
  • The 17th seed has won the US Open a record-equalling six times – the same amount as compatriot Chris Evert.
  • Williams will be the third oldest women’s Grand Slam finalist in the Open era and, if she wins, the oldest champion, overtaking her own record set at the 2017 Australian Open.

Williams close to her very best

Williams was out of the game for over a year after announcing her pregnancy in April 2017 and then giving birth last September.

Now, she is back playing at her home Grand Slam and looking close to her very best.

A dominant win over older sister Venus laid down a significant marker in the third round, before a straight-set win over Czech eighth seed Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-finals showed she was able to compete with the world’s best players once again.

That meant she came into her semi-final as the favourite against a player who had never before reached a Grand Slam semi-final.

But the ease with which she ran away with the match – winning 11 of the final 12 games and losing just 12 points in the second set – was startling.

“This is just the beginning. I’m only a few months in and really looking forward to the rest of the year and next year,” Williams said.

“I just feel like there’s a lot of growth still to go in my game. That’s actually the most exciting part.

“Even though I’m not a spring chicken, I still have a very, very bright future.”

Attacking Williams blunts Sevastova

Williams made a slow start in front of an expectant crowd on Arthur Ashe Stadium, which had the roof closed because of rain and thunderstorms.

She lost her serve in the first game and trailed 2-0 before winning four in a row to take command.

I just usually come in to shake hands. I wanted to try something different and it worked in my favour

Serena Williams

Williams started to find her range and her power could not be contained by Sevastova.

More striking was the former world number one’s willingness to come forward, approaching the net on 28 occasions and winning 24 of those points.

Once she took the first set in 39 minutes there was no way back for her 28-year-old opponent.

Williams hit 14 winners in the 25 points she needed to take the second set in 27 minutes.

“I’ve been working hard on my volleys,” Williams said of her aggressive gameplan. “I have won a few doubles championships, so I know how to volley.

“I just usually come in to shake hands,” she joked. “I wanted to try something different and it worked in my favour.”

Sevastova, who beat defending champion Sloane Stephens to reach the last four, said: “When she’s in front it’s tough to play. I tried on her games, but she served well – when somebody serves an ace at 123 miles per hour there’s not much you can do.”

Open era’s oldest Grand Slam women’s finalists

Player Age Grand Slam Result
*based on age at end of tournament
Martina Navratilova 37 years, 258 days 1994 Wimbledon Runner-up
Venus Williams 37 years, 29 days 2017 Wimbledon Runner-up
Serena Williams 36 years, 349 days* 2018 US Open TBD
Serena Williams 36 years, 293 days 2018 Wimbledon Runner-up
Venus Williams 36 years, 226 days 2017 Australian Open Runner-up
Serena Williams 35 years, 125 days 2017 Australian Open Winner


Russell Fuller, BBC tennis correspondent

As Williams said in the aftermath of victory, she usually only comes into the net to shake hands. She is a very fine doubles player, but in singles her domination from the back of the court is normally more than sufficient.

But in this semi-final, to counteract Sevastova’s fondness for a drop shot and a sliced approach, Williams virtually camped at the net and barely missed a drive volley winner.

This was the six-time champion’s sixth commanding performance of the fortnight. She will take some stopping in the final.

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Preview: Can Nishikori Snap Djokovic's Winning Streak?

  • Posted: Sep 07, 2018

Preview: Can Nishikori Snap Djokovic’s Winning Streak?

Two-time champion to meet Japanese former No. 4 for 17th time

As any player will attest, some losses sting more than others but it’s what you learn from them that counts. For Novak Djokovic, a four-set defeat to Kei Nishikori in the 2014 US Open semi-finals did not so much spark a learning curve as a learning leap.

Defeat at the time sent Nishikori through to his lone Grand Slam final to date. It also handed him a 2-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head edge over the Serbian. How quickly those tides turned. Djokovic has never lost to the Japanese player since – that’s 13 straight victories now.

View FedEx ATP Head2Head for the US Open & vote for who you think will win! 
Nadal vs Del Potro | Djokovic vs Nishikori


As the No. 6 seed and two-time US Open champion admitted ahead of their semi-final on Friday, there was something about Nishikori’s game that flicked his competitive switch from the get-go.

“We had some matches where I won in straight sets, but we had a lot of matches, especially on clay courts, where it went the distance, where a couple of points really decided the winner,” Djokovic said. “In Rome we played a couple matches there. This year he was close to being the winner of that match.

“I have a very good head-to-head score against him. But because he plays so fast, he makes me more alert from the first point because I know I have to be at my best in order to compete with him from the baseline.”

