Tag Archive | Caroline Wozniacki

Wimbledon Women’s Preview: A Conference of Anti-Experts.

With the men’s draw out of the way, PJ, LJ et moi got together for a chat about the ladies’ draw. Pictures from the pre-Wimbledon party. 

Doots: Alrighty. Let’s get started. First thoughts on women’s draw? I feel like every year for the past few years, Wimbledon has always been about what the Willians Sisters will or won’t do, and this year, it’s been the least about them in a long while.

PJ: I have to admit I am in camp “wanting a Williams to win”. Especially Venus where Wimbledon is concerned.

Doots: I think it might be too much of a long shot for Venus.

PJ: Hey, I live in Delusion Land, no?

LJ: I think she’ll be dangerous in the early rounds, but I’m not too positive on current form.

Doots: What do we think about Kvitova? I thought she was royally screwed for Roland Garros given her form going into it, but she actually acquitted herself respectably.

LJ: Her game is just so funky, I don’t know what to think. I feel like she has the potential to really beat anyone, but … but …

Doots: Funky’s one way to describe her game: when she’s on, she is shotmaking genius, when she’s off, she is an unthinking idiot. Her game doesn’t leave much room for grey.

PJ: the Female Dolgopolov, but maybe a lot less crazy.

LJ: Yes, I definitely agree with the Female Dolgo characterization, but she managed to hold it together for a slam.

PJ: Speaking of danger in early rounds, Pironkova to meet Shrieky in the second round. Now that I have mixed thoughts about: [Pironkova is a] two-time semifinalist, [but] she has the equal potential to beat herself into submission. It’s like she does nothing for the whole season and is just waiting for WImbledon to attack or something.

LJ: I thought Shreiky had an okay draw until I realised she has both Pironkova AND Lisicki in the 4th round.

Doots: Well why don’t we get onto Shrieky’s draw then. She has the Aussie ARod for her first round; most likely – Pironkova second round.

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MSG exho aka Dear Rog, please don’t ever flat iron your hair…(by LJ)

So December 2007, I was chilling courtside at a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden, a holy grail for a basketball fan. Sadly the Knicks played like crap, but hey I was never a Knicks fan so it didn’t really matter. But then…recently…Jeremy Lin happened…and suddenly MSG as picked up some extra aura.

MSG also played host to the latest Tennis Exhibition event. Shrieky took on the Woz whilst Rog and Randy took us back to 2003, with their nostalgic brohood.

I sadly had to be at work and couldn’t watch any of it. Supposedly, Shrieky showed us some of her dances moves and then Woz made her BF Rory play a point with Shrieky…

Then Randy imitated Rafa and actually WON the point, remarking “so that’s all it took”.

Oh Randy…forever the clown in the class. Currently ranked 31st in the world, I remember in a presser years ago that he said once he fell out of the top 10 he was going to stop playing…but it’s admirable that he’s still hanging on. I’m sure he’s still got a couple of years left…after all Juan Carlos is still kicking around.

Overall I gathered it was all nice and lovey dovey but…our dear dear Wog had to go and do this…

YES, he flat ironed his curls before heading into the stadium. Seriously…we’ve left the early 90s boyband look behind Rog…stick to the curls…

UGh, and the 90s boyband middle part too…lolz…

AO2012 Day 9-10 Wrap: The Quarterfinals (by PJ)

Semi-final stage has been set, and we all know what’s going to be on the menu. Before I go into dissecting the fine dishes for tonight and tomorrow night…some random thoughts to wrap up the events of the last few days.

