Monday, May 31, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Roger Federer had to go through the trouble of playing a good friend on Sunday, as the Swiss' Round of 16 opponent was Stanislas Wawrinka, but the only difficulty the world number 1 had was the mental side of things, as the defending champ earned a 3-set win, 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-2. Federer's quarterfinal match will be against Robin Soderling, playing some of the most solid tennis of anyone in the men's draw, but Fed dismissed any sort of doubt and expressed his confidence (some could call it cockiness).
Tomorrow, Rafa, Serena, Henin and Djokovic will be on court.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
Caroline Wozniacki has been able to grin and bear her way to the 4th round despite a painbful ankle injury, defeating Alexanmdra Dulgheru in 2 sets on Friday to advance. In Wozniacki;s quarter lies the dangerous Maria Kirilenko, who ousted last year's champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 2-6, 6-4. Kuznetsova is the highest seed in either draw to lose thus far. Francesca Schiavone defeated Li Na and both Yanina Wickmayer and Daniela Hantuchova triumphed, setting up a compelling match between the two of them in the third round.
Maria Sharapova and Justine Henin have not played each other since an Australian Open quarterfinal match that played a large part in Henin's abrupt retirement. In that encounter 2 years ago Sharapova demolished the Belgian, and since then, the two have gone on very different paths in their tennis careers. Both experienced breaks from tennis, one voluntary and one from injury, but the dice landed perfectly, and they are set to meet in the 3rd round of the French open on Saturday. On paper the 12th seeded Russian, who took out Kirsten Flipkens 3 and 3, is supposed to win, but Sharapova will be a heavy underdog against the 4-time RG champ, seeded 22nd.
The best match of the men's tournament thus far featured Ivan Ljubicic and Mardy fish, a pairing unlikely to produce an electrifying encounter. The 14th seeded Ljubicic won the opening set 6-2 but lost his momentum in losing the 2nd and 3rd 7-6 (8) and 6-4. The Indian Wells champion then came back to win the last two sets and the match 6-2 and 10-8. 3rd and 4th seeds Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray both reached the 3rd round with wins on Friday. Djokovic played his best match of the fortnight, beating 18 year old Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 and Murray fought off Marcos Baghdatis to earn a 6-2, 6-3, 0-6, 6-2 victory. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga got much needed crowd support in his 6-7 (6), 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-4 win against Thiemo de Bakker. as the Frenchman was ostensibly in an incredible amount of pain throughout the 4-setter. Juan Carlos Ferrero also struggled, needing 4 sets to eliminate Pere Riba, while Fernando Gonzalez, 2009 semifinalist, was upset by Oleksandr Dolgopolov Jr.
Thank God the French Open has a hidden camera in the players' karaoke room. Because without it, we wouldn't have caught Novak Djokovic and Viktor Troicki poking fun at Rafael Nadal's cameo in Shakira's music video for "Gypsy."
What would tennis be without Nole?
Watch the hilarity above.
Yes, I know this is the same magazine that featured articles on Kristen Stewart being pregnant (false) and Whitney Houston punching Oprah (also false) but this new report could be valid.
InTouch Weekly is reporting that Serena Williams and Common, who expressed interest in starting a family just two weeks ago, have agreed to end their two-year relationship. The gossip publication, which I am embarrassed to say is included in my list of magazine subscriptions, cited a friend of Common's as saying the two "grew apart." Which is understandable, considering the two aren't together all too often. The rapper/actor is out promoting his new flick Just Wright, which is solid (yes, I saw it) while ReRe has shoots with Harper's Bazaar. nail technician school, her school in Kenya, and, oh yeah, tennis.
Williams was absent from Just Wright's premiere on May 4th. And as much as I hope this is untrue, I'm gonna have to put this report in the fact pile.
Serena, how bout you give us some inside info via twitter?
It's pretty evident that the two had a little rivalry growing up in the juniors and that they have yet to move past their childish ways and are bringing them into the Roland Garros press rooms. Yay! More drama for us!
Rezai has been garnering a lot of attention at this year's French after her impressive title in Madrid, and when it was brought up that Bartoli was a jealous of all of the press her compatriot was receiving, Rezai responded with this:
"Marion is a difficult girl. She already attacked me two years ago when I reached the final in Istanbul. If she has a problem with me, I don't know, because I did nothing. That's a bit of a shame, but that's her education. I mean, she attacked me many times in the press.
