Before the Labor Day festivities kick off at the Open, I wanted to take a look back at some of the big things that happened last week at the tournament. There were notable accomplishments, a lot of shockers and a LOT of my picks getting knocked off! But I can't be too bad a sport about that, I guess!
• Not feeling so "pretty" anymore: Maria Sharapova getting knocked off was the biggest thing in the week. And she's really gotta be hating life: What an easy draw! It was set up for her to let everyone in the top to beat each other up and she would be just ready to pick up the title. But I guess that's why "you play the game." (A little football quote from former New York Jets coach Herm Edwards!)
• Young (and tall) Americans: Donald Young and John Isner really showed something this tournament here. Young played solidly in that loss to Lopez and Isner made Federer think a little bit before going down. I think these two really have it.
• Sisters doing it for themselves: Well, Serena Williams is right where I expected her to be, and I'm still gonna go with Justine Henin in that QF matchup, but I thought Ana Ivanovic would have gotten Venus. Oh well, looks like I'm on course to be proved wrong about picking against the sisters once again!
• Five alive: James Blake finally did it! He won a five-setter against the trickiest player of all time, Fabrice Santoro. And my butt sores are evidence that I sat through the whole Novak Djokovic-Radek Stepanek match! What a match to catch live in my annual "First Friday of the Open" excursion.
• So long Tim: Being out there Friday, I also got to see the Tim Henman-Jo-Wilifried Tsonga match, which proved to be Tim's last in tournament play. I really wish that guy could've taken a Slam because he was such a solid player and had a great career. I said to my friend Melissa, who I go to the tournament with, while we were watching the match: "You know, if he only had a bigger serve where he could've won more free points at Wimbledon, like Pete and Goran did ..."
• Keep on rollin': The number ones, Roger Federer and Justine Henin, might as well have gotten byes into the fourth round--even though R-Fed did drop that set.
• Not-so weak in the knees: Rafael Nadal, with a little laser treatment every couple of days on both his aching knees, is getting through comfortably enough now, but we'll have to see how he holds up. I still like Djokovic on the bottom half of the draw coming through.
• Don't stop believin': I say that to myself because my predictions for this tournament got wrecked! Kiefer? Gonzalez? Mirza? But that's what makes it fun, making the tough calls!