Players battle wild winds at U.S. Open

Wed Sep 8, 2010 10:47pm EDT
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By Julian Linden

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic and Caroline Wozniacki, battling the elements as much as their opponents, sailed into the semi-finals of the U.S. Open on Wednesday with straight-sets wins.

Vera Zvonareva also breezed through, reaching the last four in New York for the first time, but the trio were more relieved than excited after a day when gale force winds turned the last grand slam of the season into a lottery.

"This felt like playing in a hurricane," Wozniacki said after beating unseeded Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova 6-2 7-5. "It was just about surviving."

The wind inside Arthur Ashe Stadium was blowing so hard that hitting winners almost became a secondary consideration.

The players were repeatedly having to re-toss after gusts blew the ball out of their reach when they were serving. Just landing the ball on the court became an achievement in itself.

"These are the worst conditions at this tournament," Djokovic grumbled after his 7-6 6-1 6-2 victory over Frenchman Gael Monfils. "I don't think the crowd enjoyed the tennis too much."

Zvonareva was almost apologetic after her 6-3 7-5 win over Estonia's Kaia Kanepi that featured 11 service breaks and 88 unforced errors.

"We both were trying our best out there," she explained.   Continued...

<p>Novak Djokovic of Serbia hits a return to Gael Monfils of France during the US Open tennis tournament in New York, September 8, 2010. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi</p>