Busted Racquet

  • NEW YORK – A fan proposed during Roger Federer's Monday night win over John Isner.

    The happy couple was all smiles, and the crowd roared with approval when she said "Yes." Everyone loved it, including Federer – even if he didn't exactly understand the choice of venue. 

    "I think it was a great move. I’m happy for him that she says 'yes,' Federer said after his win. "I think it is very cute. I wouldn’t do it, personally, like that, but if they like tennis I wish them well." 

    Cute, but not exactly the most original idea. It had actually already been done on the court inside Arthur Ashe Stadium last week. That time, it was No. 1 Novak Djokovic helping a friend propose.

    Read More »from Love of the game: Fan proposes during Federer match
  • Roger Federer, of Switzerland, returns a shot from between his legs to Philipp Kohlschreiber, of Germany, during the third round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)Roger Federer, of Switzerland, returns a shot from between his legs to Philipp Kohlschreiber, of Germany, during the third round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)NEW YORK  – As the holiday weekend came to an end on Monday night, Roger Federer and John Isner labored through a three-setter in which neither managed to break until Federer finally did so in the final game. 

    Federer moves on to the quarterfinal with the 7-6, 7-6, 7-5 win. 

    The 17-time Grand Slam champion has not lost to an American at the U.S. Open since Andre Agassi beat him in the fourth round in 2001. Overall, he’s now 14-1 against them. The the fourth round, more than any, has been Federer’s nemesis in New York. He’s lost four times in this round – but most of those came early in his career. 

    At 1-all in the second set, Isner stood at the baseline, banging his racket into the ground. He was clearly frustrated. Federer took the advantage, then Isner erased it with an ace. It was Federer’s fifth missed break point opportunity. Seven points later, Isner closed out the game with a towering forehand volley at the net. It was the first true battle of the match. 

    In the next game, Isner

    Read More »from In a battle of superb serving, Federer moves on
  • Cincinnati, OH, USA; Kevin Anderson (RSA) returns a shot against Roger Federer (not pictured) on day six during the Western and Southern Open tennis tournament at Linder Family Tennis Center on Aug 20, 2015.  Aaron Doster-USA TODAY SportsCincinnati, OH, USA; Kevin Anderson (RSA) returns a shot against Roger Federer (not pictured) on day six during the Western and Southern Open tennis tournament at Linder Family Tennis Center on Aug 20, 2015. Aaron Doster-USA TODAY SportsNEW YORK – Andy Murray is out of the U.S. Open, the second top-4 seed to fall early in Flushing Meadows. Murray lost 7-6, 6-3, 6-7, 7-6 in the tournament's longest match yet.

    No. 15 Kevin Anderson took the first two sets, but that's never a reason to count Murray out. He's rallied from a two-set hole eight times. When he forced and won a third-set tiebreak it looked like he might once again pull it off.

    Murray pushed the fourth set to a tiebreak, too, but there the comeback fell short. Anderson took seven straight points in the tiebreak to advance to the quarterfinal. 

    Murray, the 2012 champion, had made it to the quarterfinals in his last 18 Grand Slams. "Obviously that's many years' work that's gone into building that sort of consistency. To lose that is tough," he said in his press conference. "Also to lose a match like that that was over four hours, tough obviously after a couple of tough matches earlier in the tournament, as well, it's a hard one to lose, for sure."

    This was

    Read More »from Cheers, Andy: Murray knocked out in fourth round
  • Jo-Wilifried Tsonga, of France, returns a shot to Benoit Paire, of France, during the fourth round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)Jo-Wilifried Tsonga, of France, returns a shot to Benoit Paire, of France, during the fourth round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)NEW YORK – Marin Cilic continued his title defense Sunday afternoon with a 6–3, 2–6, 7–6, 6–1 victory over No. 27 Jeremy Chardy.

    The No. 9 seed this year, Cilic hit 52 winners and 23 aces in the win. He'll face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarterfinals.

    Tsonga advanced with a straight-set win over fellow Frenchman Benoit Paire on Sunday. That ended a brilliant run for Paire, who started his tournament by upsetting No. 4 Kei Nishikori in the first round. 

    Tsonga served well, taking 89 percent of first-serve points and never facing a break point in the match. He'll be attempting to advance to the semifinal here for the first time in his career. 

    "He's a good player. He beat me a few times in the past on big matches," Tsonga said, looking ahead to the match. "For me, it's gonna be important, you know, to prepare this match as well as possible and try to find a way to go through."

