1. Excuse the lack of bloggage. Not only are work and my Bachelorette degrees owning my ass right now, it’s the clay season, and my mind wanders (mind you, not to snooker), but it wanders nonetheless.
2. She may be diminutive in height, but Justine Henin was a colossus in Stuttgart, winning her first title since returning from her ‘retirement’. It also puts her at No 1 in the Sony Ericsson Championships race ahead of Venus and Serena and raises the million dollar question: can Henin end the year as No 1?
“I thought about a comeback when I saw Roger Federer win the French Open (for the first time last year). This brought back the fire,” she said.
Shocker of a second set aside, it was vintage Henin on all the big points, as she ended Stosur’s winning streak 6-4, 2-6, 6-1. I see no reason to nitpick her tennis, not when she’s just taken out Yanina Wickmayer, Jelena Jankovic and Sam Stosur back-to-back in a tournament that featured 7 of the world’s top 10 player.
3. As for Sammy, to be honest, a slight let-down at this point was exactly what she needed. Winning Stuttgart might’ve actually sent her quiet, introverted self into freak-out mode over the possibility of something grand. Grand and slammin’, that is.
And we wouldn’t want that.
With a title and a final to start her clay season, Stosur has pulled out of Rome to rest her sore arms. Good girl.
4. Rafa won Rome. Yay!
3. Oh wait … Were you looking for “commentary”? Umm, were you?
Didn’t watch a single point of the Rome final.
As far as the tournament was concerned, Ernie was the wild card, Wawrinka might’ve, could’ve but ultimately wouldn’t have. But you’d have to be delusional to think anyone from the so-called Armada is capable of pushing and then closing out a match against Rafa. Not unless Rafa was going into the match on one leg.
So the narrative of yesteryear ensues – Rafa and Justine reign supreme on clay. And frankly, after the frightening tennis plots of last two years, we could all use a little stability.
4. Notable mentions of the week: Iveta Benesova won her second career title in Fes, defeating French junior champ/breast reduction girl Simona Halep 6-4, 6-2. I say ‘notable’, because it was only Halep’s third tournament in the WTA main draw and her first ever WTA tour final at the age of 18. Someone’s star is rising.
5. Not to be lost in the fine print: Iveta’s 63 46 75 semifinal win against Alize Cornet was a welcomed sight. For these two “could’ve beens” of the WTA, good weeks are now few and far between.
6. While I’ve barely had time to review last week’s actions, the WTA tournament in Rome has realdy kicked off, with Sveta Kuznetsova becoming the first major casualty in her 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 loss to MariKiri.
With this loss, Sveta descends onto a shiny 7-7 win/loss record in 2010, and has yet to win 3 matches in a row since the Australian Open. But then again, neither has Fed. The Roland Garros voodoo has struck.
7. In other first-round action, local hopes Flavs and Franny both progressed into the second round – Schiavone with a bit of a struggle against Daniela Hantuchova, eventually wining 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.
Ana Ivanovic made news by actually winning a match, and winning it easy -sailing past E.Vesnina 6-1, 6-3. She faces Vika next.
With injuries stalking Azarenka these days, I say Miss Muffin is overdue for a much needed scalp.
8. Things not to do while drunk: watch Roger Federer play tennis in 3D.
MEO, the cable channel from Portugal Telecom, will broadcast for the first time a national event live in 3D.
It will also be the first 3D broadcast from an ATP World Tour event. Roger Federer’s first singles match is to be broadcast in 3D on Wednesday, in what will be a historic day for Portuguese television and tennis broadcasting.
Homes with 3D television sets and spectators on-site at the Estadio Nacional, will be able to also watch the semi-finals and final.
Source: Estoril website
Right … that’s exactly what delusional monkey-loving Fedophiles need: Roger Federer sashaying around in their living rooms with his moobies and swirly hair.
It’s not so much an assault on the senses as a cold-hearted murder. Oh my poor ovaries. 😦
1. How much does Rafael Nadal want to win Monte Carlo? As much as Sue Sylvester wants non-Sneaky Gays, more than an obese person wants hot chips with chicken salt and North American Federer fans want their Federporn delivered on Thursdays.
Analogies, I’m terrible at them. He wants it bad is what I’m saying.
Two matches, 2 breadsticks, 2 bagels. They don’t come served steaming hot with Swiss cheese, but that’s not to say they’re not just as a good. As far as I’m concerned, they’re better that way.
