Friday, October 31, 2008

Drama



Jo-Wilfried Tsonga outlasted a demoralized Andy Roddick in a third-set tiebreak to advance to the semifinals in Paris to play James Blake who got a walkover from Roger Federer who had a stiff back. David Nalbandian who dismissed the other Andy will play Nikolay Davydenko who got a retirement from Rafael Nadal who had a stiff knee.

And the shot-spot operator refused to do what the chair umpire told him to do toward the end of the Roddick-Tsonga affair. All parties on the court agreed that Andy had one challenge remaining and could get a replay of a serve that had been called out, but wasn't. The chair ump had to call the supervisor to the court to clear up the matter because the shot-spot operator was such a knucklehead.

The crowd was simply unruly throughout.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Roddick Qualifies for Shanghai



We slam him when he deserves it, but Andy Roddick has qualified for his sixth consecutive Masters Cup, beating one of the season's hottest players in Gilles Simon to do it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Safin Eats Bagel



At Paris Masters. His favorite event. Where he's won multiple titles. What's up with that?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Serving Notice



The ball boys and girls get pizza. Roger Federer gets his third Swiss Indoors title in a row at the expense of nemesis David Nalbandian. Remember how hard it used to be for him to win his hometown title?



I don't understand Ana Ivanovic. But she beat the crap out of Vera Zvonareva in Linz. Good for her.

Memo to Caroline Wozniacki: If you don't beat Elena Dementieva in straight sets, you don't beat her. Another indoor title for the Iron Lady (look at that arm!), this one in Luxembourg.

Andy Murray won again too, this time in St. Petersburg. Over Andrey Golubev, a qualifier. And Robin Soderling took Lyon. Too bad for homeboy Julien Benneteau.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Federico Luzzi Passes Away at 28

ATP - Italian ATP pro Federico Luzzi died Saturday morning in a Florence, Italy hospital. The 28-year-old went to a hospital for an illness earlier this week and was discovered with a accute case of leukemia. He went into an irreversible coma Saturday morning, and passed away soon after.

ATP Chairman Etienne de Villiers said, "Losing a young man so tragically in the prime of his life , a son to a loving family and a great sportsman is a terrible blow. Federico was hugely respected by his fellow professionals and was one of the most popular players on the ATP Tour. Federico will be much missed by all who knew him and the thoughts and the prayers of everyone at the ATP are with Federico's family on this very sad day for tennis."

Luzzi, a native of Arezzo, Italy, turned pro in 1998 and he compiled his best season in 2001 when he finished with a year-end high No. 96. That year he reached the quarterfinals in Barcelona, his best ATP result, and won two Challenger titles. He also made his Davis Cup debut.

This year Luzzi attempted to qualify in three ATP level tournaments and he competed in six Challengers, playing his last event in Todi, Italy last month.

He is survived by his father, Maurizio; mother, Paola; and older sister, Francesca.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Venus, Vera Qualify

ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA - Russia's Vera Zvonareva and American Venus Williams have clinched the two remaining singles spots in the Sony Ericsson Championships - Doha 2008, set to take place at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex in Doha, Qatar, from November 4 to 9, 2008. The world's Top 8 singles players and Top 4 doubles teams from the 2008 Sony Ericsson WTA Tour season will compete for the season-ending title and a share of the record prize money of $4.45 million.

Venus Williams will be making her third appearance at the event, having reached the semifinals in her first two appearances, in 1999 and 2002. Zvonareva will be making her second appearance, having fallen in the round robin stage in 2004.

The final qualifiers join an acclaimed list of players competing at this season's Championships, held for the first time in Doha. Previous qualifiers are world No.1 Jelena Jankovic, Roland Garros champion Ana Ivanovic, US Open champion Serena Williams, new world No.2 Dinara Safina, Olympic singles gold medalist Elena Dementieva and former US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Read the rest...

Good field.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

9 Years Later



Venus Williams wins again in Zurich. And broke her head-scratching, three-match losing streak against Flavia Pennetta.

Work it.

Murray's Your Man



You can have him.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Beginning of the End?

Our very own tangerine wonders if we're witnessing the death of the Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal era.

I'd say there is no Federer-Nadal era.

But if there is one then I suppose we are. Raja isn't going to win 18 Slams, as many folks predicted a year ago. He may not even tie Pete Sampras at 14, despite being a mere title away.

You can see it in the way he walks.

Rafa is tired. Will he be a dominant No. 1? I doubt it, but he's only 22, so...

