Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Day 8: Devastating

Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska gestures as she plays against US tennis player Venus Williams in a Women's Quarter Final match of the 2009 Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Tennis Club, in southwest London, on June 30, 2009.
Getty

Agnieszka Radwanska could afford to acquire a little grace. I'm all for bucking tradition from time to time, but not when it comes to the traditional sportsmanship players show at Wimbledon by walking off the court together after a match. This is the second year in a row she has departed before her vanquisher. Nothing earth shattering, mind you. But I can't imagine it would cause her undue pain to suck it up and just do it.

Germany's Sabine Lisicki (C DOWN)  is assisted after injury during play against Russia's Dinara Safina during their quarter final match on Day 8 at the 2009 Wimbledon tennis championships at the All England Club on June 30, 2009. The event, the third Grand Slam tournament of 2009, runs from June 22  to  July  5, 2009.
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Sabine Lasicki could afford to get more fit. She hasn't won a three-setter that I'm aware of and today, she was a waste in the final set of her match. I thought she was gagging, which she might have been as well, but she was simply unable to put anything behind her incredible serve or get in position to hit her ferocious ground strokes.

Italy's Francesca Schiavone plays against Russia's Elena Dementieva in a Women's Quarter Final match of the 2009 Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Tennis Club, in southwest London, on June 30, 2009.
Getty

Francesca Schiavone could afford a little pampering when she returns to Italy. Strike that. Her people should throw her a big party with loud live music and a feast. My longest-lasting dark horse did everything she could to make the final eight, everything she could to defeat her opponent, but without the weapon of a finishing shot, the Russian with the body to die for and the tennis to back it up was just too strong.

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus drops her racket during her match against Nadia Petrova of Russia at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, June 29, 2009.
Reuters

Victoria Azarenka could afford to get out of her own way. Clearly, as I said in the comments earlier, she has the talent and desire to become the star the hypemakers are trying to turn her into, but her inexcusable temper and attitude when things don't go her way will keep her from becoming a champion. Nicole Vaidisova 2.0. And I sure wish she would stop making that dying pigeon sound every time she strikes the ball. At least she could smile and chat with her vanquisher as they walked off the court together.

::

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 30:  Venus Williams of USA plays a forehand during the women's singles quarter final match against Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland on Day Eight of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 30, 2009 in London, England.
Getty

Venus Williams seems unstoppable, taped knee be damned. I feel sorry for the Russian with the too-small clothes. Almost.

Russia's Dinara Safina jubilates after winning a point against  Germany's Sabine Lisicki during their quarter final match on Day 8 at the 2009 Wimbledon tennis championships at the All England Club on June 30, 2009. The event, the third Grand Slam tournament of 2009, runs from June 22  to  July  5, 2009.
Getty

Dinara Safina seems way out of her league. What else is new. But here she is in the final four despite herself. Her fight a tribute to the peasant stock from which her people come.

Elena Dementieva of Russia serves to Francesca Schiavone of Italy during their quarter-final match at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 30, 2009.
Reuters

Elena Dementieva seems to enjoy flying under the radar. And boy was she flying today. She can do just about everything on the court when she feels like it. If only she possessed a bigger and better serve. But what legs.

Serena Williams of the U.S. returns the ball to Victoria Azarenka of Belarus during their quarter-final match at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 30, 2009.
Reuters

Serena Williams seems to have played her match as though saying "Fuck you!" to the Wimbledon schedulers who decided her opponent's "hotness" trumped Serena's ranking, past Wimbledon history, and current tennis form when they put together the Day 5 Order of Play. Apparently, Serena got lost trying to find her way to the new Court 2 last Friday. Now I see why Serena said "no comment" when asked about it in her press conference after.

Today, she let her racquet do all the talking. Not another young, blonde, "rising star" was going to build a career on her back by allowing the ingenue to hit her off Centre Court. No way. No how. What Serena ultimately said was beautiful, brutal, vicious, outrageous, devastating.

Wimbledon 2009 Day 8 Open Thread

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 29:  Spectators watch the Andy Murray of Great Britain v Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland men's singles fourth round match on the big screens from Murray Mount in darkness on Day Seven of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 29, 2009 in London, England. The match is played under the closed Centre Court roof.
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Ladies' Quarterfinals Day.

MadProfessah
is too busy teaching summer class to offer up one of his anticipated previews and predictions, but he did send me a note saying:

"I do think it's Serena in 3 over Azarenka, Venus in 2 over Aggie, Safina over Lisicki in 3 and Dementieva over Schiavone."

What say you?

CENTRE - SHOW COURT - 1.00 PM START

1. Dinara Safina (RUS) [1] 1 vs Sabine Lisicki (GER)
2. Victoria Azarenka (BLR) [8] vs Serena Williams (USA) [2]


COURT 1 - SHOW COURT - 1.00 PM START

1. Venus Williams (USA) [3] vs Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) [11]
2. Francesca Schiavone (ITA) vs Elena Dementieva (RUS) [4]

Monday, June 29, 2009

Face Of The Day

The center court of the The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club is seen in aerial view as Andy Murray of Great Britain plays Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland during their match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London June 29, 2009.
Reuters

Centre Court of the The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club seen in aerial view as Andy Murray of Great Britain plays Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland during their match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London June 29, 2009.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Wimbledon 2009 Day 7 Open Thread

An official stands on the grass as the roof is closed over Centre Court at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 27, 2009.
Reuters

I call it Super Monday. All 16 of the ladies and gentlemen's fourth round matches are contested on the lawns at SW19.

Fans of tennis find themselves dreaming of this day, and this year's match ups are mouth watering.

Will Robin Soderling stop Roger Federer from beating him 11 times in a row? Will Amélie Mauresmo continue her head-to-head domination over Dinara Safina? Will Andy Murray, the closer he gets to fulfilling the hopes of a group of nations, begin to show nerves against Stanislas Wawrinka? Those are the questions that will be answered on Centre Court.

On Court 1, the only way Ana Ivanovic advances to the quarters is if Venus Williams beats herself. But Ivo Karlovic can upset Fernando Verdasco if he produces the form that got him here. And whoever blinks last will lose the slugfest between Andy Roddick and Tomas Berdych. I smell the upset, but Andy better fan that odor right out of my face. He can't afford to blink at all.

Which Elena will prevail? How many games will Daniela Hantuchova win against Serena Williams? Which veteran's game -- and body -- will hold up? Experience at Wimbledon will rule the day on Court 2.

Court 3 is about funny feelings. I've a funny feeling Nadia Petrova isn't going to choke against Victoria Azarenka; that Dudi Sela is going to give Novak Djokovic all he can handle; that the resurgent veteran isn't ready to go home, stopping the accidental Top 10-er's campaign dead in the sod.

No upsets on Courts 4 and 18. Not that I wouldn't like to see three, but they're not going to come to pass.

Will we see an official match under the closed new roof?

Super Monday Order Of Play

CENTRE - SHOW COURT - 1.00 PM START

1. Robin Soderling (SWE) [13] vs Roger Federer (SUI) [2]
2. Dinara Safina (RUS) [1] vs Amelie Mauresmo (FRA) [17]
3. Andy Murray (GBR) [3] vs Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) [19]

COURT 1 - SHOW COURT - 1.00 PM START

1. Venus Williams (USA) [3] vs Ana Ivanovic (SRB) [13]
2. Fernando Verdasco (ESP) [7] vs Ivo Karlovic (CRO) [22]
3. Tomas Berdych (CZE) [20] vs Andy Roddick (USA) [6]

COURT 2 - SHOW COURT - 12.00 NOON START

1. Elena Vesnina (RUS) vs Elena Dementieva (RUS) [4]
2. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) vs Serena Williams (USA) [2]
3. Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) vs Radek Stepanek (CZE) [23]

COURT 3 - SHOW COURT - 12.00 NOON START

1. Victoria Azarenka (BLR) [8] vs Nadia Petrova (RUS) [10]
2. Dudi Sela (ISR) vs Novak Djokovic (SRB) [4]
3. Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP) vs Gilles Simon (FRA) [8]

COURT 4 - SHOW COURT - 12.00 NOON START

1. Igor Andreev (RUS) [29] vs Tommy Haas (GER) [24]
2. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) [9] vs Sabine Lisicki (GER)

COURT 18 - SHOW COURT - 12.00 NOON START

1. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) [11] vs Melanie Oudin (USA)
2. Virginie Razzano (FRA) [26] vs Francesca Schiavone (ITA)

Wimbledon's Greatest Final

Dissent Of The Week

England's Andy Murray returns a ball to Serbia's Viktor Troicki during their match on Day 6 at the 2009 Wimbledon tennis championships at the All England Club on June 27, 2009. The event, the third Grand Slam tournament of 2009, runs from June 22  to  July  5, 2009. Murray won 6/2,6/3,6/4.
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MMT said...

Craig:

I beg to differ. Power, like talent and luck, in tennis is vastly overrated. There are a lot of ways to win a point, game, set and match in tennis. To me, that's the beauty of the game.

I rather enjoy Murray's game on grass - the points don't last as long as they do with him on hard courts, and I find his game to be quite creative and interesting. I've never been a big fan of his, but I really enjoyed watching him at Queen's this year, and I think he's a favorite to win Wimbledon...and that's not just because of the media hype.

