Thursday, March 31, 2011

Quote For The Day

"Petkovic herself seems to realize that her novelty was wearing off. She said after her win over Wozniacki that she wouldn’t do her post-win Petko-dance anymore. This is a positive development—champs are known for winning, not dancing. But she couldn’t help herself when that last backhand found the line against Jankovic. Good for her. I’m happy she’s not a sideshow anymore, but I wouldn’t want her to lose her sense of fun along her way up the rankings. The WTA needs winners, it needs players with guts, but it needs personalities, too." --Steve Tignor

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Miami Quarterfinals: Sony Ericsson Open Day 9 Open Thread

by Craig Hickman

IMG_0347

Ana Ivanovic arrives at Crandon, Park, March 22, 2011. Photo: JD Blom

http://cowbell.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83423e30253ef014e60317da1970c-pi

Ivanovic in practice yesterday. Photo: Forty Deuce

::

When you're trying to grow your sport, improve your brand, especially if you're the WTA, or more specifically, the sponsor of both the women's tour and the best event in North America, as far as I'm concerned, you would probably go through hell and high water to get a camera on a non-television court to bring viewers what could easily be the best WTA match of the year to date. But no. All we got to see was match point. If we weren't still in Miami, or in Miami at all, we had to watch the entire drama unfold via the scoreboard read the courtside updates of FortyDeuceTwits on her timeline. Such a drama it was, what with Ana Ivanovic losing a 5-1 final-set lead, as well as 5 match points, to fell to defending champion and world No. 2 Kim Clijsters, that Ana and Andrea Petkovic, author of her own upset over No. 7 seed Jelena Jankovic, withdrew from doubles. Ana was reportedly "inconsolable", according to FortyDeuceTwits, so much so that she pulled out of Marbella earlier today citing sore abdominals.

IMG_0494

Kim Clijsters' hands in her interview roundtable, March 22, 2011. Photo: JD Blom

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Later today, Houdini Clijsters, will take the court against Victoria Azarenka, who survived a dogfight of her own to get here.

::

Sony Ericsson, please get with the program. Literally. I want to be more excited about women's tennis but I need to be able to watch the exciting matches. Thank you.

ORDER OF PLAY - WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30, 2011

STADIUM start 11:00 am

J Erlich (ISR) / A Ram (ISR) vs [4] J Melzer (AUT) / P Petzschner (GER)

Not Before 1:00 PM
[9] A Radwanska (POL) vs [3] V Zvonareva (RUS)

Not Before 3:00 PM
[6] D Ferrer (ESP) vs [14] M Fish (USA)

Not Before 7:00 PM
[8] V Azarenka (BLR) vs [2] K Clijsters (BEL)

Not Before 9:00 PM
K Anderson (RSA) vs [2] N Djokovic (SRB)

COURT 2 start 12:00 noon

[3] L Huber (USA) / N Petrova (RUS) vs [WC] S Stephens (USA) / Y Wickmayer (BEL)

[3] M Bhupathi (IND) / L Paes (IND) vs [6] M Llodra (FRA) / N Zimonjic (SRB)

Not Before 3:00 PM
O Marach (AUT) / J Tipsarevic (SRB) vs [7] R Bopanna (IND) / A Qureshi (PAK)

Not Before 4:30 PM
[8] R Lindstedt (SWE) / H Tecau (ROU) vs [2] M Mirnyi (BLR) / D Nestor (CAN)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Miami Men's 16: Sony Ericsson Open 2011 Day 8 Open Thread



All about the serve.

::

ORDER OF PLAY - TUESDAY, MARCH 29, 2011

STADIUM start 11:00 am
[14] M Fish (USA) vs J Del Potro (ARG)

Not Before 12:00 PM
[21] A Dolgopolov (UKR) vs [15] J Tsonga (FRA) 67(2) 64 32 - to finish 67 64 32

Not Before 1:00 PM
[21] A Petkovic (GER) vs [6] J Jankovic (SRB)
[19] A Ivanovic (SRB) vs [2] K Clijsters (BEL) - Round of 16 heldove
[16] V Troicki (SRB) vs [2] N Djokovic (SRB) - Possible Court Change
[1] R Nadal (ESP) vs [21] A Dolgopolov (UKR) or [15] J Tsonga (FRA)

Not Before 7:30 PM
[16] M Sharapova (RUS) vs [26] A Dulgheru (ROU)

Not Before 9:30 PM
[3] R Federer (SUI) vs [Q] O Rochus (BEL)

GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
[6] D Ferrer (ESP) vs M Granollers (ESP)
[30] J Isner (USA) vs K Anderson (RSA)
F Mayer (GER) vs [7] T Berdych (CZE)

Not Before 5:00 PM
J Tipsarevic (SRB) vs [25] G Simon (FRA)

COURT 2 start 12:00 noon
[3] M Bhupathi (IND) / L Paes (IND) vs M Lopez (ESP) / D Marrero (ESP)
D Hantuchova (SVK) / A Radwanska (POL) vs N Llagostera Vives (ESP) / A Parra Santonja (ESP)
X Malisse (BEL) / J Murray (GBR) vs [6] M Llodra (FRA) / N Zimonjic (SRB)
[WC] A Ivanovic (SRB) / A Petkovic (GER) vs S Peer (ISR) / S Peng (CHN)
[1] G Dulko (ARG) / F Pennetta (ITA) vs [8] M Martinez Sanchez (ESP) / A Medina Garrigues (ESP)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Face Of The Day

Crack shot ... Rafael Nadal
Source

Ahem.

(Thanks, lynnlovestennis)

Quote For The Day

"We lived through a decade of Carlos Rodriguez coaching Justine Henin after every single point and nobody called it on them."

--Lindsay Davenport, Tennis Channel commentary during the Maria Sharapova, Samantha Stosur match on Monday, March 28, 2011.

Apparently, Sharapova was called out for on-court coaching from the stands during a previous match in Miami. Davenport seemed to be underscoring a double standard. Or maybe she was simply stating her perception of a widely known "fact."

I put fact in quotations for I remember Carlos and Maria being called out once. But only once. Back in 2004 during Justine's quarterfinal against Svetlana Kuznetsova in Indian Wells. I remember being surprised by the call out, but not by the coaching, which only the blind couldn't see. Those in denial wouldn't admit. Carlos was telling his charge to charge the net more in order to turn around the second set. Sveta was leading 5-4 or 5-3, according to my memory. Justine took her coaching advice and won the last 3 or 4 games to take the match in straights.

Miami Marquee Match Monday: Sony Ericsson Open 2011 Day 7 Open Thread

by Craig Hickman


JD Blom for Tennis Panorama News

Samantha Stosur at the Sony Ericsson Open WTA Roundtable on March 22, 2011 in Key Biscayne, Florida.

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Day 7 at the Sony Ericsson Open features both world No. 1's Rafael Nadal and Caroline Wozniacki, major champions and former world No. 1's Maria Sharapova, on court against Stosur (most engaging player I met in Miami, but more on that some other time) right now, Roger Federer, Ana Ivanovic, Kim Clijsters, and the doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan. Neil Harman tells us storms are in the forecast. Let's hope they blow over.

I, for one, am most interested in Alexandr Dolgopolov vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Happy to see it open the night session on Stadium.

