August 2011 | Page 10 of 21 | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Sunday / June 23.
  • Serena Williams awoke with a sore and swollen right big toe Wednesday, prompting her to withdraw from the Western & Southern Open – the latest in her long history of foot problems and setbacks.

    Williams had won two straight tournaments, at Stanford and Toronto, and her win Tuesday night at the Cincinnati-area tournament was her seventh match in eight days.

    She decided to withdraw and rest the foot, which she cut on glass at a restaurant and needed two operations to repair last year. Williams was rounding back into form with the U.S. Open, which begins Aug. 29.

    “I don’t think this is a good time for me to take a big chance,” she said. The U.S. Open starts Aug. 29.

    Seton Hall has landed a verbal pledge from 6-foot-8, 230-pound Raymon Austin, a 2012 forward from Paris (Texas) Junior College.

    There is hardly any information about Austin on the web, but Paris assistant coach Albert Talley says he can contribute to the Pirates as soon as he arrives in 2012.

    “He’s as strong as an ox,” Talley told by phone. “He’s athletic as all get out. Just a very talented player. He’s got an opportunity to be a pro.”

    He added: “I’m 6-7, 250 and Ray walks in the office and lifts me over his head and spins me around.”

    Onetime St. John’s pledge Jevon Thomas visited Seton Hall Wednesday and said he was offered by the staff.

    “It was good,” Thomas, who is transferring to Quality Education (N.C.), told “I loved it and I played with the guys and they offered. It feels good because the Big East is the best conference. It feels good that I got another option.”

    Thomas now holds offers from the Pirates, Penn State and Towson.

    John McEnroe knows a thing or two about tremendous tennis campaigns.

    In 1984, Johnny Mac went  82-3 overall, winning Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and blowing a two-sets-to-love lead over Ivan Lendl in the French Open final.

    Now here comes Novak Djokovic, the world No. 1 who was 53-1 entering his match Wednesday in Cincinnati.

    Djokovic will be seeking his third Grand Slam of 2011 in Queens, having already captured the Australian Open and Wimbledon. He’s won a record nine Masters Series 1000 events, and catapulted himself above rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in the world rankings. His lone loss came to Federer in the French Open semis.

    “The guy’s playing amazing, is unbelievable,” McEnroe said Wednesday on an ESPN conference call promoting the Open, which runs Aug. 29-Sept. 11. “So there’s no question about it, that he’s a big favorite.”

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