Serena Williams survives Open scare

Defending champion Serena Williams survived a first-set scare from Jelena Dokic today before charging into the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open with a 7-6 (7), 6-0 victory.

Defending champion Serena Williams survived a first-set scare from Jelena Dokic today before charging into the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open with a 7-6 (7), 6-0 victory.

Williams held off three set points in the tiebreaker in which Dokic rallied with five straight points after trailing 4-1. The second set was anticlimactic, with Dokic unable to win a game.

It was the end of an emotional run for Dokic, whose father was barred from the Open after creating a disturbance in the players' lounge.

Also moving into the quarters were top-seeded Martina Hingis, who completed a match that was delayed because of Sunday's storms, beating No. 11 Sandrine Testud 6-2, 6-1. It was her 12th consecutive victory and sixth this year against the French player, who has never defeated her.

Next for Hingis is former champion Monica Seles, who reached the quarters Sunday night by defeating old foe Jennifer Capriati.

Elena Dementieva also advanced, defeating former NCAA champion Lilia Osterloh 6-3, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5). She gets No. 10 Anke Huber, who moved on when French Open champion Mary Pierce pulled out after one set, unable to overcome recurring pain from a shoulder injury that sidelined her most of the summer.

Pierce, seeded No. 4, asked for a medical time-out trailing 5-4 in the first set against Huber. After the trainer massaged her right shoulder, she returned to center court to serve. But she double-faulted on set point, giving Huber the set, 6-4.

Pierce immediately walked to the chair and retired from the match.

"The day before yesterday, after my match with Lisa Raymond, I was 100 percent," Pierce said. "In doubles it got sore and it was sore today. Every serve I hit it got worse."

Pierce won the French Open in June, beating Monica Seles, Martina Hingis and Conchita Martinez in the last three matches. Since then, she has played just two matches, losing in the second round at Wimbledon before taking the rest of the summer off because of an irritated rotator cuff.

"I saw it right in the first service game," Huber said. "It's hard to play when you see her not 100 percent."

Play began Monday in hot, muggy conditions similar to Sunday when two rain delays stretched matches well into the night. The most compelling match came when No. 3 Magnus Norman finished on his knees, barely surviving a marathon in which he beat Max Mirnyi 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4, 7-6 (9).

From the time the first ball was struck to the final point in the fifth-set tiebreaker, Mirnyi and Norman spent 4 hours, 6 minutes on the court throwing haymakers at one another, and another four hours waiting for the weather to clear.

It was compelling tennis, perhaps the first match that reached that level in this year's final Grand Slam event.

"It was unbelievable. I have no words for it," said an exhausted Norman. "I got through, that's the important thing. I'm just happy I won."

Earlier in the evening, Seles and Capriati faced off in a resumption of what many thought might have been one of the great rivalries in women's tennis if off-court problems had not interrupted their careers.

So much has happened to them since their magical semifinal at the Open in 1991. But for one night, at least, Seles took Capriati back in time, defeating her 6-3, 6-4.

Nine years ago, they were kids - Capriati 15 and Seles 17 - and viewed as the future of American women's tennis. Seles captured a third-set tiebreaker that day and went on to win the championship, beating Martina Navratilova.

"I really don't think about that much anymore," Capriati said. "I think it's kind of annoying a little bit, to tell you the truth."

Seles recalls it more warmly.

"I think it's the first time in women's tennis you had such hard hitters," she said. "It changed the face of women's tennis."

On an unpleasant night that left them both drenched, there were few reminders of the tennis they once played at center court.

"She was just hitting them full speed," Capriati said. "She served really well. It was tough for me to break every time. That put a little more pressure on my serve."

A year ago, they played in the round of 16. After Capriati lost, she finished the day in tears, trying to bury her troubled past.

"I think she's found some peace," Seles said. "I think she's changed a lot in a year. It's great to see that. I'm probably the same. I'm pretty even through the hard times and through the good times."

Venus Williams extended her winning streak to 23 matches with a 6-2, 6-2 rubout of Magui Serna. It took the third-seeded Williams just 53 minutes to move into the quarterfinals, where she will meet No. 8 Nathalie Tauziat, who eliminated former champion Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario 6-3, 6-2. It was Tauziat's first victory over Sanchez-Vicario after 11 consecutive losses

On the men's side, No. 6 Marat Safin survived the longest day of tennis, beginning at 11 a.m. then sitting through the sudden disappearance of his game as well as two long rain delays before finally beating Sebastien Grosjean 6-4, 7-6 (3), 1-6, 3-6, 7-6 (5).

Safin started the match dressed all in black and ended it some 6½ hours later all in white, wearing borrowed pants and socks after the two rain delays, the first one 1 hour, 19 minutes, then after 28 minutes of play another delay of 1 hour, 40 minutes, this one in the midst of a fifth-set tiebreaker.

When play resumed, Safin completed his victory, built on 25 aces and despite 64 unforced errors.

"Finally, I made it," he said. "I am happy."

No. 12 Juan Carlos Ferrero also waited out the rain for his 7-5, 7-6 (6), 1-6, 7-6 (6) victory over Roger Federer.

"I think I had a little bit of luck in the tiebreak," he said. "It's no great days for the tennis when is rain."

Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence