US Open sets records/Honors “King and Agassi” while Federer wins for 3rd time in a row (9/06)

 

Another thrilling US Open tournament came to an end with, what’s new, Mr. Federer winning again. He captured his 3rd straight title here in New York. He beat Andy Roddick in the finals in 4 sets to cap off 3 of the 4 Grand Slams this year. He is still pursuing his first French Open but on hard court, he is virtually unbeatable. Roddick played great after battling injuries this summer and got back to his 2003 form eventually losing the the #1 player in the world. Roddick’s summer took a couple twists with the hiring of coach Jimmy Connors at the Countrywide Classic tournament at UCLA. He was well on his way to showing off his prior great play before straining his back in a second round match. That injury put him on the sidelines for a bit before he won the ATP Masters at Cincinnati over Juan Carlos Ferrero.

Rain played a big roll in postponing many matches and delaying others in which Billy Jean King and Andre Agassi were honored in major ways. Many past champions came out the first night to inaugurate former champion Billy Jean King and the honor of the USTA to name her as the new headline of the center, now called (Billy Jean King National Tennis Center). That first Monday night also honored Agassi in his last US Open as he announced he is retiring at the end of the tournament. He went out with a bang though defeating Andre Pavel of Romania in the first round. Then the match of the tournament for the second year in a row featuring Mr. Agassi. Last year it was his late night/early morning comeback to beat James Blake in 5 sets. (More on that match in the 2005 Review Story within our newspaper). This year he took it out on an up and coming energetic youngster and new fan favorite even with his loss, Marcos Baghdatis, who made it to the Australian Open Finals. Andre Agassi’s story was written when he beat Cypriot and No. 8 seed Baghdatis in a five set, three hour and 48 minute match, delaying his inevitable retirement another round in front of over 23,000 fans. And people still can’t stop talking about it. After the match, Andre mentioned he hopes his career doesn’t end with a loss to his next opponent name Becker. It wasn’t Boris but Benjamin and he was first up on Arthur Ashe Stadium with 3 days rest. It looked good but Andre wasn’t moving around that well as it looked like his back flared up a bit and the new Becker took him down in 4 sets.

On Wednesday the 6th of September, the 4th round & quarterfinals started for the men finally taking place after all the rain. Tommy Haas continued his great comeback year with an impressive close 5 set victory of up and down Marat Safin. James Blake surprisingly handled Tomas Berdych rather easily in 3 sets as did Roddick over Mr. Becker. Everyone was looking forward to an Agassi vs. Roddick match up but it wasn’t meant to be. The biggest upset came with Russian Mikhail Youzhny downed #2 seed Rafael Nadal in 4 sets in a quarterfinal match. Youzhny was spectacular while Nadal was making more unforced errors and seemed to get tired in the last set where he lost 6-1. Roddick took out Hewitt in 3 sets in the other quarterfinal match. The other quarterfinals followed the next day with Haas bowing out to another Russian Nikolay Davydenko #7 seed (probably the most underrated guy on tour and in the top 8 players in the world now). Blake had his run end when he had to face Federer and finally got a set off him but lost in 4 sets. Blake said he felt great and not only was happy for his play here but has confidence against anyone that is not named Federer.

The semis pitted Federer vs. Davydenko and that was no match as Roger blasted his way to a straight set victory. Roddick followed and lost the first set to Youzhny before coming on strong and taking the next 3 sets to reach the final.

On the women’s side, Maria Sharapova won her second Grand Slam title defeating Justine Henin- Hardenne. The strangest match came in the semi final when Sharapova beat #1 seed Amelie Mauresmo 6-0, 4-6, 6-0. It is very rare these days for a top seed to get bagel’d once but twice is unheard of. Sharapova also showed off some fancy tight outfits during the tournament.

In the men’s doubles, the 6th seeded doubles team of Leander Paes and Martin Damm rebounded from a set down Saturday to upset second-seeded Max Mirnyi and Jonas Bjorkman in the final. With a score of 6-7, 6-4, 6-3, they triumphed for their first US Open Championship. That broke a streak of 7 consecutive finals by the defending champions and #1 team in the world (The Bryan Brothers- more

info on them at www.bobandmike.com ).

Another long storied career came to a close with a happy ending. Playing in the very last match of her illustrious tennis career, Martina Navratilova added to her long list of achievements Saturday in the US Open Mixed Doubles championship at Arthur Ashe Stadium. She and partner Bob Bryan captured the title by defeating Kveta Peschke and Martin Damm in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3. In the women’s doubles finals, there was a big upset. They had already beaten the odds to reach the women’s doubles finals, so it was not an overwhelming surprise that unseeded Nathalie Dechy and Vera Zvonareva were able to withstand the challenge from No. 8 seed Dinara Safina and Katarina Srebotnik to take the 2006 US Open title, 7-6, 7-5. In the men’s championship international for the seniors, Todd Martin who always had some kind of excitement at the open beat Frenchman Henri Leconte in straight sets.

Champions row
Champions row

US Open Sets Tournament Records

Posted Date: Monday, September 11, 2006

Television Ratings, Website Visits up Significantly

The USTA has announced that the 2006 US Open set several records in attendance and website traffic and generated significant television ratings:

Attendance:
– Ticket sales for the US Open reached an all-time high, prior to providing for ticket exchanges due to cancelled sessions. Net attendance, after taking into account ongoing ticket exchanges, is expected to be approximately 640,000; the second-highest in US Open history (second to last year’s record of 659,538).
– The daily total attendance record was set on Monday, September 4, topping 60,000 for the first time in the history of the event (60,506).
– The all-time night session attendance of 23,736 was set on Opening Night.
– For the first time, all Night Sessions were sold out, or were at 99% of capacity.

Television:
– The national overnight rating for the Men’s Final on CBS Sports was 4.1, the second best rating for the Men’s Final since 2002 when Sampras defeated Agassi.
– The Women’s Final rating of 3.2 was a 3% increase over 2005 and a 28% increase over 2004.
– The Agassi-Baghdatis match on Thursday night equaled USA Network’s highest rating in four years.
– USA Network earned its best Opening Night rating in its 23 years of US Open coverage.

Website:
– Traffic on USOpen.org, the official tournament website, attracted 26.0 million visits, an all-time record and an increase of 24% over the 2005 record.
– Unique visitors increased by 43% to reach 6.5 million in 2006.
– The first-ever live webcast, on Monday, September 4, was streamed 261,000 times.

Tennis Participation:
– One million more people played tennis in 2005 vs. 2004, and, according to the 2006 SGMA Superstudy, tennis is the only traditional sport to have seen participation growth since 2000.
– For 2006, tennis racquet sales and ball sales are up 5% and 10% respectively. Youth tennis racquet sales are up 40%.

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The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level — from local communities to the highest level of the professional game. It owns and operates the US Open, the largest annually attended sporting event in the world, and launched the US Open Series linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns the 94 Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S., and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games. A not-for-profit organization with 690,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game. For more information on the USTA, log on to www.usta.com .

More on the US Open and 2007 ticket info at www.usopen.org