Sunday, February 28, 2010

Venus Defends, Ferrer Topples Ferrero

Venus Williams of the U.S. wears a traditional Mexican hat as she  holds the Acapulco International trophy in Acapulco February 27, 2010.  Williams won the tournament after defeating Polona Hercog of Slovenia in  the final.
Reuters

David Ferrer of Spain holds the Acapulco International trophy after  defeating his compatriot Juan Carlos Ferrero in the men's final in  Acapulco February 27, 2010.
Reuters

The men's final just began on Tennis Channel as I type this and there was no live feed for the women's final at all. But Venus Williams rallied from a set down against Polona Hercog to retain her Albierto Mexicano crown 2-6, 6-2, 6-3, and David Ferrer found a way past the red-hot but weary Juan Carlos Ferrero in a score of 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 to exact revenge from last week's final to win his first title since 2008.

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Men's Doubles Final
[1] L Kubot (POL) / O Marach (AUT) d F Fognini (ITA) / P Starace 60 60

Women's Doubles Final
(4) Hercog/Zahlavova Strycova (SLO/CZE) d. Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA) 26 61 10-2

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Alisa Kleybanova of Russia poses with her trophy after winning her  final match against her compatriot Elena Dementieva during the WTA  Malaysian Open 2010 Tennis Championship in Kuala Lumpur February 28,  2010.
Reuters

Malaysian Open

Singles - Final
(4) Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) d. (1) Elena Dementieva (RUS) 63 62

Doubles - Final
(2) Chan/Zheng (TPE/CHN) d. Rodionova/Rodionova (AUS/RUS) 67(4) 62 107

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Novak Djokovic of Serbia raises his trophy after winning his final  match against Mikhail Youzhny of Russia at the ATP Dubai Tennis  Championships February 28, 2010.
Reuters

Dubai Tennis Championships

Singles - Final
[2] N Djokovic (SRB) d [7] M Youzhny (RUS) 75 57 63

Stop the presses: the Serb finally defended a title.

Doubles - Final
S Aspelin (SWE) / P Hanley (AUS) d [2] L Dlouhy (CZE) / L Paes (IND) 62 63

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Delray Beach International Tennis Championships

Singles - Semifinals
[2] I Karlovic (CRO) d M Fish (USA) 62 63
E Gulbis (LAT) d J Nieminen (FIN) 64 64

Doubles - Semifinals

[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) d [WC] T Dent (USA) / R Harrison (USA) 67(6) 75 10-4
P Marx (GER) / I Zelenay (SVK) d B Becker (GER) / L Mayer (ARG) walkover

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Face Of The Day

Fernando Gonzalez of Chile reacts during his semi-final match  against David Ferrer of Spain at the Acapulco Open tennis tournament in  Acapulco February 26, 2010.
Reuters

Fernando González of Chile reacts during his semi-final match against David Ferrer of Spain at the Albierto Mexicano Telcel tennis tournament in Acapulco February 26, 2010.

Men's Singles - Semifinals
[3] D Ferrer (ESP) d [2] F Gonzalez (CHI) 67(4) 60 64
[4] J Ferrero (ESP) d [7] J Monaco (ARG) 75 ret. (abdominal strain)

Men's Doubles - Semifinals
[1] L Kubot (POL) / O Marach (AUT) d [3] M Damm (CZE) / F Polasek (SVK) 75 64
F Fognini (ITA) / P Starace (ITA) d J Monaco (ARG) / H Zeballos (ARG) w/o (Monaco - abdominal strain)

Women's Singles - Semifinals
(1) Venus Williams (USA) d. Edina Gallovits (ROU) 64 26 62
(8) Polona Hercog (SLO) d. (5) Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) 63 75

Women's Doubles - Semifinals
Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA) d. (1) Hlavackova/Hradecka (CZE/CZE) 67(6) 76(4) 10-8
(4) Hercog/Zahlavova Strycova (SLO/CZE) d. (2) Uhlirova/Voracova (CZE/CZE) 62 64

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Delray Beach International Tennis Championships

Singles - Quarterfinals
[2] I Karlovic (CRO) d [7] J Blake (USA) 63 67(5) 61
J Nieminen (FIN) d [3] B Becker (GER) 75 36 76(5)
M Fish (USA) d [4] J Chardy (FRA) 64 63
E Gulbis (LAT) d L Mayer (ARG) 76(2) 64

Doubles - Quarterfinals
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) d J Nieminen (FIN) / B Reynolds (USA) 61 64
P Marx (GER) / I Zelenay (SVK) d [WC] J Blake (USA) / R Kendrick (USA) 67(5) 64 10-6

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Malaysian Open
Saturday, February 27, 2010


Singles - Semifinals
(1) Elena Dementieva (RUS) d. (6) Sybille Bammer (AUT) 61 63
(4) Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) d. Ayumi Morita (JPN) 64 61

Doubles - Semifinals
(2) Y.Chan/Zheng (TPE/CHN) d. (3) Kudryavtseva/Voskoboeva (RUS/KAZ) 64 60

Friday, February 26, 2010

Quote For The Day

by Craig Hickman

U.S. tennis star Serena Williams laughs during her visit to the  Serena Williams Wee Secondary School in Emali, east of Kenya's capital  Nairobi February 23, 2010. Williams is in Kenya to tour her humanitarian  projects.
Reuters

Tennis champion Serena Williams laughs during her visit to the Serena Williams Wee Secondary School in Emali, east of Kenya's capital Nairobi February 23, 2010. Williams is in Kenya to oversee her humanitarian projects in her capacity as a global ambassador for Hewlett-Packard.

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"Kids ran in the streets with palm branches chanting my name saying "Yes we can Serena, Yes we can!" Thousands of people have traveled 15miles by foot - most without shoes. One girl said it was 2 weeks before it was her bath day. But she cleaned up and took a bath 2 weeks early. This was an occasion for them. This was also an occasion for me.

"This time for this school we added more. We added a hearing impaired class with a teacher to work with the deaf students. My heart was moved, and my eyes became swollen with tears when one boy named Maythia as he frantically signed to me. "I will finally be able to talk and speak all the things that are in my head!!" --Serena Williams

U.S. tennis star Serena Williams (R) is welcomed by Akamba  traditional dancers upon her arrival at the Serena Williams Wee  Secondary School in Emali, east of Kenya's capital Nairobi February 23,  2010. Williams is in Kenya to tour her humanitarian projects.
Reuters

Welcomed by Akamba traditional dancers upon her arrival.

U.S. tennis star Serena Williams arrives to present a talk on  technology at the Strathmore University in Kenya's capital Nairobi  February 24, 2010. Williams is in Kenya to oversee her humanitarian  projects in her capacity as a global ambassador for Hewlett-Packard.
Reuters

Arriving to present a talk on technology at the Strathmore University in Nairobi.

U.S. tennis star Serena Williams uses a laptop computer in a  classroom in the Serena Williams Wee Secondary School in Emali, east of  Kenya's capital Nairobi February 23, 2010. Williams is in Kenya to tour  her humanitarian projects.
Reuters

Showing the children how to use a laptop computer in the classroom.

(Thanks, Pamela)

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Related Posts
Serena Williams In Kenya
Serena Williams: Humanitarian

Face Of The Day

by Craig Hickman

Venus Williams from the U.S. returns a shot to Laura Pous Tio of  Spain in their match at the Acapulco Open tennis tournament February 25,  2010.
Reuters

Last night, Venus Williams rallied from 1-5 down in the final set to give herself a chance to defend another title while Nicolas Almagro failed in his attempt to pull a hat trick at the Albierto Mexicano Telcel. I didn't get to see much of it, but what about Juan Carlos Ferrero? Who's going to beat the old man on clay this spring?

Singles - Quarterfinals
[7] J Monaco (ARG) d [1] [WC] F Verdasco (ESP) 75 63
[2] F Gonzalez (CHI) d [Q] E Schwank (ARG) 36 63 75
[3] D Ferrer (ESP) d P Cuevas (URU) 75 64
[4] J Ferrero (ESP) d [6] N Almagro (ESP) 61 57 62

Doubles - Quarterfinals
[1] L Kubot (POL) / O Marach (AUT) d P Cuevas (URU) / F Gonzalez (CHI) 64 62
F Fognini (ITA) / P Starace (ITA) d [2] M Melo (BRA) / B Soares (BRA) 62 36 10-7
J Monaco (ARG) / H Zeballos (ARG) d [WC] S Gonzalez (MEX) / N Massu (CHI) 75 61

Women's Singles - Quarterfinals
(1) Venus Williams (USA) d. (Q) Laura Pous Tio (ESP) 46 63 75
(8) Polona Hercog (SLO) d. (2) Agnes Szavay (HUN) 64 01 ret. (left adductor strain)
(5) Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) d. (3) Gisela Dulko (ARG) 61 76(4)

Edina Gallovits (ROU) d. Sharon Fichman (CAN) 75 62

Women's Doubles - Quarterfinals
(1) Hlavackova/Hradecka (CZE/CZE) d. (WC) Cirstea/Cornet (ROU/FRA) 57 75 106
(2) Uhlirova/Voracova (CZE/CZE) d. Fichman/Washington (CAN/USA) 75 61
(4) Hercog/Zahlavova Strycova (SLO/CZE) d. Osterloh/Tatishvili (USA/GEO) 75 62

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Delray Beach International Tennis Championships

Singles - Second Round
[2] I Karlovic (CRO) d D Brands (GER) 76(8) 76(6)
[3] B Becker (GER) d W Odesnik (USA) w/o (ankle)
[4] J Chardy (FRA) d S Giraldo (COL) 75 46 75
J Nieminen (FIN) d [5] E Korolev (KAZ) 57 61 60
[7] J Blake (USA) d R Haase (NED) 63 61
M Fish (USA) d M Zverev (GER) 62 64
E Gulbis (LAT) d T Gabashvili (RUS) 61 64