I myself have relatively little power for my level, but I try every chance I get to use spin, placement and my legs to win points particularly against players that could blow me off the court with power. I attack the net as often as I can when I feel I can't get it done from the back, which is my preference.

I don't think there's much honor in losing a tennis match playing the same way, particularly if it isn't working! Just ask James Blake. He plays his game all the time and you see the results.

Spotty at best.

I say kudos to Murray for developing a game with a lot of options. It will help him win a lot of matches, and there are a lot of players on tour that would do well to learn from his versatility both in shot selection and tactics.

I for one, am not remotely interested in big babe tennis, regardless of who's playing it.


From: Wimbledon 2009 Day 4 Open Thread

Wimbledon 2009 Middle Sunday

Melanie Oudin of the U.S. celebrates defeating Jelena Jankovic of Serbia at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 27, 2009.
Reuters

First, a gigantic shoutout to the diminutive American Melanie Oudin. The 17-year-old ball of fire dismissed the Drama Queen of all tennis drama queens in three sets. I had hoped she had the belief to put that poor excuse for a tennis player out of her misery and my wish came true.

Some posted the Drama Queen's ungracious post-match interview in the Day 6 Open Thread. I won't repeat any of it here except to say she's the pot calling the kettle black. I simply won't waste much ink on her.

Oudin becomes the first qualifier to make the second week of Wimledon in a decade. She's feisty, tenacious, and I'd say that her forehand is her insidious weapon. She doesn't hit it that hard, but the angles she creates out of nowhere remind me of the ones Anastasia Myskina used to create.

And she's so cute, isn't she?

::

Jesse Levine of the US plays against Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka in a Men's Singles match in the third round match on the sixth day of the 2009 Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Tennis Club, in southwest London, on June 27, 2009.
Getty

Jesse Levine gets kudos as well. He was up a set and a break before he finally got tight and surrendered the match to Stanislas Wawrinka. But like Oudin, he was also a qualifier, and before this week, hadn't won a single main draw match on the ATP tour this year.

Some of you may remember that Roger Federer flew Levine to Dubai a few years back to practice with the up-and-coming lefty.

::

France's Amelie Mauresmo plays against Italy's Flavia Pennetta in a Women's Singles match in the third round match on the sixth day of the 2009 Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Tennis Club, in southwest London, on June 27, 2009.
Getty

Former champion Amélie Mauresmo has returned to the second week of Wimbledon. How cool is that? I know I've called for her retirement. But so has she. It's wonderful to see a veteran player at the twilight of her career dig deep and remind the world who she is. Perhaps she's this Wimbledon's Marat Safin and will make it all the way to the semifinals. Or even go one better. I'd love to see it.

::

Tommy Haas of Germany serves to Marin Cilic of Croatia during their match at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 27, 2009.
Reuters

Tommy Haas made a fool out of me, and I couldn't be more pleased. I thought for sure he would find a way to lose to Marin Cilic, but he persevered and took the epic match 10-8 in the fifth.

Along with Radek Stepanek over David Ferrer, Sabine Lisicki over Svetlana Kutznetsova, Tomas Berdych of Nikolay Davydenko, Haas provided one of the "at least" four upsets I foresaw in yesterday's order of play. Juan Carlos Ferrero over Fernando Gonzalez was on my radar, but I thought the Chilean would still pull it out. Ferrero's resurgence continues. I also thought Samantha Stosur would topple Ana Ivanovic and Li Na would take down Agnieszka Radwanska, but it wasn't to be. Oudin and Mauresmo's victories more than made up for them.

::

Tennis fans show their support for the absent to injury  World No. 1 Rafael Nadal prior to the match between  Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain and  Roger Federer of Switzerland in a second round singles match at Wimbledon, Wednesday, June 24, 2009.
AP

All in all, the first week of this Wimbledon was a bore. Most of it had to do with Rafael Nadal's absence. Like him or not, when the world No. 1 and defending champion can't even attempt to defend his title, it's a big cloud hanging over the event, unless, of course, you're the kind of Raja fanatic who couldn't be more pleased. The year Justine Henin couldn't contend to defend her Melbourne title because of her impending divorce, I missed her presence, despite my dislike of her. Slams need their defending champions. Period.

::

ESPN should return all of its rights to air Slams in perpetuity. Too much in-studio bliovating, too little live tennis. Could you imagine NFL or NBA coverage where the talking heads are hosting "The View" of the sport instead of showing live action on the field or the court? If you must bore us with narcissistic commentators musing about nothing, then at least use the split screen to show on-court action. And save the player interviews, in-studio or otherwise, for after live tennis ends.

Brad Gilbert must be fired. He flatout refuses to pronounce players' names correctly simply because he's American (his excuse); refuses to call Dinara Safina the No. 1 seed even though she is; and doesn't know enough about players results to proclaim shock that someone like Ferrero is into yet another second week at SW19.

Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain falls to the ground after defeating Fernando Gonzalez of Chile at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 27, 2009.
Reuters

And if Gilbert doesn't crawl out from deep up in Murray's ass, I'm fully expecting to see Murray's stomach tissue all over Gilbert's entire body in the coming days. Can't he find somebody, anybody, to coach?

And why does it always seem that Patrick McEnroe actually wants the American players to lose their matches? I don't need patriotic cheer leading from the commentary booth. But one would think on a network full of American commentators who make no attempt whatsoever to hide their fandoms for so many of the non-American players that McEnroe could at least talk a bit more about how good it would be for American tennis, both for the players and the casual fans, to have players other than Andy Roddick and Venus and Serena Williams advance to the second week of a major. McEnroe would rather talk about the lack in the games of the American players and seems to take delicious joy in watching them flame out to their "superior" non-American competitors.

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 27:  Andy Roddick of USA celebrates after victory during the men's singles third round match against Jurgen Melzer of Austria on Day Six of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 27, 2009 in London, England.
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Speaking of Roddick and ESPN. I've become increasingly perturbed by the lack of coverage of his Slam matches in the past few years on the American network. It's as though the more he has tried to improve his game and the better his resurgence has advanced, the less ESPN shows his tennis. For the record, all of his matches have been aired in their entirety on ESPN Deportes and I was able to catch them on free live stream. Go figure. It's almost as if the the "Worldwide Leader in Sports" doesn't want US television viewers to know that its top American male player is more than a big serve and loopy forehand, more than Federer's whipping boy, more than the failure he became when he didn't become Pete Sampras. Since 2002, Roddick's been ranked outside of the Top 10 for an entire 4 weeks. I'm going to say it again: Since 2002, Roddick's been ranked outside of the Top 10 for an entire 4 weeks. One would think ESPN would show a little more respect for his longevity in the top rung of the sport, his commitment to Davis Cup, his commitment to his improvement in the changing landscape of men's tennis. But no. He didn't become Sampras after they said he would. Build them up. Tear them down. The American way.

I'll preview tomorrow's matches in the forthcoming Day 7 Open Thread.

Micheal Jackson Is Dead









I know it's off-topic, but there are some things that certain communities might want to discuss.

I feel as though the entire tapestry of my coming of age has been ripped from the walls in a single 48-hour period.

Ed, Farrah and Michael, all gone.

Have mercy.

::

Quote For The Day

"It's weird that we're talking about him today in the past tense," --Serena Williams, ESPN studio

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Faces Of The Day

Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia squats during her match against Sabine Lisicki of Germany at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 27, 2009.
Reuters

Svetlana Kuznetsova
of Russia squats during her match against Sabine Lisicki of Germany at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 27, 2009.

Serbia's Viktor Troicki serves a ball to England's Andy Murray  during their match on Day 6 at the 2009 Wimbledon tennis championships at the All England Club on June 27, 2009. The event, the third Grand Slam tournament of 2009, runs from June 22  to  July  5, 2009.
Getty

Serbia's Viktor Troicki serves a ball to England's Andy Murray during their match on Day 6 at the 2009 Wimbledon tennis championships at the All England Club on June 27, 2009.

Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium reacts during her match against Dinara Safina of Russia at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 27, 2009.
Reuters

Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium reacts during her match against Dinara Safina of Russia at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 27, 2009.

Fernando Gonzalez of Chile sits on his racket during his match against Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 27, 2009.
Reuters

Fernando Gonzalez of Chile sits on his racket during his match against Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 27, 2009.

Italy's Flavia Pennetta gestures as she plays against France's Amelie Mauresmo in a Women's Singles match in the third round match on the sixth day of the 2009 Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Tennis Club, in southwest London, on June 27, 2009.
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Italy's Flavia Pennetta gestures as she plays against France's Amelie Mauresmo in a Women's Singles match in the third round match on the sixth day of the 2009 Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Tennis Club, in southwest London, on June 27, 2009.

Philipp Petzschner of Germany reacts during his match against Lleyton Hewitt of Australia at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 27, 2009.
Reuters

Philipp Petzschner of Germany reacts during his match against Lleyton Hewitt of Australia at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 27, 2009.

Jelena Jankovic of Serbia wipes her forehead during her match against Melanie Oudin of the U.S. at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 27, 2009.
Reuters

Jelena Jankovic of Serbia wipes her forehead during her match against Melanie Oudin of the U.S. at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 27, 2009.

