Sunday, September 11, 2011

Seven for Saturday - U.S. Open, Red Hot Rooney, College Football and More


Novak Djokovic capped off one of the more impressive comebacks in U.S. Open history rallying from 2 sets down to knock off 5-time champion Roger Federer in today's first semifinal. After rallying to even the match up at two sets apiece, things started to fall apart for Djokovic in the fifth set and he found himself down 5-3 and 40-15 with Federer serving for the match. But Djokovic dug in and just absolutely smoked a winner cross court to get to 40-30, and his next return drew an unforced error from Federer to send the game to deuce. The momentum shifted it seemed and Federer never was able to get back on track double faulting to lose that game and then getting broken again a little while later by the Serbian to give Djokovic a 6-5 lead. The 24 year old wouldn't miss the opportunity to close out the match and he advanced to his second straight U.S Open Final. Final score 6-7, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5. I actually watched most of the fifth set of this one, and I've got to tell you, I was REALLY impressed with Djokovic's composure at the end. Fifth set of a 3+ hour match, and the crowd was certainly pro-Federer for the most part, he starts getting plagued by unforced errors and easily could have lost his composure or thrown in the towel, but comes up with just a RIDICULOUS shot (watch the video at about the 27 second mark) and rallies for the improbable victory. Djokovic, who has never won the U.S. Open, now has to get through Rafael Nadal in a rematch of last year's final on Monday. Nadal punched his ticket to the final with a 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 win over 4th seeded Andy Murray. Although Djokovic has won all 5 meetings between the two this year, Nadal this owns a 16-12 edge in head-to-head matchups.
Photo Credit:

One the women's side, Caroline Wozniacki, the #1 ranked women's player in the world, leaves yet another Grand Slam without a title. Serena Williams, the last American standing, despite entering the tournament as the 28th seed, absolutely routed her younger opponent 6-2, 6-4 to advance to the finals in an attempt to win her 4th U.S. Open and 14th Grand Slam. She'll be opposed by Aussie Samantha Stosur who will be playing in just her second Grand Slam Final after ending cinderella story Angelique Kerber's dream run 6-3, 2-6, 6-2. The two women have met six times with Serena taking four of them including their one match this year. The women's final will be tomorrow on the 10 year anniversary of the September 11th attacks.
Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:
The reigning champions of basically every soccer competition they've entered lately hit a bit of a speed bump today blowing a 2-0 lead and settling for a draw against Real Sociedad. Last year's 15th place finishers in La Liga got 2nd half goals just over a minute apart from Imanol Agirretxe and Antoine Griezmann. This shouldn't have come as a surprise though as last year Barcelona traveled to Estadio Anoeta and lost 2-1 to this same squad. But despite facing one of the only two teams that beat them in league play last year, they started the match with Lionel Messi, David Villa, Andrés Iniesta, and Gerard Piqué all out of the lineup. Now I get it that Barcelona is really good, really deep, and just totally stacked. So with Champions League play kicking off on Wednesday they probably wanted to make sure their big guns were fresh. And it's not like they put a bunch of scrubs out there - they still fielded a lineup with Xavi, Dani Alves, Cesc Fábregas and Pedro among others. But clearly they didn't get the result they were hoping for, and to make matters worse, Chilean midfielder and newcomer to the squad Alexis Sánchez left the match in the first half with an injury. All told, just a dismal day for Barcelona. And to cap it off, Real Madrid now sits 2 points ahead of Barcelona atop the table following their 4-2 win over Getafe.


Wayne Rooney netted his second consecutive hat trick and now has 8 goals through United's first four matches as Manchester United thrashed Bolton 5-0 today at Reebok Stadium. The win improves the Reds to 4-0 on the young season and they've outscored their opponents 18-3 over that stretch. Rooney's been the real story though as with 8 goals, he now has more than every other TEAM in the Premiership with the exception of Manchester City (more on them in a minute). In 28 EPL matches last year, Rooney scored just 11 goals. I think it's safe to say that Wayne Rooney is back. He's even scoring goals for England again netting a pair against Bulgaria in Euro 2012 Qualifying last week.
Photo Credit:
Now over on the other side of town is Manchester City, the only other side with an unblemished record through four matches. Like United, City has been on a tear outscoring their opponents 15-3 through the first four matches after notching a 3-0 win over Wigan Athletic today. Two weeks ago against Spurs, they got 4 goals from Eden Dzeko, and today they got a hat trick from Argentinian striker Sergio Agüero. It's still early in the season, but if things continue to go this way, you should mark October 23rd on your calendar as that's when the two Manchester clubs will do battle.


