Tennis Freaks

“1821: Nadal, I’ve noticed, has a problem with his shorts, in that they keep on getting stuck up his jacksie and he has to pull them out before every point. Not sure why he doesn’t just get a size up, he’s probably loaded.”

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Murray v Federer as it happened

Flushing Meadows, 25 August-7 September

 

US Open

Final result:

R FEDERER (Swi) bt A MURRAY (GB)

6-2 7-5 6-2

 

 

 

 

LATEST ACTION (all times BST)

 

By Caroline Cheese

 

0025: I know it wasn’t the result many of you were hoping for, but you have to give it to King Fed. The Swiss mister showed flashes of genius tonight and Murray – only 24 hours after beating the world number one – wasn’t quite there. Lay off him, though. No one beats Nadal and Federer in the same tournament. It’s tennis law. Murray will win a Grand Slam title. There, I said it. Thanks for your company tonight. Off to bed with you.

0021: “As much as I love Murray’s style of play, Federer deserved to win it tonight for his overall performance over the past fortnight, but Andy’ll be back I’m sure.”
xenosys2005 on 606

0019: Rog has won a car for his efforts but I think he’s more bothered by getting his hands on that sparkly trophy. For the fifth year in a row, Federer is the US Open champion. He is the first man in history to win both the Wimbledon and US Open titles five times in a row and the first since 1924 to win five on the trot in New York.

0018: Here comes “history-making Roger Federer “, as he is introduced by our super-enthusiastic announcer. “It definitely feels great,” says Rog. “After this year, to take this home is incredible. It means the world to me. I’m not going to stop at 13 – that would be terrible! I congratulate Andy – he’s done great these last two weeks. I’m sure we’re going to see a lot more of him in the future.”

0015: Andy Murray gives the crowd a forlorn wave as he comes to collect his runners-up trophy. “I had a great tournament but I came up against, in my opinion, the best player ever to play game today. I got the better of him the last two times and he definitely set the record straight today. I’ve learnt I’ve got a lot of improving to do if I want to win one of these things. I love playing in front of this crowd – it’s been the best time of my life.”

0012: The Stars and Stripes are waving in the Arthur Ashe Stadium, along with the flags of Switzerland and Great Britain – which still looks rather nice actually. Bit of bla-bla to go before we get to the presentation.

0011: “Not too shabby from Fed. Great to see him get number five, well-deserved, and a nice cap on what has been for him a disappointing hard-court run. Murray very gracious, and gave it a good go, coming back from what looked like being blanked in the third.”
Im_partial on 606

0009: Federer’s experience told in that final, the world number two delivering when it counted – in particular in that closely-fought second set. Murray couldn’t quite produce his best, but not many players do in their first Grand Slam final. He will be back.

0007: “Federer was simply awesome. Unlucky Andy, you have a lot of years ahead of you.”
Andrew, Edinburgh, via text on 81111

Murray 2-6 5-7 2-6 Federer
Murray refuses to concede defeat and is fuming as he puts a lob narrowly long. Federer’s forehand puts him two points away from the title – but Murray responds with a sizzling backhand down the line and Fed sees his forehand go wide after hitting the tape. An errant backhand gives Murray game point but Fed pounces on a weak second serve to make it deuce and a Murray error gives Fed his first championship point. Two brave, brilliant volleys from Murray save it but Fed earns another with a brutal backhand. The crowd don’t want this to end – but it has. Murray scampers around the back of the court sending up lob after lob but Fed puts him away in the end, falling onto the court as he celebrates his 13th Grand Slam title, his first for a year and his fifth US Open in a row.

2358: “Federer has been top class but you can’t help but feel like Murray’s time is yet to come in the sport.”
Anon via text on 81111

Murray 2-6 5-7 2-5 Federer
Hold the back page. Murray powers away a forehand winner to bring up a break point and then a searing return makes Fed net. Who wrote him off? Come on, own up.

Murray 2-6 5-7 1-5 Federer
Three cheers. Murray gets a huge roar from the crowd as he puts in a massive effort to hold serve for the first time in the set.

2352: “I think Roger will pass Pete Sampras’ record of 14 Grand Slams now. I can’t see how he won’t get two more in the rest of his career.”
Jeff Tarango on BBC Radio 5 Live

Murray 2-6 5-7 0-5 Federer
The crowd aren’t enjoying this much. Murray looks completely spent. Federer, though, deserves all the praise in the world. Grand Slam number 13 is a game away.

Murray 2-6 5-7 0-4 Federer
I can’t watch. A double fault puts Federer 0-30 up and a poor backhand into the net gives the world number two three break points. Murray trots to the net in very unconvincing fashion and doesn’t seem at all surprised to see the backhand flashing past him. This could be over very quickly.

2346: “Unfortunately, Federer really seems to have got his game back together at the moment. Nadal wouldn’t have had any answer for this either.”
cilurnum on 606

Murray 2-6 5-7 0-3 Federer
Murray looks to bounce back, engaging Federer in a mesmerising rally from the baseline – but then ruins all his good work by belting a backhand long. No matter, a sizzling forehand forces Federer into his zillionth volley error of the match. The world number two survives from deuce, but good battling from Murray.

Murray 2-6 5-7 0-2 Federer
Federer plays Murray at his own game, a delicate drop shot leaving his opponent flat-footed. Federer places a simple pass cross-court to bring up three break points. Murray puts a tame forehand into the net and that’s a break to love. The 21-year-old now has a mountain ahead of him – and he looks far too weary to climb it.

Murray 2-6 5-7 0-1 Federer
Just three sets, Andy, just three. Fed holds to 15.

SECOND SET

2335: “My days!!! Roger just played the best game ever man!! Whoa!!!”
intellectualAdam on 606

Murray 2-6 5-7 Federer
Good start from Federer, whipping a forehand into the corner to make it 0-15, and it gets better, the champion finally nailing a decent volley. Murray’s first serve deserts him at the worst possible time and Federer chip-charges to bring up three set points. An absolutely scintillating rally ends with Federer chasing down a drop shot and sending his forehand down the line. The world number two punches the air with delight – and I think he senses title number five.

2330: “Come on Murray, do it for us people on night shifts… You’re adding a lot of fun to a very tedious work place! I cant think of anything better than seeing you wipe the smile off that smug Federer’s face!”
Laura, Ipswich, via text on 81111

Murray 2-6 5-6 Federer
Murray wins the point of the match so far, running back to collect a Federer lob before rocking the world number two with a brutal forehand onto the baseline. He had no right to win that point. Fed shanks a backhand and that’s 30-30. Murray’s return is called long – to gasps from the crowd – but the Brit doesn’t challenge. Strange.

Murray 2-6 5-5 Federer
Murray batters his head with his racquet after a loose forehand into the trams on the first point, but the British number one recovers brilliantly with a backhand winner. Federer goes walkabout again and that allows Murray to come through quite comfortably.

Murray 2-6 4-5 Federer
At 15-15, Murray steps in for a forehand with the whole court at his mercy – but blasts it long. Murray responds with a brilliant cross-court pass, although Fed’s approach shot was poor, but the champion hangs on and the pressure is right back on the Brit now.

2318: “How about printing a message from a Federer fan for a change? Come on Roger – you’re the best there’s ever been!”
Anon via text on 81111

Murray 2-6 4-4 Federer
During that changeover, the crowd are treated to pictures of actress Charlize Theron snogging her boyfriend on the big screen. Back to the tennis though. Murray is still clutching his knee from time to time, but he’s keeping his focus. The 21-year-old races into a 40-0 lead before taking it to 15 with a second-serve ace.

2314: “I think Andy is figuring it out…”
mexito on 606

Murray 2-6 3-4 Federer
Murray attacks the Federer forehand and is rewarded when the ball hits the net. That’s 15-30 but he then shanks a forehand disastrously. “Noooooooooo,” screams the Scot. Fed gets the forehand back on track and the second seed sneaks ahead in the set again.

Murray 2-6 3-3 Federer
Murray clutches his knee and hops about a bit after every point. Bit worrying. Still, the Brit holds to 15 – in part thanks to another shocker of a volley from Federer. The world number two looks like he has never been to net.

2306: “Murray needs to stay positive. He missed a few break points but if they keep coming, he’ll get one. He just needs to concentrate on popping in a few big serves as he has done in the last few service games.”
Pat Cash on BBC Radio 5 Live

Murray 2-6 2-3 Federer
Federer goes spectacularly off the boil. He puts a routine backhand volley in the net and that’s three more break points for Murray. Fed, though, comes right back. Powering groundstrokes onto the baseline, he saves the first two before somehow winning the third despite some very shaky volleying. The defending champion survives by the skin of his teeth. Might be a very big game that.

Murray 2-6 2-2 Federer
Billie Jean King, wearing some delightful 60s-style sunglasses, is studiously reading something. Shame. She’s missing some good tennis here. Murray seems to have come to the party, while Federer is still showing flashes of brilliance. Murray polishes off the game with the old one-two: a big serve and the easy put-away off the short ball.