1)      Federer-Delpony. A match that I was excruciatingly nervous about, just because of USO09 angst. Yes, Delpony isn’t the player he was – but still, I couldn’t discount the damage he can potentially do, with that forehand. From the start, I thought this would be the quarter-final match up – helped that Mardy Fish got hooked and grilled by Falla. At first, seemed like my worry was displaced as Federer started brilliantly in the first three games to break Del Potro (recording something insane like 8 winners and 1 UE in those games). All cool if he keeps up, right? But noooo…dude got broken and I was sitting in a meeting at work feeling my stomach curling up in ulcers. But as Delpony was serving to stay in the set, a couple of great returns from the Old Man seemed to rattle him, and he tossed in a double-fault to give Fed the first set. Set 2 seemed to roll around like the first – early break for Fed but a tough service game as he was attempting to serve out the set. I was so worried that it’ll be a repeat of USO09 (NIGHTMARE! NIGHTMARE!) but Fed hung tough and served it out. Third set was pretty much kinda smooth-sailing and straightforward with Fed taking a double break and serving out the match prettily, much to my relief.

         Federer served well, returned well, and had some brilliant shots – overall a solid match from him. But the harder test, of course, will be tonight.

2)      Nadal-Berd. Berd will be kicking himself in the head FOREVER on that flubbed volley on the second set tie-breaker…which would’ve given him the second set and a two-sets-to-none lead against Rafa. As it goes – if you let Rafa back into a match, it will most probably be curtains for you, and that was what happened with Berd…went bye bye Berdy in 4 sets. He had his chances – the second set, and early break in the third set – but just couldn’t capitalise on  them. I’ll refrain on commenting on the so-call controversies though, because in the end, it is what it is. Doesn’t make a difference either way.

3)      Muzz-Nishikori. Nishikori had nothing left in the tank after his 5-setter against Tsonga (which was quite brilliant, by the way. He really showed a lot of steel to outhit and outlast Jo) AND baking two hours in the sun for mixed-doubles before his match with Muzz. I expected an easy straight-sets win, and that was what happened. The general consensus was that he didn’t play that well (apparently served kind of horribly) but Kei-chan had no energy/legs left to really pose a huge challenge. Still, a fantastic run for Nishikori and top 20 is beckoning. He’s a good kid with quite a solid game, definitely one of the potential ones to break out in his career. Hope he continues to do well, and inspire more tennis players in the Asian region.

4)      Djokovic-Ferrer. Oh, Lord F. I cannot believe you were straight-setted by Djokovic. You were supposed to be able to run faster and longer than gimpy old man Hewitt (who had one leg for half the match)! But as it is, Ferrer CAN run faster and harder but Hewitt had the edge over him in arsenal and shots, as well as guts and heart and spleen. Lord F had his chances in the second-set tiebreaker, but suffered mental lapses to allow Djokovic to take control and take the set. Might have been different if he had been able to take a set…but he didn’t and went down tamely in the 3rd.

So for the third time in the last 4 Slams – the Top 4 is in the semis. I honestly think the depth in the men’s game – when it comes to the Top 4 – is probably the best it has been in recent years. Of course, I still think #3 is the tops. 🙂

5)      The unlikely quarter-finals between Shrieky Sharapova/Ekaterina Makarova and Petra Kvitova/Sara Errani yielded the likely results. I thought Makarova had half a chance seeing she was spectacular against Vera (I didn’t see the Serena match) but Shrieky was simply too good for her. Kvitova, however, didn’t play well, but it was enough to beat Errani in straights. But if she doesn’t pick up her game today against Shrieky…I think she’s goners for sure.

6)      Azarenka outhit and outshriek Radwanska to make the second semi-final and Kimmie beat Wozniacki as expected. I know Woz was number 1, but her game just isn’t good enough to combat Kim’s power hitting and aggressiveness. In losing to Kim, she loses the number 1 ranking, thus ending the complaining and discussion of a Slamless #1…for now. When AO is over, the WTA #1 will be a Slammy one – because it would either be Kvitova, Sharapova or Azarenka. And Azarenka will have to win AO to assume that spot.  Hip hip hooray  – no more mocking the WTA for a while at least!

And on we roll to Semis Day 1. (Get your frazzlepants on)

– PJ

Australian Open 2012: Preview (by PJ)

Australian Open is a mere 36 hours away, and whilst it may seem late to report breaking news…I’m going to caption it as such, anyway.

