Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Beleaguered Fish withdraws from U.S. Open

Mardy Fish, a part-time member of the Sacramento
Capitals in World TeamTennis for the past two seasons,
has battled an accelerated heartbeat since February 2012.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   Mardy Fish could be near retirement.
   Fish tweeted today that he was withdrawing from the U.S. Open because of continuing health issues. The 31-year-old American has battled a heart condition for the past 18 months.
   "Friends, unfortunately my health won't allow me to compete this year at the US Open. Thank you for all your support," wrote Fish, who played part-time for the Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis for the second straight year last month.
   This year's last Grand Slam tournament is scheduled for Monday through Sept. 9 in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   Fish reached a career-high No. 7 in the world in August 2011 but underwent a procedure for an accelerated heartbeat in May 2012. He has made several comebacks since then, withdrawing before his fourth-round match against Roger Federer in last year's U.S. Open.
   Fish, one of the nicest and classiest players in the game, said earlier this year that he had retired in his mind "15 times."
   Unfortunately, he might make it official soon.
   U.S. Open qualifying --Fish's teammate on the Capitals, 17-year-old Taylor Townsend, trounced 11th-seeded Eva Birnerova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-2 in the first round of qualifying for the U.S. Open.
   Birnerova, who turned 29 last week, is ranked No. 117. Townsend, a Chicago native who trains in Boca Raton, Fla., is No. 334.
   Townsend in 2012 became the first American girl in 30 years to end the year as the No. 1 junior in the world. She will meet Samantha Murray of Great Britain on Thursday in the second round. The 190th-ranked Murray, who's not related to Andy Murray, beat Russian-born Australian Arina Rodionova 6-4, 6-1.
   Another 17-year-old, Mayo Hibi, advanced with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 victory over American Allie Kiick in a matchup of wild cards.
   Kiick's father, Jim, played running back on the 1972 Miami Dolphins, the only team in NFL history to go undefeated. The squad was honored at the White House on Tuesday.
   Hibi, who won the $50,000 FSP Gold River Challenger in the Sacramento area last month, plays for her native Japan but has lived in California since she was 2 1/2. She will face 13th-seeded Anastasia Rodionova -- Arina's older sister, also a Russian-born Aussie and a former Capital -- in the second round.
   American Madison Brengle, the runner-up in the Gold River Challenger, upset sixth-seeded Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-4. Brengle will play Erika Sema of Japan in the second round.
   Players must win three qualifying matches to advance to the main draw.
   U.S. Open National Playoffs -- Eric Roberson of Sacramento and Yasmin Schnack of Elk Grove in the Sacramento area edged Brian Battistone of Las Vegas and Nicole Melichar of Stuart, Fla., 6-3, 3-6, 10-6 in the first round of mixed doubles in New Haven, Conn.
   Roberson and Schnack will play Meghan Kelley of Falmouth, Maine, and Daniel Quiceno of Beverly, Mass., in Thursday's quarterfinals. Kelley and Quiceno received a bye in the first round.
   The tournament champions will earn a wild card in the U.S. Open mixed doubles main draw, which begins Aug. 28.

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