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Agnieszka Radwanska stuns Sharapova at U.S. Open

Defending champ Sharapova stunned at U.S. Open; Federer beats Isner

September 1, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) -- Pay no attention to what Maria Sharapova said after her U.S. Open title defense came to an end Saturday.

This was a case of actions speaking far louder than words, and the way things slipped away, so suddenly and stunningly, Sharapova clearly was flustered -- by the swirling wind and bright sun, by her errant strokes and, most of all, by the Krakow Kid across the net who kept moving way up to receive serves.

Sharapova reeled off eight consecutive games to go up a break in the third set, then dropped the final six games and lost 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 to 18-year-old Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in the third round, the earliest exit by a No. 2-seeded woman at the U.S. Open since 1981.

"I don't know if it was a combination of the circumstance or the wind or the opponent playing well. I don't know what it was," said Sharapova, who double-faulted a whopping 12 times. "I just didn't quite feel like me out there."

The braces-wearing, big-hitting Radwanska isn't exactly a nobody. She won junior championships at the French Open in 2005 and Wimbledon in 2006, took home her first tour title this month and came to New York seeded 30th. Still, she understood the circumstances Saturday.

"I had nothing to lose. She was the favorite -- and I think she was more nervous," said Radwanska, who will fulfill a prematch promise to her younger sister, this year's Wimbledon junior champion, by buying them matching Louis Vuitton handbags to celebrate the upset.

She wasn't the only 18-year-old from Eastern Europe who pulled off a big win Saturday: Victoria Azarenka of Belarus beat 1997 champion Martina Hingis 3-6, 6-1, 6-0, and Agnes Szavay of Hungary eliminated No. 7 Nadia Petrova 6-2, 6-3. Plus, 16-year-old Tamira Paszek of Austria knocked off No. 11 Patty Schnyder 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (1). All of which means 2004 U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova has to like her chances in the bottom half of the draw.

"You can see the new generation coming up," Hingis said.

"They're very dangerous. I knew it's not going to be easy. My mom texted me. She said, 'Watch out."'
Sharapova had lost a combined two games in her first two matches, but could have used some similar advice before facing Radwanska. If that was the most surprising result of the tournament so far, what happened later in Arthur Ashe Stadium almost would qualify: Three-time reigning men's champion Roger Federer lost a set against 6-foot-9 American wild-card John Isner, who only a few months ago was leading Georgia to the NCAA team title.

For one glorious set, the 184th-ranked Isner stayed right with the man who's been at No. 1 for a record 187 straight weeks. And when Isner ended a 13-stroke exchange with a big forehand approach shot, then smacked service winners at 134 mph and 124 mph, he took that first set in a tiebreaker.

Isner punched the air and strutted to the sideline chomping on his white towel, while his supporters, some in Georgia Bulldogs regalia, jumped and yelled and barked their approval. The partisan home crowd rose, too; pretty much the only people in their seats at the ensuing changeover were the family and friends in Federer's guest box.

Remember: Federer has won 11 Grand Slam titles, while Isner has played in three Grand Slam matches, all this week.

"Four months ago, I was unranked," Isner said. "To go from that to beating Roger Federer in a set is pretty cool."

And was going through Federer's mind at that moment?
"I'm thinking, 'This could be a really difficult match from now on. I knew it from the start, but now I have proof.' I was worried," Federer acknowledged.
And then, nearly as quickly as Sharapova came unraveled, Federer came together. Remarkably, he did not make an unforced error -- not a single one! -- during a 105-point stretch that included the entire second and third sets in his 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 victory.

Federer even conjured up a lob that curled over the second-tallest man on tour and landed in a corner.
"Doesn't happen every day," said Federer, trying to become the first man since the 1920s to win this tournament four years running.

He set up a fourth-round meeting against Feliciano Lopez, who ended the run of 18-year-old Donald Young of the United States by winning in four sets. The Federer-Lopez winner will take on the winner of No. 5 Andy Roddick vs. No. 9 Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals.

One minor upset came when No. 19 Andy Murray lost to 43rd-ranked Lee Hyung-taik 6-3, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5. Lee, in the U.S. Open's fourth round for the first time since 2000, will meet No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko, who defeated No. 28 Nicolas Almagro.

Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion and runner-up to Federer last year, zoomed 19 aces and zipped past 2002 Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson 6-3, 6-2, 6-0, then explained to the crowd, with a wink and a smile, why he was in a hurry.

"I've got to try to find myself a hot date later," said Roddick, who's dated actress Mandy Moore and been linked to Sharapova in the past, "so I tried to get off the court a little faster."

He's spoken about being pleased to see other U.S. men making strong showings, taking some of the attention away. His Davis Cup teammate, No. 6 James Blake, was to face Stefan Koubek at night, but Young and Isner couldn't keep pace on this day.

"The difference between that pressure and the pressure I have," Roddick explained, "is they lose and it's OK, you know?"

His next opponent, Berdych, is best known for upsetting Federer at the 2004 Olympics, and advanced Saturday with a 7-6 (2), 6-1, 7-6 (3) win over Fernando Verdasco.

Now Radwanska has her breakout moment, and she did it despite looking quite bad in the middle of the match.
"She destroyed me in the second set, but then I woke up," said Radwanska, who now plays No. 18 Shahar Peer of Israel, a 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (5) winner over No. 13 Nicole Vaidisova of the Czech Republic.

Sharapova always appeared bothered by one thing or another. She started the match without a visor, then added one. She tried to wait out wind gusts before serving, then would catch her toss anyway.
And then there was what kept happening before Sharapova's second serves.

Radwanska would walk halfway to the service box and stand there, before hopping in place and then shifting back some. It was not only a tactic, but also basically an insult, akin to saying, "Hey, Maria, I'm not intimidated by your serve in the least."

