Play it foward: Aug. 30-Sept. 5 on your sports calendar

Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:

MONDAY

Tennis: U.S. Open in New York, opening rounds, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tennis Channel; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., ESPN2:

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Vera Zvonareva, you’re too good to be true. Still can’t take our eyes off of you. Check out the New York Times magazine website (linked here) about this year’s U.S. Open women’s power tennis game. It’s powerful.
Meanwhile, going back to last year’s event — fourth-round match against Flavia Pennetta. Second set.
Vera did the following:
= Cried on the court during the second set tiebreak,
= Hysterically cried in the locker room in between the second and third sets,
= Ripped off a portion of the medical tape that was wrapped around her thighs,
= Complained to the chair umpire that the remaining tape around her thighs prevented her from playing,

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= Screamed an obscenity at the chair umpire when she wouldn’t give her a medical timeout to fix said medical tape,
= Loudly yelled a compound word/profanity after hitting an unforced error,
= Continued to rip the tape off her leg,
= Smashed her racquet into a post and,
= Spent the final changeover sitting in her chair with a white towel draped over her head.
Then she lost the third set 6-0.
We wish we could have been there to console her.
This year’s event will have Vera seeded seventh, but It’ll go on without women’s top-seed Serena Williams, who, like last year’s men’s finalist Juan Martin del Potro, isn’t participating because of injury. Venus Williams, seeded third, sprained her left kneecap in early August, forcing her to withdraw from hard-court tournaments at Cincinnati and Montreal. She hasn’t played for more than two months. ESPN’s coverage this week runs through Friday; CBS takes over Saturday and Sunday, while Tennis Channel has coverage every day.
Vera could face Coco Vandeweghe in the second round if the niece of former UCLA and NBA star Kiki Vandeweghe can get past her first-round opponent, Germany’s Sabine Lisicki. A meeting again with Pennetta couldn’t happen unless both made it to the final.

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Basketball: FIBA World Championship: U.S. vs. Brazil, 11:30 a.m., ESPN:

Sultan Kosen, a 27-year-old from Turkey who holds the world record by standing 8-feet, 2-inches, was in Southern California the other day, visiting a San Clemente dentist who gave him $50,000 worth of free work. At 300 pounds, he wears a size 28 shoe. Shaquille O’Neal only wears a 23. That said, Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, Lamar Odom and Eric Gordon are in Turkey for awhile, playing in the basketball world championships, and hardly drawing the same attention that Kosen might. The U.S. games for the rest of the week: Wednesday (vs. Iran, 9 a.m., ESPN), Thursday (vs. Tunisia, 6:30 a.m., ESPN2), and a country to be named later either Sunday or Monday.

MLB: Dodgers vs. Philadelphia, Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m., Prime:

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We’ve lost interest in whether the late, great Gary Coleman was or wasn’t divorced in a creepy way. The trial to determine who’ll could be the future owner of the Dodgers — McCourt, or McCourt — is supposed to start today. Rendering a decision in this L.A. rematch of the last two NLCS series as, perhaps, anticlimactic. Even with Roy Halliday scheduled to face the Dodgers. With the newest wild-card implications, and Manny Ramirez’s future, here’s where some damage can be done.

MLB: Angels at Seattle, 7 p.m., FSW:

The Angels and Mariners have been somewhat hopelessly spinning their wheels in the AL West race — enough to where Seattle finally eliminated manager Don Wakamatsu was fired a few weeks ago, along with pitching coach Rich Adair, bench coach Ty Van Burkleo and performance coach Steve Hecht. The Mariners’ performance since then: Just about .500. Which is just about the record Seattle star Felix Hernandez brings in (10-10) to tonight’s game, even after winning his last two starts, beating both the Red Sox and Yankees on the road. He still leads the league in Ks (192) and innings pitched (204 1/3) with a 2.47 ERA. His ERA in games he’s won — 0.87. In his other 18 starts (10 losses, eight no decisions), he’s 3.55. Still in the ballpark.

TUESDAY

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MLB: Dodgers vs. Philadelphia, Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m., Channel 9:

A cooler-bag giveaway, to the first 20,000. Pretty cool if you ask us. It would also be cool if Dodger scheduled starter Carlos Monasterious could keep his hit-batters total (it was three last week in Milwaukee) lower than his hits-allowed total (two, in the same game against the Brewers).

MLB: Angels at Seattle, 7 p.m., FSW:

Any thoughts of taking custody of Chone Figgins while up in the Emerald City? While he’d still be eligible for the team’s post-season roster?

WEDNESDAY

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MLB: Dodgers vs. Philadelphia, Dodger Stadium, 1 p.m., Prime:

September arrives, and it should play out as a bright, sunny L.A. day. We hear it’s always sunny in Philadelphia. After Roy Oswalt faces Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers are having an event where – we kid you not – they’ll allow “pre-registered” senior citizens to run the bases. “Seniors Stroll the Bases” is for those affiliated with AARP, Sunrise Senior Centers and Leisure World. For more info: www.dodgers.com/aarp. Or ask Brad Ausmus.

