Four American Women Reach U.S. Open Semifinals, Hinting At Tennis Renaissance
The "Stars and Stripes will be flying proudly" over tonight's U.S. Open women’s semifinal matches at Arthur Ashe Stadium, with four Americans "chasing a place in the final," according to Steve Keating of REUTERS. Venus Williams "takes on Sloane Stephens in one semifinal before Madison Keys battles it out with CoCo Vandeweghe in the other." Keating notes this is the first time since Wimbledon in '85 that "four American women have featured in a grand slam semi-finals, and the first time" at the U.S. Open since '81 (REUTERS, 9/7). Former tennis player Kathy Rinaldi said, "It’s wonderful for American tennis, it’s wonderful for our youngsters coming up. These four ladies in the semifinals are not only tremendous athletes, they’re tremendous ladies and role models." She added, "It’s been a great two weeks for American tennis. All I have known all my life was great American players. So it’s great to see this resurgence, and I hope it can continue" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/7).
PASSING THE TORCH: In N.Y., Larry Brooks writes life at the "top of U.S. women’s tennis has been the exclusive domain" of Venus and Serena Williams for "more than a decade, since the decline and ultimate demise of Lindsay Davenport and Jennifer Capriati." But American tennis has "become heavenly over this fortnight." Keys said, "We have so many Americans to talk about in the last days of the U.S. Open. I can’t tell you how many times I have sat in this chair and had to hear, you know, how horrible tennis is in America. So this feels really good. There are lots of young up-and-comers. I think there is a lot of good American tennis to come" (N.Y. POST, 9/7). ESPN's Cliff Drysdale said, "We’ve been talking so long about, are these young guns in U.S. tennis really going to make it or are they just kind of kidding us and leading us along? That question has been answered here in New York this week.” ESPN’s Chris Evert said, “The influence is also Serena and Venus. We have to give them a lot of credit. These players, these young girls were five, six years-old when Serena and Venus started winning, and they have been great role models” (“U.S. Open,” ESPN, 9/6).
SETTING AN EXAMPLE: In N.Y., Christopher Clarey writes with Venus Williams "in the mix, this is an American success story encompassing two tennis generations." The group is "multiethnic, with three African-Americans: Williams, Stephens and Keys." USTA GM of Player Development Martin Blackman said, "You can connect some dots there. It’s the inspiration and the demonstration effect Venus and Serena have had, making the game more accessible for African-American families, making it something they can aspire to. Huge impact, and we’ve got lots coming" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/7). In DC, Candace Buckner writes the Stephens-Williams matchup is "prime-time material, good enough to entice any sports fan to tune into the U.S. Open." Buckner: "I’m watching because the players are black women, and I like watching black women do cool stuff on my TV. ... I unabashedly root for representation and role models, knowing there are many girls with Venus’s hair type and Sloane’s dark complexion who don’t always see positive images of themselves on television." Buckner adds, "This unicorn moment -- with another black American, Madison Keys, joining this final four -- will matter. Not just to me, but also to the millions who look like me, think like me, move in this world like me" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/7).