Tag Archive | Feliciano Lopez

Wimbledon: Week 1 Tidbits

1. With some players, it’s love at first sight. Some floor you with a single performance. But some players grow on you like warts and moles. They may not have been your favourites to start off with, but as they approach the autumn of their careers, you realise that even without ever actively liking them, they’ve become part of some of your best tennis memories.

Andy Roddick is a wart. Having been bored by his game and stardom for almost all of his career, I found myself feeling desperately anxious for his future as he was knocked out 76 76 64 by Deliciano, a player he has never lost to before in 7 attempts.

This is not to discount the astounding performance from Lopez, who showed some uncharacterstic shallots to win the first two tiebreaks, meticulously plating up 28 aces and 57 winners on Centre Court. A minor upset this may be, the result actually reflects Deliciano’s form of late, which has mostly been obscured by some close losses – to Roddick by the narrowest of margins in Queens, and to Federer at Roland Garros and (rather epically) in Madrid. Read More…

RG2011 Day 2 (by PJ): Chilli Pepper Red

Hijacking commencing…HIJACKED!

Hola, loyal Fence sitters readers. Yes, you’re again stuck with some of my guest blogging for this year’s French Open. With Dootsie facing exams, interviews, working a zillion jobs a week and preparing for her big exchange and trip-round-the-world, I’ve been asked to give our favourite Aussie Federbitch a hand in maintaining the Fence for this Slam Season.

So, Day Two of the French saw our beloved Roger Federpants taking on Feliciano Lopez for his opening match. I’m sure we all don’t need reminders on how “Matchpoint Lopez” took Fed to three TBs in Madrid. To be honest, I wasn’t THAT concerned, simply because – well, I don’t think Feli can hang with Fed in best-of-five, in a Grand Slam setting. That being said, I wasn’t exactly doing jumping jacks of joy, for Deliciano IS tricky, and is probably one of the least-wanted person for a first-round match-up for any play. I expected a fight, because I know Feli wasn’t going to go away easily.

Roger had breakpoints in Feli’s very first service game of the match – 4 break points in fact – and he sort of farted two, and Feli saved two with some solid serving. Have to admit that I did feel a slight sense of OH MAH GAH CRAP when Fed didn’t manage to convert – thought that he’d get broken in his next service game. He didn’t, though (thank you for proving me wrong, darling!) and he did well to convert his 5th breakpoint late in the set – and served out the set with relative ease.

Set 2 was as straightforward as it gets as well – for Roger, anyway. Again, he had a couple of break points in Feli’s opening service game, and again, he didn’t manage to convert, and again, another opportunity came later in the set where he managed to capitalise, convert and then clinched the set.

Set 3 was more neck-to-neck, with Feli and Fed piling the pressure onto each other. No break points were offered, and inevitably it was to be decided in a tie-breaker. Feli gave up two mini-breaks through some pretty uninspiring play, although he got one back on Fed’s serve. But then Feli double-faulted to give Roger match point, which he happily took it with an ace – game, set, match, FEDERPANTS, through in straight sets in two hours.

As far as a round 1 match goes, it was a good match. Feli actually played quite well, but just couldn’t keep it together well enough to pressure Roger like he did in Madrid. Momentary lapses and a couple of loose points by him was all it took for Roger to pounce. And Roger played a good, solid match – with more than just a couple of breath-taking plays of amazeballs (exhibit A, Dootsie’s post just before this).

And also, the Man was looking all gorgeous and fiery in cherry-tomato red. I’m still not sure about the horizontal stripes (I’m not a fan of horizontal stripes – period) but I like the color and the white shorts. Here, you all be the judge.

Obligatory Monkey!Fed photo for drooling purposes…

On other players, in tid-bit format:

1)      The SHOCKING Win of the Day: French qualifier Stephane Robert beat Big Berd Tomas, semi-finalist from last year in 5 sets. What made it even more BWUZZAH HUH was the fact that Berd was up TWO sets to love. He led by a break in the 5th set, and had one match point, but couldn’t find a way to win. Robert, a veteran at age 31, ranked 140 in the world, has never beaten a top-10 player, never won a main-draw match in Paris, never won a 5-setter. To call this the biggest win of his life may be a mild understatement even.

