Monday, November 30, 2009

Murray and Sears are Dunzo

The Daily Mail has reported that Andy Murray and girlfriend of 4 years Kim Sears have split. The two own a house together and Sears has moved out and is now living with her parents. The breakup was confirmed by Sears' mother, who was quoted as saying,"Yes, but I am not going to comment on it," when asked whether the two were over or not.

Serena Fined Record-Breaking 82.5K

Thought this was old news.....guess not.
Serena Williams has been fined an extra $82,500 from the ITF after further investigation regarding her infamous tirade at the US Open directed toward a lineswoman's REDICULOUS brave call in the American's semifinal match against eventual champ Kim Clijsters. The record-setting fine beats out Jeff Tarango's $48,000 fine in the 90's. The wordl number 1 originally had to cough up 10K but OF COURSE tennis' officials looked into the situation and upped the fine. They also put the diva on probation, meaning 1 more offence and the younger Williams could be banned from the following US Open.

Better be on your best behavior 'Rena.
Who am I kidding!? Keep it up girl. Any publicity is good publicity.....right?

Besides, whats 82K to an 11 time GS champ/Glamour 'women of the year'/fashion designer/ script writer/action star?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Davydenko Crowned YEC Champion

One week ago you may have predicted either Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Juan Martin del Potro to be crowned the World Tour Finals champion, but Nikolay Davydenko, long seen as the king of the 500-level tournaments who could never breakthrough with the big boys, was victorious at the Year-End Championships, beating all 3 of the previously named heavyweights in the process. In the finals today (Sunday), The Russian was crowned YEC victor after easily handling del Potro in the finals, 6-3, 6-4. With monstrous yet consistent groundstrokes, Davydenko surprised even himself in taking the title for the 1st time, losing a total of just 13 points on serve in the match. On serve in the 1st set, JMDP was called for a foot-fault, resulting in a downward spiral for the US Open champ, who's frustration allowed Davydenko to break serve to lead 3-1. “For me it was amazing,” said Davydenko. “Coming here as No. 7 and winning the tournament, it was surprising for myself.” Davydenko's winners to error ratio was +10, while DelPo's was +1, and in the end, the world number 7 improved his 2009 finals record to 5-0. “He beat everybody, so he’s a worthy champion,” Del Potro told the press. Congratz Kolya!

On another note, can ya'll believe the 2009 tennis season has come to a close. I'm not sure if I should be happy or sad, but what I am aware of is that we saw history made at it's finest and at it's worst. Here's to a great '09 and a well-deserved off-season for the players.

DelPo & Davydenko Advance to Finals of WTF

13th time's that charm? Thats the story of Nikolay Davydenko, who on Saturday defeated longtime rival Roger Federer for the 1st time in 13 tries, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5, to advance to the finals of the ATP Year-End Championships. Federer started the match poorly, as he did with all his matches this week, missing put-away shots while the Russian controlled the points with his pin-point accuracy and lazer-like groundstrokes. “I was a couple of points away, but just couldn’t get it done,” said Federer, who lead 0-30 while Davydenko served at 4-5 in the 3rd. “He did well. I thought he played strong throughout, even though I don’t think it was our best match we ever played against each other.” The 15-time GS champ controlled the match from the beginning of the 2nd until that pivotal game in the deciding set, and looked like he would come out on top. “All my family, everybody who supports me, wait for this moment, when I can beat Federer,” said the victor. “I was thinking it coming maybe 2010 or ’11. But in 2009, end of the season, it’s good feeling.” In the 2nd semifinal matchup, Juan Martin del Potro faced Robin Soderling. Both went into the match with identical 2-1 records and it was very well known that these two would be hitting the ball with relentless power. Soderling came out on top in the 1st set, 7-6 (1). Del Potro ceased to control the points, but in the end, the Argentine's defense, with a little help from Soderling's nerves, assisted JMDP in winning the following 2 sets 6-3 and 7-6 (3).