Murray 2-6 1-2 Federer
Hello. Hello! Welcome to the US Open final, Andy Murray. He steps in to spank a forehand return cross-court and then hammers a backhand so hard that Fed nets his volley. Break back.

2252: “Murray hangs in. That’s what he does very well – and Federer will miss a few balls. He’s not superhuman anymore.”
Pat Cash on BBC Radio 5 Live

Murray 2-6 0-2 Federer
The crowd have gone a bit quiet and you sense that if Murray can find some inspiration, they might just get behind the Brit. Federer, though, just looks awesome. He races into a 0-30 lead on the Murray serve and it’s almost a shock when Fed sticks a backhand wide. Murray clenches his fist as he forces another error, but then a shanked forehand lets Fed back in. A couple of deuces later, Murray nets a simple forehand and it’s break point Fed. The baseline rally ends with Federer whipping a stunning forehand cross-court. It’s just too good.

Murray 2-6 0-1 Federer
Murray’s head is dropping. A man with a Union Jack painted on his face looks on with concern. Worrying times these. Unless you’re Roger Federer. The champ rises gloriously to put away the smash and that’s a love service game.

2242: “I wouldn’t want to be a teacher in Scotland tomorrow because there are going to be a lot of tired kids because this is going all the way! Come on Andy.”
Anon via text on 81111

2241: “Murray played the first set like someone who played yesterday and has only had 24 hours off.”
Jeff Tarango on BBC Radio 5 Live

FIRST SET

Murray 2-6 Federer
The crowd are definitely behind the artist formerly known as King Fed, but they may swing the other way if this continues. Two stinging forehands have Murray rocking and that’s two set points for the world number two. Yet another forehand hammer forces another Murray error and that’s the first gone in 26 minutes.

2237: “No-one can live with Federer when he plays this well, not even Nadal. It’s just too good.”
Manufan87 on 606

Murray 2-5 Federer
Bad news Murray fans, Federer looks good. Very good. He shows how confident he is by charging to the net and driving a volley cross-court. Murray manages to get it back to 40-30 but Federer bangs down a first serve and all of a sudden, he’s a game away from the first set.

Murray 2-4 Federer
Uh-oh. Murray goes for a big second serve, but it’s just long and his first double-fault of the match gives Fed a 0-30 lead. Federer goes long with a forehand but when Murray nets a routine backhand, it gives the world number two his second and third break points of the match. Going for the big winner, Murray sends a forehand into the trams. HawkEye agrees with the linesman’s call and it’s first blood to Fed.

2228: “Well 50 years I’ve been watching tennis, seen Tim and Greg come and go, I didn’t think I would see another Brit in the final before the end of my time, COME ON!!”
Anon via text on 81111

Murray 2-3 Federer
“Federer’s hitting the ball very hard,” comments a colleague. Devastating analysis. The hard-hitting Federer is winning most of the baseline exchanges for the moment and his serve is looking top-notch too. An easy hold for the Swiss mister.

Murray 2-2 Federer
Federer steps it up, sending a rasping forehand onto the baseline before some brilliant reactions at the net make it 15-30. The world number two is unlucky to see a backhand clip the net and drop wide but after a brutal baseline rally, Murray is the first to blink, mis-hitting a forehand to give Fed a break point. Brave stuff from Murray though, rocking Fed with a deep forehand.

2220: “Federer is just too talented for Murray. The match is on Federer’s racket.”
cheeryBerbatovRules on 606

Murray 1-2 Federer
Federer moves into position to spank a forehand down the line – but Murray scampers over and incredibly loops the pass cross-court. That makes it 30-30 but a big serve helps Federer out and Murray nets a backhand.

Murray 1-1 Federer
Murray loses the first point with an errant backhand but there’s no sign of panic. Two service winners – including his first ace – get him back on track and a cross-court forehand pass takes him to game point. Fed goes just wide. Good start from the Brit.

Murray 0-1 Federer
Fed opens up with two winning first serves before Murray puts a tame return into the net. The world number two seals the game with an effortless backhand winner. Not bad, not bad.

2212: Off we go then. Murray will receive the Federer serve.

2211: Half the crowd seem to be still polishing off their hot dogs outside because the stadium is only slowly filling up. Still, it is Monday so I imagine a few ticket-holders have had to go to work.

2209: “I’m terribly nervously excited!!”
napoleon-solo on 606

2208: A note for the fashion watchers. Murray is wearing his now familiar grey T-shirt and white shorts. Federer has just taken off his special ‘NY 2008’ tracksuit top to reveal a red top and khaki shorts combo.

2205: The umpires goes through the toin coss routine at the net before the players pose for the traditional pre-match photo at the net. “Have a great match,” Federer tells Murray. “Thanks,” says Murray.

2202: Andy Murray makes his entrance into the Arthur Ashe Stadium, waving at the crowd as he does. The Brit looks pretty calm as he prepares for his first Grand Slam final. A fella called Federer follows.

2200: “I am possibly a little older than Andy’s Gran and on this day awaiting two happy events – the arrival of great-grandchild number two and Andy becoming US Open champ. Come on Mr Murray – make my day.”
Supergran via text on 81111

2156: “Anyone feel like singing with me?” asks Harry. “Not really,” the crowd seem to respond. But his rendition gets a good ovation before a very noisy flypast by the Blue Angels.

2154: Here he comes. Yes, jazz twiddler Harry Connick Jr will sing America the Beautiful.

2152: “He’s come a remarkably long way, especially from when he was getting criticism a year ago about his fitness. But he always insisted he just needed time for his body to grow. The way he played and lasted against Nadal shows he was right. And it also shows he was right to get rid of Brad Gilbert and take on Miles MacLagan, even though he was just starting out as a coach.”
Murray’s biographer, Rob Robertson, speaking on BBC Radio Scotland.

2146: A well-known sportswear company employed boxing promoter Don King to big up the ‘Grapple in the Apple’ between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal before this tournament. Things didn’t quite work out as planned did they? Still, the wacky American has done his best with Murray… “He’s the double 0 seven of the tennis court: Andy Murray. Blistering back serves, forearm, one two, know what I mean?” Erm, I’m not sure that I do.

2140: “Andy seems pretty calm. Obviously, it’s a new experience when you get to this stage but I think he’s pretty clear about what he’s trying to do. I don’t think anything will surprise me. Andy is very capable of winning.”
Paul Annacone, Pete Sampras’s former coach and current LTA men’s head coach

2137: “Watched yesterday’s match in NYC LaGuardia airport. As John McEnroe said: “If Murray stays aggressive and doesn’t get down on himself he can beat anybody, he is that good.” Come on Murray get stuck in and do us all proud…”
hyflyer on 606

2135: Here’s a treat for you UK users, video footage of Andy Murray as a 14-year-old. He appears to be chewing gum while making mincemeat of the BBC man. Tsk.

2130: “If we take away the scenario, we know Andy Murray has got a big chance, we know he can beat Roger Federer. But it’s a massive occasion and the big question is how will he deal with it? How will the nerves affect him? The crowd will be with Roger, no question. He’s a big favourite here.”
Former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash

2127: “I have to be up at 4.30 tomorrow for a history trip to France. Should I go to bed now or watch Murray? Not really a hard choice – Murray in four.”
Daniel, London, via text on 81111

2124: “He’s up there with the big three. Nadal was the only one he has never beaten. He’s beaten them all now.”
Andy Murray’s gran Shirley Eskine

 

2119: “The weather is beautiful: sunshine, blue skies and pretty still.”
BBC Radio 5 Live’s Jonathan Overend in New York 2117: “I’m in a tent, camping in Cornwall. I’ve bought my laptop, an internet card, and ready for Murray to sort Fed out. My girlfriend is not pleased.”
Anon via text on 81111

2114: Ooh, I forgot to say. If you’re a 606 fan, opening hours are extended today so you can chat away until 0300 BST tomorrow morning. How marvellous.

2112: “My other half is Scottish and desperately wants a Murray victory, I however couldn’t turn down the 8-15 odds offered on a Federer win, there may be trouble ahead.”
Brian, Liverpool, via text on 81111
I’m no betting expert, but they don’t sound like good odds to me. Am I mad?

2108: Let’s hear from Scottish golfing legend Colin Montgomerie shall we? “As a fellow Scot and fellow Perthshire resident I am delighted. I am passing Dunblane on the way home this evening, we only live 10 miles apart. If he can beat Nadal and then Federer he deserves to win the US Open.”

2104: No one seems to remember 1936, but apparently everyone remembers that 1483 was the year of three kings. Many thanks for all your texts on that, but please, let’s hear no more about it. History’s boring innit?

2102: “The doors are open, the patrons are coming in and beginning to take their seats in Arthur Ashe Stadium.”
BBC Radio 5 Live’s Jonathan Overend in New York

2059: “I’m going to go on the same muscle-building programme as Andy Murray. I’m going to become Super Minister. He’s quite skilful, he’s unpredictable. He’s fast. He’s got instinct. I hope he wins tonight. But one way or the other, this is a top-class tennis player.”
Scotland First Minister Alex Salmond

2055: “I was at a party with Andy’s girlfriend’s brother last week. That sort of makes me famous, right? I’m thinking he’ll win in four sets! Good luck Andy.”
Adam from Burgess Hill, via text on 81111

2052: Andy Murray and Roger Federer have both completed their warm-ups. The four-time defending champion opted for Arthur Ashe Stadium, while Murray stuck with one of the outside courts. Interesting? Or not really?