ORDER OF PLAY - MONDAY, MARCH 28, 2011

STADIUM start 11:00 am
[4] S Stosur (AUS) vs [16] M Sharapova (RUS) - WTA
[1] C Wozniacki (DEN) vs [21] A Petkovic (GER) - WTA

Not Before 2:00 PM
[3] R Federer (SUI) vs [32] J Monaco (ARG) - ATP
[1] R Nadal (ESP) vs F Lopez (ESP) - ATP

Not Before 7:30 PM
[21] A Dolgopolov (UKR) vs [15] J Tsonga (FRA) - ATP

Not Before 9:00 PM
[19] A Ivanovic (SRB) vs [2] K Clijsters (BEL) - WTA

GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
C Berlocq (ARG) vs [7] T Berdych (CZE) - ATP
[Q] O Rochus (BEL) vs [13] M Youzhny (RUS) - ATP
A Medina Garrigues (ESP) vs [6] J Jankovic (SRB) - WTA

Not Before 4:30 PM
[5] F Schiavone (ITA) vs [9] A Radwanska (POL) - WTA
[25] G Simon (FRA) vs P Cuevas (URU) - ATP

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
[WC] S Stephens (USA) / Y Wickmayer (BEL) vs [7] B Mattek-Sands (USA) / M Shaughnessy (USA) - WTA
M Mertinak (SVK) / D Norman (BEL) vs [7] R Bopanna (IND) / A Qureshi (PAK) - ATP
[8] R Lindstedt (SWE) / H Tecau (ROU) vs J Isner (USA) / S Querrey (USA) - ATP
S Stakhovsky (UKR) / M Youzhny (RUS) vs [2] M Mirnyi (BLR) / D Nestor (CAN) - ATP
- WTA

COURT 2 start 11:00 am
S Peng (CHN) vs [26] A Dulgheru (ROU) - WTA
P Petzschner (GER) vs J Tipsarevic (SRB) - ATP
[11] N Almagro (ESP) vs F Mayer (GER) - ATP
[15] M Bartoli (FRA) vs [3] V Zvonareva (RUS) - WTA

Not Before 5:00 PM
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) vs O Marach (AUT) / J Tipsarevic (SRB) - ATP

COURT 3 start 3:00 pm
A Kleybanova (RUS) / Z Yan (CHN) vs S Peer (ISR) / S Peng (CHN) - WTA
L Dlouhy (CZE) / P Hanley (AUS) vs [4] J Melzer (AUT) / P Petzschner (GER) - ATP

Sony Ericsson Open Week 1 Review

DSCF3846
JD Blom for Tennis Panorama News

Kourtin' Karen, owner of Tennis Panorama News has posted her highlights of the first week down in hot, hot Miami. She's included some new photo galleries with previously unpublished photos we shot on- and off-site.

I attended one other charity exhibition in the first week that I haven't gotten around to writing about yet.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sony Ericsson Open Day 6 Open Thread

Delpo 23
JD Blom

Juan Martín del Potro changes directions to track down a shot by Ricardo Mello on March 23, 2011.

::

I arrived home safely today and happy to be eating farm fresh eggs and in front of tennis on the tube.

ORDER OF PLAY - SUNDAY, MARCH 27, 2011

STADIUM start 11:00 am

[14] M Fish (USA) vs [17] R Gasquet (FRA) - ATP

Not Before 1:00 PM
[5] F Schiavone (ITA) vs L Dominguez Lino (ESP) - WTA

Not Before 3:00 PM
[27] M Martinez Sanchez (ESP) vs [2] K Clijsters (BEL) - WTA
J del Potro (ARG) vs [4] R Soderling (SWE) - ATP

Not Before 7:30 PM
[8] V Azarenka (BLR) vs [25] D Cibulkova (SVK) - WTA

Not Before 9:30 PM
[WC] J Blake (USA) vs [2] N Djokovic (SRB) - ATP

GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am

K Anderson (RSA) vs P Andujar (ESP) - ATP
[6] D Ferrer (ESP) vs S Devvarman (IND) - ATP
[Q] A Bogomolov Jr. (USA) vs [30] J Isner (USA) - ATP
[28] J Groth (AUS) vs [3] V Zvonareva (RUS) - WTA

Not Before 5:00 PM
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) vs [WC] R Harrison (USA) / J Sock (USA) - ATP

COURT 1 start 10:00 am

[8] R Lindstedt (SWE) / H Tecau (ROU) vs S Aspelin (SWE) / J Knowle (AUT) - ATP

Not Before 11:30 AM
V Razzano (FRA) vs [19] A Ivanovic (SRB) - WTA
[3] M Bhupathi (IND) / L Paes (IND) vs E Butorac (USA) / J Rojer (AHO) - ATP
[6] I Benesova (CZE) / B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) vs [WC] A Ivanovic (SRB) / A Petkovic (GER) - WTA
[17] A Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) vs [12] P Kvitova (CZE) - WTA

COURT 2 start 11:00 am

[15] M Bartoli (FRA) vs E Makarova (RUS) - WTA
[24] M Kirilenko (RUS) vs [9] A Radwanska (POL) - WTA
[23] M Llodra (FRA) vs M Granollers (ESP) - ATP
[16] V Troicki (SRB) vs [19] S Querrey (USA) - ATP

Not Before 6:00 PM
J Chela (ARG) / J Monaco (ARG) vs [6] M Llodra (FRA) / N Zimonjic (SRB) - ATP

Slideshow: Rafael Nadal Practice Session


All photos by JD Blom for Tennis Panorama News

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Slideshow: Roger Federer Practice Session



Roger Federer practices with Andy Murray on March 22. Didn't seem to do Murray a whole lot of good. I'm sure Federer won't have much difficulty with Radek Stepanek later today, though the Czech does enjoy playing the world No. 3.

::

Video of practice session

Friday, March 25, 2011

Tennis Family Unites For Japan Relief


Getty

Miami, FL – Friday evening at the Sony Ericsson Open, the tennis family came together for a special fundraising event for the victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami disaster, dubbed “Tennis for Japan”, featuring the stars of the WTA and the ATP World Tour. Kim Clijsters, Robin Soderling, Vera Zvonareva, and many others, including Japan’s Kei Nishikori, Kimiko Date-Krumm, and Ayumi Morita, walked through the stands of the Stadium Court to collect donations from fans and encouraged the public to show support for the victims. In total, thanks to contributions from the WTA, ATP World Tour, the Grand Slams (Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon, US Open), Sony Ericsson, ITF, IMG, SAP, Itaú, FILA, adidas and Lagardère, and the fans, the evening raised over $300,000 which will be donated to the Red Cross and other relief organizations to aid the victims of the disaster.

“Tennis is a global sport and when a tragedy strikes, the entire tennis community comes together and responds,” said Adam Barrett, Sony Ericsson Open Tournament Director. “I think the fact that the entire tennis family has come together tonight to help raise money for the relief effort makes a powerful statement about the sport, its players, and sponsors.”

“All of us have been deeply touched by the terrible disaster in Japan and I am glad that the tennis family was able to come together to organize this very important event so quickly, giving us the opportunity to raise money for the victims,” said Zvonareva, WTA World No.3. “As tennis players, we travel the world and play in Japan each year, so the disaster has touched all of us on a personal level. I hope that this fundraiser is only a start and the players and the public will continue donating and help the victims in every way possible.”

“It has been horrible to follow what happened in Japan and it is our duty to do as much as we can to raise awareness and funds,” said Soderling, ATP World Tour World No.4. “I am very proud of what the ATP and the rest of the tennis family has done so far and we need to continue to help as much as possible.”

Additionally, numerous players, including Caroline Wozniacki, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic, Ai Sugiyama, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic recorded video messages of hope supporting the victims. Videos will be shown throughout the 2011 Sony Ericsson Open and online on Facebook and both the WTA and the ATP World Tour’s websites.

Sony Ericsson Open’s defending champion and WTA World No.2 Clijsters was wearing a custom-designed FILA shirt, available for purchase at the Sony Ericsson Open. Proceeds from the sales of the shirt will be donated to Japan earthquake relief funds. Players have also been collecting signed tennis memorabilia which will be auctioned to raise funds.

Shortly after the disaster, Nishikori established a Facebook page in partnership with the Red Cross to collect money for Japan’s victims. Fans can visit www.facebook.com/#!/keinishikori and click on the “Japan Disaster Relief” tab in order to help. Nishikori also created an online auction at http://www.aceauthentic.com/keinishikori/main/index.php. Date-Krumm established a Relief Fund account at www.kimiko-date.com/gien/index.html. The WTA tournament in Tokyo, the Toray Pan Pacific Open, is also organizing a charity auction of the WTA players’ signed memorabilia and collectibles which will kick off in April.

On Wednesday night in Miami, many of the ATP World Tour’s top players took part in the ‘Hope Match for Japan’, a charity football match between the ATP World Tour All-Stars and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, a North American Soccer League team. Marcos Baghdatis, voted the team’s most valuable player, and Andy Murray scored goals for the ATP World Tour All-Stars, which was captained by World No. 2 Djokovic. A total of 17 ATP World Tour players took part, including World No.1 Nadal and Nishikori. The charity match, which the Fort Lauderdale Strikers won 4-2, was followed by a gala dinner which raised more than $100,000.

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From Tennis Panorama News

Maria Sharapova Enjoys 'That Latin Flavor'



All Photos by JD Blom for Tennis Panorama News. I've included a lot at the special request of a fan on twitter who wanted to see all aspects of her dress. Best viewed on full screen.

