New York, Aug 30 (AP/UNB) — Andy Murray complained at the U.S. Open that his opponent might have flouted the rules during their 10-minute heat break Wednesday in what became a second-round loss for the 2012 champion.
Murray also said after he was beaten by No. 31 seed Fernando Verdasco 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 that the tournament did not do a good enough job of making clear exactly what is allowed and what isn't during the time away from the court. The U.S. Tennis Association decided on the fly to allow rest periods in men's matches for the first time in U.S. Open history as the temperature soared past 95 degrees (33 Celsius) this week.
While the women's rules already call for a break if the conditions are too extreme, there is no such provision for the men. But on Tuesday, the USTA offered men a chance to rest after the third set if they want, then applied that rule on Wednesday, too.
"I went for a shower. He was having an ice bath," Murray said about Verdasco. "When I came out of the shower ... one of the Spanish doubles players was in there chatting to him, and you're not allowed to speak to your coach. I went and told the supervisor. I said, 'What are you guys doing? I mean, there's clear rules here and you're allowing this to take place. I don't get it.'"
The USTA said players were not allowed to consult coaches during the heat breaks.
Verdasco said that's not what he was doing. He said he was chatting with another player and that player's coach.
"I didn't talk one word with my coach or any one member of my team," said Verdasco, who had been 1-13 against Murray head-to-head entering this match. "I know exactly the rule, and I don't want to be the one breaking it."
But Murray was upset that there wasn't better policing of players while they were off the court.
"This is one of the biggest events in the world. If you have rules like that, you need to stick with them, because one player getting to speak to the coach and the other not is not fair," said the three-time major champion and former No. 1.
"I shouldn't be in that position, in the middle of a match at a Slam, having to make sure they're doing their job," he said.
Murray also said he was never given a complete written list of the relevant rules.
"The players and teams should know. I'm not blaming Fernando and his team. They probably weren't aware that that was the rules. They certainly weren't trying to break any rules. It shouldn't be for the player that's competing against him to have to go to the supervisor," Murray said. "If I hadn't said anything, they would have been chatting, chatting about the match, giving tactics and stuff."
This was Murray's first major tournament in more than a year. After Wimbledon in 2017, he shut himself down for the rest of the season because of an injured hip, then eventually had an operation in January.
He returned to the tour this June, shortly before Wimbledon, but decided his body wasn't ready for best-of-five-set matches. So his Grand Slam return came at Flushing Meadows, instead, and lasted just two matches.
"Some of the tennis I played today was some of the best I've played since I had the surgery or since I came back," Murray said. "But there were also periods in the match, especially in the first set, where I really didn't play particularly well. ... There were too many ups and downs for my liking."
New York, Aug 30 (AP/UNB) — Get ready for the latest Grand Slam installment of Williams vs. Williams. One big difference this time: The superstar siblings will be meeting in the third round at the U.S. Open, their earliest showdown at a major tournament in 20 years.
Serena Williams set up the highly anticipated matchup at Flushing Meadows by hitting 13 aces and overwhelming 101st-ranked Carina Witthoeft of Germany 6-2, 6-2 in a little more than an hour in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday night. Hours earlier, across the way at Louis Armstrong Stadium, Venus Williams did her part with another straight-set victory, eliminating 40th-ranked Camila Giorgi of Italy 6-4, 7-5.
"Unfortunately and fortunately, we have to play each other. We make each other better. We bring out the best when we play each other. It's what we do," Serena said. "I think we're used to it now."
When they play Friday, it will be their 30th tour-level encounter — plus, of course, all those times when they traded shots from across the net as kids in California, then on practice courts all around the world. It's also soonest the sisters have played each other at any Grand Slam since their very first tour match, all the way back at the 1998 Australian Open. Venus won that one. But since then, it's been the younger Serena who's grown dominant.
The reason this match comes so early is that their rankings are not what they've been in the past. Serena is No. 26, playing in only the seventh tournament since she was off the tour for more than a year while having a baby. Even though the U.S. Tennis Association bumped her seeding up to reflect her past success, it still placed her at No. 17. Venus, meanwhile is No. 16.