"I don't have the same education as the one she has. I think I have respect for players. I do what I have to do. I get on with many people. But with Marion, it's very difficult. She has difficulties getting included with the other girls."
And then it was war. After Bartoli reached the 2nd round she was asked if the media storm surrounding Rezai, despite Bartoli's higher ranking, bugger her. And the 2007 Wimbledon runner-up said,"I don't give a damn," later adding, "When I played semis in Miami, I had the impression that nobody cares. Nobody notices. You can manage the way you want. I don't care. I try and play well and win matches."
Then the 13th seed was asked about her ambitions and conspicuously threw a punch at Rezai with her response. "There is no ambition, you know. The player who had ambition is the player you mentioned before."
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Roland Garros Results: Federer, Kuznetsova and Venus Advance, Rain Halts Play in Monfils/Fognini Thriller
Last year's champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova, was down a set to Andrea Petkovic before mounting a comeback to prevail 4-6, 7-5, 6-4. A fellow Russian of Kuzzie's, Maria Kirilenko, reached the 3rd round with a 6-3, 6-3 victory and Gisela Dulko, who upset Victoria Azarenka in round 1, was defeated by Channelle Scheepers 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. 14th seed Flavia Pennetta was up 6-1, 5-1 on Roberta Vinci before rain suspended the match until tomorrow, and Dominika Cibulkova, 2009 semifinalist, won 4-6, 6-2, 6-0.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga crushed his countryman Josselin Ouanna on Wednesday, 6-0, 6-1, 6-4, but he was less than thrilled by the scheduling of his first and second round matches, and lashed out at the organizers of the year's second slam at his presser.
"Frankly, I was a bit disappointed because I was playing on a Sunday,” said Tsonga. “I had asked not to play on a Sunday, absolutely, because I had practiced in such a way that I thought I wanted to play on a Monday or Tuesday, to be totally fit. But they imposed it. Today, we’re in France. I’m French. I’m the French No. 1. I would have thought it was legitimate for me to be listened to."
He added, "If you look at (Andy) Murray, if he decides on a day or a time schedule at Wimbledon, nobody is going to impose anything on him. For (Roger) Federer, in his country it’s the same. And in the U.S., I suppose it’s the same thing for the best American players. I think that Lleyton (Hewitt) probably plays in the sun during the Australian Open because he loves the sun and other opponents don’t like the sun."
Monday, May 24, 2010
Jelena Jankovic continued her impressive Spring, having little trouble in defeating Alicia Molik. Elena Dementieva also looked primed for a serious run, conceding just 3 games against Petra Martic. In Dementieva's quarter is fellow Russian Alisa Kleybanova, who also won an easy 2-setter. Agnieszka Radwanksa, seeded 8th, won 6-0, 7-5 over Elena Baltacha and Sam Stosur, 7th, beat Simona Halep 5 and 1.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
And of course, the "illusion" spandex shown above are back. I swear to God that If I didn't know what was really covering up her Britney I would have thought she was mooning the world.
The pressure Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has to deal with at the French Open is nearly insurmountable, as an entire country is banking on the 7th seed to bring home a major to his homeland, but winning before his greatest critics has been anything but easy for Jo-Willy. And the first day at RG was no different, as Tsonga was pushed to 5 sets against Daniel Brands. After dropping the first set, Tsonga looked to be sailing to victory, winning the next 2 and earning a break in the 4th, but Brands mounted a comeback to push the match a 5th where Tsonga's serve pulled him through 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (2), 7-5. Ernests Gulbis also had high expectations, but went the opposite rout of Tsonga, abruptly retiring against Julien Benneteau down 6-4, 6-2, 1-0. 32nd seeded Guillermo Garcia-Lopez defeated Rainer Schuettler 7-5, 6-4, 6-2.
