Serena Williams’ history of U.S. Open episodes with umpires, lineswoman

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NEW YORK (AP) — Serena Williamsdispute with the chair umpire during the 2018 U.S. Open final is the latest issue she’s had with match officials at the Grand Slam tournament.

Williams thought back to others while arguing in her 6-2, 6-4 loss to Naomi Osaka on Saturday, saying on court at one point: “This is not fair. This has happened to me too many times.”

When a reporter asked Williams whether her mind had flashed back to her infamous tirade over a foot fault in the final at Flushing Meadows nine years ago, she replied: “I think it’s just instantly, just like, ‘Oh, gosh, I don’t want to go back to 2004.’ Forget 2009, you know. It started way back then. So it’s always something.”

Here is a brief look back at those other U.S. Open episodes involving Williams, who has won six singles titles in New York:

THE WRONG CALL

Date: Sept. 7, 2004

Opponent: Jennifer Capriati

Round: Quarterfinals

Chair Umpire: Mariana Alves

Result: Capriati won 2-6, 6-4, 6-4

What happened: In the opening game of the third set, Williams hit a backhand that landed in — and was ruled in by a line judge — but Alves awarded the point to Capriati.

The fallout: This mistake was cited later when electronic line-calling was introduced to Grand Slam tennis.

What Williams said then: “I don’t need to see the replay. I know my shots. Not only was it in, it wasn’t even near the line. But I’m not making excuses. I didn’t lose because of that. I probably should have closed her out in the second set.”

THE FOOT FAULT

Opponent: Kim Clijsters

Round: Semifinals

Line judge: Shino Tsurubuchi

Result: Clijsters won 6-4, 7-5.

What happened: With Williams serving at 5-6, 15-30 in the second set, she faulted on her first serve. On the second serve, Tsurubuchi called a foot fault, making it a double-fault — a call rarely, if ever, seen at that stage of any match, let alone a major semifinal. That made the score 15-40, putting Clijsters one point from victory. Williams went over and shouted and cursed at Tsurubuchi, pointing at her. The line judge went over to chair umpire Louise Engzell, who assessed a penalty point, because it was Williams’ second code violation of the match (she broke her racket when the first set ended). That extra point for Clijsters ended the match.

The fallout: Williams was fined a record $82,500 and told she could be suspended from the U.S. Open and her fine doubled if she had another “major offense” at any Grand Slam tournament over the next two years.

What Williams said then: “I’ve never been in a fight in my whole life, so I don’t know why she would have felt threatened.”

THE HINDRANCE CALL

Date: Sept. 11, 2011

Opponent: Sam Stosur

Round: Final

Chair umpire: Eva Asderaki

Result: Stosur won 6-2, 6-3

What happened: Facing a break point at the start of the second set, Williams hit a forehand that she celebrated with a familiar cry of “Come on!” But she shouted as Stosur was still reaching for a backhand. Asderaki ruled the point wasn’t over and so awarded it to Stosur, saying Williams hindered her opponent’s ability to complete the exchange. Williams got broken in that game. She directed a series of insults at Asderaki, who issued a code violation for verbal abuse.

The fallout: Williams was fined $2,000 by the U.S. Open (she won $1.4 million at the tournament). But the Grand Slam committee ruled that what she did “did not rise to the level of a major offense” and so she didn’t face the additional disciplinary action that she could have been subject to after what happened in 2009.

What Williams said then: “You’re a hater, and you’re just unattractive inside,” to Asderaki.

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At U.S. Open swim meet, teens make a splash with Olympic trials on horizon

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While Olympic and world champions Katie LedeckySimone Manuel and Chase Kalisz notched expected victories at the U.S. Open on Thursday, a trio of teenagers lowered personal bests to further establish their Tokyo Olympic hopes.

At the top domestic meet of the winter, Alex WalshCarson Foster and Kieran Smith each earned runner-up finishes, but their performances stood out in the big picture: looking at June’s Olympic trials, where the top two per individual event make the team.

Walsh, a rising Nashville high school senior, took 2.23 seconds off her 200m individual medley best. She clocked 2:09.01, overtaken by .17 by Melanie Margalis, the Rio Olympic and 2019 World Championships fourth-place finisher.

Full meet results are here.

Walsh moved from fifth-fastest in the U.S. this year to No. 2 behind Margalis, passing Olympic and world championships veterans Ella EastinKathleen Baker and Madisyn Cox. Of those swimmers, only Eastin was also in Thursday’s final.

Walsh joined her younger sister, Gretchen, in Olympic qualifying position based on 2019 times. Gretchen, 16, ranks fourth in the U.S. in the 100m free this year. The top six in that event at trials are in line to make the Olympic 4x100m free relay pool.

The Walshes could become the third set of sisters to make the same U.S. Olympic swim team, and the second to do it in pool swimming after Dana and Tara Kirk in 2004.