He could also take the road Andy Roddick took post Wimbledon 2004. And since Rafa played break points today like Andy does, converting a mere 5 of 22, it's not out of the question.

But I doubt it.

You can't win Wimbledon and Roland Garros back-to-back and not be tired. He'll play Paris and Shanghai, finish the year at the top of the charts and hope his body and mind recover in time to make a strong showing in Melbourne. For the foreseeable future, it's going to be difficult to defeat him in best-of-five. He needs a breakthrough (read: a championship) Down Under.

If Melbourne 2009 fails him...

Having thought about it while writing this, I think the Federer-Nadal era, if there was one, ended on July 6, 2008.

Raise Your Hand

If you still think Gilles Simon is just a counterpuncher who wins matches simply by running down everything.

If your hand is raised, you're blind.

Period.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Boring?



I was wrong. The best match of the day featured a stunning performance by Gilles Simon who defeated Ivo Karlovic in three tight sets 7-6(1), 4-6, 7-6(2).

The other quarterfinals were lopsided snoozefests that may have featured some great tennis but provided no drama.

And Simon was the only victor who seemed genuinely ecstatic to advance, his second masters semifinal of the year, second of his career.

He'll play the world No. 1 tomorrow after a rematch of the US Open final.

Sister, Sister



In Part 4 of Joel Drucker's key moments of the Open Era, he ranks the best stories of the turn of the century. The sisters sit, just as they must, at the top:
The success of Venus and Serena Williams is one of the greatest stories in the history of sports. At least the Manning brothers grew up the children of a quarterback and in an affluent part of New Orleans. Venus and Serena were raised in Compton, Calif., quite a distance from lily-white tennis clubs. Their father Richard had proclaimed they would in time rule the sport. And for just under two years, they did. From the 2001 U.S. Open to the 2003 Wimbledon, the two met in six of seven Grand Slam finals. Even beyond that, though, Venus and Serena have won a combined 16 Grand Slam singles titles. Just imagine Tiger Woods' brother chasing him down at Augusta and you'll see just how amazing this story is.

Of course, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are also on the list at No's 2 and 4, respectively, but I found his discussion of equipment the most interesting.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Quickie



Feliciano Lopez vs. Rafael Nadal - tricky
Gilles Simon vs. Ivo Karlovic - boring
Andy Murray vs. Gael Monfils - electric
Roger Federer vs. Juan Martin del Potro - interesting

Serbian Slip Up



World No. 1 Jelena Jankovic's winning streak came to an end in Zurich today with a three-set defeat to Flavia Pennetta 5-7, 6-4, 6-4. Novak Djokovic lost two tough tiebreaks in Madrid to Ivo Karlovic 7-6(5), 7-6(5).

At the first fall indoor masters, No. 3 seed Andy Roddick, No. 7 seed and defending chamption David Nalbandian, and No. 10 seed Stanislas Wawrinka were also upset.

I haven't been able to watch much tennis to see what kind of form the players are bringing to the court, but it appears as though Roger Federer, who had said he was taking an indefinite hiatus from tennis, is beating up some decent opponents.

Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal closes in on the year-end No. 1 ranking.

Madrid Special



A multiexposure image shows Andy Roddick serving to Tommy Robredo during their second-round match at the Madrid Masters on October 15, 2008 in Madrid. Roddick won 6-3, 6-4. (AFP/Getty Images/Pedro Armestre)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday Kisses



David Nalbandian returns to his usual indoor form to beat homeboy Robin Soderling 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 at the If Stockholm Open.



Igor Kunitsyn beat back a feisty Marat Safin 7-6(6), 6-7(4), 6-3 to take the Kremlin Cup for the first time.



Three for three. Jelena Jankovic downed Vera Zvonereva 6-2, 6-4 to win the Kremlin Cup, her third tournament victory in as many weeks.



Phillip Petzschner was too giddy to kiss his first ATP trophy in his first ATP final. He dismissed Gael Monfils 6-4, 6-4.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Remember This Guy?



He's a semifinalist in Moscow.

Former World No. 1 Marat Safin (pictured) snapped a four-match losing streak against three-time champion Nikolay Davydenko, currently No. 5 in the ATP 2008 Race, with a 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4 victory Friday for a place in the ATP Kremlin Cup semifinals against Mischa Zverev.

Seventh seed Safin struck 17 aces and saved four of seven break points in recording his 23rd win of the season (23-21 mark). The 28-year-old, who finished runner-up in Moscow to Davydenko in the 2006 final, is making his 11th appearance at his hometown event. He has a 16-10 tournament record. Safin improved to 48-45 against Top 10 opponents in the South African Airways ATP Rankings and will be hoping to capture his first title since the 2005 Australian Open (d. Hewitt) this week.