"It's so young in the tournament," Serena said. "We would have rather met later."
She leads the series 17-12, including 10-5 at majors.
Both have been ranked No. 1. They have won a combined 30 Grand Slam singles trophies, 23 by Serena. They own eight U.S. Open singles championships, six by Serena.
They've played each other in the finals of all four Slams, including at the U.S. Open in 2001 (when Venus won) and 2002 (when Serena did).
"It's incredible what they've done. I mean, amazing really. Obviously there's been other siblings that have had fantastic careers in tennis, but none anywhere close to what they've managed to achieve," said three-time major champion Andy Murray, whose first major since hip surgery ended with a four-set loss to No. 31 Fernando Verdasco. "I'd be surprised if anything like that ever happens again."
Defending champion Rafael Nadal followed Serena into Ashe and wasn't really troubled at all, other than when he received a warning for letting the 25-second serve clock expire — something he figured was really his opponent's fault. Either way, Nadal shrugged off that third-set distraction and finished off a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Canada's Vasek Pospisil.
Two other past men's champions won — Juan Martin del Potro, who beat Dennis Kudla of the U.S., and Stan Wawrinka — as did 2017 runner-up Kevin Anderson, and No. 11 seed John Isner.
Two-time major champion Garbine Muguruza built a big lead but gave it away and was stunned 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 by 202nd-ranked Czech qualifier Karolina Muchova in a match that ended after 1 a.m. on as Wednesday turned to Thursday.
Seeded women who advanced earlier on another day with the temperature topping 95 degrees (33 Celsius) included No. 7 Elina Svitolina, No. 8 Karolina Pliskova, No. 15 Elise Mertens, No. 19 Anastasija Sevastova and No. 23 Barbora Strycova, all in straight sets.
During her post-victory news conference, which came long before Serena set foot on court against Witthoeft, Venus clearly had little interest in entertaining questions about the possible all-in-the-family match.
"It's early in the tournament, so both of us are going to be looking forward to continuing to play better," Venus said. "Obviously, it's definitely a tough draw."
Later, when a reporter tried to steer the conversation back to Williams vs. Williams, Venus offered this admonishment about the topic: "You're beating it up now."
She was ever-so-slightly more forthcoming during her on-court interview, joking, "The last time we played, at the Australian, it was two against one," a reference to the fact that Serena was pregnant when she beat Venus in the 2017 Australian Open final.
"At least this time," Venus told the crowd, "it'll be fair."
Serena looked much more impressive Wednesday than her sister did, but the levels of competition were also different.
Of the 82 points that went Venus' way, only 13 came via her own winners. Giorgi had 29 winners, but also 41 unforced errors and 28 forced errors.
Serena, meanwhile, put together a 30-10 edge in winners, then declared her serve much better than it's been of late.
Soon enough, her thoughts were on her next match and a certain, rather familiar, foe.
"I never root against her, no matter what. So I think that's the toughest part for me: When you always want someone to win, to have to beat them," Serena said. "I know the same thing is for her."
Dhaka, Aug 29 (UNB) – Bangladesh National Hockey team will play stronger South Korea in the 5th place-deciding match of the 18th Asian Games Men’s Hockey on Saturday (Sept 1) at the Gelora Bung Karno (GBK) Hockey field in Jakarta.
Asian Hockey giant South Korea were out of the title race from Asiad Hockey finishing 3rd in Pool A after conceding an unexpected 2-3 goals defeat against lowly Japan in their last group match Tuesday evening.
Japan, which emerged as the surprised semifinalists as the Pool A runners-up, will play unbeaten Pool B champions Pakistan in the 2nd semifinal while defending champions India will face Pool B runners-up Malaysia in the first semifinal, both on Thursday.
Besides, the 7th place-deciding match between Oman and Sri Lanka and the 9th place-decider between hosts Indonesia and Thailand will also be held on Thursday.