::

Last night, I attended my first-ever night session on Stadium Court at the Sony Ericsson Open. Outside of the Slams, this is among my favorite tournaments. I've always considered it the fifth Slam, even though recently, I've heard Indian Wells referred to as such. What I love about this slam is the high-energy crowds that come out at support Central and South American players. When JD asked me what the biggest tournament in South America actually was, I drew a blank. In my mind, this is it.

Which is why I ought to have gotten out to Court 2 a lot earlier and watched the compelling drama unfold between Paul Capdeville of Chile and Frederico Gil of Portugal. By the time I arrived, the match was at a few points shy of the final set tiebreak, which Capdeville let 4-1 and 6-3, only have the match stolen from him by the tenacious "Fred" (his fans where chanting his name after almost every point) who struck two outrageous passing shots to save two of the four match, deflating the Chilean who was gutted after the match. I shot a video of his interviews after the match to post for fans in Argentina and Spanish speakers who follow him, but unfortunately the footage exceeded the 90 seconds I'm allowed to publish and my editing skills are rudimentary at best.

Back on Stadium Court, Maria Sharapova played her first match in Miami match in three years. After she cruised to victory 6-3, 6-2 over Croatia's Petra Martic, I was the only writer, along with five photographers, who showed up for her news conference. Because it was late and she appeared to be a bit insulted by the empty room, joking that more children showed , I kept my one-on-one with the former No. 1 and face of the WTA succinct.

How are you feeling?

Good. Great.

When was the last time you played in Miami?

Three years ago.

That's what I thought. How does it feel to be back?

Way too long.

Feels really good. This is one of my favorite events. It's crazy that I've missed it this many years because of injuries. So I'm just so happy to get back on that court today and just I love playing in front of the crowd. They're so enthusiastic. They love their sports and have that Latin flavor about them. You know, it's fun.

How is your shoulder?

MS: Doing good. Yeah, stable.

Are you healed?

Healed? Tough to say an athlete is healed, but, yeah, I'm doing really well. Thank you.

You are pretty popular in Asia. Can you talk a little bit about how you felt when you heard about the Japan earthquake?

Yeah, it was a tragedy. You know, you still see all the coverage in the papers and on video. It's crazy to think that something like that could just happen so quickly and destroy so many lives, so many emotions.

Japan is one of my favorite places to visit, to go to. I've had incredible memories ever since I think I was maybe 13, 14 years old my first time I went there. I love so many things about it. I love the people. I love the food. I love the culture. I mean, I have been to so many different parts of it, as well, I've got to experience. I mean, you go to a different town, people live differently. It's so unique there. I draw so much inspiration all my life from there and from those people. It's devastating to know what they're going through. Yeah, but I hope that it doesn't continue and become worse.

Where do you see yourself in the game right now?

Um, you know, I see myself building from what I can. You know, my goal this year is to consistently stay healthy and just really build on you know, last week I got to the semifinals. I was really happy, because I hadn't played a tournament in a while. So just, you know, play a lot more tournaments, you know, play a lot more matches, and I feel like my form will get to where I want it to be when I do that.

::

Cross-posted to Tennis Panorama News

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Video: Roger Federer Practice Session


Video by JD Blom and Craig Hickman

Slideshow: GR8 Friends For Japan Fundraiser

by Craig Hickman


All photos by JD Blom for Tennis Panorama News


From what I hear, it's not often media is invited to sit down for dinner at an event such as this. As another photographer said while cutting through her tender filet mignon, "I fully expect we're going to get kicked out of here shortly." But Natalie Mikolich, the publicity director for the event, made sure the media she invited got to enjoy a delicious three-course dinner featuring:

House Salad of Mesclun wrapped in Shaved Cucumber with Mandarin Oranges, Candied Walnuts, Cherry and Yellow Pear Yomatoes, and Dried Cranberries Drizzled with lemon oil

Surf and Turf featuring Filet Mignon in Red Wine Reduction, Seared Sea Bass, Mashed Potates, and Petite Vegetable Medley with Micro Greens

Chocolate Ganache Coated Three-Layer Cheesecake with Marzipan and Cocoa adorned with Fresh Raspberries

As for the rest of the event, the photos and videos speak for themselves, no?

::

Oh. I forgot to mention the Hors d'œuvres:

Salmon Tartare on Roasted Corn Crackers

Grilled Lamb Skewers

Foie Gras Mousse on Toast Points

Beef Wellington Bites

::

Cross-posted to Tennis Panorama News

For photos from the live tweets, click here.

Videos: GR8 Friends For Japan Fundraiser With Novak Djokovic

by Craig Hickman







ATP World Tour No. 2 Novak Djokovic, Kei Nishikori and other ATP players held a fundraising event on Wednesday, March 23rd to benefit Japan relief efforts.

First Djokovic lead a team of ATP stars in an exhibition soccer match against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers professional soccer team. After the match Djokovic and Nishikori hosted a dinner at the posh JW Marriott Marquis Miami. The $350 per plate exclusive dinner/ after-party featured a silent auction and donations were made to the American Red Cross Japan disaster relief efforts.

The event was hosted by GR8 Miami (www.GR8Miami.com).

::

I shot all these videos. Pardon the shaky hands. I had no tripod. I'll try to write a report that does the forthcoming slideshow of the event justice sometime in the next day or so. It may have to wait till I return home to Maine on Sunday though, as I'm traveling to Boston tomorrow afternoon.

Slideshow: Andy Roddick Practice Session



Defending champion Andy Roddick gets in a good session with compatriot Ryan Harrison on Stadium Court.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Slideshow: Sony Ericsson Open 2011 Children's Day



On Tuesday more than 1,350 children converged at the Sony Ericsson Open for Lindt Kids’ Day. Marcelo Melo, Bruno Soares, Natalie Grandin and Vladka Uhlirova joined the kids on court and offered tennis instruction. The children hailed from Miami-Dade, Broward and Lee counties; and the Hobe Sound area. A host of donors contributed to the event including: Build A Bear Workshop, Chuck E. Cheese, Dave and Busters, Hyatt Regency Miami, Jungle Island, the Miami Dolphins, Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay, Miami Zoo, Publix, TennisKidsZone.com and US Road Sports.

Sony Ericsson Open Day 2 Open Thread

tsonga
JD Blom

Today, men's main draw matches begin with the All-American matchup of veterans Micheal Russell and James Blake as the featured night match.

ORDER OF PLAY - WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2011

STADIUM start 11:00 am

S Arvidsson (SWE) vs B Mattek-Sands (USA) - WTA
N Davydenko (RUS) vs K Anderson (RSA) - ATP
K Date-Krumm (JPN) vs Z Ondraskova (CZE) - WTA
J Del Potro (ARG) vs R Mello (BRA) - ATP

Not Before 7:30 PM
Q J Dokic (AUS) vs [WC] D Safina (RUS) - WTA
Q M Russell (USA) vs [WC] J Blake (USA) - ATP

GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am

G Arn (HUN) vs S Peng (CHN) - WTA
[WC] C Vandeweghe (USA) vs V Lepchenko (USA) - WTA
I Ljubicic (CRO) vs Q P Lorenzi (ITA) - ATP
S Giraldo (COL) vs I Andreev (RUS) - ATP

Not Before 5:00 PM
Q A Yakimova (BLR)vs A Kudryavtseva (RUS) - WTA

COURT 1 start 10:00 am

I Dodig (CRO) vs A Golubev (KAZ) - ATP
[WC] A Tomljanovic (CRO) vs J Hampton (USA) - WTA
X Malisse (BEL) vs Q R Sweeting (USA) - ATP
A Cornet (FRA) vs V Razzano (FRA) - WTA
E Gallovits-Hall (ROU) vs A Kerber (GER) - WTA

COURT 2 start 11:00 am

[WC] B Tomic (AUS) vs P Andujar (ESP) - ATP
G Dulko (ARG) vs E Vesnina (RUS) - WTA
S Devvarman (IND) vs P Starace (ITA) - ATP
Q D Young (USA) vs D Istomin (UZB) - ATP

Not Before 5:00 PM
Q S Stephens (USA) vs B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) - WTA

COURT 3 start 10:00 am

P Hercog (SLO) vs C Scheepers (RSA) - WTA
J Benneteau (FRA) vs D Gimeno-Traver (ESP) - ATP
V Hanescu (ROU) vs Q A Bogomolov Jr. (USA) - ATP
L Dominguez Lino (ESP) vs Q A Rus (NED) - WTA
A Parra Santonja (ESP) vs Q S Mirza (IND) - WTA

COURT 7 start 11:00 am

S Errani (ITA) vs Y Shvedova (KAZ) - WTA
Q K Pervak (RUS) vs A Medina Garrigues (ESP) - WTA
Q S Zhang (CHN) vs A Szavay (HUN) - WTA
Q V Manasieva (RUS) vs T Bacsinszky (SUI) - WTA
Q L Hradecka (CZE) vs Q Y Chan (TPE) - WTA

COURT 8 start 11:00 am

J Nieminen (FIN) vs M Kukushkin (KAZ) - ATP
B Becker (GER) vs M Granollers (ESP) - ATP
T Kamke (GER) vs Qualifier - ATP
Q A Tatishvili (GEO) vs O Govortsova (BLR) - WTA
Q R Kendrick (USA) vs Q I Kunitsyn (RUS) - ATP

Slideshow: On The Red (Blue) Carpet

by Craig Hickman


Photos by JD Blom for Tennis Panorama News. Slideshow best viewed on full screen.