Djokovic has beaten him three times this year already, including the quarter-finals en route to his fourth Wimbledon trophy. It was a trophy run that restored his confidence and carried into the North American hard-court summer, where he went on to complete the Career Golden Masters in Cincinnati. After seeing off the dogged challenge of Roger Federer’s conqueror, John Millman, to reach the semi-finals, it became clear Djokovic was again beginning to peak at the pointy end of the tournament.

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Having missed last year’s US Open and this year’s Australian Open due to a right wrist injury, 2018 has been a season of rebuilding for former World No. 4, Nishikori. He avenged his 2014 US Open final defeat to Marin Cilic on Wednesday, denying the No. 7 seed in five sets. 

The 28-year-old said he was playing without the pressure to maintain a Top 10 ranking and it was showing. He might do well now to dig up footage of his semi-final victory over Djokovic from four years ago.

“Yeah, I forgot about it,” he grinned. “I always have good memories here. It was a tough battle against Novak. For sure, it’s gonna give me good confidence, even though I [can’t] remember. Maybe I will try to watch the match again, if he wins, and get more confidence.”

In a showdown between two of the ATP World Tour’s best baseline movers, Nishikori would not shy away from what made this match-up so difficult for him.  

“Well, he’s very solid from baseline,” the No. 21 seed said. “He doesn’t have many weakness. He has a great backhand and forehand, too. He can be aggressive, and serve, he got better, too. I will say everything.” 

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Bryan/Sock Reach Second Straight Grand Slam Final

  • Posted: Sep 07, 2018

Bryan/Sock Reach Second Straight Grand Slam Final

American No. 3 seeds to meet No. 7 seeds Kubot/Melo for the title

Mike Bryan assures his brother Bob Bryan his job is safe once he returns to the world’s most successful doubles partnership from a hip injury. In the meantime, Jack Sock is proving a more than sufficient substitute.

Mike Bryan and Sock won through to their second straight Grand Slam final on Thursday, to extend their unbeaten run in the majors to 11 matches. And it will be a battle of the past two Wimbledon champions when the Americans meet No. 7 seed Marcelo Melo and Lukasz Kubot in the final.

Bryan/Sock prevailed with a dramatic 6-2, 6-7(1), 6-4 semi-final victory over fifth seeds Robert Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal on Thursday. The match could have been a relatively routine 6-2, 6-4 result had Bryan closed it out with match point on his serve in the second set. 

The Colombian duo had already ended Bryan/Bryan’s run in the Australian Open semi-finals in January and a second straight hard-court Grand Slam final was suddenly on the cards again when they forced a deciding set.

The American No. 3 seeds, however, made no mistake of it second time around. They converted on match point No. 2 with a break of serve in the final game of the match.

“Obviously we could have won that thing in straights [sets]. We could have won this 45 minutes ago but it’s a good mental test,” Bryan said. “Those guys are really good fighters. That’s my bad. I should have served it out.”

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At 40, Bryan will be bidding for his 18th Grand Slam title, his sixth at the US Open. A win over the Polish-Brazilian pair in the final would break his tie with John Newcombe for most major doubles titles. 

“I’m just having a blast. This is my 24th [US] Open,” Bryan said. “Still doing it and really savouring these moments. Who knows? It could be one of my last finals here. Bob, keep rehabbing that hip. Jack’s done pretty good filling in for you.”

At Wimbledon, Bryan/Sock pulled through three five-set matches to clinch their first title together. Sock was asked whether it was better heading into the US Open final having pulled through a long match or to have done it easily.

“I think everyone wants to hear ‘dig deep’ but I’d rather be off the court faster, to be honest,” Sock laughed. “We spent a lot of time on court, a lot of wear and tear on the body so obviously any time you can get through in straights [sets] the better. It’s been a long season. 

“But as [Mike] alluded to, it’s almost a little bit sweeter feeling if you maybe have chances, not get it, but staying mentally tough and pulling through again.”

After finishing 2017 as the No. 1 doubles team in the world, Kubot/Melo contested their first Grand Slam semi-final of the season when they came up against alternates Radu Albot and Malek Jaziri on Thursday. The seventh seeds had lost five of the past seven matches heading into the US Open but were turning their season around in New York.

Kubot/Melo booked their place in their first final since claiming the Gerry Weber Open in Halle with a 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-3 victory over the Moldovan/Tunisian pair. They will look to extend an unbeaten 2-0 record in finals this season when they meet the Bryan/Sock partnership for the first time.

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