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August 28, 3:09 PM ET
Chat LIVE from the U.S. Open

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:07 PM)

Greetings all -- sorry to be tardy. A few communications glitches here at Aruthur Ashe Stadium.

Wyatt (Bloomington, IN)

Assuming John Isner and Roger Federer both make it through to the third round, if Isner can't win the match against Roger can he hold serve enough to force some tiebreaks and possibly a fourth or fifth set to wear Federer down for future rounds (i.e. his upcoming collision with Andy Roddick)?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:08 PM)

Wyatt, we're asking a lot of Isner here. I think he'll hold serve a few times if the grand occasion doesn't get to him, but Federer is smart and crafty enough to keep the rallies short.

Janine-Manhasset, NY

Bonnie, Of all the players, male and female, who do you think is the most versatile?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:09 PM)

When Justine Henin is on, I'd pick her on the women's side. Andy Murray is a good candidate on the men's side.

Kathleen (NY,NY)

The women's outfits are too tight and the men's outfits are too baggy. What gives?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:12 PM)

The usual in sports fashion... everyone's playing follow the leader. I just asked Venus Williams whether there's a competition in fashion, now, too. I think the ante is upped every time. Tennis has always drawn a disporportionate amount of attention for fashion -- if you think about it, those players are probably on camera longer, and subject to more closeups, than in any other sport.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:13 PM)

By the way, Venus got a big laugh out of the press corps when i asked her how much she checks out other players' outfits. "Not every design is successful," she said.

CT (San Diego, CA)

The Serbians on tour are my favorite players right now. Which surface do you think suites Ivanovic's game the best? Do you believe if we have a Ivanovic/Williams 4th Round match that Ivanovic will have a better result then she did at Wimbledon? Finally, Djokovic, Ivanovic or Jankovic who do you think will have more success in the Slams?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:16 PM)

Ivanovic seemed less comfortable on grass to me than she did/does on clay or hardcourt, but then a lot of players are -- they seem to either love or hate the very short grasscourt season. Venus Williams is my pick to come out of that quarter, though. She just looks completely relaxed and in command.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:17 PM)

All three of the Serbian players should have long and productive careers in the Slams.

victor monroe,la

Bonnie my question was do you think maria will be number one in the worl at the end of this year?and two do you think maria can win the u.s.open again?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:21 PM)

Maria has an allegedly easy draw, but I think given the year she's had, I would not make her the favorite this time.

Marion NY NY

There is a report today that Sharapova isn't playing the Kremlin Cup, the only big tournament in Russia. And she never plays Fed Cup. Does this mean she will apply for US citizenship?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:23 PM)

We just checked with the WTA and she has not formally withdrawn from Moscow. Sharapova has consistently said she has no interest in changing her citizenship. I wouldn't read too much into her lack of desire to play Fed Cup -- she's in a lof ot company there, due to the convoluted schedule.

Joe (Alhambra, CA)

hi, bonnie! nadal is playing his first match at the open now, and he is struggling mightly in the match. actually, he's just lost the second set to a relatively unknown opponent, base on his performance in this first-round match, do you think that he can still be threat in this year open? if so, how far can he go in this tourney?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:27 PM)

I'm watching that match too. This may turn out to be A Tale of Two Seasons again for Nadal, as it was last year -- the pre-Wimbledon and post-Wimbledon. A lot of talk circulating about whether he simply gets too beat up on clay to stay at a super-high level for close to 11 months. Then again, many a superstar has labored through the first couple rounds of a Slam.

Amit (Chicago, IL)

Why are both of Nadal's knees taped heavily? How badly is he injured?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:29 PM)

Nadal's right knee has been tender since the Wimbledon final. I'm not a physio, but I would guess they tape both to keep the athlete from overcompensating and straining the other one. He's also got one thigh taped.

John, Virginia

Who (men and women) could use the US Open, not necessarily, as their first Grand Slam win, but make it to the quarters or semis and get their name A LOT more known?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:32 PM)

Good question, John. Although Andy Murray is well known in tennis circles, I don't think the general U.S. public is really onto him yet.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:36 PM)

He has an excellent shot at the quarters if he's healthy. On the women's side, Sania Mirza could sneak through to the quarters if she can get past Chakvetadze.

Dylan Sprouse: (Los Angeles, CA)

Who could challenge Federer and Nadal in this tournament if anyone?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:36 PM)

Apparently, Alun Jones... but seriously, Djokovic is the guy I think could (and has) beat them on a given day.

Ashrit (New York, NY)

What do you think Leyton Hewitt's Legacy will be? Players like Hewitt, Safin, and Roddick each have won a couple of 1 or 2 grand slams, but Federer has robbed them of establishing their names in the record books. Will they just be forgotten names?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:45 PM)

Lleyton has been playing well recently. His personal life and coaching situation have both settled down. He said yesterday in response to a direct question that he has faith he'll win another Slam. But you are right in the sense that some of that is in Roger's hands. If things stay status I don't think they'll be forgotten... just the subject of a lot of what-if questions.

Bob Claus (Manhattan)

Federer will not win this year due to tough competion

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:46 PM)

Quite a prediction, Bob -- please elaborate!

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:52 PM)

Henman and Tursunov have just split sets. Anyone looking for Henman to make a mini-run here in his last Slam?

Chris (KY)

The Williams have proven themselves to still be solid contenders. They are getting closer and closer to that magic tennis number, 30. Will they play after 30 and if so, could they still possibly win a Grand Slam?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (5:00 PM)

Chris -- They'll play as long as they're interested. That could be next year or a few years from now. You could argue that playing sparingly for the last couple of seasons has saved their legs.

Flemming (Copenhagen, Denmark)

Tim Henman was always, always, always completely overrated........thank God there will be no more *COME ON, TIM*.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (5:01 PM)

Gotta disagree somewhat -- he was the No. 4 player in the world. I think he was an overachiever. His career was complicated by the nationalistic fervor surrounding him, but I think he made the most of his talent.

Lisa (FL)

Bonnie, I love yourcomment about the Williams saving their legs. CLEVER! Who knows, that could be the truth. Anyway, I really love Jelena Jankovic, but I feel she plays too much and then becomes weak at the Slams. I also don't think she's reached that mental strength yet and could possibly become like Mauresmo who didn't win until the end of her career. Ivanovic and Djokovic, I believe, wil break through first. What are your thoughts on this really long question?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (5:06 PM)

Jankovic has certainly logged a lot of miles this season. But given her progress since last year -- when we were all talking about her mental fragility after her meltdown against Henin-- maybe that's what she felt she needed to do to not only boost her rankings but toughen up psychologically. I think she's a terrifically smart player who will problem-solve on and off the court and find a way to win a major.

Jeff (Huntsville, Alabama)

Do you think Nadal's non-clay court skills are overrated? It seems that he gets in Federer's head which is why he performs so much better against Federer than anyone else, but he always seems to have much more trouble getting to the final game than Federer

Bonnie D. Ford
  (5:07 PM)

Jeff, early this season everyone was talking about Nadal's improvement on other surfaces. He's clearly banged up and in pain today and I wouldn't judge anything long-term on his performance here.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (5:09 PM)

Folks, gotta scram. Thanks for your interest and please join Greg tomorrow at 4 pm. We'll be back as a team on Friday.

Buzzmaster
  (11:10 AM)

Greg will be by at 4 p.m. Thursday!

Jason (Toronto, Ontario)

With the withdrawal of Gasquet, does it look like Federer is going to have to go through the "American Gauntlet" - Isner, Young, Roddick, Blake - to reach the finals? Not to mention Jenkins in the first round.

Greg Garber
  (4:03 PM)

Greetings, all. Greg Garber locked in and ready to go for the next hour. Fire those questions along. We'll start with Jason in Toronto: Clarly, Jason has been following along closely at home. When Richard Gasquet withdrew from his second-round match against Donald Young, he said he couldn't play because of a fever and the effects of a virus. Young -- who two weeks ago hadn't ever won an ATP match -- now finds himself in the third round. Federer should have little difficulty with either John Isner nor Young. Roddick -- if he gets that far (he lost the first set to Jose Acasuso but is even at a set apiece and up a break in the third) -- if he's serving well, could give Federer a little anxiety.

Rolando (Mesa, AZ)

Why did everyone pick Venus Williams to win, which I agree with, even though she only played one tournament and lost to Anna Chackvetadze?

Greg Garber
  (4:05 PM)

Rolando: I don't think EVERYBODY picked Venus. I certainly didn't. I think it's a four-way race: Henin, Serena, Venus and, believe it or not, Sharapova.

Carol (SD, CA)

Ivanovic is easily my favorite player on the womens side right now, I love a player that can pound with the best of them and not need to grunt so loud. Looking at the potential 4th Rd. match v. Venus, what kind of tactic do you think she should approach the match with? Can she win by simply exchange blow for blow with Venus or does she need to do more like throw in some change ups and force Venus to generate her own power or coming into net more?

Greg Garber
  (4:08 PM)

Carol: That's a good call with Ivanovic. A terrific, fundamentally sound and stylish player. I don;t think you can go into a match against Venus thinking you can slug it out with her shot for shot. She hit 129 on the radar gun for a serve in the first round and generates incredible racket speed. Mixing it up is always the way to go. Venus' forhand -- her shakiest shot as a rally lengthens -- sometimes lets her down. Ivanovic will have her hands full, though, and I'm not sure she's ready to win this kind of match -- on this pro-American stage.

Keith (Charlotte, NC.)

With Nadal possibly hurt, who do you think has the best chance to defeat Federer other then Djokovic now?

Greg Garber
  (4:12 PM)

Keith: Nadal is definitley hurt and I'd be surprised if he hangs on much longer than the weekend. Roddick would be the usual suspect, but history suggests he can't win. I think you have narrowed it down to the two finalists: Federer and Djokovic.

victor monroe,la

greg do you see jelena winning the u.s.open this year?

Greg Garber
  (4:14 PM)

Victor: Not this year, but maybe in 2009, 2010. She's got game and, like Djokovic, a burning desire to succeed. But there are just a handful of players (see Answer No. 2) who have more big-match experience.

Adi (Toronto)

Hi Greg, with the looming match up between Hingis and Kuznetsova, who's got the advantage? what's their head-head?

Greg Garber
  (4:18 PM)

Adi, welcome aboard. Both Hingis and Kuznetsova have to win their third-round match for that to happen, but the Russian has more game right now. She has a big weapon in the forehand and since she's returned to the Tour, Hingis has struggled against the bigger hitters. She seems to have plateaued and, even, regressed. In their previous four matches -- all last year and all on hard courts -- they have split with two apiece.

Brad (Gadsden,Alabama)

Greg, What is James Blakes chance to win it all?

Greg Garber
  (4:21 PM)

Hey, Brad. As long as Federer is around, it's going to be very difficult. James got to the quarters here a year ago, but that was his best performance ever in a Grand Slam. He got charged up in the comfortable setting and let it go. The ultimate problem is that his game is too high-risk to win seven matches in two weeks.

John, (Hampden, MA)

Is Federer overly confident about Isner? Roger is a great returner, but you have to touch the serve to return it. Isner fires up the middle, and has an awesome angle serve as well.

Greg Garber
  (4:25 PM)

Hey, John, how's it going Massachusetts? I think Federer is overly confident against EVERYBODY. And rightly so. Isner gets it up to 139 miles per hour -- and his second serve is (relatively) even more impressive to me in the 120s. But he needs much more experience at the ATP level to truly push Federer. He was up a set on David Ferrer last week in New Haven and just didn;t have any way to close him out. Ferrer, on of the better returners of serve on Tour, figured out Isner's serve by the second set and, guess what? Federer's return of serve is even better.

Austin (San Francisco)

Yesterday Bonnie was asked which players she thought were the most versatile. For the men, she said Andy Murray. Isn't there really only one answer to this question? I mean, it has to be Federer, right?

Greg Garber
  (4:26 PM)

Austin: Of course. I think she was probably trying to go beyond the obvious. The same can be said for Djokovic, who has proved he can play on any surface.

Jeff (Huntsville, Alabama)

But it would appear that his style of play and the clay court grind could cut his career short in the long run

Greg Garber
  (4:30 PM)

Jeff: This is something we've been saying for several years. The grinding nature of his long matches on clay -- and the majority of his matches every year are on clay -- and the way he torques the ball with heavy topspin and his heavy racket all put his joints t risk. He's had a nice injury-free run the last few years, but in the back of our mind, you wonder when the hammer's going to come down. Judging by that first-round match, he won't be here too long.

Prakash (Amherst,NY)

Can Sania Mizra make it into the Quarterfinals?

Greg Garber
  (4:32 PM)

Prakash: I'm seriously not sure she can get to the fourth round. She's got No. 6 seed Anna Chakvetadze up next and that's a tough, tough match. It is precisely the kind of match she needs to win to get to the next level. I watched her play in New Haven and she sems stronger and more fit. That's a good first step.

Steve (Fayetteville, AR)

Why did Acasuso retire after the third set against Roddick?

Greg Garber
  (4:35 PM)

Steve: Even while Acasuso was beating Andy Roddick in the first set, Luke Jensen predicted the outcome of the match. For ral. Acasuso has a big game, but his intestinal fortitude has been lacking in the past. Technically, he received treatment for a balky knee and a trainer taped it. You could see how unstable he was in instant replays of the follow-through on his serve. You could see this on coming...

Richard (FL)

Federer vs Isner....with the big serve of Isner will Federer have to win tiebreaks to beat him or do you see him breaking Isner some and the whole magnitude of the moment getting to Isner? Thanks!

Greg Garber
  (4:37 PM)

Richard: grat stat for you courtesy of the ATP communications whiz Geg Sharko. Isner has played 33 sets at the ATP level and 18 of them have gone to the tie-breaker! That's amazing. I'm guessing Izzy gets into at least one tie-break -- tink Ivo Karlovic with a little better movement.

Adi (Toronto)

John Gimelstob was great with the mike after the Roddick match (as well as with the fashion during the match)! he was funny and seemed like a genuinely nice guy! But I never knew much about his tennis career. Greg, any info would be nice.

Greg Garber
  (4:41 PM)

Justin Gimelstob did some work for the Tennis Channel at Roland Garros and, aside from sweating profusely, he wasn't bad. As a player, he never won a title in 13 years as a professional. But he lasted a long time, made a living (more than $2.5 million) and had a terrific time. He's playing doubles here and after three more tournaments will retire, possibly to an analyst's job.

Chris (VA.)

Do you think the crowd will pulling heavily for Isner in his match against Federer or will it be a fairly neutral crowd given Federer's popularity?

Greg Garber
  (4:43 PM)

Chris: You're dreaming if you think the US Open crowd would give Federer any love at all. They will be mad-crazy for Isner. He excites people because of his size and seems to be a genuinely good kid. Should be a lot of fun.

