U.S. Open Meets Its Final Matches
SCOTT SIMON, host:
Time for sports.
Soundbite of music, sports theme
SIMON: Love. Smash. Fault. A Harlequin romance? No, the final weekend of the final major tennis championship of the year.
Here to talk about the U.S. Open in New York is NPR's sports correspondent Tom Goldman. Morning, Tom.
TOM GOLDMAN: Morning, Scott.
SIMON: This Super Saturday, as they call it at Flushing Meadows. There are two men's semi-final matches, followed by the woman's final. This will be Kim Clijsters, who went three sets with Venus Williams last night, against - it says in the script Russian Vera Zvonareva. But with the name Vera Zvonareva, perhaps I dont have to add Russian. Who do you like?
GOLDMAN: Clijsters. She - although I like Zvonareva's name better. Clijsters has won two U.S. Opens, Zvonareva none. Zvonareva is possibly going to be nervous in her first U.S. Open final and she may struggle more with the windy conditions, and it has been swirling at Flushing Meadows.
If Clijsters wins, Scott, I think it's good for the women's game. This tournament has missed its dominant star, number one ranked Serena Williams. She didnt play because she's recovering from surgery on an injured foot. Clijsters is re-emerging after coming back from retirement, re-emerging as a dominant force - and with apologies to a very talented Zvonareva.
Having the best players winning the biggest events I think is good for the sport. The women's game has had kind of a revolving door of Grand Slam winners in recent years. By contrast, look at the men. Since 2003, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer have won 24 of 31 Grand Slam titles, and those two guys still define the game.
SIMON: Yeah. By the way, as soon as it was out of my mouth, Americans, Canadians, Australians can be named Zvonareva, right?
SIMON: Immigrant societies, anyone can have that name.
GOLDMAN: There you go.
SIMON: I might use it, it's so euphonious.
(Soundbite of laughter)
GOLDMAN: Scott Zvonareva, good.
SIMON: So who do you see in the men's final?
(Soundbite of laughter)
GOLDMAN: Well, I see those two guys, Nadal and Federer. Theyve got a lot of motivation to get there. Nadal is playing so well this year. He's gunning for his first-ever U.S. Open title. Federer just turned 29; everywhere he goes he hears he's on the downslide of his career. The last two Grand Slam tournaments, the French Open and Wimbledon, he lost in the quarter finals. So for all he's done - 16 Grand Slam titles - he still wants to prove something.
SIMON: Lots of attention to the men's doubles at this Open, hasnt there been?
GOLDMAN: Absolutely, because of the Indo-Pak Express - the nickname for Rohan Bopanna of India and Aisam Qureshi of Pakistan. They almost won the men's doubles final. They lost to the great Bryan brothers of the U.S.
Whats great about these guys and whats won over fans is they are from age-old enemies - India and Pakistan - and they always talk about peace wherever they go. Theyve even proposed a tennis match on the border of their countries, with Bopanna playing on the Pakistani side and Qureshi on the Indian side.
So a nice message, especially on this day, Scott.
SIMON: Thanks, Tom. This is NPR News.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.