2049: “Re 2042: Sorry, but only two kings in 1485. Rich 3rd and henry 7th. Basic history mistake.”
Thom, Wokingham, via text on 81111

2047: The great and good of Scotland have been throwing their weight behind Andy Murray today. Here’s His Royal Hoyness Chris, er Hoy: “The fight and determination he seems to have is inspiring for a lot of athletes and if anyone can beat Federer, I’m sure Andy is the man to do it.”

2042: “Re 2027: 1936 was only the third year in history to have three kings. The others being 1485 and 1066, but you’ll probably be hard-pressed to find someone who remembers them.”
Alex, Wimbledon, via text on 81111

2037: According to my extensive research (yup, wikipedia again), Fred Perry, Britain’s last male Grand Slam singles champion, used to shout “very clevah” when his opponent hit a good shot – which would really rile his rivals. Just a little tip for Andy, if he’s reading.

2032: “Forget school tomorrow, I’ll be up as long as long as they’re playing! Had a really awful day today so hopefully Andy can improve it with a winning performance.”
arryaddick on 606

2027: Of course, I especially want to hear your memories of the last time a British man won a Grand Slam singles title back in 1936. A year when the Depression lingered on, the Spanish Civil War began, King Edward VIII abdicated and the Hoover Dam was completed. And the good old BBC started its first television broadcasts. Wonder what happened to the Beeb?

2021: “COME ON MURRAY. Had to get that one out before anyone else!”
Chris in Chepstow, via text on 81111

2017: Look, former Wimbledon champ Michael Stich has got involved already. “I think you have to go for Roger for his experience,” the German told BBC Radio 5 Live. “He has 12 Grand Slam titles. A lot depends on how the match starts. Andy has to make sure the first set is tight. It’s not too bad if he loses it, but he must not let Roger win it 6-2 or 6-3 and cruise it.”

2011: It won’t have escaped your notice that there are still nearly two hours until the big kick-off in New York, and even then, there’ll be all sorts of razzle-dazzle before the players actually get to the court, so this is where you come in. Text on 81111 (charges apply) or get involved on 606 . Don’t let me ask you twice.

2005: Hello. You’ll be here for the big one. The grudge match. The Grapple in the Apple. Four-time defending champion Roger Federer against world number one Rafael Na… you what? A Brit? In a Grand Slam final? Well, bless my soul…

Federer v Djokovic as it happened

Flushing Meadows, New York, 27 August-9 September

US Open, Flushing Meadows Final result:

R FEDERER (Swi) bt N DJOKOVIC (Ser)

7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-2) 6-4

By Piers Newbery

Third set:

0022: Well, it’s been emotional. Djokovic gets a great reception from the New Yorkers and looks suitably embarrassed when a red-faced Maria Sharapova appears on the big screen, to wolf whistles all round. There’s definitely something going on there. Federer picks up the trophy and that’s your lot. It’s been fun, and thanks for your texts and comments, – now back to bed/work/school/uni for the lot of you. I need a cuppa.

Federer 6-4 Djokovic
Federer gets to 30-30, and just two points from the title, with a superb backhand smash and a fizzing return but an ace takes Djokovic to game point. Federer then produces the most incredible angle with a backhand for deuce. Djokovic goes for a big second serve and wants to challenge but he can’t! He’s gone and used them all, hasn’t he? It’s championship point but NoDjo finds a delicate forehand angle. Another backhand error gives Fed a second chance though… and he nets a backhand!

It’s over and Federer slumps to the court before leaping up, congratulating NoDjo and then pumping his fist like a madman. Don’t often see him this fired up…

Federer 5-4 Djokovic
Federer gets to 40-0 and keeps things interesting with a double fault but takes the game on the next point.

0006: “Watching live coverage on ya fone while lying in bed it gets no betta i love technology.”
From D in north west london via text

0006: “I have to write 10,000 words by next friday yet i can’t help but refresh bbc commentary every 10…that’s 1000 clicks of the mouse, do u think that’s ho w rafa got his biceps? ”
From anon via text

0006: “Piers, i can beat young Alex from Oxford, i’m handing in my dissertation tomorrow & finish university forever!”
Andrew, Northumbria Uni, Newcastle, via text

Federer 4-4 Djokovic
Crikey. Federer moves menacingly to 30-30, swoops into the net and… sticks a volley into the net with court gaping. Djokovic follows up with a double fault anyway, so it’s deuce, but Federer misses with a pass and Djokovic hangs on. He looks tired though.

Federer 4-3 Djokovic
Federer hammers a backhand pass down the line, then punches away a forehand volley and hits an ace for an easy hold. Huge game now for Djokovic.

2355: “Djokovic looks way more like screech from saved by the bell than tarantino.”
From James H via text

Federer 3-3 Djokovic
Djokovic looks on course for a simple hold but Federer gets back to deuce and then earns a break point as NoDjo is forced into evasive action at the net. The Serb bravely heads back to the net to save the break point with a volley and follows up with a searing backhand as he holds.

2355: “I’ve got my first day of college at 8am tomorrow but all i can do is lie in bed and watch the bbc commentary on my phone!”
From Alex, Oxford, via text (We salute you!)

Federer 3-2 Djokovic
Djokovic smacks a cross-court backhand winner on the first point and then Federer double faults to go 0-30. NoDjo steps up the pace in the next rally and forces a backhand error – 0-40 and three more break points for the Serb. He misses with a backhand return on the first and then inexplicably leaves a forehand that drops on the line right in front of him – Hawkeye confirms his mistake. Djokovic nets a return on the third break point and the crowd sighs as one, before Federer wraps up the game with an ace.

Bizarrely, Djokovic challenges but Fedeer marches to his chair and sits down anyway, so the Serb follows him. They both sit and watch as the Hawkeye graphic confirms it was an ace, just. And that was Djokovic’s last challenge of the set. Weird.

Federer 2-2 Djokovic
A very swift love game for Djokovic, very much as we were at the start of the first set.

2345: “Federer has the ability to squeeze out of tight situations, it’s amazing. Sampras had the same sort of thing.”
Pat Cash on BBC Radio 5live

Federer 2-1 Djokovic
A Djokovic backhand sails long and Federer holds easily again.

2343: “Federer is one of those bobbly punch things that always come back smiling no matter how hard you hit it…”
From anon via text

Federer 1-1 Djokovic
Testing times for Djokovic when he lets a 40-15 lead slip but Serb hangs on from deuce.

2341: “Awesome from Federer. Is it me or is he the spitting image of Quentin Tarantino?”
From Marc, Liverpool, via text (He is indeed – a subject much discussed at Wimbledon, where we decided the Roddick/Stiffler lookalike was the best)

Federer 1-0 Djokovic
Lordy, that is a game and a half from the champ. He opens with a forehand winner down the line, then hits a backhand down the opposite tram line and soon after smacks an ace for the game.

Second set:

Federer 7-6 (7-2) Djokovic
Awesome stuff from Federer. After a pretty scratchy couple of sets by his standards, the Swiss hits top form at the key moment. Djokovic puts a backhand wide to go 3-2 down and Federer repsonds with some brilliant, unreturnable serving, and from 5-2 he smashes a spectacular forehand an even better backhand to take the set.

2329: Djokovic has a brief and entertaining meltdown at the back of the court after missing a total of seven set points in the match so far. He needs to get his head back in the match – it’s tie-break time.

Federer 6-6 Djokovic
A long rally at 15-15 ends with Djokovic smacking a backhand down to Federer’s feet at the net and he puts the volley long. Another forehand error follows and it’s 15-40 and two set points to Djokovic. We’ve been here before, haven’t we? Federer saves the first with an ace and NoDjo goes long with a forehand on the second, only just according to Hawkeye. That provokes a smile form the Serb but Federer just gets back to business and holds on.

Federer 5-6 Djokovic
Some more huge serving from Djokovic and Federer just isn’t reading it at the moment.

2322: “Game over. I can only see one outcome now, as long as fed keeps attacking. Novak will struggle to serve any part of this match out.”
From Ian, Eastbourne, via text

Federer 5-5 Djokovic
Federer holds serve to love, walloping a huge forehand on the second point.

Federer 4-5 Djokovic
We appear to have returned to the start of the first set as both players are now holding serve with ease, Djokovic taking this one to 15.

Federer 4-4 Djokovic
Federer is back on level terms with another love service game and the worrying thing for Djokovic is that the champion is nowhere near his best yet, apart from on serve.

Federer 3-4 Djokovic
The nerves appear to strike Djokovic again as he falls to 0-40 with a couple of errors and another loose backhand lets Federer break back to love.

Federer 2-4 Djokovic
The third point of this game feels like a significant moment as Djokovic moves the world number one over every inch of the court before drawing him to the net and throwing up a perfect lob. Those in the NoDjo box are up on their feet, as are the rest of the 23,000 spectators, but Federer holds on from deuce with an ace.