Sharapova insisted afterward that didn't rattle her -- "I usually don't think about where my opponent's standing," she sniffed -- yet three were all of those double-faults.

"It will be interesting to see," Sharapova said, "if she does it again next time I play her."

Updated on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 10:27 pm, EDT

You gotta love those Krakow Kids

Re: Agnieszka Radwanska stuns Sharapova at U.S. Open

I'd say she must be a spoilt brat. Tennis is only for the rich in Poland. How many tennis courts have you seen there. Not many!

Re: Agnieszka Radwanska stuns Sharapova at U.S. Open

Neil they do have sports centres in Poland! You make it sound third world.

Besides which tennis doesn't require any specialised equipment.

Re: Agnieszka Radwanska stuns Sharapova at U.S. Open

Ask a Pole if they've ever played tennis. 99% will say no. May won't even know what the sport is.

Re: Agnieszka Radwanska stuns Sharapova at U.S. Open

It's not a national sport, but then skiing isn't a national sport in the UK and you still have eddie "the eagle" edwards in the annals of british sports history

Re: Agnieszka Radwanska stuns Sharapova at U.S. Open

"Ask a Pole if they've ever played tennis. 99% will say no. May won't even know what the sport is. "

That may be the case with your local villagers. Where in the world do you live in Poland? Actually I dont want to know.

Tennis has been popular in Poland since the 1950's. It is widely played in all major cities. Not villages.

Re: Agnieszka Radwanska stuns Sharapova at U.S. Open

Absolute rot! Tennis is not at all popular in Poland.

And why is it, Mike C, you think that Poland is about major cities? Poland is overwhelming rural in nature.

Re: Agnieszka Radwanska stuns Sharapova at U.S. Open

ah yes, i thought Tennis, i thought Sopot ... Gdansk .. Gdynia.
strange that chwaszczyno never crossed my mind

Re: Agnieszka Radwanska stuns Sharapova at U.S. Open

tennis club sopot

tennis club warsaw

tennis portal

rudawa tennis club

The above is just a quick google.pl of "tenis klub". I did not realise it was quite this popular, but it seems to prove Mike's point.

Sometimes we are sitting her arguing about complete crap.....

Re: Agnieszka Radwanska stuns Sharapova at U.S. Open

“Poland is overwhelming rural in nature.”


Percentage of Urban population 2005:

Poland; 62.0
Italy; 67.5 (1970; 64.3)
Switzerland; 67.5 (1990; 68.4)
France; 76.7 (1960; 62.0)
Spain; 76.7 (1970; 66.0)
Germany; 88.5 (1950; 71.9)


Re: Agnieszka Radwanska stuns Sharapova at U.S. Open

polish tennis association tennis even has it's own association....

Take it back Hans ...you have been proved wrong!

Re: Agnieszka Radwanska stuns Sharapova at U.S. Open

According to my wife, no-one Polish she knows plays or has ever played tennis. She comes from Wroclaw. A large city in Poland. In Poland one can set up an association with FOUR people.

Re: Agnieszka Radwanska stuns Sharapova at U.S. Open

I guess these don't get used much then....

tennis courts in Wroclaw

tennis school wroclaw

more wroclaw tennis facilities

another wroclaw tennis school

tennis at wroclaw university

They have an awful lot of tennis facilities for a city where the sport is so unpopular!

Re: Agnieszka Radwanska stuns Sharapova at U.S. Open

It's called claiming and using up EU funds, anyway you can.

And don't try and be a smartass. I live here and I don't believe you do. Your average Pole has wouldn't know the difference between cricket and tennis.

Re: Agnieszka Radwanska stuns Sharapova at U.S. Open

Tennis is as Mike says becoming more popular in larger cities. Not really because Poles like the game, but, because the growing nouveau riche think the sport somehow upmarket. It's like building a large detached house with a tower or two attached and bidets in every bathroom; driving a shiny new Audi or Mercedes; or sending your kids to the most expensive private language school or for individual piano lessons. Tennis is the new must-do sport for the blocker with new money.

It's not usually tennis that Poles confuse with cricket. It's cricket and croquet

Re: Agnieszka Radwanska stuns Sharapova at U.S. Open

Victor take the lemon out of your mouth! You should learn to lose more gracefully in keeping with sporting tradition.

Re: Agnieszka Radwanska stuns Sharapova at U.S. Open

Poles basically like trying anything new, particularly sports. You are all also forgetting just how many Poles are travelling back and forth between Poland and the UK where the game is very popular. I saw some Poles playing tennis at the courts in my local park only the other day.

I wasn't aware tennis was popular since the 50s but it certainly seems to be gaining popularity now as there would not be hundreds of facilities and trainers and schools if the demand was not there (eu funds or not!). It is likely to become much more popular with Agnieszka being an example to a generation of young aspiring players.

Re: Agnieszka Radwanska stuns Sharapova at U.S. Open


Much older than that:


Re: Agnieszka Radwanska stuns Sharapova at U.S. Open

I just loved seeing Radwanska win, especially as I can't stand Sharapova. Nothing nationalistic here - I still have a soft spot for Anna Kornikova ...

Meanwhile, my village has had tennis courts for years - dating back to when it was a dirt poor farming village. Bizarrely, my wife's home village near Czarnolas is pretty well-acquainted with cricket, as I used to organise knock-around matches when I was over in Poland on my school holidays (I was a UK schoolteacher back then). I found that milk churns made excellent wickets - the bat I brought with me from England.

Re: Agnieszka Radwanska stuns Sharapova at U.S. Open

No, I won't take it back !

Tennis is not at all popular in Poland.

Perhaps it is becoming more popular, amongst a certain sort - that's as far as I'll go.