I tuned in to a bit of the final set in between watching Fed and Feli – and Robert was just giving it absolutely everything – really really gutsy play that paid off more often than not, props to him. The French crowd was 101% behind him (which helped) but the mental collapse of Berdych in sets 3 and 4 is kind of puzzling. To lose in this fashion – to a qualifier – was even more Old Berdych than the Old Berdych, if you get what I mean. Although I kind of doubted whether did the New Berdych really arrived, or it was just Old Berdych in a fancy suit for a couple of months. Anyway, congrats to Robert – but I have a feeling he won’t get too far.

2)      The Crowd-pleasing Win of the Day: Everyone’s favourite comeback kid Juan Martin Del Potro defeated Dr.Ivo Karlovic in four sets. A tight contest in the first which saw the Doctor prevailing in the TB, and then relatively straightforward for JDMP to break once in each of the following sets to win the match. JDMP did waste like a zillion break points (obviously bidding for that exclusive membership into Federer’s special club) but he won in the end, and is now a step closer to the Djokovic 3rd round showdown.

3)      The Whatevs Win of the Day: Satan Djokovic steamrolled Thiemo the Bakery, giving him a pretzel and a breadstick in the process. Streamed about two games of the second set, and Bakery was giving it as much effort as it would take to lift a Styrofoam ball, so that’s that. Speaking of Djokovic – his quarter has just been cleared beautifully with Marin Cilic and Berd both biting the dust…so let’s see if JDMP can do anything here.

4)      The Breaking Aussie Hearts Win of the Day: Carlos Berloq, Argentinean journeyman, gave Bratface Bernard Tomic a lesson on how to play clay-court tennis, bundling out the youngest player in main draw in straights. For the first time since 1949, there will be no Australian men in the second round of the French. Oh Aussie (men’s) tennis…what can you do to shine again?

5)      The Breaking PJ’s Heart Win of the Day: Marsel Ilhan beat Tommy Haas in 4 sets. I guess that’s not unexpected with Haasi barely having any match-play for the last 14 months, but in my little fangirl heart, I hoped. In his post-match conference, Haasi  expressed that he was happy to be able to finish the match, and hinted at possible retirement on the horizon:

I’m just kind of right there where I’m not sure where the body will be. All I try to do is to get it back to a place where I feel really comfortable for a few hours playing a match.”

“And if that’s possible, then I’ll continue to play if I still have some success. And if I know it’s next month or the end of the year that that’s not the case, then I know where I am at and I can make a decision if I continue to play.

Which clearly showed that he was actually not ready to play at all – if he was concerned about just finishing the match. Adding onto the recent injury woes of the likes of Ferrero, Roddick, Hewitt (fine, I admit it…so mock me)…it’s approaching a point where I have to wave goodbye to all my early favourites, which makes me all contemplative and melancholy and sad – although I certainly hope The Ultimate Favourite hangs in there for a few more seasons.

6)      The WHOA-She-Did-It Win of the Day: Anastasia Rodionova beat 25th seed and doubles partner Nadia Petrova in three sets. Even when she was up a break in the 3rd, I fully expected Rodi to brain-cramp, freak out, smash racquets and eventually lose the match. But she didn’t. And she joins Sammy Stosur in the second round – let’s hope Jarka Gajdosova can make it as the third Aussie laydee to advance!

Other tid-bit wraps: Michael Llodra and Milos “Next Big Thing” Raonic are the other men’s seeds to fall – Llodra losing to Belgian qualifier Steve Darcis amidst hissy fits towards the umpire about crowd control, and Raonic to Michael Berrer in 4 sets. It’s pretty disappointing for Raonic in a way – although the red stuff is not his favourite, I did think he would go further. Nikolay “Last Big Thing” Davydenko avoided another first-round slam loss, beating Denis Gremelmayr in straights. Kolya CAN play on this stuff (two-time FO semi-finalist) –  I, for one, really hope he can sustain some semblance of his old form.