Mike (Lexington, KY)

As a fan of tennis, why should I care whether the US has a top mens player? Can't I watch tennis for the sheer enjoyment of the competition and sport?

Greg Garber
  (4:45 PM)

O course, Mike. This gets to a larger isue that we wrestle with all the time. The American broadcasting companies love to throw the Americans out there, but what hapens when they're all gone, like the 2007 French Open? The tennis is generally captivating and pure fans like yourself are happy to watch.

Mike (Lexington, KY)

Kudos to Isner but after he loses to Federer, will we hear much about him competing for PTA titles? Or he is the flavor of the moment and a "great story?"

Greg Garber
  (4:48 PM)

Mike, you're on fire today. I think this 6-foot-9 player's "great story" will have, uh, legs. His ranking will improve about 40 spots, to around No. 140 and it will keep rising. He's got some game. Along with Sam Querey and Donald Young, it ooks like America is building a nice nucleus of young players tht will succeed Roddick and Blake.

Tim (Detroit)

Seemed pretty clear that Gimelstob didn't think he could beat Roddick; joking around, playing to the crowd, I was impressed with Roddick's ability to stay focused.

Greg Garber
  (4:51 PM)

Tim: Exactly. I thought Roddick actually threw him a bone, let him stay in the match -- almost to the point of losing the first set. Justin started to believe a little bit, and started playing well. If you looked at Roddick's face after the match -- he actually looked sad -- you know it wasn't any easy match against a good friend. It reminded me of a Serena-Venus match, particularly early in their careers.

Mike (Lexington, KY)

Mr. G....thank you for the responses

Greg Garber
  (4:52 PM)

Keep 'em coming, Mike. It's a slow news day.

Phil Kansas

Bonnie, I liked Henman through all the years he played, but im still not sold on Murray. Ive seen him play a few times, but he just doesnt stand out to me as someone who can win a grandslam. Am i alone here??

Greg Garber
  (4:55 PM)

Hey, Phil. I'm poaching on a Bonnie question from yesterday. I think Murray DOES have the tools to win a Grand Slam. While Djokovic has improved dramatically, going from No. 16 to No. 3 in less than a year. Murray actually cracked the top 10 before he hurt his wrist. My guess is he'll be back soon enough.

Woytek (Cracow, Poland)

Wasn't Federer little bored today? Until he made that Sampras-style jump-shot he seemed completly disinterested.

Greg Garber
  (4:58 PM)

Woytek, you're back. I remmber you from Wimbledon. Good observation. Federer DID look a little bored, which actually helps you appreciate the run he's on. The great ones -- Bjorn Borg comes to mind -- lost his edge because he wasn't challenged often enough. Federer, who has won 11 Grand Slams in the last 18 contested, should get credit for NOT succumbing to boredom in the early rounds of these Grand Slams. He's so much better than some of these guys you wonder if it will happen in a few years...

Mike (Lexington, KY)

Slow day question...would it be neat or just plain dumb to have some sort of throwback tournament using rackets from the 70's era (or whatever era of the past)???

Greg Garber
  (4:59 PM)

Hah! That's a good idea. Johnny Mac and Jimmy Connors would be all over that.

Tim (Detroit)

So with his success here at the US Open do you think Mr. Young will enter more big tournaments or go back to playing smaller tournaments to build his game and confidence?

Greg Garber
  (5:00 PM)

Tim: I'm working on a story on DYoung right now that will be osted a bit later. I's a complicated answer, which I'll lay out in the story. Thanks for joining in, folks. See you tomorrow at PM...

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:00 PM)

A great big Flushing Meadows hello and how ya doin' to everyone... it's a wow day here... some terrific action. Fire when ready.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:02 PM)

Thoughts on Blake's five-set breakthrough? The just-concluded Djokovic-Stepanek epic? Bartoli's prospects in a tough quarter? Tomorrow's Isner-Federer tilt?

Carol (San Diego, CA)

How hard do you think it is on players when they are the 2nd match on a court and the first goes the distance? I don't think Ivanovic and Dushevina prepared for the Djokovic match to go the way it did.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:05 PM)

Hey there Carol -- Tennis players have to be Zen about this kind of stuff, especially when weather is a factor. Thankfully that hasn't been the case here. We had quite enough rain at Wimbledon and the French this year. The Henman match is supposed to follow the women's match you mentioned and that could definitely spill over into evening.

Adi (Toronto)

What a close match between Novak and Radek! Novak didn't seem to have taken control of the match. Do you see this as a bad sign for the coming match with Nadal(assuming he even gets there) and then Federer?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:07 PM)

If Novak had lost, we were set to write a piece about how ridiculously open that side of the draw would have been. I would be really surprised if Nadal's condition improves.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:08 PM)

If I'm right about that, Ginepri, who seems to morph into a different player here, has a good shot at the quarters or semis.

Pierce Dallas

Why don't more players mix up the pace against Venus/Serena like Martina Hingis? Venus/Serena love to pound the ball from baseline and get stronger the harder the opponent hits.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:11 PM)

That's one helluva handle, Pierce. My quick take is that there simply isn't as much variety in the baseline-bashing women's game these days . Players hit with a certain sameness on all surfaces and don't have the flexibility to adjust against particular opponents. In theory, your idea is a great one.

Jason (toronto, canada)

We all know about Nadal's knee problems. I also read that Roddick is having knee tendinitis as well. Any truth to this?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:13 PM)

News to me. Where did you hear/see this?

Joe (Alhambra, CA)

hi, bonnie! what a match it was between djokovic and stepanak today! there were three tiebreakers and two 7-5 sets. i think a match can't be closer than this one today. djokovic was once again pushed to 5 sets in two consecutive grand slam outings. before the match i thought djokovic was going to man-handle his opponent. i think djokovic's weaknesses had been exposed today a bit. do you think djokovic can move up to semis next weekend after this exhausting 5-set affair? also, how do you see the matchup between federer and ace leader, isner, tomorrow?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:15 PM)

Stepanek was sort of a stealth guy for an unseeded player. He's been playing well and his ability to mix it up -- not to mention the animated behavior between points -- posed a real challenge to Djokovic. We have decided some of his shots qualify for a new verb -- Santoroed, as in, he really Santoroed that lob.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:18 PM)

I'm very psyched about seeing Federer play Isner, if only to see if the kid continues to be so calm. I think his serve will deliver more games for him off Federer than most players ranked in the nether regions. I saw Isner play doubles yesterday against the Bryan twins in Ashe and once again, he looked completely unfazed and played some great points. Wonderful hands.

mark (manila, the philippines)

what are you're predictions for the top half of the draw in the women's singles? who are the potential semifinalists?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:22 PM)

Thanks for joining us from so far away. What time is it in Manila, and is the U.S. Open available on TV there?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:23 PM)

I'd pick Venus Williams and Henin as semifinalists out of that half, and would love to see a Henin-Bartoli rematch in the quarters after Bartoli's massive upset at Wimby.

Ray(Piedmont, CA)

Greg, do you think the Williams siblings are establishing this first week as a time in this slam to clean up their rust and then seriously contend for the title. What are your thoughts on Serena's level?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:25 PM)

I'm going to pick this one up for Greg, who's running off to Carlos Moya's interview. I think the two sisters are in slightly different positions. Serena was hurt coming out of Wimbledon; Venus played seven matches there and Fed Cup against Russia the week after. she did play one hardcourt event and Serena played none. Venus does not look rusty to me here; Serena does. It's true that they seem able to shed the rust when necessary.

Adi (Toronto)

I see a great chance for Martina Hingis to get another slam. To get to the finals, her biggest opposition would be Kuznetzova and Sharapova, who she has both defeated. Your thoughts.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:29 PM)

Can't say I feel quite as enthused about that... I'd pick Kuz over her in the quarters.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:36 PM)

Interesting stat on Ginepri: he's now 12-6 in the U.S. Open and 10-15 in all other Slams.

jen (scarborough, ontario)

When is the last time you have seen a grand slam winner go through a life and death 5 setter (like Blake and Djokovic) in the 1st or 2nd round, and come back to win the tournament? Federer (and Nadal at the French) always seem to breeze throught the early rounds. Is this a bad sign for Blake and Djokovic?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:39 PM)

Great question, Jen. It might make even more of a difference in the late rounds. I'm scanning some old draws now and recall that Andy Roddick had a five-set semi (w/two tiebreaks) against David Nalbandian in '03 when he won the title. I'll keep looking.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:40 PM)

I'm turning you over to the capable hands of Greg Garber now -- cheers.

James (virginia)

What do you think about possible match fixing in tennis?

Greg Garber
  (4:46 PM)

Hello, folks. Greg Garber here, fresh from an interview with Carlos Moya, who reached the third round with a straight-sets win. Mardy Fish just lost to Tommy Robredo. To answer your question, James, it's a story on everyone's minds here in New York. There are reports in the French newspaper L'equipe that some computers in the players' lounge are dialed into betting sites. There's a lot of valuable information floating around and it would be naive to think that money doesn't change hands. Tennis is a two-person sport and you only need on player on the take to guarantee a result.

Mike (Charlottesville, VA)

What do you think the chances are for one of the Williams sisters to make it throught Justine Henin's tough half of the draw to the final are?

Greg Garber
  (4:49 PM)

Mike, I think the odds are pretty good. It's a brutal part of the draw, but the sisters have already won two of the three Grand Slams. You have to like their chances

Adi (Toronto)

Kudos to James Blake and Santoro for a wonderful match last night! How far do you see James going in this slam? What's his best result at a slam?

Greg Garber
  (4:52 PM)

Adi: Blake made the quarters here last year - that's it. He'll be pretty tired after that late-night, early morning match with Santoro. He's the second match on Saturday night, against Stefan Koubek. I see Blake in four...

Han NY

Does nadal have a chance of winning or will his injuries pull or back.

Greg Garber
  (4:55 PM)

Han: On a crazy day of tennis, THAT is the question. He practiced earlier with heavy tape above and below the left knee. The tendinitis is very painful. Tipsarevic is a good player and will give Nadal trouble if he plays like he did in the first round.

jason (Canada)

Is it actually easier for the women to play in grand slams? Instead of playing 5 matches over 5 or 6 days (as in a normal tournament), they play 7 matches over 2 weeks! Wouldn't it be more exciting to have 5 set matches for the women? At least for the Final?

Greg Garber
  (4:58 PM)

In this politically correct world we live in, and in an age when there is equal prize money the sets are NOT equal. When Djokovic and Stepanek go five sets and nearly five hours and are wobbly and cramping, how would the quality of tennis be affected if, say, Jelena Jankovic and Alize Cornet went five sets. I think the best-of-three sets is appropriate.

Woytek (Cracow, Poland)

Nadal injured, Djokovic today in huge trouble and somewhere there is Roger Federer smiling...once again his rivals are 'killing' themselves, and the 2nd round isn't finished yet. The Swiss Guy is in worst shape than last year, but it looks like right now there isn't a single player who can beat him in tournament.

Greg Garber
  (4:59 PM)

Woytek (not Fibak?): You are correct, sir. The rich get richer. It's all setting up for his fourth straight win here.

jason (Canada)

Is Davydenko really a top 5 player? It seems like he racks up a lot of points by playing more tournaments than everyone else. But is he really elite?

Greg Garber
  (5:01 PM)

Jason is correct (again). Davydenko has always chased points and ben willing to play (and retire from) more matches than most. Last year, he was one match behind the leading total of Federer -- who wins many more titles. He DOES have some game, though. There's a big drop off after Federer, Nadal and Djokovic.

Mike (Charlottesville, VA)

Follow up - Which Williams sister do you favor in the Henin half of the draw?

Greg Garber
  (5:02 PM)

Mike: I've got this weird feeling Venus is going to find her form like she did at Wimbledon. Serena doesn;t seem locked in, at least not yet.

Adi (Toronto)

It seems unlikely for Nadal to dethrone Federer from being number 1, if he continues to break down after Wimbledon. What changes do you think he needs to be competetive for a full year? As I see it, Federer will be king for a couple more years.

Greg Garber
  (5:03 PM)

Adi: That's easy. He needs to stop playing all those matches on clay, chasing all those minor titles. He needs to larn from Federer, who like Tiger Woods, has shaped hi schedule around the only tournaments that mean anything to him -- the Grand Slams.

joey (deal , new jersey)

who do you think will go all the way, novak djocovic or federer? novak has got a lot of fire power as we saw in montreal.

Greg Garber
  (5:05 PM)

Joey: Did you see that 4-hour, 4-minute mtch with Stepanek? I don't think Djokovic will be fresh enough to beat Federer when it REALLY counts.

Greg Garber
  (5:06 PM)

Folks, thanks for weighing in. Rememmber, Bonnie and I will be back on Saurday for another hour of tennis chat...

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:00 PM)

<a name="sep1">Hey there everybody... what a great day out here at the Open... shoot those questions/comments over on the Sharapova upset, the ongoing Young-Lopez or Isner-Federer matches or anything else that strikes you... </a>

tom* (parkville, md)

I know this is a tennis chat, but I thought y'all'd like to know: Michigan just lost to Appalachian State in football.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:01 PM)

Tom, we did take our TVs off tennis for a few minutes seacrhing for the coverage, but couldn't find it. To call that a shock is an understatement.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:03 PM)

Now, back to roundball...

Xavier ( Montreal, Canada )

Somebody spoke earlier about Federer having to go through the "American Gaunlet" to reach the finals. It seems interesting that if all of the Americans on Federer's side of the draw win their matches, Federer would hava had to beat 5 Americains just to reach the Final ( Jenkins, Isner, Young, Roddick and Blake ). Just out of curiosity, what is Federer's record against Americans and when is the last time he lost to an American in a tour event ?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:06 PM)

Xavier, that is a weird coincidence, and probably could only happen at the U.S. Open because of the wild cards/qualifiers in the home Slam. Gonna check a couple stats for you...

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:08 PM)

Federer is 20-1 against Roddick and Blake combined. His only loss to Roddick was in Montreal in 2003.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:10 PM)

That's probably the last to an American... Agassi last beat him in 2000.

Max (New York)

More of an upset: Isner over Federer, or App State over Michigan? If it happens.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:12 PM)

Helluva choice. It would be an amazing double. Michigan did lose at home, which adds a layer of shock. Your thoughts?

Amit (Chicago, IL)

Isner looks like he is going to upset Federer. Can Isner keep serving so well for the whole match?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:13 PM)

Amit, get excited, but don't hyperventilate quite yet. Federer may need time to problem-solve in this match, but he's good at that-- then again Isner is playing crazy good.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:15 PM)

Amit reminds us that Roddick beat Federer at Kooyong (Melbourne Australia) this year, but that was an exhibition.

Wyatt (Bloomington, IN)

Bonnie, on Tuesday I asked you about the Federer/Isner matchup, I hope you go back and review your answer....

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:15 PM)

Dude, I can't remember that far back. Talk to me.