Doubles - Quarterfinals
B Becker (GER) / L Mayer (ARG) d R de Voest (RSA) / R Wassen (NED) 63 63
[WC] T Dent (USA) / R Harrison (USA) d J Cerretani (USA) / J Chardy (FRA) 63 76(4)

Doubles - First Round
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) d L Friedl (CZE) / D Skoch (CZE) 63 62
[WC] J Blake (USA) / R Kendrick (USA) d E Butorac (USA) / D Martin (USA) 63 64
J Nieminen (FIN) / B Reynolds (USA) d J Coetzee (RSA) / S Lipsky (USA) 63 46 10-7

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Malaysian Open

Friday, February 26, 2010

Singles - Quarterfinals

(1) Elena Dementieva (RUS) d. (7) Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) 60 63
(4) Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) d. Anastasia Rodionova (AUS) 46 63 64
(6) Sybille Bammer (AUT) d. Chang Kai-Chen (TPE) 36 63 63
Ayumi Morita (JPN) d. Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) 63 75

Doubles - Semifinals
Rodionova/Rodionova (AUS/RUS) d. Dzehalevich/Malek (BLR/GER) 61 61

Doubles - Quarterfinals
(2) Chan/Zheng (TPE/CHN) d. Diatchenko/Scheepers (RUS/RSA) 64 64

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Serena Williams In Kenya

by Craig Hickman



MAKUENI, Kenya - Just over a year after visiting Kenya to open the Serena Williams Secondary School in Matooni, Kenya, Serena Williams returned to the country to follow up on her humanitarian efforts. Williams arrived on February 22 for a three day charity mission where she will inaugurate the Wee Secondary School in Makueni, Eastern Province, Kenya.

The new school lies roughly 50 kilometers from the first one. While in the country, Williams will follow up on the progress of the Matooni school and will hold a tennis teaching session with the students at both schools.

Williams has partnered with technology giant Hewlett Packard and the Build African Schools initiative. She is a global ambassador for the firm and has also worked with the Starfishgreatheart Charity for orphans in South Africa.

Hewlett Packard will equip the school with computers, printers and internet connectivity, while facilitating the training of the local teachers and students.

Ken Mbwaya, Hewlett Packard's managing director for East Africa, said: "As our ambassador, Serena was touched by the plight of children from these areas. This has made many keen to learn, even with daily challenges and limitations. Education is the best platform to invest in as it empowers whole communities.

"Sixty-two percent of Kenyans live in absolute poverty, which means that some very bright children are hindered from achieving their potential. This is an actual impediment to the realization of Vision 2030 and we need to tackle this before we seek IT penetration into rural Kenya. Education is the best platform to invest in as it empowers whole communities."






(Thanks, Rabbit)

Face Of The Day

by Craig Hickman


Mexsports

Richard Gasquet blew a 4-0 lead in the final set, saved 5 match points overall before succumbing to a determined two-time Abierto Mexicano Telcel defending champion in Nicolas Almagro. Quite a display of claycourt prowess from both sides of the net, but the player with the bigger gonads ultimately prevailed. Best match of the day.

Singles - Second Round
[1] [WC] F Verdasco (ESP) d L Kubot (POL) 64 63
[2] F Gonzalez (CHI) d V Hanescu (ROU) 76(2) 36 61
[3] D Ferrer (ESP) d T Bellucci (BRA) 64 61
[4] J Ferrero (ESP) d I Andreev (RUS) 64 63
[6] N Almagro (ESP) d R Gasquet (FRA) 36 75 76(7)
[7] J Monaco (ARG) d J Chela (ARG) 64 76(4)
P Cuevas (URU) d [8] A Montanes (ESP) 75 63
[Q] E Schwank (ARG) d S Greul (GER) 76(4) 63

Doubles - Quarterfinals
[3] M Damm (CZE) / F Polasek (SVK) d [WC] J Elizondo (MEX) / C Ramirez (MEX) 63 62

Doubles - First Round
J Monaco (ARG) / H Zeballos (ARG) d O Hernandez (ESP) / A Montanes (ESP) 62 75
F Fognini (ITA) / P Starace (ITA) d J Isner (USA) / S Querrey (USA) 63 64

Women's Singles - First Round
(1) Venus Williams (USA) d. Kaia Kanepi (EST) 64 64
(2) Agnes Szavay (HUN) d. Renata Voracova (CZE) 75 61
(3) Gisela Dulko (ARG) d. Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) 75 61
(5) Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) d. (Q) Catalina Castaño (COL) 61 46 62
Edina Gallovits (ROU) d. (6) Sara Errani (ITA) 64 57 64
(Q) Laura Pous Tio (ESP) d. (7) Roberta Vinci (ITA) 63 62

(8) Polona Hercog (SLO) d. Alizé Cornet (FRA) 62 64
Sharon Fichman (CAN) d. Mariya Koryttseva (UKR) 62 63

Women's Doubles - Quarterfinals
(4) Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA) d. Mattek-Sands/Shaughnessy (USA/USA) 63 46 10-8

Women's Doubles - First Round
(1) Hlavackova/Hradecka (CZE/CZE) d. Domínguez Lino/Parra Santonja (ESP/ESP) 62 46 10-7
(4) Hercog/Zahlavova Strycova (SLO/CZE) d. Johansson/Védy (FRA/FRA) 75 61
Fichman/Washington (CAN/USA) d. Gallovits/Koryttseva (ROU/UKR) w/o (Koryttseva: low back injury)

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Delray Beach International Tennis Championships

Singles - Second Round
L Mayer (ARG) d [6] F Mayer (GER) 64 76(4)

Singles - First Round
[7] J Blake (USA) d T Dent (USA) 61 36 63

Doubles - First Round
P Marx (GER) / I Zelenay (SVK) d [3] R Hutchins (GBR) / J Kerr (AUS) 67(8) 61 10-8

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Malaysian Open

Singles - Second Round
(7) Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) d. (WC) Noppawan Lertcheewakarn (THA) 64 75
(6) Sybille Bammer (AUT) d. Akgul Amanmuradova (UZB) 63 60
Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) d. Tatjana Malek (GER) 46 62 63
(7) Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) d. (WC) Noppawan Lertcheewakarn (THA) 64 75

Doubles - Quarterfinals
Rodionova/Rodionova (AUS/RUS) d. (1) Kleybanova/Yan (RUS/CHN) 63 76(5)
(3) Kudryavtseva/Voskoboeva (RUS/KAZ) d. Borwell/Kops-Jones (GBR/USA) 62 76(3) 10-7
Dzehalevich/Malek (BLR/GER) d. (4) Amanmuradova/Kustova (UZB/BLR) 75 76(5)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Down And Out In Acapulco



That's what Sam Querrey and John Isner can say about their plans to get some claycourt matches under their belt at the Albierto Mexicano Telcel before traveling to Serbia for Davis Cup in the coming weeks.

Since both have played a lot of tennis of late, winning their first doubles title as a pair in Memphis on Sunday after contesting the singles final, this comes as no surprise, the court surface notwithstanding. Still, Querrey managed to get Fernando González to a third set breaker before bowing out in the first round, while Isner couldn't even manage to win a tiebreak in his straight-set defeat to German veteran Simon Greul.

Would love to have seen Richard Gasquet defeat Carlos Moya in three close sets on Monday. Up next for the Frenchman is defending champion Nicolas Almagro. Two exquisite one-handed backhands go at it later today.

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Singles - First Round
[1] [WC] F Verdasco (ESP) d F Fognini (ITA) 26 64 60
[2] F Gonzalez (CHI) d S Querrey (USA) 64 36 76(2)
[3] D Ferrer (ESP) d P Starace (ITA) 62 64
[4] J Ferrero (ESP) d [Q] D Junqueira (ARG) 62 63
S Greul (GER) d [5] J Isner (USA) 76(4) 75
[6] N Almagro (ESP) d D Sela (ISR) 61 76(0)
[7] J Monaco (ARG) d [Q] A Martin (ESP) 67(6) 75 62
[8] A Montanes (ESP) d D Gimeno-Traver (ESP) 75 46 62
P Cuevas (URU) d M Daniel (BRA) 16 75 76(8) - saved 3 M.P.
J Chela (ARG) d P Luczak (AUS) 60 16 60
V Hanescu (ROU) d F Gil (POR) 76(5) 63
I Andreev (RUS) d [Q] V Crivoi (ROU) 63 64
L Kubot (POL) d H Zeballos (ARG) 61 62

Doubles - First Round
[WC] S Gonzalez (MEX) / N Massu (CHI) d [4] J Brunstrom (SWE) / J Rojer (AHO) 62 67(2) 11-9
[WC] J Elizondo (MEX) / C Ramirez (MEX) d L Arnold Ker (ARG) / T Bellucci (BRA) 76(5) 46 10-8

Women's Singles - First Round
(1) Venus Williams (USA) d. Mathilde Johansson (FRA) 62 63
(3) Gisela Dulko (ARG) d. (Q) Lucie Hradecka (CZE) 61 26 61
(5) Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) d. (Q) Greta Arn (HUN) 60 60
(7) Roberta Vinci (ITA) d. Arantxa Parra Santonja (ESP) 26 63 64
Kaia Kanepi (EST) d. (WC) Alejandra Granillo (MEX) 60 61
Edina Gallovits (ROU) d. (WC) Zarina Diyas (KAZ) 63 63
Mariya Koryttseva (UKR) d. Angelique Kerber (GER) 57 75 64
(Q) Catalina Castaño (COL) d. Klara Zakopalova (CZE) 57 64 75
(Q) Laura Pous Tio (ESP) d. Patricia Mayr (AUT) 26 62 61

