Top Woman Player Knocked Out Of U.S. Open

In the biggest upset in U.S. Open tennis history, France's Julie Coin, No. 188, defeated Ana Ivanovic, the top-ranked woman's player in the world, in the second round. Stefan Fatsis discusses that and Rafael Nadal's new wardrobe.

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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Serbia's Ana Ivanovic is the number one women's tennis player in the world, but probably not for long. The top seed in the U.S. Open lost her second round match to France's Julie Coin, who is ranked number 188; that's the earliest the top seed has lost in the tournament since 1968, when the Open was opened up to the pros. It's being called by some the biggest upset in Open history.

And joining me to talk about that and other news in sports is Stefan Fatsis. Hi, Stefan.

Mr. STEFAN FATSIS (Reporter, Wall Street Journal): Hey, Robert.

SIEGEL: Biggest upset ever?

Mr. FATSIS: Yeah, I think so. This woman had never before played in a grand slam tournament. She doesn't even play in the main Women's Tennis Association tour. She's 25 years old. She's French. And I was thrilled to learn, Robert, that her parents were team handball players.

(Soundbite of laughter):

SIEGEL: By you, a great pedigree. On the men's side of the U.S. Open, Rafael Nadal, the Spaniard number one seed, won in straight sets, but his wardrobe has made news this week.

Mr. FATSIS: Yes. Nadal, of course, the most distinctive dresser on the tour. I think he wears those cutoff shirts and gauchos, so it's big news when before the tournament Nike leaked word that Nadal would be switching to a more mature look, shirts with collars and shorts, but it would be a look that would continue to reflect the core of his image as the passionate Spaniard from the island of Mallorca.

But then, Nadal got some cold feet. His agents and Nike's designers announced that he wasn't going to switch for the tournament because he hasn't practiced in the new clothes enough. He even issued a statement about it. And I am ready to move on and not talk about Venus and Serena Williams and their wardrobes.

SIEGEL: Okay, on to golf. Word emerged this week that the LPGA, that's the women's professional golf tour, is planning to force its players to pass an English proficiency evaluation or face suspension, raising the question, how do you say suspension or proficiency for that matter in Korean?

Mr. FATSIS: That is exactly the issue. South Korean players have - are increasingly dominating the women's golf tour. 40 percent of foreign players come from South Korea, many of them require translators to speak with the media and to speak with sponsors.

And that's the issue here. The LPGA is losing sponsors and it needs to do everything it can to make itself more attractive. And players understand this. And the Korean women say that they are trying to learn English and they're taking advantage of programs to do so.

The problem is that threatening suspensions comes off as desperate on the part of the LPGA tour, and really out of touch with the realities of global sports. And the last thing the LPGA needs is to come off as xenophobic and possibly acting illegally.

SIEGEL: On to college football. Last night, the college football season began. What's new?

Mr. FATSIS: What's new is that watch out for those lower schools, those smaller schools in what used to be called Division 1-AA. Last year, Appalachian State stunned the football world when it upset the University of Michigan.

It has changed the perception of college football, made people wonder whether there is greater parity than we've had in the past. Appalachian State can do it again tomorrow. We've got a battle of national champions from the Division 1-A and Division 1-AA ranks.

Appalachian State travels to Baton Rouge to play LSU, which comes into the season, rank seventh in the nation. Overall, 32 games this weekend fitting the former 1-A and 1-AA schools, including 10 involving ranked teams. Expect some surprises.

SIEGEL: And so your weekend is set?

Mr. FATSIS: Oh, yeah.

SIEGEL: Sportswriter Stefan Fatsis, thank you.

Mr. FATSIS: Learning Korean.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIEGEL: He joins us on Fridays. And his latest book is "A Few Seconds of Panic: A 5'8", 170 Pound, 43-Year-Old Sportswriter Plays in the NFL."

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