Amit (Chicago, IL)

Well, Isner just took the first set! I think it is time that Federer starts to worry. He can't handle the power of Isner's serve.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:21 PM)

Careful... he just got broken. Again, I think this will be (and already has been) a competitive match and Isner has a shot. You have to think about reading a serve sort of like hitters in baseball reading a fastball... sometimes they start making contact in their second or third at bat. Then again, sometimes they never solve it.

Jason (Seattle)

Typical Federer. Lose set one, break the first game of set two. This one is long from over.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:22 PM)

You are correct sir. Still, taking ONE set off the Fed is a major accomplishment.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:23 PM)

Amit -- check your server, your questions are coming in multiple times.

David (Bozeman, MT)

Any news on Nadal's health? Looked good last night.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:23 PM)

Quite ironic, actually, that everyone was concerned about Rafa and his opponent was hurting far more than he was.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:24 PM)

He gets Tsonga next -- a battle of two bruisers. Nadal didn't have to stress himself too much last night, an advantage for him.

Mary-Ann (WI)

Why did Sharapova's dad leave before the match was over? I think Sharapova looked up and saw the chair empty, too. Did he know she was going to lose?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:27 PM)

Hi Maryann, we all noticed the packing up, too, but apparently Yuri didn't leave the stadium -- he moved two rows back for some reason.

Chad (La Crosse WI)

So with Sharapova out, do things open up for Hingis?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:27 PM)

Gonna post a related question next...

Chris (KY)

Well, I honestly can't believe Sharapova lost. She played brilliantly in her first two matches. Now who will be the finalist from the bottom draw?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:30 PM)

Sharapova's serve has been AWOL most of the season and Radwanska punished her for it. As for who gets through that half now... what a free-for-all. Kuznetsova is the favorite on paper, but Hingis certainly has a great opportunity, and from the bottom quarter I would favor Chakvetadze or Peer, I think...

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:31 PM)

Turning you over to Greg Garber now, who will service your every need.

Larry (Michigan)

does anyone else think federer is overrated

Greg Garber
  (4:35 PM)

Greetings, folks. Greg Garber here, in relief of Bonnie Ford. Just in from watching the future of American tennis: Donald Young and John Isner. Fire those questions in... Larry, let's start wih you. After isner won the first set in tie-breaker, Federer broke his serve twice in a row. I believe he'll win in four sets. He has won 11 of 18 Grand Slams. He is NOT overrated.

Woytek (Cracow, Poland)

Helluva! what a day, one of the best in Polsh tennis in recent years. And i HAVE to mention that Radwanska live in the same city as me, more once i played some tennis she was practising on the next court! Good days.

Greg Garber
  (4:36 PM)

Woytek: Clearly, you are in your glory. Radwanska played a terrific match -- no fear -- and was playing Sharapova's second serve only a few steps nfrom the service line. Congrats.

Karen, Philadelphia, PA

Hello, I'm watching the Isner/Federer match and it's boring, watching one player serve aces on every pont is just not enjoyeable to watch, other than his aces what else is there in Isner's game?

Greg Garber
  (4:38 PM)

Karen: This has been a problem with men's tennis in the past - particularly at Wimbledon. The All England Club sowed down the grass, though, and the courts here are also playing a little slower than usual. Isner has more game than the guy he is often compared to -- 6-foot-10 Ivo Karlovic . He has decent coordination for someone so long and a good court sense. He blew some easy volleys in the first set and needs to work on his fitness.

John, Virginia

I read a lot of articles that says that Andy Murray is from Scotland...is that just his hometown? Is he a citizen of England?

Greg Garber
  (4:42 PM)

John: murray was born in Dunblane, Scotland and still lives there with his family. He is a citizen of Great britain, which means he can play Davis Cup with players from England

Bob (Oxford,OH)

I keep hearing the point that, with the success of Young and Isner, McInroe other options to consider for the upcoming Davis Cup but there is no way he plays anyone other than Roddick, Blake, and the Bryans, right?

Greg Garber
  (4:45 PM)

Bob: You are correct, sir. While US davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe will probably invite Izzy and DYoung to be practice partners, he's going to go with the heavy metal. He'd be crazy not to. Maybe you'll see these guys in two or three years...

Alex (Santa Clara, CA)

Now that the bottom half of the women's draw is WIDE open, what do you think about Nicole Vaidisova finally getting over the hump and making it to the finals?

Greg Garber
  (4:48 PM)

Alex, I like your thinking; you are a student of the game. With Sharapova out, here are your leading contenders to make the final, in order: Kuznetsova, Vaidisova, Chakvetadze and Radwanska. Vaidisova's got game, but she hasn;t made the big leap. She's got tough matches ahead of her -- Peer, Radwanska, Chakvetadze and then, probably, Kuznetsova. We'll find out if she's ready to step out...

Kathleen (NY,NY)

Hi Bonnie and Greg, So ATP players are to be suspended if they don't play in the mandatory tournaments? Yeah, right. We know this nutty policy will soon follow on the WTA and we know no one is telling the top women players what to do. So, which top player will be suspended first?

Greg Garber
  (4:50 PM)

Kathleen: As you know, the ATP and WTA are famous for making lots of rules and pronouncements, but in the end it's all about the players. With all the flap about gambling, has anyone EVER been caught and disciplined? No. My guess is it will be the same way with mandatory events. If Richard Gasquet can bail out of his US Ope match with a sore throat -- while Fabrice Santoro and Novak Djokovic fought their guts out -- injuries will always be used as an excuse not to play, even when they are not legiimate.

Max (New York)

So what does the future hold for Young/Isner?

Greg Garber
  (4:52 PM)

Funny you should ask that, Max. Scott Price of Sports Illustrated just stopped by my cubicle and asked the same question. We both agree that Young has more upside. If he can get physically stronger, he could be a top 10 player in two or three years. I see Isner as a top30-40 guy.

Steven Brown (Anniston, AL.)

Federer is great, but there are not many great tennis players out there for him to compete with and Nadal whips him most of the time, but this is definitely not the time of the rivalries like we saw in the 80's, or 90's!

Greg Garber
  (4:54 PM)

Steven: Rivalries are a cyclical thing. Just wait a year or so. Djokovic will be in that conversation and Grand Slam tournaments will be interesting again on the men's side.

Larry (Michigan)

who is your favorite for this greg?

Greg Garber
  (4:57 PM)

Larry: You have to go with Federer, based on the weaknesses we've seen in Nadal and Djokovic. Federer is currently even at a set apeice and on serve in the third against Isner. On the women's side, pick a Williams sister -- if the can stay healthy for another week.

John, Virginia

Even if Donald Young loses today I feel like its a pretty safe bet that he will win the Juniors Title without a problem...if he enters.

Greg Garber
  (4:59 PM)

John: I think with the loss here will send Young into the junior tournament with some more confidence. He'll probably play and start on Monday. Yes, the way he's playing, he should be the favorite.

Wyatt (Bloomington, IN)

I'm refering to the fact you said Isner would hold a few times but would not pressure Federer.

Greg Garber
  (5:01 PM)

Wyatt: Hey, he's playing great and federer is coasting along. I still think Fed will win in four. He's got Izzy on the ropes serving at 3-all. That's it for today, folks. See you tomorrow, same time, same place...

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:03 PM)

<a name="sep2">Happy Middle Sunday to everyone following the U.S. Open. Bonnie Ford here... talk at me!</a>

Nathan (Boston, MA)

I pulled up the head-to-head on Venus Williams and Justine Henin, and I was surprised that Venus leads 7-1, but their last match was back in 2003. I know this is a little forward looking, but were Henin and Venus to meet, how different do you think this match would be from their past ones.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:06 PM)

Nathan, I had to go see for myself because that time gap seemed so unbelievable. Then again, when Henin and Serena met at the French Open, it was also their first match since their controversial tilt there in 03.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:08 PM)

Both of them have been on interesting odysseys since then. Henin has obviously had the greater leap in success since then, but I think the match will boil down to what it did back then... finesse v. power. I would give Venus a slight edge.

Kelvin (Frederiksted, VI)

Is it just me or does it seem like the people with power--e.g., Sharapova and Roddick--can only go so far in the Slams when players with more variety in their game--e.g., Venus and Roger--can go all the way?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:14 PM)

Thanks for weighing in, Kelvin. Love snokeling down your way. Power still goes a long way -- don't forget Sharapova won this event last year. Her problem is that she's having a power failure on her serve at the moment. The hardcourts are slower than they were a few years ago and that tends to neutralize power. And, of course, power isn't of nearly as much use on clay.

sal, orlando florida

hey i was wondering john mcenroe has 5 kids? do any of them play tennis, any upcomings?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:18 PM)

Sal, JMac actually has five and a stepchild from wife Patty Smyth's first marriage. I haven't heard a word about any of them playing tennis.

John (Kennesaw, GA)

With Nadal's powerful showing today, do you foresee a Federer/Nadal final in the making?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:19 PM)

We were all leaving Nadal for dead a few days ago... interesting, isn't it? Certainly looks as if the healng process has advanced, and that's a good thing for the tournament if I do say so.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:20 PM)

He'll get a big test against David Ferrer if Ferrer has anything left in the tank following the marathon against Nalbandian. Ferrer will run Nadal back and forth a lot more than his previous two opponents.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:21 PM)

Let me throw this out there: Do people WANT to see another Fed-Nadal final or would you rather mix things up?

Aaron (Madison, WI)

Nadal looks like the knees aren't bothering him so much anymore from what I've seen in his last too matches. Has he said anything about this?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:26 PM)

Aaron, he hasn't come in for his post-match interview yet but here's what he said day before yesterday after his abbreviated match with Tipsarevic:

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:27 PM)

Sure, I'm not hundred percent yet, but I am little bit when I run, I'm with a little bit "precaucion". But so much better than the first day. So, well, hopeful for the next match. I hope be better, little bit better, continuing improving for the next match against Tsonga. I play better, too. I feel more comfortable with the forehand and with the backhand, too. Q. Do you still feel pain when you play? RAFAEL NADAL: Not much, no. I feel better. I feel, you know, when you come back after the injury, difficult the beginning, you're not a hundred percent because you always have in the mind the knee. Unconsciously you run with a little "precaucion". That's important in one game because everything is close and everything is very difficult in tennis.

Xavier ( Montreal, Canada )

Is Henin truly a contender ?? Because everybody is talking about the Williams sisters or the Serbs and nobody's really talking about Henin. In my mind, she is, with Martina Hingis, the player on tour with the most variety and the highest tennis IQ, meaning she plays smart. But unlike the swiss miss, Henin can also generate tremendous power and not only that, she's the best mover on the women's tour. She's got about every quality you'd look for in a Grand Slam champion, she's been on the great stages of tennis and yet, I never feel commentators are giving her proper credit when it comes to her chances. I mean she's entered 10 tournaments this year, won 6 on three different surfaces and reached at least the semis in all 10... She's the undisputed number 1 player right now so why do you think she's so overlooked as a contender for this title ?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:32 PM)

Xavier, I agree with everything you say except the assertion that she doesn't get enough credit. She's gotten plenty this year -- though the upset at Wimbledon by Bartoli was a shocker. Her record against Venus, as a previous poster pointed out, is 1-7. She has a 6-5 edge on Serena, who's in her quarter, though Serena would have to be favored here on hard court.

Wyatt (Bloomington, IN)

How impressed were either of you by the way Andy Roddick limited his unforced errors and started flattening out his forehand?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:38 PM)

Hey Wyatt -- I'm solo today. Roddick's match was extremely clean and impressive. Unfortunately, it was a bit overshadowed by Isner and Young's matches, simply because they're still novel at this level... and all the upsets on the women's side.

John, Virginia

I think Serbia is going to be a Fed Cup Champion within the next couple of years with Jankovic and Ivanovic...just like Belgium a few years back. Although Russia is still a force and the Williams Sisters are back on for the US...so who knows?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:42 PM)

No question, John. A very intriguing Davis Cup tie coming up there too... they play Australia later this month in a 20,000 capacity arena in Belgrade to try to get into the 16-nation main draw.

Wyatt (Bloomington, IN)

Do you think Roddick can make short work of Berdych, or do you think it's going to be a grind?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:46 PM)

If Andy plays like he did yesterday, it'll be a short match. It would be to Berdych's advantage to try to draw out the points (if he can return serve). I favor Roddick to advance and take another shot at Fed...

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:51 PM)

Re: your question on Young -- he has made enormous progress since the spring, when he won his first pro tournament (on the U.S. Pro Circuit). "Winning breeds winning" is a cliche with a big core of truth -- watching him play here, it was hard to believe that he only won his first ATP level match in late August. The players all give his skills rave reviews. This fall and next season will be really crucial for him -- does he build on success or backslide? I see big potential for him 2-3 years down the line.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (5:00 PM)

I'm signing off now. Spend a little of your Labor Day with us tomorrow... same time.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (5:01 PM)

Hey Joe -- real quick -- check some of the previous posts/answers.

Daniel (Nc)

<a name="sep3">I am a huge nadal fan, greg, and do you think that he has what it takes to beat federer this open?</a>

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:06 PM)

Greetings Daniel and all the rest of our ESPN.com chat crew. It's sunny and warm on Labor Day in NYC and I'm ready for an hour of your questions. Let's start off with Daniel, who asks the question that has dominated tennis this year. To be honest, I just don't see rafa winning here this year. While he has improved the last three years, going from losing in the second round to the third round to reaching the quarterfinals last year, he's got too much going against him. First, the knee tendinitis that almost knocked him out of the tournament, and then Djokovic in the semifinals, if he gets that far.

Greg Garber
  (4:07 PM)

Sorry, folks, it's actually Greg Garber moderating the room...Fire away....

Cat (San Diego, CA)

Is Ivanovic the Anna Kournikova of this generation? Do you think that the two Serbs, Jankovic and Ivanovic, will ever develop a rivalry, on court, like that of Clijsters and Henin?

Greg Garber
  (4:11 PM)

Cat: Geez, that's a bit rough.Kournikov a never won a tournament. Ivanovic is a pretty solid player who will win a number of titles. I'm not sure the two Serbs will have a great rivalry because there are so many other young players coming up that will dilute it.

Kevin S. (Florida)

Do you think Andy Roddick can get over the Roger Federer hump and win the US Open. He is playing pretty good.

Greg Garber
  (4:14 PM)

Kevin: This is our other leading question. Things are lining up nicely for Roddick, who just reached the quartefinals for the sixth time in seven years when Tomad Berdych got sick. Roddick has had TWO players retire against him and has averaged less than 90 minutes per match. But ... he's still 1-13 against Federer for his career.

Wyatt (Bloomington, IN)

Would you call the pending victory of Venus Williams an upset or just Venus being Venus? Also, who do you believe is showing the most dominant performances among the women at the Open?

