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.

US Davis Cup On The Tennis Channel

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 16, 2010 -Tennis Channel will provide exclusive coverage of the U.S. Davis Cup team’s competition against Colombia in Bogota, Colombia, this weekend, with live and same-day, “Instant Encore” replays Friday through Sunday.  Because the Americans lost in the first round of this year’s tournament, they must defeat Colombia in order to compete for the Davis Cup in 2011.  If the U.S. team loses, next year will mark the first time since 1988 that it is ineligible to play for the championship.  The United States leads all nations in Davis Cup titles, winning its 32nd in 2007 against Russia.

Play-in competition between the United States and Colombia will consist of two singles matches on Friday, Sept. 17, at 11 a.m. ET, followed by the doubles match Saturday, Sept. 18, at 12 p.m. ET.  Tennis Channel’s coverage concludes with the remaining singles play Sunday, Sept. 19, at 11 a.m. ET.  Each evening at 8 p.m. ET Tennis Channel will offer an encore presentation of the day’s Davis Cup action.

Coverage from Plaza de Toros La Santamaria, Bogota, Columbia (all times ET):
Friday, Sept. 17:
11 a.m. – Live Singles #1
2 p.m. – Live Singles #2
{8 p.m. – Instant Encore Singles #1}
{11 p.m. – Instant Encore Singles #2

Saturday, Sept. 18:
12 p.m. – Live Doubles
{8 p.m. – Instant Encore Doubles}

Sunday, Sept. 19:
{8 a.m. – Instant Encore Doubles}
11 a.m. – Live Singles #1
2 p.m. – Live Singles #2
{11 p.m. – Instant Encore Singles #2

In addition to televising the United States and Colombia’s Davis Cup play-in this weekend, Tennis Channel will cover the 2010 Davis Cup semifinal match between Argentina and France in Lyon, France.  France hopes to uphold its unbeaten record of 4-0 against Argentina.  The most recent competition between the two nations was in the 1982 Davis Cup first round when France beat Argentina 3-2 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  Competition between the two nations will consist of two singles matches on Friday, Sept. 17, at 7:30 a.m. ET and 5 p.m. ET, followed by the doubles match Saturday, Sept. 18, at 9 a.m. ET and singles play Sunday, Sept. 19, at 5 p.m. ET.

The United States and Colombia have faced each other twice before, with the nations tied at one win a piece.  This is the first time since 1979 that the two will meet, with the American squad beating Colombia 5-0 then.  However, Colombia previously defeated the United States 4-1 in 1974.  The Americans enter this weekend’s match after suffering their first first-round loss in five years when they were defeated by Serbia 3-2 in March.

Patrick McEnroe will lead the U.S. squad, his last match as captain.  McEnroe has been the United States Davis Cup coach since 2000 and led the team to a Davis Cup title in 2007.  The United States team features John Isner, Mardy Fish, Sam Querrey and Ryan Harrison.

If Colombia wins this weekend it will compete for the 2011 Davis Cup.  The team is captained by Felipe Beron and features Santiago Giraldo, Alejandro Falla, Carlos Salamanca and Juan Sebastian Cabal.

Tennis Channel (www.tennischannel.com)is the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and tennis lifestyle.  A hybrid of comprehensive sports, health, fitness, pop culture, entertainment, lifestyle and travel programming, the network is home to every aspect of the wide-ranging, worldwide tennis community.  It also has the most concentrated single-sport coverage in television, with telecast rights to the US Open, Wimbledon, Roland Garros (French Open), Australian Open, Olympus US Open Series, ATP Masters Series, top-tier Sony Ericsson WTA Tour championship competitions, Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, and Hyundai Hopman Cup.  Tennis Channel is carried by nine of the top 10 MSOs, Verizon FiOS TV, and has a national footprint via DIRECTV and DISH Network.

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Q & A With Sam Querrey

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – It doesn’t always seem likely, but with Ryan Harrison and John Isner going today, Sam Querrey’s straight sets, 6-2 6-3 6-4 win over Marcel Granollers seemed to be overlooked. As such, I was the only one in the post-match presser asking the No. 20 seed any questions.

Below is the Q & A

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  In the on‑court interview afterwards, you said your arm felt loose on your serve.  How did that affect your serve?

SAM QUERREY:  No.  My serve, I was getting great pop.  Every time I was hitting it flat down the T or out wide on the ad, it felt like it was somewhere between 135 and 140, so that’s a little faster than normal.

Q.  Did you catch any of the Harrison match?

SAM QUERREY:  Yeah, I watched pretty much the entire fourth and fifth set.  It was pretty exciting.  I was in the lunchroom.  Everyone had their eyes glued to the TV.

I felt bad for Ryan, but still a great tournament.  I’ve been hitting with him for three or four years.  He’s going to be good.

Q.  When you see an up‑and‑coming kid make some way in the Open, does that harken you back to a time when you were in that position?

SAM QUERREY:  A little bit, yeah.  I know what the feeling is like.  At the same time it motivates me a little bit.  I don’t want him taking away the limelight.  I want to go out there and play well.

Yeah, when you’re 18, first Open, I mean, I remember when I was doing mine.  It’s exciting.  Ryan played great.  He should be really happy with qualifying, making the second round.

Q.  Seeing that Roddick is out, it’s just you and Isner and Mardy Fish, the American crew there.  You’re one of the top Americans left.  Does it give you any extra push to say, I have to carry the mantle for the United States?