2304: “Bye bye Djokovic, you had your chance and you blew it and now you will lose.”
From Naveed, Yorkshire, via text (Presumably before the last two games)

Federer 1-4 Djokovic
Federer puts up a tame lob before Djokovic finds an ace on his way to a love game.

Federer 1-3 Djokovic
Another howler off the forehand from Federer gives Djokovic two set points at 15-40. The Serb misses a backhand on the first but Federer obliges with a sloppy volley on the second and the match is very much back on.

Federer 1-2 Djokovic
A confidence booster for Djokovic as he hits a couple of big forehand winners and holds to 15.

Federer 1-1 Djokovic
Federer looks a lot more relaxed now and sidles into the net to put away a forehand volley but a missed backhand pass sees him pegged back to 30-30. The Swiss comes up with his best shot of the day as he arrows a backhand down the line and a service winner seals the game.

2252: “Just looked my tie out for work tomorrow and it’s got a tear in it, is this the second tie break of the evening?”
From Gordon, Bristol, via text

Federer 0-1 Djokovic
After sitting with his head swathed in towels during the changeover, Djokovic just about retains his composure to hold his serve to 15.

2249: “Djokovic should have managed to turn that negativity off a little earlier than he did.”
Jeff Tarango on BBC Radio 5live

2248: “Djokovic settled down very well at the start but there were plenty of unforced errors – 34 from both players – and he’s got a mountain to climb now.”
Pat Cash on BBC Radio 5live

First set:

Federer 7-6 (7-4) Djokovic
Look away, NoDjo fans, this will make ugly reading. Still seething after missing five set points in the previous game, Djokovic gets the first mini-break for 3-2 but then nets a backhand and double faults. His racquet takes a pounding as he slams it into the court, and things get worse when he delivers another double fault at set point down. Good stuff from Federer but Djokovic really did throw it away.

Federer 6-6 Djokovic
What a game. Nerves? From Novak? He smacks an ace to get to 40-0 and three set points. One decent forehand from Federer and a Djokovic error put the pressure on before a lengthy rally sees the Serb falter again, and it’s deuce. NoDjo gathers himself and fires down a huge service winner but goes long with the forehand on set point number four. Number fives comes along moments later, a brilliant Federer return is too much for Djokovic.

After five set points slip by, Djokovic pulls a backhand wide to give Federer a break point and the Serb double faults! Unbelievable.

2229: “Re 2142 entry. Baba O’Riley is the theme music to CSI-New York. So tenuous link, at best. Top tune though. Go Fed.”
From Doc Faroon, on call in Dundee, via text (Good knowledge)

Federer 5-6 Djokovic
Djokovic gets to 30-30 with a scything forehand cross-court winner and the crowd starts to get involved. Djokovic then makes a great return and forces a Federer error, giving him the first break point of the day. The Serb gets a look at a second serve but thumps the backhand return long and looks disgusted. As does Federer on the next point when he puts an easy forehand well long – set point again, and another Federer error on the forehand!

Federer 5-5 Djokovic
Federer makes a couple more wild shanks off the forehand and Djokovic holds serve easily once again. The Serb has the very slightest of edges at the moment.

Federer 5-4 Djokovic
Djokovic makes a mess of a backhand smash and this time it’s Federer who closes out his service game with an ace.

Federer 4-4 Djokovic
Federer mishits a couple of forehands as Djokovic holds to 30 with an ace and we’re already on course for a tie-break. That tends to guarantee a break.

2212: “They’re like a couple of boxers sparring at the moment.”
Jeff Tarango on BBC Radio 5live

Federer 4-3 Djokovic
Another love service game and it’s all gone a bit Sampras v Ivanisevic. That’s OK though, we want a competitive match.

Federer 3-3 Djokovic
Some big, big serving sees Djokovic hold to love for the first time and he looks in good form for a Grand Slam final debutant.

2205: “Apparently Djokovic is booked on to the David Letterman Show tomorrow night – if he loses it will be the first time Letterman has had the runner-up on his show.”
Jonathan Overend on BBC Radio 5live

Federer 3-2 Djokovic
Federer is let off the hook at 30-15 when Djokovic smacks a second serve into the net and the Swiss holds to 15. No sign of any breaks yet.

Federer 2-2 Djokovic
Federer plays a beautiful backhand down the line early on but Djokovic stays calm and holds to 15. A quick stars-in-the-crowd update: Robert De Niro, Dutsin Hoffman, Robin Williams, Greg Norman. No sign of Rick Moranis yet, he was in yesterday though.

2200: “Djokovic has done well and will push fed more than anyone else has in new york but ultimately he’ll be let down by his body and his forehand will break under the pressure fed will put on it.”
From anon via text on 81111

Federer 2-1 Djokovic
Federer throws in one double fault but holds comfortably. The PA plays Mrs Robinson.

2158: Maria Sharapova is in Djokovic’s players’ box as a guest before she flies to Russia to be a hitting partner (!) for the Fed Cup team. Building a few bridges there, I imagine. Jeff Tarango on 5live is the man in the know, but he will not be drawn on whether there is more to know about the Sharapova-Djokovic relationship.

Federer 1-1 Djokovic
NoDjo makes two errors to be hauled back to 30-30. At 40-30 the Serb appears to have hit an ace before Federer challenges sucessfully – he’s warming to old Hawkeye – but Djokovic hangs on.

Federer 1-0 Djokovic
Federer starts slowly with a couple of loose errors but from 0-30 he moves to the net and sticks away a backhand volley. At 30-30 he challenges a serve and Hawkeye backs him up, saying it was an ace. Djokovic then takes the initiative by attacking the net and angling a forehand volley for deuce, but Federer holds on.

2149: “I saw Djokovic yesterday and he said he was really disappointed about Wimbledon because he thought he could have beaten Nadal in that semi-final. He’s very pumped up about getting to a final.”
Pat Cash on BBC Radio 5live

2146: “Federer does a lot of Greco-Roman wrestling and it builds muscles you need for tennis.”
Jeff Tarango on BBC Radio 5live

2142: The stadium PA belts out The Who’s Baba O’Riley, which is completely irrelevant but rather good.

2138: Federer is back in black for this evening, returning to the rather sinister outfit he has been wearing for night matches. Both players conduct a brief pre-match interview in which they say nice things about each other.

2137: Liza Minnelli sings God Bless America. To avoid causing an international incident, I’ll leave it at that.

2133: Settle back and prepare yourselves for a night of drama everyone, and I’m not talking about Jim Davidson in Hell’s Kitchen.

This is the final that surely everyone has wanted ever since Djokovic beat Federer in Montreal last month.

Will Federer be spooked by that experience or will a first Grand Slam final prove too much for the Serb? Will the 20-year-old be tired after struggling in the heat during his semi-final?

I, for one, am feeling refreshed despite yesterday’s marathon, having enjoyed a gentle walk across Hyde Park at dusk on my way to work. Apart from the in-line skaters and overly aggressive squirrels, it was delightful.

So, anyway, are we about to see another landmark night for Federer, or a real shift in the balance of power in men’s tennis?

Story from BBC SPORT

Henin v Kuznetsova as it happened

Flushing Meadows, New York, 27 August-9 September

US Open, Flushing Meadows Final result:

J HENIN (Bel) bt S KUZNETSOVA (Rus)

6-1 6-3

By Piers Newbery

First set:

0246: That’s your lot for this evening, not the most thrilling of finals but Henin did play magnificently, as she did against Serena and Venus. Well worth a second US Open title. Join me tomorrow at around 2100 BST for Federer v Djokovic. Goodnight/morning.

Henin 6-3 Kuznetsova
Any sign of nerves from Henin? Oh yes. She smacks an ace on the first point. A fan shouts out just as she is about to serve on the second point and she goes on to double fault for 15-15. Another double fault follows, and that really gets the crowd going. Kuznetsova moves into the net and puts away a volley for 15-40. Henin finds an ace for 30-40 before Kuznetsova falters in a lengthy rally and it’s deuce. Double fault number three follows and it’s break point number three for Kuznetsova, but she shanks a forehand way long.

This time Kuznetsova sends a backhand long and it’s championship point for Henin….. and she takes it in a bizarre rally with a lob volley.

Henin 5-3 Kuznetsova
As usual, Kuznetsova moves 30-0 clear on her serve, but this time she manages to see it through for a love game.

0233: “As from monday they r going 2 b ranked 1 and 2 in the world… u wouldnt believe it right now.”
From John, Scotland, via text

Henin 5-2 Kuznetsova
Kuznetsova wins the point of the match for 15-15 but it does her little good as Henin takes the game with a superb volley. The Belgian turns and looks to her players’ box, pumping her fist, and she knows that victory is almost hers.

Henin 4-2 Kuznetsova
Kuznetsova wins the first two points but Henin soon levels with a blistering forehand down the line. Kuznetsova comes through and the crowd gets behind her. A bit.

Henin 4-1 Kuznetsova
Aaaargh. Henin pushes a backhand volley long to give Kuznetsova two break-back points but the Russian misses with two forehands. Henin responds with an ace and a smash, and victory is not far away now.

