Day 6 notes: Fish finds a following

September, 3, 2011
9/03/11
11:52
PM ET
AP Photo/Charlie RiedelHas Mardy Fish become a fan favorite in Flushing? Judge for yourself.
NEW YORK -- It might have been over for Mardy Fish, or at least that's what he thought after knee surgery. It was something he had to face as a professional tennis player in his late 20s with a daunting rehabilitation ahead of him.

"I remember looking at myself in the mirror and saying, This is not how I want to go out," Fish said. "I definitely remember that."

Fish fought back from that September 2009 surgery, dropped 30 pounds and became the top-ranked American man in this year's U.S. Open draw. He continued his campaign with a 6-4, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3) win over South Africa's Kevin Anderson in a third-round match Saturday.

Fish said he could feel the crowd support on Louis Armstrong Stadium.

"[It] feels like a sort of mini-Davis Cup court," Fish said. "I absolutely love that court. The atmosphere's outstanding out there. People are right on top of you. You can feel it. You can feel that they want you to win."

Fish, who turns 30 in December, has never been as recognizable here as his contemporaries Andy Roddick or James Blake. But he has had the most successful summer, with a title at Cincinnati and his first win over Rafael Nadal. Now, he said he can feel fans are starting to seek out his matches.

"I get the feeling, at least in the beginning of that match, that there were quite a few people there that maybe wouldn't have been there in years past," Fish said.

Matthias Hauer/US PresswireAmerican Vania King was eliminated in the third round for the second time in three years.


No. 1 spot: Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki started the day session with a win at Arthur Ashe Stadium, defeating American Vania King 6-2, 6-4 in a third-round match.

Wozniacki said the wind was pretty tough, and she had to give the ball plenty of margin for error over the net and within the lines.

"I found it very difficult to place the ball the places I wanted to, so quite a few times I was going for the safe serve," Wozniacki said.

King, 22, also reached the third round of the U.S. Open last year and said she has been recognized this year around the tennis center. She is still alive in the mixed doubles tournament.

"I felt like I had two really solid matches before this," King said. "But yesterday I had doubles and mixed. To be honest, if I had known I would do so well in singles I would have rethought the mixed."

Over and out: American wild card Sloane Stephens was the last of the young wave of up-and-comers who made a splash at the U.S. Open this year. With Stephens' 6-3, 6-4 loss to No. 16 Ana Ivanovic, Serena Williams is the last American woman in the singles draw.

AP Photo/Elise AmendolaAmerican Sloane Stephens will be in the top 100 when the next rankings are released.


With her performance at the Open, where she won two matches, Stephens will break into the top 100, which is another big step for the 18-year-old.

"My mom said beginning of the year if I broke top 100, she'd get me a car," Stephens said. "So obviously I'm going to get a car."

Ready for AARP: When No. 9 Tomas Berdych retired from his third-round match with a right shoulder injury, it highlighted an unusual trend at this year's U.S. Open -- a record number of retirements. With 14 players retiring from the men's (10) and women's (4) singles draw, a Grand Slam record has been set. The previous high was 12 at Wimbledon in 2008.

Berdych said that he had the same problems when he withdrew from Cincinnati, and pulled out against No. 20 Janko Tipsarevic, who was up 6-4, 5-0.

"I felt that already in the [second-round] match with [Fabio] Fognini, but I was able to finish it up," Berdych said. "I didn't even go to hit yesterday. Want to just have a treatment on that, relax and don't do anything and hoping that it's gonna be better, but it's not."

Stormy weather: The forecast calls for rain from Tuesday through Friday of next week, and on Saturday workers were spotted moving the court blowers into position through the corridors under Arthur Ashe Stadium. The USTA has a weather person on site to determine when windows appear to play matches on rainy days.

Personal trainer: No. 7 Francesca Schiavone may have won her third-round match, but she needed injury timeouts in order to make it through. The Italian indicated that she had an issue with a stomach muscle, which caused her a tremendous amount of discomfort during the 6-7, 7-6, 6-3 win over Chanelle Scheepers.

"It's great to come back after fight like this," Schiavone said. "In the meantime, it's bad to arrive there."
Jane McManus has covered New York sports since 1998 and began covering football just before Brett Favre's stint with the Jets. Her work has appeared in Newsday, USA Today, The Journal News and The New York Times. Follow Jane on Twitter.

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