Jurgen Melzer of Austria plays a return to Andy Roddick of U.S. during their third round singles match on centre court  at Wimbledon, Saturday, June 27, 2009.
AP

Jurgen Melzer of Austria plays a return to Andy Roddick of U.S. during their third round singles match on centre court at Wimbledon, Saturday, June 27, 2009.

Wimbledon 2009 Day 6 Open Thread

Novak Djokovic of Serbia serves to Mardy Fish of the US in a Men's Singles third round match on the fifth day of the 2009 Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Tennis Club, in southwest London, on June 26, 2009.
Getty


It's the end of the first week of the fortnight and remaining third round matches are up for grabs today.

As usual, Centre Court is the ticket, but who does former champion Amélie Mauresmo have to do stroke to get a Centre Court or Court 1 appearance in the first week? She could be out of the tournament by day's end, and she never played a point on the biggest show courts. Such treatment for a former champion is intolerable.

Venus ought to exact revenge, Melzer ought not, Haas ought to complete another 5-set meltdown in his heldover encounter, and I see at least four upsets.

CENTRE - SHOW COURT - 1.00 PM START

1. Venus Williams (USA) [3] vs Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP)
2. Jurgen Melzer (AUT) [26] vs Andy Roddick (USA) [6]
3. Andy Murray (GBR) [3] vs Viktor Troicki (SRB) [30]

COURT 1 - SHOW COURT - 1.00 PM START

1. Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) [12] vs Tomas Berdych (CZE) [20]
Tommy Haas (GER) [24] vs Marin Cilic (CRO) [11] 80 T/F 7/5 7/5 1/6 6/7(3) 6/6 0-0*
2. Sabine Lisicki (GER) vs Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) [5]
3. Fernando Gonzalez (CHI) [10] vs Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP)

COURT 2 - SHOW COURT - 12.00 NOON START

1. Samantha Stosur (AUS) [18] vs Ana Ivanovic (SRB) [13]
Andreas Seppi (ITA) vs Igor Andreev (RUS) [29] T/F 1/6 6/7(5) 6/4 5/5 0-0*
2. Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) vs Philipp Petzschner (GER)
3. Dinara Safina (RUS) [1] vs Kirsten Flipkens (BEL)

COURT 3 - SHOW COURT - 12.00 NOON START

1. Melanie Oudin (USA) vs Jelena Jankovic (SRB) [6]
2. Amelie Mauresmo (FRA) [17] vs Flavia Pennetta (ITA) [15]
3. Victor Hanescu (ROU) [31] vs Gilles Simon (FRA) [8]

COURT 4 - SHOW COURT - 1.00 PM START

1. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) [9] vs Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) [20]
2. Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) [19] vs Jesse Levine (USA)

COURT 18 - SHOW COURT - 12.00 NOON START

1. Radek Stepanek (CZE) [23] vs David Ferrer (ESP) [16]
2. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) [11] vs Na Li (CHN) [19]

Friday, June 26, 2009

Faces Of The Day

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after defeating Mardy Fish of the U.S. at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 26, 2009.
Reuters

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after defeating Mardy Fish of the U.S. at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 26, 2009.

Francesca Schiavone of Italy celebrates after beating France's Marion Bartoli in a Women's Singles third round match on the fifth day of the 2009 Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Tennis Club, in southwest London, on June 26, 2009.
Getty

Francesca Schiavone of Italy celebrates after beating France's Marion Bartoli in a Women's Singles third round match at the 2009 Wimbledon Tennis Championships on June 26, 2009.

Dudi Sela of Israel reacts after defeating Tommy Robredo of Spain, in their third round men's singles match at Wimbledon, Friday, June 26, 2009.
AP

Israel's Dudi Sela jubilates after winning against Spain's Tommy Robredo during their third round match in the 2009 Wimbledon tennis championships at the All England Club on June 26, 2009.

Elena Vesnina of Russia reacts after defeating Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 26, 2009.
Reuters

Elena Vesnina of Russia reacts after defeating Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 26, 2009.

Ivo Karlovic of Croatia reacts on his way to defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, during their third round men's singles match at Wimbledon, Friday, June 26, 2009.
AP

Ivo Karlovic of Croatia reacts on his way to defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, during their third round men's singles match at Wimbledon, Friday, June 26, 2009.

Elena Dementieva of Russia reacts during her match against Regina Kulikova of Russia at the Wimbledon tennis championshps, in London June 26, 2009.
Reuters

Elena Dementieva of Russia reacts after defefating Regina Kulikova of Russia at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 26, 2009.

Wimbledon 2009 Day 5 Open Thread

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 25:  Spectators enjoy champagne on Day Four of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 25, 2009 in London, England.
Getty

I'm looking forward to Victoria Azarenka play Sorana Cirstea on Centre Court. At least this Court 2 isn't the Graveyard of Champions
, that would be Court 3 where no former champions are on the slate, so Serena Williams should be all right against Roberta Vinci in the brand new facility. Provided, of course, she's not mourning. What will Mardy Fish bring to Centre Court against Novak Djokovic? He'll have no better chance to knock off a top seed at a Slam.