Tuesday night, the players chose their fashion forward best for the "Oscars" of the player party circuit. Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, and Ana Kournikova were the biggest stars of the tennis world in attendance, as well as world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, Fernando Verdasco, and pretty boy Feliciano Lopez, who made one of the photographer's weak-kneed.

Robin Soderling
, along with his girlfriend, were among the first to show up and they were already walking out when we arrived. Tomas Berdych and Lucie Safarova were the last to arrive on the red (blue) carpet. An adorable couple close up, their chemistry was palpable. Tomas has always had the look of an angel and Lucie's baby-doll face was all aglow. I was thrilled to see Anastasia Myskina who arrived with the self-proclaimed "Russian Mob," led by Svetlana Kuznetsova in another one of her head-scratching get ups.

Mixed in with the players were a few actors, a couple professional gamers, some well-known local DJ's, and a few mystery men.

Venus Williams arrived about midway through and when Serena Williams wasn't far behind, it was clear the superstar wasn't coming. Also noticeably absent was Andy Roddick, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Kim Clijsters.

Tweeting the photos was a stroke of genius suggested by JD Blom. I was all set to tweet my best descriptions of the outfits when he looked over my shoulder and said, "Just snap a photo." Ah, technology. I'm not a wizard with the latest toys, so I had no clue you could do such a thing. Once I got the hang of it, it was all over. Would love to do that again someday.

Right before the paparazzi packed up equipment to leave, one of the Getty photographers asked my to identify most of the players he'd just captured for he only recognized a few big names. Who knew?




JD Blom

Maria leaving.

Cross-posted to Tennis Panorama News

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Video: Serena Williams In Top Spin 4

Of War And Radiation: Kim Clijsters Speaks

by Craig Hickman

Kim Clijsters at Sony Ericsson Open News Conference
JD Blom

Tuesday morning at the Sony Ericsson Open, Caroline Wozniacki, Kim Clijsters, Vera Zvonareva, Samantha Stosur, Francesca Schiavone, Jelena Jankovic, Li Na, and Victoria Azarenka made themselves available for the WTA All-Access Hour.

But it was Clijsters who spoke most candidly about recent world events. Probably because she was sharing her thoughts and feelings in her native tongue to journalists from her country. Something about being around your people that opens you up. What follows is translated from Flemish by JD Blom.

Q: When you are looking at the world events of Japan and Libya do you think about what is happening to the world and Jada’s future?

KC: Certainly. As soon as I heard that there was a radioactive cloud on its way to the west coast, normally I would not have worried about that, because you think it’s so far away. But this time I was “Let’s get out of here as soon as possible,” and also with Jada you think about it differently. When I was younger I used to worry about stuff, like when we had to go to Australia or Tokyo, and the war in Kuwait (sic) was going on and then on your flight map you could see that we were flying over Iraq and Iran and I had quite a bit of fear. I want to follow world affairs, but I do know that when Jada is walking around I don’t want her to see those things. But Brian looks at it quite differently. He knows what is happening and feels badly about it but it does not affect him as much as it affects me.

I was like, “We need to get those pills.” I went to all the natural food stores to look for products with natural iodine like seaweed, spirulina, and kelp. I bought it all. And Brian just laughs at me. He is like, "If the government says it will not have any influence no problem," but I think they are lying. Of course, they say that because they can’t evacuate the whole west coast. But I won’t be fooled. Even in Belgium my sister and aunt called me saying, “You gotta leave because the cloud is coming, or you can just put Jada alone the plane and we’ll pick her up here at the airport.” What a panic. It was a bum. Do you really think it can get here in Indian Wells? I didn’t even want to imagine it.

Q: Then there’s the Toray (Pan Pacific Open) in Tokyo in October.

KC: I won't go. And I won't go to Beijing either.

::

The world No. 2 retired from her fourth-round match in Indian Wells against Marion Bartoli citing a shoulder injury. She's now happy to report that her shoulder and her wrist are improving and she's ready to defend her title in Miami.

Cross-posted to Tennis Panorama News

Sony Ericsson Open 2011 Day 1 Open Thread

Photobucket
JD Blom

David Ferrer practice session.

::

ORDER OF PLAY - TUESDAY, MARCH 22, 2011

GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am

[WC] S Cirstea (ROU) vs J Zheng (CHN) - WTA
J Goerges (GER) vs M Oudin (USA) - WTA
P Schnyder (SUI) vs [WC] M Keys (USA) - WTA
[WC] S Lisicki (GER) vs M Czink (HUN) - WTA

COURT 1 start 10:00 am

Qualifying - J Dokic (AUS) vs C Mchale (USA) - WTA
Not Before 11:00 AM
E Baltacha (GBR) vs S Bammer (AUT) - WTA
R Vinci (ITA) vs I Benesova (CZE) - WTA
A Morita (JPN) vs [WC] H Watson (GBR) - WTA
E Makarova (RUS) vs V Dushevina (RUS) - WTA

COURT 2 start 10:00 am

Qualifying - J Hampton (USA) vs K Flipkens (BEL) - WTA
Not Before 11:00 AM
B Jovanovski (SRB) vs M Niculescu (ROU) - WTA
K Barrois (GER) vs [WC] P Martic (CRO) - WTA
U Radwanska (POL) vs S Halep (ROU) - WTA
J Larsson (SWE) vs A Rodionova (AUS) - WTA

COURT 3 start 10:00 am

Qualifying - M Russell (USA) vs M Matosevic (AUS) - ATP
Qualifying - S Bolelli (ITA) vs A Bogomolov Jr. (USA) - ATP
Qualifying - R Kendrick (USA) vs J Reister (GER) - ATP
Qualifying - R Schuettler (GER) or B Reynolds (USA) vs I Navarro (ESP) or G Zemlja (SLO) - ATP
Qualifying - T Smyczek (USA) vs F Cipolla (ITA) or O Rochus (BEL) - ATP

COURT 5 start 10:00 am

Qualifying - Y Meusburger (AUT) vs V Manasieva (RUS) - WTA
Qualifying - R Farah (COL) vs M Ilhan (TUR) - ATP
Qualifying - N Llagostera Vives (ESP) vs A Tatishvili (GEO) or P Mayr-Achleitner (AUT) - WTA
Qualifying - I Kunitsyn (RUS) vs E Prodon (FRA) - ATP

COURT 6 start 10:00 am

Qualifying - [WC] M Larcher de Brito (POR) vs A Rus (NED) - WTA
Qualifying - S Zhang (CHN) vs E Birnerova (CZE) - WTA
Qualifying - L Hradecka (CZE) vs I Falconi (USA) or S Zahlavova (CZE) - WTA
Qualifying - A Hlavackova (CZE) or Y Chan (TPE) vs A Pivovarova (RUS) or A Keothavong (GBR) - WTA

COURT 7 start 10:00 am

Qualifying - P Capdeville (CHI) vs B Phau (GER) - ATP
Qualifying - D Munoz-De La Nava (ESP) vs P Lorenzi (ITA) - ATP
Qualifying - R Sweeting (USA) vs L Rosol (CZE) - ATP
Qualifying - G Dimitrov (BUL) vs [WC] N Massu (CHI) - ATP
Qualifying - F Dancevic (CAN) vs D Young (USA) or A Clement (FRA) - ATP

COURT 8 start 10:00 am

Qualifying - K Pervak (RUS) vs J Namigata (JPN) - WTA
Qualifying - [WC] S Stephens (USA) vs S Ferguson (AUS) - WTA
Qualifying - J Craybas (USA) or [WC] L Davis (USA) vs A Yakimova (BLR) or K Bondarenko (UKR) - WTA
Qualifying - R Voracova (CZE) or C Dentoni (ITA) vs X Han (CHN) or S Mirza (IND) - WTA

The Excitement Starts Here And Now


JD Blom

Tours, draw ceremonies, and qualifying matches filled up most of the day at the 2011 Sony Ericsson Open.