Henin 3-1 Kuznetsova
Henin plays one magical backhand return winner, constructs a clever rally to finish at the net, and thumps a forehand return to recover from 40-0 down and get a break point. Kuznetsova saves it thanks to a correct Hawkeye challenge (according to 5live’s David Law she has the best record of challenges in the tournament – good stat). The Russian saves two more break points but cannot hold off Henin on the third.

Henin 2-1 Kuznetsova
Blimey, some fantastic stuff from Henin who takes the game with a huge forehand. Playing like this, I’d fancy her to get through a few rounds in the men’s event. She could definitely get into the Great Britain Davis Cup squad but that’s another story.

Henin 1-1 Kuznetsova
Kuznetsova stuns everyone by moving to 40-0 and when Henin misses the return, the crowd gets mildly hysterical. I’m not sure there wasn’t a fair bit of irony in that cheering but she’ll take it.

0203: “Svetlana is putting the ‘net’ in Kuznetsova. Bring back Davenport & Mauresmo! Finals like this are bad for the womens game.”
From Tarryn in Waterloo via text

Henin 1-0 Kuznetsova
Kuznetsova makes a better fist of things as the second set starts and gets to deuce, with the help of another couple of Henin double faults. Kuznetsova bosses the rally but refuses to move forward and finish the point, and in the end sticks a backhand into the net. The next backhand doesn’t even make it into the tram lines.

0201: “Evenin! So far so good. Hope Henin’s annoyingly poor serve doesn’t ruin things! Thanks for commentary…”
From Ru via text on 81111 (Not at all)

First set:

0155: “There was no sign of nerves really from Justine Henin – just a good, solid set of tennis, and she really wants that seventh Grand Slam title.”
Wendy Turnbull on BBC Radio 5live

Henin 6-1 Kuznetsova
Kuznetsova challenges a line call early on but, like everything else today, it doesn’t go her way. She dumps a forehand into the net to slip down a set point but saves it with a heavy serve. A second chance comes Henin’s way and this time Kuznetsova nets a backhand. Henin wraps up the set in 33 minutes.

Henin 5-1 Kuznetsova
Henin comes up with a much better service game than her last effort and wins it easily.

Henin 4-1 Kuznetsova
That’s more like it from Kuznetsova, who opens with huge winners off the forehand and then backhand. Two errors then follow from the Russian but she makes amends with a decent volley and finally gets on the scoreboard with a service winner. She looks exhausted.

Henin 4-0 Kuznetsova
Henin double faults twice in a row and the crowd gasps as though she’s just sworn at a ball girl. Kuznetsova lets her off the hook at 15-30 up with a wild forehand but Henin then nets a backhand and it’s break point. No problem for the Belgian, who hammers away a forehand. Kuznetsova wins a fine rally moments later with a forehand down the line and gives it a bit of fist pump but Henin holds with a second-serve ace.

Henin 3-0 Kuznetsova
Henin chips and charges on the first point and takes it with a sharp volley – really fantastic, attacking tennis from her at the moment. Kuznetsova responds with a big serve and a fine backhand volley of her own before Henin makes it 30-30 with a stunning cross-court forehand. At deuce, Kuznetsova is caught in no-man’s/woman’s land and jabs a volley wide, and Henin bullies the next point with a backhand-forehand one-two combination.

Henin 2-0 Kuznetsova
Kuznetsova does some impressive scrambling as Henin bosses things from the net but to no avail, and the world number one takes the game to 15 with an amazing forehand winner down the line.

Henin 1-0 Kuznetsova
Kuznetsova is prone to the odd bout of nerves, as anyone who endured her semi-final will know, and an immediate hold of serve would be a big boost. Unfortunately for her, Henin starts off in a similar mood to that which saw off Serena and Venus, finishing a stunning rally at 30-30 with an audacious drop shot. Kuznetsova then goes for too much with a forehand and it’s a break for the Belgian.

0112: The players come out onto Arthur Ashe Stadium to a healthy round of applause.

0110: It’s time for the women’s final and we have the 2003 champion, Henin, up against the 2004 champion, Kuznetsova.

Rather surprisingly, I’d say, we also have the two women who will be top of the rankings after this weekend, as Kuznetsova is set to rise to a career-high number two.

She will need the confidence boost as Henin has a 14-2 record against the Russian, although Kuznetsova did win their last match earlier this year on clay in Berlin.

Story from BBC SPORT

Djokovic v Ferrer as it happened

US Open, Flushing Meadows Semi-final result:

N DJOKOVIC (Ser) bt D FERRER (Spa)

6-4 6-4 6-3

By Piers Newbery

 

 

Third set:

Djokovic 6-3 Ferrer
Djokovic crosses himself and looks to the heavens after another perfect drop shot gets him to 30-30 and just two points from a Grand Slam final. Moments later, a rush to the net gets him to deuce, another to match point… and with a brilliant drop volley he’s done it!

Djokovic 5-3 Ferrer
Another good hold from Djokovic after he drops the first point and his friends and family are looking suitably excited in the players’ box. They appear to be dressed in lines of red, white and blue to represent the Serbian flag. Very nice.

Djokovic 4-3 Ferrer
Djokovic has a sniff of another break at 30-30 but nets a backhand and Ferrer holds, before jogging back to his chair.

Djokovic 4-2 Ferrer
Djokovic comes up with the shot of the match when in trouble at 0-30, sliding out wide and smacking a backhand down the line, and he takes the next three points for a crucial hold.

1918: “The final is bound to be federer and djokovic and will be a close 5 setter with fed just coming through.”
From Luke from London via text on 8111

Djokovic 3-2 Ferrer
The match looks all but over when Ferrer goes 0-30 down but he picks up a Djokovic drop shot and fires a cross-court forehand winner. The Spaniard goes on to hold to 30.

Djokovic 3-1 Ferrer
Ferrer plays a poor game by smacking a couple of returns long when Djokovic is obviously not desperate to be running around in the heat.

1911: Djokovic has another visit from the doctor and apparently tells him, “I feel exhausted.” But he has a smile on his face and looks ready for one final push.

Djokovic 2-1 Ferrer
Djokovic looks back to his best, earning two break points for the second game in successsion. He narrowly misses the first with an ambitious attempt at a shot around the net post but converts the second.

Djokovic 1-1 Ferrer
Ferrer fails with a Hawkeye challenge as Djokovic rolls through a comfortable service game.

Djokovic 0-1 Ferrer
Djokovic, with the cap back in place, misses two chances to grab what could be a decisive break with sloppy errors and Ferrer stays alive, for the moment.

Second set:

Djokovic 6-4 Ferrer
After a set in which nearly every game has gone to deuce, we get to crunch time and Djokovic serves out to love.

Djokovic 5-4 Ferrer
Another break looks likely when Djokovic dominates the rally at 30-30 but he cannot make a tough half-volley drop shot. A wayward backhand prompts Djokovic to toss his racquet – fairly gently – into the air and Ferrer holds.

Djokovic 5-3 Ferrer
This is a hard one to call. Djokovic is seemingly cruising at 40-0 before a couple of double faults see him slip back to deuce. He takes off the sodden cap he’s been wearing and throws it away in frustration. It seems to work as he serves his way out of trouble.

1840: “Djokovic is knackered.”
Djokovic 4-3 Ferrer
The game looks done and dusted when Ferrer thumps down what looks like an ace at 40-15 but Djokovic challenges, and it’s correct. Suddenly the momentum is back with the third seed and he breaks when Ferrer pulls a forehand wide.

Djokovic 3-3 Ferrer
Djokovic does well to hold serve as he is clearly struggling, while Ferrer looks up for the long haul. Djokovic steers a volley at deuce and Ferrer almost makes him pay, a net cord just taking the ball out, before the Serb comes through with a much sharper volley.

Djokovic 2-3 Ferrer
It’s still early days but Djokovic has been in two Grand Slam semi-finals this year and been found wanting physically, being overpowered by Nadal in Paris and then retiring against the Spaniard at Wimbledon. Ferrer holds to 15.

Djokovic 2-2 Ferrer
The ice towel has some effect as Djokovic moves to game point but Ferrer is able to prolong the following rallies and Djokovic struggles. The Serb scrambles to get to a backhand when break point down and puts it long.

1820: Uh-oh. Djokovic calls for the trainer, the doctor and an ice towel as the heat is clearly starting to bother him. The doc hands over a couple of pills and Djokovic returns to the action.

Djokovic 2-1 Ferrer
Djokovic looks to be blowing a bit after that previous game and dons a white cap to give him some protection on a hot afternoon. It looks to be working when he takes the first two points but Ferrer hangs on.

Djokovic 2-0 Ferrer
It’s so often the way, isn’t it? You do all the hard work and then relax a little bit too much. Djokovic almost comes a cropper but forces an error when facing break point. He needs several deuces in the longest game of the match but does well to hold.

Djokovic 1-0 Ferrer
The Djokovic forehand is getting bigGer and bigger. Ferrer is in real danger at 0-30 but hauls himself back to game point, before a punishing rally of huge hitting is brought to an end by another big Djokovic forehand. Ferrer then fails to deal with some heavy slice and nets a forehand, but Djokovic goes long with the backhand on break point. Another chance comes along and this time the Serb runs down a drop shot and puts away a…. forehand.