It was a relatively smooth day for the ladies’ seeds – top seeds all cruised through comfortably with no notable upsets. Christina McHale and Sara Errani provided the drama for the women though – with McHale leading 5-0 in the deciding set…and promptly ended up losing the match 7-9 in the third. Ouch.

Day 3 sees some exciting match-ups – notably Clay Monster Rafa Nadal taking on Big John Isner, as well as Jarka, Shierky, and MAndy in action. Ryan Harrison scored the last lucky loser spot and will be taking on Bobby Sod (good luck, Ryan, GO BOBBY) and my favourite ponytailed headcase Alexandr Dolgopolov takes on Rainer Schuettler for his first-round match. Dude, don’t make me embark on the journey to quit you because I actually really like you.

Good day of tennis impending!

– PJ

P.S. photos taken from daylife.com

Vid: PHEWWWWW!

I had a bit of a rant on Twitter that inevitably exhausted my Federbear-induced rage.

Having only seen the highlights in hindsight, it’s fair to say that it was probably the best I’ve seen Felopian Tubes play on clay. Remembering also the US Open 2007 fourth round against Federer, or Nadal’s loss at Queens last year, sometimes, that’s what you get against FLopian Tubes. He’ll always be about 80% minion, 15% spunk, and 5% porn star.

Be it fortunately or unfortunately, we got the 15% yesterday.

That said, it was really no excuse for Mister Fuckerer. It wasn’t a solid match to start off a tournament.

I HAVE A PROBLEM with his aversion to breakpoint conversion. I HAVE A PROBLEM with the shanks, the total mindfuck of a second set tiebreak (mind you, Felopian came to play). I HAVE A PROBLEM with him even being taken to a first set tiebreak, or wasting multiple opportunities to finish off the third set much, much earlier than he did.

But above all, I HAVE A HUGE FUCKING PROBLEM with any number of tennis reporters, journos and self-endorsed commentators who suggested after the match that this three set win against an opponent who was redlining his game in the second round of a Masters tournament no one outside Spain has ever heard about or care about, was somehow game over for Fed. That somehow, fans should be quivering fearfully in their knickers, waiting for an inevitable defeat. That somehow, this fits into the greater cosmic balance of the tennis universe.

Oh geez, really? Have we never seen a top player struggle in early rounds of a tournament and survive to tell the tale before?

Or is the logic simply that when Federer is taken to a third set tiebreak, this is just yet another episode of the “Chronicles of Federer’s Decline”? Is he simply not allowed to play a tough match these days without it being seen as some part of a greater narrative of doom and gloom? Moreover, IS THIS WHAT READING THE PRESS IS GOING TO BE LIKE FOR ME IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS?

Had any other player come back from match point down to win in a third set tiebreak today, it would have been a tale of fight and bravado. Unfortunately, Federer is not just any other player. He doesn’t get luxury of being the comeback kid.

For what it’s worth, you should know that I for one, am simply exhilarated to see him save a match point and win a third set tiebreak, instead of wasting match points and coming out the loser. It was this core of steel that saw him to the 2009 Roland Garros and Wimbledon crowns, and ya know what? We’ve lived to see another day.

Madrid Federer1

xx doots

EDIT//

I was wrong. Not everyone in the media is prone to reading too much into everything. Clickey here.

Miami Players Party: Y/N

Sometimes, a mighty, barf-inducing PICSPAM is the only appropriate thing to do. So indulge me, if you could, in a simple game of Yes/No, Yay/Nay, Oui/Non … UNF/URGH!

Well, they say a picture paints a thousand words, so I shall say no more. It’s Miami, it’s tennistical, and IT IS A FASHION-DISASTUHHHH.

64044335


JJ

group

Vika

Vera

ANNAKAY

Vee

Feli

Tsonga

Isn’t it refreshing when a teenager dresses like a teenager? Did Laura Robson get the memo?