    Later Sunday, Fabio Fognini failed to build on his five-set third-round upset over Rafael Nadal. The 32nd seed,

    Read More »from Djokovic, Cilic, Tsonga advance to quarterfinals
  • Eugenie Bouchard, of Canada, returns a shot to Dominika Cibulkova, of Slovakia, during the third round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)Eugenie Bouchard, of Canada, returns a shot to Dominika Cibulkova, of Slovakia, during the third round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

    NEW YORK – Canadian Eugenie Bouchard withdrew from the women's singles draw ahead of her fourth-round meeting with Roberta Vinci, due to a concussion she suffered on Friday night.

    Bouchard moved slowly as she walked into the tennis center Sunday, wearing a hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses. She did not speak with reporters before leaving. 

    The 25th seed in singles, she had already withdrawn from the women's doubles and mixed doubles. She slipped and fell in the locker room Friday night, shortly after winning her mixed doubles match with Nick Kyrgios. She had also won a three-set singles match on Friday.

    ESPN spoke with a source close to Bouchard, who asked to remain anonymous. The source described what happened: 

    It was late, and the women's locker room was dark, so Bouchard felt around to find the light. According to the source, there was water on the floor, and Bouchard slipped, falling backward and landing on the back of her head. She went to the emergency room that night. After

    Read More »from Eugenie Bouchard withdraws due to concussion
  • Serena Williams, of the United States, returns a shot to Madison Keys, of the United States, during the fourth round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)Serena Williams, of the United States, returns a shot to Madison Keys, of the United States, during the fourth round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)NEW YORK – Madison Keys knew it as soon as she hit it. As the ball hung over the net, seemingly suspended there, Keys started to smile.

    The smile only grew wider as Serena Williams all but strolled to ball, cocked her arm backwards, and slammed a forehand that Keys never had a chance of reaching. 

    It was a frustrated but knowing smile. You can’t make it that easy for Serena. Serena closed out the game on the next point to take a 4-3 advantage.

    Keys went into the changeover shaking her head. It looked as thought she'd already accepted her fate. There was just no beating Serena on Sunday. 

    After a shaky first week, the six-time U.S. Open champion had found her rhythm. Her serves left Keys lunging and twirling. Keys served well, too – she actually served more aces in the match – but the effort wasn’t enough to end Serena’s amazing summer. It came to a sputtering end as Keys double faulted at match point.

    Serena moved on with a fairly routine 6-3, 6-3 win. 

    It was a disappointing end to

    Read More »from Serena finds her rhythm in fourth round win, faces Venus next
  • Venus Williams, of the United States, reacts to her coach's box after defeating Belinda Bencic, of Switzerland, during the third round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)Venus Williams, of the United States, reacts to her coach's box after defeating Belinda Bencic, of Switzerland, during the third round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)NEW YORK – While everyone in Flushing Meadows is busy talking about Serena Williams’s chance at history, her older sister is quietly tearing through the draw.

    Seeded 23rd, Venus advanced to the quarterfinal with a commanding 6-2, 6-1 win over Anett Kontaveit on Sunday afternoon. 

    The match went exactly as planned for Venus, a two-time U.S. Open champion taking on the 152-ranked player in the world. Estonian Kontaveit is 19 years old. She earned a spot in the main draw by advancing through the qualifying tournament.  

    Venus lost only three games in the win, wrapping it up in less than an hour. She served well, reaching 120mph and winning 84 percent of first-serve points. She fought off the only break point she faced. 

    With the win, Venus advanced to the quarterfinal here for the first time since 2010. She'll meet the winner of the upcoming match between Serena Williams and Madison Keys. 

    Will Venus be watching as Serena takes the court?

    “I don’t know, it depends, you know,” she said on

    Read More »from Sister sister: Venus wins, now up to Serena to do the same
  • Madison Keys of the United States serves to Agnieszka Radwanska, of Poland, during the third round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)Madison Keys of the United States serves to Agnieszka Radwanska, of Poland, during the third round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)NEW YORK – A win against Serena this week guarantees a place in history. It means your name will be remembered more readily than some of the foreign players who have actually raised the trophy in Flushing Meadows. It means that 20 years from now, Serena’s droves of fans hear your name and say, “Ohhh, the one that beat Serena that year.” 