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Soderling and Davydenko Reach WTF Semis

Not unlike Group A, Group B had a 3-way tie amongst it's competitors to end the round-robin stage of the World Tour Finals in London, with Novak Djokovic, Robin Soderling and Nikolay Davydenko ending with 2-1 match records. The latter 2 battled it out in the night match on Friday night while Djokovic had to sit in anxiety awaiting his fate after beating Rafael Nadal 7-6(5), 6-3. In what I thought was one of the highest quality men's matches of the year, Davydenko extended his stay in London by defeating Robin Soderling, who was already assured a semifinal berth, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3. The win for the Russian knocked the red-hot Djokovic out of contention by virtue of the sets won/loss records of the 3.

And if you're on of the few that is sure a head-to-head method would be better to determine who advances, look at it this way. Djokovic beat Davydenko, Davydenko beat Soderling, and Soderling beat Djokovic. Happy now?

The first semifinal matchup will be contested by Roger Federer and Nikolay Davydenko, and these two sort of definitely have quite a history, and a very one-sided one for that matter. Federer owns the edge in the head-to-head record 12-0, but with Davydenko's level of play right now, and Federer's slow starts, we could be in for a bit of a surprise.

In the 2nd semi, Soderling will face Juan Martin del Potro. Both of these huge-hitters love to control points and will hammer any shot that floats in the middle of the court, so the better mover will most likely come out with a win. The head-to-head is 1-1, and both matches were contested a while back, so recent play is a much more reliable factor. Soderling has played dynamite ball, taking out Rafa and Djokovic in straight sets, but his play dropped against Davydenko. JMDP opened in London with a loss to Andy Murray, but the Argentine has found his groove and last beat Federer.

Thanksgiving weekend just got a whole lot better.

Friday, November 27, 2009

DelPo and Federer Advance to Semifinals in London

Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro all had opportunities to reach the semifinal round out of Group A at the World Tour Finals in London, but after a complicated procedure to determine which two out of the trio would make it, the latter 2 advanced, and Murray was left on the short end of the stick. In the first match on Thanksgiving day, Murray and Verdasco battled it out. Verdasco, who was already eliminated from contention, fought extremely hard for every minute of the 3-hour thriller, but Murray prevailed in the end, 6-4, 6-7(4), 7-6 (3), leaving the Brit's fate in the hands of Federer and DelPo. The Argentine picked up where he left off in the US Open final, firing forehands and serves to take the opening set easily, 6-2. Federer though, bounced back to capture the 2nd set in a tiebreaker, which he won 7-5. After holding serve to start the deciding set, Federer's spot was clinched, but the Swiss had no idea. “Otherwise I would have been gone on the ground and celebrated it, right?” said the world number 1. “I didn’t do that.” Del Potro then turned up the motor to take then match, 6-3 in the 3rd. Had Federer held serve just once more in that final set, Murray would have advanced with the 15-time Grand Slam champ, but the hometown favorite was all smiles after his disappointing conclusion, telling the press, “The people that go through are the ones that deserve to.”

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sod Thwarts Nole; Koyla Routs Rafa

Wednesday was a day of surprises at the 2009 World Tour Finals, as Group B was full of upsets. Robin Soderling, who lucked out to even compete in London, took down Novak Djokovic, who was on an 11 match win streak. Soderling's 7-6 (5), 6-1 victory will make the Swede the first person in the 8-man field to qualify for the semifinals and the only one who has yet to even drop a set.. Djokovic now stands at 1-1. In the 2nd group match, Rafael Nadal looked completely worn out, sluggish and deflated in a 6-1, 7-6 (4) loss to Nikolay Davydenko. Rafa's loss makes it impossible for the world number 2 to advance to the final 4, as the Spaniard is now 0-2 in matches and 0-4 in sets. Djokovic and Davydenko, both 1-1, will be vying for the group's last semifinal berth, as they will play Nadal and Soderling respectively.

Nole To Drop Adidas for Sergio Tacchini in 2010

Novak Djokovic, who has been with Adidas for as long as we can remember, will be switching to Sergio Tacchini in 2010. The world number 3 signed a 10-year deal with the Italian clothing brand and announced the switch at the World Tour Finals in London. The brand is said to be planning on producing 4 collections each year inspired by the Serb, who commented on the change, saying "my own idols Pete Sampras and John McEnroe have won almost all titles… wearing the Sergio Tacchini logo."