Oudin

Hello, I am Sweet Caroline and I just crawled out of a cabbage patch.

Carol

First and last time I’ll say this about Ferrer…

Ferrer

Just the clothes. I swear.

Czechitout

hang on

Swuss

udderly awesome

swisscheese

wally

suitedwodge

(Watermarked photos courtesy of Tennis Panorama)

AO2011 Day 3 & 4: Near-death experience and so on (by PJ)

A couple of days late, but I thought I’ll just string a post to try and keep the AO2011 posts sort of complete.

Day 3 of the tennis…well we all know what happened Day 3 of the tennis. Roger got taken to five sets by Gilles Simon after being up two sets to love.  That was one match that I would not have survived live, I barely survived it watching the TV. However, there ARE people who survived it live, and Head Bitch is one of them. Read her fabulous on-the-spot account as a guest blogger on the SI Blog here, and trust me when I say you really really should.

As for my own account…well. The first set he was playing so well, and second set as well although he did get broken that one time. But there was nothing to signify that Wogiekins would not win this in straights, in fact I was pretty much certain he would. And then Simon upped his level. TREMENDOUSLY. And Federer responded by dropping his level, proceeded to get broken three times (although he broke back twice, but that was not nearly enough innit?) to drop the set.

Truth be told, Simon has always been tricky (2-0 H2H, anyone?) and I wasn’t freaking out too much…until Simon just kept blazing this balls past Federer. Until Federer very visibly began panicking and making stupid shot selections and lost his forehand and backhand. Until he got broken in the fourth. Until he lost the set and got pushed to a fifth. Then I couldn’t take it. It was nearing midnight and I went out for a run in the gardens. Yeah, the possums probably thought I am some crazy insane retard. I came back when it was 2-all, and I literally couldn’t watch it. I couldn’t bear the thought of Roger going out second round, plus I have Sunday tickets and Tuesday quarterfinals, what the fuck am I going to do with those tickets otherwise? I seriously do not think I could enter Melbourne Park again for any kind of tennis knowing he lost in the fucking SECOND ROUND.


When he broke, I was nearly weeping with relief and yet so worried that he was going to get broken back. When he didn’t, all was good. When he held those three match points on Simon’s serve and didn’t manage to close it out, all was not good. When he got to match point and played the most stupid dropshot, all was VERY BAD. When he closed out the match with an ace, I felt like I had just run ten marathons. But he was through. That was all that matters.


All the same, I solemnly swore to lessen my emotional and financial investment in Roger Federer. A promise I obviously didn’t manage to keep…

Other tidbits and observations of Day 3:

1)      Tipsarevic served for the match TWICE against Verdasco, blew both chances, blew the tiebreaker, blew the fifth set. Yes, Tipsarevic really blows.

2)      Kohlscrubber didn’t manage to scrub out the Berd-shit despite taking the first set. But Berdych came back to take the match in four sets. Evidently it was some powerful pigeon shit.

3)      Dimitrov – the 345843th Baby Fed – got taken out by Concubine Fed (Wawrinka) in straights. But it has been a good tournament for him, and I honestly do like the guy’s game. Hope to see him reach a landmark in his career soon.

4)      Mahut lost to Bert Minion Troicki (who then proceeded to retire against Master Bert, WTF). But Mr. Amazing Anime Hair has gained some points through this tournament, so I hope he’ll be able to make the main draw of slams soon.

5)      After beating Davydenko, Florian Mayer crashed out against Nishikori Kei. Dude, you beat Kolya and lost to Nishikori? If you want to.

6)      Roger’s potential 4th round opponent, fondly known as Farty Dish on le Fence, lost to Disco Tommy R. Can’t say I’m surprised. The Fish is just not consistent at all.

7)      Venus pulled a stomach muscle against Scream Girl Zahlavova (boy her screaming was…ear splitting, deafening, screechy) and lost the first set in a tiebreak, but quickly came back to win the match, serving a bagel in the process. And oh, her dress was truly horrifying and kind of very ugly.

