Busted Racquet

  • 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
  • NEW YORK – Neon orange has taken over the U.S. Open. From Tommy Haas’s sneakers to Bethanie Mattek-Sands' hair, it’s everywhere. 

    Mattek-Sands wore an orange – or, as she described it, electric melon – skirt and shoelaces to match her fluorescent ponytail as she absolutely dominated fellow American CoCo Vandeweghe on Tuesday afternoon. The 30-year-old won in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1. 

    The next time she takes the court she'll more than likely be inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, with the opportunity to spoil Serena Williams's historic run.

    Mattek-Sands is playing in her 13th U.S. Open. That's the same number of appearances as Mardy Fish, yet no one in New York seems to know her name. 

    It's kind of remarkable, considering her style is impossible to forget. She has a full sleeve of tattoos on her arm, too. She always wears memorable outfits,

    Read More »from Serena's next opponent has bright orange hair
  • Mardy Fish reacts after losing a point to Feliciano Lopez, of Spain, during the second round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)Mardy Fish reacts after losing a point to Feliciano Lopez, of Spain, 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 – It looked as though Mardy Fish was going to pull off the upset. Leading No. 18 Feliciano Lopez by a set on a hot and humid Wednesday in New York, he earned a break at 4-4 in the fourth set.

    It meant he could serve out the win to move on to the third round. But just as quickly as he built that opportunity, it slipped away.

    Three double faults gave Lopez the break, then Lopez won the next two games to force a deciding fifth set. 

    The missed opportunity brought fans from around the U.S. Open grounds. A group of women from Philadelphia rushed in to find seats. "Mardy needs us!" they squealed. "We've been listening. I can't believe he missed that."

    "He came so close. It's going to be so disappointing if he can't pull it off," a man said. His wife added that it's like having bases loaded with no outs, and failing to score. 

    Fish later said he knew that moment was critical. "I certainly felt like that was, you know, my opportunity, big-time opportunity to really capitalize," he

    Read More »from Fans bid farewell to Mardy Fish
  • NEW YORK – After making crude remarks during a Rogers Cup match in Montreal last month, 20-year-old Australian Nick Kyrgios was fined $25,000 and suspended 28 days from ATP play.

    Kyrgios had said that another player had slept with the current girlfriend of Stan Wawrinka. He made the comment in a heated moment during a match against Wawrinka. It didn't fly in the tight-lipped tennis world, with most of the veterans later criticizing the Aussie.

    Penalties like that might make a young player stop and consider how he is perceived on the court and in the locker room. Well, maybe other players. Apparently it had no effect on Kyrgios. Tuesday night's match against No. 3 Andy Murray featured just as many emotional outbursts and racket tosses as any in recent memory.

    The antics started immediately.

    Perhaps they wore

    Read More »from For one night only, Nick Kyrgios show rolls through New York
  • Caroline Wozniacki, of Denmark, blows kisses to the crowd after beating Jamie Loeb, of the United States, during the first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)Caroline Wozniacki, of Denmark, blows kisses to the crowd after beating Jamie Loeb, of the United States, during the first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)NEW YORK – After a Monday rife with upsets, the second day of the U.S. Open seemed rather tame. There was little energy in the air, and even less on the courts as the top seeds walked right through to the second round.

    No. 2 Simona Halep was the first to advance, moving on after Marina Erakovic retired in the second set of their morning match. Halep led 6-2, 3-0. Strangely enough, that means the top two women's seeds advanced without playing a full match.

    No. 4 Caroline Wozniacki came next on Arthur Ashe. She defeated American Jamie Loeb, 6-2, 6-0. That cleared the way for Roger Federer and Leonardo Mayer of Argentina.

    Federer absolutely dominated, earning a 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 win on the strength of 12 aces. He won 84 percent of first-serve points and six of nine break-point opportunities. WIth the win, the five-time champion tied Ivan Lendl for third place on the U.S. Open all-time wins list. Federer is now six behind Andre Agassi's 79. He'll face either Marcos Baghdatis or Steve Darcis in

    Read More »from Federer, Wozniacki, Halep secure easy wins
  • ATLANTA, GA - JULY 28:  Frances Tiafoe returns a backhand to Sam Groth of Australia during the BB&T Atlanta Open at Atlantic Station on July 28, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)ATLANTA, GA - JULY 28: Frances Tiafoe returns a backhand to Sam Groth of Australia during the BB&T Atlanta Open at Atlantic Station on July 28, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)NEW YORK – When Frances Tiafoe takes the court on Tuesday afternoon, he will be the 10th teenager to play in the men's main draw of the U.S. Open. He's also the youngest, and the most hyped: at 17, he's being heralded as the next great American male tennis player. 

    It's not a reputation he really wants. 

    "The hype doesn't help. It's really unfair. He can become a good player, but at this point, he's not," mentor Jose Higueras told Vice Sports in July

    High expectations have been heaped upon many young players since Andy Roddick won the 2003 U.S. Open at just 21. It always happens when a country, especially this one, hits a talent drought. There has not been an American champion since Roddick. And no matter how international the crowd at the U.S. Open, it's no secret that the fans want to see an American hoist the trophy again.

    It's led to undue praise of John Isner, Donald Young, Sam Querrey, Ryan Harrison and a trove of other Americans whose careers have not lived up to their star

    Read More »from Teenage takeover: Most teens in U.S. Open men's draw since 1990
  • Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts after winning the first set of his first round match against Borna Coric of Croatia at the U.S. Open Tennis tournament in New York, Monday, Aug. 31, 2015. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts after winning the first set of his first round match against Borna Coric of Croatia at the U.S. Open Tennis tournament in New York, Monday, Aug. 31, 2015. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)NEW YORK – On a humid, still day in New York, No. 1 Novak Djokovic had no intentions of spending an extra minute on the court. He's here on a misson, and he completed the first step in rapid fashion, 6-1, 6-1, 6-1.

