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Blake joins select company in quarterfinals

Blake became only the third black American to reach the men's singles quarterfinals at the US Open.

india Updated: Sep 12, 2005 13:30 IST

James Blake's fourth-round victory at the US Open put him in a very select group.

By beating Spain's Tommy Robredo on Monday, Blake became only the third black American to reach the men's singles quarterfinals at the US Open, and the first since Rodney Harmon in 1982. The only other black American male to gain a quarterfinals berth here was Arthur Ashe, when he won his first US Open in 1968.

A fourth American black man, MaliVai Washington, reached the quarters at Wimbledon in 1996.

Labouring Long

Through Monday, five men's singles matches at the US Open have lasted more than four hours, led by Guillermo Coria's victory over Nicolas Massu of Chile.

It took the Argentine 4 hours, 32 minutes to beat Massu, three minutes longer than Italy's Davide Sanguinetti needed to outlast Thailand's Paradorn Srichaphan.

In other four-hour-plus matches, American Scoville Jenkins downed Switzerland's George Bastl; Spain's David Ferrer bested Argentina's Agustin Calleri; and Frenchman Arnaud Clement defeated Britain's Andy Murray, all in five sets.

None, however, came close to the US Open record of the 5:26 it took Stefan Edberg to beat Michael Chang 6-7 (3), 7-5, 7-6 (3), 5-7, 6-4 in a semifinal on Sept. 12, 1992.

American heroes

When James Blake and Robby Ginepri play on Wednesday, it will be the first time in 15 years that two American men make quarterfinal debuts at the Open.

David Wheaton and Pete Sampras did it in 1990. Wheaton lost to John McEnroe, while Sampras went on to win the first of his five Open titles.

Double duty

Venus Williams is one of eight women in the Open era to have won both the Wimbledon and US Open titles in the same year, and one of only three to achieve the feat more than once. Steffi Graf won both championships five different years, while Martina Navratilova did it on four separate occasions. Other women who have won the two tournaments in the same year are Margaret Court, Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Hingis and Serena Williams.

If Roger Federer wins here, he would be the first man in the Open era to take both Wimbledon and the US Open in consecutive years. Six men have won the two Grand Slam events in the same year, with Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Pete Sampras doing it twice apiece. Others who have pulled off the feat once are Rod Laver and Boris Becker.

Growing up

Four former US Open junior boys champions reached the round of 16 at this year's Grand Slam event: Nicolas Kiefer of Germany, who won in 1995; David Nalbandian of Argentina, 1998; Jarkko Nieminen of Finland, 1999, and Richard Gasquet of France, 2002.

Two former junior champions have gone on to win the men's title at the US Open: 1983 boys winner Stefan Edberg won in 1991 and 1992, and 2000 boys winner Andy Roddick won the men's crown in 2003.

Lone lefty

By beating Fernando Verdasco, Finland's Jarkko Nieminen became the first left-hander to reach the men's singles quarterfinals since 1997.

That was a great year for lefties as three -- Petr Korda, Greg Rusedski and Marcelo Rios-- played in the quarters. Rusedski made it to the finals, losing to Patrick Rafter.

Spectator only

Rosie Casals wasn't happy about being a spectator when the Masters doubles play got under way on Tuesday at the US Open.

"They're excluding the old lady," said Casals, who will turn 57 on September 16. "The older fellows that are older than I am are having a chance to compete. They're not giving the same opportunity to the women."

Thirty-six men are playing in the over-35, over-45 and super senior doubles. Only 16 women, who are not grouped by age, are playing this year.

"The criteria is entertainment value for the fans and also (to) try to gather some noted names," said Chris Widmaier, spokesman for the US Tennis Association. "Obviously many people know Rosie, but the selection committee went with 16 others."

Casals won four women's doubles titles at the Open, and 112 doubles titles in her career.