And some Day 4 tidbits and observations from yours truly:

1)      Rafa had another slam dunk easy yahoo sleepy match against Ryan Sweeting, giving up only 4 games. Critics say Rafa is in imperious scary form. He may be so, but seriously, you cannot make that assumption based on those two matches.

2)      Deliciano was definitely not delicious in losing to Bratface Tomic in STRAIGHT sets. Bratface reckons he’ll “give Rafa a run for his money”. I say to all of those who will be at RLA tomorrow evening, bring a bread bag to collect freshly baked goods from centre court, courtesy of Rafa.

3)      Mandy Curry was curiously emotional and grouchy while steamrolling Ilya Marchenko.

4)      Nalbandian retired against Berankis after only winning one game. Couldn’t go on, said he was too tired, and too drained. I can picture Lleyton Hewitt dialing CALL-A-HITMAN…

5)      Del Potro put up a fight against Baghdatis, but too little match-play, and a wrist that he was clearly still very concerned about (hence it may not be 100%) saw him exiting in 4 sets. Bagman got the win, and his fans are as annoying as ever.

6)      Bobby Sod continued flying under radar, beating Gilles Muller and achieving his best ever result at Australian Open.

7)      Sammy Stosur put up a wonderful display to trounce Dushevina. She’s looking good, and I hope she’ll go far.

8)      Other Aussie Molik lost to Nadia Petrova, exiting what may be her last Australian Open. Been a decent run for her.

9)      Jankovic unexpectedly lost to Peng Shuai in straight sets. That is a bit flabbergasting, in my opinion.

And that’s all I have to say regarding Day 3 and Day 4. Will try to write a Day 5 post before tomorrow. Caved in and bought ground passes for Day 6…good matches on Margaret Court Arena that I  am kinda stoked about.

Hope y’all are enjoying the tennis!

– PJ

P.S. Photos from daylife.com

Monday Musings

I know. It sucks to lose the first round of a tournament. And it sucks JUST THAT MUCH MORE to lose while wearing this pathetic excuse of a design. On camera, under the sun, the thing was so neon it burnt Feliciano Lopez-shaped holes right through my retinas.

Ouch.

Lopez1

First round Sydney is not where you’d expect there to be a rather epic 3 hour long battle between someone ranked outside the Top 200 in the world and … Feliciano Lopez.

But that “someone” happens to be Juan Martin del Potro, and all the while the match was one, you get the sense that they were fighting for something more than just a win. For del Potro, it was the validation that he was indeed on some sort of comeback trail. It’s never really “official” until you’ve won a match.

For Lopez, he was bizarrely emotional in the match – he always is, of course. But there were moments during the third set where he would miss a shot, pause, and give himself the thumbs up in sarcasm and mockery. As if to say “oh great shot, Felix, that only missed the tramlines by about 2 meters. FABULOUS work at losing this match.”

Tennis, and sports in general, can be masochist. Sometimes, we play to prove something to our harshest critics, which for Feliciano Lopez today was unfortunately himself.

For 3 hrs and 20 minutes, these two men battled with a kind of intensity ill-fitting for a first round match in Sydney. Besides an exchange of serves early in the first set, neither man was broken all match.

Del Potro couldn’t find rhythm on serve or his forehand during much of the first set, but settled down and picked up the pace after the second set. It wasn’t just a matter of rust. There were many moments when – as Del Potro whacked an off-forehand so hard the best Lopez could do was to get a frame on it – you exclaim “oh I remember that“. The shots are there. The shot-selection, on the other hand, was not.

Was it due to his lack of match-fitness? His impatience to win? The fact that he has had trouble with Lopez before? Perhaps a bit of all of the above?

(Yo, Mister Photographer. I really didn’t need this good a look at his nostrils, ya know?)