SAM QUERREY:  I’m not feeling any pressure or anything.  I think the four of us left are all doing our best.  To have four guys in the round of 32, it’s pretty good.

Hopefully we can have four in the Round of 16.  I think we’ve got a great shot to do that.  Hopefully they’ll put some of us on center court.  Not a huge fan of the scheduling this week (laughter).

Q.  That is center court.

SAM QUERREY:  We have a lot of Americans here.  None of us play on center court.  If you go to the French Open, they have Gasquet, Benneteau, Monfils; they’re on center court every day.

Is Isner America’s Best Hope?

FLUSHING  MEADOWS, NY – With Andy Roddick and now Ryan Harrison out of the tournament, is John Isner America’s best champ in bringing back the Men’s Singles championship to the United States?

If his ankle holds up, then sure, but that’s a big if.

“Yeah, it’s definitely been tough,” said Isner who beat Marco Chiudinelli in four sets, 6-3 3-6 7-6 6-4. “You know, I started feeling it in the third set of my first match.  I felt great.  I actually felt pretty good right from the get‑go of my first match.  I was thinking, Hey, this is a good omen.

“But then kind of hit me in the third set, and really throughout the whole match today I was feeling it.  I don’t feel like I had the pop on my shots that I normally would out there today.”

“So, yeah, I’m struggling a bit physically.  But, you know, I’m going to have to do my best to get myself up to 100%.  I’m getting stronger.  Although I’m out there and playing these long matches, I feel like I’m getting stronger, and I should be better for the next one.”

The winner of the Eternal Match back in Wimbledon hurt his ankle back in Cincinnati and what was originally thought to be torn ligaments turned out to be just a sprain and he was cleared to play just a few days before the Open.

So without any practice or conditioning, the 18th seeded Isner is taking it one match at a time and hope he will be continue to get into better game shape.

“Yeah, I am going to need that,” he said.  “I think, you know, the focus, the rest of today and all day tomorrow, is going to be just to try to rejuvenate my body as much as possible to get me feeling as good as I possibly can going into that match.

“I’m going to have to play really well, do the same thing essentially today:  serve well, hit my forehand well.  Those are my two strengths.  That’s no secret.

“He’s just ‑‑ I played him in Montreal last year and it was three sets.  But, you know, he kind of ran me off the court the last two sets.  When he’s on, he’s really, really tough.  For me, I kind of hope he’s not on.”

Even with his own problems to deal with, the 25 year-old is still keeping his eye on the up and comers like Harrison, especially after he lost that five-set heartbreaker today.

“Yeah, it’s so tough,” he said of Harrison.  “I mean, personally I don’t know how many fifth set sets I’ve played in.  I think I’ve played in two this year, maybe four or five in my career, so it’s not that ‑‑ I’m not seasoned at it, either.  It’s something that obviously with maturity and the more times you’re in that situation, the better you’re going to be.

“But, I didn’t see the match today.  I don’t want to say that ‑‑ I mean, probably just have to give credit to Ryan’s opponent.  Ryan, he’s obviously playing well and he’s a huge future in this game.”

Harrison’s time is in the future, but right now, Isner may be America’s great hope.

Wickmayer Enters The Radar

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – With all the press Melanie Oudin received at this Open, Yanina Wickmayer has flown under the radar.

Yet, like her American counterpart, this Belgian has surprised everyone at Flushing Meadows and now is on the verge of the Finals.

“It has surprised me in one way,” she said. I have been feeling really well the last few weeks. I’ve been playing a couple of great matches, and I’m really playing under a lot of confidence.

“So coming here I was feeling pretty good, and physically and mentally I was feeling really strong. So the first couple of matches, yeah, of course you’re always a little bit surprised of winning great matches in a Grand Slam.

“For sure if it’s the first great Grand Slam you’ve played, because before this my best result was second round. So of course when you get to the third, fourth round, you start surprising yourself. But actually, I’ve been staying pretty calm. I’ve worked really hard for this.”

She defeated Kateryna Bondarenko today, 7-5, 6-2, to earn a date with Caroline Wozniacki. The 19 year-old is very confident, mainly because the bad bounces are now going her way.

“The last couple of weeks I lost some tight matches to the top players,” she said. I lost 6-4 in the third, 7-6 in the third. So it was always like those few key points that I lost.

“I guess now those key points I just feel more concentrated physically and mentally. I feel stronger on the court. I’m sure that those two points has helped me a lot this few weeks.”

It’s been a long road for Wickmayer, who moved to the United States to learn at the Saddlebrook Academy back in 1999. Her mother Daniella passed away from cancer and she convinced her grieving father Marc to move away from Belgium and her family.

“I lost her in ’99, and I just started playing tennis a few weeks or a few months before that just to get my mind off things,” she said. “I guess I just decided as a little girl to get away from home and put my memories and thoughts to something else, so we moved to Florida just to, yeah, my dad and me, just to get things off, just to, yeah, focus ourself on other things in life and try to move on.”

And move on she has. Although she will never forget her mother, the bond she developed with her father is unbreakable. Wickmayer now is realizing her dream. Never past the second round before – she made it past the first at Roland Garros this year – the young rising star is now on the verge of the spotlight.

How she will shine is anyone’s guess, but Wickmayer is ready for Wozniacki, a person she played back in juniors.

“I’ve not really watched her play a lot, so I’m going to watch a little bit on TV today,” she said. “But like I said before, every match I play, I just go on the court and play my own game.

“Sometimes I’ll adjust a little bit during my match, but not really a lot. I just go out there, have fun, and do everything I can.”