BREAKING NEWS: FEDERER AND DJOKOVIC ON OPPOSITE SIDES OF THE DRAW.

For the first time since RG2005, apparently!

Seems like le Tennis Gods decided to prove me wrong and plop these two on the opposite side of the draw. Best thing ever to happen? Errr…rightio, let’s get on with the usual Open preview…

Federer’s Quarter

I know I said I will spork myself if Federer lands in Djoko’s half of the draw again, so I was quite happy when I saw that he was in Rafa’s half. A decision that I may truly truly regret in the event both of ‘em lives up to their seeding, so…

Anyway, Federer’s draw looks fairly manageable…a qualifier first round, probably Andreas Beck second round, Jurgen Melzer/Ivo Karlovic third round…then it gets tricky. He will potentially plays my other favourite Crazy Dolgopolov…who, on one of his genius days, can prove to be very difficult (as Bobby Sod Soderling will readily tell you). As of now, crazyass days happen more often than genius days so we shall see. His other possible R4 opponent is Bratface Tomic (ugh). His QF opponent by ranking will be Mardy Fish, or perhaps more realistically, Juan Martin del Potro. I still have US Open angst/fear/blah blah but hey, I will have faith in the Old Man, definitely.

And then. Rafa. *twiddles thumbs and frazzles like a madwoman*

The lolcat on the fence. It clearly has deep, vested meanings.

Rafa’s Quarter

On paper, it sorta looks like a joke because Rafa could potentially play 3 qualifiers in the first three rounds. Upon closer scrutiny…well, it’s still somewhat a sweet bakery treat draw. He plays a qualifier, and then maybe Tommy Haas, and then Ivan Ljubicic. Haasi and Papa Ljubs are no longer the players they were, and much as I like to live in Delusion Land, they will not even remotely trouble Rafa. R4 sees Rafa potentially playing minion Feli Lopez or John Isner. If anyone thinks Isner can maybe take out Rafa based on RG last year…come join me in Delusion Land. His QF opponent is Big Berd…which is…uh…urmm…Berd (draw your own conclusions).

And then. Fed. *twiddles thumbs and frazzles like a madwoman*

Djokovic’s Quarter

Easy first round, easy second round, and then possibly Steps the Worm (easy third round), and then probably Milos Raonic, the Serve It Kid. Do I think Raonic will beat Djokovic? No. Will Raonic trouble him? Perhaps. And then for QFs it’ll be minion Tipsarevic or basketcase Reeshie (easy QFs in that case) but by seeding, it’ll be Lord F Ferrer

Not discounting or asterisking Lord F’s amazing win last year…but let’s face it, it’ll be a rather different Djokovic this time round, especially mentally. Honestly I don’t think this is a draw he will be unhappy with.

And then he will bro it up with his man Muzzface in the semis. May they kill each other.

Special mention: Andy Roddick is a potential 4th round opponent…although the days of Djokovic being Roddick’s bunny were long gone. But Roddick will have to battle through Lleyton Hewitt in a second-round match (should they both get there) – where I will be put through emotional torture, not unlike Hewitt/Nalbandian from last year. Sobs.

Muzzface’s Quarter

Talk about not easy. Okay, it’s kinda tough. First up he faces Ryan Harrison – who may or may not be troublesome, depending on his fire. But certainly not the easiest of first rounds. And then it’ll be Xavier Malisse, followed by Michael Llodra/talented headcase Gulbis/Bogomolov Jr. R4 sees him taking on Gael Monfils…which on a good day can beat anyone, and on a bad day (which happens 65.78% of the time) just ends up beating himself, and then some.

Possibly Muzz has the toughest QF opponent in Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. He’s coming off a strong indoor season and has not lost to anyone not named Roger Federer since Paris. Will be tough for MAndy, but with Mr.Lendl in his corner, let’s see they can come up with.

And then he will bro it up with his man Djoko in the semis. May they murder each other.

You all know who I want to win. Realistically who do I think will win? In the spirit of anti-jinxing and the such, I’m not saying anything.