First set:

Djokovic 6-4 Ferrer
Djokovic completes the turnaround with his fifth straight game in stunning style. The backhand that was faltering only a few minutes ago is now working beautifully and he wraps up the set with a drive volley.

Djokovic 5-4 Ferrer
Djokovic tries another drop shot but this time Ferrer runs it down and hits a winner. The pressure remains on the Spaniard though and at 30-30 he puts a regulation backhand long. Djokovic needs only one break point, firing a backhand up the line that Ferrer cannot handle.

Djokovic 4-4 Ferrer
After a slow start Djokovic is motoring now and he glides into the net before angling away a backhand volley for 40-0, taking the game with a big serve on the next point. Three love games in a row.

Djokovic 3-4 Ferrer
Ferrer has gone from De Niro to Mickey Blue Eyes. The Spaniard does some excellent scampering on the second point but to no avail and a couple of huge forehands then help Djokovic to 0-40 and three break points. The best forehand of the lot then follows, cross-court, and the Serb is back on serve.

Djokovic 2-4 Ferrer
Djokovic gets back on track with a love hold of his own.

Djokovic 1-4 Ferrer
Ferrer is looking as ruthless as De Niro in Goodfellas, ‘whacking’ down an ace for a love game.

Djokovic 1-3 Ferrer
Djokovic opens up with a ridiculous drop shot from behind the baseline that just sneaks over the net and he holds to 15 to get off the mark. And Robert De Niro is in the crowd, hidden under a fishing hat. Maybe he’s a big David Ferrer fan.

Djokovic 0-3 Ferrer
Ferrer is in the groove now and Djokovic is struggling to keep pace, firing one forehand way outside the tram lines.

Djokovic 0-2 Ferrer
Djokovic is under pressure after a double fault and a backhand error. Ferrer absolutely hammers a forehand moments later to get to 15-40 and two break points, and another sloppy Djokovic backhand gives up the break.

Djokovic 0-1 Ferrer
It’s another sunny, blustery day at Flushing Meadows and the Arthur Ashe Stadium is yet to fill up. The late arrivals miss some beautiful forehands that get Djokovic to 0-30 up and he soons earns the first break point of the day, but Ferrer comes up with a service winner and goes on to hold.

1714: Forget the football, ignore the rugby, the cricket’s over, and tear yourself away from the gymnastics – this is the place to be. We have two players trying to reach their first Grand Slam final.

Ferrer has a 2-1 lead in career meetings but that does not tell the whole story, as both the Spaniard’s wins came on clay and the first was in 2004 when Djokovic was just 17.

The Serb’s win came on hard courts in Indian Wells this year and he has rocketed to number three in the world, reaching the semis at the French Open and Wimbledon.

But Ferrer has been in a rich vein of form in New York, beating Rafael Nadal on his way to a first Grand Slam semi-final.

Story from BBC SPORT

Federer v Davydenko as it happened

US Open, Flushing Meadows Semi-final result:

R FEDERER (Swi) bt N DAVYDENKO (Rus)

7-5 6-1 7-5

* denotes server

By Piers Newbery

Third set:

2234: Do not, under any circumstances, go to bed. I’ll be back at 0100 BST for the women’s final after a couple of hours in a BBC sleep pod.

Federer 7-5 Davydenko
Quick as a flash, Federer wraps it up with a love game and he’s back in the final to face Novak Djokovic. The crowd waves goodbye to Davydenko as he leaves the stadium to be reunited with Irina. Every cloud….

Federer 6-5 Davydenko
We haven’t seen too much Federer magic today, at least not consistently, but he finds the moment to produce a wonderful backhand pass and an even better forehand to set up break point. Davydenko duly double faults.

Federer 5-5 Davydenko
Finally we get some real drama. Davydenko gets a couple of set points and misses by a whisker with a return on the first before an epic rally. Both players give it everything until N-Dav puts a forehand just wide and drops to his knees in frustration. Federer comes through with a big forehand to hold serve – haven’t written that for a while.

2219: “Please tell me Piers. Why aren’t the bbc channel showing the two finals?!”
From Faris via text (It’s all to do with rights and we don’t have them for the US Open, although we do show the other three Grand Slam events)

Federer 4-5 Davydenko
Zero, in answer to my previous question. Davydenko sticks a smash into the bottom of the net to trail 0-30 and puts a forehand wide soon after to go 15-40 behind. Federer scrambles brilliantly to set up the forehand, which he thumps away.

Federer 3-5 Davydenko
Another game, another break, another shot of Irina – for that is her name – Davydenko. Her husband does the business with more heavy groundstrokes as Federer continues to be very erratic. What are the chances of him serving out to love?

Federer 3-4 Davydenko
Guess what? That’s right. Federer breaks back, dictating the second point with some fierce forehands and taking his second break point in a magnificent rally, finished off with a forehand down the line. I officially retract my earlier Kuznetsova v Chakvetadze comment.

Federer 2-4 Davydenko
Federer spoons a forehand long to go to 30-30 and Davydenko wins a spectacular next point with a stunning lob. Federer double faults and is broken again. This is turning into Kuznetsova v Chakvetadze.

Federer 2-3 Davydenko
You’ve got to laugh. Unless you’re Nikolay Davydenko. He double faults to slip to 0-40 and misses with a backhand on the second. That could be the last time we get to see N-Dav’s wife this year.

Federer 1-3 Davydenko
Davydenko gets a chance to take the initiative in this set as two superb backhands get him to break point, but he then misses with a return. A second break point chance arrives for Davydenko and he converts when Federer misses with a forehand. This prompts another camera shot of N-Dav’s wife, which cheers me right up. And there’s Ilie Nastase for the ladies.

Federer 1-2 Davydenko
Davydenko fends off another couple of break points and he’s being typically gritty. The crowd enjoys Van Morrison’s karaoke classic ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ during the changeover. Can’t see the relevance myself.

Federer 1-1 Davydenko
A double fault gets Federer off on the wrong foot and he falls 15-30 behind but recovers. Apparently Rick Moranis and Brazilian model Gisele are in the crowd today. Not together, as far as I know.

2143: “I think this is Djokovic’s shout – he’s not only up for for challenge but up to it – so go all the way and let’s see a few tables turn in men’s tennis.”
From anon via text on 81111

Federer 0-1 Davydenko
Davydenko keeps the match alive, just, by battling back from 0-40 to hold serve. It’s deathly quiet on Arthur Ashe Stadium at the moment. What happened to Huey Lewis and the News?

Second set:

Federer 6-1 Davydenko
N-Dav rediscovers his best form to earn four break points, but unfortunately at 5-1 down. Federer saves the first with a service winner and the second with some sharp volleying. Davydenko earns a third with a blistering forehand winner, Federer sticks an ace down the middle. A mighty forehand sees off the danger for a fourth time and finally Federer gets a set point, which he converts. Some decent tennis but not much sign of an upset.

2127: “There’s usually plenty of police in Newquay on a saturday night mopping up the stag & hen parties. you don’t need a ticket.”
From LC via text

Federer 5-1 Davydenko
It all goes a bit Mansour Bahrami on the first point, Federer hitting three successive backhand drive volleys at Davydenko, the third clipping the net and hopping over the Russian’s racquet. Federer gets to break point three times but cannot convert. On the fourth he hits the most incredible, deep, swerving forehand for a winner. Pretty special that.

Federer 4-1 Davydenko
Davydenko catches Federer snoozing with one return taken early but from 30-30 the champ smacks a big serve and a winner to hold.

2117: “Hi Piers. It’s awful quiet. do you think everyone else has gone out?”
From LC, Newquay, Cornwall, via text (I certainly hope so, it is Saturday after all. I had a ticket to see The Police tonight, not sure if I’m missing out or not)

Federer 3-1 Davydenko
Davydenko stops Federer’s run of five games despite being hauled back from 40-0 to deuce. Catherine Zeta-Jones looks on from the stands. Perfick.

Federer 3-0 Davydenko
It’s all slipping away very quickly now as Federer thumps down an ace to consolidate his service break.

Federer 2-0 Davydenko
Davydenko double faults on break point and it’s looking all but over already.

2108: “He’s wearing a white hat, white shirt, white shorts and has a white towel – he’s a White Russian. What’s in a White Russian? Vodka, Kahlua and cream?”
Jonathan Overend on 5live Sports Extra

Federer 1-0 Davydenko
Federer plays an air shot on the second point, giving hope to park players everywhere, before Davydenko misses a half-chance with a pass at 30-30 and the Swiss holds from deuce.

First set:

Federer 7-5 Davydenko
A wild double fault sees Davydenko slip to 15-30 but Federer makes a poor error on the backhand. Davydenko then thumps a forehand long and it’s set point for the champion. Federer attacks the net and Davydenko fails with an attempted pass. The Russian drops his first set of the tournament. It may not be the last.

