- Stephanie Myles at Eh Game1 hr ago
NEW YORK – Some of the old Genie Bouchard fist-pumping fighting spirit was on display Monday on Court 17 at the US Open, some welcome positive body language in a season of slumps, and slumping shoulders.
At the end of it, nearly two hours in the heat and humidity, Bouchard had secured a 6-4, 6-3 victory over American Alison Riske and advances to the second round of singles, in a draw that already has some big holes in it for an opportunistic player to squeak through.
No doubt bandwidth will be spilled about the immediate “Jimmy Connors” effect on Bouchard’s play, even though Riske was one of the players Bouchard has actually beaten this season – and on Riske’s favourite surface, grass, in the bargain.
“It’s great to get one win. I’m just focused on one day at a time, one point, one match. You know, not looking ahead at all. Not getting ahead of myself,” Bouchard said.
At the same time, even though Bouchard said she has tried to erase the 6-1, 6-0 thumping at the hands of the crafty Roberta Vinci last week in New Haven from her memory, she said she has felt different this week.
- Israel Fehr at Eh Game14 hrs ago
Good luck trying to think of another month quite like the one you just witnessed, Blue Jays fans. You'll be thinking for a long time, because there isn't one: August 2015 has been the best month in the 39-year history of the franchise, and it isn't particularly close.
Toronto improved to 21-5 this month after this past weekend's commanding sweep of the Detroit Tigers, and can make it 22 wins in August with David Price taking the mound at home Monday night against Cleveland.
It's as dominant a month a big-league team could hope to have. Go ahead, try to pick your favourite stat: The Blue Jays had five series sweeps in August. Between Aug. 2 and Aug. 13, they reeled off their second 11-game win streak of the year. Their run differential during this span is +89. Their average margin of victory is 4.8 runs. Seriously, this isn't just your run of the mill hot stretch.
As Jimmy Connors leaves New York, protégé Eugenie Bouchard readies to try to put his advice into practice at the US OpenStephanie Myles at Eh Game23 hrs ago
NEW YORK – In about five days, retired tennis great Jimmy Connors may have been in Genie Bouchard's face more than anyone has all season long – combined.
But the American legend left town Sunday and won't return to New York for a week. So when Bouchard follows countryman Milos Raonic onto Court 17 late Monday afternoon for her first-round singles match against American Alison Riske, she can only rely on his many words, which may still be ringing in her ears.
Here's what it looked like at a final practice Sunday, which took place on Arthur Ashe Stadium – the site of a couple of solid Bouchard victories a year ago, in night matches against Barbora Strycova and Sorana Cirstea.
Connors wouldn't do interviews during his stint with Bouchard this week.
Bouchard, talking to US Open rights holder TSN, said the (mostly) one-way conversations were partly his experiences as a player on the big stages, and partly reminding her that she has done this before.
His back woes finally under control, Milos Raonic prepares to finish the summer on the right note at the US OpenStephanie Myles at Eh Game1 day ago
NEW YORK – Milos Raonic has had his moments at the US Open which, along with the Australian Open, figures to be the Grand Slam that most suits his game and where he can make the most noise.
But after nearly five months of physical woes that began with a nerve issue in his foot that eventually required surgery, the 24-year-old Canadian is short of match play. First, he missed the French Open because of the surgery. Then, in trying to get back for the grass court season, he found himself suffering various other physical issues related to compensating for the more fragile foot.
The summer hard-court season in the US has been a tough one. First he didn't defend his title at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., where he defeated countryman Vasek Pospisil in the final a year ago. Then came an early loss at his home-country Rogers Cup to fellow big server Ivo Karlovic of Croatia, in two tiebreaks. Then, a first-round loss to Spanish lefty Feliciano Lopez the following week in Cincinnati.
But for the last few days, after physio Claudio Zimaglia – who also is an osteopath – worked that area every which day, it has finally begun to loosen up.
- Stephanie Myles at Eh Game1 day ago
NEW YORK – When Maria Sharapova did her pre-tournament press conference Saturday afternoon, she was cagey on her health, and fairly vague about her prospects at this year's US Open.
"Just had a bit of a muscle strain," she said of the leg injury that led to her withdrawing both from the Rogers Cup in Toronto and from the Cincinnati tournament two weeks ago.
"I’m feeling better. I’m feeling better. It’s just a time thing, when you’re dealing with these nagging things, it’s it’s almost just a day-to-day process," she said. "I’ve done everything I could to be ready. There’s nothing more I could have done, so I hope (I'll be ready)."
She wasn't. After a late-afternoon practice session on Louis Armstrong Stadium Sunday, the tournament announced that Sharapova had withdrawn.