    Madison Keys is just fine with that. “She’s won four in a row and she’s going for the calendar year," Keys said Friday. "That’s great, but at the same time I want to win.” 

    “I’d be okay with beating her, yeah,” she said when asked what she thought of being remembered as the villain in this tale. She didn’t seem to completely understand the question. Of course she wants to win. But does she want the ire of Serena’s fans?

    Plenty of women have beaten Serena in her career. Three even did it in Grand Slam championship matches. To beat Serena this week though, would be remarkable. No one has managed to outlast her in a Grand Slam match this year. Only two

    Read More »from Madison Keys is okay with being the villain in Serena's summer
  • NEW YORK – No. 25 Eugenie Bouchard of Canada may have to withdraw from the women's singles draw due to a head injury sustained Friday night when she slipped and fell in the locker room. 

    The USTA announced Saturday afternoon that Bouchard has already withdrawn from women's and mixed doubles. According to the statement,

    Following the competition yesterday evening, Ms. Bouchard slipped and fell in the locker room and sustained a head injury. The severity of the injury was and continues to be assessed by the on-site medical personnel at the US Open.  The medical staff has recommended that Ms. Bouchard withdraw from today’s competitions, and Ms. Bouchard is following that advice. No determination about competing in the singles competition has been made at this time.  Ms. Bouchard will continue with medical evaluation and treatment for the remainder of the day. 

    Bouchard had been playing mixed doubles with Nick Kyrgios and women's doubles with Elena Vesnina.

    A quarterfinalist at this

    Read More »from Bouchard withdraws from doubles, deciding on singles
  • Roger Federer, of Switzerland, serves to Philipp Kohlschreiber, of Germany, during the third round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)Roger Federer, of Switzerland, serves to Philipp Kohlschreiber, of Germany, during the third round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)NEW YORK – Roger Federer and John Isner each advanced in straight sets Saturday afternoon in Flushing Meadows, setting up a fourth-round meeting between the highest-ranked American and the 17-time Grand Slam champion. 

    Federer advanced to the fourth round here for the 15th year in a row with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win over No. 29 Philipp Kohlschreiber.

    Federer has yet to drop a set in this tournament. The only blemish in his latest dominate performance came when Kohlschreiber broke him in the second set. That snapped Federer's 72-game serving win streak. 

    The win set up the meeting with big-serving Isner, who advanced when Jiri Vesely retired after two sets. Isner had won both sets. Vesely was the 14th player – 12 of them men – to retire mid-match this week, a record for Grand Slams. 

    Isner and Federer first met at the U.S. Open eight years ago, when Isner was fresh out of college. The young Bulldog took one set off Federer, but that was about it.

    "I'm a different player," Isner said,

    Read More »from Federer, Isner to face off in fourth round
  • Fabio Fognini, of Italy, reacts after taking a point from Rafael Nadal, of Spain, during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)Fabio Fognini, of Italy, reacts after taking a point from Rafael Nadal, of Spain, during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)NEW YORK – Fabio Fognini stood at the baseline and looked up. It was nearly 1:30a.m. on a relatively cool night in New York. The stadium around him was in shock.

    He, too, couldn't seem to believe what he had just done. The 28-year-old Italian knocked fan-favorite Rafael Nadal out of the U.S. Open, winning a five-setter in which Nadal had taken the first two sets. 

    Nadal had never lost a Grand Slam match in which he won the first two sets. But on Friday, the two-time champion walked off the court on the wrong side of 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4, upset by the No. 32 seed.

    Nadal lost in the quarterfinals at Roland Garros and the Australian Open this year. He lost in the second round at Wimbledon. He had not dropped a set coming into this third-round match. This will be the first year since 2004 that he did not win a single Grand Slam. 

    "For me [it] was amazing [to] win 10 years in a row... You can imagine how difficult [it] is [to] make that happen," he said after the match. "[I'll] accept

    Read More »from Ciao Bella: Rafael Nadal knocked out of U.S. Open in third round
  • Serena Williams reacts after winning a point against Bethanie Mattek-Sands during the third round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)Serena Williams reacts after winning a point against Bethanie Mattek-Sands during the third round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)NEW YORK – It took seven minutes for Bethanie Mattek-Sands to set the pace against Serena Williams on Friday night.

    Mattek-Sands, who earned a wildcard entry to the main draw, served first. She fought off a break point to take the 1-0 lead, then built double-break point and converted to go up 2-0. She fought off another break point to go up 3-0. All in seven minutes.