Greg Garber
  (4:18 PM)

Wyatt: Venus, to me, looks more dominant than ANY player on either side of the draw. Let's see if she can knock of Jankovic and sister Serena can beat Henin to set up another all-Williams semifinal -- which would really be the final.

Sam (LA)

James Blake once said that he'd rather be on Nadal's side of the draw in a tournament and not Federer's. Do you think this is the majority mentality? Also, it seems more people are able to beat Nadal than Federer (Blake for example). Safe to say that Nadal (possibly Djokovic though I don't really think that since he got lucky in the finals with the first set) is the only real threat to Fed and why?

Greg Garber
  (4:21 PM)

Sam, a solid effort out of you. This is interesting. On clay, people fear Rafa, of course. On hard courts, despite his ability to win Tennis Masters events, not as much. Rafa has "only" reached the quarters here, mostly because he over-plays during the year and is tired. I see Djokovic coming out of the bottom half of the draw. As for Blake, he's up two sets to one on Haas and I think he can take Davydenko to reach the semifinals ... and, most likely, Federer...

E (los angeles)

Greg, if Nadal does indeed win the Open, and he goes on to take the Cup in Shanghai, does he become number one by year's end?

Greg Garber
  (4:24 PM)

E: I have forwarded your question to Greg Sharko of the ATP, the stat maven. If he responds in time, I'll pass along the answer...

Dennis Andrews (boise ID)

Roddick &#x26; Fedderer I give the edge to Roddick because the fans will cheer and inspire him to play well!

Greg Garber
  (4:26 PM)

Dennis, see the answer to Kevin. Roddick has some serious psychological baggage going against a guy who's beaten him 13 of 14 times.

Cat (San Diego)

Sorry about that, I definitely didn't mean for that to sound as mean as it came across. I am a huge fan of the 3 Serbs on tour and I guess I meant more along the lines will Ivanovic's looks get her more fans and generate more publicity for the womens' tennis? I could see Adidas using either her of Novak in one of their "Impossible is Nothing" commercials with what the grew up with in Serbia. I mean Sharapova is a pretty girl but Ivanovic definitley has model looks. Thanks Greg.

Greg Garber
  (4:28 PM)

Cat: While Sharapova looks nice in a dress, she doesn't inspire Catherine Zeta Jones comparisons. She IS a lovely girl and she has some serious game, despite the way Venus moved her around last night. She just ran into the best player through four rounds...

Korey(Hanover, PA)

If Serena gets past Justine Henin will Serena win the US Open?

Greg Garber
  (4:31 PM)

Korey (is Hanover near Gettysburg?): IF Serena beats Henin (a distinct possibility) and IF Venus beats Jankovic, we have Venus-Serena XV. They have split the carer series and, as Venus points out, that would mean a Williams in the final. Right now, Venus is playing a ot better than Serena. Who would have thought at the beginning of the year that the Williams sisters would be in position to win three of the four Grand Slam singles titles?

Mike (Philadelphia)

Greg, I know Davydenko has gotten a lot of attention lately because of the betting scandal, but shouldn't we be paying more attention to his tennis? The guy has (if he beats Lee today) reached 3 Grand Slam semis and 4 other quarters since the start of '05, yet all we hear about is that he only has a high ranking because he plays so many tournaments or that he is a possible cheat...

Greg Garber
  (4:34 PM)

Mike, good call. I saw him play in New Haven against Donald Young. The 18-year-old HAD him (he was up 4-2 and had a chance at 5-4) and the Russian just stepped up and beat him. He's No. 4 in the world and runs down a ton of balls. He has joked that nobody knew who he was before the betting scandal, so that in some ways it's a good thing. Not sure I'm buying that, but guess what? If he beats Lee -- he's already up a break in the first set -- he's looking at a quarterfinal match against the winner of Blake-Haas...

Greg Garber
  (4:37 PM)

E: Greg Sharko just got back to me. He says, yes, nadal culd conceivably become the No. 1 player with a win here and one in the season-ending championship ... But there are some serious oints still in play in the two tennis Masters Series (Madrid and Paris) which could well make the ultimate difference.

Tom (Camden, NJ)

Greg, I saw a score last night that blew me away with Robredo getting smoked off the court in straight sets by a 19 year old named Ernests Gulbis..what kind of a game does this guy have? How good could he be potentially?

Greg Garber
  (4:41 PM)

Tom: Gulbis is an interesting case. After the first two rounds he was the ONLY player not to receive an interview request from the media. He's a 19-year-old Latvian and the first from his young country (est. 1992) to play in a Grand Slam event. My tennis editor Keith Hawkins called his style "effortless." The way he was playing, he has a chance against Moya to reach the quarters. Oh yes, Bonnie Ford of ESPN.com conducted his first interview late last night after he took down Robredo. One other thing: He said he HATES to watch tennis. Go figure.

Timmy Tifton, Ga

Who has a better chance of reaching the semis Venus or Serena?

Greg Garber
  (4:43 PM)

Timmy: I'll take Venus -- not only is she playing better than Serena, but her opponent seems weaker. Jankovic has looked shaky, going the three-set distance the last two matches, against a French junior (Alize Cornet) and a mom (Sybille Bammer)...

Greg Garber
  (4:45 PM)

Just a quick programming note: James Blake is in the process of getting bageled in the fourth set against Tommy Haas. Greg Sharko of the ATP informs me that Haas has won 15 five-set matches -- compared to just one (the second round against Santoro) for Blake. Hmmmmm....

John, Virginia

Do you think we will see the teens that broke through brake through again at other majors? I personally do not think so because sometimes it seems like luck when they do not have to play Henin or the Williams Sisters until the Finals.

Greg Garber
  (4:51 PM)

True enough, John. I do think we're going through a bit of a cycle here with Davenport, Clijsters, Capriati are gone and Hingis isn't what she was. The teens have filled in the gaps nicely. Same on the men's side. Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, Baghdatis, Gasquet and Berdych have all progresses nicely.

Katrina (Willingboro NJ)

Blake just gave up a bagel to Haas in the 4th set. Is this due to mental fatigue that his bro Thomas talked about during his Koubek match? He's not looking too speedy either.

Greg Garber
  (4:54 PM)

Katrina: You are correct. Through three matches, Blake had spent 8:45 on the courts. Roddick, who has seen two opponents retire against him in the first four matches. Blake just lost his seventh consecutive game and does not look good. For the record, Haas is 15-14 in TBs and Blake is 1-9....

John, Virginia

Venus beat Ivanovic in the Round of 16...Venus's ranking is lower so it should be considered an upset, if Ivanovic had won, do you think it would be considered an upset? It makes it seem like rankings are sometimes a little bogus.

Greg Garber
  (4:56 PM)

John: The rankings are really all about playing. When you miss tournaments, like the Williams sisters often do, you're ranking slides. Look at Davydenko. Do you think he's really the No. 4 player in the world? Not if you go by Grand Slam results.

Greg Garber
  (4:56 PM)

Blake update: He's now lost eight straight games...

Katrina (Willingboro NJ)

With the wide open bottom half women's draw due to the seeds in that half coming up short, and the real contenders all being relegated to the top half anyway, why are seeds and placement determined by the draw from a hat? Is this how it has always been done, and isn't there a better, more logical way?

Greg Garber
  (4:58 PM)

Katrina: The big issue is the low rankings of the Williams sisters. If they were seeded based on their success in Grand Slams this year, they might have been in opposite halves of the draw. As for the hat, it adds a ittle randomness and luck to the equation...

Barry (Jacksonville, FL)

As a big fan of Blake's it really kills me sometimes to watch him play. He has the talent, speed, etc. to threaten Federer on his day, yet is remarkably inconsistent both in his tennis and mentally (going for broke too much, getting either way too pumped up or negative at basically unimportant stages of a match)..at nearly 28 isn't it time that Blake starts to overcome some of these inconsistencies?

Greg Garber
  (5:00 PM)

Barry: You voice a sentiment many share. Blake is only 27 -- doesn't turn 28 until December -- but, yes, it's time he grew up on the court...

Greg Garber
  (5:00 PM)

Thanks, folks for this Holiday chat. Catch you tomorrow from 4-5 PM EST...

Greg Garber
  (4:00 PM)

<a name="sep4">Greetings, tennis aficionados. Greg Garber here to answer questions as we hurtle into the meat of this 2007 U.S. Open. We have already seen Moya and Chela advance to the men's quarters, and later today we have Henin-Serena XII, followed by Nadal vs. countryman David Ferrer. Bonnie Ford will be along in about 30 minutes to take you to 5 PM. Fire away... </a>

Tre (Sac)

Why won't anyone admit how boring Federer's so-called 'dominance' of the game makes men's tennis?

Greg Garber
  (4:03 PM)

Tre, you make a familiar point. And while I tend to agree that men's tennis -- at the ultimate level of a Grand Slam final -- is predictable with Federer in command, you have to give him credit for being so ridiculously good. I sat about 10 rows up for the first few sets of the match last night against Lopez. Lopez was hiting bombs (136-plus) for serves and playing out of his mind. He was up a set and even at 4-all in the second when Federer found a level only he can find. He started hitting ridiculous shots ... in one game he hit four clean winners. He is astonishingly good, and if that's boring I can live with it.

Suffolk, VA

Barry, Do you think Blake will ever win a major? How does a pro get over the hump with that much talent to be consistent? Is it mental, confidence or just another example of a great talent but not a great champion? Or all of those combined?

Greg Garber
  (4:08 PM)

This is a question that lingers after Monday's Blake loss to Tommy Haas. He has reached two quarterfinals at the Grand Slam level - here, the last two years -- but Blake's talent has always left people hoping for more. He does have some dazzling shots, but as he said last night, he got a little indecisive at the critical moments. Blake called it another lesson learned, but at 28 he doesn;t have much time to complete the learning curve.

Jason (Canada)

How much potential do Isner and Young really have? Are either of them going to be grand slam winners? Multiple grand slams winners?

Greg Garber
  (4:14 PM)

Jason: This is a question on many minds here after last week's splash by the American wildcards. After talking to folks here, I get the idea they think Young has more potential and Isner has more immediate upside. Let's not forget that they're still only going to be ranked in the middle 100s. Isner has a monster 140 mph serve that baffled even Federer for a set or so. He needs to get stronger and develop a better volley. He's a better, more fluid Ivo Karlovic, which means he'll probably settle somewhere in the No. 25-35 rankings range. Young is more intriguing. He should have beaten No. 4 Davydenko in New Haven and gave Lopez -- who pushed Federer hard early -- a difficult time before losing in the third round. When he grows up a ittle more (he can add 15-25 pounds to that thin160-pound frame, some folks like Richard Gasquet see him as a possible top 10 player. It will be fun to watch their development, along with 18-year-old Sam Querrey.

bryan (everett)

How many tournaments do u see federer win while he is playing tennis

Greg Garber
  (4:19 PM)

Hey, Bryan, you sent me scurrying to the record book for that one. Federer has averaged about five tournament titles in his decade as a professional and lately been averaging about 10 wins a year. He has also won 11 of the last 18 Grand Slams. To hear him talk, he hasn't sounded like a guy who's going to walk away anytime soon. Let's assume he plays for another five years, which would take him to 31. That would be approaching 100 titles total (Jimmy Connors has the record of 109) and, say, 16 or 17 Grand Slams. Not bad.

Sean (Atlanta)

Are the voters going to be hesitant to rank Nadal 1st due to Federer's dominance?

Greg Garber
  (4:22 PM)

Sean: As long as Federer keeps beating him on surfaces other than clay, there's no contest here. Federer is No. 1 until Rafa breaks through on the grass at Wimbledon or the hard surfaces here and at the Australian Open. Believe it or not, I think Rafa has a better chance on the grass, now that it's been slowed down and plays more like clay than hard courts.

John, Virginia

With the exception of Federer (and possibly Nadal) do you think we will see a true Grand Slam (men or women) before 2020?

Greg Garber
  (4:25 PM)

Good question, John. The way the game is constructed these days -- with astonishing depth on both the men's and women's sides -- I don't think it will happen. Before this year I thought Federer had a good chance to win all four majors, but now I'm not so sure. Rafa is so tough on clay and seems to be getting better on grass and hard courts. Djokovic would be my longshot guess on that one, say, in three or four yars when Federer loses a step.

Jim, Detroit, Michigan

Do you think Roddick has any chance against Federer (if he wins) with the way Federer has been playing lately?

Greg Garber
  (4:28 PM)

JIm: Roddick is 1-13 against Federer, an incredible amount of baggage to carry into their Wednesday night match. Federer is supremely confident and proved against Isner that he can solve a 140 mph serve, eventually. The difference is, he has already seen Roddick many times and will know how to handle that. That said, Roddick has looked terrific so far and Federer has been slightly off his game. But as he proved last night against Lopez, he can raise the level of his game when he needs to.

Daniel (North Carolina)

I am a huge Rafa Nadal fan, and i hope he beats Federer in this tourney, but do you think that he has what it takes?

Greg Garber
  (4:31 PM)

Daniel: Rafa plays a tough one tonight against fellow Spaniard David Ferrer. The weakest part of his game and Ferrer has a terrific return of serve. Could be interesting ... Ladies and gentlemen, we give you Bonnie Ford.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:33 PM)

Hi Daniel, Greg and I just swapped here. I think Nadal is much closer to beating Federer on grass than on hardcourt, especially this time of year when Nadal's body has taken a pounding. I'm not saying it'll never happen, but I don't think we're quite there yet.

Jason (Canada)

How does Roddick stack up against Jim Courier? Would Andy have matched Jim Courier's 4 slams if it had not been for Fed?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:35 PM)

Jason, don't put Andy in the past tense yet...

John, Virginia

The Top 2 seeds in Women's Doubles are out of the tournament. Why does it seem like it is easier to get bigger upsets in Doubles?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:37 PM)

Part of this is the nature of the game and part of it is structural. Breaks in doubles are harder to come by and matches often turn on one or two points. For the men, the new scoring system (and in Slams, the fact that they're only playing best of 3 until the semis) exacerbates this.

Amit (Chicago, IL)

How many points will Federer lose if he loses this year's U.S. Open in the final versus Nadal. How many does Nadal gain in this scenario and is it enough to overtake the number one spot?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:42 PM)

Hi Amit-- Greetings to Chicago, my former residence for 8 years and one of my favorite places in the world. A Slam win is worth 1,000 points (kinda like a picture being worth a thousand words), so if you look at the rankings you'll see it wouldn't be enough for the 1-2 rankings to shift.

Kelvin, STL, MO

Just an observation: I really dont understand why so many people are suprised that one of the Williams sisters or both are in the conversation to win the open, people seem to forget that when the sisters were playing full schedule they were habitually beating all of these players on a consistent basis. We know ranking means nothing when it comes to those two. I also think they play with less pressure by not being the highest seed. What do you think?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:45 PM)

Hi Kelvin. I'm not surprised, but it was a fair question as to how Serena would come back after the long layoff and two different injuries during Wimbledon. I'm not sure I agree that they play any differently with a lower ranking. They are pretty much in the moment, which is part of what makes them great competitors.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:45 PM)

Amit, check your server. It's posting multiple copies of your question.