Anybody see any upsets?
I see three, but I'm hoping for eight. I'm naughty.

Friday Order Of Play


CENTRE - SHOW COURT - 1.00 PM START

1. Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) [27] 121 vs Roger Federer (SUI) [2] 128
2. Victoria Azarenka (BLR) [8] 97 vs Sorana Cirstea (ROU) [28] 104
3. Mardy Fish (USA) [28] 89 vs Novak Djokovic (SRB) [4] 96

COURT 1 - SHOW COURT - 1.00 PM START

1. Regina Kulikova (RUS) 92 vs Elena Dementieva (RUS) [4] 96
2. Ivo Karlovic (CRO) [22] 105 vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) [9] 112
3. Tommy Haas (GER) [24] 73 vs Marin Cilic (CRO) [11] 80

COURT 2 - SHOW COURT - 12.00 NOON START

1. Roberta Vinci (ITA) 123 vs Serena Williams (USA) [2] 128
2. Vera Zvonareva (RUS) [7] 65 vs Virginie Razzano (FRA) [26] 72
3. Fernando Verdasco (ESP) [7] 97 vs Albert Montanes (ESP) [32] 104

COURT 3 - SHOW COURT - 12.00 NOON START

1. Robin Soderling (SWE) [13] 113 vs Nicolas Almagro (ESP) 117
2. Gisela Dulko (ARG) 107 vs Nadia Petrova (RUS) [10] 112
3. Tommy Robredo (ESP) [15] 81 vs Dudi Sela (ISR) 85

COURT 18 - SHOW COURT - 12.00 NOON START

1. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 115 vs Ai Sugiyama (JPN) 119
2. Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) [14] 81 vs Elena Vesnina (RUS) 86
3. Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 74 vs Marion Bartoli (FRA) [12] 80
4. Andreas Seppi (ITA) 66 vs Igor Andreev (RUS) [29] 72

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Day 4: American Youth

If not for the news I reported in the previous post, I'd have more to say about the activity on SW19 today, but you'll have to pardon my brevity.

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23:  Jesse Levine of USA plays a backhand during the men's singles first round match against Marat Safin of Russia on Day Two of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 23, 2009 in London, England.
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WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23:  Melanie Oudin of USA plays a forehand during the women's singles first round match against Sybille Bammer of Austria on Day Two of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 23, 2009 in London, England.
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Jesse Levine and Melanie Oudin have made the third round of Wimbledon. I won't weigh them down with any labels, but it's wonderful to see young American players on both tours making ripples at the Slams.

See the open thread for more. It wasn't exactly a quiet day on the blog.

Faces Of The Day

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 25:  A spectator wears a hat sporting strawberries and Pimms on Day Four of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 25, 2009 in London, England.
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A spectator wears a hat sporting strawberries and Pimms on Day Four of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 25, 2009 in London, England.

Fernando Gonzalez of Chile sits on his racket during his match against Leonardo Mayer of Argentina at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 25, 2009.
Reuters

Fernando Gonzalez of Chile sits on his racket during his match against Leonardo Mayer of Argentina at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 25, 2009.

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 25:  Venus Williams of USA (R) and Serena Williams of USA (L) look on during the women's doubles first round match against Virginie Razzano of France and Aravane Rezai of France on Day Four of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 25, 2009 in London, England.
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Serena Williams and Venus Williams of the United States look on during the women's doubles first round match against Virginie Razzano and Aravane Rezai of France on Day Four of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 25, 2009 in London, England.

Kim Sears, girlfriend of Britain's Andy Murray, is pictured on Centre Court as he plays against Latvia's Ernests Gulbis at the All England Tennis Club on the fourth day of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in southwest London, on June 25, 2009.
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Kim Sears, girlfriend of Britain's Andy Murray, is pictured on Centre Court as he plays against Latvia's Ernests Gulbis at the All England Tennis Club on the fourth day of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in southwest London, on June 25, 2009.

A spectator sports outsize sunglasses on the Centre Court, during the men's singles, second round match between Igor Kunitsyn of Russia, and Andy Roddick of U.S. , at Wimbledon, Thursday, June 25, 2009.
AP

A spectator sports outsize sunglasses on the Centre Court, during the men's singles, second round match between Igor Kunitsyn of Russia and Andy Roddick of the United States at Wimbledon, Thursday, June 25, 2009.