Women's Doubles - First Round
(2) Uhlirova/Voracova (CZE/CZE) d. Craybas/Pelletier (USA/CAN) 76(8) 26 10-6
Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA) d. (3) Dulko/Szavay (ARG/HUN) 63 63
Mattek-Sands/Shaughnessy (USA/USA) d. Kondratieva/Lefèvre (RUS/FRA) 62 61
Osterloh/Tatishvili (USA/GEO) d. Savchuk/Woerle (UKR/GER) 16 60 12-10
(WC) Cirstea/Cornet (ROU/FRA) d. (WC) Hermoso/Muñoz Gallegos (MEX/MEX) 61 60

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Delray Beach International Tennis Championships

Singles - First Round
[2] I Karlovic (CRO) d P Petzschner (GER) 63 76(3)
[3] B Becker (GER) d K Nishikori (JPN) 63 16 60
[4] J Chardy (FRA) d X Malisse (BEL) 63 76(5)
[6] F Mayer (GER) d [Q] N Lindahl 64 61
[7] J Blake (USA) vs T Dent (USA) 61 36 53 - to resume Wednesday
M Zverev (GER) d [8] M Russell (USA) 64 36 75
L Mayer (ARG) d [Q] K Anderson (RSA) 76(7) 76(2)
E Gulbis (LAT) d [Q] R Harrison (USA) 64 76(5)
R Haase (NED) d [Q] R Kendrick (USA) 76(4) 76(0)
M Fish (USA) d C Rochus (BEL) 57 63 33 ret. (back)
J Nieminen (FIN) d P Lorenzi (ITA) 63 64
D Brands (GER) d [WC] S Grosjean (FRA) 36 63 62
S Giraldo (COL) d [WC] V Spadea (USA) 62 63

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Malaysian Open
Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Singles - Second Round
(1) Elena Dementieva (RUS) d. Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) 62 63
(4) Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) d. Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS) 67(4) 63 64
Anastasia Rodionova (AUS) d. Ekaterina Ivanova (RUS) 62 62
Ayumi Morita (JPN) d. (WC) Yan Zi (CHN) 62 61

Doubles - First Round
(2) Y.Chan/Zheng (TPE/CHN) d. (WC) Basuki/Sema (INA/JPN) 61 36 103
(3) Kudryavtseva/Voskoboeva (RUS/KAZ) d. Chang/Klepac (TPE/SLO) 76(5) 63
Dzehalevich/Malek (BLR/GER) d. C.Chan/Rybarikova (TPE/SVK) 75 62
Borwell/Kops-Jones (GBR/USA) d. Jurak/Marosi (CRO/HUN) 76(5) 62

Ana Ivanovic Hires New Coach

by Craig Hickman

Serbia's Ana Ivanovic (R) and Jelena Jankovic play a shot against  Russia's Alisa Kleybanova and Svetlana Kuznetsova during their Fed Cup  tennis match in Belgrade February 7, 2010.
Reuters

Serbia's Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic play a shot against Russia's Alisa Kleybanova and Svetlana Kuznetsova during their Fed Cup tennis match in Belgrade February 7, 2010.

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For fans of the former No. 1 and Roland Garros champion and women's tennis alike, this development must be considered good news.

Basel, Switzerland - Slumping Serbian former number one Ana Ivanovic Monday turned over what she hopes is a new page in her career by hiring Staffi Graf's former mentor Heinz Gunthardt as coach.

The Ivanovic management made the announcement, which brings to an end the number 23 player's coaching relationship with the adidas team, still her clothing sponsor.

Swiss television commentator Gunthardt, 51, guided Graf to a dozen Grand Slam titles.

The relationship will start next week in a New York exhibition, with 2008 Roland Garros champion Ivanovic replacing Serena Williams in a field with Venus Williams, US Open winner Kim Clijsters and double Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Ivanovic has been in a slump since her last title, earned in Linz in October, 2008.

The 22-year-old last played to a pair of defeats in Fed Cup this month while winning her only match of the season in the Australian Open first round.

It really can't get any worse for the Serb at this point. Here's hoping she can find her service toss.

(Thanks, Savannah)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Quote For The Day

"Britain's Andy Murray has received such a big clothing contract from adidas — around £15m over five years — that the brand have ditched Novak Djokovic, Marcos Baghdatis and the Bryan brothers to help fund it. So there was understandable meltdown within adidas when Murray turned up for a photoshoot last week at Dubai’s new racecourse wearing a distinctive Hugo Boss-branded polo shirt. Jim Latham, head of adidas tennis, will be making clear his disappointment to the Murray camp." --Charles Sale

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Standing Ovation

Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain holds up the champion's trophy as  compatriot David Ferrer (L) watches after their men's singles final  tennis match at the ATP Buenos Aires Open, February 21, 2010.
Reuters

Nine years after he first won back-to-back titles on the ATP tour -- Nine. Years. -- Juan Carlos Ferrero does it again. Rallying from a set down, he outlasted compatriot David Ferrer 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 in a final that could easily end the year as one of the best. Last Sunday, he won the Brasil Open.

“I feel unbelievable after winning two weeks in a row,” Ferrero said after the match. “It is a great feeling. I think the key to my current success is the physical work I have done. I have been working very hard and I know that I can be on the court forever. That helps my game a lot because I get to the ball much earlier and can be more aggressive.

“This also helps me mentally. I feel very strong and know that I have more resources now when playing important points. I have been working with a friend on the mental aspect and all is coming into place.”

Consider that the 30-year-old former Roland Garros champion and world No. 1 won his first title in 6 years just last season. Consider that the Spaniard had to battle a debilitating bout with chicken pox during the prime of his championship career. Consider that he has been regarded as nothing more than expensive wallpaper in the tapestry of the Spanish Armada ever since falling out of the Top 10 years ago.

“My goal is to get back to the Top 10. This victory makes me believe in this goal. I don’t have much to defend in Acapulco, Indian Wells and Miami so I hope I will do well, get extra points and move up in the rankings.”

I remain on my feet applauding wildly.

Bravo, Mister Ferrero.

Other champions this weekend include:

France's Michael Llodra holds his trophy after winning against  compatriot Julien Benneteau at their men's final match at the Marseille  Open ATP tennis tournament February 21, 2010.
Reuters

Micheal Llodra holds aloft the Open 13 trophy after dismissing compatriot Julien Benneateau in the final. Afterward, he and his vanquished foe won the doubles title.

Sam Querrey of the U.S. lifts the trophy after winning the  Memphis  Open tennis tournament at the Racquet Club of Memphis in Memphis,  Tennessee February 21, 2010.
Reuters

Sam Querrey holds aloft the Regions Morgan Tennis Championships trophy after dismissing compatriot John Isner in the final. Afterward, he and his vanquished foe won the doubles title.

Is there an echo in here?

Still can't believe Isner, up 5-2 in the second set tiebreak, choked so badly. Well, yes I can. The top American male players could all benefit from an injection of mental fortitude.

Maria Sharapova of Russia holds the trophy after beating Sofia  Arvidsson of Sweden at their final match to win the Memphis Open tennis  tournament at the Racquet Club of Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee February  20, 2010.
Reuters

If you go to Memphis instead of Dubai, which I really have no issue with, you better win. Maria Sharapova routed Swedish qualifier Sofia Arvidsson 6-2, 6-1 to take the Regions Morgan Tennis Championships crown yesterday.

Is yellow the official color of the WTA this year?

All-Country Finals

Already today, Michael Llodra defeated Julien Benneateau in the All-French final at the Open 13 in Marseille.

Later today, David Ferrer will face off against Juan Carlos Ferrero in the All-Spanish final at the Copa Telmex in Buenos Aires.

And Sam Querrey will take the court against John Isner in the All-American final at the Region Morgan's Keenan Championships in Memphis for the "next big thing in American tennis" bragging rights.

Who you got?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Venus Defends Dubai

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - FEBRUARY 20:  Venus Williams of the  USA poses with her winners trophy after her final match against Victoria  Azarenka of Belarus during day seven of the WTA Barclays Dubai Tennis  Championships at the Dubai Tennis Stadium on February 20, 2010 in Dubai,  United Arab Emirates.
Getty

But I don't.

Look. I couldn't bring myself to watch a single point. Won't watch one next week either. As Venus Williams might say, I'm not trying to be down with Dubai. Shahar Pe'er gets her previously denied visa to enter the country and perform, but even when she plays the defending champ -- the defending champ, the kind of defending champ that gives this kind of event serious stature in tennis -- she's relegated to an outer court? Which means the stature-giving defending champ is relegated to an outer court also.

That's some straight-up bullshit.

Hey, Venus. Why you still so down with Dubai?

I don't care how much the players on both tours like the event, it simply shouldn't exist and I wish it didn't.

But it does, so....

I give it lip when it crowns a champion.

Oy.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Face Of The Day

Carlos Moya of Spain returns the ball to Horacio Zeballos of Argentina during their tennis match at the ATP Buenos Aires Open, February 18, 2010.
Reuters

Carlos Moya of Spain returns the ball to Horacio Zeballos of Argentina during their tennis match at the ATP Buenos Aires Open, February 18, 2010.