2. 5 Spaniards in the final 8 in Monte Carlo. Someone once told me that Spanish players are white shirts to French players’ tie-dyes. Outside Nadal and – for mostly nostalgic reasons – JCF, not a lot of them catch my eye.
Well … at least not in any professional way.
Mentioning JCF, he served up some baked goods of his own on route to a 61 36 75 victory over Jo-Wills. The Mossie might be 16-1 on clay this year, but he comes up against an impossible roadblock next: Mr Bakery himself.
“I would love to play him in the semi-final or the final, but right now the draw is like this,” Ferrero told reporters.
“I have more experience. Maybe my serve and my backhand are a little bit better, and physically I’m stronger than in 2003,” he said, although he would not state he was a better player overall.
No, he would not and should not, having only won 2 of his last 8 meetings against Rafa. But he did hit us with this fabulous line.
“I know Rafa very well but we all know he is the number one public enemy on clay.”
Nice one. You’re gonna go down Juanqui, but you’re gonna go down swingin’.
Surprisingly, one Spaniard didn’t make it to the quarterfinals – Tommy Rob, who was dispatched in straight sets by a certain Daveed, 63 64.
Nalbandian smiling on a tennis court generally blows my mind.
Nalbandian smiling on a tennis court with what appears to be Roger Federer’s hair makes my brain combust into a gooey pile of ashes.
WHY MUST YOU DO THIS TO ME?
3. “Upset” of the day, Marin Cilic was booted out of the principality by Montanes 64 64, although I’m not sure how upsetting it really is when a big-serving Croatian loses out to a small and speedy Spaniard. An Australian Open burn-out and movement issues on clay in equal measures.
The upset of the tournament so far, however, goes to Mandy, who made the trip to Monte Carlo in vain, losing his first match to Kohlschreiber. As good as Kohlschreiber is, it has become clear by now that Mandy’s in a psychological funk. The Fed didn’t just defeat him to win the Australian Open crown, he broke him.
But the strange thing with Andy Murray is his incredible self-awareness. He’s always been one to know his own limitations. It’s solely up to Mandy now to unbreak himself out of this lethargy that has been clouding over his tennis since his tears in Melbourne.
Q. Could you compare the moment you are living now, this result, with another moment of your career?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I’ve been – I mean – obviously the last two tournaments have been bad. You know, yeah, it’s been a long time since I lost a couple of matches like this.
But I think, you know, I have to make sure that, uhm, you know, I don’t panic. You know, everyone I think can go through periods where they don’t play well. You know, I’ve lost to good players. Obviously, the score line has not been very close in the last couple of matches.
I just need to start playing better. It’s probably been a couple of years. Last year, the whole year, I was very consistent. The years before that, I was a little bit inconsistent. But I need to try and find that again and find my consistency, then I’ll start to play well.
No reason to panic for Muzz fans – if he has any, I suspect a small part of him is living for the July-September stretch of the season already. Bizarrely enough, sometimes I feel that more so than perhaps even Federer, Andy Murray is the one player at a stage in his career where he cares only about majors.
Because he ran out of things to prove elsewhere a year ago.
4. Excuse the total lack of WTA coverage, usually women’s tennis interests me a lot more than men’s tennis during the clay season.
It’s been so far so good for the top seeds in Charleston, as Wozniacki (def Schnyder), Petrova (def Wozniak), Jankovic (def Rodina) and Zvonareva (Bondarenko) all progressed into the quarterfinals in straight sets. Peng Peng Shuai Shuai and Dani Hantuchova are also in their first clay quarterfinals of the year, as they wrapped up their wins over Vesnina and Angelique Kerber respectively in 3.
As I write this, Sam Stosur is up 3-0 in the final set, after taking the first set 6-1 but conceding the second 3-6 against Vera Dush.
Slam her, Sammy!
Over in Barcelona, Franny defeated local favourite CSN for a place in the semi, while Shvedova, Dulgheru and Vinci all came through their quarterfinals in straight sets in front of what seems like a total of 5 spectators.
Small revelation while I was streaming Barcelona yesterday – Roberta Vinci = vastly underrated player. Amongst her, Franny and Flavs, the Italians have one stylish Fed Cup team.
5. Time to file that restraining order Jelena, Daddy’s on parole.
The AP is reporting that the Serbian court has freed Damir Dokic on parole. Dokic was convicted of threatening to blow up the Australian ambassador and sentenced to 15 months in prison. That sentence was later reduced to 12 months. Dokic was released on Thursday.