MLB: Angels at Seattle, 7 p.m., FSW:

Jeff Weaver, scheduled to start for the Angels here, is 19-9 lifetime in games he’s pitched in September and October, and he’s 10-3 against Seattle over his career in 17 starts — the most victories against any team in the big leagues, by a wide margin. He only has 62 wins total in four-plus seasons.

THURSDAY

College football: USC at Hawaii, 8 p.m., ESPN:

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The extended Labor Day weekend begins with a trip that USC booked years ago to give its followers a nice, relaxing, end of the summer vacation. Now, it’s about as close to a bowl excursion as they’ll get (unless you want to count a trip to Minneapolis in a couple of weeks). Lane Kiffin’s watch begins without heralded freshman tailback Dillon Baxter, who was also third on the depth chart at quarterback.

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That kind of sums up how this post-Pete Carroll, post-NCAA probation era will begin — unless someone else wants to strip USC of previous titles. Pass the poi and pick your poison. Who else of note is starting the college season tonight? Ohio State (hosting Marshall, 4:30 p.m., Big Ten Network), South Carolina (hosting Southern Miss, 4:30 p.m., ESPN) and Utah (hosting Pitt, 5:30 p.m., on Versus). Also on this day: The NFL has planned 16 exhibition games, with no one having a bye, in the last tuneup before the regular season starts.

FRIDAY

MLB: Dodgers vs. San Francisco, Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m., Prime:

Fireworks are promised after the game. During the game, that’s up to the players. The team leading the NL wildcard race must stand its ground with extinguishers ready. It’s brushfire season. And Barry Zito is carrying the roman candle in the opener.

MLB: Angels at Oakland, 7 p.m., FSW:

The Slumberin’ A’s are actually ahead of the Angels in the AL West. A road swing through Oakland could change it. Maybe.

College football: Arizona at Toledo, 4 p.m., ESPN:

Take Toledo and the 15 points. The Wildcats’ defense ain’t what it used to be.

Golf: PGA’s Deutsche Bank Championship, first round, noon, Golf Channel:

Once Phil Mickelson missed the cut at last week’s Barclay’s event, he lost any mathematical chance of taking Tiger Woods’ top spot in the Official World Golf Rankings. That’s nine events in a row in which Mickelson had a chance to become No. 1 in the world for the first time in his career. When they meet again here, it’ll be even more difficult, based on Woods’ finish unday. The start of this event is pushed back a day to finish on the holiday, the second leg of the Fed Ex Cup playoff event ends with the final two rounds on NBC.

SATURDAY

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College football: UCLA at Kansas State, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7:

The Bruins’ Pistol-packing offense goes to Manhattan, Kansas already is a few bullets shy as the season opens. The offensive line goes without center and captain Kai Maiava (broken ankle), Jeff Baca (academically ineligible) and Mike Harris (suspended). Quarterback Kevin Prince may or may not show, either. Who left the floodgates open? Kick it away, Kai Forbath.

College football: Purdue at Notre Dame, 12:30 p.m., Channel 4:

If NBC can manipulate the commercial breaks to satisfy new coach Brian Kelly, maybe new Irish QB Dayne Crist, who replaces that Clausen kid, can scramble around and get enough time to make everyone’s debut big-show-worthy.

MLB: Angels at Oakland, 1 p.m., FSW:

When does “Moneyball” plan for its release? Brad Pitt was just asking us the other day.

MLB: Dodgers vs. San Francisco, Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m., Prime:

How did Matt Cain go from a Cy Young candidate a year ago to a .500 pitcher this season? He signed a three-year contract extension in March that bumped his salary from $2.9 mil last year (14-8, 2.89 ERA) to $4.5 this season. Yet, if you look at his career stats, he’s seven games under .500 in more than 160 starts. He beat the Dodgers 2-0 on Aug. 1 with seven strike outs and 13 ground ball outs (versus six fly ball outs). On June 4, he lost 4-2 to the Dodgers when had 12 fly ball outs, just four ground ball outs and six Ks.

MLS: Galaxy at Chicago, 1 p.m., Prime:

You may be one of the few asking: What’s happened to the Galaxy since they started the season 11-0-2? Losing four of their last nine (before Saturday’s game against KC ….

SUNDAY

MLB: Dodgers vs. San Francisco, Dodger Stadium, 5 p.m., ESPN2:

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The Dodgers still have a promotion with Claim Jumper: If the team scores 10 runs or more in a home game, everyone can get a plate of free wings at the pile-it-high restaurant. It’s only happened twice this year, though. The first: April 16 against the Giants, in the fourth home game of the year. Todd Wellemeyer was the victim for the Giants. Two weeks ago, the team released him.

MLB: Angels at Oakland, 1 p.m., Channel 13:

Only three more against the A’s after this. Not that we’re counting on anything happening.

College football: SMU at Texas Tech, 12:30 p.m., ESPN:

The last pro football-less Sunday of the year also has Delaware State vs. Southern (ESPN, 9 a.m.) and Tulsa at East Carolina (ESPN2, 11 a.m.).

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