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Regions Morgan Keenan Championships

Men's Singles - Second Round
[1] A Roddick (USA) d Y Lu (TPE) 76(2) 64
[5] T Berdych (CZE) d M Russell (USA) 36 63 62
[8] S Querrey (USA) d L Mayer (ARG) 64 60
I Karlovic (CRO) d X Malisse (BEL) 64 64
L Lacko (SVK) d J Chardy (FRA) 76(4) 21 Retired (stomach illness)

Men's Doubles - Quarterfinals
[2] M Fish (USA) / M Knowles (BAH) d S Huss (AUS) / J Levinsky (CZE) 46 63 10-4
[WC] S Lipsky (USA) / D Martin (USA) d E Butorac (USA) / R Ram (USA) 46 76(5) 10-7
R Hutchins (GBR) / J Kerr (AUS) d M Kohlmann (GER) / J Nieminen (FIN) 62 64
J Isner (USA) / S Querrey (USA) d L Mayer (ARG) / D Sela (ISR) 76(6) 64

Women's Singles - Quarterfinals
(1) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (8) Elena Baltacha (GBR) 62 75
(Q) Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) d. (2) Melanie Oudin (USA) 61 63
(5) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. (3) Kaia Kanepi (EST) 16 63 76(0)
Anne Keothavong (GBR) d. Karolina Sprem (CRO) 64 63

Women's Doubles - Quarterfinals
(2) Niculescu/Zalameda (ROU/USA) d. Barrois/Woerle (GER/GER) 75 46 10-8
Oudin/Perry (USA/USA) d. Cohen-Aloro/Kucova (FRA/SVK) 62 63
Mattek-Sands/Shaughnessy (USA/USA) d. Fedossova/Lykina (FRA/RUS) 63 60

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Copa Telmex

Singles - Quarterfinals
[5] A Montanes (ESP) d D Nalbandian (ARG) walkover (right abductor)

Singles - Second Round
[1] D Ferrer (ESP) d F Gil (POR) 63 60
[4] J Monaco (ARG) d J Chela (ARG) 76(3) 46 62
[6] I Andreev (RUS) d M Granollers (ESP) 36 63 64
[8] H Zeballos (ARG) d [WC] C Moya (ESP) 64 64

Doubles - Quarterfinals

S Greul (GER) / P Luczak (AUS) d [1] P Cuevas (URU) / M Granollers (ESP) 63 64
D Ferrer (ESP) / R Ramirez Hidalgo (ESP) d I Andreev (RUS) / D Gimeno-Traver (ESP) 62 75
N Almagro (ESP) / S Ventura (ESP) d D Koellerer (AUT) / O Marach (AUT) 57 61 10-7

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XVIII Copa BBVA Colsanitas

Singles - Second Round
(7) Klara Zakopalova (CZE) d. Mariya Koryttseva (UKR) 16 63 64
Pauline Parmentier (FRA) d. (WC) Catalina Castaño (COL) 62 64
Mariana Duque Marino (COL) d. (Q) Kristina Antoniychuk (UKR) 76(3) 76(10)

Doubles - Quarterfinals

(1) Koryttseva/Pelletier (UKR/CAN) d. (WC) Botto/Duque Marino (PER/COL) 64 62
(2) Dulko/Gallovits (ARG/ROU) d. Hercog/Parmentier (SLO/FRA) 76(5) 64
Savchuk/Yakimova (UKR/BLR) d. (4) Fichman/Washington (CAN/USA) 62 67(5) 10-7

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Open 13

Singles - Second Round
[1] R Soderling (SWE) d S Stakhovsky (UKR) 67(5) 63 64
[3] G Monfils (FRA) d A Seppi (ITA) 76(4) 36 76(3)
[WC] G Rufin (FRA) d [Q] Y Mertens (BEL) 63 26 62
[LL] I Marchenko (UKR) d O Rochus (BEL) 61 36 62

Doubles - Quarterfinals
[1] J Knowle (AUT) / R Lindstedt (SWE) d S Ratiwatana (THA) / S Ratiwatana (THA) 64 76(9)
R Bopanna (IND) / J Coetzee (RSA) d [3] M Lopez (ESP) / T Robredo (ESP) 46 61 21-19

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Face Of The Day

James Blake wins a difficult point against Andy Roddick during their match at the Regions Morgan Keegan Championship tennis tournament in Memphis, Tenn. , Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2010. Roddick defeated Blake 6-3, 4-6, 7-6.
AP

James Blake wins a difficult point against Andy Roddick during their match at the Regions Morgan Keegan Championship tennis tournament in Memphis, Tennessee, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2010. Roddick squeaked by.

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Singles - Second Round
E Gulbis (LAT) d [3] R Stepanek (CZE) 76(5) 75
[6] J Isner (USA) d J Nieminen (FIN) 67(3) 64 64
P Petzschner (GER) d E Korolev (KAZ) 76(5) 76(5)

Singles - First Round
[1] A Roddick (USA) d J Blake (USA) 63 46 76(3)
X Malisse (BEL) d [4] T Haas (GER) 64 36 64
[8] S Querrey (USA) d R Ram (USA) 62 63
L Mayer (ARG) d M Fish (USA) 64 60

Doubles - First Round
[WC] S Lipsky (USA) / D Martin (USA) d B Becker (GER) / J Chardy (FRA) 75 62

Women's Singles - Second Round
(1) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (WC) Bethanie Mattek-Sands 61 61
(2) Melanie Oudin (USA) d. Lilia Osterloh (USA) 62 61
(3) Kaia Kanepi (EST) d. (WC) Nicole Vaidisova (CZE) 46 61 63
(5) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. Michaella Krajicek (NED) 64 75
(Q) Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) d. (7) Vania King (USA) 36 64 62
(8) Elena Baltacha (GBR) d. (Q) Valérie Tétreault (CAN) 64 64
Karolina Sprem (CRO) d. (WC) Ajla Tomljanovic (CRO) 36 62 60
Anne Keothavong (GBR) d. Michelle Larcher de Brito (POR) 63 61

I see Miss 100% is building her confidence in the minor leagues. This could be a good thing for her game.

Doubles - Quarterfinals
(3) King/Krajicek (USA/NED) d. Daniilidou/Woehr (GRE/GER) 64 76(3)

Women's Doubles - First Round
(2) Niculescu/Zalameda (ROU/USA) d. Glatch/Haynes (USA/USA) 16 64 10-6
Oudin/Perry (USA/USA) d. Domachowska/Keothavong (POL/GBR) 63 64

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Sopa Telmex

Singles - Second Round
[2] J Ferrero (ESP) d M Daniel (BRA) 62 64
[5] A Montanes (ESP) d [Q] P Andujar (ESP) 63 62
[Q] S Ventura (ESP) d [7] V Hanescu (ROU) 64 76(10)
D Nalbandian (ARG) d D Gimeno-Traver (ESP) 67(5) 64 76(7)

Will Ferrero go two in a row?

Doubles - First Round
[1] P Cuevas (URU) / M Granollers (ESP) d R Gasquet (FRA) / M Vassallo Arguello (ARG) 57 64 10-4
D Koellerer (AUT) / O Marach (AUT) d [2] A Sa (BRA) / H Tecau (ROU) 61 64
D Ferrer (ESP) / R Ramirez Hidalgo (ESP) d [3] L Friedl (CZE) / D Skoch (CZE) 57 62 10-6
S Greul (GER) / P Luczak (AUS) d F Gil (POR) / E Schwank (ARG) 64 61
N Almagro (ESP) / S Ventura (ESP) d F Fognini (ITA) / P Starace (ITA) 57 62 10-3

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XVIII COPA BBVA Colsanitas

Singles - Second Round
(1) Gisela Dulko (ARG) d. Edina Gallovits (ROU) 62 75
(3) Sara Errani (ITA) d. Sílvia Soler Espinosa (ESP) 63 61
(5) Angelique Kerber (GER) d. Rossana de los Ríos (PAR) 76(2) 64
(6) Sandra Zahlavova (CZE) d. Petra Cetkovska (CZE) 62 62
(8) Arantxa Parra Santonja (ESP) d. Patricia Mayr (AUT) 57 76(5) 64

Doubles - Quarterfinals
(3) Domínguez Lino/Parra Santonja (ESP/ESP) d. Bratchikova/Thorpe (RUS/FRA) 63 63

Doubles - First Round
(2) Dulko/Gallovits (ARG/ROU) d. Castaño/Jidkova (COL/RUS) 62 64
(WC) Botto/Duque Marino (PER/COL) d. Cetkovska/Zakopalova (CZE/CZE) 63 76(4)
Savchuk/Yakimova (UKR/BLR) d. Cabeza Candela/Dentoni (ESP/ITA) 64 63
Hercog/Parmentier (SLO/FRA) d. Mayr/Zec Peskiric (AUT/SLO) w/o (Mayr: right elbow injury)

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Open 13

Singles - Second Round
[2] J Tsonga (FRA) d [LL] J Ouanna (FRA) 76(9) 64
M Zverev (GER) d [4] T Robredo (ESP) 62 36 61
M Llodra (FRA) d [7] M Baghdatis (CYP) 76(6) 64
[8] J Benneteau (FRA) d F Serra (FRA) 64 64

I was wondering where Ouanna has been since last year's Roland Garros. Must have been some first set.

First Round
[Q] Y Mertens (BEL) d J Hajek (CZE) 76(8) 61
[WC] G Rufin (FRA) d [LL] L Recouderc (FRA) 75 46 76(2)

*[LL] L Recouderc (FRA) replaced M. Youzhny (RUS) - right hip

Doubles - Quarterfinals
[2] J Benneteau (FRA) / M Llodra (FRA) d S Stakhovsky (UKR) / R Wassen (NED) 62 62
A Clement (FRA) / N Mahut (FRA) d R de Voest (RSA) / A Qureshi (PAK) 63 75

First Round
R Bopanna (IND) / J Coetzee (RSA) d C Rochus (BEL) / O Rochus (BEL) 62 61

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

ATP World Tour Awards Announced

I'm way late with this news as I've already been planting in my greenhouse. Spring is coming early to Maine this year and I've got to be ready.

As expected, Roger Federer and the doubles pair of Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan received top honors while John Isner picked up most improved player and MaliVai Washington was named Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year for his charity work for underprivileged children in Florida. Not a bad day for fans of American tennis.

