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U.S. Open Notebook: Douglaston’s McEnroe falls to Becker in exhibition

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It’s his trademark saying, but not once did John McEnroe utter the words during his exhibition match against Boris Becker before the All-Williams U.S. Open women’s final Saturday night.

Instead, after a fault call, a fan inside Arthur Ashe Stadium screamed out, “You cannot be serious!”

The 43-year-old Douglaston native, who won the U.S. Open four times, dropped the 74-minute match, 6-4, 7-5.

The victory meant Becker’s charity, the Laures Sports for Good Foundation, received the $50,000 donation rather than McEnroe’s, The John McEnroe Foundation.

“Everything was great, except the way I played,” McEnroe said after the match.

Both players held serve until the ninth game of the first set, when the 34-year-old Becker finally broke McEnroe, whose serve topped out at 115-mph. Becker then held serve to capture the first set, 6-4.

Becker, who won the Open once, jumped out to a 4-2 lead in the second set. McEnroe, who cut down angles and attacked the net like he did when he was younger, rallied to tie the set at 5, but missed a groundstroke as he fell to ground to put Becker ahead, 6-5.

Becker closed out the match moments later when McEnroe, who played in front of his family and longtime girlfriend, singer Patty Smyth, lunged at Becker’s 112-mph serve only to return the ball long.

Patriotic, from beginning to end

It started with Astoria’s Tony Bennett singing, “America the Beautiful,” in moving opening night ceremonies and the 2002 U.S. Open ended Sunday with Forest Hills native Art Garfunkel singing “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and “America the Beautiful,” before the All-American men’s final.

Sampras has the last word

Greg Rusedski, consider yourself surprised.

After losing to Pete Sampras in a five-set thriller, the Brit ripped into Sampras last week, saying he was a step and a half slower and that he would be “surprised if he won his next match.”

Not only did Sampras win his next match, defeating Tommy Haas, but he won his next three to win his fifth U.S. Open crown, and 14th Grand Slam title, by beating Andre Agassi in four sets Sunday.

The victory made the 31-year-old Sampras the oldest man to win the U.S. Open since Arthur Ashe. It also set up the quote of the tournament when a member of the press asked Sampras about Rusedski’s comments.

“He's got his own issues,” Sampras said amid aughter from the press corps. “His issues have issues.”

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by email at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

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