Jenny

A lot of people like to mention Federer's demolition of Roddick at the AO semis as proof that Roddick will never beat Fed but I say that that performance from Roger was a fluke. We haven't seen him play that good since then. Something about Roddick brings out the best in Federer. Too bad it wasn't reciprocal! Federer rarely brings out the best in other players which is why so many of his matches are so boring to watch. What do you think?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:50 PM)

I'll take issue with the last statement, Jenny -- I think Feliciano Lopez and John Isner came out playing some stupendous tennis in their first sets against Fed. They're clearly not ready to maintain that level of tennis for three to five sets, which is what they'd need to challenge Federer. The Roddick-Federer AO match was uncharacteristcially lopsided and I very much doubt we'll see that kind of match tomorrow. However, it's true that Roger is very familiar with Andy's game (as Andy is with Roger's) and obviously feels confident going in with a game plan.

Amit (Chicago, IL)

But since Federer is the defending U.S. Open champion from last year, if he loses in this year's final won't he lose points? Also, if Nadal were to win wouldn't he gain points thereby bringing their point totals very close?

mark, Fremont CA

In response to Amit, Nadal cannot catch Federer in the entry rankings until around the Madrid Masters event in October. Even if Federer loses tomorrow and Nadal wins the US Open.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:52 PM)

Yes and yes. I don't want to get into deep math here, but the big picture is that Nadal would have to win here and in the year-end championships AND at least break even with Fed in the Masters Series events in Madrid and Paris in order to overtake him.

Hannah (Seattle)

In response to some of the posters saying Federer's game is boring (or his dominance is boring), I'll just say that I don't find genius and inspired shot-making boring. It's mindless ball-bashing that I find boring, even if it comes with an American label. Go Roger - make it 14-1 and bore the xenophobes!!

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:54 PM)

Hannah, I don't root, for professional reasons, but I'm completely with you on the "boring" question. I loved watching Sampras in his dominating years when other people flipped the channel. Then again, it is great to have rivalries, and that involves more diversity in results than Roger has allowed (except at the French Open).

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:55 PM)

I don't know how a true fan could have been "bored" by watching Federer figure out Isner's and Lopez' serves and turn the tide in those matches. Problem-solving at its best.

Mike (Philadelphia)

I think the best comparison for Federer would be the mid 90s Chicago Bulls NBA championship teams.. you could take one, maybe two games off of them in a best of 7 series but it was virtually impossible to take them out, much like you can take a set, and two sets off Fed if you're lucky, but it's almost impossible to win 3 out of 5 from him on hard courts...

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:57 PM)

Mike, I covered those teams' playoff runs when I worked for the Chicago Tribune. Fed's 35 straight points on his serve last night were reminiscent of a vintage Bulls third quarter run.

Paul (Jacksonville, FL)

In response to Amit's questions about Fed/Nadal rankings... Nadal is currently about 2200 points behind Federer, Federer is defending 1000 points while Nadal is defending 250 (last year he was QF here), if Nadal beats Fed, Nadal picks up 750 additional points and Federer loses 300, so they would be separated by about 1200 points in such a scenario...

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:57 PM)

Thanks, Paul...

Kelvin, STL, MO

One other question for you Bonnie, if I may; One thing I never really understood with the Sisters. How is it they get injured so much, when they skip so many tournaments? Is it lack of actual match play or are they really practicing that hard? It was my undertanding that no amount of practicing can compare to actual match play. They seem to get injured an awful lot for the little amount of tennis they play outside of the Slams. Or is that the problem, they arent playing enough,which is why they keep getting injured when they do play? Its very confusing to me.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:59 PM)

None of us know what they are doing on the practice court or in the gym between tournaments, so I'm afraid the answer to your question will remain mysterious.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (5:00 PM)

I do think with any older player that injuries are cumulative, based on lifetimes reps and vulnerabilities, rather than related to one particular practice session or idle stretch.

Tony (NYC)

Bonnie, what do you make of the US Open moving the V Williams Jankovic match, which under normal circumstances should have occurred today, to tomorrow night? I know that this was approved by those two players, but this seems like such a slight to those two matches in the bottom half of the draw that deserve a showcase under the lights!

Bonnie D. Ford
  (5:03 PM)

TV drives the train... it was an unusual situation in that clear weather is assured and the women's draw was randomly but ridiculously front-loaded. The first bastion of fairness is the rest-time issue. No one playing a Slam is guaranteed prime-time exposure... so the TV executives' judgment will rule for better or worse.

Woytek (Cracow, Poland)

Still a lot of questions about betting on matches...an article on tennis.com is so far the best 'evidence' that some players just do it...same names like Denko, Volandri, Guzman or Vasallo-Aruello, i recommend this to all fans of tennis, here is direct link: http://www.tennis.com/features/general/features.aspx?id=98220

Bonnie D. Ford
  (5:03 PM)

With that recommendation from our faithful Polish correspondent, I'll close for today. Thanks for all the great questions &#x26; please join us again tomorrow.

Greg Garber
  (4:02 PM)

Greetings, folks. Another big day/night of tennis from the US Open. Folks are still buzzing after the Serena Williams-Justine Henin match and the rafa exit at 1:50 am EST. I'll take the first half-hour and Bonnie Ford will come in around 4:30...

Jason (toronto)

I have a 2 part question. First, about 99.99% of all tennis reporters felt that Nadal should not have played the Stuttgart tournament in order to rest his knee - so why didn't he or his team see this coming? Second, this Ferrer guy has beaten Roddick and Nadal in the past few weeks - is he the best return of serve in the game?

Greg Garber
  (4:05 PM)

Jason: 1) What we don;t know is if there was a compelling reason (dollars?) that Nadal played Stuttgart. He does play too much and gets broken down as the season progresses. If he wants to win here he'll have to take page from Federer and lighten his summer schedule. 2) Agassi and hewitt used to have the best return of serve. Now I would rank Federer first and Ferrer next...

nate stl

While I do hate to see either of the sisters lose, I think probably it was the best thing for that to happen to Serena. Now she knows that just showing up to a major and playing her way into match tournament readiness isnt enough, I think she needs to play a bit more, because lets face it, Justine's game has definitely improved. And Serenas has not. She was a step slow. Her movement wasnt very good, and her decision making was off. Many times Justine came to net and outclassed her. When Serena was at the top of her game that tactic wouldve resulted in stinging passing shots more often than not and we saw very little if any of that at all last night. Serena needs to focus on her fitness(match play wise). She also needs to change her attitude when she loses and be a bit more gracious and respectful of her opponent. I'm a fan but her behavior was just plain childish. She has noone to blame for that loss except herself. I just hope this teaches her a valuable lesson. She must bring her best stuff to beat the number 1 in the world. Her preparation prolly works for all the other players in the world not named Justine or Venus. Against them she will have the same results she did last night if she continues to prepare for majors this way.

Greg Garber
  (4:08 PM)

Nate: That is beautifully said. I agree across the board. End of story.

Blaine (Walnut Creek, CA)

Greg, the following comments were posted today in the mass response following your article: "Anyone who thinks Serena's lack of sportsmanship, character and poor attitude practically each and every time she does a post match interview is good for women's tennis, or tennis as a whole is not a true tennis fan." and in response: "Two words for you - Martina Hingis." I agree with both. Can you give us some insight into how other players on tour and people in the pro tennis community view Serena? She's the second coming of Martina... Thanks!

Greg Garber
  (4:13 PM)

Blaine: It was funny. Serena was so angry last night that, in addition to sulking and being petulant, she was actually honest. She said she only came to the interview room to avoid being fined, which can amount to as much as $10,000. If I were her agent, I would have counseled her to skip the interview because of her foul stat of mind. The 10K fine would hav been a cheap price to pay for the bad publicity that has come her way. Look at the clip on ESPN.com's tennis page. It's amazing, really. She calls Henin "lucky" and is cleary feeling sorry for herself. Contrast this with Nadal, who despite obvious physical problems, declined to talk about them and congratulated Ferrer on a good match -- even though it was a devastating loss.

Joe (Alhambra, CA)

hi, greg! serena wasn't happy about her loss to justin henin last night at all. she was asked by one of the reporters about whether she should change her mind about her assertion that if she plays her best tennis, she can beat any players in the world after last night quarterfinals match, she answered in a way that was not that quite appropriate and graceful. she asked right back to this reporter if she thought she played her best tennis. in my opinion, this is something that a top tennis player should not have done to begin with. i think that justin henin is, without a doubt, a better and more versatile player than serena. what is your thought on this?

Greg Garber
  (4:17 PM)

Joe: Good to see you following along at home. I was in the room and the question in question was asked by Liz Clarke of the Washington Post. "I was fine with it," she just told me. "I have no problem with Serena's answer. At least she was addressing the issue." Players, when they lose, tend to be snippy and defensive. James Blake was after losing to Tommy Haas and Andy Roddick lets the sarcasm seep into his ost-loss intervoews. This is normal. Serena, I thought, crossed the line into poor sportsmanship.

Brian (Chicago)

I'd like to hear your opinion about Serena's post match interview. For me, it was disgraceful to the sport. Not exactly the model of a champion.

Greg Garber
  (4:18 PM)

Brian: See the response to Joe. Our story on the match generated 350-plus comments, which are mostly well-done. Again, compare Serena's performance to Rafa's post-match comments. Night and day.

Sandro ( Bensalem, PA)

What is going on with Serena??? when she lost in France she said that she only lost because she a problem in her hand. (if I was healthy she cannot beat me) Now she said that she lost because Henin had "lucky shoots" She needs to learn how to respect the other players. She is very arrogant and needs to be humble like her sister. Venus is fantastic and she respects her rivals. Besides, she does not make excuses when she has a bad game.

Greg Garber
  (4:22 PM)

Sandro: The great thing about the Williams sisters is their confidence, as inspired by their parents. It has lifted them from very meager origins to great heights. They are intelligent and independent and talented on many levels. Sometimes that confidence congeals into rrogance and, more recently, denial. Serena didn't lke it when Henin dictated points. Her skill set is such that she can crowd the baseline and pressure Serena -- something Serena ikes to do to opponents. Bottom line, she lost and couldn't cope. Venus, the classic older sister, does a better job keeping her emotions in check.

jason (toronto, ontario)

Is it unfair that we always group Serena and Venus together. Frankly, I have never seen Venus display that level of poor sportsmanship. They may be sisters, but they seem to have very different personalities.

Greg Garber
  (4:23 PM)

Jason: Agreed -- see previous post. Venus has always had a more balanced perspective and has consitently shown opponents more respect.

Wyatt (Bloomington, IN)

What do you think of Sweden's choice to play on a fast hard court for the upcoming Davis Cup tie? Sounds to me like an invitation to suicide.

Greg Garber
  (4:25 PM)

Wyatt: Much has been made of this choice. Clearly, they feel it's their best surface for Soderling -- if healthy -- and Johansson and Bjorkman. The idea is to play to their strengths, rather than try to expose the weakness of the US on clay.

Lane (Kukuihaele, HI)

Serena has a long way to go to be as good as Bob Knight in post game interviews.

Greg Garber
  (4:26 PM)

Lane: Hah! Good work out of you...

David (Indianapolis,IN)

What do you think Moya's chances are against Djokovic? He seems to be the Carlos of old, but how long will his 30 year old body hold up?

Greg Garber
  (4:28 PM)

David: I sat down with Moya a few days ago and he was impressive. It's rare that a guy drps out of the top 30 at the age of 30 and manages to bring himself back. He's No. 17 right now and playing well. Djokovic is beat up and tired and seemingly calling for the trainer every set. Under normal circumstances, Djokovic would beat him. Now, I'm not so sure. Moya is oving well and healthy, but I'll take Djokovic in four...

Toronto, Canada

I can understand why Jankovic agreed to delay her match one more night - she has already played a couple of difficult matches. But why would Venus agree? - She could have taken advantage of a tired Jankovic, and even if she wins, she will have less rest than Henin in the semis?

Greg Garber
  (4:30 PM)

Venus is taking one for the USTA/USA team here. If she beats Jankovic, she'll have one day of rest -- plenty to recover from a two, three-set match. Henin, of course, has two days to rest, which gives her a clear competitive advantage. Shows you how big Venus' heart is.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:32 PM)

Howdy... Bonnie Ford here, you chatters are really worked up out there, thanks for all the traffic.

Richard (FL)

I am confused...is the Jankovic vs Venus match scheduled for tonight not being played today? If not then what time is Fed vs Roddick?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:34 PM)

Venus plays at 7, Roddick immediately following.

Warren (FL)

Enough about Serena already! Let's talk about Darth Federer vs Roddick? I think Federer wins in 4. Are you expecting the same and also are you expecting a Djokovic vs Fed final and if so what would your pick be? Thanks!

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:35 PM)

Does this mean Andy is Luke Skywalker?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:36 PM)

OK... seriously... you have to wonder if the law of averages will catch up with Roger somewhere. If he loses the first set, as he did against the last two big servers he played, I could see Andy pushing it to five and that would be very interesting.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:37 PM)

But if he establishes his dominance early, I think the pattern will continue. As Roger said a couple of days ago, "He (Andy) has tried everything..."

Davanita

Is anyone else besides me NOT excited about the Federer-Roddick match tonight? It's going to be another lopsided win for Roger, ho hum. I'm not even going to watch tonight. Roddick may bring out the best in Roger but Federer brings out the worst in Andy which means bad tennis match.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:40 PM)

I have to take issue with the notion that Federer brings out the worst in Roddick. What's your reasoning on this?

Jen (scarborough)

who is america's best (male) hope on clay? donald young looks like the guy who would make the best transition. on the other hand, john isner looks like he would hate the dirt. and why does a guy with james blake's speed do so badly on clay?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:43 PM)

Clay is about touch and movement. Pure speed is not the only factor. Blake put in a lot of work on Euro clay this year but had a very unlucky draw against Ivo Karlovic, who no one likes to see on any surface. I was impressed with the way Sam Querrey played in his first FO match even though he lost.

Phil Kansas

Does Roddick have a chance tonight? I think he might win the first set with the crowd behind him, but i just dont see him hanging in the match with Federer.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:46 PM)

Phil -- Of course he has a chance, otherwise he'd be on a plane to Austin right now. As a journalist , I might add that with all due respect to Roger (which he deserves) it would be a more interesting story to write if Roddick did win.

Lane (Kukuihaele, HI)

Is it fair to hype up the match between Andy and Roger? Does you really believe Roddick has a shot?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:47 PM)

See above. I would not call the anticipation around the world No. 1 and the U.S. No. 1 "hype." Federer is the player Roddick measures himself against and watching that dynamic is fascinating.