View complete awards.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Face Of The Day

Melanie Oudin of the U.S. returns a shot against compatriot Alexa Glatch during their tennis match at the Memphis Championships February 16, 2010.
Reuters

Melanie Oudin of the U.S. returns a shot against compatriot Alexa Glatch during their tennis match at the Memphis Championships February 16, 2010.

Regions Morgan Keegan Championships

Singles - First Round
J Chardy (FRA) d [2] F Verdasco (ESP) 76(4) 63
[5] T Berdych (CZE) d [Q] R Sweeting (USA) 62 61
E Korolev (KAZ) d [7] P Kohlschreiber (GER) 75 75
L Lacko (SVK) d [WC] B Reynolds (USA) 26 76(6) 64
E Gulbis (LAT) d [Q] R Kendrick (USA) 64 64
I Karlovic (CRO) d B Becker (GER) 76(6) 76(4)
M Russell (USA) d [WC] W Odesnik (USA) 06 75 64
J Nieminen (FIN) d D Sela (ISR) 62 75
Y Lu (TPE) d [WC] R Ginepri (USA) 46 64 64

Doubles - First Round
E Butorac (USA) / R Ram (USA) d [1] M Bhupathi (IND) / M Mirnyi (BLR) 64 64
[2] M Fish (USA) / M Knowles (BAH) d J Brunstrom (SWE) / J Rojer (AHO) 67(6) 76(5) 13-11
J Isner (USA) / S Querrey (USA) d [3] M Melo (BRA) / B Soares (BRA) 75 46 10-8
S Huss (AUS) / J Levinsky (CZE) d [WC] J Blake (USA) / B Reynolds (USA) 64 64
L Mayer (ARG) / D Sela (ISR) d [Alt.] R Ginepri (USA) / T Rettenamaier (USA) 64 75
M Kohlmann (GER) / J Nieminen (FIN) d I Karlovic (CRO) / D Vemic (SRB) 75 64

*[Alt.] R Ginepri (USA) / T Rettenamaier (USA) replaces P Kohlschreiber (GER) / P Petzschner (GER) - Kohlschreiber (right shoulder)

Women´s Singles - First Round
(2) Melanie Oudin (USA) d. (Q) Alexa Glatch (USA) 62 62
Karolina Sprem (CRO) d. (4) Lucie Hradecka (CZE) 64 64
(8) Elena Baltacha (GBR) d. Renata Voracova (CZE) 75 61
Lilia Osterloh (USA) d. Stéphanie Dubois (CAN) 36 64 64
(WC) Nicole Vaidisova (CZE) d. Laura Granville (USA) 64 62

Women´s Doubles - First Round
Mattek-Sands/Shaughnessy (USA/USA) d. Beltrame/Hradecka (FRA/CZE) 62 75
Daniilidou/Woehr (GRE/GER) d. (WC) Rus/Vaidisova (NED/CZE) 63 61
Barrois/Woerle (GER/GER) d. Granville/Osterloh (USA/USA) 76(5) 64

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XVIII Cops BBVA Colsanitas

Singles - First Round
(1) Gisela Dulko (ARG) d. Mathilde Johansson (FRA) 64 64
(Q) Kristina Antoniychuk (UKR) d. (2) Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) 61 64
(WC) Catalina Castaño (COL) d. (4) Polona Hercog (SLO) 75 62
(7) Klara Zakopalova (CZE) d. Lauren Albanese (USA) 46 76(2) 61
Rossana de los Ríos (PAR) d. Masa Zec Peskiric (SLO) 64 61
Patricia Mayr (AUT) d. (WC) Paula Zabala (COL) 61 63
Pauline Parmentier d. (Q) Corinna Dentoni (ITA) 63 62
Mariya Koryttseva (UKR) d. (Q) Laura Pous Tio (ESP) 63 16 61
Mariana Duque Marino (COL) d. (Q) Greta Arn (HUN) 26 60 63
Sílvia Soler Espinosa (ESP) d. Lenka Wienerova (SVK) 36 64 62

Doubles - First Round
(3) Domínguez Lino/Parra Santonja (ESP/ESP) d. Albanese/Kerber (USA/GER) 64 62
(4) Fichman/Washington (CAN/USA) d. (WC) Frantova/Ramírez Rivera (SVK/COL) 61 61

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Open 13

Singles - First Round
O Rochus (BEL) d [5] G Simon (FRA) 75 62
[8] J Benneteau (FRA) d [Q] S Bohli (SUI) 76(5) 76(3)
S Stakhovsky (UKR) d S Bolelli (ITA) 63 36 64
M Llodra (FRA) d [Q] E Roger-Vasselin (FRA) 67(5) 63 64
A Seppi (ITA) d A Clement (FRA) 76(2) 75
[LL] I Marchenko (UKR) d [Q] R Bemelmans (BEL) 46 63 62
*[LL] J Ouanna (FRA) d D Istomin (UZB) 64 16 63

*[LL] J Ouanna (FRA) replaces C Rochus (BEL) - lower back

Doubles - First Round
[1] J Knowle (AUT) / R Lindstedt (SWE) d T Ascione (FRA) / M Baghdatis (CYP) 64 76(3)
R de Voest (RSA) / A Qureshi (PAK) d [WC] P Mamata (FRA) / G Monfils (FRA) 61 64
S Ratiwatana (THA) / S Ratiwatana (THA) d D Guez (FRA) / F Serra (FRA) 46 62 10-8
S Stakhovsky (UKR) / R Wassen (NED) d [WC] J Ouanna (FRA) / E Roger-Vasselin (FRA) 63 64

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Copa Telmex

Singles - First Round
[1] D Ferrer (ESP) d S Greul (GER) 62 76(3)
[2] J Ferrero (ESP) d R Mello (BRA) 61 62
[4] J Monaco (ARG) d L Kubot (POL) 64 76(1)
[5] A Montanes (ESP) d P Cuevas (URU) 62 62
[6] I Andreev (RUS) d F Fognini (ITA) 75 76(4)
[8] H Zeballos (ARG) d [WC] G Gaudio (ARG) 63 36 63
[WC] C Moya (ESP) d [Q] F Volandri (ITA) 62 75
J Chela (ARG) d R Gasquet (FRA) 76(3) 75
D Nalbandian (ARG) d P Starace (ITA) 62 76(2)
[Q] P Andujar (ESP) d O Hernandez (ESP) 64 61
M Daniel (BRA) d P Lorenzi (ITA) 61 63
[Q] S Ventura (ESP) d D Koellerer (AUT) 64 62
M Granollers (ESP) d [Q] D Junqueira (ARG) 61 62

Doubles - First Round
[4] S Prieto (ARG) / H Zeballos (ARG) d M Daniel (BRA) / P Lorenzi (ITA) 76(4) 60
I Andreev (RUS) / D Gimeno-Traver (ESP) d [WC] J Brzezicki (ARG) / J Chela (ARG) 64 64

Quote For The Day

“Some people have that drive more than others who’ve been number one. Rafa doesn’t seem like he cares as much for number one, or he doesn’t show it.”--Roger Federer

(Thanks, Savannah)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Champions On Four Continents

ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - FEBRUARY 14:  Robin Soderling of Sweden celebrates with the trophy after Mikhail Youhzny of Russia retires early with an injury in the final during day seven of the ABN AMBRO World Tennis Tournament on February 14, 2010 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Getty

Woke up too late to watch the Rotterdam final. Tried to watch the replay, even though I knew the result. Couldn't do it. I hate when finals end in retirement. Robin Söderling defeated Mikhail Youzhny 6-4, 2-0. Hamstring, I think.

Elena Dementieva of Russia holds the trophy after defeating Czech Republic's Lucie Safarova during the Paris Open tennis tournament at the Coubertin stadium in Paris February 14, 2010.
Reuters

Elena Dementieva finally wins Paris Indoors. Lucie Safarova can't seem to get over the hump. Second time to the final, second time she takes the first set against a higher-ranked Russian opponent, second time she finishes runner-up. 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-4.

In this photo released  by the Brazilian Tennis Confederation, Spain's Juan Carlos Ferrero, holding up the trophy, celebrates at the end of the Brazil Open ATP tournament tennis final match against Poland's  Lukasz Kubot, unseen, in Costa do Sauipe, Brazil, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2010.
AP

Lukasz Kubot was a bit overwhelmed and couldn't exactly get out of his own way. But Juan Carlos Fererro was otherworldly to take the Brasil Open title. He is a Roland Garros champion, after all. And when he's clicking on clay, it's some clicky classy stuff. Not to mention crushing. Yeah. I know. But I couldn't resist.

The Spaniard lost a single game. 6-1, 6-0. Crushing.

Happy belated 30th birthday, JC.

Russia's Vera Zvonareva holds the trophy after her victory over Thailand's Tamarine Tanasugarn in their final match at the WTA Tour PTT Pattaya Women's Open tennis tournament February 14, 2010.
Reuters

Didn't see a point of the match. Wanted the homegirl to take the title, but I've no problem with Vera Zvonareva beating Tamarine Tanasugarn to win the Pattaya Open in Thailand.

Fernando Verdasco, of Spain, holds up his trophy after beating Andy Roddick 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the finals of the SAP Open tennis tournament Sunday, Feb. 14, 2010, in San Jose, Calif.
AP

I said it before and mean it again: this title was Andy Roddick's to lose. He lost it. Check the stats. They each won 50% of the points, 95 of 190 to be exact. Roddick won slightly higher percentage of serve points and a slightly higher percentage of return points had a higher first-serve percentage, and saved a slightly higher percentage of break points against serve.

But stats don't always tell the tale especially when a match is so close.

Wanna know when Roddick lost the match?