For the laydees:

Woz’s Quarter

If Woz wants her first Slam, she gotta tough it out…with Lucie Sarafova in the third round, Glitter Gal JJ in the fourth round, defending champ Mama Kim or Li Na in the QFs. All equally capable of taking her out on a good day…or even on a not-so-good day (hahha déjà vu).

Semis? Shrieky Sharapova.

Let’s hope she stays away from kangaroos this year…their bites/kicks can be mean.

Kvitova’s Quarter

Scarily in form in Sydney – even if she lost to Li Na in the semis – so Petra comes in as a smokin’ hot favourite. Although she has Maria Kirilenko and Ana Ivanovic lurking around, they shouldn’t be any trouble at all, and her first test should come in the QFs, either against Sammy Stosur or Hamster Bartoli. If she plays the way she did in Sydney – barring any mental implosion – she’ll get through.

Semis? Screechy Vika.

Vika’s Quarter

Coming off a win in Sydney, she’s also considered a favourite. Seeds in the early rounds are Flavia Pennetta (whose form is still dubious due to a back injury in Auckland) and Peng Shuai, before running into the likes of Frannny Schiavone/Julia Goerges or more realistically, Agnieszka Radwanska. If everything of Vika’s is on song – her game, her brain and her screeches – she should be fine.

Semis? Barky Petra.

Maria’s Quarter

Boy oh boy, poor Shrieky. She opens against Gisela Dulko, who is very very fond of that whole creating upsets thing in Slams (and subsequently losing tamely in the next round). If she gets through Dulko, she should be okay for R2/R3 and then she’ll run into Sabine Liscki or Svetlana Kuznetsova. We need no reminding of what Kuznetsova could do when her brain’s on the right dial. Should Shrieky survive Sveta…Serena Williams looms in the QFs, or Vera Zvonareva according to seeing. Tough, tough road indeed.

Semis? Kangaroo Woz.

——

Full speed ahead, y’all!  As usual, we’re riding and dying with the Grandpa Express!!

Frazzly yours
PJ

US Open Second Week Preview (by Matt)

Rather than look at the order of play for each day – come on, what’s to say about that Tipsarevic-Ferrero match or that Kerber-Pennetta quarterfinal? (others can guest blog-post on those kinds of matches…) – I prefer to look at the entire second week of a major tournament.

The storylines?

Sure, we can start in the fourth round, but let’s then work through the rest of the week to provide an overview of the stakes in New York for several different kinds of players.

So, about that fourth round: Fish versus Tsonga. That’s the match the Picket Fence will be leaning on. It’s a fascinating match, and it is rightly the third match of the day session on Ashe Stadium, meaning that it’s being treated as the featured match of the day by the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and CBS television, the American broadcast network which chooses the matches it wants for the three-day holiday weekend.

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US Open 2011 (by PJ): Preview

Hello to Picket Fence readers! Fence Hijacker PJ here, blogging on the behalf of World Class Traveller Doots. I’m one of the few with the coveted Key to the Fence (MUAHAHHAHHA HEWITTPORN…no, I’m kidding. Really.) and for now, I’m also one of the few bringing you US Open updates, news and bloggage.

Also, I am open to bribes – cash, chocolates, certain pair of Pants, blood, your first-born – if y’all want Federporn.

So! US Open preview. Honestly I just want to type FUCK YOU TENNIS GODS AND THAT IS ALL for the preview, but…hey, let’s make this as proper as possible.

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Picspam: Personality of table salt.

Oh I do like it when perfectly nice, boring people get together to form a perfectly nice, boring couple who do perfectly nice, boring things. Pity Rory hasn’t managed to teach Table Salt how to win a major.

Or a match even.

 

Wogers Cup Preview

Wozniacki’s quarter

With the last minute withdrawal of Venus, Wozniacki’s draw is still packed with land mines, with Wicky, Ana, Cibulkova, Stosur early on. Roland Garros champion, the newly crowned Miss Popular with the sponsors, Li Na is the second highest seed in this quarter and set to play only her 5th match since Roland Garros.

