Overpowering Querrey inflicts damage at U.S. Open

Updated: August 26, 2008

Four Points

Coming of age
There's no doubt Monday night's late match on center court was a significant passage for Donald Young, who showed streaks of the brilliance that has always been expected of him when he extended James Blake to five sets. Young moved confidently and well, played excellent defense and executed some nifty-angled volleys to push the older player to his limit. Their high-risk games are very similar in some ways. In an age of excruciatingly drawn-out service routines, watching these two quick workers was like casting a fantasy game with Greg Maddux and Steve Carlton as the opposing pitchers -- one of those National League two-hour beat-the-clock deals (Blake, appropriately, wore a shirt with a Mets logo on the sleeve). The entire match took just 2 hours, 48 minutes, which helped the slender Young -- playing his first five-setter -- go the distance. It was the third straight time the 19-year-old Young, ranked No. 102, has lost to a fellow American in the first round of a Grand Slam event. He fell to Robby Ginepri at Roland Garros and Jesse Levine at Wimbledon.


AP Photo/Stephen Chernin

Sam Querrey broke Tomas Berdych seven times in their first-round encounter at the U.S. Open.

Speaking of fast work
Sam Querrey played what he called "one of the three best matches of my life" in dispatching 22nd seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in a mere 87 minutes on Tuesday, 6-3, 6-1, 6-2. Querrey, ranked 55th, said the proceedings started auspiciously when he won the coin toss and unconventionally elected to receive, which enabled him to swing freely and get into a rhythm early. He served well and capitalized on 15 of 18 net approaches. Querrey reviewed his other season highlights -- a win over then-No. 20 Guillermo Canas en route to the Las Vegas title and success on clay in Monte Carlo -- but also was asked to dwell on low points. He obliged by recalling his loss last year in the first round of a Challenger tournament in Surbiton, England, to an obscure British player. "One ATP point,'' Querrey said of his opponent's credentials. "I was at like [No.] 60, and after he won he called his mom while I was still on the court and said he won.''

In the market
Andy Roddick's brother John will no longer coach him, and the top-ranked U.S. player will look to hire another full-time mentor this fall, according to his agent, Ken Meyerson, who called the parting of the ways "a normal, healthy development. … John's been traveling for 3½ years. He has an academy in San Antonio. He has a life. There were issues after a couple of matches, but there's no animosity.'' Roddick will work with U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe through the Davis Cup semifinals late next month, then assess who's available in the coaching ranks and possibly have a trial run during the indoor season. But Meyerson said he'll urge his client not to rush. "Andy's at a critical juncture of his career, and I don't think he should be piecemealing it,'' he said. "I want him to believe he can win these big events. It's a little trickier now, because he's older, and the old 'You can do it' speech doesn't work anymore.'' Roddick has benefited from the counsel of Tarik Benhabiles, Brad Gilbert and most recently, Jimmy Connors, with whom he split amicably earlier this year. John Roddick is in New York but has not been present at his brother's practice sessions.

Movers and shot-makers
Four U.S. teenagers are in the WTA's top 10: the top-10 list of players who have made the biggest rankings moves in the past year, that is. Melanie Oudin, 16, has climbed the farthest, jumping 327 places from No. 548 to No. 221. She's 20-7 this season. Gail Brodsky, who just turned pro at 17, isn't far behind, vaulting 313 slots to No. 382, while 16-year-old Coco Vandeweghe has risen 310 rungs to No. 512 and Asia Muhammad bettered her position by 298 spots to No. 414. Two newcomers to the true top 20, France's Alize Cornet and Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki, have made the most progress in the more difficult-to-scale top echelons, ascending 79 and 68 places respectively to Nos. 17 and 18. Wozniacki, 18, just won the New Haven tournament and is the youngest player in the top 20.

Your shot

We asked you whether Rafael Nadal would maintain his momentum through the U.S. Open. A sampling of your responses:

I certainly hope so. He is so talented yet so humble. I have found it tiresome to watch champions who give the appearance of "owning" a sport. -- Janice Griffith, Danville, Va.

