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Thursday February 2nd, 2023 8:04PM

Serena proves a ratings smash for ESPN | US Open updates

By The Associated Press
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The Latest on the U.S. Open tennis tournament (all times local):

7 p.m.

Serena Williams was a smash hit in the ratings for her apparent final U.S. Open match.

ESPN said Tuesday that Williams’ expected farewell to Flushing Meadows was the most-watched tennis telecast in the network's 43-year history. Her loss last Friday to Ajla Tomljanovich drew 4.6 million viewers. The previous record of 3.9 million was for the 2012 Wimbledon final, when Roger Federer defeated Andy Murray, in ESPN’s first year with exclusivity.

The ratings peaked for the Williams match at 6.9 million viewers in the 10:15 p.m. quarter-hour as the match wound down. Through the first five days of the US Open, an average of 1.1. million viewers tuned in to ESPN networks, up 101% versus 2021. These are the most-viewed first five days of the US Open on record on ESPN networks.

Williams’ second-round victory over Anett Kontaveit averaged 3.6 million viewers.

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5:45 p.m.

Casper Ruud has found his niche in Grand Slam events. All he needs now is a championship.

Ruud is one match closer to a U.S. Open title after his 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (4) victory over 2021 Wimbledon runner-up Matteo Berrettini in the quarterfinals. He faces the winner of Wimbledon finalist Nick Kyrgios and No. 27 Karen Khachanov late Tuesday night at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Ruud improved to 12-2 in Grand Slam matches in 2022 and he was a French Open finalist. The first Norwegian to make a U.S. Open semifinal credits maturity in five matches to his recent turnaround in his most important matches.

“I feel like I, this year, have sort of figured out in the better way how to play five sets and knowing that it’s very different from playing best-of-three sets, and it often becomes much longer matches and a lot of back and forth,” he said.

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5:10 p.m.

Fifth-seeded Ons Jabeur is the first African woman to make a U.S. Open semifinal in the professional era.

Jabeur held on for a 6-4, 7-6 (4) victory over Ajla Tomljanovic at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Tuesday.

Tomljanovic eliminated Serena Williams in the third round. Now, she's gone, too.

Jabeur says it “means a lot to me” if she can inspire other young players from Africa. Jabeur will play either 18-year-old American Coco Gauff or Caroline Garcia. Their match is in the night session.

The 28-year-old Jabeur apologized for throwing her racket at times during the match, saying, “I wanted to keep calm but the racket kept slipping from my hands.” The Tunisian was a Wimbledon finalist this season. She says: “I know that I have it in me that I can win a Grand Slam.”

Jabeur and Tomljanovic are close friends and exchanged a lengthy hug at the net following the match.

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2:55 p.m.

Casper Ruud is the first Norwegian to make a U.S. Open semifinal.

The fifth-seeded Ruud knocked off No. 13 Matteo Berrettini 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (4) to continue his strong run this year in Grand Slam events.

Ruud must reach at least the final to have a chance at ending the U.S Open as the top-ranked player in the world. Ruud says he “doesn't want think too much” about the potential accomplishment and he didn't know the milestone was even in the cards until the draw started, but says the chance of leaving New York as world No. 1 is “extra motivation.”

Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal, who lost Monday, can both end the U.S. Open as the new top-ranked player because Daniil Medvedev lost his match earlier in the tournament.

Ruud improved to 12-2 this season in his Grand Slam events.

Ruud was the runner-up at the French Open this year. He will face Nick Kyrgios or Karen Khachanov in the semifinals.

Kyrgios vs. Khachanov will be the last singles match Tuesday, following 18-year-old American Coco Gauff against Caroline Garcia in the night session.

The other women’s quarterfinal Tuesday is No. 5 Ons Jabeur against Ajla Tomljanovic, the player who eliminated Serena Williams in the third round.

___

1 p.m.

Matteo Berrettini and Casper Ruud are in action in the first men's quarterfinal at Flushing Meadows.

Both men have been the runner-up at another Grand Slam tournament: No. 5 seed Ruud at the French Open this year, and No. 13 seed Berrettini at Wimbledon last year.

It is raining, so they are playing under a closed roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium. With showers in the forecast all day, the U.S. Open called off all junior matches that were scheduled for Tuesday, because they are played on smaller, outdoor courts.

The Berrettini-Ruud winner will face Nick Kyrgios or Karen Khachanov in the semifinals. Kyrgios vs. Khachanov will be the last singles match on Tuesday, following 18-year-old American Coco Gauff against Caroline Garcia in the night session.

The other women's quarterfinal Tuesday is No. 5 Ons Jabeur against Ajla Tomljanovic, the player who eliminated Serena Williams in the third round.

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More AP coverage of U.S. Open tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/us-open-tennis-championships and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Tennis, AP Entertainment, AP Online TV News, AP Sports - Men's Tennis, AP Sports - Women's Tennis
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