::

At 10:00 am, I toured the 34-acre site guided by tournament director Adam Barrett and Media and Public Relations Director Sam Henderson. Tracking down minor facilities issues ("Why is the Head Tent Closed?") while walking a small group of media around the exquisitely designed and built set of facilities, it was clear that the Sony Ericsson Open has its eye on a bigger future. Adding another television court, hardwiring expanded workrooms for faster connectivity, and including a high-end VIP restaurant which will feature four celebrity chefs over the next week, the event will remain the premiere event outside of the Grand Slams.

::

At approximately 11:45, the women's draw was unveiled. Samantha Stosur chose the chips with the 32 seeded players whose names were taped on a giant draw board threatening to blow off the easel. "Right now, it's all just a bunch of names," she said of her place in the 128-line draw. The No. 4 seed and Roland Garros finalist will face the winner of Zheng Jie and Xperia Hot Shot Sorana Cirstea in the second round.

The men's draw followed with Jurgen Melzer doing the choosing. "The first thing I look at is where is Juan Martín del Potro in the draw," said the No. 10 seed. "He's in Robin Soderling's section so that's going to be a nice little section. I think everybody says you play one match at a time, but we're human so sometimes we do look ahead. If you're confident you don't care who you play, but if you're not, you want to know what's coming." What's coming for Melzer is his doubles partner Philipp Petzschner of Germany or Florent Serra of France.

::

Next, I jumped around and the grounds and darted in and out of several qualifying matches.

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JD Blom


JD Blom


JD Blom


JD Blom

American wildcard and birthday girl Sloane Stephens had to rally from a set down to advance to the second round of qualifying. She beat the No. 4 seed Evgeniya Rodina of Russia 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. For a place in the main draw she'll face Aussie Sophie Ferguson who upset No. 13 Alberta Brianti of Italy 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.

Read the rest...

Face Of The Day

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JD Blom

Arnaud Clement of France on a changeover during his qualifying match against American Donald Young at the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, on March 21, 2011.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sony Ericsson Open 2011: At Work


Sony Ericsson Open 2011

Just happened to be working nearby in the media center when Samantha Stosur gave the first Sony Ericsson Open TwitterView after the draw ceremony.

Sony Ericsson Open 2011 Men's Draw

Melzer Wilander Draw
JD Blom

Jurgen Melzer interviewed by Mats Wilander of Eurosport after the Sony Ericsson ATP draw ceremony earlier today.

::

(1) NADAL, Rafael ESP vs. BYE
CHARDY, Jeremy FRA vs. NISHIKORI, Kei JPN
LOPEZ, Feliciano ESP vs. BERANKIS, Richard LTU
BYE vs. (26) CHELA, Juan Ignacio ARG

(21) DOLGOPOLOV, Alexandr UKR
vs. BYE
SEPPI, Andreas ITA vs. ZVEREV, Mischa GER
GABASHVILI, Teymuraz RUS vs. BRANDS, Daniel GER
BYE vs. (15) TSONGA, Jo-Wilifred FRA

(11) ALMAGRO, Nicolas ESP
vs. BYE
GIL, Frederico POR vs. Qualifier
MAYER, Florian GER vs. (WC) KARLOVIC, Ivo CRO
BYE vs. (20) MONTANES, Albert ESP

(28) GULBIS, Ernests LAT
vs. BYE
BERLOCQ, Carlos ARG vs. (WC) SOCK, Jack USA
MANNARINO, Adrian FRA vs. RAMIREZ HIDALGO, Ruben ESP
BYE vs. (7) BERDYCH, Tomas CZE

(3) FEDERER, Roger SUI
vs. BYE
FOGNINI, Fabio ITA vs. STEPANEK, Radek CZE
STAKHOVSKY, Sergiy UKR vs. Qualifier
BYE vs. (32) MONACO, Juan ARG

(22) BAGHDATIS, Marcos CYP
vs. BYE
KAVCIC, Blaz SLO vs. Qualifier
RIBA, Pere ESP vs. LU, Yen-Hsun TPE
BYE vs. (13) YOUZHNY, Mikhail RUS

(10) MELZER, Jurgen AUT
vs. BYE
PETZSCHNER, Philipp GER vs. SERRA, Florent FRA
TIPSAREVIC, Janko SRB vs. HAASE, Robin NED
BYE vs. (18) CILIC, Marin CRO

(25) SIMON, Gilles FRA
vs. BYE
(WC) HARRISON, Ryan USA vs. Qualifier
CUEVAS, Pablo URU vs. BERRER, Michael GER
BYE vs. (8) RODDICK, Andy USA

:: ::

(6) FERRER, David ESP vs. BYE
Qualifier vs. Qualifier
DEVVARMAN, SOmdev IND vs. STARACE, Potito ITA
BYE vs.(31) RAONIC, Milos CAN

(23) LLODRA, Michael FRA
vs. BYE
MALISSE, Xavier BEL vs. Qualifier
BECKER, Benjamin GER vs. GRANOLLERS, Marcel ESP
BYE vs. (12) WAWRINKA, Stanislas SUI

(14) FISH, Mardy USA
vs. BYE
BENNETEAU, Julien FRA vs. GIMENO-TRAVER, Daniel ESP
LJUBICIC, Ivan CRO vs. Qualifier
BYE vs. (17) GASQUET, Richard FRA

(29) KOHLSCHREIBER, Philipp GER
vs. BYE
DEL POTRO, Juan Martin ARG vs. MELLO, Ricardo BRA
DODIG, Ivan CRO vs. GOLUBEV, Andrey KAZ
BYE vs. (4) SODERLING, Robin SWE

(5) MURRAY, Andy GBR
vs. BYE
HANESCU, Victor ROU vs. Qualifier
GIRALDO, Santiago COL vs. ANDREEV, Igor RUS
BYE vs. (30) ISNER, John USA

(24) GARCIA-LOPEZ, Guillermo ESP
vs. BYE
DAVYDENKO, Nikolay RUS vs. ANDERSON, Kevin RSA
(WC) TOMIC, Bernard AUS vs. ANDUJAR, Pablo ESP
BYE vs. (9) VERDASCO, Fernando ESP

(16) TROICKI, Viktor SRB
vs. BYE
KAMKE, Tobias GER vs. Qualifier
NIEMINEN, Jarkko FIN vs. KUKUSHKIN, Mikhail KAZ
BYE vs. (19) QUERREY, Sam USA

(27) BELLUCCI, Thomaz BRA
vs. BYE
Qualifier vs. (WC) BLAKE, James USA
Qualifier vs. ISTOMIN, Denis UZB
BYE vs. (2) DJOKOVIC, Novak SRB

Sony Ericsson Open 2011 Women's Draw

Sam Stosur Draw
JD Blom

Sam Stosur draws a name at the Sony Ericsson WTA draw ceremony earlier today.