As for how she’ll do this US Open series, your guess is as good as mine. Personally, I think Li might be tempted to go on a mental offseason early this year.

Vera’s quarter

The draw gods so like to have their little giggles that they’ve put ARad – Vera’s latest conqueror, in the same section of the draw as her. After her winning her first premier title in San Diego earlier today, Aga told the press that she had high hopes for the US Open. By “high hopes”, she ‘only’ meant semifinals.

“I was pretty close [to reaching a Grand Slam semifinal] a few times, but I was always against top players and it was always close,” she told reporters. “But I think I can do it, and if I play like that, for sure.”

While no one denies that she has the guile to slay a top seed now and then, whether she’ll ever get past her quarterfinal voodoo is another matter, especially when more power ball machines such as Azarenka has had enough trouble shaking off their quarterfinalist fate at slam level.

Other than ARad, power rules in Vera’s quarter, with Jarka/Petrova, Petkovic and Kvitova lurking pleasantly around the corner like a couple of blast-ended skrewts. Oh joy.

Azarenka’s quarter

BYO earplugs and heavy metal music, for this is the screechers’ quarter. Vika is due to face my compatriot Dokic first up, followed by Flavs/Kiri, Dani and yes – the original Screecher herself, Maria Sharapova.

Meanwhile, keep an eye out on Marion Bartoli, who’s on ambitious hamster rampage to become the WTA player with the most wins this season.

Clijsters’ quarter

Jankovic and Serena, Clijsters. Crammed into one tiny 16th of  fulsome awesomesauce, or bitter disappointment. The road doesn’t get easier on Franny’s end of the quarter, with the winner of Maka and home favourite Marino first up, and Sveta (oh remember her?) or Safarova in the 16th.

Satan’s quarter

First of all – because I’m a petty and ridiculous human being – I’d just like to say how much the above picture makes me feel awesome about myself and my unfailing ability to ERASE INCRIMINATING PHOTOS OF MYSELF FROM EXISTENCE.

But back to the tennis and Satan has scored himself a Satanic draw from HELL with Davydenko first up, followed by Cilic/Del Potro, and the winner of Trotsky/Isner/Monfils.

Watch my face: *ECSTATIC JOY*

Birthday Boy’s quarter

McFed may not have landed himself with a McDraw, with a Tsonga rematch hovering in the distance like a dementor upon all our souls, but it’s the kind of draw that could send sparks flying.

More intriguing than Jo-Willy would be an inter tennis-generational clash between Tomic and Federer, which – incidentally – would build some hype over the Australia-Switzerland Davis Cup tie in Sydney in September. Gasquet or Almagro bookend the quarter. It’s not a breezy sashay in the park, but it’s doable and challenging, which is a problem only of the first world kind.

(That said, Woger – if you lose to Tsonga again, I will personally pole vault my way to Montreal and chase you down with a wok in hand. No pressure.)

Toothface’s quarter

Oh yeth. You bet your ass that I'm recycling this little baby for all eternity.

Farty and Toothface sandwich this quarter of sheer whack, with match ups between Wawrinka v Nalbandian, Lopez v Stepanek, Llodra and Youzhny. Ooooof. I feel like a connoisseur just typing those names out.

Wafa’s quarter

Possibly interesting first round against Dodig, while Baldasco and Tipsy battle it out for the title of the ATP’s Favourite Minion.

On the other side of the quarter, Berdych (how is this guy still in the top 10?) takes on Dolgopolurve early, and hopefully, with a bit of cray-cray from Dolgo, we might say bye-bye to Berdy extra early in Montreal.

Oh yeah, apparently, Tommy Haas is still playing tennis. Who knew?

Play kicks off in a few ungodly Australian hours. Until then, bonne nuit!

xx doots

RG2011 Day 4 (by PJ): A Recap as Quick as Federer’s Match

So. How hot was Woger McFed yesterday? Almost as hot as the chilli peppers his red shirt is modelled after? Hotter even? YESH.