Brian (colorado)

despite their history against each other, for all practical purposes, is tonight the men's final?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:48 PM)

Nope. If Djokovic comes out of the other semi he will give anybody a great match.

Tom (MI)

Is it jus tme or is Serena EXTREMELY out of shape. Hennin was the only one smart enough to make her move and challenge her when she is coming to the net SLOWLY.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:49 PM)

I'm very cautious about declaring Serena out of shape... I think she was in less good shape when she played her way into the Aussie Open. I just think Henin has her number right now.

anne, buffalo

roddick wins tonight. all he seems to care about is beating federer. you get the sense that if he could beat federer, and then lose in the semis, he would still be a happy man. on the other hand, federer only cares about winning the whole thing, and is looking past roddick to the finals

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:53 PM)

Federer never looks past anyone, Anne. He told us yesterday that he did that early in his career and it came back to bite him. As for Roddick, if he were to get to the final, he will be very focused on showing that 2003 was not a fluke. Getting a second Slam would be huge for him --

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:55 PM)

Here's Roger's answer to this question: You said after the Isner match that you don't underestimate anybody anymore, and that's something that maybe in the past you used to do. Was that a big problem for you in the past, or a problem? ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it was actually, because I mean, I knew I was kind of talented and good. I had a nice technique. When I were play a guy whose technique didn't look that nice I would think I was to huge favorite and I would think that that technique can't really work. I would find myself down a set and a break and not realizing why and how to come back, and fighting spirit wasn't always at its best when I was younger. I always hoped that some magical thing would happen and I could turn the match around. I wouldn't realize that you really need to fight out there to turn it around sometimes. So I did struggle a lot in the early days with opponents, but I had some guys I couldn't really beat in the beginning like Hewitt, Nalbandian, Agassi, Henman. And then once I started to improve and understand why I was losing I became a much better player.

Hannah (Seattle)

Bonnie, you said: "If Djokovic comes out of the other semi he will give anybody a great match." I agree, the Djoker has a great game and competitive will, but I feel he's burning himself out as he did at the FO and Wimbledon, by not winning his early rounds easily enough. He might run out of gas by the semis, esp. if he faces that Energizer Bunny Ferrer, who'll make him run and run. I don't think the Djoker is there yet in terms of best-of-5 stamina.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:57 PM)

Those are valid observations, Hannah. I would favor Djokovic against Ferrer because his game is more varied on hardcourt, whereas Ferrer was basically playing a bigger mirror image of himself in Nadal.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:59 PM)

It does seem that the longer a match goes, the more treatment Novak gets, but don't forget what he showed stamina-wise in that five-setter against Stepanek.

Lane (Kukuihaele, HI)

Bonnie ROGER or ANDY? In how many sets?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (5:03 PM)

Garber says Fed in four. I think it might go five. I don't care if I'm wrong, as long as it's a good match.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (5:04 PM)

That's all folks... join us tomorrow for more slicing and dicing.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:01 PM)

We're baaaaack... welcome to all.

Sean ( West Covina, Ca )

What a match between ARod and Fed. That was the best performance ever from Roddick. Unfortunately, he was playing against the man beyond this world. Is there any hope for ARod to win a slam when Federer is still around? Thanks

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:03 PM)

everyone here -- and from the looks of our site, around the country -- is still talking about it. Andy lifted his game and Roger countered by lifting his... I would say Roddick's best chance (and this goes for pretty much everyone else in the Top 10 aside from Nadal) is to get Federer on a bad day, which he does have once in a while. I'm not sure how much better Andy could have played through the first two sets last night.

Julia Nevenkas Boise, Idaho

Do you think Justine Henin is stronger on clay than Chris Evert was?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:05 PM)

Not yet, Julia. Evert's utter domination is more comparable to Nadal's, though obviously the depth of the field in today's men's game is different than the women's game of the 1970s. Still, Chrissie was and still is the standard.

Jason (toronto, canada)

Was last night the best chance A-Rod will ever have to beat Fed at a Grand Slam? - 23,000 cheering for him, a night match (making A-Rod's serve harder to pick up), 2 opponents who retired against him (making him well rested), a full year under Connors. He had every possible advantage outside of a Federer injury and John Roddick sitting in the umpire's chair! What else can the guy do?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:07 PM)

I hear you, Jason. See my response of two posts ago. I think when the pain fades, Roddick will take a couple positives away from this match -- his focus, intensity level and game plan were excellent. That's all he can control.

Jon (Washington, DC)

Predictions - Henin or Venus? Djok or Fed?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:10 PM)

I'm giving Venus a slight, slight edge. As well as they're both playing, it's really a toss-up.Venus is 7-1 against her, but incredibly, they have not played in almost 5 years. As for the other match... Djokovic will be pretty beat up by the time he gets to Federer, and even if he weren't, Fed has to be heavily favored to win his 12th Slam.

Lane (Kukuihaele, HI)

Roddick believes he has enough talent to beat Federer. Unfortunately Federer KNOWS he can beat Roddick and anyone else. It's over give Roger the US Open championship.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:11 PM)

I see your point.

CT (San Diego, CA)

How long do you see the Djokovic/Moya match going tonight? Both seem to be playing long matches. Looking way ahead to next year, how will the 2008 US Open be effected by the Olympics? Do you think we will see a lot more big name players playing doubles for the sake of preparing for the Olympics? I don't really know how tennis works in the Olympics but could you imagine the photo frenzy there will be if Ivanovic and Jankovic were playing doubles for Serbia.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:13 PM)

Welcome, CT. Did you know San Diego is a candidate site for the Davis Cup final, should the US beat Sweden and Russia beats Germany? Others are Portland OK City and Winston-Salem.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:14 PM)

Djokovic-Moya could be a lengthy one. Good thing it starts at 7. Djokovic should win, but if it drags out it could come at the expense of his fitness for the semi -- where he'll face another tireless Spainiard.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:17 PM)

My understanding about the Olympics is that they're placing the tennis competition first so that there is some time gap between that and the U.S. Open. Obviously the US hardcourt season will be affected. And yes, Ivanovic-Jankovic could be a wondrous combination. Most countries don't have "natural" doubles combinations (the US men are an exception with the Bryan Bros.) so you could see some marquee tandems, but it's more likely you'll see one specialist and one singles player. Not sure how much the singles players will feel they have to prepare.

Matthew (Omaha)

Maybe I missed something....I watched the match last night and never once did I get the feeling that Andy was going to win. He only had one break point the entire match! I know he played hard, but if one break point is the best he can play then he will never have a shot to beat Federer.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:19 PM)

Matthew, whenever a set goes to a tiebreak and a big server is involved, that player has put himself in a position to win. The tiebreaks were 5 and 4 -- and if either had gone the other way, the match could -- and I emphasize COULD -- have gone differently.

Bonang, Houston, TX

Does anybody still doubt Roger's mastery of the game? I am no fan of Andy's but he got my respect last night. Played his best but Roger was not to be denied. Can Davydenko really challenge the Swiss maestro?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:20 PM)

I don't see Fed-Davydenko as much of a contest.

Meredith (Miami,FL)

What are Nadal's chances going into the last part of the season? Do you see him finishing the year strong?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:22 PM)

Hi Meredith -- we'll see how Nadal recuperates. He's been ground down, but I'm sure he'll try to get healthy for the Masters Series events in Paris and Madrid, and then the year-ender.

Var (Boston)

Roddick's awkward movement kills him against Federer. Unlikely he'll be able to overcome that disadvantage in an important match.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:24 PM)

Var, who doesn't have a disadvantage against Federer? he makes everyone look helpless at some point or another. I thought Andy covered the court well last night.

Upper marlboro, md

Who do think will win between Venus and Justine based on their previous matches?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:32 PM)

Again, when two top players haven't faced each other in five years -- very unusual -- there are some interesting variables. Henin is 1-7 vs. Venus but she is much more battle-tough than she was back in 03 when they last played, and her serve in particular has improved in speed and placement. I asked my buddy and tennis analyst extraordinaire Peter Bodo how he thinks Venus' game has changed in that stretch and he said she seems to be hitting flatter -- with less topspin -- which could give her more muscle on the big points. Venus' second serve was off noticeably against Jankovic and she'll need to watch that because Justine will punish her. Should be a great, great match.

John, Virginia

Let's say that Federer just skip the entire 2008 season...does he have enough ranking points that he wouldn't fall out of at least the Top 10?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:33 PM)

John, I'll suggest that to Roger and I'm sure the other guys will go for it... but seriously...

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:33 PM)

John, I'll suggest that to Roger and I'm sure the other guys will go for it... but seriously...

Greg Garber
  (4:35 PM)

Greetings, folks. Geg Garber here in relief of Bonnie. We're good to go for another 30 minutes. Hit me...

Jen, scarborough

David Ferrer is having a great hard court season. Why haven't we heard from him before?

Greg Garber
  (4:38 PM)

Jen: Just got out of david ferrer's press conference following his quarterfinal victory over Juan Ignacio Chela. This is Ferrer's first Grand Slam semifinal and he gave two reasons: 1) His return of serve and 2) the slower courts here that make it coser to the clay game he grew up with. According to most, Federer and Ferrer have the best return of serve on the ATP. Federer said last night that he thinks Ferrer is No. 1. Ferrer almost blushed when we told him what Roger said. It's great to see a guy with his grit get this far.

Dennis (New Rochelle, NY)

Who's your pick in the Venus-Henin semi-final, and is that winner the clear favorite to win it all? I'm rooting for Venus all the way!

Greg Garber
  (4:42 PM)

Dennis: This is a really tough one. Through the entire draw, they have produced the best results. Henin has been sharper, but Venus has big-time game on the biggest stages. I tend to think Henin is going to win. Venus made a tone of errors last night against Jankovic -- and some almost cost her the match. JJ had a break point at 4-3 in the third and was within two points of the match twice. Also, Venus didn;t do enough with JJ's weak serve and Henin brings it across the net much faster and better placed. I'll take Henin in three.

Amit (San Francisco)

Is it just me or has Federer gotten a little slimmer? He seems to be even quicker than usual this tournmanent, is this something he has tried to work on as he gets a little older or just something I'm imagining?

Greg Garber
  (4:45 PM)

Amit, good to have you aboard. You ar not dreaming. As he has gotten older, he has worked harder on fitness and though he doesn't get any credit for it, it has helped his game. Jesse Levine, the emerging young American who left the University of Florida to turn pro, told me he was one of three hitting partners for Federer in Dubai. Federer would hit for an hour againt one, then the next, then the next. In 100-degree heat! Federer looks leaner and meaner and, as the years go by, this will help him steal a few more Grand Slam titles.

Tommy (White Plains, NY)

Hey Greg, greetings from a nearby suburb...is it too early to dream of the possibility of Federer winning his 15th Grand Slam at Wimbledon '08? With Nadal's increasing injury trouble, he may have his best shot yet at the French in '08, and he is an astounding 80-1 at the 3 other three majors since the start of '04!

Greg Garber
  (4:48 PM)

Tommy: Isn't White Plains also the home of the USTA? Your numbers are amazing and, yes, Federer could ecclipse Pete Sampras by this time next year. Hard to beleve, but true.

Misael, Mexico City

Do you see Davydenko taking even ONE SET from Roger??

Greg Garber
  (4:49 PM)

Misael: Well, Lopez and Isner managed to do it, but not Roddick. Davydenko doesn't have the weapons of any of them. The Russian is a human backboard, but Federer will have ample opportunity to make some ridiculous winners. Straight sets, I beieve.

Lane (Kukuihaele, HI)

Has anyone heard from Kim Clijsters? Is she thinking about coming back?

Greg Garber
  (4:50 PM)

Lane: Unlike Lindsay Davenport, who had her first baby and is headed back to play some matches afer returning in doubles in New Haven, Clijsters seems quite content back on the farm in Belgium. She had some serious injuries that hastened her retirement.

Adi (Toronto)

I developed so much respect for both Jelena and Andy last night. They fought valiantly, and were very gracious in defeat. Jelena's defence was amazing and her joyful personality was on full display! On to my question - how on earth was Roger able to return Andy's 146 mph serve? that was completely unbelievable!

Greg Garber
  (4:53 PM)

Well done, Adi. What people in the gam will tell you is that Roddick's serve, while huge, is sometimes predictable. Federer hits the ball 15-20 mph softer, yet guess who had more aces last night, 15-14? Yes, Federer. It's like pitching; placement and changing speeds is just as important as having the big fastball.

Kevin (Toronto)

Projection question... when do you think it's possible for Federer to lose his No. 1 ranking? I have no faith in Djok or Nadal de-throning him so will we have to wait until Federer starts to play less tournaments and falls off a little when he ages. Maybe 2009? Earlier? Later?

Greg Garber
  (4:55 PM)

Kevin: Canada weighs in again. According to the ATP folks, it wuld have been possible for Nadal to displace Federer if he had won here and again at the season-ending tournament in Shanghai. But now that can't happen. As long as Federer manages to stay inspired -- maybe three, four more years? -- those guys probably aren;t going to catch him. At some point though, as with Pete Sampras, winning Grand Slams will mean more than being ranked No. 1.

John, Virginia

Is there any chance of Jennifer Capriati to return? If there is could you give me an estimated time of when we may see her again?

Greg Garber
  (4:57 PM)

John: Probably not. She's endured TWO shoulder injuries and it doesn't look good.

Lane (Kukuihaele, HI)

Bonnie didn't pick a winner for the Venus-Justine match. Do you know who she likes to win?

Greg Garber
  (4:58 PM)

Lane: Bonnie says she'll take Venus with a slight edge.

Joe (Ahambra, CA)

hi, greg! around the end of this year, federer and sampras will play three exhibition matches in asia. do you think pete will be able to muscle even a set from federer during these three matches given federer will play at full throttle in the exo's?

Greg Garber
  (4:59 PM)

Joe: Sure. Don't you think Roger will throw him a bone? Pete invited him o the house in LA, where they hot a few times this year. Those exhibitions are always close affairs.

Colleen (Wallingford, PA)

Do you know what Davydenko has done in recent years to step his game/ranking up so much? I looked at his stats, and the guy was 7-12 in Grand Slam matches between '02-'04, and hes 41-11 in Slams since the start of '05, not to mention a huge jump in rankings. Basically he seems to have come out of nowhere, what gives?

Greg Garber
  (5:00 PM)

Colleen: Davydenko is quick and efficient and has scary hand-eye coordinaton, like a great goalie. He's fit and as Jim Courier says, has made himself the best player he can possibly be. He may never rise above No. 4, but that is Courier's greatest compliment.

Willy (Boca Raton, FL)

Hey Greg, do you give either Kuznetsova or Chakvetadze a chance in the finals? I think they are really being overlooked; after all, their combined seeds (4+6=10) is even less than the much heralded Henin/Venus pairing (1+12=13) and Kuznetsova in particular seems to be really in form in this event...

