No.6 seed Safina advances
French Open runner-up gets straight-set win, will next face Serena Williams in semifinals
09/04/2008 12:00 AM
09/04/2008 12:16 AM
Sixth-seeded Dinara Safina overpowered No.16 Flavia Pennetta 6-2, 6-3 in the U.S. Open quarterfinals Wednesday.
Safina, the sister of 2000 U.S. Open men's champion Marat Safin, reached her first semifinal at Flushing Meadows. The Russian has won 37 of her past 41 matches and made it to the finals at six of her previous seven events.
“I'm getting closer to reaching the same thing as my brother,” Safina said.
The French Open runner-up and Beijing Olympics silver medalist compiled a 25-13 edge in winners against Pennetta and only was broken once.
By the end of the match, after they'd traded strokes for nearly four hours and day had turned into night, Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro looked like old pals. The young stars put their arms around each other at the net after Murray reached his first Grand Slam semifinal, beating del Potro 7-6 (2), 7-6 (1), 4-6, 7-5.
Quite different than the scene they presented at Rome in May. Tempers flared during that match, with Murray claiming del Potro insulted his mother — Judy Murray provided vocal support for her son from the stands.
Del Potro nearly hit Murray in the head with a ball in the second set. The Argentine retired while trailing 5-7, 6-4, 1-0.
This time, Murray, 21, and del Potro, 19 kept their anger in check. Murray patted his rival on the chest when it ended, and del Potro managed a smile after his 23-match winning streak ended.
“I think quite early on in the match there was sort of a feeling of respect between us in terms of our games and stuff,” Murray said. “There was no arguing over line calls or anyone trying to get in anyone's face.
“I think a lot was sort of made of what happened the last time I played against him. I said it wasn't going to be a problem. And just at the end of the match, he said, ‘I'm sorry for what happened before.' I told him it was a great run he had been on. I'm sure we'll have some great matches in the future. That was it.”
Murray, playing in the quarterfinals for a second straight Grand Slam tournament, repeatedly won points with drop shots. His ranking, already a career high, will now climb to No. 4, matching the highest ever for a British man.
Del Potro had his left knee wrapped during the second set. With Murray up a break in the third set and del Potro dragging, the match seemed close to over. But a string of mistakes by Murray seemed to revive del Potro.
American twins Bob and Mike Bryan earned a chance to win their second U.S. Open men's doubles championship. The Bryans, who won the 2005 U.S. Open and are seeded second this year, beat Tommy Robredo and Sergio Roitman 6-2, 6-1 in the semifinals.
In Friday's final, the Bryans will face the seventh-seeded pairing of Lukas Dlouhy of the Czech Republic and Leander Paes of India. They eliminated Maximo Gonzalez and Juan Monaco 6-2, 6-0.
With long-range forecasts calling for Tropical Storm Hanna to curve along the U.S. Atlantic coast this weekend, U.S. Open organizers began trying to figure out what to do if play is affected.
The tournament's schedule calls for Saturday to include both men's singles semifinals in the afternoon, followed by the women's singles title match Saturday night.
The men's singles championship match is supposed to be Sunday.
With no roof on any court used during the Grand Slam tournament, rain could play havoc with the schedule.
“We're looking at a number of contingency plans, depending on the scenarios – if there's rain on Saturday only, and the men's semifinals cannot be played, or if there's rain all day Saturday and the whole day is a washout, or if there's intermittent rain that allows some play but then cancels a portion of the day,” tournament spokesman Chris Widmaier said.
“It's kind of complicated right now and we're going to be tracking the weather very closely and making our decisions.”
Quote of the day
“The people enjoyed the match. He's more happy than me, but I'm not sad.” Juan Martin del Potro after losing in four sets to Andy Murray.
Stat of the day
83 Percent: Safina was 25 of 30 on first serve points against Pennetta.
On this date
Sept. 4, 1999:Serena Williams, 17, won 16 of the final 17 points to come back from a 3-5 third-set deficit and beat 16-year-old Kim Clijsters in a third-round match.
Today's top matches
Men: No.2 Roger Federer vs. Gilles Muller, No.3 Novak Djokovic vs. No.8 Andy Roddick.
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