Second set, third game 15-40 on serve. Had been facing down triple break point before saving one with aggressive tennis. At 15-40, though, Roddick constructed a point and blasted a forehand so hard, it pulled Verdasco so far to his forehand he had to stretch, open his racquet face, and lunge just to get his racquet on the ball. He did. It floated. Roddick, waiting, waiting, waiting, oh, so, patiently on the baseline for the floating ball to land, pushed it inside out crosscourt with his forehand. This time, Verdasco had no trouble planting his feet and stricking a forehand crosscourt that landed short enough for Roddick to angle a two fisted backhand right back to Verdasco who, waiting expectantly, struck a forehand down the line to break serve.

Game, set, match.

Really. Cuz after that, Roddick reminded Verdasco just how vulnerable he's been since Wimbledon 2009. And when you smell blood....

Roddick, down break points in the final two sets, played tentatively and lost. Verdasco, on the other hand, stepped up and crushed the ball when facing break points in the second set, faced no break points in the final set -- he was, after all, under no pressure, the smell of blood intensifying -- and won.

Or, to put it another way, Roddick broke serve twice in 9 games and won a set. Verdasco broke serve twice in 20 and won the match. 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Go figure.

And to think Roddick was a set away from giving the USA a clean sleep in San José, Mardy Fish and Sam Querrey taking the doubles title earlier.

The broadcast director, whenever Brooklyn Decker Roddick was on the screen, kept asking the graphic designer to draw a heart around her head. You know. Valentine's Day. But the heart always looked like the cloud containing the dialogue above a comic strip character. In her heart, she seemed to say, "This is how I have to spend Valentine's Day? You better win, honey.... Yes!.... Wait.... You.... What?!!!.... Awwwwwwwwww.... crap.... Humph.... No nooky for you tonight, buddy."

The Spanish Armada carries on.

Happy Valentine's Day



SAP Open

Singles - Semifinals
[1] A Roddick (USA) d [7] S Querrey (USA) 26 76(5) 76(4)
[2] F Verdasco (ESP) d D Istomin (UZB) 63 26 64

Doubles - Semifinals

M Fish (USA) / S Querrey (USA) d [2] E Butorac (USA) / R Ram (USA) 76(5) 64
B Becker (GER) / L Mayer (ARG) d D Istomin (UZB) / D Sela (ISR) 61 76(4)

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ABM AMRO World Tennis Championships

Singles - Semifinals
[6] M Youzhny (RUS) d [1] N Djokovic (SRB) 76(5) 76(6)
[3] [WC] R Soderling (SWE) d [2] N Davydenko (RUS) 76(3) 64

Doubles - Semifinals
[1] D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) d J Knowle (AUT) / R Lindstedt (SWE) 75 76(6)
S Aspelin (SWE) / P Hanley (AUS) d [2] F Cermak (CZE) / M Mertinak (SVK) 36 63 10-8

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Brasil Open

Singles - Semifinals
[1] J Ferrero (ESP) d [WC] R Mello (BRA) 64 62
L Kubot (POL) d [4] I Andreev (RUS) 26 62 64

Doubles - Semifinals
[1] L Kubot (POL) / O Marach (AUT) d T Bellucci (BRA) / M Daniel (BRA) 62 75

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Open GDF Suez

Singles - Semifinals
(1) Elena Dementieva (RUS) d. Melanie Oudin (USA) 46 63 63
Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. (2/WC) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 46 63 64

Doubles - Semifinals
(1) Black/Huber (ZIM/USA) d. (3) Jans/Rosolska (POL/POL) 63 63

Roger Federer Visits Ethiopia







For Federer, this week’s visit to Ethiopia was one that moved him to tears. “When I arrived at the school and all of the children were singing, it was very emotional,” Federer told Reuters. “They sang, `Roger, our Father’ to me. I didn’t really understand it at the beginning but I still had tears in my eyes.” Federer was taking some time out to visit Ethiopia – one of the countries his charitable organisation works in. The Roger Federer Foundation, founded in 2003, spends $1 million a year on education in Ethiopia, South Africa, Tanzania, Mali, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

Mother’s inspiration: “My Mum being from South Africa is obviously the inspiration behind the foundation,” Federer said, as local kids screamed `Number one!’ behind him. Eating a lunch of traditional injera – a sort of spongy pancake – with the students at one of two schools he pays for in the country, Federer was peppered with questions. Most of the children wanted to know if he had any of his own.


Roger Federer Ethiopia2 PHOTOS: ROGER FEDERER VISITS ETHIOPIA *UPDATED*



(Thanks, rabbit)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Face Of The Day

Brazilian former tennis player Gustavo Kuerten, known as Guga, holds up the Cross of Sporting Merit after being decorated by Brazil's Sports Minister Orlando Silva, not seen,  in Brasilia, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010.
AP

Brazilian former tennis player Gustavo Kuerten, known as Guga, holds up the Cross of Sporting Merit after being decorated by Brazil's Sports Minister Orlando Silva, not seen, in Brasilia, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010.

Open GDP Suez

Singles - Quarterfinals
(1) Elena Dementieva (RUS) d. Andrea Petkovic (GER) 36 64 62
(2/WC) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) d. Tathiana Garbin (ITA) 61 63
Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. (6) Shahar Peer (ISR) 63 60
Melanie Oudin (USA) d. Agnes Szavay (HUN) 26 64 62

Doubles - Semifinals
(2) Benesova/Zahlavova Strycova (CZE/CZE) d. Govortsova/Poutchek (BLR/BLR) 63 63

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Brasil Open

Singles - Quarterfinals
[1] J Ferrero (ESP) d [Q] C Berlocq (ARG) 63 62
[WC] R Mello (BRA) d [3] T Bellucci (BRA) 63 76(3)
[4] I Andreev (RUS) d [6] P Cuevas (URU) 61 61
L Kubot (POL) d F Fognini (ITA) 63 61

Singles - Second Round
L Kubot (POL) d [2] A Montanes (ESP) 62 62
[3] T Bellucci (BRA) d D Gimeno-Traver (ESP) 64 62
[WC] R Mello (BRA) d [5] V Hanescu (ROU) 75 63
F Fognini (ITA) d M Granollers (ESP) 06 61 76(1)

Doubles - Semifinals
[2] P Cuevas (URU) / M Granollers (ESP) d J Chela (ARG) / S Ventura (ESP) 61 76(6)

Doubles Quarterfinals
[1] L Kubot (POL) / O Marach (AUT) d L Friedl (CZE) / D Skoch (CZE) 63 61

::

SAP Open

Singles - Quarterfinals
[1] A Roddick (USA) d [5] T Berdych (CZE) 76(5) 76(5)
[2] F Verdasco (ESP) d [Q] R Berankis (LTU) 63 76(5)
D Istomin (UZB) d [6] P Kohlschreiber (GER) 61 16 63
[7] S Querrey (USA) d M Russell (USA) 64 63

Doubles - Quarterfinals
[2] E Butorac (USA) / R Ram (USA) d C Ball (AUS) / S Huss (AUS) 76(3) 67(8) 10-5

ABM AMRO World Tennis Championships

Singles - Quarterfinals
[2] N Davydenko (RUS) d J Melzer (AUT) 63 62
[3] [WC] R Soderling (SWE) d J Benneteau (FRA) 60 61
[6] M Youzhny (RUS) d [4] G Monfils (FRA) 57 62 63

Doubles - Quarterfinals
[2] F Cermak (CZE) / M Mertinak (SVK) d M Llodra (FRA) / A Ram (ISR) 64 76(6)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Face Of The Day

Amelie Mauresmo, French tennis champion, weeps during a tribute to her career during Paris Open tennis tournament at the Coubertin stadium in Paris, February 10, 2010.
Reuters

Amélie Mauresmo, French tennis champion, weeps during a tribute to her career during Paris Open tennis tournament at the Coubertin stadium in Paris, February 10, 2010.

French tennis champion Amelie Mauresmo (C) smiles as she is surrounded by family and friends after a tribute to her career during Paris Open tennis tournament at the Coubertin stadium in Paris, February 10, 2010.
Reuters

Smiling as she is surrounded by her mother and friends after a tribute to her career during Paris Open tennis tournament at the Coubertin stadium in Paris, February 10, 2010.

::

Open GDP Suez

Singles - Second Round
Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. (4) Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 75 62
Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. (5) Aravane Rezai (FRA) 63 36 63

(6) Shahar Peer (ISR) d. (Q) Karolina Sprem (CRO) 64 63
Agnes Szavay (HUN) d. (WC) Petra Martic (CRO) 62 64
Melanie Oudin (USA) d. Patty Schnyder (SUI) 61 63

Doubles - Quarterfinals
(1) Black/Huber (ZIM/USA) d. Peschke/Srebotnik (CZE/SLO) 76(6) 63
(2) Benesova/Zahlavova Strycova (CZE/CZE) d. Dekmeijere/Grandin (LAT/RSA) 64 36 10-7
(3) Jans/Rosolska (POL/POL) d. Bacsinszky/Sfar (SUI/TUN) 63 63

::

ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament

Singles - Second Round
[1] N Djokovic (SRB) d M Chiudinelli (SUI) 64 62
[2] N Davydenko (RUS) d M Baghdatis (CYP) 63 62
[4] G Monfils (FRA) d [WC] T de Bakker (NED) 63 62
[6] M Youzhny (RUS) d [Q] M Ilhan (TUR) 64 64
J Benneteau (FRA) d M Berrer (GER) 64 64
J Melzer (AUT) d A Seppi (ITA) 62 62

Singles - Quarterfinals
[1] N Djokovic (SRB) d F Mayer (GER) w/o (left leg)

Doubles - Quarterfinals
[1] D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) d F Lopez (ESP) / T Robredo (ESP) 63 64
S Aspelin (SWE) / P Hanley (AUS) d [4] C Kas (GER) / D Norman (BEL) 62 76(4)

::

SAP Open

Singles - Second Round
[1] A Roddick (USA) d L Mayer (ARG) 63 62
[2] F Verdasco (ESP) d B Becker (GER) 75 62
[7] S Querrey (USA) d T Dent (USA) 64 64
M Russell (USA) d X Malisse (BEL) 64 75
[Q] R Berankis (LTU) d B Phau (GER) 76(5) 63

::

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Close Enough To Touch







My niece took these today from her box seat. She wrote:

Went to see Djokovic today....he was pretty good I must say. He was sitting in front of me so I took a couple of pics especially for you! He was literally an armlength away from me. Funny guy to watch!