Delpo2

Lopez had his chances, notwithstanding a match point in the second set tiebreak. His slice stayed low. He finished points off at the net better than most male players these days. He played his typical old school, “unspanish” tennis to the best of his abilities. There was a 4 game period in the third set where he held easily on serve and had numerous points to break Del Potro’s serve. As always, the longer a service game goes on for, the more it evolves to become the keystone of the entire match. Del Potro, however inconsistent, however nervy he was, always found a serve when he needed it. He struggled, he blasted his way through. He went down, he came back in Lopez’s face.

It look DelPoopy some 20 minutes to hold two service games, but by the time it came to the tiebreak, he knew he’s done enough to be given one more chance. Lopez on the other hand, looked up forlornly at the skies and berated the heavens, berated himself, his mind still lingering on the chances he didn’t take, the match point he didn’t win.

And that, was all the difference. 67 76 76.

xx doots

Del Potro

Newsreel: Aren’t you guys taking this BFFs thing a bit too far?

1. While the men’s tour has somewhat settled down during the clay season with the reign in Spain, the only thing reigning on the ovaries side of tennis world is chaos.

Overnight, Carol and Vika both crashed out to Lucie Safarova and Anna Lapushchenkova for a quarterfinal no one expected to get. None of this, however, was that surprising. The BFFs have been struggling with various injuries since starting their clay seasons in the US.

But with Kim Clijsters down with a torn foot muscle, the Williamses largely absent, and Gen-Y ravaged by injuries, Justine Henin should just keep her head down, try not to catch any more volleys at the net, and hope that Sam Stosur implodes under the weight of our Aussie hopes.

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2. Mentioning Stosur, she overcame a slow start to take out Alexa Dulgheru 36 60 62 for a place in the quarters against Li Na. So much talent, but so tempered by sheer mindfuckery. Can’t wait.

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3. Talk about mindfuckery, Justine Henin isn’t one known for her mind blanks, but she barely steadied the ship in time after choking away a 5-1 lead in the second set, squeaking out Wicky in straight sets- 6-3 7-5.

She’ll have to up the ante if she wants to beat Jelena Jankovic next round, who has barely lost games this tournament. But then again, Justine is an experienced Jaja slayer, having won their last 9 meetings.

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4. Dina is back people, as Dinarik. It’s all very confusing.

But since she’s been away for a while and it was her birthday on Tuesday, I’ll play nice: good to see her tough out a win against Agnes Szavay. 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 6-0.

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5. But Dootsie, you can’t just ignore Rome!

Oh yes I can. Sulkysulkysulkysulk.

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6. In off-court news, Deliciano is expecting a Delicianita.

Spanish press confirmed this week that former Miss Spain María José Suárez is between 1-2 months preggers with Deliciano’s child. The pair has been on-and-off for the last 5 years and do not plan on getting back together.

In a recent interview with Hola, Jose Suarez plans to raise the child on her own because she “would rather raise the child in a less hostile, and independent environment”, and admitted that their relationship should have “ended three years ago”.

Indeed. Hell has no fury like a Spanish woman gone hormonal.

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7. Fernando Gonzo may have pulled out of Madrid, still bothered by his knee pains, but make no mistake, dude’s got more tennis left in him.

Gonzo announced today on his website that he’ll be working part-time with Darren Cahill. The pair will begin their partnership the week before the start of the French Open.

Okay Darren, you go work with the poor man’s Fed.

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xx doots

Picspam: All those glances that we stole.

You and me. Could write a rad bromance.

It seems just yesterday that Miami wrapped up with Randy and Kim feeling the good vibrations, suddenly, we’re entering the hustle and bustle part of the clay season as the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters kick off this week.

Much like the principality itself, the tournament threw a lavish players’ party, attended by Rafa, Nole, Jo, the Nandopez (Felicinando?) and the Ljubs.

Raise an eyebrow, if you must, at Rafa’s choice of shoes.

Dapper Jo can do no wrong. He’s bringing out the shoulder-fetish in me these days.

Nole needed his better half present to upstage the competition.

Unfortunately, the security was a tad lax and a couple of hobos managed to crash the party.

