READY OR NOT, HERE WE GO AGAIN — CAN ANYBODY BLOCK THE 1-2 PUNCHES OF MONOPOLISTS NADAL AND FEDERER?

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Can’t even fully digest 2010 as 2011 springs into view, the 44th year of open tennis –  or the 134th year since Wimbledon cranked up the original tournament. Everybody ready?  Probably not.  Not enough recuperation time during another ridiculously brief off-season as the years bump together like pigs in a pen. Life on the road …

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SIZZLING RALLIES AS NADAL WINS THE US OPEN

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NEW YORK – The reign’s in Spain now, falling mightily and mainly on the crowned head of Roundhouse Rafa. Spain, of course, has a king, Juan Carlos I, with a palace in Madrid.  A good fellow, we’re told.  But the real monarch today is young Rafa I, whose roundhouse knockout punches on a tennis court …

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BOB BRYAN AND PARTNERS KEEP WINNING MAJORS

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NEW YORK – Oldest game in the world? That’s easy – mixed doubles on a tennis court. I believe the Dead Sea Scrolls revealed that Adam and Eve won the first Eden Open over a Hittite couple, using apples  as balls.  Apparently Eve ate some apples, causing Adam to scold her:  “How can we play …

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LAST YANK GETS YANKED BEFORE QUARTERS

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NEW YORK – Lunging desperately at the little yellow ball they were eyeball-to-eyeball at the net for their last swings of the day.  The witnesses, about 15,000 of them in Arthur Ashe Stadium , were screaming, urging — most of them in the corner of the young Californian, Sam Querrey. Make the shot and hang …

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NOTHING ROTTEN IN THE STATE OF DENMARK!

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NEW YORK – Through one of his characters, Marcellus, a scribbler named Shakespeare said there was “something rotten in the state of Denmark.” But if the Bard had been among 20,000-or-so ticket-holders at an open-air theatre called Arthur Ashe Stadium yesterday, he might have reconsidered that line from his ancient soap, “Hamlet.” He would have …

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THE NEW KID IS BURIED IN BAGELS

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NEW YORK – Heavy winds coursed across the abyss called Ashe Stadium, but they didn’t blow Beatrice Capra away.  That job was left to Maria Sharapova, and she went at it devastatingly. A blonde gale wrapped in an aqua gown, screaming like a cyclone, she was miserly Maria, unwilling to part with a single game …

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EARL FLOPS, TOURNAMENT MOVES ON

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NEW YORK – Waiting for Earl… Thousands decided to wait for Earl the Hurricane at the tennis parlor in Flushing Meadows.  They packed umbrellas, raincoats, hip boots, transistors, emergency rations, perhaps collapsible row boats and kerosene lanterns. Peering at the rumpled gray sky and the US Open’s blue tennis courts, the tennis nuts were ready …

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IS NO. 371, CAPRA, GOING TO BE THE NEW OUDIN?

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NEW YORK – “…and so here I am…” Where is “here”? For the young American speaker, Beatrice Capra, the word had geographical and geneological meaning.  She was very unexpectedly taking up space in the third round of the year’s last major tennis championship, the US Open.  Wearing  a No. 371 ranking, she sent No. 20 …

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THE COMING AND GOING: HARRISON AND YOUNG

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NEW YORK — You are 11-years-old, and you’re trying to beat your old man on a tennis court.  He shellacs you.  No mercy.  But this is no casual backyard scuffle.  It’s for the men’s championship of Shreveport, Louisiana. “I wanted to win more than anything in the world at the time,” Ryan Harrison, now 18, …

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US OPEN SWEETHEART, MELANIE, KEEPS GOING

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NEW YORK – From the sea-breezed grassblades of Rhode Island’s Newport Casino in 1881 to the steaming blue asphalt slabs of Flushing Meadows, the planet’s longest-running tennis show has settled in again for a fortnight’s duels with gut-strung cudgels.  Oh, yes, I know that Wimbledon is four years older, but was dark nine years for …

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OLLIE IS A WONDER BUT FISH HAS THE TITLE

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NEWPORT, R.I. – Little guy.  Little country. Giant performance. But it wasn’t quite enough for the diminutive dynamo named Olivier Rochus, who did his best to wreck the afternoon for the homebodies – and very nearly did. You really couldn’t dislike this teddy bear of a tennis player, 5-foot-5, 140 pound Ollie.  However, he was …

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RAFA DEFENDS HIS 2008 TITLE, WINS EASILY

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LONDON – Federer and Venus got beat.  So did Roddick, Djokovic, Henin and Clijsters.  Wimbledon upsets to be sure, but not the most startling reversals as the aged tennis tournament faded away for another year. Caught up in the most incredible upset of the fortnight was none other than that veteran performer – Jupiter Pluvius. Surely you …

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