Federer Clinches Year-End No. 1; JMDP Downs Nando

Roger Federer improved his record against Andy Murray to 4-6 after the Swiss defeated the Scot in 3 sets. Federer dropped the first set, shanking forehands wide and struggling to make first serves, but, the world number 1 got it together to beat Murray, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. Juan Martin del Potro and Fernando Verdasco faced off in the other Group A match. Del Po prevailed 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (1) to improve his round-robin record to 1-1.

Federer's victory clinched the year end number 1 ranking for the Swiss. After finishing in the top spot from 2003-2007, the ranking was taken away from Fed by Rafael Nadal last year, but after victories at the French Open and Wimbledon, Roger will become only the 2nd man ever to hold, lose, and regain number 1.

Monday, November 23, 2009

WTF Results

After 2 days of World Tour Final action, every player has played at least one match, and the drama has already surfaced. Yesterday, Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro squared off. The Brit won the first easily, but suffered a setback and dropped the second, only to return to form in the decider and triumph. Roger Federer, who started the match off poorly (possibly Nando's native language terrified him), came back from a 1 set deficit against Fernando Verdasco to win 6-1 in the third, while Robin Soderling beat Rafael Nadal for the second straight time, 6-4, 6-4. In the final matchup, Novak Djokovic, winner of 18 of his last 19 matches, faced Nikolay Davydenko. Nole dropped the opener, but stepped it up a notch to take the next two. The much anticipated Murray/Federer match will take place tomorrow, so grab your popcorn, or your turkey, and pop a squat on the couch.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Elite 8 Get Dapper in London

Barclays ATP World Tour Finals - Media Day

The top 8 men on the ATP Tour geared up in London, but not in their tennis gear, for their traditional photoshoot and press conference. I found Roger and Rafa's two different approaches to the battle for year-end number 1 very interesting. Here's a soundbite.

“I am aware of it (the race to finish world number one) and I would be lying if I said I was just here to play well.” Definitely I am here to win the tournament and to try to stay number one in the world. It is obvious. The competition is really stiff so it is not going to be easy for me or Rafa if he wants to get it.”

“For me the main thing is to be here and enjoy this experience,” Nadal told reporters. “Playing the tournament in London will be amazing. The rest, finishing number one doesn’t matter. My only goal is to try to play my best tennis here in London. If I win the tournament it doesn’t matter if I am number ten. The ranking is important yes, but not the most important thing for me.”

God Bless those horrific ties that the ATP made them wear.

Can you say...AWKWARD?

Barclays ATP World Tour Finals - Media Day

Barclays ATP World Tour Finals - Media Day

Thursday, November 19, 2009

World Tour Finals Predictions

2k9 has most definitely been a year of firsts in the tennis world, and in a few days, that streak will continue, as the World Tour Finals (WTF) will make it's debut in London at the O2 Arena. The draws were released yesterday, and heading into this year's event, the field is wiiiiiddddeeee open.

Just to clarify, the top two performers in each round robin group will advance. The number 1 from group A will take on the number 2 from group B, and the number 1 from group B will face the number 2 from A.

Group A
Roger Federer
Andy Murray
Juan Martin del Potro
Fernando Verdasco

Mr. Fed has had himself qute a year, breaking the GS title record, making Mirka his wifey and having twinnies, but these last couple months have been quite lackluster from the Swiss star. After failing to defend both the US Open and Swiss Indoors titles, losing in the finals to JMDP and Novak Djokovic respectively, FedEx suffered a huge upset at the hands of Julien Benneteau (who?) at the Paris Masters last week. Adding the world number 1's dismal recent records against Murray and DelPo, the 2009 WTF's are gonna be a tough one for Rog. Andy Murray was upset by Radek Stepanek in Paris, but triumphed in Valencia the week before, a victory that is sure to boost the Scot's confidence heading into just his 2nd ever year-ending championship. Murray has a 17-5 record against his counterparts in group A. JMDP is still a baby, standing tall as the youngest player in the field, at 6'6 to be exact. He shocked the world and took the US Open trophy a few months ago, but has ceased to live up to the expectations that were casted on the Argentine following his victory, failing to make a quarterfinal in his last 3 events. never know what that monster forehand will do to ya. And lastly comes Verdasco, with nothing to lose and a whole lot to win. The OTHER lefty Spaniard has reached at least the round of 16 at every GS this year, but recently, Nando's results have not impressed.