Federer 6-5 Davydenko
Another running Federer forehand down the line draws a few gasps from the crowd and he follows up with an ace to take the game. The stadium PA kicks in with ‘Born to be Wild’ – possibly in honour of Davydenko.

Federer 5-5 Davydenko
Davydenko gets back on level terms with a love game and we get a shot of his wife in the stands. Hmmmm.

Federer 5-4 Davydenko
Who would have thought it? Davydenko gets a couple of break points but Federer plays a blistering backhand approach and slides away the backhand volley on the first. The Russian takes the initiative on the second, though, and slams a forehand into the corner.

Federer 5-3 Davydenko
Federer has now got the measure of Davydenko’s serve, which is not one of the bigger weapons in the men’s game. The Russian saves another two break points but double faults on a third. Oh dear.

Federer 4-3 Davydenko
The Federer serve is working better, the forehand is firing and the power is starting to be a little much for Davydenko.

Federer 3-3 Davydenko
Yep, there we go. Davydenko misses a break point and Federer immediately makes him pay. The Russian recovers from 0-40 to deuce, then saves a fourth break point with a big forehand, but Federer takes his fifth chance with a beautiful off-forehand winner.

Federer 2-3 Davydenko
Yikes. Davydenko is in great form, smacking a forehand winner on the first point and then taking command of the net and punching away a volley for 0-30. He is pegged back to 30-30 but then finds an outrageous backhand winner down the line for break point. The mini-crisis finally awakens Federer and he wins a great rally with a running backhand. Two decent serves and the Swiss holds – a half-chance for Davydenko but he might regret not taking it.

Federer 1-3 Davydenko
Federer has a chance at 15-30 but makes two errors off the ground and he looks as flat as a pancake at the moment.

Federer 1-2 Davydenko
Federer gets off the mark with a sortie to the net followed by an ace.

Federer 0-2 Davydenko
And Davydenko wraps up a love game with a heavy forehand winner down the line that sends Federer sprawling. Interesting.

Federer 0-1 Davydenko
A huge upset is looming here after Federer is broken in the first game. OK, that might be overplaying it a touch but a few unforced errors hand Davydenko the opener.

2006: It’s hard to see past the world number one here as he goes into the match with a rather convincing 9-0 record against Davydenko, including a victory in last year’s US semi.

Federer has lost six matches this season and had the odd worrying moment in New York, notably against John Isner and Feliciano Lopez.

But as usual the Swiss found a way to win and he then produced a ruthless display to see off Andy Roddick in the much-hyped quarter-final.

As for Davydenko, he may not be Mr Glamour but Federer describes him as a “fabulous” player and he is deservedly number four in the world.

However, it’s a long way from number four to number one.

Story from BBC SPORT

Henin v Venus as it happened

Flushing Meadows, New York, 27 August-9 September

US Open, Flushing Meadows Semi-final result:

J HENIN (Bel) bt V WILLIAMS (USA)

7-6 (7-2) 6-4

By Piers Newbery

 

 

Second set:

Henin 6-4 Venus
It’s over! Venus sends a forehand well long on Henin’s first match point and the Belgian looks overjoyed – she’s beaten Serena and Venus in successive matches and it doesn’t get any tougher than that.

Henin 5-4 Venus
You may have thought it was all over but it isn’t now. Venus gets a break point and converts with the help of a huge return and a thumping drive volley. Unfortunately, Brit Dan Evans has gone out of the boys’ singles to Matteo Trevisan.

Henin 5-3 Venus
Venus has the trainer on at the changeover and gets her pulse taken, rather worryingly. She doesn’t take a timeout, though, and comes out to serve, but Henin takes control early and moves 0-30 in front. Venus then goes close with a forehand and challenges but it’s well wide and three break points for the Belgian. Two sloppy returns follow but a tired looking Venus sends a backhand long and that could be curtains.

2256: “This is incredible. I’m a great fan of women’s tennis, above the steam-train of the men’s game, but the power & precision here is very impressive… let alone some of those rallies!”
From Wot Kuyt ‘e did on 606

Henin 4-3 Venus
The Venus backhand is on fire. Not literally, obviously, but she gets to 0-40 and three break points with a spectacular winner. Henin saves the first with a decent serve but Venus then makes three unforced errors to hand back the initiative. Janet Jackson looks impassive in the players’ box.

Henin 3-3 Venus
Well, well. Well. Venus gets back on level terms after Henin battles back from 40-15 down to deuce in another pulsating game. Meanwhile, Brit junior Dan Evans is deep into the first set of his boys’ quarter-final against Italian third seed Matteo Trevisan. And Pat Cash is walloping Henri Leconte on Grandstand Court. It’s all go.

Henin 3-2 Venus
Henin plays a wonderful lob volley and a fizzing cross-court backhand winner but she is caught out when serve-volleying on game point and soon finds herself break-point down. Venus hammers a backhand down the line and it’s back on serve.

Henin 3-1 Venus
Venus is getting no respite at all as Henin attacks off the return at every opportunity, and the American does brilliantly to hold on from deuce under serious pressure.

Henin 3-0 Venus
Henin holds to 15 and all of a sudden she is in complete control.

Henin 2-0 Venus
Undertsandably, the intensity has dropped and it’s not helping Venus who lets a 40-15 lead disappear. Henin then steps up a gear with a magnificent point, battling her way to the net before producing the deftest of half-volley drop shots. She then breaks with a forehand pass that leaves Venus stranded at the net – fantastic play from the world number one.

Henin 1-0 Venus
After all that excitement there is a hush on Arthur Ashe Stadium as Henin holds to 15 in the first game of the set, and jogs back to her chair.

2218: “Venus is not a very good advert for her clothing line….she’s pulling at those uber short shorts more than Rafa does.”
From paleochora on 606

2216: Henin has nipped off for a ‘comfort break’.

First set:

Henin 7-6 (7-2) Venus
Absolutely bloomin’ marvellous. It doesn’t get better than that set of tennis, which lasts exactly one hour. The quality from both players remains incredible in the tie-break but Henin dominates, opening with a forehand winner down the line, finding one beautiful angled volley and moving 4-2 clear with an ace out wide. She does not look back from there and seals the set with a winning return.

Henin 6-6 Venus
A couple of searing forehand passes see Henin move 30-15 up before she double faults. The Belgian eventually takes the next point with a volley but is finding it incredibly difficult to get the ball past Venus at the moment. Venus challenges a call on the next point but is unsuccessful and it’s a tie-break.

2134: “Wow – they’ve taken all the missing energy from the chak/kuz semi and poured it into this one. This is full on.”
From tenisx on 606

Henin 5-6 Venus
The most ridiculous, and brilliant, point of the match kicks off the game. Henin comes to the net and withstands a barrage of fierce hitting from Venus before the American finally gets past her. The crowd are on their feet for that one. Venus then hits two double faults as everyone gets their breath back and we’re soon at deuce again. Venus appears to have won the game before the umpire decides a point should be replayed, although Hawkeye isn’t called for, but the elder Williams sister stands firm and takes the lead.

Henin 5-5 Venus
Henin earns two set points at 40-15 but Venus picks up a short volley and puts away a cross-court backhand, before finding a forehand winner to level at deuce. Henin misses a backhand on her third set point and then puts another well long – it’s break point Venus. Henin’s forehand fails again and the crowd goes wild as their woman levels things up.

Henin 5-4 Venus
The game opens with the best rally so far as Henin scrambles to stay in it before firing a forehand cross-court past Venus at the net – although the American may have left it. A Venus error follows and it’s 0-30 but she fights back well with a big serve and a lunging backhand volley on her way to holding.

Henin 5-3 Venus
A very solid service game from Henin keeps the world number one a break up and Venus is not making much impression on the return at the moment.

Henin 4-3 Venus
Henin deals fantastically with a towering defensive lob from Venus that bounces just inside the baseline, smacking it away cross-court without a second thought, but a backhand error on the next point gives Venus the game.

Henin 4-2 Venus
Both players are prepared to get to the net, with Venus squeezing a volley just wide on the opening point before Henin holds comfortably.

2134: Just seen the order of play for tomorrow – we’ve got NoDjo v Ferrer at 5pm UK time, Fed against N-Dav at 8pm and the women’s final at 1am. It’s going to be a long, emotional night.

Henin 3-2 Venus
This time it’s Venus who wobbles with a double fault but at 30-30 she finds a big first serve and gets out of trouble. It’s tense stuff now, which is a welcome relief after the earlier semi-final. Meanwhile, feel free to join the tennis/fashion debate on 606 or via text on 81111 . We’re getting far too many texts on rugby at the moment, in which France are flirting with defeat.

Henin 3-1 Venus
The first sign of weakness from Henin comes with a double fault at 15-15 but Venus cannot punish her, making an error on the following point. Henin sticks away a mid-court forehand to go to 40-30 and a Venus error hands the Belgian the game.

Henin 2-1 Venus
Venus does well to get off the mark with a thumping serve and a couple of Henin returns that go long.

Henin 2-0 Venus
It’s an awesome start from Henin, who holds to love and looks incredibly focused. Incidentally, fashion fans, Henin is wearing her usual red and white attire with a white cap, while Venus has gone back to the lilac number from earlier in the tournament.