Since Rogie and Mirka are going to adopt me, these guys can be my godparents. Have you ever seen anything sweeter?

Mrs Ljubs totally channelling the Mirka vibe there. You go Boss.

xx doots

Picspam: Name these arses.

These amazing photos were sent to me by LJ, who as you know is on-site at the Aus Open this week. Mad props on the photography skilz, gurl. The pictures turned out beautifully.

And you’re clearly focusing on the right things. Take note, Getty Images. 

 

 

 

 

Read More…

Down Under: Back to bedlam.

I was just about to praise the WTA last week for their incredible consistency, with Henin and Clijsters reaching the epic final in Brisbane, while Flavs and Wickmayer battled it out for the Auckland title. 

But take a few key figures out of the picture, and suddenly, we’re back to bedlam on the WTA tour. 

Lady JaJa led the way first with a straight sets loss to Agnes Szavay. Seriously JJ, I’m not talking to you.

Unless you lemme try on this dress. 

 

 

As for Agnes, like any dark horse, she has the ability on any given day to upset a top 10 player, but it’s the top 50 that’ll have her number come the Australian Open

Despite her loss, JJ tried to remain upbeat in her presser: 

 

“It was my first match of the season. I hadn’t played her in a long time. I also hadn’t competed in two months,” Jankovic said. “I have to clean up some things in my game. I need to stay positive. I hope I’ll be ready for Melbourne.”

 

Things didn’t get better for the tournament top seeds as the day went on. Vera had to retire at 3-all first set against ‘Lena Vesnina due to her lingering ankle problems.

It bodes ill for the towel-head, as she appears to be in no shape to defend her semifinal at the Australian Open and title in Indian Wells.

Vera is now in a recovery race for the Australian Open next week, and admits that she’s not feeling too confident about the early hard court swing. 

 

“I will try to recover for Melbourne, but the inflammation is still there because of the surgery.”

“Last year I had an impressive start and they are impressive statistics. If I look back it was very impressive and I am very proud of what I achieved,” she added.

“This year is going to be a very tough challenge for me to repeat that, but I am going to try my best. The most important thing for me is to compete 100 per cent without thinking about my ankle as the last six months were very tough for me never being able to compete at 100 per cent.

“I was always having to push myself to the limit and I had to take a week off after nearly every tournament to recover. That was difficult so I am looking forward to the day when I can play injury free.”

 

 

It was a bad day for the Aussies too, as both Stosur and Dellacqua lost in convincing fashion to Flavs and Vera Dushevina. With such frustratingly high expectations on our players, Australia’s becoming Great Britain 2.0 OH WAIT – 

And can someone explain why Flavia Pennetta was dropped by Tacchini? Was Nole that expensive?

 

 

The real theme of the day was “Asian Assault”, as Li Na came back from a set down to beat CWoz.

Well done, you Golden Flower you. Clearly it was a piece of cake, seeing that you only needed 67 unforced errors to beat the No 4 player in the world

 

 

On the other hand, Carol – while being the sweetest thing to come out of Denmark since raspberry danishes – appears to be still allergic to the concept of hitting a winner.

Different year, same shit. 

 

 

Dear Kimiko,

God bless our youthful Asian genes. 

If you thought Kimi was good back in Seoul last year, wait til you see her in 2010. After making the quarterfinals in Auckland last week, Date Krumm scored another important victory today as she beat Nadia Petrova 63 57 64.

It could’ve been an even easier victory, as Kimi squandered two match points at 5-3 in the second set. Nadia broke back, and was up an early break in the third set before Date Krumm regained the form she had through the first and second sets and sealed the victory.

On the one hand, Petrova just can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to drawing the most dangerous players first round. On the other – girl, you were outplayed, outrun, and out-thought by a 39 year old.

No wonder Fabrice Santoro can’t make up his mind.

On the men’s side of things in Sydney, Igor Andreev was upset first round by Leonardo Mayer in a third set tiebreak, 67 63 76, while Reeshie defeated Feli 61 64 and harkened back to the good times with Pamela.