Djokovic, Nadal To Meet In U.S. Open Men's Final

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For the fourth straight year, the men's final at the U.S. Open had to be postponed a day because of bad weather earlier in the tournament. Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal play Monday. Australian Samantha Stosur defeated American Serena Williams in the women's final on Sunday.


In tennis, Australian Samantha Stosur has upset the heavily favored American Serena Williams at the U.S. Open. Even though Williams was the tournament's 28th seed because she barely played this year, she seemed to be easily cruising towards another U.S. Open title - until she met Stosur.

Meanwhile, for the fourth straight year the Men's Final has been postponed by rain. The final is scheduled now for today, and it will feature the number one and two players, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

And for more, we're joined by Sports Illustrated's Jon Wertheim.

Jon, good morning.

Mr. JON WERTHEIM (Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated): Good morning.

GREENE: Well, let's start with this women's final yesterday. Another Serena Williams controversy involving an altercation with an umpire. I'm just reading some of what she yelled at the umpire. You're out of control. You're a hater. Don't look my way. You're unattractive inside. What sparked that in the second set?

Mr. WERTHEIM: If you ever see me coming down the hall, walk away. That's my favorite. No, you know, Serena Williams' controversy has almost become redundant. But early in the second set she was cited for a hindrance call, which was a judgment call, but I think probably the right one. And then, you know, for the second time in two years just really sort of lost it. And at the change over she was berating this umpire. And she ended up losing the match, but unfortunately the story really was her conduct and not this courageous performance by her opponent.

GREENE: And just so we're clear. Hindrance call, is that when you sort of yell something out or seem like you're distracting your opponent?

Mr. WERTHEIM: Yeah, exactly. She'd hit a shot and she'd yelled, come on, thinking it had been - sort of the point had ended. And the opponent retrieved the ball, so the ball was in play. So because she had sort of made this declaration during the point, she was cited.

Which, you know, it's a bit of an obscure rule, but I think it's fairly self-explanatory. You know, at the time if you had seen it and this - she was sort of the context. Her being on this sort of double secret probation from the last outburst. She had also decided to dedicate this match to 9/11 survivors. I mean, sort of given the context, it was just such an inappropriate indefensible implosion that it was just galling to watch. And, again, the real unfortunate thing is that it took away from this really great performance from her opponent.

GREENE: And it seems that's the storyline today. I mean, Serena didn't just lose this match. Sam Stosur really won it. And how did she win it?

Mr. WERTHEIM: She won it sort of out Serena-ing Serena. She hit the ball very hard. And she's probably one of the best athletes on tour. And Stosur is sort of one of these players who has abundant physical strength and probably lacking mental strength. But she was very poised yesterday.

And this was really a - this was a victory for sports psychology. She's been working with someone to sort of overcome situations like this. And she was just dynamite yesterday.

And, you know, again, everybody's talking about Serena, but we have a new first time Grand Slam champion in Sam Stosur and it was really a tremendous performance.

GREENE: Well, let's turn to the men. It's a re-match today of last year - Nadal versus Djokovic. Nadal won last year, but really has been unable to beat Djokovic in five finals so far this year.

Mr. WERTHEIM: Exactly. Five times they've played this year. Djokovic has won each of them, including the Wimbledon final. And it's really sort of every time they play there's a new twist. And the big challenge is for Nadal, who a year ago beat Djokovic and was this unstoppable force. Nadal really is faced with this new challenge, how do I beat this guy?

If Djokovic wins this match, he'll have won three of the four majors. He's lost two matches all year. And if he wins this, we'll really need to talk about this as one of the great, great single seasons in men's tennis.

GREENE: We'll be watching all the twists and challenges as they take the court today.

Jon Wertheim covers tennis for Sports Illustrated.

Jon, thanks for joining us.

Mr. WERTHEIM: Thanks. Anytime.

(Soundbite of music)

GREENE: This is NPR News.

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