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Roger Kaplan

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Swiss tennis player Roger Federer of Team Europe returns a ball to Sam Querrey (not in picture) of the United States and Team World during the second day of the Laver Cup on September 23, 2017 in Prague

Old World Beats New in Laver Cup

Roger Federer saved a match point and edged Nick Kyrgios in the third set of the last match of the Laver Cup Sunday night in Prague O2 arena, clinching the inaugural edition of tennis’s newest tournament, a team competition pitting top Europeans against the best from everywhere else, though for the time being this means the Anglosphere.

AP Photo

Rafael Nadal Triumphs at U.S. Open, Spaniard Wins Third Trophy

No one expected surprises and there were none Sunday afternoon at the U.S. Open final. They like winners in Queens, and if they respect underdogs and appreciate the drama of unlikely upsets, they go for the champion when the champion gets going. Rafa Nadal was indomitable for two weeks and there was no reason not to cheer him on to his third U.S. Open title, his 16th Slam.

Madison Keys

All-American Women’s Semifinal as Nadal Cruises at U.S. Open

FLUSHING MEADOW, NY—Rafael Nadal consolidated his year-long comeback to the No. 1 rank on the ATP Tour last night, dominating a courageous but vulnerable Juan-Martin del Potro in four sets at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Queens. He earned a date to Sunday’s U.S. Open final with first-time finalist Kevin Anderson, who kept his nerve in a hard-hitting service and baseline duel with Pablo Carreno-Busta in the first men’s semi-final match.

Fast Feet on Clay at French Open: Veteran Fernando Verdasco Shows How It’s Done

It’s the weekend at the French Open, sold out despite what Parisians call a heat wave (balmy for most Americans). The long queues on the outside first-come-first-served courts fray nerves, even as they demonstrate the popularity of the two-week event. Would that more Americans were getting into the second week; some of our women stars are likely to make it, notably Venus Williams, but on the men’s side all the burden is on Steve Johnson and John Isner.

Stan Wawrinka Hangs Tough to Win U.S. Open on 9/11 Anniversary

Stan Wawrinka got his gorgeous backhand going early in the second set of the men’s final at the U.S. Open Sunday night. It would be an exaggeration to say it was all smooth sailing from there, but it was the key to victory over the top seeded Novak Djokovic, world number one and defending champ at Flushing Meadows.

Going Under Down Under: Yanks Out of Men’s Draw at Aussie Open

It did not work out quite as hoped in the men’s draw at the Australian Open at Melbourne, with only John Isner, the tall Floridian with the big serve and huge improvements on the ground strokes, making it to early hours of the second week before succumbing in straight sets to the tenacious David Ferrer, the battler from Alicante on Spain’s Mediterranean coast.

Yanks in Oz: American Men Show Their Stuff at Australian Open

The new tennis season begins auspiciously for American men, with Jack Sock and Taylor Fritz putting on a terrific first-round display of strength and skill. You can say it might have been nice to save this for a later round, but you can’t fix the draw—though evidently you can fix some other things —and it was fine to see our up-and-coming big men play so well.

AP Photo

Flavia Pennatta Reigns, Then Retires, at U.S. Open

Tremendous match. The drama was in the first set, when it appeared close right through the tiebreak, and in the second Miss Pennatta got a big lead early; still, Miss Vinci, with the old fashioned style, very heavy on sliced one-handed backhands and graceful approaches to the net, that flummoxed the No. 1 seed and defending champion Serena Williams in the semi, gave her higher-ranked friend a run for her money.

AP Photo

After Dispatching Venus, Serena Williams on Downhill ‘Climb’ Toward Grand Slam

The stupidity or dishonesty of tennis professionals and allegedly serious observers of the sport compels them to comment that the Williams’ way of playing is “muscular,” meaning masculine. This reflects a meanness and envy and mostly an incomprehension of what they are doing. Sports like all other fields are filled with dopes and blockheads. Every once in a while someone comes along and innovates in ways that influence the sport profoundly. That’s the Williams sisters.

AP Photo

Serena Williams, World’s #1 Tennis Player, Competes for Best in Family

The competitive fury is arguably the Williams’ most characteristically American trait. Legend has it that Richard Williams saw a match on television and was so enchanted by the check presented to the winner that he decided to make tennis number ones of his youngest daughters. The reality is somewhat more nuanced. He said not: “How can anyone do this?” He said: “Why not us?”

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