Wimbledon 2009 Day 4 Open Thread

Spectators look at a scoreboard at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 24, 2009.
Reuters

Back to the top half of the draws second-round matches for today's action. Centre Court features Juan Martín del Potro against former champion Lleyton Hewitt, flavor of the year Caroline Wozniacki against fan favorite Maria Kirilenko, and Andy Murray against waste-of-talent? Ernests Gulbis.

The defending champion is up first on Court 1 against the younger Radwanska following by Andy Roddick against Igor Kunitsyn and Fernando Gonzalez against Leonardo Mayer.

But check out the slate for Court 2. Just call that an orgy of headcases.

Couldn't the AELTC give the only British woman in the second round (I think!) a show court today?

Will Sara Errani upset Ana Ivanovic?

CENTRE - SHOW COURT - 1.00 PM START

1. Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) [5] 1 vs Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) 3
2. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) [9] 17 vs Maria Kirilenko (RUS) 20
3. Andy Murray (GBR) [3] 33 vs Ernests Gulbis (LAT) 36

COURT 1 - SHOW COURT - 1.00 PM START

1. Venus Williams (USA) [3] 33 vs Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) 36
2. Igor Kunitsyn (RUS) 30 vs Andy Roddick (USA) [6] 32
3. Fernando Gonzalez (CHI) [10] 49 vs Leonardo Mayer (ARG) 52

COURT 2 - SHOW COURT - 12.00 NOON START

1. Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA) 22 vs Tomas Berdych (CZE) [20] 24
2. Dinara Safina (RUS) [1] 1 vs Rossana De Los Rios (PAR) 4
3. Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP) 53 vs Fabrice Santoro (FRA) 55
4. Iveta Benesova (CZE) 62 vs Jelena Jankovic (SRB) [6] 64

COURT 3 - SHOW COURT - 12.00 NOON START

1. Pauline Parmentier (FRA) 29 vs Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) [5] 32
2. Thiago Alves (BRA) 61 vs Gilles Simon (FRA) [8] 64
3. Amelie Mauresmo (FRA) [17] 9 vs Kristina Kucova (SVK) 11
4. Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) [19] 41 vs Martin Vassallo Arguello (ARG) 44

COURT 4 - SHOW COURT - 12.00 NOON START

1. Jurgen Melzer (AUT) [26] 25 vs Benjamin Becker (GER) 27
2. Elena Baltacha (GBR) 5 vs Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 7

COURT 6 - 12.00 NOON START

1. Victor Hanescu (ROU) [31] 57 vs Nicolas Devilder (FRA) 59

COURT 7 - 12.00 NOON START

1. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 37 vs Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) 39
2. Olga Govortsova (BLR) 53 vs Na Li (CHN) [19] 56
3. Tathiana Garbin (ITA) 22 vs Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) [20] 24
4. Pablo Cuevas (URU) 46 vs Jesse Levine (USA) 47

COURT 12 - 12.00 NOON START

1. Sabine Lisicki (GER) 26 vs Patricia Mayr (AUT) 27
2. Philipp Petzschner (GER) 6 vs Mischa Zverev (GER) 7
3. Radek Stepanek (CZE) [23] 9 vs Potito Starace (ITA) 11
4. Melanie Oudin (USA) 58 vs Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) 60

COURT 14 - 12.00 NOON START

1. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) [11] 49 vs Shuai Peng (CHN) 52
2. Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) [12] 17 vs Victor Crivoi (ROU) 19
3. Daniel Gimeno-Traver (ESP) 38 vs Viktor Troicki (SRB) [30] 40

COURT 18 - SHOW COURT - 12.00 NOON START

1. Samantha Stosur (AUS) [18] 41 vs Tatjana Malek (GER) 44
2. Sara Errani (ITA) 45 vs Ana Ivanovic (SRB) [13] 48
3. Fabio Fognini (ITA) 13 vs David Ferrer (ESP) [16] 16
4. Vania King (USA) 13 vs Flavia Pennetta (ITA) [15] 16

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Day 3: South American Surprise

Argentina's Gisela Dulko celebrates after beating Russia's Maria Sharapova at the All England Tennis Club on the third day of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in southwest London, on June 24, 2009.
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In their previous two meetings, she won exactly three games. That was then. Today, she outlasted the former Wimbledon champion on Centre Court. Argentine Gisela Dulko sent shockwaves through the tennis world with her 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 dismissal of No. 59 ranked and No. 24 seeded Maria Sharapova at SW19.

I say shockwaves because Mary Jo Fernandez, who's married to Sharapova's agent, sounded as though she was going to cry in the booth. Excuses fell like rain from the lips of those who called Sharapova a contender because she'd advanced to the quarterfinals of her first Slam back on her worst surface. But they completely ignored who she beat and how she beat them. Tennis needs Sharapova, dammit, and those with the power to create the propaganda would not be turned back. Now, suddenly, this is only her (fill in the blank) tournament back, etc, etc, etc....