I know we all can't wait for Fed/Murray, but the other matchups that will occur in this group will also bring the drama.

Semifinalists: Murray and Federer

Group B

Rafael Nadal
Novak Djokovic
Nikolay Davydenko
Robin Soderling

Novak Djokovic is the favorite in this group, coming in with an 18-1 record since the Open, having won 3 of his last 4 events. The defending WTF champion took out both Soderling and Nadal last week in Bercy en route to the title, and beat Fed the week before. He has a tour leading 5 titles, and has played nothing but dynamite recently, but we all know what a little thing called fatigue, mental or physical, can do to the Serb. Rafa might just need a miracle to be victorious at the WTF for the first time. After all, the Spaniard has lost to each of his group b peers his last time playing them, and he hasn't won a tournament since early May. After being crushed in the semis of Paris last week, the world number 2's confidence will be at a low, but El Matador could possibly have something up his nike tennis sleeve, now that he wears them, this week. Davydenko has just been Davydenko this year, dominating at the 500 level tournaments and bailing out of the Masters and Slams in the late stages. He has brought his best tennis to the courts this fall, having won the Shanghai Masters and the Malaysian Open recently. But we can't overlook his ups and downs, losing in the opening round at the Kremlin Cup a few weeks ago. And Soderling, the lucky duck of the group, should be thanking Andy Roddick for withdrawing, giving the Swede a ticket to his first ever WTF. Soderling has had a breakout year, reaching the final at the French and falling to Federer in the later rounds at Wimbledon and the US Open. Sod has produced his best results on hard courts, making this group an exciting one to watch.

Djokovic doesn't seem like he can be stopped right now, and Nadal has not been able to return to top form. Soderling and Davydenko have had their ups and downs, but are both capable of making a deep run.

Semifinalists: Djokovic and Davydenko

Semifinals: Djokovic def. Federer, Davydenko def. Murray

Finals: Djokovic def. Davydenko

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The WTF Draws Are Out!

Group A
Roger Federer
Andy Murray
Juan Martin del Potro
Fernando Verdasco

Group B
Rafael Nadal
Novak Djokovic
Nikolay Davydenko
Robin Soderling

Murray would be the favorite out of group A, coming off of a win in Valencia, and holding a 17-5 record against the others, while Djokovic and Davydenko have been playing the best ball out of the group B competitors.

In-Depth predictions tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wozniacki and Crew Hit the Beach in India

Carolina Wozniacki, Agnieszka Radwanska and Urszula Radwanska hit up a beach in Mauritius, an island on India, and were caught by the Paps in bikini-adjustment mode. According to reports, this is Wozzi's first vacation without her 'rents. YOU REBEL!
Have fun ladies, ya'll deserve it.

Roddick Withdraws From London

As expected, Andy Roddick has been forced to pull out of next week's ATP World Tour Finals due to an injury to the American's knee suffered in the Shanghai Masters a little over a month ago. Roddick has taken off over the past few weeks due to the injury, and was unfortunately unable to overcome it. The silver lining though, is that A-Rod and wifey Brooklyn Decker will have extra time to go house-hopping in Brooklyn. Lucky Robin Soderling is the beneficiary of Roddick's injury, recieving the unoccupied spot and a ticket to London.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Celebrating Our 1 Year Anniversary

Exactly one year ago today, I decided to start this blog, Serve and Return, solely as a fun project. Little did I know how enjoyable working on this blog would be, and throughout the last year, I am glad I have had the oppurtunity to share my opinions on our favorite sport with you all.

Thanks to all the readers!

Keep on sharing Serve and Return with all your tennis buds!

Best Wishes!!

