- Associated Press - Monday, September 1, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - As a singer, Victoria Azarenka makes for a really good tennis player.

With her on-court interview after a fourth-round victory nearing a close, Azarenka asked the crowd in Arthur Ashe Stadium to join her in a rendition of “Happy Birthday” for the person she called her “best friend” - Gael Monfils, the 20th-seeded Frenchman who turned 28 on Monday and will play in the U.S. Open quarterfinals Tuesday.

“If you guys can help me please wish him (a) happy birthday, it would mean so much to me,” Azarenka told the spectators, who responded with cheers.

The interviewer, though, tried to get Azarenka to speak about her next opponent. After a perfunctory answer, Azarenka returned to her quest, urging fans to “sing with me.”

Some obliged, accompanying Azarenka’s wavering, often off-key, version of the familiar tune.

Asked at her news conference whether she heard anything from Monfils about the song, Azarenka said he texted her “that he loves me very much.” Then she paused, slammed her hands on the desk in front of her and clarified, “Not in that way.”

- By Howard Fendrich, http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich


DUCK!: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga insists he didn’t whiff on a serve, as much as it looked that way.

Trying to close out his first service game of the second set against Andy Murray on Monday, the ninth-seeded Frenchman tossed the ball in the air, started to go into his motion - then ducked.

Tsonga explained later that a giant bug landed on the brim of his cap, blocking his view of the ball, which wound up glancing off his head on the way down. Tsonga pulled off his hat and shook it, then rubbed his hair to make sure no insects were on him.

He argued with the chair umpire that the awkward motion shouldn’t have counted as a first serve because he didn’t swing his racket - though he did appear to swing even if he was more focused on ducking out of the way.

That wound up being moot when Tsonga went on to win the point to finish the game. He would lose the fourth-round match to the eighth-seeded Murray, 7-5, 7-5, 6-4.

- By Rachel Cohen - www.twitter.com/RachelCohenAP


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