Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Rusedski makes his US Open picks

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David Nalbandian of Argentina celebrates his win against Robin Soderling of Sweden during their match at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament in Toronto August 12, 2010.    REUTERS/Mike Cassese

The Toronto Masters Series has been very interesting this year for so many reasons. David Nalbandian will be a dark horse for the US open and none of the top men will want to play him. Andy Murray looked impressive all week serving well and taking the ball early using the width on the court and hitting his forehand well. He looks in the form that took him to the Australian Open final at the beginning of the year. Murray was sensational in the quarter-final against Nalbandian and even better against Rafael Nadal in the semis.

Roger Federer, on the other hand, was building up his form nicely this week. His first big match was against Tomas Berdych in the quarters, it was a rematch of the Wimbledon quarter-final. Federer won, 7-6 in the third. This is a very important time for Federer, he needs to get back to his winning ways and this surface probably is best as the court gives him a little extra zip, because of the heat and the speed of the ball. He is also making a fashion statement this week, wearing pink and so is Nadal. Not sure on the pink?!

Roger Federer of Switzerland hits a return to Andy Murray of Britain during their final match at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament in Toronto August 15 , 2010 REUTERS/Mike Cassese

Federer earned back his world no. 2 ranking after his win against Novak Djokovic so we ended up with the same final that we had at the Australian Open. Federer was jaded after back-to-back three set matches going into the final. Murray won against Federer in the final to defend his title but did not play as well as he did in the last two matches. He started well but he had periods where he was too passive. He got the job done and won his first title of the year which will give him lots of confidence. He is the first man since Andre Agassi in 1995 to win back-to-back Canadian Open titles. If he is going to win the US Open he needs to continue to play like he did against Nadal and Nalbandian this week. He cannot afford to have passive periods like he did in the Toronto final against Federer.

Andy Murray of Britain holds the winners trophy after beating Roger Federer of Switzerland during their final match at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament in Toronto August 15, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Cassese

Federer is my slight favorite for the US Open and he will only get better each week before the US Open starts. By working with Paul Annacone we can see improvements in his game. Federer is becoming more aggressive in coming forward which is a positive sign. Nadal will also get better on the hard court each week and will peak perfectly before the US Open. Murray is back in the mix again to win a slam, the confidence is back and his tennis is returning to where it should be. What a great week of tennis!

Memorial offers pointers to Pebble Beach contenders

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Tiger makes eagle on way to Memorial triumph

This week’s Memorial tournament, an elite PGA Tour event in its own right hosted by golfing great Jack Nicklaus, is sure to offer several pointers toward the likely contenders at this month’s U.S. Open.

Many of the game’s leading players are making their final appearances on the circuit before switching focus to the second major of the year, which takes place at majestic Pebble Beach from June 17-20.

Can Federer complete a calendar slam?

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Received wisdom heading into the Australian Open was that the combined effects of fatherhood and a record-breaking number of grand slams would reduce Roger Federer’s hunger for success to the point where mere mortals on the tour need fear him no longer.

Instead, the message remains: Beware of the GOAT.

The possibility no one seems to have considered is that the Wimbledon title that saw him overtake Pete Sampras as the most successful player in grand slams, coupled with the certain knowledge he now possesses that there are far more important things in life than tennis, might take every ounce of pressure off his shoulders and make him a more formidable opponent still.

More from Mac on schedule and Murray

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Former tennis player McEnroe watches the Los Angeles Lakers play the Utah Jazz during their NBA basketball game in Los AngelesFour-times U.S. Open champion John McEnroe now works as a TV commentator for CBS network and for cable sports giant ESPN at Flushing Meadows, but the opinionated former bad boy of tennis did not hesitate airing his views to Reuters about the dubious scheduling of matches at the Open and other subjects.

McEnroe hit out particularly at the so-called Super Saturday program that calls for the men’s semi-finals and the women’s final, with the men’s championship match to follow on Sunday, providing no day of rest for the guys in between and putting the tournament’s grand finale at the whim of weather.

U.S. Open shocker as Del Potro beats Federer to win title

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Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina celebrates defeating Roger Federer of Switzerland in the men's final at the U.S. Open tennis championship in New York

Argentine Juan Martin del Potro has beaten Roger Federer to win in the U.S. Open and end the Swiss master’s five-year domination of the title.

Does this mark the arrival of an exciting new 20-year-old talent or is it merely another reminder that Federer is no longer the force he once was? Or should we just enjoy another superb men’s grand slam final?

Think Clijsters is world’s most famous Belgian? Not so fast…

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tintinI was very disappointed to log on to FamousBelgians.net this morning and see nary a mention of Kim Clijsters. How much more famous can a Belgian get?

According to the interweb’s leading authority on all things Flanders and Walloon, the world’s most famous Belgian is, currently, Eddy Merckx, who last raced professionally about 20 years ago.

Triumphant Clijsters even surprises herself

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It was not part of Kim Clijsters’s grand plan, and that made her U.S. Open victory feel surreal to the Belgian.

“I can’t believe this happened,” the 26-year-old Clijsters told reporters following her grand slam triumph on Sunday after taking more than two years off to start a family.

Serena outburst: was there any excuse?

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TENNIS-OPEN/OK, don’t shoot me down for saying this, but can anyone see Saturday’s double-fault storm at the US Open from Serena Williams’s point of view?

With a place in the U.S. Open final at stake — and with many believing the winner of the Williams-Kim Clijsters showdown would go on to win the title — how frustrating is it to get foot-faulted on a second serve at 4-6 5-6 15-30 down?

Clijsters reminds us what we’ve been missing

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Venus Williams must wish Kim Clijsters had stayed retired and enjoyed a relaxing life as a millionaire mum.

The Belgian returned to grand slam action for the first time in 31 months and has left each and every one of her opponents at the U.S. Open embarrassed.

A tale of two draws at Flushing Meadows

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roddickIt has been a tale of two draws at the U.S. Open, with the men’s seeds advancing full steam ahead and the women’s field in disarray.

Eight of the top 16 women’s seeds have been given the boot at Flushing Meadows, while all 16 men have strolled forward — the first time men’s seeds have marched in lock step into the third round of a grand slam.

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