US Open Notebook

US Open notes: Blake to retire

2013-08-26T18:52:48Z 2013-08-27T21:07:10Z US Open notes: Blake to retireWire reports Arizona Daily Star
August 26, 2013 6:52 pm  • 

NEW YORK — Wiping away tears, James Blake announced Monday that he will retire from tennis after the U.S. Open.

“I always wanted to end my career at the U.S. Open,” the American said.

Blake, who attended Harvard before turning pro in 1999, reached a world ranking of No. 4 in 2006. He’s now 100th and takes a 9-13 record this year into Wednesday’s first-round match with Ivo Karlovic.

Blake had his moments, including a fifth-set tiebreaker loss to Andre Agassi in the 2005 Open quarterfinals that kept enthralled fans past 1 a.m. He twice lost Grand Slam quarterfinals to Roger Federer, at the 2006 Open and 2008 Australian Open. Blake also played on the U.S. Davis Cup team, including the 2007 champs.

But Blake is 33, married and with a 1-year-old daughter, ranked No. 100, six years past his last tour title, and believes he can leave “on my own terms.”

“I will miss pressure-packed moments ... the crowd getting into it,” he said. “But I’m not going to miss the constant travel ... my body aching.”

He leaves a sport still wondering whether the U.S. can produce another major champion — Andy Roddick, winner of the 2003 Open, is the last. In this year’s 128-player men’s draw at the Open, there are as many French entries, 15, as Americans.

And the state of U.S. affairs was emphasized Monday by 21-year-old Ryan Harrison’s straight-sets loss to 12-time major champion Rafael Nadal.

Cancer survivor wins

Alisa Kleybanova of Russia won her first Grand Slam match since being treated for cancer, beating 44th-ranked Monica Puig of Puerto Rico 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.

Kleybanova, 24, was ranked as high as 20th, but after missing much of the last two seasons with her illness is now 363rd. She was diagnosed in 2011 with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and underwent chemotherapy.

Drop shots

• Ranked 179th, Britain’s Daniel Evans stunned 11th-seeded Kei Nishikori in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2, in his U.S. Open debut. A year ago, Evans was playing a minor-league Futures event back home.

• For the second time in three years, American Sloane Stephens needed a third-set tiebreaker to win her opening match here. On Monday, the 15th-seeded Stephens pulled out a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5) win over Mandy Minella.

• Long lines of up to an hour snaked around the Billie Jean King Tennis Center, a product of newly installed metal detectors the U.S. Tennis Association is making all ticketholders pass through this year before entering the grounds.

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