Glad you had fun, Nichtje. Dank je vel voor de foto's.

Face Of The Day

ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - FEBRUARY 10:  Someone in fancy dress runs free on the centre court in the match between Tommy Robredo of Spain and Florian Mayer of Germany during day three of the ABN AMBRO World Tennis Tournament on February 10, 2010 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Getty

Someone in fancy dress runs free on the centre court in the match between Tommy Robredo of Spain and Florian Mayer of Germany during day three of the ABN AMBRO World Tennis Tournament on February 10, 2010 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

::

SAP Open

Singles - Second Round

D Istomin (UZB) d [4] T Haas (GER) 76(3) 62
[5] T Berdych (CZE) d J Nieminen (FIN) 63 62
[6] P Kohlschreiber (GER) d D Sela (ISR) 62 60

Singles - First Round
[1] A Roddick (USA) d [Q] R Deheart (USA) 61 76(1)
[2] F Verdasco (ESP) d Y Lu (TPE) 63 67(6) 63
X Malisse (BEL) d [3] R Stepanek (CZE) 63 64

Doubles - Quarterfinals
B Becker (GER) / L Mayer (ARG) d [1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) 76(6) 63
M Fish (USA) / S Querrey (USA) d [3] J Brunstrom (SWE) / J Rojer (AHO) 76(6) 64

Doubles - First Round
[2] E Butorac (USA) / R Ram (USA) d M Russell (USA) / D Vemic (SRB) 62 64
C Ball (AUS) / S Huss (AUS) d R Bopanna (IND) / J Coetzee (RSA) 61 64

::

ABM AMRO World Tennis Championships

Singles - Second Round
[3] [WC] R Soderling (SWE) d [Q] I Sijsling (NED) 76(6) 62
F Mayer (GER) d [5] T Robredo (ESP) 64 36 63

Singles - First Round
[2] N Davydenko (RUS) d F Lopez (ESP) 64 62
[4] G Monfils (FRA) d O Rochus (BEL) 46 61 62
J Melzer (AUT) d [8] V Troicki (SRB) 63 30 ret. (right arm)
M Berrer (GER) d A Clement (FRA) 76(16) 46 64
M Baghdatis (CYP) d J Blake (USA) 64 62

Doubles - Quarterfinals
J Knowle (AUT) / R Lindstedt (SWE) d [3] M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) 63 46 10-8

Doubles - First Round
S Aspelin (SWE) / P Hanley (AUS) d S Bolelli (ITA) / A Seppi (ITA) 62 63
M Llodra (FRA) / A Ram (ISR) d J Benneteau (FRA) / A Clement (FRA) 67(0) 64 10-4

::

Open GDF Suez

Singles - Second Round
(1) Elena Dementieva (RUS) d. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 64 64
(2/WC) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) d. Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) 76(4) 61
Tathiana Garbin (ITA) d. (8) Elena Vesnina (RUS) 64 26 62

Singles - First Round
(WC) Petra Martic (CRO) d. (3) Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 64 36 75
(5) Aravane Rezai (FRA) d. (Q) Evgeniya Rodina (RUS) 64 64

Doubles - Quarterfinals
Govortsova/Poutchek (BLR/BLR) d. Jurak/Marosi (CRO/HUN) 36 61 11-9

Doubles - First Round
(1) Black/Huber (ZIM/USA) d. (WC) Coin/Cornet (FRA/FRA) 63 63
(2) Benesova/Zahlavova Strycova (CZE/CZE) d. Pavlyuchenkova/Senoglu (RUS/TUR) 62 63
(3) Jans/Rosolska (POL/POL) d. Uhlirova/Voracova (CZE/CZE) 36 64 10-6
Peschke/Srebotnik (CZE/SLO) d. Védy/Zalameda 61 63 (FRA/USA)

::

Brasil Open

Singles - Second Round
[1] J Ferrero (ESP) d N Massu (CHI) 62 57 62
[4] I Andreev (RUS) d [Q] R Machado (POR) 63 57 64
[6] P Cuevas (URU) d F Gil (POR) 75 46 76(3)
[Q] C Berlocq (ARG) d J Chela (ARG) 76(5) 62

Doubles - Quarterfinals
[2] P Cuevas (URU) / M Granollers (ESP) d F Fognini (ITA) / F Gil (POR) 63 64
J Chela (ARG) / S Ventura (ESP) d S Greul (GER) / P Luczak (AUS) 64 36 10-6

Doubles - First Round
[1] L Kubot (POL) / O Marach (AUT) d O Hernandez (ESP) / A Montanes (ESP) 63 64
L Arnold Ker (ARG) / H Zeballos (ARG) d [3] M Melo (BRA) / B Soares (BRA) 76(5) 46 10-6
T Bellucci (BRA) / M Daniel (BRA) d [WC] M Demoliner (BRA) / T Fernandes (BRA) 64 75
L Friedl (CZE) / D Skoch (CZE) d P Lorenzi (ITA) / P Starace (ITA) 64 26 10-6

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Quote For The Day

"By February’s end, after the guarantees have been paid and the results have been totaled up, nothing historic or memorable will have happened. But if it doesn’t mean much for the Nadals and Henins of the world — neither of whom are going to play until March — February isn’t a complete waste. It has already allowed Marin Cilic, who won in Zagreb, to consolidate his Melbourne gains, and given Melanie Oudin, who won two Fed Cup matches this weekend, some much-needed positive energy. It has also, naturally, left Gael Monfils injured again." --Steve Tignor

Face Of The Day

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 20:  Marsel Ilhan of Turkey plays a forehand in his second round match between Fernando Gonzalez of Chile during day three of the 2010 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 20, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia.
Reuters

Marsel Ilhan of Turkey plays a forehand in his second round match between Fernando Gonzalez of Chile during day three of the 2010 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 20, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia.

ABN AMRO World Tennis Championships

Singles - First Round[1] N Djokovic (SRB) d S Stakhovsky (UKR) 62 41 ret. (left knee)
[6] M Youzhny (RUS) d [Q] A Golubev (KAZ) 16 76(0) 76(5)
J Benneteau (FRA) d [7] I Ljubicic (CRO) 63 63
M Chiudinelli (SUI) d M Llodra (FRA) 61 67(5) 76(6)
[WC] T de Bakker (NED) d [LL] J Hajek (CZE) 76(5) 63
[Q] M Ilhan (TUR) d G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) 61 64

Doubles - First Round
[1] D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) d J Tipsarevic (SRB) / V Troicki (SRB) 76(1) 61
[2] F Cermak (CZE) / M Mertinak (SVK) d [WC] J Huta Galung (NED) / I Sijsling (NED) 63 62
[4] C Kas (GER) / D Norman (BEL) d I Ljubicic (CRO) / J Melzer (AUT) 61 76(2)
F Lopez (ESP) / T Robredo (ESP) d M Damm (CZE) / F Polasek (SVK) 64 76(3)

::

SAP Open

Singles - First Round
[4] T Haas (GER) d [WC] D Britton (USA) 64 76(3)
[6] P Kohlschreiber (GER) d R Ram (USA) 67(7) 61 63
[7] S Querrey (USA) d T Gabashvili (RUS) 63 62
B Phau (GER) d [8] J Chardy (FRA) 63 61
M Russell (USA) d *[LL] K Im (KOR) 76(6) 61
[Q] R Berankis (LTU) d R Ginepri (USA) 67(5) 62 63
B Becker (GER) d [Q] T Smyczek (USA) 64 62
*[LL] K Im (KOR) replaced M Fish (USA) - left knee

Doubles - First Round
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) d C Fleming (GBR) / K Skupski (GBR) 62 64
[3] J Brunstrom (SWE) / J Rojer (AHO) d T Berdych (CZE) / P Kohlschreiber (GER) 76(2) 62
B Becker (GER) / L Mayer (ARG) d [WC] S Lipsky (USA) / D Martin (USA) 26 76(6) 12-10
D Istomin (UZB) / D Sela (ISR) d J Chardy (FRA) / J Nieminen (FIN) 63 36 10-8

::

Brasil Open

Singles - First Round
[1] J Ferrero (ESP) d E Schwank (ARG) 76(4) 63
[3] T Bellucci (BRA) d [WC] T Alves (BRA) 62 75
[4] I Andreev (RUS) d P Starace (ITA) 62 62
[5] V Hanescu (ROU) d J Souza (BRA) 76(5) 64
[6] P Cuevas (URU) d [Q] F Volandri (ITA) 64 63
M Granollers (ESP) d [7] H Zeballos (ARG) 75 30 ret. (left hip)
N Massu (CHI) d [Q] R Dutra Da Silva (BRA) 64 36 64
J Chela (ARG) d P Luczak (AUS) 67(4) 63 64
[Q] C Berlocq (ARG) d [WC] R Hocevar (BRA) 75 63
F Gil (POR) d [LL] P Andujar (ESP) 76(9) 62
[Q] R Machado (POR) d M Daniel (BRA) 63 76(3)
F Fognini (ITA) d M Vassallo Arguello (ARG) 64 60
L Kubot (POL) d O Hernandez (ESP) 75 76(2)

Doubles - First Round
J Chela (ARG) / S Ventura (ESP) d [4] A Sa (BRA) / H Tecau (ROU) 75 61
S Greul (GER) / P Luczak (AUS) d [WC] F Ferreiro (BRA) / R Mello (BRA) 75 26 11-9

::

Open GDF Suez

Singles - First Round
(4) Francesca Schiavone (ITA) d. (Q) Vesna Manasieva (RUS) 60 60
(6) Shahar Peer (ISR) d. Alizé Cornet (FRA) 64 61
Patty Schnyder (SUI) d. (7) Virginie Razzano (FRA) 63 76(3)
Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) d. (WC) Julie Coin (FRA) 75 64
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d. Iveta Benesova (CZE) 61 60
Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. Tamira Paszek (AUT) 60 63
Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. Katarina Srebotnik (SLO) 75 62
Melanie Oudin (USA) d. Sorana Cirstea (ROU) 63 60
Tathiana Garbin (ITA) d. (Q) Ioana Raluca Olaru (ROU) 36 62 64
(Q) Karolina Sprem (CRO) d. Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) 75 61

Doubles - First Round
Govortsova/Poutchek (BLR/BLR) d. Beygelzimer/Kustova (UKR/BLR) 62 26 10-7

New Comment Platform

I've posted a poll in the sidebar, but thought it would also be a good idea to have an Open Thread about it.