    Both players had predicted an aggressive match – and before a raucous crowd, they more than delivered. For nearly an hour, it looked like Mattek-Sands might become the villain in Serena's fairytale year. 

    Mattek-Sands took the first set and held serve through six games in the second. She broke Serena's serve as the 21-time Grand Slam champion served for the second set, bringing the set to 5-all.

    But then, like so many other potential spoilers this year, Mattek-Sands ran out of steam. Or, really, she sparked the fire that is Serena. And once that fire ignites, there's no controlling it. From 5-5, Serena won eight straight

    Read More »from Serena Williams survives third-round scare
  • NEW YORK – Venus Williams advanced to the fourth round of the U.S. Open on Friday with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over higher-seeded Belinda Bencic. Venus won 83 percent of her first-serve points and 18 of 22 attempts at the net. It was a solid performance.

    Most fans were impressed. Most, but not her mom. As No. 12 Bencic broke Venus's serve at 4-1 in the second set, Oracene was at her best. 

    Venus played two three-setters to get to the third round. Her mother clearly had no interest in watchng another third set. Venus must've heard her. That was Bencic's only break of the game as Venus closed out the set and the straight-set win. 

    She's now one step closer to a potential quarterfinal match with younger sister Serena Williams, who plays in the final match on Friday night. 

    Read More »from Not impressed: Venus moves on, but not smoothly enough for Oracene's taste
  • Petra Cetkovska, of the Czech Republic, reacts after taking a game from Caroline Wozniacki, of Denmark, during the second round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)Petra Cetkovska, of the Czech Republic, reacts after taking a game from Caroline Wozniacki, of Denmark, during the second round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)NEW YORK – Arthur Ashe Stadium was nearly empty by the time fourth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark and Petra Cetkovska of the Czech Republic closed out the final match of day four, a three-hour marathon that lasted more than twice as long as Roger Federer's match before them. 

    Shortly after midnight, No. 149 Cetkovska completed a remarkable upset, defeating fourth-seed and 2014 runner-up Wozniacki, 6-4, 6-7, 7-6.

    When Cetkovska built a 4-1 lead in the second set, the stadium started to clear out. That's when Wozniacki finally seemed to find her game, battling all the way back to force a third set.

    Those who stuck around were pulling for the comeback – and they nearly got it. Wozniacki had four match points, but failed to convert. At 12:05a.m., they went to a deciding tiebreak. And there, as in the first set, Cetkovska was lights out. Wozniacki only managed one point in the tiebreak as 30-year-old Cetkovska recorded the biggest win of her career. In five previous U.S. Open

    Read More »from Czech-mate: Wozniacki knocked out in second round; Federer, Murray advance
  • NEW YORK – Louis Armstrong Stadium was nearly empty for a second-round women's match on Thursday. That's a good thing – any other match and some fans would likely have been hit when an unexpected drone came flying into the stadium. It crashed into a row of empty seats. 

    The drone flew in from the east side of the stadium as No. 26 Flavia Pennetta defeated Monica Niculescu, 6-1, 6-4. Pennetta said later that she heard it flying around. At first, she thought it might be a bomb.

    "A little bit scary, I have to say," Pennetta told ESPN. "With everything going on in the world ... I thought, 'OK, it's over.' That's how things happen."

    The USTA later issued a press release saying no one was injured and that the New York City Police Department is investigating the incident. The drone broke into pieces when it crashed. The police and security went right over to it, then gave the all-clear to continue

    Read More »from UFO at the U.S. Open? Not quite
  • Lleyton Hewitt, of Australia, returns a shot to Bernard Tomic, of Australia, during the second round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)Lleyton Hewitt, of Australia, returns a shot to Bernard Tomic, of Australia, during the second round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)NEW YORK – Clad in yellow and green, they stood on their seats and belted out a song. “Strolling along, singing a song, walking in a Hewitt wonderland,” they sang, slightly changing the words to the famous tune, in a nod to the veteran on court in front of them. 

    For two sets and 10 games on Thursday, the Grandstand stadium turned into that Hewitt wonderland.

    Lleyton Hewitt rallied from two sets down to force a deciding fifth set against fellow Australian Bernard Tomic. The 2001 champion broke No. 24 Tomic at 4-4, earning the opportunity to serve out the win.  

