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USTA FL Friday Blog: Unstoppable Serena Still Emotional Over Andy Retirement

September 7, 2012 09:04 AM
mediawall-us-open-women-semis-2012If Serena Williams can overcome her emotions, from dealing with the retirement of pal Andy Roddick, to meeting the overwhelming expectations to win this year's US Open, you'll likely see her holding another trophy aloft on Saturday in Flushing, NY.

The Palm Beach Gardens' native plays her semifinal today at 3:45 p.m., following the other semifinal between world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka and No. 3 seed Maria Sharapova, scheduled to kick off at 1:45 p.m. This one might best be watched with the volume off unless you're a fan of shrieking.

Serena won 6-0, 6-0 in the round of 16, then powering past former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic in the quarterfinals. The Serb Ivanovic was asked if she would be surprised if anyone other than Serena won the title.

"Yeah," Ivanovic told the media. "Very."

Today Serena faces No. 10 seed Sara Errani of Italy, who admitted that Serena will need to be off her game for her to have a chance. Ivanovic didn't get a game off Serena until late in the first set, stopping Serena's game streak at 23. In other words, late into a Grand Slam, she had won 23 straight games stretching over three matches.

"I feel like I'm going to get more focused and serious and start playing 'Serena tennis' in the next couple of rounds," she said after beating Ivanovic.

That's a scary thought, if "Serena tennis" is one gear up from where she is now.

Serena was visibly moved when talking about Roddick in a post-match press conference shortly after he announced that the 2012 US Open would be his last professional tournament. The two trained together as youngsters at Rick Macci's tennis academy in Florida, and Serena always teased Roddick about beating him in a practice match when they were juniors. In the run-up to the Olympics they bantered back and forth via Twitter on possibly playing mixed doubles together.

"I was at his house in Austin at the end of the year," Serena said. "You know, we were talking about [his retirement]. I was just thinking, 'Change your mind, Andy, change your mind.' But I guess he didn't, so...It's very incredibly, incredibly, incredibly sad for me to lose a friend on tour that I look forward to seeing every Grand Slam and every shared tournament...I know a lot of people look up to Andy Roddick, that's who I want to be like."

For more on Roddick's post-career plans, check out this feature in Austin Man Magazine.

FLORIDA GIRLS ON THE MOVE AT US OPEN: Two Floridians won two matches on Thursday to move into the quarterfinals of the US Open Girls' tournament. Vicky Duval, who lost to Kim Clijsters in the main draw, beat Wimbledon girls champion and No. 3 seed Eugenie Bouchard of Canada 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, and Kathinka von Deichmann of Lichtenstein 6-2, 6-2. "I'm not the most powerful player out there," the wildcard entry Duval told zootennis.com after upsetting Bouchard. "I do win a lot of my matches by thinking through it." Also advancing was Samantha Crawford, who defeated No. 11 Belinda Bencic of Switzerland 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-5, and No. 8 seed Sachia Vickery of Florida 0-6, 6-1, 6-3.

VOTE FOR FLORIDA TENNIS GRANT RECIPIENTS: The public voting phase has begun in the USTA Florida "Share the Love" Video Contest, which is now down to three entries -- Jacksonville (Jax Youth Tennis Association), Palm Harbor (North Pinellas YMCA), and Ponte Vedra Beach (Michael Grant Tennis Academy). The top two vote-getters will receive a $2,000 "Share the Love" grant to put toward growing tennis in their communities, and USTA Florida will visit their facility or a facility of their choice to host a Family Tennis Festival, free to the public. The third-place vote-getter will receive a free one-year USTA Florida organizational membership. Cast your vote now.

DAVIS CUP CHALLENGE: Right after the US Open, the U.S. Davis Cup team will try and rally to do something that hasn't been accomplished in 40 years -- a U.S. team going into Spain on the red clay and coming out with a victory. The Sept. 14-16 tie will be shown live on Tennis Channel that Friday, Saturday and Sunday. If the U.S. beats Spain, and the Czechs beat the Argentines in the other semifinal, the U.S. will host the final.

Today's forecast at the US Open is for a few scattered showers and thunderstorms, mostly sunny with temperatures steady in the low 80s, chance of rain 55%, so keep your fingers crossed and enjoy the women's semifinals.
 
 

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