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Rafael Nadal

U.S. Open Preview: Tennis Stars Swap Beijing for New York

August 27, 2008 05:36 PM
by Liz Colville
After the Olympics, the tennis world eyes the U.S. Open in New York City, which features the sport’s biggest stars and a promising contingent of fresh American talent.

Newcomers Among Giants

Current world number two Roger Federer hopes the 2008 U.S. Open will give him a chance to move on from his Olympic bid, which was quashed by American James Blake in the quarterfinals. But with Swiss teammate Stanislas Wrawrinka, Federer won gold in the doubles championship.

Rafael Nadal of Spain once again proved his star is still rising by capturing the gold in Beijing, following earlier wins in 2008 at Wimbledon and the French Open, both against Federer. Nadal is now number one in the world. After his Olympic win, Nadal defined the importance of the Olympics: “For tennis, the slams are more important,” he told reporters. “For sportsmen, the Olympics are more important. I win here for a lot of people, not just for me.”

For Federer, this year’s U.S. Open is a chance to defend his 2007 title. Winning would bring him his 5th overall U.S. Open title and his 13th grand slam. But Federer will once again have Nadal and up-and-comers like James Blake and British star Andy Murray to contend with.

Other promising players on the men’s side include the young American Sam Querry, a California-based player who has been quietly climbing the men’s singles rankings since turning pro in 2006. The unseeded Querry defeated No. 22 seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in the first round on August 26.

On the women’s side, the Williams sisters, fresh from a doubles gold medal in Beijing, will compete with preeminent Europeans like Ana Ivanovic of Serbia and past U.S. Open winner Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia. The Williamses are both in the top half of the women’s singles draw, guaranteeing they will not play each other in a later-round match, as history has so often allowed.
Lindsay Davenport occupies the bottom half of the draw with a seed of 23. She joins Svetlana Kuznetsova and Elena Dementieva of Russia, Jelena Jankovic of Serbia, and rising star Marion Bartoli of France. Other young players like American Bethanie Mattek and British hopeful Anne Keothavong could also make an impact. Mattek has been known for her “attention-grabbing outfits,” but in 2007 toned down her wardrobe to focus more on her game. Her world ranking has climbed from in the hundreds to a high of 43 this month.

There is no clear-cut favorite on the women’s side since reigning champion Justine Henin retired. The past several U.S. Open titles have been scattered among Henin, Kuznetsova, Maria Sharapova, Kim Clijsters and the Williams sisters.

Reference: Player bios, Tennis Guide, getting around New York


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