Foster, 18, continued his ascent Thursday in taking second to Kalisz in the men’s 200m IM. The world junior champion lowered his personal best in the prelims and the final, getting down to 1:57.59. Foster passed Ryan Lochte, who is nearly twice his age, in Thursday’s final and in the 2019 U.S. rankings. Only Kalisz and Michael Andrew have been faster among Americans this year.

Foster is trying to become the youngest U.S. Olympic male swimmer since 2000, when a 15-year-old Michael Phelps made his Olympic debut. Foster, who has been breaking Phelps national age-group records since he was 10, committed to the University of Texas in March 2018, two years before he graduates high school in Ohio.

Then there’s Kieran Smith, now a prime candidate to fill a huge void in the 400m freestyle. Zane Grothe is the only American ranked in the top 20 in the world this year.

Smith, a 19-year-old from the University of Florida, took 2.29 seconds off his lifetime best on Thursday to jump from outside the top 10 to No. 2 in the U.S. on the year. Smith was already ranked No. 2 in the country in the 200m free.

Two more runners-up in the 50m freestyles — Erika Brown to Manuel and Zach Apple to Brazilian Bruno Fratus — lowered personal bests to move to No. 3 in each U.S. ranking list this year.

The U.S. Open continues Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. ET with live coverage on NBCSN and streaming on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app.

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Nathan Chen distances Yuzuru Hanyu in Grand Prix Final short program

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A brilliant Nathan Chen outscored a flawed Yuzuru Hanyu for a fourth straight head-to-head program, taking a 12.95-point lead at the Grand Prix Final in Turin, Italy, on Thursday.

Chen, the two-time reigning world champion, tallied 110.38 points going into Saturday’s free skate. He landed a quadruple Lutz, triple Axel and quad toe loop-triple toe loop combination.

It’s the highest short program score in the world this season, leading the American to say “wow” in the kiss-and-cry area. His coach, the often-gruff Rafael Arutyunyan, banged his knee against his pupil’s.

Hanyu, the two-time reigning Olympic champion, hit a quadruple Salchow and triple Axel but then stepped out of a quad toe landing. He therefore failed to include a required jumping combination and ended up in second place.

“I wanted to do a great performance and do a good competition against [Chen], but that didn’t happen this time,” Hanyu, who was without longtime coach Brian Orser, or any other coach, said through a translator. Hanyu said Orser was busy last week, so he chose to use his lone accreditation on another coach who had travel delays.

Hanyu is not out of title contention. His world-leading free skate score this season is 16.61 points better than Chen’s best free skate from the fall Grand Prix Series.

Chen is undefeated since placing fifth at the PyeongChang Olympics, but this is just his second head-to-head with Hanyu in that span. Chen defeated Hanyu at March’s world championships, where the Japanese megastar was likely affected by an ankle injury.

After Thursday’s program, Chen repeated what he said before the competition: he still feels like he’s chasing Hanyu.

“Yuzu is like the goat, he’s the greatest of all time, really,” Chen said. “So, to have this opportunity to be able to share the ice with a guy like that, someone that I’ve looked up to for a long time, someone that I’ve watched grow up through the junior ranks when I was like a baby, it’s really cool to be able see him now. It’s really cool to even just be able to see him person.”

The Grand Prix Final, the biggest annual event outside the world championships, continues Friday with the rhythm dance, women’s short and pairs’ free skate. A full TV and live stream schedule is here.

Earlier in pairs, Chinese Sui Wenjing and Han Cong took their first step toward a first Grand Prix Final title. The Olympic silver medalists tallied 77.50, leading Russians Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitriy Kozlovskiy by .85 going into Friday’s free skate.

Sui and Han were imperfect, with Sui putting her hand down on a throw triple flip landing. They are undefeated in this Beijing Olympic cycle and own the world’s top total score this season.

The U.S. failed to qualify a pair for the six-team Final for the 11th time in the last 12 years.

Grand Prix Final
Men’s Short Program
1. Nathan Chen (USA) — 110.38
2. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) — 97.43
3. Kevin Aymoz (FRA) — 96.71
4. Dmitriy Aliyev (RUS) — 88.78
5. Alexander Samarin (RUS) — 81.32
6. Jin Boyang (CHN) — 80.67

Pairs’ Short Program
1. Sui Wenjing/Han Cong (CHN) — 77.50
2. Aleksandra Boikova / Dmitriy Kozlovskiy (RUS) — 76.65
3. Daria Pavliuchenko/Denis Khodykin (RUS) — 75.16
4. Anastasia Mishina/Aleksandr Galliamov (RUS) — 71.48
5. Peng Cheng/Jin Yang (CHN) — 69.67
6. Kirsten Moore-Towers/Michael Marinaro (CAN) — 67.08

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