(1)WOZNIACKI, Caroline DEN vs. BYE
ARVIDSSON, Sofia SWE vs. MATTEK-SANDS, Bethanie USA
GOERGES, Julia GER vs. OUDIN, Melanie USA
BYE vs. (29) HANTUCHOVA, Daniela SVK

(21) PETKOVIC, Andrea GER
vs. BYE
(WC) TOMLJANOVIC, Ajla CRO vs. Qualifier
VINCI, Roberta ITA vs. BENESOVA, Iveta CZE
BYE vs. (13) PENNETTA, Flavia ITA

(10) PEER, Shahar, ISR
vs. BYE
Qualifier vs. MEDINA GARRIGUES, Anabel ESP
DULKO, Gisela ARG vs. VESNINA, Elena RUS
BYE vs. (23) WICKMAYER, Yanina BEL

(32) ZAKOPALOVA, Klara CZE
vs. BYE
Baltacha, Elena GBR vs. BAMMER, Sybille AUT
JOVANOSKI, Bojana SRB vs. NICULESCU, Monica ROU
BYE vs. (6) JANKOVIC, Jelena SRB

(4) STOSUR, Samantha AUS
vs. BYE
(WC) CIRSTEA, Sorana ROU vs. ZHENG, Jie CHN
SCHNYDER, Patty SUI vs. (WC) KEYS, Madison USA
BYE vs. (30) SAFAROVA, Lucie CZE

(18) PETROVA, Nadia RUS
vs. BYE
(WC) LISICKI, Sabine GER vs. CZINK, Melinda HUN
BARROIS, Kristina GER vs. (WC) MARTIC, Petra CRO
BYE vs. (16) SHARAPOVA, Maria RUS

(11) KUZNETSOVA, Svetlana RUS
vs. BYE
Radwanska, Urszula POL vs. HALEP, Simona ROU
ARN, Greta HUN vs. PENG, Shuai CHN
BYE vs. (20) REZAI, Aravane FRA

(26) DULGHERU, Alexandra ROU
vs. BYE
HERCOG, Polona SLO vs. SCHEEPERS, Chanelle RSA
LARSSON, Johanna SWE vs. RODIONOVA, Anastasia AUS
BYE vs. (7) LI, Na CHN

:: ::

(5) SCHIAVONE, Francesca ITA vs. BYE
GALLOVITS-HALL, Edna ROU vs. KERBER, Angelique GER
DOMINGUEZ LINO, Lourdes ESP vs. Qualifier
BYE vs. (31) PIRONKOVA, Tsvetana BUL

(24) KIRILENKO, Maria RUS
vs. BYE
PARRA SANTONJA, Arantxa ESP vs. Qualifier
Qualifier vs. ZAHLAVOVA STRYCOVA, Barbora CZE
BYE vs. (9) RADWANSKA, Agnieszka POL

(15) BARTOLI, Marion FRA
vs. BYE
MORITA, Ayumi JPN vs. (WC) WATSON, Heather GBR
MAKAROVA, Ekaterina RUS vs. DUSHEVINA, Vera RUS
BYE vs. (22) KLEYBANOVA, Alisa RUS

(28) GROTH, Jarmilla AUS
vs. BYE
ERRANI, Sara ITA vs. SHVEDOVA, Yaroslava KAZ
Qualifier vs. (WC) SAFINA, Dinara RUS
BYE vs. (3) ZVONAREVA, Vera RUS

(8) AZARENKA, Victoria BLR
vs. BYE
Qualifier vs. Qualifier
Qualifier vs. BACSINSZKY, Timea SUI
BYE vs. (25) CIBULKOVA, Dominika SVK

(17) PAVLYUCHENKOVA, Anastasia RUS
vs. BYE
Qualifier vs. SZAVAY, Agnes HUN
(WC) VANDEWEGHE, Coco USA vs. LEPCHENKO, Varvara USA
BYE vs. (12) KVITOVA, Petra CZE

(14) KANEPI, Kaia EST
vs. BYE
CORNET, Alize vs. RAZZANO, Virginie FRA
DATE-KRUMM, Kimiko JPN vs. ONDRASKOVA, Zuzana CZE
BYE vs. (19) IVANOVIC, Ana SRB

(27) MARTINEZ SANCHEZ Maria Jose ESP
vs. BYE
Qualifier vs. GOVORTSOVA, Olga BLR
Qualifier vs. KUDRYAVTSEVA, Alla RUS
BYE vs. (2) CLIJSTERS, Kim BEL

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hickman In Miami

I'll be covering the Sony Ericsson Open this week for Tennis Panorama News starting, well, today.

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JD Blom for Tennis Panorama News

Started the day at breakfast with Jarkko Nieminen and Andrea Petkovic, had a short hit with David Ferrer at Crandon Park on Key Biscayne, then toughed through the spring-break traffic to Miami Beach for the Xperia Hot Shots unveiling over at the Doubletree Surfcomber Hotel on Collins Ave.

Well, okay. I saw Nieminen and Petkovic at breakfast, watched Ferrer's practice session with Fernando Verdasco before the event on Miami Beach. A bit overexcited attending my first Sony Ericsson Open, just seeing the players up close and personal made me feel as though we were all companions.

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JD Blom for Tennis Panorama News

Maria Sharapova's celebrity appearance gave the event some sparkle after DJ Jazzy Jeff's set and before Dominika Cibulkova, Sorana Cirstea, Alizé Cornet, Sabine Lisicki, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Heather Watson,were introduced as the WTA's future superstars. The event felt like a big old party. Free flowing liquor at the open bar. Jazzy Jeff's louder than loud music. Party goers from all walks of life decked out in various stages of undress, the beach only steps away. Paparazzi everywhere.

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JD Blom for Tennis Panorama News

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JD Blom for Tennis Panorama News

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JD Blom for Tennis Panorama News

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JD Blom for Tennis Panorama News

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JD Blom for Tennis Panorama News

The turquoise ocean beneath a clear sky beckoned, but I stayed put. Well, not exactly.

Read the rest...

Desert Champions

INDIAN WELLS, CA - MARCH 20:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia poses with  the trophy following his victory over Rafael Nadal of Spain during the  finals of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on  March 20, 2011 in Indian Wells, California.
Getty

Novak Djokovic of Serbia poses with the trophy following his victory over Rafael Nadal of Spain 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the finals of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, on March 20, 2011. Djokovic is now 20-0 in 2011.

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark poses with her trophy after defeating  Marion Bartoli of France during the final of the BNP Paribas Open in  Indian Wells, California, on March 20, 2011. Wozniacki won 6-1, 2-6,  6-3.
Getty

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark poses with her trophy after defeating Marion Bartoli of France 6-1, 2-6, 6-3 in the final of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, on March 20, 2011. Wozniacki remains the computer's top-ranked player.

Indian Wells 2011 Finals Preview

It's the computer's World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki against the unconventional No. 15 seed Marion Bartoli in the women's final. The Frenchwoman has kicked the Dane in her teeth before. And vice versa. You would expect the steady pusher to simply outlast the flat hitter who doesn't get around the court so well in straight sets with the loss of just a few games. But never underestimate a flat hitter on a hardcourt who takes the ball earlier than anyone on the tour. If Bartoli plays as well as she did to dismantle Yanina Wickmayer in the semifinals, she can win the title. Will she?

On the men's side, it's Nadjoke XXIV. The World No. 1 vs. the Undefeated One. The way Rafael Nadal turned around his semifinal against Juan Martin del Potro was nothing short of stunning. The way Novak Djokovic defended the court against Roger Federer was nothing short of riveting. Rafa has the head-to-head advantage, Djoke has the most confidence right now. The slow sometimes windy conditions work for both. Rafa's got the vicious topspin, Djoke's got the compact strokes. Will the World No. 1 show who's boss, or will the new World No. 2 remain without loss?

I may not get to watch either match live for I'm in Miami. More about that later.

Enjoy the finals.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Indian Wells 2011 Semifinals Preview

by Craig Hickman

Well, here we are. The ATP is calling it Super Saturday. I'm calling it the BNP Paribas Open semifinals.

Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina celebrates defeating Philipp  Kohlschreiber of Germany at the Indian Wells ATP tennis tournament in  Indian Wells, California, March 16, 2011.
Reuters

The most intriguing match is the first semi between reigning World No. 1 Rafael Nadal and comeback giant Juan Martín del Potro, two great players both on the mend from recent injuries. The Argentinean has a tournament win under his belt this year and with that jolt of confidence is playing freer with every match. He bettered Philipp Kohlschrieber in two intense tiebreak sets in the quarters. That kind of clutch tennis will be required if he is to win his first Masters Shield in the desert. (Trivia: can you name any active players who've won Slams before Masters?)

Rafa, on the other hand, who saw his chance at history slip away in the quarterfinals of Melbourne when he fell to compatriot David Ferrer is struggling with confidence. His first serve has deserted him in two high-pressure games this week, the final set breaker against Ivo Karlovic where he needed 4 match points to finally prevail, and serving to stay in the first set with doubles partner Marc Lopez against reigning Olympic Gold Medalists Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka. In the latter, he doubled faulted twice in the game to drop the set.

While the World No. 1 holds a slim 4-3 edge in their head-to-head, the slender giant with the missile forehand has won their last three meetings, all on hardcourts, all in North America. Will Rafa get revenge or will history repeat?