Djokovic Downs Monfils to Take Paris Title

Apologies for the lack of posting yesterday : (

Internet's been down

In the finals of the Paris Masters, Novak Djokovic kept up his stellar late-season play by downing Gael Monfils in a tight match, 6-2, 5-7, 7-6 (3). It was Djokovic's 2nd title in as many weeks, giving the world number 3 Serb his tour leading 6th title of 2009. “Winning back to back titles at this level is a huge achievement for me, and adding to that, beating the World No.1 and No. 2,” said Novak, following his win, which improved his record over Monfils to 4-0. Djokovic, who will go into the Tour Championships next week with 76 wins on the season, lost just 3 points on his serve in the opening set, but suffered a drop in play in the 2nd, commiting 21 unforced errors. Monfils double-faulted on Djokovic's first match point.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Year-End Championships Lineup Set

The alternates, such as Robin Soderling, can only hope that A-Rod will be too busy house hunting with the wifey in Brooklyn to compete.

Djokovic Crushes Rafa; To Meet Monfils in Paris Final

Continuing his impressive late season play, Novak Djokovic dominated Rafael Nadal in the semifinals at the Paris Masters in Bercy. The world number 3 Serb took out Nadal 6-3, 6-2 in just an hour and 16 minutes, hitting 31 winners and holding serve without facing a break point the entire match. “I felt so good on the court that all the shots I hit transformed into winners,” Djokovic said following his 2nd consecutive victory over the Spaniard. “It was perfect, exactly the way I wanted.” In Djokovic's 10th final of 2009, he will face Gael Monfils, the 15th seed, who took out Radek Stepanek 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 to advance before his home crowd. Following the 2 hour 42 minute encounter, Monfils told the press, "I know tomorrow I'll give my life on the court. I've been playing more than two hours today and the day before. It's no longer a physical issue. It's mental now. I want to win. I'm not listening to my body anymore. I'll give it all." Should the Frenchman win the title tomorrow, he would fly to london as the 2nd alternate after Robin Soderling for the year-end championships.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Soderling, Tsonga Turn Race for Final 8 into a Whirlwind in Paris

This time of year in men's tennis tends to be somehwat dull, but the storylines are piling on and the race to compete in the ATP World Tour Finals in London is starting to get very interesting. Heading into Paris, Nikolay Davydenko and Fernando Verdasco needed to eaither reach the semis or see Robin Soderling, Jo Wilfried Tsonga and Fernando Gonzalez, the trio trailing them, falter. Perfect for our entertainment, Davydenko and Soderling squared off today in the round of 16. Soderling won in 3 sets, but due to losses by others, Davydenko qualified, leaving the final spot up for grabs between Verdasco, Tsonga, Soderling and Gonzo. The race became even crazier when Tsonga defeated Gilles Simon, followed by Marin Cilic's upset of Verdasco. Gonzalez, who will be eliminated from contention with a loss, is currently on court against Juan Martin del Potro. Andy Murray, who qualified months ago, was upset by Radek Stepanek in 3 sets, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, while Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic both advanced.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Serena Attends Louis Vuitton 2010 Cruise Collection Launch

Serena Williams attended the launch of Louis Vuitton's 2010 Cruise Collection at Saks Fifth Avenue in NYC and the tennis star continued her stylish ways in a body-con black LV curve-hugging dress with lace panels on the sides. The world number 1 accesorized with black pumps and a bright necklace.

Serena and Daniel LaLonde, CEO of LV North America

Safin Says Goodbye in Paris; Federer Upset

Marat Safin's dramatic, hilarious and succesful tennis career came to a quiet close on Wednesday when the Russian former number 1 was defeated by 5th seeded Juan Martin del Potro, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 in the 2nd round of the Paris Masters. It wouldn't have been a match without some racquet-crushing, but Marat did sow some glimpses of his old self to the Parisian crowd, firing some baseline cannons for winners on occasion.“Today I will put all my memories, all my wins and losses in a small box,” said Safin, following a ceremony honoring the 2 time Grand Slam champion. “Today a door is closed, hopefully another one will open.” In other results, Julien Benneteau stunned Roger Federer, who continues to play his worst tennis in the latter stages of the year, in a tight 3 setter, 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4. Rafael Nadal saved 5 match points in his 3 set win over Nicolas Almagro, while Novak Djokovic, Robin Soderling, Fernando Gonzalez and Gael Monfils advanced with straight set victories. Last week's winner in Valencia, Andy Murray, edged out James Blake in 3 sets, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4).