Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 6th 2014 Contents A60
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, September 6, 2014
NEW YORK---This is what ran through Roger
Federer s mind as he stood one point from losing
to Gael Monfils in the US Open quarterfinals:
"You got the back against the wall and hope to
get a bit lucky. And you hope to play exactly the
right shots that you need," Federer explained. "Or
that he completely just messes it up. Either way
works, as long as you get out of it."
Federer got out of it. Twice.
Steady as ever, even at 33, Federer saved two
match points en route to coming all the way back
from a two-set deficit, edging the 20th-seeded
Monfils 4--6, 3--6, 6--4, 7--5, 6--2 on Thursday
night to reach the semifinals at Flushing Meadows
for the first time since 2011.
Frustrated by the Frenchman s unpredictable
style, flummoxed by the swirling wind, and missing
shots he normally makes, Federer was on the verge
of defeat while trailing 5--4 in the fourth set.
The 17-time major champion s mind was racing.
"That is a very frustrating moment to be in. Being
down match point, it s just not fun, because you re
so close to leaving the court, head hanging down
and ... going to take a shower and going to have
to do press and all that stuff, which is so annoying
after you ve lost," Federer said.
"It s hard to block it out, (but) you snap right
back in, because you don t have that much time,"
he continued. "You re like, OK, let me try and hit
a good serve. Let s hope it works, because I don t
want to hit a second serve. All that kind of stuff.
... I have to face it and embrace it."
That he did.
With Federer serving at 15--40, Monfils had an
opening for a backhand passing shot, but it flew
long. At 30--40, Federer produced a forehand win-
ner, and the crowd roared. Two points later, it was
5-all, and then Monfils double-faulted twice in a
row to get broken.
Everything had changed, putting Federer on
course to winning for the ninth time after dropping
the opening two sets of a match.
"It came quick," said Monfils, who said he felt
physically and mentally drained late.
Afterward, Federer credited the raucous support
he heard in Arthur Ashe Stadium, saying the spec-
tators "definitely got me through the match."
Monfils, 28, was trying to reach his second career
Grand Slam semifinal. Instead, Federer advanced
to his 36th, ninth at Flushing Meadows. Five of
Federer s major titles came at the US Open from
2004-08, but he exited in the quarterfinals in 2012,
and the fourth round in 2013.
Today, the Federer will play 14th-seeded Marin
Cilic of Croatia. The other semifinal will be No 1
Novak Djokovic against No 10 Kei Nishikori. (AP)
NEW YORK---Top-seeded Sania Mirza of India and
Bruno Soares of Brazil won the US Open mixed
doubles title yesterday, beating American Abigail
Spears and Mexico s Santiago Gonzalez 6--1, 2--6,
Mirza and Soares had each been successful mixed
doubles players, so Mirza said during the trophy
presentation that she wasn t sure why it took them
this long to pair up.
Mirza has now won three Grand Slam mixed dou-
bles titles. Soares was the 2012 US Open champion
with Ekaterina Makarova, who faces Serena Williams
in the singles semifinals later Friday. Soares joked
that clearly this means Mirza will reach the singles
semis in Flushing Meadows in two years.
In the super tiebreak, Mirza and Soares went ahead
9--4 before Spears and Gonzalez won five straight
points. They clinched victory on their sixth cham-
Ramsay shot a 4-under 66 yes-
terday to lead Ryder Cup rookie
Jamie Donaldson by one stroke
in the second round of the
The 2012 champion from
Scotland had a 12-under total
of 128 after starting in morning
rain on the 6,848-yard (6,262-
metre) Severiano Ballesteros
course in the Swiss Alps.
Donaldson had seven birdies
and a bogey in his afternoon 64,
putting the 38-year-old Welsh-
man in good position to follow
up his win at the Czech Masters
two weeks ago.
American Brooks Koepka shot
a second straight 65 and was
joined on 10 under by Graeme
Storm of England.
Another American, David
Lipsky, had a 64 to sit a further
shot back. Victor Dubuisson of
France, the other Ryder Cup
debutant in the lineup, carded
a 67 to head a group of players
on 8 under.
Edoardo Molinari of Italy only
managed a 70 to join Dubuisson
and three others, including Scot
Marc Warren whose 63 was the
lowest score of the day despite
a pair of bogeys early in his
Ramsay leads after European Masters 2nd round
CAPE TOWN---South Africa opened a new
era under coach Ephraim Mashaba with
a 3--0 win in Sudan to start the final round
of African Cup qualifying yesterday.