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after defeating Ivo Karlovic of  Croatia following their three set tie-break match at the Indian Wells  ATP tennis tournament in Indian Wells, California March 17, 2011.
Reuters

Novak Djokovic of Serbia bounces a ball with the word, Japan  written on his socks in support for the country due to the recent  earthquakes and tsunamis while playing against Richard Gasquet of France  at the Indian Wells ATP tennis tournament in Indian Wells, California,  March 18, 2011.
Reuters

In the second semifinal, Novak Djokovic, who hasn't lost a match in 2011, faces the World No. 2, who's only won one title in 2011. Head-to-head is 13-8, advantage Raja, though they've split their last 8 meetings, with Djoke winning the last two, both this year. Until struggling to find his rhythm against the looping forehands of Richard Gasquet, Djoke had barely lost any games to advance to the quarters.

Raja's been relatively efficient in his draw as well, but was tested by young American Ryan Harrison in the first set of the 16's to set up a date with his whipping boy doubles partner in the quarters. Simply put, whoever prevails, this match is squarely on Djoke's racquet.

Oh, yeah. And the No. 2 ranking is on the line.

Roger Federer from Switzerland serves the ball during his match  against Stanislas Wawrinka from Switzerland during their quater-final of  BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, on March 18, 2011.  Federer won 6-3, 6-4.
Getty

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Indian Wells 2011 Quarterfinals Open Thread

Haven't watched tennis in a few days but I suspect you have. Fill us in.

The quarterfinals are set, and unless MadProfessah gives us one of his great predictions posts, I'll have to wing it.

Nadal over Karlovic
Del Potro over Robredo
Djokovic over Gasquet
Federer over Wawrinka


What say you?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Indian Wells 2011 Day 7 Open Thread

Arrived in Milwaukee safely, but couldn't get to a cafe for WiFi to watch any tennis. What did I miss?

ORDER OF PLAY - TUESDAY, MARCH 15, 2011

STADIUM 1 start 11:00 am

[31] E Gulbis (LAT) vs [3] N Djokovic (SRB) - ATP

Not Before 1:00 PM
[15] M Bartoli (FRA) vs [2] K Clijsters (BEL) - WTA
[29] J Chela (ARG) vs [2] R Federer (SUI) - ATP
[1] C Wozniacki (DEN) vs [22] A Kleybanova (RUS) - WTA

Not Before 7:00 PM
[8] A Roddick (USA) vs [30] J Isner (USA) - ATP

Not Before 8:30 PM
D Safina (RUS) vs [16] M Sharapova (RUS) - WTA

STADIUM 2 start 11:00 am

[6] J Jankovic (SRB) vs [19] A Ivanovic (SRB) - WTA
[17] M Cilic (CRO) vs [12] S Wawrinka (SUI) - ATP
[18] R Gasquet (FRA) vs [10] J Melzer (AUT) - ATP
[WC] M Raonic (CAN) vs [WC] R Harrison (USA) - ATP
[5] J Melzer (AUT) / P Petzschner (GER) or L Dlouhy (CZE) / P Hanley (AUS) vs M Lopez (ESP) / R Nadal (ESP) - ATP
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) vs A Dolgopolov (UKR) / X Malisse (BEL) - ATP

STADIUM 3 start 11:00 am

[7] T Berdych (CZE) vs [26] T Bellucci (BRA) - ATP
[16] V Troicki (SRB) vs [24] M Llodra (FRA) - ATP
[5] F Schiavone (ITA) vs [10] S Peer (ISR) - WTA
[WC] J Jankovic (SRB) / A Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) vs [6] V Azarenka (BLR) / M Kirilenko (RUS) - WTA - After Suitable Rest
[WC] C Mchale (USA) or [18] N Petrova (RUS) vs [Q] L Hradecka (CZE) or S Peng (CHN) - WTA

COURT 7 start 11:00 am

[3] M Bhupathi (IND) / L Paes (IND) vs R Bopanna (IND) / A Qureshi (PAK) - ATP
[9] A Radwanska (POL) vs [8] V Azarenka (BLR) - WTA
[23] Y Wickmayer (BEL) vs [25] D Cibulkova (SVK) - WTA

S Mirza (IND) / E Vesnina (RUS) vs K Jans (POL) / A Rosolska (POL) - WTA
M Knowles (BAH) / M Mertinak (SVK) vs [WC] J Erlich (ISR) / A Ram (ISR) - ATP

Face Of The Day

INDIAN WELLS, CA - MARCH 14:  Dinara Safina of Russia celebrates a  point against Samantha Stosur of Australia during the BNP Paribas Open  at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 14, 2011 in Indian Wells,  California.
Getty

Dinara Safina of Russia celebrates a point against Samantha Stosur of Australia during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 14, 2011 in Indian Wells, California.

::

Men's Singles - Third Round

[1] R Nadal (ESP) d [Q] R Sweeting (USA) 63 61
[32] P Kohlschreiber (GER) d [4] R Soderling (SWE) 76(8) 64
[21] S Querrey (USA) d [9] F Verdasco (ESP) 75 64

[23] A Montanes (ESP) d [11] N Almagro (ESP) 46 62 64
J Del Potro (ARG) d [20] A Dolgopolov (UKR) 76(3) 63
[25] T Robredo (ESP) d [Q] D Young (USA) 60 64
I Karlovic (CRO) d [28] G Simon (FRA) 63 63
[Q] S Devvarman (IND) d X Malisse (BEL) 61 36 76(5)

Men's Doubles - Second Round
L Dlouhy (CZE) / P Hanley (AUS) d [5] J Melzer (AUT) / P Petzschner (GER) 67(1) 76(6) 12-10
N Djokovic (SRB) / V Troicki (SRB) d [7] L Kubot (POL) / O Marach (AUT) 62 46 10-7
R Federer (SUI) / S Wawrinka (SUI) d J Benneteau (FRA) / R Gasquet (FRA) 63 46 12-10

Women's Singles - Third Round
(1) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. (28) María José Martínez Sánchez (ESP) 61 63
Dinara Safina (RUS) d. (4) Samantha Stosur (AUS) 76(2) 64
(8) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. Urszula Radwanska (POL) 76(3) 63
(9) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. (24) Maria Kirilenko (RUS) 60 26 75
(22) Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) d. (13) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 63 64
(16) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (20) Aravane Rezai (FRA) 62 62
(18) Nadia Petrova (RUS) d. (WC) Christina McHale (USA) 36 64 62
Peng Shuai (CHN) d. (Q) Lucie Hradecka (CZE) 63 46 75

Women's Doubles - Second Round
Mirza/Vesnina (IND/RUS) d. (7) Benesova/Zahlavova Strycova (CZE/CZE) 62 63
Jans/Rosolska (POL/POL) d. Chuang/Dulgheru (TPE/ROU) 61 46 10-5

Monday, March 14, 2011

Indian Wells 2011 Day 6 Open Thread

I won't belabor the point, but Donald Young "the most complete player" among the American men (okay, *b*, I'm going to leave you alone now!) just ate a bagel at the hands of none other than Tommy Robredo.

Some good match-ups today. I'm en route to Milwaukee to see my mother so I won't be able to see all of them, but enjoy. And by all means discuss.

ORDER OF PLAY - MONDAY, MARCH 14, 2011

STADIUM 1 start 11:00 am

[1] C Wozniacki (DEN) vs [28] M Martinez Sanchez (ESP) - WTA
[4] R Soderling (SWE) vs [32] P Kohlschreiber (GER) - ATP

Not Before 2:30 PM
[20] A Rezai (FRA) vs [16] M Sharapova (RUS) - WTA
[1] R Nadal (ESP) vs [Q] R Sweeting (USA) - ATP

Not Before 7:00 PM
[4] S Stosur (AUS) vs D Safina (RUS) - WTA
Not Before 8:30 PM
[9] F Verdasco (ESP) vs [21] S Querrey (USA) - ATP

STADIUM 2 start 11:00 am

[25] T Robredo (ESP) vs [Q] D Young (USA) - ATP
[11] N Almagro (ESP) vs [23] A Montanes (ESP) - ATP
[20] A Dolgopolov (UKR) vs J Del Potro (ARG) - ATP

Not Before 4:30 PM
[WC] C Mchale (USA) vs [18] N Petrova (RUS) - WTA
J Benneteau (FRA) / R Gasquet (FRA) vs R Federer (SUI) / S Wawrinka (SUI) - ATP

STADIUM 3 start 11:00 am

[9] A Radwanska (POL) vs [24] M Kirilenko (RUS) - WTA
U Radwanska (POL) vs [8] V Azarenka (BLR) - WTA
[Q] S Devvarman (IND) vs X Malisse (BEL) - ATP
[28] G Simon (FRA) vs I Karlovic (CRO) - ATP
[Q] L Hradecka (CZE) vs S Peng (CHN) - WTA

COURT 7 start 11:00 am

C Chuang (TPE) / A Dulgheru (ROU) vs K Jans (POL) / A Rosolska (POL) - WTA
[22] A Kleybanova (RUS) vs [13] F Pennetta (ITA) - WTA
[7] I Benesova (CZE) / B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) vs S Mirza (IND) / E Vesnina (RUS) - WTA
N Djokovic (SRB) / V Troicki (SRB) vs [7] L Kubot (POL) / O Marach (AUT) - ATP
[5] J Melzer (AUT) / P Petzschner (GER) vs L Dlouhy (CZE) / P Hanley (AUS) - ATP

Face Of The Day

Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia returns a shot to Vera Zvonareva of  Russia during their match at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament,  Sunday, March 13, 2011, in Indian Wells, Calif.
AP

Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia returns a shot to Vera Zvonareva of Russia during their match at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament, Sunday, March 13, 2011, in Indian Wells, Calif.