Sure, why not? I know all the arguments against him: "Hard is his weakest surface," "Historically, he's faded in the second half of the season," "He only reached the quarters in last year's USO." But this is a new year and a new Rafa. … At some point you gotta stop doubting the guy, right? -- Allison Perry, Charlotte, N.C.

He is a joy to watch play, he chases down everything, plays with passion and accepts defeat -- simply saying he didn't play well. I think he can continue -- he stays with his family and he is thoughtful and accepts the daily necessity of improving. He is a player of energy and grace. -- Linda Rogers, Perth, Australia

Rafa has an arsenal of skills, and even though his body might be a little fatigued, he has the biggest heart in tennis, he has a heart of a brave bull. He might just win. -- Ricardo Santillan, Beaverton, Ore.

Some say tennis is more mental than physical. I agree. However, that is only the case if you are physically 100 percent. Right now Rafa is physically 100 percent, and in my opinion, he is always mentally strong. -- Anne Stanislawzyk, Boston

Is he tired? Yeah, probably, but so was Federer by this time in years past. Nadal has the momentum that Federer used to have at this time of the year. There will be plenty of time to rest after this Slam. -- Michael Lanich, Phillipsburg, Pa.

He has the most incredible heart of any athlete that I've observed and trust that it will carry him through -- Ginger Scott

Yes, Rafael has the mojo going. He'll be rested and Uncle Toni will have him ready to roll. -- Mike Ross, Spokane, Wash.

Bonnie D. Ford covers tennis and Olympic sports for ESPN.com. She can be reached at bonniedford@aol.com.



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Lost and found


Florida's Shenay Perry reached No. 40 at age 20 in 2006 and was one of those young American women who seemed poised for a breakthrough before knee surgery last year (for a microfracture, loss of cartilage and a lesion on her bone) forced her off the grid for several months. She's been playing doubles since the beginning of the season and won three lower-level events (with partners Carly Gullickson and Ashley Harkleroad) but only recently ventured back into the singles draw. This was her first WTA-level tournament since last year's Wimbledon. Perry came through qualifying rounds here but lost her first match to China's Zheng Jie, 6-4, 7-5. "The knee feels fine,'' she reported, although she conducted her postmortem interview standing up for fear of stiffening. "My biggest concern was whether I could get through qualifying, playing three days in a row. I felt like I played OK.'' Perry will play doubles here and plans to continue her comeback on the ITF circuit this fall.

Revelation of the week


Eight-time Grand Slam event winner Ivan Lendl, an avid cycling fan who logs between 50 and 150 miles a week on his own bike depending on how his back is holding up, said his midlife athletic dream is to be in good enough shape to climb the legendary Alpe d'Huez. The French mountain, whose 21 switchbacks bear plaques honoring the men who have won Tour de France stages there, is often a highlight on the route of cycling's most prestigious event. Lendl, 48, was among the former U.S. Open champions who participated in Monday night's tribute to the 40th anniversary of the Open era.

Question of the week


Is any top WTA player healthy and assertive enough to hold on to the No. 1 ranking for a significant stretch for the rest of the season?

Send your thoughts to Bonnie D. Ford.

Quote of the week


"I think if she will do everything opposite of what I've been doing throughout the years, she will be No. 1 in the world for a long time." -- Marat Safin, on his sister Dinara, a U.S. Open favorite.

Critic's choice


Andy Roddick vs. Fabrice Santoro: First off, it's the Magician's final appearance in New York, where he's given so many players fits. Roddick hopes he's not among them. It's crucial for him to start off well in this Slam and put his recent injuries and current coaching limbo on ice. Santoro beat him on carpet the last time they played, but we think Roddick will take care of business and keep the Frenchman from getting under his skin.

ESPN.com prediction: Roddick in straight sets.

Fatigue a concern


This year has been especially challenging and Beijing gold medalists Rafael Nadal and Elena Dementieva were among several players who struggled to shake off Olympic hangovers before winning their opening matches at Flushing Meadows.

"It's always interesting to see who is the most physically fit and hungry coming into the U.S. Open because you can't help but be a little bit drained," Tracy Austin said Tuesday.

American Austin, who became the youngest U.S. Open champion in 1979 at 16, believes the hectic international schedule is the biggest negative in the modern game.