    These are the kind of matches Hewitt loves most at the U.S. Open, the four- and five-set marathons under the lights. It's where he's thrived in his 15 appearances here. Now 34 years old, Hewitt came to the U.S. Open as a wildcard entry this year. He’d announced that it would be his final U.S. Open. He’ll play the Davis Cup and then retire at the 2016 Australian Open. He’s already started to move on to the next stage of his

    Read More »from Lleyton Hewitt fought to the bitter end at U.S. Open
  • NEW YORK – It's incredibly hot in New York, 93-degrees Fahrenheit with 38 percent humidity. With little shade guarding the courts, it feels more like 100 degrees. Players have been cramping all week, but Jack Sock became the worst victim on Thursday. 

    The 28th seed had to be carried off the court after retiring midway through the fourth set.

    Sock, 22, won the first two sets, 6-4, 6-4. By the third set he started to cramp, allowing Belgium's Ruben Bemelmans to take one back. He received medical treatment between sets. Then, trailing 1-2 in the fourth, Sock had to call it quits. He froze after a serve, his leg completely locked up. 

    Sock sat down with the help of a trainer. He barely lifted his arm to shake Bemelman's hand when the Belgian walked over to Sock's end of the court. 

    The USTA later released a statement saying that Sock suffered from heat illness complicated by cramping.

    "Playing in the US

    Read More »from American Jack Sock has to be carried off court
  • NEW YORK – ESPN tried something knew when an announcer interviewed CoCo Vandeweghe in the middle of her first-round match on Monday. Vandeweghe said they approached her on Sunday to ask if she was cool with it. She said yes, knowing that she could wave the announcer away if she changed her mind. 

    She didn't change her mind, and answered two questions on court between sets. "I think it's a positive. I think any innovation, it is a positive. So I see no harm in it," she said later, when asked if it was distracting. 

    The veterans disagree. Not only do they think it would be distracting, they're also annoyed that ESPN didn't go through the right protocols. 

    "I don't know how much it can really work in tennis," said Novak Djokovic. "I will not, definitely, this tournament. But who knows? Who knows what the future

    Read More »from Don't expect to see any veterans do mid-match interviews
  • Rafael Nadal, of Spain, returns a shot to Diego Schwartzman, of Argentina, during the second round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)Rafael Nadal, of Spain, returns a shot to Diego Schwartzman, of Argentina, during the second round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)NEW YORK – Rafael Nadal survived a tight second-round match late on Wednesday afternoon. At least, fans thought it was tight. Nadal said later that he never doubted he’d win. The 14-time Grand Slam champion won in straight sets, defeating Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman, 7-6, 6-3, 7-5. 

    As Nadal finished on Armstrong, Venus Williams prepared to take the court in Arthur Ashe Stadium. She started powerfully but faltered late in the second set. Fellow American Irina Falconi seized the opportunity, earning a break at 5-6 to force a tiebreak. She dominated the tiebreak to even the match at 1-1.

    As quickly as that door opened for Falconi, Williams slammed it shut. She was solid in the final set as she closed out the 6-3, 6-7, 6-2 win. It wasn’t the best match for either – Venus served six aces and was just 65 percent on first-serves while hitting 47 unforced errors; Falconi’s serve was slower and less accurate, and she hit 34 unforced errors. 

    “After losing the second set, she played a great

    Read More »from Rafa, Venus survive second round
  • Serena Williams reacts after winning a point against Kiki Bertens. (AP)Serena Williams reacts after winning a point against Kiki Bertens. (AP)NEW YORK – This should have been an easy afternoon for Serena Williams. The No. 1 player in the world faced No. 110 Kiki Bertens, a 23-year-old who had earned a bid to the main draw by advancing through the qualifying tournament.

    Williams had the crowd on her side. She even came in more rested, as she had played just 30 minutes in the first round

    And yet, the 21-time Grand Slam champion had to fight for every point in the first set. Bertens broke her in the third game to take a 2-1 lead in the first set, then held serve to 3-1. Williams eventually forced a tiebreak, but Bertens jumped to a 4-0 lead there. 

    Then, finally, Williams started playing her best tennis. She rallied to take the tiebreak (7-5) and the set. She earned a break midway through the second set to go up 3-2. She held to 4-2. That was all the edge she needed, as she went on to close the match 7-6, 6-3. 

    Williams never makes it easy on herself. She's her own worst enemy in the early rounds, where she can sometimes even

    Read More »from Serena Williams gets a scare before advancing in the U.S. Open