Substitute Sibusiso Vilakazi poked home
with his first touch in the 55th minute and
added a second six minutes later in Omdur-
man. Bongani Ndulula scored the third in
the 78th to take Bafana Bafana to a prom-
ising away win and the early lead in Group
A.Nigeria hosts Republic of Congo in the
other group game on Saturday.
Mashaba s new-look South African team
absorbed some early pressure on a steaming
hot night at Al-Merrikh Stadium when
players were given a water break halfway
through the first half.
Vilakazi then pounced from close range
to break through straight after being intro-
duced by Mashaba early in the second half.
He powered a right-foot shot into the roof
of the net to put the visiting team 2--0 up
and in control before Ndulula s late third.
Mashaba is in his second term in charge
of South Africa and took over in July after
the 2010 World Cup host failed to qualify
for the 2014 showcase in Brazil. He started
with a morale-boosting win for an under-
performing South African team, which was
due to travel home straight after the final
whistle to prepare for Wednesday s game
against defending African champion Nigeria
in Cape Town.
In other qualifiers, Guinea was playing
Togo in neutral Morocco late yesterday, with
the venue for their Group E game switched
because of the Ebola outbreak in Guinea.
Senegal was hosting Egypt in Dakar. (AP)
South Africa opens with 3--0 victory in Sudan
NEW YORK---Serena Williams over-
whelmed 17th-seeded Ekaterina Makarova
of Russia 6--1, 6--3 in the semifinals yes-
terday to extend her US Open winning
streak to 20 matches.
If Williams can make that 21 in a row by
beating Caroline Wozniacki in Sunday s
final, the 32-year-old American will become
the first woman since Chris Evert in the
1970s to win three consecutive titles at the
After Makarova held to 1-all, she went
40 minutes until taking another game. Pow-
ered by swift serves and stinging forehands,
Williams grabbed nine straight games,
including a truly dominant stretch in which
she took 22 of 24 points.
All in all, Williams semifinal was far less
dramatic than Friday s earlier match, when
the tenth-seeded Wozniacki s opponent,
China s Peng Shuai, retired in the second
set because of heat illness and left the court
in a wheelchair.
Wozniacki lost her only previous major
final, at the 2009 US Open. Williams, mean-
while, is seeking a sixth US Open cham-
pionship and 18th major singles title overall,
which would tie her with Evert and Martina
"She obviously wants to win and go for
her first Grand Slam," Williams said about
her close friend Wozniacki. "I want to win
a Grand Slam for some history."
This Grand Slam season has been rather
poor by Williams lofty standards, though:
She lost in the fourth round at the Australian
Open, the second round at the French Open,
and the third round at Wimbledon.
"It feels so good. You never know. I am
so happy---you have no idea," Williams said
in an on-court interview. "I didn t think I d
be here today."
But over the past two weeks in New York,
Williams has looked very much like a woman
who is ranked and seeded No 1, winning all
12 sets she has played. It might have helped
that, because of a series of surprises, she
faced only one seeded opponent until Friday,
eliminating No 11 Flavia Pennetta in the
Makarova defeated No 7 Eugenie
Bouchard---the runner-up at Wimbledon
in July---and No 16 Victoria Azarenka---a
two-time Australian Open champion and
a finalist at the US Open in 2012 and 2013---
to reach her first major semifinal in her 29th
try. A terrific run, to be sure, but the lanky
left-hander never stood a chance against
The whole thing lasted only an hour, and
with her older sister Venus sitting in the
stands, Williams compiled a 24--6 edge in
In the first semifinal, when the temper-
ature was in the high 80s (above 30 Celsius)
and the humidity near 70 per cent, Woz-
niacki was leading 7--6 (1), 4--3 when Peng
was forced to quit. She began showing signs
of distress early in the second set, clutching
at her left thigh. During that set s eighth
game, Peng clearly was in serious trouble.
In a scary scene at 30-all, the 28-year-
old Peng paused, turned her back to the
net and hopped to the back wall behind the
baseline. She leaned and tried to stretch her
right leg. She resumed playing there, and
Wozniacki double-faulted. That s when Peng
took another break and limped, with help
from two people, to a shaded hallway just
off the court to get checked by a trainer
Peng was allowed a medical timeout, and
Wozniacki practiced serving during what
became a ten-minute, mid-game break.
When they returned to action, Peng could
barely move. Still, she stuck it out for six
more points. After shanking a return, though,
she collapsed, with both knees and both
palms on the ground.
Pals Williams, Wozniacki
to meet in US Open final
Peng Shuai, of China, drops to her knees in pain during the semifinals of the US Open
tennis tournament against Caroline Wozniacki, of Denmark, yesterday in New York. Peng
left the court in a wheel chair and retired from the game, forfeiting it to Wozniacki.
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