    "I'm going to do everything in my power to get an opportunity to fight for the trophy. That's all I'm looking for," he said after the match.

    Djokovic has every reason to expect to challenge for the title. He's 20-1 in Grand Slam matches this year, with two titles to his name. He barely missed the crown at Roland Garros, where he was runner-up to Stan Wawrinka. 

    No. 8 Rafael Nadal looked like he'd finish just as quickly as he took the court Monday night. He jumped out to a two-set lead over teenager Borna Coric. 

    Coric had beaten the 14-time Grand Slam champion in their only previous meeting. He took the third set off Nadal Monday, before the Spaniard rallied back to the 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 victory.

    "I think I started playing well," Nadal said. "The first two sets was a very

    Read More »from U.S. Open: Rafa, Djokovic breeze through first round
  • Defending U.S. open champion Serena Williams of the United States serves during her first round match against Vitalia Diatchenko of Russia in the U.S. Open tennis tournament at the Billie Jean King USTA National Tennis center in New York, Monday, Aug. 31, 2015. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)Defending U.S. open champion Serena Williams of the United States serves during her first round match against Vitalia Diatchenko of Russia in the U.S. Open tennis tournament at the Billie Jean King USTA National Tennis center in New York, Monday, Aug. 31, 2015. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)NEW YORK – Serena Williams stuck to the script Monday night, moving on to the second round of the U.S. Open and continuing her quest to complete the first calendar Grand Slam since 1988.

    For all the hype that led up to this match, it was a sputtering start to the tournament. Williams' opponent retired just two games into the second set. But, a win's a win. Williams moves on. 

    "It was definitely different and bizarre," the 21-time Grand Slam champion said after the match. "But at the same time I was still focused. I kept thinking, you know, just stay focused; don't lose it."

    There was really never any chance she'd lose it. Williams and Vitalia Diatchenko were on the court for just 30 minutes before Diatchenko retired with a foot injury. She had already called the trainer out to wrap her left ankle earlier in the match.

    Williams held a 6-0, 2-0 when Diatchenko retired. She served six aces and won 13 of 14 first-serve points in the shortened match. 

    This was Williams' first match under

    Read More »from U.S. Open: Serena Williams advances to second round
  • NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 31:  Jessica Pegula of the United States returns a shot against Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium during their Women's First Round match on Day One of the 2015 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 31, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 31: Jessica Pegula of the United States returns a shot against Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium during their Women's First Round match on Day One of the 2015 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 31, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)NEW YORK – The Pegula family owns the NFL's Buffalo Bills and NHL's Buffalo Sabres, but the family's biggest win of the year didn't come in Buffalo.

    About 400 miles to the southeast, daugther Jessica Pegula earned that honor as she won her Grand Slam debut on Monday afternoon in New York City. 

    Pegula upset Roland Garros quarterfinalist Alison Van Uytvanck in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3.

    The 21-year-old is ranked 260th in the world. She earned a spot in the main draw by advancing through the qualifying rounds, were she edged 2009 break-out star Melanie Oudin. 

    With Pegula making her way into the main draw, the tournament now has familial ties to the NHL, NFL, and NBA. The NBA connection comes from CoCo Vandeweghe, niece of Kiki Vandeweghe and granddaughter of former New York Knick Ernie Vandeweghe. She also won Monday, advancing to the second round for the third year in a row. 

    _____________

    Danielle Elliot is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Find her on Twitter and Facebook. 

    Read More »from Daughter of Bills, Sabres owner wins U.S. Open debut
  • Venus Williams of the U.S. hits a return to Monica Puig of Puerto Rico during their match at the U.S. Open Championships tennis tournament in New York, August 31, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo AllegriVenus Williams of the U.S. hits a return to Monica Puig of Puerto Rico during their match at the U.S. Open Championships tennis tournament in New York, August 31, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo AllegriNEW YORK – Venus Williams continued her streak of perfection in the first round of the U.S. Open, this time defeating Monica Puig, 6-4, 6-7 (7), 6-3 on Monday afternoon.

    Williams is the oldest woman in the draw this year. She has won her first-round match in all of her 17 appearances here. 

    Puig held off four match points in a second-set tiebreak, forcing a deciding third set with the sun blazing overhead. It was Williams' serve that made the difference, as the 35-year-old recorded 18 aces in the win.

    "By the time I got to the third set I was able to clean up my game a bit," Williams said after the match. She added that the new roof structure over Arthur Ashe stadium added more shade than usual. "I felt some clarity and just wanted to take the opportunity to play better."

    Williams will face fellow American Irina Falconi next. Falconi advanced with a straight-set win over American Samantha Crawford.

    American CoCo Vandeweghe joined Williams and Falconi in the next round with a quick 6-4,

    Read More »from U.S. Open: Venus Williams advances to second round
  • More dominant athlete: Serena Williams or Ronda Rousey?

    One has 21 Grand Slam titles and is closing in on another.

    The other has demolished every opponent the UFC has sent her way. 

    Is Serena Williams the most dominant female athlete competing today? Or is Ronda Rousey? You really can't go wrong with either, but Kevin Kaduk and Jay Busbee of Yahoo Sports tackled the topic in their latest "Grandstanding" debate. 

    Which woman do you think is most dominant? Let us know in the comments below.