Alexa

Djokovic, Henin move on at U.S. Open, former champ Safin out

Djokovic, Henin move on at U.S. Open, former champ Safin out

Third-seeded Novak Djokovic outlasted Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 (2) Friday, prevailing in the most entertaining match of the week to reach the third round at the U.S. Open.
"I am totally exhausted. No energy," Djokovic said. "I smell my shoes _ they are so stinky."
They played 63 games, tying the most in a singles match at the U.S. Open since tiebreakers were introduced in 1970. They contested 356 points and played 4 hours, 44 minutes, drawing several standing ovations along the way.
"I'm doing fine," Stepanek said, "but I lost."
For top-seeded Justine Henin, it was a lot easier. And quicker.
The 2003 Open champ overwhelmed another qualifier, needing only 50 minutes to clock Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 6-0, 6-2.
Chances are, Henin knew exactly how long it took. The Belgian righty wears a wristwatch on her left hand during matches.
"I cannot live without my watch," she said. "I never saw another player playing with a watch. But I always keep my watch. I sleep with that. I take my shower. Everything."
Henin shook off recent shoulder trouble, won the first 10 games and approached the net more often than usual to breeze into a fourth-round matchup with No. 15 Dinara Safina.
Henin beat her third straight opponent from outside the top 100. Not that she worried about getting a vigorous warmup.
"A big part of my success is that I've always been very focused on myself in the last few years," Henin said. "Don't look too much on the other side of the net."
Safina never permitted a break chance and chased American Ahsha Rolle 6-4, 6-3.
"Obviously, she has more experience than me," Rolle said. "I feel like I had a couple of bad shot selections that kind of cost me big games."
Safina's brother, 2000 Open champion Marat Safin, was eliminated. He's never rallied from a two-set deficit and the No. 25 Russian didn't do it this time, smacking his last shot right into the net in a 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 loss to Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland.
"Everything I tried didn't work out. It was kind of a weird match," Safin said.
At least he made it through intact. Djokovic and many other players have needed help from trainers for cramps and other ailments as the humidity and hard courts take their toll at the final Grand Slam of the season.
Venus and Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal, Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic were scheduled to play later. So was Tim Henman, competing in his last Slam.
Also, No. 17 Carlos Moya of Spain beat Igor Kunitsyn of Russia 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 and No. 20 Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina defeated Wayne Odesnik 6-3, 6-1, 7-5.
On the women's side, No. 10 Marion Bartoli of France moved on. The Wimbledon runner-up beat Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
As fans straggled into New York City's Flushing Meadows on an overcast day, there was talk about what happened the previous night, and what was coming up.
As Thursday night stretched into early Friday, James Blake outlasted Fabrice Santoro 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4. Blake had been 0-9 in fifth sets.
In a tournament where the favorites have ruled, the most intriguing match was set for Saturday: three-time Open champ Roger Federer vs. rookie John Isner.
"Isner's going to be very tall," former winner Andy Roddick said, "and Roger's going to be very good."


Updated : 2021-03-05 09:54 GMT+08:00