::

I watched most of Roddick vs. Blake. It was like old times, in every way. Roddick firing confidently from the baseline, Blake faltering at set ends. Fell asleep on the other matches I wanted to see. Something about Indian Wells has always makes me yawn.

Men's Singles - Second Round
[2] R Federer (SUI) d I Andreev (RUS) 75 76(4)
[3] N Djokovic (SRB) d A Golubev (KAZ) 60 64
[7] T Berdych (CZE) d L Kubot (POL) 64 61
[8] A Roddick (USA) d [WC] J Blake (USA) 63 75
[10] J Melzer (AUT) d J Benneteau (FRA) 16 61 64
[12] S Wawrinka (SUI) d N Davydenko (RUS) 36 76(5) 64
[WC] M Raonic (CAN) d [13] M Fish (USA) 75 64
[16] V Troicki (SRB) d [WC] B Tomic (AUS) 64 64
[17] M Cilic (CRO) d F Serra (FRA) 61 63
[18] R Gasquet (FRA) d P Cuevas (URU) 75 63
[WC] R Harrison (USA) d [22] G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) 63 76(4)
[24] M Llodra (FRA) d S Giraldo (COL) 76(6) 64
[26] T Bellucci (BRA) d B Becker (GER) 63 76(5)
[29] J Chela (ARG) d P Petzschner (GER) 46 75 62
[30] J Isner (USA) d R Mello (BRA) 63 76(2)
[31] E Gulbis (LAT) d Y Lu (TPE) 67(1) 76(7) 61 - saved 1 M.P.

Men's Doubles - Second Round
A Murray (GBR) / J Murray (GBR) d J Isner (USA) / S Querrey (USA) 63 36 10-3
M Lopez (ESP) / R Nadal (ESP) d M Cilic (CRO) / I Karlovic (CRO) 64 64

Men's Doubles - First Round
[3] M Bhupathi (IND) / L Paes (IND) d S Aspelin (SWE) / J Knowle (AUT) 75 64
M Knowles (BAH) / M Mertinak (SVK) d [8] R Lindstedt (SWE) / H Tecau (ROU) 26 76(3) 12-10
L Dlouhy (CZE) / P Hanley (AUS) d M Granollers (ESP) / T Robredo (ESP) 63 64
[WC] J Erlich (ISR) / A Ram (ISR) d D Marrero (ESP) / F Verdasco (ESP) 67(2) 64 12-10

Women's Singles - Third Round
(2) Kim Clijsters (BEL) d. Sara Errani (ITA) 63 26 64
(25) Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) d. (3) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 46 76(4) 64
(5) Francesca Schiavone (ITA) d. (Q) Alizé Cornet (FRA) 62 63
(6) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. (32) Julia Goerges (GER) 62 64
(10) Shahar Peer (ISR) d. (17) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 26 63 75
(23) Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) d. (14) Kaia Kanepi (EST) 36 64 61
(15) Marion Bartoli (FRA) d. (21) Andrea Petkovic (GER) 64 62
(19) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) d. Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) 62 62

Women's Doubles - Second Round
(3) Huber/Petrova (USA/RUS) d. Kondratieva/Voracova (RUS/CZE) 64 60
Hantuchova/A.Radwanska (SVK/POL) d. (5) Chan/Zheng (TPE/CHN) 63 63
(6) Azarenka/Kirilenko (BLR/RUS) d. Schiavone/Stosur (ITA/AUS) 26 64 11-9

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Face Of The Day

INDIAN WELLS, CA - MARCH 12:  Donald Young celebrates match point  against Andy Murray of Great Britain Donald Young during the BNP Paribas  Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 12, 2011 in Indian  Wells, California.
Getty

American Donald Young celebrates match point against Andy Murray of Great Britain during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 12, 2011 in Indian Wells, California.

::

Men's Singles - Second Round
[1] R Nadal (ESP) d [Q] R de Voest (RSA) 60 62
[4] R Soderling (SWE) d M Berrer (GER) 63 76(4)
[Q] D Young (USA) d [5] A Murray (GBR) 76(4) 63
I Karlovic (CRO) d [6] D Ferrer (ESP) 76(3) 63
[9] F Verdasco (ESP) d [WC] R Berankis (LTU) 75 20 ret. (back)
[11] N Almagro (ESP) d [Q] M Russell (USA) 64 64
J Del Potro (ARG) d [14] I Ljubicic (CRO) 57 64 62
X Malisse (BEL) d [15] J Tsonga (FRA) 76(6) 75
[Q] S Devvarman (IND) d [19] M Baghdatis (CYP) 75 60
[20] A Dolgopolov (UKR) d V Hanescu (ROU) 64 64
[21] S Querrey (USA) d J Tipsarevic (SRB) 64 64
[23] A Montanes (ESP) d J Nieminen (FIN) 76(5) 26 [COLOR="Blue"]76(2)[/COLOR]
[25] T Robredo (ESP) d M Zverev (GER) 63 36 75
[Q] R Sweeting (USA) d [27] J Monaco (ARG) 61 06 61
[28] G Simon (FRA) d R Schuettler (GER) 63 76(5)
[32] P Kohlschreiber (GER) d [Q] T Smyczek (USA) 26 62 76(6)

Men's Doubles - First Round
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) d F Lopez (ESP) / M Raonic (CAN) 64 75
[7] L Kubot (POL) / O Marach (AUT) d G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) / A Montanes (ESP) 64 62
R Bopanna (IND) / A Qureshi (PAK) d E Butorac (USA) / J Rojer (AHO) 76(4) 64
M Cilic (CRO) / I Karlovic (CRO) d [WC] T Bellucci (BRA) / R Harrison (USA) 64 36 10-8

Women's Singles - Second Round
(1) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. (WC) Sloane Stephens (USA) 63 62
(4) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. (Q) Laura Pous-Tio (ESP) 62 62
Peng Shuai (CHN) d. (7) Li Na (CHN) 46 63 63
(8) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 64 63
(9) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Iveta Benesova (CZE) 76(5) 64
(WC) Christina McHale (USA) d. (11) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 76(4) 76(7)
(13) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) d. Elena Baltacha (GBR) 64 36 64
(16) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) 75 67(3) 61
(18) Nadia Petrova (RUS) d. Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) 64 76(3)
(20) Aravane Rezai (FRA) d. (Q) Zhang Shuai (CHN) 76(5) 60
(22) Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) d. Agnes Szavay (HUN) 63 75
(24) Maria Kirilenko (RUS) d. Anna Chakvetadze (RUS) 62 13 ret. (dizziness)
Dinara Safina (RUS) d. (26) Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 76(2) 64
(Q) Lucie Hradecka (CZE) d. (27) Alexandra Dulgheru (ROU) 46 64 64
(28) María José Martínez Sánchez (ESP) d. Simona Halep (ROU) 75 60
Urszula Radwanska (POL) d. (31) Klara Zakopalova (CZE) 63 57 62

Women's Doubles - Second Round
(WC) Jankovic/Pavlyuchenkova (SRB/RUS) d. (1) Dulko/Pennetta (ARG/ITA) 75 75
(4) King/Shvedova (USA/KAZ) d. Grandin/Uhlirova (RSA/CZE) 67(4) 63 10-7
(8) Mattek-Sands/Shaughnessy (USA/USA) d. Kops-Jones/Spears (USA/USA) 64 63