Peer Moves Along In The First

There are few tennis players in New York more popular this week than Shahar Peer.And Peer is not even an American. The no. 24 seed is an Israeli.New York has a heavily Jewish population and many of them come out to Flushing Meadows on an annual basis to cheer her on.

It worked on Tuesday at beautiful new court 17 as Peer defeated Sania Mirza of India, 6-7,6-3,6-1.The large crowd was firmly behind her.

Peer recognizes that she is in part an ambassador from Israel when she plays in New York.

She reached a career high ranking of 11 this past January,which marks the highest ranking ever for an Israeli man or woman.Not bad for someone who had to do a 2-year stint in the army.

Peer will play young Sloane Stephens of the United States,most likely on Thursday.She and Stephens have played doubles together in the past.Peer recognizes that Stephens has a lot of talent,but Peer is playing with a lot of confidence right now.

Clijsters Pulls Out Of Beijing

Because of a foot injury, Kim Clijsters has bowed out of the WTA tournament in Beijing. She had surgery on her sole of her foot after the Open, but it hasn’t healed quickly enough.

“I am very sorry to have to cancel for Beijing,” Clijsters said on her official site. “After I returned from New York, I had some moles removed. The operation had been planned for quite a while. However, the wound on my foot sole heals really bad. Therefore playing tennis is not possible.”

Clijsters’ next tournament should be the WTA Championships (Masters) in Doha. Physically, she will be ready for it, no doubt about that. It is just a matter of reeling in enough points to make it to the top 8 who are allowed to play there. On December 8 Clijsters also plays the Diamond Games in the Antwerp Sportpaleis.

Life Lessons From Professor Querrey

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Bradley Klahn learned a few lessons today and the first one is Sam Querrey plays hardball. Maybe it comes from his love of his hometown Los Angeles Dodgers, or maybe it’s just the only thing he knows.

One thing’s for certain, though, Klahn learned that the hard way during the first set of Querrey’s first round match, when Klahn took a shot right to….well you know.

“That was an accident.,” Querrey said. “I mean, he hit a dropshot, and I ran up there and it was kind of better than I thought.  So I kind of got a little confused where I was going to hit it.  I kind of went at him.  I didn’t mean to hit it there.  I felt bad because he’s my buddy.”

What the 23 year-old LA Open Champion didn’t feel bad about were the results, a 6-3 4-6 7-5 6-4 win over the his practice partner and Stanford  junior, who is just learning the play with the professionals.

“You definitely have to learn,” Querrey said.  “I remember the first time I played Roger when I was 18.  I went out there knowing I was gonna lose.

“I was 18.  He was like amazing.  It was in Miami.  It was a night match.  I didn’t know I was going to lose, but I assumed I was gonna lose.  First time, I don’t want to embarrass myself out there.

“But the more that I played, you know, Roger and Rafa and Andy and practiced with them, you know, you take the occasional set off them in practice and take a set here or two in the match and you beat a top 10 guy, then you kind of start to get the belief.

“You know, even if ‑‑ you know, I beat Roddick next last year who was ranked 7.  When you see him beat these guys, it kind of gives you the belief that you could beat these guys too.  It definitely takes a couple of years to get used to, you know, practicing with them, playing with them, and, you know, then you can beat them.”

So consider that Lesson No. 2 for Klahn and no onto Lesson No. 2, keeping up with the heat. With temperatures in the Mid-90s today, Querrey said he was definitely feeling it, as was Klahn, especially in the fourth set where the No. 20 seed was up 5-2, but Klahn came back, because the more experienced player was starting to cramp up.

“Yeah, I mean, if he would have won that set, that have been an entertaining fifth set,” Querrey said.  “I mean, he was cramping worse than I was.  I don’t know what that would have been in the fifth set.  Just serve and one shot.”

Querrey said he felt he didn’t hydrate himself properly before today’s match, which could be why he cramped up. He also said that the weather today was no worse than the Legg Mason tournament earlier this month. In fact, he is against any rule changes that will allow for weather breaks.

“We talked about that in the council meeting the other day, whether or not they should close the roof if it gets to be, you know, over a certain temperature,” he said. “I think, you know, tennis is a physical sport.  You should be rewarded with the hard work you put in.  If the heat is too much for some guys, you know, if you’re the more fit player, you shouldn’t get penalized for that.  I don’t think so.”

Is This Open The Great Maria Comeback

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – It’s no surprise many are picking Maria Sharapova to win the whole thing. After all, the 2006 US Champion has a wide open field and nemesis Serena Williams is sidelined with a bad foot.

So today when she dropped the first set to Jamilla Groth, 4-6, you had to wonder if the good Maria was back or the bad Maria, who struggled since coming back from shoulder surgery, was still around.

“I think she came out today and really swung and didn’t give me much time to do anything out there,” Sharapova said after taking the next two sets, 6-3 6-1. “She served really well in the first set.  I wasn’t returning that well, giving her a lot of looks, you know, on second serves.

“Against a player like that, who kind of plays the 1‑2 punch type of tennis, you know, it’s quite difficult to get a rhythm in the beginning.

“You know, I just hung in there.  Between the first and second set, I knew that it wasn’t over.  In tennis you have either two or three sets to play.  So I still knew I had my chances.”

Sharapova then dominated and cruised to the win. She needs to send a message as a potential Quarterfinal with No. 1 seed Caroline Wozniacki looms early next week.

But first she needs to continue to finish her matches strong. Next up is Iveta Benesova in the second round and as of right now, she is still trying to find her form in this Open.

“Based on my results in the past,” she said, “I’ve been in different situations coming into a Grand Slam playing really well in the beginning, playing well throughout, or starting quite slow and then finding my game throughout.

“So it depends.  It really depends on the tournament, the situation, your opponent, really getting through matches.  Days like this where your opponent was playing really well, you really have to find, you know, ways to hang in there and ways to fight.  And at the end of the day, just hope you give yourself another opportunity.”

Sharapova actually looks the strongest since she had shoulder surgery back in Oct. 2008. When she came back last year, her serve looked weak as she was recovering from the injury. But now, she’s fully healthy and time to turn the page.

“Yeah, last year with my whole game, I was just trying to find, you know, where my feet were on the ground, just trying to find my position, see how I could handle playing a lot of matches under different circumstances,” she said. “You know, this year, you know, a whole year with the tournaments and experience, it feels really good to be healthy coming in, just playing and not worrying about, uhm, how physically you feel.”

In 2010, Sharapova took two smaller tournaments the first was in February in Memphis and then right before Roland Garros in Strasberg. But these smaller tourneys are not what she’s looking for. Not with three Grand Slams under her belt, yet none since the surgery.

“Experience helps,” she said.  “But, I don’t know, it’s really at the end of the day about going out there and doing it and finding the mental strength, the physical strength, you know, challenging yourself to go out there and be better every day.”

And today Groth learned that from Sharapova and now Benesova is in her the way of the Great Maria Comeback.