1. Fire! Water! Air! Earth!
No, it’s not some weird Captain Planet cult invented by Gen-Y Federer fans, just the new Wilson BLX racket.
You know you’re suffering from Federer withdrawal if you watched the entire thing despite the annoying voice and the background that looks like it was stolen from a TV promo for ‘Charmed‘.
Advertising fail, Wilson.
2. More on the earthquake in Chile: Gonzo has told the Chilean press that he might pull out of Indian Wells to raise money for Chile’s earthquake victims.
“What I want is to help, and I’m looking at the possibility of not going to play at Indian Wells and to stay in Chile to help.
“I have several ideas and in a couple of weeks I’ll try to do something to generate resources. I want to send a message of hope to all of Chile. What does not kill strengthens. I have received many messages from my colleagues, including Roger Federer, who is very concerned about what happened in Chile. I hope that we pull through this.”
Gonzo also asked his countrymen to stop the looting. “There are more important things than to go looting, we should all be united,” said Gonzalez, adding that he will try to raise Chilean spirits by leading them to a Davis Cup victory. “I hope to win and so give a little joy to our country is suffering so much.” [Chile’s DC tie against Israel has be rescheduled to start on Saturday]
He might act like an asshole on court at times, but Fernando Gonzalez is a decent guy who’ll do anything for his country. If you didn’t know that already from his performances at the Olympics.
You know who else is a decent guy? The Swissy who messaged his colleague out of concern.
3. Talk about earthquakes, the tectonic plates need to calm down.
After Haiti and Chile, Taiwan has also been hit by a 6.4-magnitude earthquake in the South. There is widespread damage and disruptions to communications around the island. Local news reports said several people were injured.
The Chinese Taipei Davis Cup team is in Melbourne, preparing for their tie against Australia this weekend.
4. Will he or won’t he?
First, Nalby tells the press that he’ll play Davis Cup on a wheelchair if he has to. Then he pulls out. Now, it seems that Bandy will be making an appearance after all in Argentina’s tie against Sweden. He’s down for doubles, but may play a singles rubber if things get close.
5. Indian Wells wild cards have been issued to Henin, Moya, Nalbandian, Ginepri, McHale, Glatch, Mattek-Sands, Molik, Daniilidou, Paszek, Ryan Harrison and Alja Tomljanovic.
Perfect. All need we – apart from a picket fence – is for TMF to make an appearance too.
6. Mentioning Indian Wells, casualties so far: Vesnina, Mirza and – I believe – the newly Americanised Tommy Haas. Haas recently underwent surgery on his right hip and is expected to be sidelined for up to 6 weeks, or – as retirement gossip has it -forever.
7. More pictures from Ethiopia, courtesy of SI.
A little medicine for all your withdrawal symptoms. ‘Cause I’m thoughtful like that. 😉
Fenando Verdasco has made up for his lackluster American hard court season by defeating US Open series winner/dud Sam Querrey in the final, 6-4 7-6.
Verdasco has developed a habit of choking lately (well, not just lately). After cruising through the first set and getting an early double-break in the second, Nando bizarrely lost momentum. The Samurai fought back to level the set and force a tiebreak. Querrey then led briefly in the tiebreak at 4-2, before a timely double fault and some tenacious play by Nando closed out the match in straight sets for him.
Nothing against Samurai, but seeing him win the US Open series gives me the same feeling I had when Safina ascended the No 1 throne – totally unimpressed. Querrey is 1-5 in finals this year.
AP Photo/Bob Child
Equally unimpressed I was with Nando’s Federeresque mid-part, and try-hard “FeVer” monogram.
I do love his smile and his shiny teeth though…
AP Photo/Fred Beckham
What a lovely way to burn….
On the women’s side of things, Caroline Wozniacki became the first woman since Venus in 2002 to defend the women’s title in New Haven, defeating Elena Vesnina 6-2 6-4. It says nothing, however, about her actual chances at the Open.
CWoz possesses JJ-like consistency away from the slams, but inevitably always falls third or fouth round at a major to some other bright young thang with bigger weapons and more gusty play than her. That’s unlikely to change unless she develops more shots that resemble what one would call a ‘weapon’.
I’d love to see her make a semi at the Open though. She is the ultimate “bright young thing” after all.
Fever with thy flaming youth,