Here, you can tell us what you really think separate from/in addition to voting in the poll.

I'll keep this post on top of the page (or close to it) for a little while.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Withdrawal

ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - FEBRUARY 09:  (R) Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski of Poland on the catwalk during a fashion show during day two of the ABN AMBRO World Tennis Tournament on February 9, 2010 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Reuters

Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski of Poland on the catwalk during a fashion show during day two of the ABN AMBRO World Tennis Tournament on February 9, 2010 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

::

I'm not supposed to have envy, but my niece, who's not even a fan of tennis, got box seats from a friend to attend the ABM AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam. She'll be there tomorrow, while I'll be back in the States trying to enjoy the first tournament of the year in North America at the SAP Open in San Jose. Brazil hosts the second week of regular tennis below the equator, while the women are off in Paris and Pattaya City.

Indoors, outdoors, hard courts and play. A veritable, if not venerable, bowl of stew for the tennis fan to gorge if one's constitution allows.

Can Andy Roddick win back a title he practically owns? Will Melanie Oudin follow up her Fed Cup heroics and finally make some noise at a regular tour event? How will Novak Djokovic make out as the new world No. 2? Will there be a new champion or will another player end a 5-year title drought?

I, for one, am still in Slam withdrawal. I want big stage tennis in the middle of the night, damnit, and I want it now!

I'll get some scores, faces, and quotes up this week as the spirit moves me. And I'm going to try to load a new comment interface. Oy. Wish me luck.

Till then, use this as a catch-all Open Thread.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Champions On Three Continents



Feliciano Lopez defeated first-time finalist Stephen Robert of France 7-5, 6-1 to take the South Africa Open title. It's the Spaniard's first title in five-and-a-half years.



Thomaz Bellucci outlasted Juan Monaco 6-2, 0-6, 6-4 to win the Movistar Open, the first Brazilian in 10 years to do so.



Marin Cilic gutted out a 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3 victory over Michael Berrer to defend the PBZ Zagreb Indoors in his homeland.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Fed Cup Open Thread

From left, United States tennis players Christina McHale, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Melanie Oudin before their Fed Cup World Group first round tennis match in Lievin, northern France, Saturday Feb. 6, 2010.
AP

From left, United States tennis players Christina McHale, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Melanie Oudin before their Fed Cup World Group first round tennis match in Lievin, northern France, Saturday Feb. 6, 2010.

::

FRANCE v USA
Venue: Stade Couvert Regional Lievin, Lievin, FRA (clay – indoors)


France
Alize Cornet
Julie Coin
Pauline Parmentier
Stephanie Cohen-Aloro
Captain: Nicolas Escude

USA
Melanie Oudin
Shenay Perry
Bethanie Mattek-Sands
Liezel Huber
Captain: Mary Joe Fernandez

UKRAINE v ITALY
Venue: Palace of Sports "Lokomotiv", Kharkiv, UKR (hard – indoors)


Ukraine
Alona Bondarenko
Kateryna Bondarenko
Viktoria Kutuzova
Mariya Koryttseva
Captain: Vlodymyr Bogdanov

Italy
Flavia Pennetta
Francesca Schiavone
Sara Errani
Roberta Vinci
Captain: Corrado Barazzutti

CZECH REPUBLIC v GERMANY
Venue: Brno Exhibition Centre (Hall B), Brno, CZE (hard – indoors)


Czech Republic
Lucie Safarova
Lucie Hradecka
Petra Kvitova
Kveta Peschke
Captain: Petr Pala

Germany
Andrea Petkovic
Anna-Lena Groenefeld
Tatjana Malek
Kristina Barrois
Captain: Barbara Rittner

SERBIA v RUSSIA
Venue: Belgrade Arena, Belgrade, SRB (hard – indoors)


Serbia
Jelena Jankovic
Ana Ivanovic
Bojana Jovanovski
Ana Jovanovic
Captain: Dejan Vranes

Russia
Alisa Kleybanova
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Vera Dushevina
Svetlana Kuznetsova
Captain: Shamil Tarpischev

Friday, February 05, 2010

Quote For The Day

"I planned to return to Beijing quietly and I booked a very early flight. So I was a surprised when I saw the cameras at the airport and doubted they had come to see me at the beginning. It felt different but I won't change. I'm still myself."--Li Na

Monday, February 01, 2010

Australian Open 2010 Awards

by Craig Hickman

The Uluru/Ayers Rock Award
For the player who emerged almost out of nowhere and glowed red at sunset

File:Uluru (Helicopter view)-crop.jpg

Nicolas Almagro for his late-match, red-hot surge against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the fourth round.

The Red Kangaroo Award
For the player who made the biggest leap

http://curiousanimals.net/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/red-2d20kangaroo-2d2c-2d20australia-2dsmall.jpg

Marin Cilic finally jumped over Juan Martín del Potro at a Slam and landed in his first major semifinal. Too bad all his five-setters caught up with him after winning the first set against Andy Murray.

The Twelve Apostles Award
For the player who rose up to produce the most rock solid game amidst the imminent threat of being washed away

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2014/2210995378_c9c83f0a53.jpg

Serena Williams for yet another ledge-end-ary comeback Down Under against Victoria Azarenka in the quarterfinals.

The Koala Award
For the player you just wanted to pick up and hug

http://jazzdad.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/koala.jpg

Zheng Jie after being stampeded by her idol in the semifinals.

The Great Barrier Reef Award
For the player who created the largest tectonic uplift in the draw

http://www.whatson.uk.com/home/cswfkcyv/www/content_image/image/image/news%20november/great%20barrier%20reef.jpg

Nadia Petrova for severely eroding Kim Clijsters in the third round.

The Aboriginal Award
For the veteran player who achieved the most success with his native talents

http://www.aboutaustralia.com/a2it_package/images/travel/Gold_Coast_Aboriginal_Dance_Group_Currumbin.jpg

Roger Federer's movement throughout this fortnight was surprisingly efficient. Wasn't that long ago I thought he'd lost a step. If his training regimen doesn't include some combination of ballet, tango/mambo, waltz, tap or Tai Chi, I'd be shocked.

The Tasmanian Devil Award
For the player who delivered the best nocturnal performance



Jo-Wilfried Tsonga against Tommy Haas in the third round.

The Outback Award
For the wildest match of the fortnight

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/00797/australian-outback_797095c.jpg

Li Na def. Venus Williams 2-6, 7-6(4), 7-5, Quarterfinals

Venus opened as though she'd run through the match like a river. But the last set and a half was one exhausting expanse of barren terrain. How many times did you think it might never end? Arguably the ugliest televised match of the fortnight, it becomes an early frontrunner for worst match of the year.

The Three Dingoes Award
For the players who fell prey to their own hunting

http://ozmagic2.homestead.com/files/DingoesEnlargeWS.jpg

Igor Andreev and Nikolay Davydenko for their gigantic chokes against Roger Federer in the first round and quarterfinals, respectively, and Alisa Kleybanova for her total collapse against Justine Henin.

And for a few of our more traditional awards:

Best Dressed
Lleyton Hewitt and Samantha Stosur, Australia

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 25:  Lleyton Hewitt of Australia plays a forehand in his fourth round match against Roger Federer of Switzerland during day eight of the 2010 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 25, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia.

Australia's Lleyton Hewitt returns a shot against Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne January 23, 2010.
Reuters

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 23:  Samantha Stosur of Australia plays a forehand in her third round match against Alberta Brianti of Italy during day six of the 2010 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 23, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia.
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 23:  Samantha Stosur of Australia celebrates winning a point in her third round match against Alberta Brianti of Italy during day six of the 2010 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 23, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia.
Getty

Best WTA Match
Serena Williams def. Justine Henin 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, Final

Serena Williams of the U.S. shakes hands with Belgium's Justine Henin (L) after winning their women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne January 30, 2010.
Reuters

I didn't realize how riveting was this tug of war between two of the tour's most decorated champions till watching it a second time.

Best ATP Match (Tie)
Juan Martín del Potro def. James Blake 6-4, 6-7(3), 5-7 6-3 10-8, Second Round

Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro and James Blake of the U.S. shake hands at the conclusion of their five-set match at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne January 20, 2010.
Reuters

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga def. Nicolas Almagro, 6-3 6-4 4-6 6-7(6) 9-7, Round of 16

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France (R) and Spain's Nicolas Almagro shakes hands at the conclusion of their match at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne January 25, 2010.
Reuters

Both featured one tiebreak and went into overtime in the fifth set. Both featured surprisingly exquisite performances from the losing warriors. Both could have continued for another hour. The electrifying tennis sticks in my memory like good preaching.

Speaking of preaching.
I need a day of rest.
At least.

See you when I see you.