Greg Garber
  (5:02 PM)

Willy: there's always a chance, right? Henin was stunned by Bartoli in the Wimbledon semifinals. It could happen, but I don't see it. Kuznetsova has won it here, but she isn;t playing as well as she was in 2004. Baby Chak is still too young.

Paul (Philadelphia)

Greg, not sure how many more of the chats are in store, so I just wanted to say thanks for all the hard work on articles and willingness to chat with us during all of the Slams this year, it is truly appreciated by us tennis junkies out there!!

Greg Garber
  (5:03 PM)

It's been Bonnie and my pleasure. It's nice to know there are folks out ther who appreciate the effort.

Gainesville, FL

Do you think any player (male or female) will ever win a "Golden Slam" like Graf did in 1988?

Greg Garber
  (5:04 PM)

FLA: Federer almost did it twice, by nearly winning at Roland Garros. With Rafa's recent injury history, it culd happen in each of the next three years. Not sure it culd happen on the women's side, where parity reigns.

Perry (Waco, TX)

Is Jankovic the Davydenko of the women's game (or vice versa)? Players with tennis games that seem underwhelming at first, play ridiculous ironman schedules, and yet always seem to be into the quarters or semis at Slams without actually truly threatening to win one?

Greg Garber
  (5:05 PM)

After watching Jankovic almos beat Venus with no serve and nothing left in her legs, I'd say she will win a Grand Slam title -- or two. Same with Djokovic. As they get older, they will get stronger.

Lane (Kukuihaele, HI)

Who do you like in the NO-Indy game? Do you think this game will take ayaw viewers from the Open?

Greg Garber
  (5:07 PM)

Lane: You are correct. Once football strats tonight, tennis will be back under the radar. I'll take the Colts, despite the fact they have no D. With Peyton Manning at quarterback, it doesn't matter..Enjoy the Djokovic-Moy match tonight and we'll be back at you on Friday....

Keith Hawkins
  (3:53 PM)

Hello, I am today's Lucky Loser, filling in for Greg Garber. Svetlana Kuznetsova is in the final after playing an ugly first set. We are all assuming the second semifinal will have much better action

Chris, (Staten Island, NY)

What are the chances of Nadal improving enough on grass and hard courts where he can be a real threat to Federer consistently on those surfaces.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:03 PM)

I think it's already happening, Chris... as judged by this year's wimbledon final, and Nadal's win at Indian wells. The key for Nadal will be staying healthy.

Jason (Canada)

Venus tried to defend Serena's comments by saying that she really hates to lose. I have nothing against trying to defend your little sister, but this excuse doesn't wash. Nadal refused to blame his injured knee for his loss and acted with class. Does this mean Nadal enjoys losing? How about Jelena Jankovic? She didn't label Venus as "lucky" or try to blame her overloaded playing schedule. She acted with amazing class, but you could see how badly the loss hurt her. Sorry, there is no good excuse for Serena.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:05 PM)

Let's hope there's not a repeat performance from Serena anytime soon. Most of us in thr press room thought she would have been better served to not show up for the post-match interview and take the ($10,000) fine. Not that we want to set a precedent.

tom (minneapolis, mn)

having the semis and finals on consecutive days may work on the women's side, but on the men's? let me guess... "SuperSaturday" is great for ratings!! wait til this backfires when one of the finalists comes up lame.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:07 PM)

Hi Tom. That debate will rage on forever, probably, but both guys are in the same boat. A player's fitness for the final doesn't just depend on the semi but on how much time he's spent cumulatively on the court throughout the tournament.

claude(paris,France)

it's quite scary how Federer's supremacy seems to bother quite a number.but please can honour be given to whom it's due.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:08 PM)

Claude -- thanks for writing from my favorite city in the world. I do think Federer is getting honor from a lot of quarters... but anytime an athlete is dominant in any sport, some people will complain that it's boring. I happen to disagree.

Rohan ( Bombay, India)

Hi. I watched Roddick v/s Federer and thought that Andy played realy well. Only on a few points , he went to Fed's forehand and got passed at the net. I definitely think that if he keeps attacking fed's backhand and goes to the net, he has a shot at winning for sure. What do you think? What is the future of Roddick and Connors' relationship from here on? Thanks for doing a great job.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:12 PM)

Another country heard from. Thanks for weighing in, Rohan. Several people have suggested that hitting high topspin shots to Roger's backhand is one of the few ways a player has to make him uncomfortable. Easier said than done, but I'm sure guys will keep trying to probe for weaknesses in his game.

jen (scarborough)

despite the loss today, is chakvetadze now right up there with the serbs for best young player?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:16 PM)

She hasn't made quite the splash media--wise, probably because we've quickly come to expect young Russians to rise through the ranks, but she has shown the ability to win on all surfaces and seems to have great drive to get better.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:17 PM)

Chalk today up to being her first GS semi -- she'll learn from it, and she'll be back, I think.

Lane (Kukuihaele, HI)

It's boring if the athlete doesn't have charisma or flair.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:18 PM)

Lane, I;m bored with people saying Federer is boring. Why? Because if he were a brat, people would be complaining about that. What is boring about classy behavior? How can anyone say Federer's game lacks flair when he hits shots no one else can? I just don't get it.

Thomas Arlington VA

Djokovic says that if he wins the US Open he's going to get naked? Do you really think he will go through with it?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:20 PM)

No, as he proved last night, he can be entertaining enough with clothes on. I don't think he'll get the chance to do a strip tease this year -- perhaps in the not too distant future, though.

GatorEagle from Gainesville, FL

Bonnie or Greg, how do you define GOAT (Greatest of all time)? Is is multiple slams is singles, doubles, both? wins in davis/fed cup, olympic gold? Or some combination of all these factors. I mean, Pete could be considered GOAT for now (certainly Roger), what about John McEnroe - 7 singles slams, 9 in doubles, most wins in davis cup? Just curious to see what the different criteria are for what defines GOAT?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:24 PM)

Hi G-E (interesting handle!) There's no universal standard, and it's hard to compare players across eras, as we all know. Most experts tend to throw Rod Laver into the mix, too. I would say with some certainty that the Slams form the standard -- Olympic competition is too recent and isn't considered the pinnacle the Slams are, and Davis Cup success is contingent on having at least one other accomplished player from your country who is a contemporary, which obviously isn't in your control.

Jason

Have any players made comments about what they think of Novak's imitations of them (eg. Sharapova, Nadal)? Are they offended or do they think its funny?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:24 PM)

Let's put it this way -- I can't wait for the reactions.

Lane (Kukuihaele, HI)

Controversy sells Bonnie. You're a great reporter so you know that. People don't want to hear about classy behavior they want to hear about trashy behavior. It's a biggeer story if if a person has flaws.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:27 PM)

Well -- if that's true, it still doesn't mean I have to bend my reporting around that. I think Federer has been a mighty big story despite the fact that he has a clean rap sheet.

Jason

I hope Novak doesn't do an imitation of Serena. I don't think she (or her Dad) would take it very well.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:29 PM)

Jason, like Roger, Serena may be un-imitatable.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:30 PM)

Folks -- I'm about to turn you over to tennis editor extraordinaire Keith Hawkins, standing in for Greg Garber today. Thanks as always for joining me.

Keith Hawkins
  (4:32 PM)

Now the lucky loser is in the chair.

Tom (MI)

Tought match for Roddick... I'm liking Djokivic to win it all. your thoughts?

Keith Hawkins
  (4:35 PM)

Tom, he did play real well for two sets. One day he will break Federer (he had match points against him Shanghai so he can beat Fed). As for Djokovic, he is the real deal and might be the next Slam winner not named Federer or Nadal. Do I think he wins if he faces Federer? I dont because Fed -- unless he plays porrly -- is just so fit and I dont know if Novak can go the distance. Fed just wears people down.

Lane (Kukuihaele, HI)

Anyone who has the accomplishments Federer has deserves the press he has. But why is everyone now interested in a guy doing impressions of other tennis players?

Keith Hawkins
  (4:36 PM)

Interesting point, Lane. He did get a lot of laughs in the press room when they replayed it over and over. He is a characater and has a lot of charisma. I am curious what other players thought of his antics after winning a QF match.

GatorEagle from Gainesville, FL

Thanks Bonnie! I thought as much - no universal standard to what defines GOAT....here's something else to consider, what player in the near future or distant future can come close to what Graf did in 1988 (win all 4 grand slams and the olympic gold - "Golden Slam")? But thanks for your comments - esp. the fact that one can't really compare players across generations.

Keith Hawkins
  (4:39 PM)

Bonnie is the real deal on these. What player comes close (other than Fed)? You have to go with Henin. She reached the final of all four Slams in '06 and she is the most consistent player on tour. Ana Ivanovic could also be someone who COULD do it if the draw falls in her favor. She has a solid hard-court game and could be a semifinalist in Oz in January.

jason (canada)

After the French Open, there has been a lot of talk about how the "Federer intimidation" factor has decreased? Do you think that its back now? I think it is. I think its back because 2 of the biggest servers in the game (Isner &#x26; Roddick) brought their best heat - Fed took 1 or 2 sets to figure them out, and then dismantled them with cold precision. At the same time, both Agassi and McEnroe spent over 2 hours gushing about how amazing he is. Its scary, but in less than a week, we've gone back to conceding the title to the mighty Fed.

Keith Hawkins
  (4:44 PM)

I think if Djoker is in the final he might get caught up more in the moment than Darth Federer. He's played him enough to know his game -- but he hasn't played him on this stage for a Slam final. Ferrer has been playing his best tennis and I just wonder how much gas he would have left in the tank. Fed intimidates some but Roddick tradeded punches with him for two sets.

Tom (MI)

Do you think that Serena needs to condition a lot harder so she is in shape for her next slam? and she should also stop with the excuses. How you play a match sums it all up.

Keith Hawkins
  (4:47 PM)

Tom, I think Serena showed us in 2007 that when she shows up she can use the first few rounds to get in shape to play 7 Slam matches in 13 days. More fitness couldnt hurt, but hard to argue with what she's done this year. Her fitness isnt what got her beat the other night. Henin is playing fantastic right now (about to serve for the first set vs. Venus). She could have been much more gracious and while she made excuses and said she lost/Henin didnt win. Sure some of it was the moment but you could tell she just didnt want to be in the press center afterwards and it showed

CT(San Diego)

Speaking of Ivanovic, it seems like everyone is saying it is inevitable that the 3 Serbs will be Slam winners. What slam do you think each Serb will win as their first? I.E. Ivanovic French Open / Jankovic Wimbledon / Djokovic US Open, I just threw those out there.

Keith Hawkins
  (4:51 PM)

I'll give Ivanovic her first Slam title in Australia (I had her winning here, so shows you what I know); Jankovic at Wimbledon and Djokovic at Oz. Now whether those happen next year we'll see. But I dont see anyone beating Henin and Nadal at the French or Federer on grass (other than Nadal) next year.

Adi (Toronto)

Hi Keith, Henin is currently showing Venus why she is #1. Why do you think venus seems so lackluster this afternoon?

Keith Hawkins
  (4:53 PM)

Adi, as soon as you say that Venus has a break point. While Venus does tend to need some time to get into the first set, Henin just doenst slam the door shut when she has the chance. And now Venus has broken back. I just think Henin gets a tad tight when she can close a set/match out (see Miami).

Var (Boston)

Roddick getting matchpoints against Fed in Shanghai does not prove he can beat Fed. All it proves is he can compete with him if Fed is having an off day. Andy has no chance against Federer in a slam, but might score a win in a lesser tournament if Federer is off his game.

Keith Hawkins
  (4:55 PM)

Beating Federer in a best of five outside of clay has been virtually impossible since 2005. Yes Fed does have to have a down day and Roddick has to have his A-game going...and yes a best of three would be the best place to knock off Federer.

Keith Hawkins
  (4:56 PM)

Folks thanks for chiming in today. The rest of the Henin-Venus match will be one worth watching. Garber and Ford will be happy to talk with you about it on Saturday at 4 ET.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:05 PM)

Greetings from Flushing Meadows on Super Saturday. What on your minds?

Woytek (Cracow, Poland)

I just ended watching first semi-final and was VERY impressed by the way how Djokovic played. After that 1:4 in the first he took full control, and was hitting the ball without any pressure, seemed completly relaxed; he was playing his own game. And beside that, he is still making not that small number of easy faults, which can be eliminated trough training - that only shows how scary good he can be, and become a true Federer's rival on hard courts. BTW 'we' have got Polish players in both girls and boys finals :)

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:07 PM)

Hi Woytek -- I agree with you on all counts about Djokovic. He has what could be an important disadvantage tomorrow, though, as he has spent many more hours on court than Federer (assuming Fed wins).

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:08 PM)

Is there much talk about the Radwanska sisters in Poland? For those who don't know -- Ursula Radwanska, sister of the woman who upset Sharapova, is in the junior final.

Gerald Harley Toronto, Canada

Do you think Sharapova's career is taking a tumble because of her lucrative endorsements with Cannon and Nike?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:11 PM)

No, absolutely not. Her problem this year has been injury and yips on her serve. Some might argue she needs some fresh eyes coaching-wise. But I would hardly call her career in free-fall -- although Kuznetsova will pass her for No. 2 next week.

Lucie Matthews Dallas, Texas

With Kuzentsova, Henin, Jankovic making the cut for Madrid, what players do you think will join them, and are players like Bammer and Golovin still in contention?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:14 PM)

Sharapova, Chakvedatze and the two Williams sisters are best positioned at the moment.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:14 PM)

By the way, lots of newcomers on the chat today -- thanks for joining us.

Jill Flamnok Lake Placid, New York

Do you think Martina Hingis will ever win another singles Grand Slam?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:16 PM)

Jill, the chances of that dropped precipitously this season, Martina had a wonderful run last year and she is still capable of winning a regular WTA event here and there, but she has to be in perfect shape and playing her best game to compete at the Slams and her hip injury has prevented that.

victor (monroe,la)

Bonnie who will win the women,s final tonight?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:19 PM)

Henin, fairly easily, I think.

Nikita (Boston, Massachusetts)

I'm unable to watch the Davydenko-Federer match. Is there high level tennis in the match and Federer is just a bit better, or is Roger just flatly dominating.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:20 PM)

Others can weigh in on this but I would say that Davydenko came out very strongly... he broke Roger in the first game and almost broke him again to go up 4-1. Davydenko's speed and movement help him stay in every rally.

Jack Harelsena Culver City, California

Which American is the better doubles player, Liezel Huber or Lisa Raymond?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:24 PM)

Hi Jack --Not to take anything away from Huber, who has had a wonderful year with her partner Cara Black --but I think Lisa has proved herself at this level for a longer stretch, and spent much of her early career hanging in there as a singles player too.