Pants was in no mood to be stretched yesterday, breezing through his second-round match on sunny Lenglen over French wildcard Maxime Teixeira in very comfortable straight sets. There was a slightly dodgy and wobbly moment from Fed in the first set, when he failed to consolidate an early break (which Teixeira donated with two double-faults – understandably overwhelmed by the man across the net), but after that, it was pretty much The Roger Federer Show.

Reeling off 13 games in a row and dishing out a bagel in the second, a pretzel in the third, Roger smacked 33 winners to Teixeira’s 15, and produced a nice, dazzling little show for the Lenglen crowd, all wrapped up before lunchtime.

It’s okay, Teixeira, you may not be as hot as Federer – looks wise and game-wise – but you’re cute in your own way. And from what I’ve seen of him yesterday, he has a good game to work with, so watch out for him on the circuit.

Because I have nothing more constructive to say about the match – other than it is wonderfully relaxing to see Fed in his flowy, ballet-y, non-Ferdy mode, have some porn pictures instead.


Probably the only time in my life I wish I’m a towel.

By the way, Tennis Gods – if you let all his matches be frazzle-free LIKE THIS all the way to him lifting Coupe des Mousquetaires – I’ll give you my first born. And blood. Basically, yanno, WHATEVER YOU WANT.

Ahem. Anyway, onto the rest of the field:

1)      Lord Farquaad Ferrer, Fed’s fairly feisty (potentially) QF opponent of the future, dumped Julien Benneteau in straights, as expected. Yep, it’s all working fineee for little Daveeeed.

2)      Benneteau’s French compatriots did better though – Gael Monfils, Reeshie “Baby Fed” Gasquet and Jo-Wills Tsonga all through to the third round. La Monf and Reeshie had to showcase some French headcasey-ness before winning though – Monf was served a breadstick by unheralded Guillaume Rufin and Reeshie dropped the first set to Marcel Granola Bar before winning in four. The last Frenchie in action, Stephane Robert, however, bowed out to Fab Fog in straights – as expected, he didn’t go far after scalping Big Berd.

3)      Victor Hanescu did well to hang with Djokovic neck to neck until the point when he was serving to stay in the set – he blinked, and it was all over. Not that it matters in the end, because he was forced to retire in the third set with a leg injury.  So the Satanic Streak lives for another day.

4)      Comeback Kid Del Potro on his comeback trail, blasted past Blaz Kavcic, and despite a small struggle at the end of the third, he prevailed to take the match in straight sets. He’s next presented with the chance to perform some exorcism, as he meets Satan Djokovic next in what was touted as the Mother of All 3rd Rounds.

5)      Fed’s third round opponent would be Janko Tipsarevic, after he disposed of Pere Riba in straights. Urm, I’ll frazzle about that tomorrow.

6)      Other men’s seeds survived the day as well, notedly Other Swiss Ewok Wawrinka and Headclobber Youzhny. Belgian qualifer Steve Darcis scored another surprise win over higher-ranked Philipp Petzschner.

7)      Aussie laydees continued their run, with Slammin’ Sammy flattening Simona Halep and Anastasia Rodionova overcoming Edina Gallovits-Hall. Y’know, I may be deluded but I am really hoping to see Sam in the final, and perhaps finally overcoming The Finals Demon to take the trophy. But, long way to go yet.

8)      Sabine Lisicki was on the verge on creating a huge upset when she was serving for the match against Vera Zvonareva, but then injury and cramps settled in. She eventually lost the third set 7-5 and was in so much pain that she was carried off court in a stretcher. Props to her for not retiring, but it’s truly painful to see a once-promising player hampered by so many injuries/physical ailments.

9)      Milos Raonic may have lost, but Rebecca Marino continues to fly the Canadian flag, beating Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez in three sets. There may come a day yet, when Canadian tennis will outshine American tennis…possibly…

10)       Most of the seeds, including Kangaroo Woz, Franny Schiavone and Svetlana Craaaaay are all comfortably through to the next round.