Not much in the way of upsets this week, but boy were there same crazy finishes. 12th ranked South Carolina hung on to beat Georgia 45-42 in a game that featured a 39 point 4th quarter and 7 lead changes. South Carolina took advantage of 3 Georgia turnovers, returning 2 of them for touchdowns and another inside the ten to improve to 2-0 and drop the Bulldogs to 0-2. Defensive End Melvin Ingram had a 68 yard touchdown run on a fake punt and a 5 yard fumble recovery for a touchdown, and he also recovered an onside kick to ice the game.
Photo Credit:
Auburn dodged a bullet for the second straight week stuffing Mississippi State one inch from the end zone as time expired to win 41-34. Backup safety Ryan Smith stopped 240 pound quarterback just before the goal line sealing the win for the Tigers. Relf, who ran for over 100 yards on the day, ran the option on the game's final play and took the ball himself, but came up just short.

Michigan scored 28 points in the 4th quarter and the Wolverines and Notre Dame combined for three touchdowns in the final 1:12 in the first night game at the Big House. After Notre Dame took a 31-28 lead with 30 seconds to play, Denard Robinson drove the Wolverines down the field and hit Roy Roundree with a 16 yard TD pass with just 2 seconds left on the clock to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and drop the Fighting Irish to 0-2. Notre Dame turned the ball over 5 times for the second week in a row.

Andrew Luck and Stanford eeked out a 44-14 victory over (basketball) powerhouse Duke in a nail-biter. Luck, thought by many to be the favorite to win the Heisman and go first in the 2012 NFL Draft finished 20/28 for 290 yards and 4 touchdowns. He now needs just 3 wins to overtake Steve Stenstrom as the winningest quarterback in Stanford history.
Photo Credit:


Boston lost their 4th game in a row and 8th in their last 10 tonight dropping their lead in the AL Wild Card to just 4.5 games over Tampa Bay. The Rays have taken the first two games in their 3 game series, and it doesn't get any easier for Boston moving forward as they play the Rays 5 more times before the end of next week. Only they'll have to do it without Clay Buchholz and Josh Beckett leaving them a starting 5 that after Jon Lester includes Tim Wakefield (winless in his last 7 starts), Andrew Miller (allowed 11 runs in last 6 1/3 innings), John Lackey (allowed 4 runs or more in 8 of last 9 starts - worst ERA for a pitcher who qualifies for the ERA title in the majors - 6.30), and Kyle Weiland (12 runs in 16 big league innings). Time for that high powered offense to earn their paychecks. Tomorrow's game between Lester and Big Game James Shields is huge from a momentum standpoint
Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:
Who's leading the National League in wins right now? Roy Halladay? Clayton Kershaw? Tim Lincecum? Wrong, wrong, WRONG. The answer is Ian Kennedy who had just 10 wins TOTAL in 44 starts spanning his first four seasons. The 26 year old former Yankees prospect has really come into his own this year with a record of 19-4 and a 2.90 ERA. Kennedy was involved in the trade that brought the Yankees Curtis Granderson, so they certainly shouldn't feel cheated, but with New York's pitching rotation dealing with a lot of questions right now, you can bet they'd love to have a guy like this on their staff. Surprisingly, Kennedy has gotten very little buzz in the Cy Young conversation to this point. While I think Kershaw still has the edge over him, I feel like you should at least hear his name tossed around. Kennedy goes for win number 20 on Tuesday in L.A. against the Dodgers. Unfortunately for the fans, he'll miss Kershaw by a day.


One match remains in the second round or EuroBasket 2011. Here's a quick look at the Group E and F standings. Teams highlighted in green have clinched a spot in the quarterfinals while teams in red have been eliminated. The top four teams in each group advance to the quarterfinals:

Group E

Tomorrow's Games

Serbia vs Turkey
France vs Spain
Lithuania vs Germany

Group F

Monday's Games

Slovenia vs Finland
Greece vs Georgia
Russia vs Macedonia

No comments:

Post a Comment