Apart from 5th place decider, the gold medal deciding final, bronze medal deciding 3rd place match and 11th place deciding match between two lowly teams -- Hong Kong and Kazakhstan-- will also be held on Saturday (Sept 1).
Bangladesh finished 3rd in the six-team Pool B securing nine points from five matches with three wins and two defeats.
Pakistan clinched the Pool B title with all-win record securing full 15 points from five outings while Malaysia finished Pool B runners-up collecting 12 points from five matches to reach the semifinals.
In Pool A, India emerged group champions with all-win record securing full 15 points from five engagements, Japan finished group runners-up with 12 points upsetting South Korea by 3-2 goals in the last Pool A match Tuesday. South Korea finished 3rd collecting nine points.
Earlier, Bangladesh Hockey team achieved their initial target of finishing 6th in the 12-team 18th Asian Games Men’s Hockey beating Oman 2-1, Kazakhstan 6-1 , Thailand 3-1, despite losing to Malaysia 0-7 and Pakistan 0-5 in the Pool B outings.
Bangladesh also got an opportunity to play directly in the final round of the Asian Games and Asia Cup Hockey from the next time avoiding qualifying round.
New York, Aug 29 (AP/UNB) — Roger Federer sent something of a shock wave through the tennis world with what he thought was an obvious joke after improving to 18-0 in first-round matches at the U.S. Open.
"I'm happy I never stumbled at the first hurdle," Federer said during his on-court interview Tuesday night. "Almost time to retire — but not yet."
Some folks' reaction might best be summed up as: Wait. WHAT?!
So the 37-year-old Federer was asked at his news conference to clarify his comment after the 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 victory over 117th-ranked Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Why did Federer mention retirement?
Turned out it was completely harmless.
"That was meaning, like, 'I never lost a first-round match here at the Open. I won all my 18. You don't want that (loss) to happen next year.' I said, 'Maybe I could retire now, because I protect my 18 first-round wins here.' That's what I meant with it," he said. "It's a total joke, yes."
And, then, addressing all of the members of the media in the room, just to make absolutely sure everyone understood what he'd been thinking, Federer added with a smile: "So please don't read into it. Don't even write that word."
For years, actually, Federer has dealt with questions about when he might retire. In part, that's because elite tennis players often used to become not-so-elite by the time they passed the age of 30.
If anything, he's looked as good as ever over the past two seasons, adding three Grand Slam titles in that span to raise his men's record to 20.
Against Nishioka, Federer delivered 14 aces and never was in any trouble.
Federer saved the first eight break points he faced before finally faltering by pushing a forehand long on the ninth, losing serve for the only time while trying to close out the match at 5-2 in the third set. By then, the match was 1 hour, 45 minutes old — and it would last another seven minutes.
"Thankfully I wasn't too nervous tonight. I felt good. I felt like I had a good preparation week. No hiccups there. I think that settles my nerves there. When you do walk out onto Arthur Ashe, you feel like people are there to see the show, enjoy themselves. Sure, they come for the tennis, but it's also sort of a bucket list, wanting to be there," Federer said.
"So, yeah, there's pressure. But, no, never gets old," he added. "I love coming to play here. It's been so many years now."
The No. 2-seeded Federer is seeking his sixth title at the U.S. Open, but first in a decade.
He could face No. 30 Nick Kyrgios in the third round and 13-time major champion Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals.
New York, Aug 29 (AP/UNB) — His cheeks red, hair matted with sweat, Novak Djokovic appeared to be in such distress as he trudged to a changeover on a steamy U.S. Open afternoon that someone suggested it would be a good idea to have a trash can at the ready, just in case he lost his lunch.
Djokovic sat down and removed his shirt. He guzzled water from a plastic bottle. He placed one cold towel around his neck, a second across his lap and a third between his bare upper back and the seat.
He was not even 1½ hours into his first match at Flushing Meadows in two years, and while Djokovic eventually would get past Marton Fucsovics 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 Tuesday, it was a bit of an ordeal.
"Survival mode," Djokovic called it.