Davydenko, who is close to securing one of four remaining berths at Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai, dropped to 17-3 at the tournament. The two-time defending champion and 2004 winner (d. Rusedski), won 36 of 106 points on return of serve and hit six doubles faults. He dropped to 49-17 on the 2008 season.

Fall. The silly season of tennis.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Tennis Talk

by Savannah



Jelena Jankovic is the No. 1 player on the WTA Tour and once again the argument rages as to whether she is worthy. To define the sides in this debate. Does the No. 1 player mean that said player has racked up the most points and is by that measure No. 1? Or does being No. 1 mean that said player has played the best tennis, won at least a major during the last 52-week period, and shown the mental and physical skills in her matches to make them worthy of being called best in the world?

Read Savannah's Tennis Talk

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Back on Top



The Queen of Absurdity regains the No. 1 ranking with her 6-4, 6-3 victory over Nadia Petrova at the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart today.

Whatever.



Tomas Berdych emerges from relative obscurity to take the Japan Open title with a 6-1, 6-4 rout of Juan Martin del Potro.



Caroline Wozniacki beat Kaia Kanepi 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 for the women's title in Tokyo.



Hard-hitting Romanian Sorana Cirstea, who caught my attention back in Melbourne, rallied to her first WTA title at the Tashkent Open with a 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7) over Sabine Lisicki of Germany. And Dmitry Tursunov outlasted homeboy Paul Henri Mathieu 7-6, 1-6, 6-4 to take the Open de Moselle title in Metz.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Down and Out



Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is cursed. Another injury, this time an abdominal strain, forces him to retire up a set against Serbia's Viktor Troicki in Japan earlier today.

The tour needs Tsonga do be healthy and hungry. This is bad news.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Serena Loses Match, No. 1 Ranking



STUTTGART, Germany (AP) — Serena Williams’ game collapsed after she swept the first set Wednesday, leading to a 0-6, 6-1, 6-4 loss to China’s Li Na that will cost her the No. 1 ranking.

By dropping the second-round match at the Porsche Grand Prix, Williams will be overtaken by Jelena Jankovic in Monday’s new rankings, the WTA said. Williams gained the top spot when she beat Jankovic in the U.S. Open final three weeks ago for her ninth Grand Slam title.

Jankovic plays her first match in the tournament Thursday against Alona Bondarenko of Ukraine.

“Obviously, I want to be No. 1 but I am not focusing on that. I am focusing on winning titles and that goes hand in hand (with getting No. 1),” Williams said.

“I am not worried. It will come again if I win tournaments. I play to win titles and Grand Slams, although obviously the No. 1 is also on my mind.”

Williams was playing her first match since the U.S. Open, getting a first-round bye in Stuttgart. She rolled through the first set and appeared headed for a resounding victory.

“I started making a lot of errors and I just gave it to her,” she said. “Maybe I started doubting myself.”

Li, ranked No. 30, said she was so nervous at the start of the match her hands were cold.

“I didn’t have a chance in the first set,” Li said. “But I looked at the clock and I saw it was only 20 minutes (into the match) so I told myself I could be winning in an hour. I knew I just had to hang in there.”

Li also beat sister Venus Williams to reach the semifinals at the Beijing Olympics. Venus Williams is still in the Stuttgart tournament and watched Serena’s defeat.

Li wasted three match points at 5-3, then fell behind 0-40 in her next service game after Williams had held for 5-4. She then put in a service winner and followed with an ace. After successfully challenging a call that her serve was out to get it to deuce, she clinched the match with her third ace of the game.

Li missed 11 months with a rib fracture last year and right-knee surgery in March.

“I believe I can go into the top 10 if I stay healthy,” she said.

Source

Woah.

That's about all I have to say today.

Federer Withdraws From Stockholm



"2008 has been a tough year for me as I was always playing catch up after being diagnosed with mononucleosis at the beginning of the year. I feel fortunate to be healthy again, but I want to remain at the top of the game for many more years to come and go after the #1 ranking again. In order to do that, I need to get a proper rest and get strong again so that I am 100% fit for the remainder of the year or next year. At this point, I am not sure when I will be ready to play again, but I hope to be back at some point before the end of the year. I apologize to the tennis fans in Sweden as I was looking forward to playing in Stockholm again. The country has produced so many incredible tennis players and the tournament has such a great history. I hope to be able to come back at some point in the future."

Source

At some point in the future?

Woah.