US Open diary: Day seven


Originally published on: 04/09/11 23:47

Although play gets going on the outside courts at 11am there’s always a bit of a quiet period before the results and drama begins to emerge.

The first match on Louis Armstrong on Sunday featured Flavia Pennetta and Peng Shuai. Their last three matches have gone to three sets but today after a battle lasting 2 hours and 31 minutes the Italian was victorious 6-4 7-6(8). The length of the match is indicative of the competitiveness of every point. Played in humid conditions, it was a test of fitness as well as mental stamina. Serving at 15-0 6-5 in the second set there was a really long rally which saw both players cover a huge amount of the court and although Pennetta won the point, her body convulsed and she turned away from the court, looking like she might be sick. When she eventually stepped up to serve, she lost the point and then that game to take it to the tiebreaker.

Talking after the match, Pennetta said: “I was feeling really bad. I think was because it’s really humid today. It’s hot. And also, when you are there you have a lot of emotion in the court. My body just need to breathe, and I starting maybe to have the sensation to throwing up. But doesn’t. Without nothing inside so it didn’t come out. The Italian is through to her third major quarterfinal, having previously fallen to both Dinara Safina and Serena Williams. This time she faces Germany’s Angelique Kerber, who defeated Monica Niculescu 6-4 6-3.

Gilles Simon won the match of the day, beating 2009 US Open champ Juan Martin del Potro 4-6 7-6(5) 6-2 7-6(3) in a match that lasted three hours and 57 minutes. I doubt they noticed that by the time they finished the temperature around the stadium had dropped a few degrees.

Andy Roddick delighted home fans with his 6-1 6-4 7-6(5) victory over Julien Benneteau, but it was Donald Young who stole the American limelight with a cracking straight sets victory over the No.24 seed Juan Igancio Chela 7-5 6-4 6-3.

Young admitted that the crowd had played a part in his victory. “The crowd was great. Without them, I wouldn’t have won at all today. I don’t think I would have had a chance because, like I said, I was kind of getting a little fatigued. The energy was kind of going away. They definitely pushed me through.” His prize will be to play a fourth round match against Andy Murray.

Rafael Nadal may have beaten his friend David Nalbandian 7-6(5) 6-1 7-5 in the first match on Arthur Ashe Stadium today, but the drama happened in his post match presser, when he collapsed with cramp. It looked quite dramatic as he slumped off the chair, but when he eventually returned to the interview room for Spanish questions, he made a statement to the foreign press. “I have to say in English?  I just have cramping in my leg. That’s all. I don’t know. There are no questions. I already finished my press conference in English. I talked half an hour. I just have cramping in front and behind. That’s why I, was so painful. That’s all.”

Later when questioned about the Rafa cramping incident, Andy Roddick was quick to quash the drama in the story. “Not to put a dampener on the story, which I know you guys think is really big, but people cramp after matches when you’re cold,” said Roddick. “It’s just something that happens. It’s just unfortunate it happened in front of you all. Every single player in there has had that happen before. Every single one. What we do, we run around, run miles and miles and miles and miles on the tennis court in nasty weather. You throw nerves in there, I mean, it happens. As long as it doesn’t happen during a match, you’re fine.”

Roddick also added with trademark humour: “That’s just a matter of what part of your body cramps. Cramp in your ass, you can’t sit on it anymore. Makes it tough.”


Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.