Sharapova was due to play countrywoman Daria Gavrilova, who now represents Australia. The 21-year-old pulled off the big upset in straight sets against Sharapova in the second round of the Miami event last March, although Sharapova got her revenge a month later on the red clay in Rome.
- Stephanie Myles at Eh Game2 days ago
NEW YORK – It hasn't even yet begun, but Genie Bouchard's US Open so far has been made up of a rogue's gallery of her 2015 memories.
It began at the draw, with her first opponent (American Alison Riske) and her potential second-round opponent (Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan) being among her few victims on the tennis court this season.
On Saturday, she took on Kristina Mladenovic in a practice match – Mladenovic, the Frenchwoman who so summarily dismissed her in the first round of the French Open and then again, 6-0 in the third set, in the first round of Birmingham on grass a few weeks later.
Truth be told, the outcome of this practice wasn't much different than those matches even if, since it doesn't count or anything, the scores will not be recorded for posterity.
But what was noted for posterity was the marathon pep talk mentor Jimmy Connors launched into at the end of the 90-minute workout.
- Stephanie Myles at Eh Game3 days ago
NEW YORK – Jimmy Connors is leaving New York Sunday. He'll be back in a week.
Will charge Genie Bouchard still be around? That would mean reaching the fourth round of the US Open, as she did a year ago before losing to Ekaterina Makarova on a day on Louis Armstrong Stadium during which the heat got to her.
“She'd better. “If she’s playing like she’s playing now, she’ll be okay," Connors told the Wall Street Journal's Tom Perrotta, who caught up with the 62-year-old American after another practice session with Bouchard early Friday afternoon at the Flushing Meadows site.
Connors wanted to make clear that he is not Bouchard's new coach, as many Internet reports had it on Thursday (although not Eh Game). They know each other; he believes in her talent. He's helping her out.
The US Open road for Canadians Vasek Pospisil and Milos Raonic goes through world No. 1 Novak DjokovicStephanie Myles at Eh Game4 days ago
For the first round, at least, The Canadian men in the singles draw at the US Open have to be considered the favourites as the final Grand Slam of the season gets under way Monday.
After that, well, it gets a little complicated.
Vancouver's Vasek Pospisil, unseeded, will play Andreas Haider-Maurer of Austria in the first round, a player ranked lower than he is and whom he has beaten twice on fast indoor hard courts – albeit both in 2012.
After that, he could get world No. 1 Novak Djokovic. That's the lot of the unseeded player, although it could have been worse; Pospisil could have faced Djokovic, or Roger Federer, or Andy Murray in the first round.
But it also could have been a whole lot better.
Meanwhile, Milos Raonic is seeded No. 10, and drew American Tim Smyczek in the first round. Smyczek, 27, is just inside the top 100 at No. 95 and doesn't have many weapons with which to hurt Raonic – assuming the back woes that have bedeviled the Canadian this summer are behind him.
- Stephanie Myles at Eh Game4 days ago
It doesn't take long for word to get around the cyber universe, after a random spotting in a pretty public location full of tennis players.
But when New Yorker Nick Fortunato took his daughter to the Little Mo tournament at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, New York – the former home of the US Open – Wednesday, he came upon quite a sight.
Struggling tennis star Genie Bouchard on one of courts practicing with American tennis legend Jimmy Connors.
Eh Game has learned that Connors is not, in fact, Bouchard's new, official, permanent coach. The two will collaborate at the US Open. Beyond that, who knows?
(Nothing official from the Bouchard camp on this until early evening, when the official statement through her agents indicated that Bouchard and Connors have "been friends for a few years" and that he was helping her out this week while he was in New York City.
And that there were no long-term plans "at this time.")
- Israel Fehr at Eh Game4 days ago
VANCOUVER – They’ll tell you it’s been a long time coming: the Voyageurs Cup finally belongs to the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The Whitecaps beat the Montreal Impact 2-0 on Wednesday night at B.C. Place to win the Amway Canadian Championship for the first time in the eight-year history of the competition.
Long-time fans know the drought dates back longer than eight years too. Even between 2002 and 2007, when the Voyageurs Cup was awarded to the club with the most points from USL First Division games involving Canadian teams, Vancouver never came out on top.
Now they’ve got their hands on this trophy, and they’re coming for more.
“[We’ve had] too many heartbreaks with this tournament – disappointments for the fans, disappointments for us. It’s about damn time we won it,” said midfielder Russell Teibert, who was named tournament MVP.
“We gotta get used to winning trophies. We gotta get used to winning championships. This team, it’s our time now.”