The tennis notebook …
NEW YORK ó As Hurricane Ireneís first showers arrived, the site of the U.S. Open was quiet and nearly empty Saturday, a stark contrast to the customary hustle and bustle two days before the Grand Slam tennis tournamentís start.
Normally, thousands of fans attend the celebrity-and-music-filled Arthur Ashe Kidsí Day, but that event was canceled because of concerns about the approaching hurricane. And while dozens of players usually would be scattered around the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, a light rain pushed them off the courts before noon.
ěSure, itís somewhat scary, you know, because we donít know how hard itís going to hit us. Iíve got family. Weíre in New York City; itís not just a regular city. Itís quite something with all the buildings,î 16-time major champion Roger Federer said. ěSo itís unusual, but weíll follow the news closely.î
Maria Sharapova and Federer spoke at pre-tournament news conferences Saturday; top-ranked Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams were originally scheduled to attend but did not.
The tennis seasonís last major tournament is scheduled to begin Monday and finish on Sept. 11. Each of the past three years, rain disrupted the end of the tournament, pushing the menís final to Monday and sparking discussion about whether the USTA should put a roof over a court.
WINSTON-SALEM ó American John Isner won the Winston-Salem Open with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Julien Benneteau on Saturday.
The native of nearby Greensboro overcame 34 unforced errors with 19 aces ó the fastest was recorded at 139 mph ó and won his second tournament of the year. He also won at Newport, R.I., in early July.
“It means a lot for sure,” said the 28th-ranked Isner, who will face Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus on Wednesday in the opening round of the U.S. Open. “Obviously, I could’ve have asked for anything better. This is perfect preparation for me heading up north.”
Isner won his third pro title overall in his eighth final appearance.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. ó No one has ever beaten Caroline Wozniacki in New Haven, and Hurricane Irene couldn’t do it either.
The world’s top-ranked player stayed ahead of the storm Saturday and won her fourth consecutive New Haven title, defeating Czech qualifier Petra Cetkovska 6-4, 6-1 in the finals.