But enough with the hype (excuse) makers.

How did Dulko do it? For my money, her coach sat her down with a tape of Amélie Mauresmo's deconstruction of an in-form former champion in the 2006 semifinals, and they studied it as though cramming for an exam.

Now, make no mistake, Dulko is no Mauresmo. One's a solid but largely disregarded player, the other a two-time Slam champion and legendary choker. And Dulko certainly isn't going to rush the net. But when the Argentine was blocking and chipping back Maria's first serves, using acute angles to pull Sharapova off the court to expose her lumbering movement, and drawing her into the net with short, off-pace shots, I was reminded of that 2006 match.

And where did she get that serve?

Most impressive, however, was Dulko's recovery from a complete mid-match collapse. Receiving serve at 6-2, 3-0, her timid groundstrokes started finding the net.

She lost the next 7 games.

She fell behind an early break in the third set and one would expect Sharapova to run out the match.

Not this time.

Dulko stayed composed, fought back, and broke serve late in the third set, survived a break point serving for the match, squandered match points serving for the match, and eventually closed out the upset when Sharapova missed something.

This blog is not quite as quiet as it was yesterday, but could you imagine the traffic if Roger Federer or Venus Williams lost in the second round to a solid but largely disregarded player?

My bias says our readership is the most savvy on the Internet. Our traffic today backs that up.

Sharapova is beloved by her die hard fans, as is any player, Madison Avenue, and the tennis story makers -- those who would like to create a compelling narrative about her when, really, quite frankly, there isn't one -- but she's not as needed on the tour as many would like to have us believe.

Nadia Petrova is sleeping better tonight.

North American Surprise

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 24:  Sam Querrey of USA plays a forehand during the men's singles second round match against Marin Cilic of Croatia on Day Three of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 24, 2009 in London, England.
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Sam Querrey's father took a last-minute flight to London to see his son play on Centre Court. That alone choked me up.

I could have done without the pre-match ESPN studio interview -- players need to focus before matches, not do publicity -- could have done without that serving-for-the-second-set choke, and certainly could have done with out that serving-to-stay-in-the-match-fifth-set choke, but staying competitive in a match down two sets to love and pushing it to five was quite the Centre Court christening for the young American who not that long about seemed more interested in his Porsche than his tennis career.

Clearly, Querrey has worked hard on his fitness, movement, and footwork. Not sure he'll ever win anything big, because a killer instinct seems to be lacking, though he was one of my wild cards for this quarter. But today's performance was one for which he can be proud and Marin Cilic, the No. 11 seed who almost found himself down two sets to love, should consider himself fortunate his slightly older but less experienced opponent couldn't put the hammer down.

Faces Of The Day

Tommy Robredo of Spain celebrates winning a set against Stefan Koubek of Austria during their match at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 24, 2009.
Reuters

Tommy Robredo of Spain celebrates winning a set against Stefan Koubek of Austria during their match at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 24, 2009.

Japan's Ai Sugiyama returns a ball to Spain's Arantxa Parra Santonja during their second round match in the 2009 Wimbledon tennis championships at the All England Club on June 24, 2009. The event, the third Grand Slam tournament of 2009, runs from June 22  to  July  5, 2009.
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Japan's Ai Sugiyama returns a ball to Spain's Arantxa Parra Santonja during their second round match in the 2009 Wimbledon tennis championships at the All England Club on June 24, 2009.

Simon Greul of Germany returns the ball to Novak Djokovic of Serbia during their match at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 24, 2009.
Reuters

Simon Greul of Germany returns the ball to Novak Djokovic of Serbia during their match at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 24, 2009.

China's Zheng Jie looks up after loosing against Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova during their second round match in the 2009 Wimbledon tennis championships at the All England Club on June 24, 2009. The event, the third Grand Slam tournament of 2009, runs from June 22  to  July  5, 2009. Hantuchova won 6/3,7/5.
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China's Zheng Jie looks up after loosing against Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova during their second round match in the 2009 Wimbledon tennis championships at the All England Club on June 24, 2009.

Ousted

Maria Sharapova of Russia sits on the ground during her match against Viktoriya Kutuzova of Ukraine at the  Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 22, 2009.
Reuters

In Paris, she fought her way all the way to the quarterfinals. In London, she fought through her second-round match, but her opponent played better tennis. For the ball bashing WTA players, grass can't hide lumbering movement the way clay can. On the lawns, if you can't trust your shots, can't chase down all those angled, skidding, and dying balls, you need your opponent to gift you the match. She received no such gift today.

I'll have more on this match later, especially as the incessant excuses roll in from the pundits, but, for now, suffice it to say, we told you her seeding was utterly ridiculous.