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8:51AM

CBSSports.com: The Joker prevents possibly 'biggest match of all time' at Open

By Art Spander
The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com


NEW YORK -- Mats Wilander said it would have been "the biggest match of all time," but it won't happen this year -- and maybe never.

Rafael Nadal made it to the U.S. Open final; Roger Federer didn't.

It was the man they call the Joker, Novak Djokovic, who ruined the plot, tore up the script, defeating Federer, 5-7, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5, Saturday in a semifinal of brilliance and surprise.

Read the full story here.

© 2010 CBS Interactive. All rights reserved.
8:14AM

CBSSports.com: The Joker is no joke on way to Open semifinals ... maybe more?

By Art Spander
The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com


NEW YORK -- There's a Joker in every deck. This one has a first name. And a slick game. Novak Djokovic isn't the villain out of Batman, although he's been treated that way.

More accurately, he's a Grand Slam champion, accused hypochondriac and, according to the ratings, the third-best tennis player in the world.

Read the full story here.

© 2010 CBS Interactive. All rights reserved.
9:31AM

CBSSports.com: While heat rages, Day 2 at Flushing Meadows is about survival

By Art Spander
The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com


NEW YORK -- The endless summer, tennis in the heat of the day and night, matches with athletes looking for shelter and service breaks, a U.S. Open that on the second day seemed destined never to close.

"Somebody in the stands over there kept saying, 'Hang on, hang in there,'" remembered Novak Djokovic. "So that's exactly what I did."

Read the full story here.

© 2010 CBS Interactive. All rights reserved.
9:01PM

CBSSports.com: American men nowhere to be found deep in 2009 U.S. Open

By Art Spander
The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com


NEW YORK -- Maybe John McEnroe can save the U.S. Open. Sure, he's 50 years old. But he still has a forehand. And a name. And he's American, a triple that at this point in the last Grand Slam tennis event of the year makes him the one and only man in all three categories.

John's a broadcaster now, as you're aware. He no longer shouts at chair umpires. He comments into a microphone, telling the way it is and, especially when somebody misplays a shot, the way it should be.

In a way, this is his tournament. He grew up in Queens, not far from the tennis center, and after spending a year irritating people at Stanford, returned. He won the Open three times. He was emotional, occasionally irrational and supremely talented.

If he's not the most famous male on the grounds -- let's give the honor to Roger Federer -- Mac the Mouth sure is well known and respected. And cooperative. He'll do anything to help his sport.

Novak Djokovic, the No. 4 men's seed, waved Mac out of the booth Monday evening after Djokovic blitzed Radek Stepanek in straight sets. The night was young. Midnight still was 13 minutes away. Let's get it on.

First, McEnroe had to get it off, meaning his coat and tie. Then he slipped into his tennis shoes and rallied briefly. The fans loved it, of course.

They haven't loved a great deal else the way the men's draw has gone, from a parochial view. Six Americans made it to the third round, and one of them, James Blake, overly optimistic, contended, "All these guys are hungry. We're all getting better, feeding off each other."

But of those six, only one, John Isner, went to the fourth round. And when he was eliminated, for the first time in the 129 years of the event, whether the U.S. National Championships or starting in 1968 the U.S. Open, no American male reached the quarterfinals.

McEnroe's younger brother Patrick, who also played for Stanford, who also announces and who happens to be the U.S. Davis Cup captain, conceded, "The reality is the reality. The world has caught up at the same time I believe we can do a better job."

Great Britain didn't do a very good job, either. Andy Murray, the Scot, is No. 2 in the world and was a finalist here last year. But Tuesday he was ripped by a 20-year-old Croatian, Marin Cilic, 7-5, 6-2, 6-2.

Cilic's next opponent is five days older and 10 seeds higher, No. 6 Juan Martin Del Potro, who Tuesday was a 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 winner over Juan Carlos Ferrero. Del Potro is American -- South American, having grown up in the cattle town of Tandil, Argentina.

He's the sort of kid -- Del Potro will be 21 on Sept. 23 -- the United States only wished it had. He beat Andy Roddick in a final in August at Washington, D.C., and seven days later lost to Murray in the final at Montreal.

"I have the confidence," Del Potro said. "I beat many good players in Washington and Montreal, and now I beat good players on this surface." Meaning cement, very unlike the clay courts upon which he learned the game in Argentina.

"I have everything to do a good tournament," said Del Potro, not as adept in English as other players on Tour. "But I would like to be in the semis or my first final.

"It's a big difference past the quarters to the semis. I was so close in French Open to get to the final."

Close? Never mind close. If John McEnroe were 30 years younger, the U.S. would be close to having a man who could play tennis like people from the rest of the world.

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http://www.cbssports.com/tennis/story/12176032
© 2009 CBS Interactive. All rights reserved.
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