2116: “Already, the first game in the second semi is so much better in quality than the entire first semi! Henin breaks….”
From mikesiva on 606

Henin 1-0 Venus
It’s a slow start from Venus who slips to 15-40 with three errors. She saves the first with a decent serve but Henin climbs all over a Venus second serve on the next and whacks a forehand return for a winner. A great shot.

2111: This should be a cracker – and Venus is clearly excited as she’s gone for a bathroom break after the knock-up. Henin looks less than impressed.

2108: It’s time for the big one – can Venus gain revenge for her sister Serena and knock out the world number one, Henin?

The head-to-head record is, frankly, pretty useless as a guide. Venus has an extraordinary 7-1 lead but they have not played since January, 2003.

Both players have looked in superb form in New York, with Henin yet to drop a set and Venus bursting with confidence following her win at Wimbledon.

And after Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Anna Chakvetadze in the earlier semi-final, there’s not much doubt that the winner here will be a big favourite for Saturday’s final.

Story from BBC SPORT

Moya v Djokovic as it happened

Flushing Meadows, New York, 27 August-9 September

US Open, Flushing Meadows Quarter final result:

C MOYA (Spa) v N DJOKOVIC (Ser)

4-6 6-7 1-6

* denotes server

By Caroline Cheese

Moya 4-6 6-7 1-6 Djokovic
Djokovic showboats with a stunning drop-volley. Mum and Dad Djoko in the crowd love that. Moya double-faults and it’s match point and then he does it again. Horrible way to end the match but Djoko deserves the win. He’s off to face Dave Ferrer in the last four. I’m off to sleep for a week. Piers Newbery will take you through to Sunday. Enjoy…

Moya 4-6 6-7 1-5 Djokovic
A brief moment of alarm for Djokovic as a line call goes against him which would have left him facing two break points. No matter, Hawk-Eye backs him up and he’s one game away.

Moya 4-6 6-7 1-4 Djokovic
The mistakes are coming thick and fast from Moya. One off each wing makes it 15-40 and another off the forehand leaves Djoko with one foot in the semis.

Moya 4-6 6-7 1-3 Djokovic
Djokovic is in cruise control now, nonchalantly stroking a backhand past Moya at the net. Finishes the game with a second-serve ace. Nice.

Moya 4-6 6-7 1-2 Djokovic
Bit better from Moya, as he holds to 15, but it’s a long road back for the old man.

Moya 4-6 6-7 0-2 Djokovic
Easy hold for Djoko. I’m beginning to dream of an early night…

Moya 4-6 6-7 0-1 Djokovic
Not looking good for poor old Moya now. Djoko breaks in the first game, with Moya looking pretty downbeat.

0235: “Novak seems to be making a habit of getting into difficult situations, only to get out of them with supreme ease – he always entertains.”
Michael, London, via text on 81111

Second set

Moya 4-6 6-7 Djokovic
Finally, we have a match folks. Djoko’s up 4-2 when Moya decides to show off his volleying skills, a deft drop volley making it 4-4. Djoko seems rattled and suddenly Moya has two serves for the set. The Spaniard has a set point at 6-5 but Djoko slams down a massive second serve and a shocked Moya goes long. The Spaniard saves one set point with a big serve but he can’t do anything about the second, Djoko firing a forehand onto the baseline.

Moya 4-6 6-6 Djokovic
Tiebreak it is. The crowd suddenly come alive. Not sure why. Desperation perhaps. A few errors from Djoko allow Moya to take that game quite easily.

Moya 4-6 5-6 Djokovic
Have they settled for a tiebreak? Djoko holds to love.

Moya 4-6 5-5 Djokovic
Djoko belts a return out and Moya completes a love service game.

Moya 4-6 4-5 Djokovic
Djokovic’s forehand earns him the game, sending one out wide which Moya scrambles back and then one down the line for the winner. We appear to be meandering towards a tiebreak. The crowd are trying to get involved but it’s pretty average fare.

Moya 4-6 4-4 Djokovic
Moya makes it seven points in a row on serve as he moves into a 40-0 lead and then holds off a mini comeback from Djoko, holding to 30.

Moya 4-6 3-4 Djokovic
Moya has a little opening at 40-30 but then slaps a forehand into the net. Djoko has had much the better of this set – but needs the breakthrough.

Moya 4-6 3-3 Djokovic
Djoko chases down a drop shot and finds an impossible angle to deceive Moya. That’s 0-30. He doesn’t get any further though.

Moya 4-6 2-3 Djokovic
There he goes again. Djoko just forgets about the frustration of that last game and calmly holds serve to love. Amazing. What I would do for a bit of his level-headedness. I would have almost certainly broken a racquet after the last game. Just because I can.

0153: “This error-prone match just shows why Federer will stroll his way to the title.”
Naveed, Bradford, via text on 81111

Moya 4-6 2-2 Djokovic
Hello, Djoko seems to have woken up – and the crowd responds. The Serb earns five break points in total, with Moya relying on his serve and legendary forehand to get him out of trouble. Djoko must be gutted.

Moya 4-6 1-2 Djokovic
This is like garbage compared to the Roddick-Federer match last night. Djoko holds… bla bla bla.

Moya 4-6 1-1 Djokovic
Moya levels up. Difficult to see what Moya can do here. I’m just waiting for Djoko to start playing properly.

Moya 4-6 0-1 Djokovic
Djokovic moves ahead. Apropos of nothing, I actually managed to break my racquet while playing tennis the other day. Is it wrong that I’m quite pleased with myself?

0132: “A work party on a Thursday in September (see 0032 entry)? Christmas gets earlier each year!”
Braggers in Essex via text on 81111

First set

Moya 4-6 Djokovic
You have to admire Djoko’s spirit. He’s playing very average tennis but he seems able to just shrug off the errors. Moya saves one set point but nets on the second after becoming distracted by a Djoko backhand that looked like it would go long.

Moya 4-5 Djokovic
And Djoko responds with a quick service game. Too many errors in this match for my liking. Hasn’t caught the crowd’s imagination yet either.

0120: “Isn’t that to adapt rather than to paraphrase (see 0050 entry)? Not that late night pedantry seems like a good reason for texting either. Djokovic in four sets.”
James, Edinburgh, via text on 81111 (You’re probably right James. Caught me out trying to use big words there)

Moya 4-4 Djokovic
Moya holds for the first time without having to save break points. Great serving from the veteran.

0116: “I’ll put my head on the line: Djoko in four, first set to Moya.”
Frenchie via text on 81111

Moya 3-4 Djokovic
Djoko’s not firing on all cylinders here – but then he hasn’t really for the whole tournament. Saving himself for Fed maybe. He saves two break points.

Moya 3-3 Djokovic
Moya faces yet another break point but Djokovic rifles his backhand just into the tramlines. The Serb then plays a truly awful drop shot which hardly reaches the net and Moya escapes. The longer the Spaniard survives, the more frustrated Djoko will get. You would think.

0106: “Almost didn’t make it but true to form, Grant’s turned up for the fifth night in a row so who’s your money on Caza, sorry I mean Princess Caroline?”
Grant via text on 81111 (Well, if you’d turned up on time Grant, you’d know. Serves you right)

Moya 2-3 Djokovic
Djokovic fires a backhand down the line to make it 40-15 before Moya nets on the backhand.

0102: “Hey Caroline, feel sorry for you working while the party’s on, I think Djokovic will win but in five sets, so you could be there a lot longer!”
Zaid in Putney via text on 81111 (As long as it’s five good sets…)

Moya 2-2 Djokovic
Apparently the venue for the office party called last orders at 11pm…. shame. Moya saves one break point but on the second, Djokovic takes control of the point with his forehand and levels up.

Moya 2-1 Djokovic
Well I didn’t see that coming. Djokovic looks in command as he takes a 40-30 lead but Moya digs deep and the Serb double-faults on break point. I was about to wax lyrical about how well Djokovic is playing. Strange…

0050: “Hello Ms Cheese, I’m texting in because I like your name. Novak in five set thriller.”
Paddy from Surrey via text on 81111 (To paraphrase Oleta Adams’ 1991 hit, I don’t care why you text in, just text in if you can)

Moya 1-1 Djokovic
There’s a lot of noise in the crowd. Don’t they know this is lawn tennis? Moya saves two break points, the first with a big serve, the second with a delicate volley. Nice. The third he’s a bit lucky on though, his forehand clipping the very back edge of the line.

Moya 0-1 Djokovic
Some sweet volleying from Djoko takes him to 40-0 and he seals a love service game. A good start from the Serb.

0038: Moya has a 2-1 lead in the head-to-heads between these two – and both of those wins were this year, in Cincinnati and Hamburg. Is an upset on the cards? What do you reckon? Why not drop me a little text on 81111 . I’m going Djokovic in four. As ever, I’ve gone out on a limb there.

0032: Hello everyone. Guess what? It’s the work party tonight and who’s the mug sat in the office? That’ll be me then. Never mind. Moya and Djokovic are sure to serve up a treat to make up for it. They’re warming up as we speak.

Story from BBC SPORT