Mitch's Sports Report: History On Hold For Serena After Ouster From Open; Yanks Still Winning? How?
For a second consecutive year, Serena Williams' run at history has ended in the semi-finals of the U.S. Open tennis tournament.
The top-seeded Williams was beaten in straight sets yesterday by number ten seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 7-6, ending yet another shot at catching Steffi Graf for most all-time grand slam championships. Williams bowed out of last year's Open in the semi-final round as well, and why it happened again yesterday is anyone's guess. Williams' coach said it was all about Serena's left knee, thought to have been injured in a second round match. Serena said after the match that the knee was bothering her but that she couldn't use that as an excuse for her ouster. Pliskova, meanwhile, had seven aces over the two sets and won more than eighty percent of her first serve points on a night when Serena looked a bit fatigued. She had won her quarterfinal match just the previous day but dismissed the idea that back to back matches led to her defeat. So Steffi Graf still owns the record for most grand slams with twenty-three, and at thirty-four years old now, Serena will have to wait until next year to try and match that mark, and one thing is clear in tennis: the game never gets easier to win over time.
So Pliskova can win the Open if she can beat the new number one womens' player, Angelique Kerber, who vaulted to the number one ranking after Williams' defeat in the semis and dispatching Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets yesterday. It's the first time Kerber has been ranked number one in the world and at twenty-eight years old she's also the oldest female tennis player ever to hold that distinction. There's some serendipity as well in Kerber playing for the title that would have given Williams even footing with Steffi Graf had Serena made it to the final, because Graf is Kerber's mentor and idol, both she and Kerber being natives of Germany.
On the mens' side the semi-final matches are set, with Stan Wawrinka toughing out a four-set win over Juan Martin del Potro. Wawrinka will now move on to face Japan's Kei Nishikori after his upset win that ousted Andy Murray. The other semi features number one seed Novak Djokavic against number ten Gael Monfils of France.
To Major League Baseball, and it's not supposed to work this way. It really isn't. When a team sells off a bunch of big name players at the trade deadline for prospects it means they're throwing in the towel for the rest of the season and rebuilding for the future. But the NY Yankees are playing better than ever after doing just that, and it's just not fair. The Yanks have now won five in a row, a season high winning streak, after beating the Tampa Bay Rays 5-4 at the Stadium last night on a ninth inning, walk-off home run by Tyler Austin. Brian McCann also homered for the Yankees, twice, and Austin is just one of the young guns the Yankees are seeing blossom immediately, his game winner last night his third home run sine being called up to the big club in mid-August. Where are the Yankees now in the playoff hunt? Just two games behind Baltimore for the second available wild card berth, and four games behind the Red Sox for the division lead, and they've got twenty of their last twenty-three games in the season against division opponents.
But the Boston Red Sox can't worry about their ancient rivals right now. They were off last night but start a critical three game set against the Blue Jays in Toronto tonight, The Sox have a one game lead over Toronto for the division lead as Rick Porcello takes the hill, looking for win number twenty on the season. The NY Mets were idle yesterday as well and visit the Atlanta Braves tonight.
The two teams that met in last year's Superbowl faced each other again last night to kick off the new NFL season, and while this one was a closer affair with a new quarterback manning the helm for the defending champs, the end result was the same: a win for the Denver Broncos over Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.
Trevor Siemian is the new QB for Denver, and despite throwing two interceptions in his first ever game taking over for future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning, he recovered to lead the Broncos to two touchdown drives late in the fourth quarter that gave Denver a 21-20 lead. The Panthers had a chance to win it on the final play of the game but kicker Graham Gano missed a 50-yard attempt wide left and the Broncos have their first win of 2016.
Locally in mens' college soccer, Vermont Tech beat College of St. Joseph's 3-2.