Oh, and I didn't want to mention this, but my semifinal pick in the 3rd quarter, Elena Vesnina, lost. I sincerely hope that none of you took my advice in your brackets.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Early rounder to keep an eye on: Sharapova vs. Henin
Quarterfinals: Stosur def. Williams
Early rounder to keep an eye on: Kleybanova vs. Ivanovic
Quarterfinals: Jankovic def. Kleybanova
There isn't really a nice way to put this. The 3rd quarter of the women's draw sucks. Sure, the 2009 French Open winner, Svetlana Kuznetsova, is here, but Kuzzie is so sporadic it's anyone's guess what she could do. And Caroline Wozniacki, seeded 3rd, comes in with zero confidence, with just 3 wins in her last 4 tournaments and a serious ankle injury. While Kuznetsova is underplayed, Wozniacki is overplayed, and it's coming back to hurt her. Obviously, one person from this section is going to reach the semis, but none have the current form needed to do it. So it's safe to go out on a limb and pick someone out of a hat. Fine, you wouldn't be too smart to go with Misaki Doi of Japan, but perhaps Elena Vesnina, a powerful Russian with years of experience on her side, wouldn't be too far of a limb? She'll have to get by Wozzi, Kuzzie, Li Na, Francesca Schiavone, Lucie Safarova and Flavia Pennetta, and that's no easy task, but there isn't a safe choice.
Early rounder to keep an eye on: Polona Hercog vs. Safarova
Quarterfinals: Vesnina def. Safarova
Like her sister, Venus got the short end of the stick with the extremely deep draw she'll have to get through. Elena Dementieva isn't playing her best tennis right now, but as a former French Open finalist and the best groundstroker in women's tennis, she'll always have a chance. Victoria Azarenka, Aravane Rezai, winner in Madrid, Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, winner in Rome, and Nadia Petrova all have the game to knock off Venus or Elena. Rezai did it just last week with her straight set win over Williams and Martinez Sanchez's crafty serve and volley game sets her apart from hers peers. Azarenka reached the quarters here last year and Petrova is a one-time semifinalist. Venus could meet Petrova in the 3rd round, while Azarenka and Sanchez are slated to face in that same round for a shot at Dementieva. Whoever comes out of this section triumphant, one thing is assured: It'll be quite the thriller.
Early rounder to keep an eye on: Martinez Sanchez vs Azarenka
Quarterfinals: Dementieva def. Petrova
Semifinals: Jankovic def. Stosur, Dementieva def. Vesnina
The two best women on tour that have yet to win a major will square off in the final that is guarenteed to be exciting. Both have reached a major final and lost, and a Grand Slam crown is long overdue for both. But more for Dementieva. Time for the WTA's resident screacher to lose that "best to never win a major" title.
Finals: Dementieva def. Jankovic
Early rounder to keep an eye on: Murray vs. Richard Gasquet
Quarterfinals: Berdych def. Tsonga
Novak Djokovic has been quite the mystery this year. Like Murray, he has all the talent in the world and top-notch results to prove it but a major case of choking (or what Nole would call it: allergies) have put a damper on the Serb's 2010. Poor results all Spring, which tends to be a thriving time of the year for the world number 3, have weakened Djoko's confidence and he isn't playing like a possible contender. Andy Roddick is the 2nd highest seed here, but the American has yet to play a clay-court match in 2010. not ideal circumstances for a solid Roland Garros campaign. The obvious choice would be David Ferrer, and as much as I would love to be a contrarian, everything points in the Spaniard's favor. Ferrer's clay-court run this Spring has been phenomenal, reaching the semis in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid, and the finals in Rome. Juan Carlos Ferrero and Sam Querrey are the next two highest seeds and could possibly meet in the 3rd round, both having had success on the clay.
Early rounder to keep an eye on: Ferrero vs. Querrey
Quarterfinals: Ferrer def. Ferrero
Rafael Nadal has to like the looks of his section this year. Beating Fernando Verdasco has been comically easy for Rafa this year, and you'd have to be insane to think that Fernando Gonzalez and Ivan Ljubicic pose any sort of threat to the Spaniard's clay-court dominance. Nicolas Almagro gave Rafa all he had in the Madrid semis, but over 3 out of 5 sets any menace Almagro previously provided is gone. I'd be surprised if Nadal lost much more than 10 games en route to the semis.
Early rounder to keep an eye on: Lleyton Hewitt vs. Jeremy Chardy
Semifinals: Federer def. Berdych, Nadal def. Ferrer
Here we go again. Federer and Nadal. Expect something along the lines of the 2008 final, but just not as harsh. Win number 5 for El Matador.
Finals. Nadal def. Federer
Friday, May 21, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
"If all goes well, I'd return after the U.S. Open," said JMDP, according to Reuters. "The tournament is and always will be very special for me, all my life but I don't want to rush things."