Joe (Monterey Park, CA)

hi, bonnie! federer is playing his semifinals match against davydenko right now, however, federer is not playing his A-game. he made some uncharacteristic errors and wasn't quite good on returning his oppoonent's serves. additionally, his first serve percentage is low (only 49%, and it's not enough to get it done against djokovic if he wins today), he is not moving as quick as he used to generally speaking. so, do you think if federer is to play novak tomorrow, do you think he will be upset by djokovic? and if so, you think federer's era will show signs of ending after this hypothetical loss?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:27 PM)

Joe, I don't think the Federer era is anywhere close to winding down. Djokovic has as good a chance as anyone to give Roger a match tomorrow. As for today, I think the conditions may be playing a part in how he looks.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:30 PM)

I'm about to turn you over to Greg Garber for Act II of our chat. Please stay with us and check in again tomorrow for the grand finale!

Greg Garber
  (4:31 PM)

Greetings, tennis fans. Greg Garber here in relief of Bonnie Ford. We're saddled in for another 30 minutes of chatting as the appetizer for tonight's prime-time women's final. Send those questions along...

Martha Beech Orlando, Florida

If Roger Federer played Bjorn Bjorg during his reign at Wimbledon and the French, who do you think would win on Grass?

Greg Garber
  (4:37 PM)

Martha: You're getting a little ahead of yourself but if Federer wins his 12th Grand Slam singles title on Sunday -- Borg had 11 -- folks will be asking that very question. Clearly, Borg was unrivaled at Roland Garros. he won six titles in eight years. Federer may NEVER win there. At Wimbledon, it's interesting. Borg won five straight and Federer now has five as well. While Wimbledon plays slower than it used to, making it more like clay, I tend to think Federer would come out on top over Borg.

Kathleen (NY,NY)

The crowd seems very blah about the matches. What's your take? Personally, I found Roger hard to root for. Too slick, too put together, too European (in a way that makes Roger seem a little soft). I guess I like more macho athletes. Oh well!

Greg Garber
  (4:39 PM)

Kathleen: You're not the first to make that observation; Mary Carillo just referenced how quiet the crowd was. The fact is, Federer is so good, he drains most matches of their color and competitiveness. The man bag probably doesn't help his cool Euro image, but he is an artist. I'll take substance over macho style -- but that's just me. My wife would probably side with you.

Trevor Parker San Jose, California

Who do you think is more likely to win all 4 majors in one year, Roddick or Blake?

Greg Garber
  (4:41 PM)

trevor: That's a trick question, right? Neither player will ever win the French Open and Blake will probably never win a major until he notches down his flat, high-risk game. If I had to answer that seriously, I'd say Roddick -- but, to coin a phrase, you cannot be serious.

Nikita (Boston, Massachusetts)

For someone ranked #4, I think Davydenko gets very little mention among the top players. Do you think he's ranking is inflated or that he is playing to the extent of his potential?

Greg Garber
  (4:43 PM)

Nikita: I like what Jim Courier said the other day on the USA Network. He said he though Davydenko would never be No. 1, but that he had made himself the bst player he could be -- the ultimate compliment. As long as the ranking system is set up the way it is (quantiity is disproportinate to quality), guys like davydenko will be in the top five. Look at the womens side. Svetlana Kuznetsova, who is 2-14 against Henin, will be ranked No. 2 to her No. 1 on Monday. How crazy is that?

Chris, (Staten Island, NY)

Are there any men on the horizon who can challenge Federer? The guy is killing tennis! It's a miracle anyone even wins a set from him. At least in the past, other dominant players have had some competition, McEnroe and Connors for Borg and Agassi for Sampras, but with Federer, it's almost not worth watching him beat one after another in straight sets!

Greg Garber
  (4:46 PM)

Chris, you raise a good point that will enter the debate as Federer closes in on Sampras' record of 14 majors. Sampras was a contemporary of Agassi, Becker and Lendl. Federer overlapped with Sampras and Agassi at the end of their careers and now he has Nadal and Djokovic, who will grow in stature as they mature.

Jason Carter San Diego, California

Victoria Azarenka has just won the Mixed Doubles title. Do yo think this is the start of a great legacy for her?

Greg Garber
  (4:51 PM)

Jason: Good call. Azaranka, from Belarus, is only 18 years old and she's ranked No. 41 in the world. She reached the quarters in Los Angeles and is having a terrific season. I don't know if she'll have a "great" legacy, but she's in that group of super teens that includes Radwanska, Szavay, Paszek, etc

RAY ( JACKSONVILLE FLA)

SO FAR IN ANN ARBOR ORE DICKIES 18 YES 18 MIICH 7

Greg Garber
  (4:52 PM)

Ray: Thanks for the update...

Greg Garber
  (4:54 PM)

looking ahead to the women's final, is there anyone out there who thinks Kuznetsova has a ghost of a chance? Kuznetsova actually ended an 0-for-10 run earlier this year with a victory -- and, she won here in 2004 -- but this is a Grand Slam final and Henin will prevail.

John, Virginia

What do you think of Serbia's chances in the Fed Cup the next 3-5 years? With Jankovic and Ivanovic it seems like they will be Champions.

Greg Garber
  (4:55 PM)

John: As long as they vstay healthy, Jankovic and Ivanovic give the women a great shot. Jankovic isn;t a bad doubles player, either.

Greg Garber
  (4:57 PM)

Thanks for all your questions. It's been a terrific fortnight. Federer seems to have the match against Davydenko in hand. Enjoy the women's final and see you tomorrow before the men's final...

Greg Garber
  (3:55 PM)

Greetings, tennis fans, for the last time this Grand Slam season. It's been a good run and now we're down to one more match: Federer-Djokovic. Should be a good one. Many media folks here are picking the 20-year-old Serbian in an upset. Fire those questions along. I'll take you to match time and Bonnie Ford will finish the hour...

Susan L. Meejsakas Baltimore, Maryland

All the previous meetings have been in tight 3 sets for Djokovic and Federer. Do you think today will be any different?

Greg Garber
  (3:58 PM)

Susan: While all five previous matches between these guys DID go three sets, two of them were actually best-of-five matches, 2006 davis Cup and this year's Australian Open. Federer won both in straight sets. Djokovic's win in Montreal month ago changes the chemistry a bit. How much, we shall see in about four hours.

Steven Muylan Bradenton, Florida

Do you think Federer and Henin would make a good mixed doubles team?

Greg Garber
  (4:00 PM)

Steven: They'd be awfully good because they both have terrific hand-eye coordinaton and volley skills. That said, the best teams have a special chemistry between them and sometims singles players don;t mesh well.

Jimmy Richardson Cancun, Mexico

If another country hosted a Grand Slam, what country do you think it should be?

Greg Garber
  (4:01 PM)

Jimmy: The way the season has gone, let's make the Serbian Open the fifth major. The country is on fire for tennis after the rise of Djokovic, Ivanovic and Jankovic.

Nicole Harvey Little Rock, Arkansas

Would you see Anna Chakvatadze is better condition than Sharapova to win a Grand Slam title?

Greg Garber
  (4:05 PM)

Nicole: This is a great question. We saw Chakvetadze make some excellent advances this year. I'll still take Sharapova (next year's Wimbledon). She's got the big game and the killer instinct to win a third title. I DO think Chakvetadze will break through soon...

Joel Fencen LA, California

Can Venus ever be No. 1 again?

Greg Garber
  (4:09 PM)

Joel: This is a question only Venus herself can answer. I think if we were talking about her sister Serena, it would be a definite no. Venus is 27 now and has shown signs of a comeback, winning two of three Wimbledons. I'm not sure she has the stamina and motivation to grind for a whole year. I think Jankovic and some of the teenagers from Eastern Europe have more of the mindset to achieve that.

Hannah Cohen Jacksonville, Florida

Do you think Bartoli can emerge into the Top 5? After all she is in the Top 10.

Greg Garber
  (4:12 PM)

Hannah: Bartoli is an interesting case. She really doesn't LOOK like a tennis player. She's a little soft around the dgs and she has a quirky game. I tend to think that reaching the Wimbledon final was something of a fluke. Again, I see those young eastern block kids going past her soon.

Justin Kollinols Wynnewood, California

Is Venus capable of defeating Ivanovic on Parisian clay?

Greg Garber
  (4:13 PM)

Justin: Capabale, certainly, but not a likely scenario. Clay is grueling and requires a steady game. If you saw Venus spraying forehands around here at the US Open, you wouldn't like her chances in Paris, where consistency is the key...

Courtney Vinerswak Richfield, Minnesota

Will Serena ever win at Roland Garrros again?

Greg Garber
  (4:14 PM)

Courtney: In a companion question, I'd also say no to Serena. A this stage of her carer, she hasn't been consistent at all.

Carly Hummer St. Paul, Minnesota

Nathalie Dechy reached the Semis of the Australian Open in '05. Does she have what it takes to do something like that again?

Greg Garber
  (4:17 PM)

Carly: She just won Grand Slam title -- somehting most players don't have in their resume -- playing doubles with Dinara Safina. But, that said, the Frenchwoman is 27 and having watched a few of her Grand Slam matches this year, I'd have to say it probably isn't going to happen...

Haley Barnes Frankfurt, Kentucky

Paszek, Szavay, Azarenka, and Radwanska have impressed me at this year's US Open. I think Szvay has the best chance of winning a Singles Grand Slam. How about you?

Greg Garber
  (4:18 PM)

Haley: I was impresed wih Szavay when she playd eight matches in eight days, qualifying through the finals, at Pilot Pen. She had a nice run here, too. Whie her ranking has risen more dramatically than the other teens you mentioned, I'm not sure she's the pick of the litter. We'll know as soon as next year.

Katherine Damiseicas Ann Harbor, Michigan

In your oppinion what rivalry is better: Connors and McEnroe, or Federer and Nadal?

Greg Garber
  (4:20 PM)

Katherine: While Connors-McEnroe was more of a thing in the US -- at a time when tennis was bigger than ever -- I'd say Federer-Rafa has a bigger global impact, in terms of numbers of fans who pay attention.

Peggy Halnasekas Cincinnati, Ohio

What women's player is mostly like to emerge into the Top 10 first: Peer, Bammer, or Golovin?

Greg Garber
  (4:24 PM)

Peggy: based on what we saw here, you'd have to say Peer. She's tough and she's got some power from the baseline. Golovin has been flatlining for a while and Bammer has improved dramatically in each of the last seven years but at 27, she's probably plateaued...

James C. Jones Madison, Wisconsin

What sets Henin apart from the rest of the field?

Greg Garber
  (4:26 PM)

James: She has the total package. Guts, game and technique. Henin was hitting some strong first serves last night against Kuznetsova and that backhand, well, no one has one quite like it.

John, Virginia

Does anyone have a shot in the French Open for the next couple of years as long as Justine Henin is around?

Greg Garber
  (4:27 PM)

John, as long as she's healthy, no. Rafa owns Roland Garros on the men's side and Henin is clearly the favorite among women. The tournament means more to her than any other, and the recent results (four of five in Paris) prove it.

Greg Garber
  (4:29 PM)

Thanks, folks, I've got to run out and catch the first set of the Federer-Djokovic match. Please welcome in Bonnie Ford....

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:32 PM)

Hi there everybody...

Jack Haton New York, New York

Who would you say improved more this year: Jankovic or Bammer?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:35 PM)

Just my opinion, Jack, but I think it's harder to go from the top 20 to the top 10 like Jankovic did... not to take anything away from Bammer, who had a great year. And any Mom on the tour deserves props (as well as her boyfriend who travels with her and provides child care...)

Jeremy Los Angeles

After this win by Justine is there enough to say that shes the female tennis player version of Roger Federer?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:36 PM)

Jeremy, a small group of us just had a good long talk with Justine, and I can tell you SHE's not ready for that comparison... but there's an interesting parallel in that I do think they're the acknowledged best in their sport, but have one hurdle they can't get over. I suggested to Justine that she give Roger tips on clay and he could do the same on grass. She wants Wimbledon as much as he wants the French.

Rudy

Why does it seem that players today are not gracious like Evert, Martina, etc. When those players lost they would say, "she was just too good" but playres like the williams sisters just can't seem to utter those words. It's always, I played lousy and she got lucky. I really believe that turns a lot of fans off. Evert and Martina were great competitors too, but always gave credit where credit is due. Venus &#x26; Sernena - especially Serena, seems to have a chip on their shoulders.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:38 PM)

Rudy, I'm a big etiquette fan myself, and I will tell you that most players are gracious on most occasions. The Williams sisters didn't do themselves any favors this time, perhaps, but I've seen them give credit to opponents.

Luke Pie Calgary, Canada

What is preventing Alona Bondarenko from going no farther than the 3rd Round at a Grand Slam?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:43 PM)

Luke, you're right to pick her out as someone who has been flying a little under radar. She had some injury problems early this year... keep your eye on her in the indoor season.

Wyatt (Bloomington, IN)

Do you believe the men's final will be more competitive than the women's or a similar steam rolling considering the amount of court time Djokovic has had?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:44 PM)

Hi Wyatt -- thanks for all your interest over the fortnight. It would be hard to have a LESS competitive final than we saw last night... I think this will be a better match... but you're correct that fatigue and heat could be a factor. At least the court is in shade this time of day. There was some speculation here in the press room that Federer is wearing black as a psychological tactic.

Ryan Parla Arizona City, Arizona

Do you think Nadia Petrova does better indoors? Many of her titles have been indoors including Paris and Stuggart.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:47 PM)

Indoors is the fastest surface and the one with the fewest environmental factors. But don't forget Petrova won three straight clay court events last year.

John, Virginia

Which country is going to have the next big breakthrough of players? Serbia did it this year, who is next?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:51 PM)

John, watch the sisters from Poland, Agnieska and Urzula Radwanska. "Aga" showed a lot of poise in taking down Sharapova. Her kid sister made the junior US Open finals in singles and doubles, and a Polish player was a finalist on the boys' side.

Jenny Lamesna Stanford, California

Who's Justine's worst threat on clay?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:53 PM)

Great question... If Ivanovic gets to another Roland Garros final, I'm certain she'll play better than she played last May. When Petrova and Serena Williams are in shape, they're great clay court players.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:54 PM)

That's a big if, though.

Beatrice Sully Washington DC, USA

Who do you think will be the next World No. 1 on the Men's Tour? And the women?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:56 PM)

Beatrice, we might be watching him right now, although under the right circumstances, it could be Nadal.

Tony Fisher New York, New York

Is Chakvetadze better on clay or grass?

Bonnie D. Ford
  (4:59 PM)

It's a hard call since the grass court season is so short... she did well on both this year. Her versatility is impressive and probably is a function of the fact that she's decided to mix up her pace from the baseline a lot more. Too many women hit the ball too similarly on all surfaces.

Bonnie D. Ford
  (5:01 PM)

And that's all, folks. Speaking for Greg, it's been a pleasure to spend part of our days with you during this U.S. Open. Watch the site for more chat opportunities. And enjoy the men's final!