11)      And oh, a little tribute to the doubles pair that I actually care about: The Ponytails Express of Dolgopolov/Malisse dumped the 12th seeds Mark Knowles/Michal Mertinak. Roll on, Ponytails!

That’s the wrap for Day 4! Enjoy Day 5, y’all! Will Andujar pull an Isner? Can Bolelli pull off an upset Will Verdasco’s Hair outplay Malisse’s Ponytail Bun? Will the eccentric and erratic Dolgopolov be able to at least match his result from his debut French Open last year? Intriguing!

(For the record – my answers: NOPE, HAHA NO, MAYBE WHO KNOWS, OH GOD PLEASE WIN)

– PJ

Frazzle Post: Madrid Open

Men’s draw preview
  1. Rafa’s quarter: lots of people not named Rafael Nadal.
  2. Adorkable’s quarter: I’m sorry. Whut? WHUT?! WHUWHUWHUT?! Excuse me while I give Federbear a good kick where the sun don’t shine because WHAT KINDUVA FRACKITY FRACK FRACK DRAW IS THIS?! Provided that he gets past Raonic/Lopez FIRST MATCH, then a mildly rejuvenated Fernando Hair Fiasco second, our Darling Wodge will face the prospect of playing Almug, Jo-Willy or Zod. And should he battle vigorously into the semi, the Clay Monster himself awaits. Curse you tennis gods! I wish you a million constipated nights.
  3. Toothface’s quarter: Berdy and Toothface bookend this quarter like Crabbe and Goyle, but in between them, Monfils plays the fools, Dayvo brings the humour, Gillou has eyes like Icelandic lagoons, and Bellucci has the Golden Gate Bridge for a nose. Colour me interested.
  4. Satan’s quarter: Satan made a good choice pulling out of Monte Carlo. Not only did he extend his winning streak by an extra tournament at the very least (let’s face it – he ain’t gonna lose the Mama Djokovic Open), but he also gave himself a break to recover from winner’s fatigue and avoid facing the clay monster a week out from Miami. While Rafa may be seemingly back to normal programming this year, you get this feeling that Satan and Lord Farquaad are just ready to battle it out for the title of the Second Best Clay Courter of 2011. I’m not sure that Djoko will give Nadal a run for his kneecaps though. The clay season never turns out to be as intriguing as we want it to be. Satan and Farquaad aside, this quarter boasts a sea of minions, also known as Chela, My-Friend-Stanley, JCF, Ernie Gulbiscuit.

Full draw here

Ladies’ draw preview

  1. Woz’s quarter: who thinks Stosur is going to get past Dulko? I have an ominous feeling that no amount of “oi oi ois” can save her from Dulko’s giant slaying voodoo. Potential upset aside, Hamster, Julia the Gorgeous and Dinara keep it relevant, but I don’t expect anyone other than Woz to come through.
  2. Vika’s quarter: Dushevina first round probably wasn’t the draw Vika wanted, but she could’ve done worse with the other choices in her quarter – Flavs, Petko, A-Rad, Kiri and the newly single Jarka Gajdosova, not to mention the inimitable Lady Jaja.
  3. Franny’s quarter: my three lady crushes – Franny, Li Na, and MJMS – all crammed into a teenyweeny quarter. WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS ABOMINATION OF A DRAW, TENNIS GODS?! But Einstein once concluded for all mankind – for every awesome, there is an equal and opposite blah: Benesova, Petrova and Fistpumpovic are the other notable players in this quarter.
  4. Vera’s quarter: talking about awesome, I LOVE THIS QUARTER SO MUCH I want to propose to it in Kenya and kiss it TWICE on a balcony. Why, you ask? As if you needed reasons for TRUE LOVE. But just in case you did: Sharpie, Cilbulkova,Khooooze, Makarova, Wicky and Nutty Patty, Kvitova and Vera Zvoom Zvoom. Need I say more?