With the temperature topping 95 degrees (33 Celsius) and the humidity approaching 50 percent — and that combination making it feel more like 105 (40 C) — nearly everything became a struggle for every player across the grounds on Day 2 of the U.S. Open, so much so that no fewer than six quit their matches, with five citing cramps or heat exhaustion.
About 2 hours into the day's schedule, the U.S. Tennis Association decided to do something it never had at this tournament: offer men the chance to take a 10-minute break before the fourth set if a match went that far. That is similar to the existing rule for women, which allows for 10 minutes of rest before a third set when there is excessive heat.
The whole thing raised several questions: Should the genders have the same rules moving forward? Should the U.S. Open avoid having matches during the hottest part of the day, not just for the players' sake but also to help spectators? Should the men play best-of-three-set matches at majors, instead of best-of-five? Should the 25-second serve clock, making its Grand Slam debut here, be shut off to let players have more time to recover between points?
"At the end of the day, the ATP or a lot of the supervisors, they're kind of sitting in their offices, where (there's) an A.C. system on, where it's cool. And we have to be out there. They tell us it's fine; they're not the ones playing," said No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev, who won in straight sets in the early evening, when it was far less harsh. "For sure, the rule should be more strict. There should be a certain temperature, certain conditions where we shouldn't be playing."
How bad was it out there at its worst Tuesday?
"Bloody hot," said two-time major semifinalist Johanna Konta, who lost 6-2, 6-2 to No. 6 Caroline Garcia.
"Brutal," said 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic, who advanced when his opponent retired in the third set.
"Really not easy," said three-time Grand Slam title winner Angelique Kerber, who defeated Margarita Gasparyan 7-6 (5), 6-3.
"Terrible. It's awful out there," said Tennys Sandgren, an American who won in straight sets and will face Djokovic in the second round. "I don't know how guys are hanging in there. I was thinking in the third set, like, 'It's getting really bad. I just don't know how long I have to play out there.' And I think everybody kind of feels similarly."
Djokovic certainly did.
"Everything is boiling — in your body, the brain, everything," said Djokovic, who's won two of his 13 Grand Slam titles in New York but sat out last year's U.S. Open because of an injured right elbow.
He is a popular pick to hoist the trophy again, coming off a Wimbledon title in July and a victory over Roger Federer in the final of the hard-court Cincinnati Masters in August. Federer was among those lucky enough to play a night match Tuesday, beating Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan 6-2, 6-2, 6-4. Federer's third-round opponent could be the entertaining, if mercurial, Nick Kyrgios, the 30th-seeded Australian who had 25 aces and 14 double-faults while defeating Radu Albot 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.
In the last match on Ashe, 2017 runner-up Madison Keys advanced with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over 71st-ranked Pauline Parmentier of France. The final match of Day 2 was in Louis Armstrong Stadium, where five-time major champion Maria Sharapova got past 39-year-old Patty Schnyder 6-2, 7-6 (6). Schnyder, who retired in 2011 but is now back on tour, was the oldest woman to qualify for a Grand Slam tournament.
Djokovic was appreciative of the chance for a chance to recover a bit after the third set. He even took about a minute for a quick ice bath — as did Fucsovics, nearby.
"Naked in the ice baths, next to each other," Djokovic said. "It was quite a magnificent feeling, I must say."
Because action began at 11 a.m., and the USTA implemented the heat rule for men at about 1 p.m., those playing in the earliest matches weren't able to get that sort of relief.
That included Italy's Stefano Travaglia, who quit in the fourth set of his match after feeling dizzy and cramps. Afterward, he said, he could barely walk.
"My head was spinning. ... I didn't have any energy. I saw four balls when I swung. It was a terrible feeling. I couldn't stay on court," he said. "There was no sense in continuing. Things probably would have gotten worse. I probably would have hurt myself."
Travaglia also thought it wasn't fair that the USTA's decision to offer the 10-minute breaks came too late for him.
"We all should play with the same rules in this sport. Unfortunately, they don't ask (players) anything, and they decide," he said. "If they're going to have a break, they need to say so in the morning, before matches begin — not after I almost was going to pass out because my blood pressure was so low."