Tag Archive | Li Na

Minding Your Ps, Your Queues, and Your Wimbledon Haikus

Those who braved the Wimbledon queue on Tuesday night received precious ducats to the All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club for Wednesday’s session of play on the most hallowed grounds in tennis. Spectators who gained entry to this sport’s most prestigious event were fittingly reminded of the enduring reason why matches are won and lost.

Why did Ernests Gulbis… pull an Ernests Gulbis against Jerzy Janowicz? Why did Caroline Wozniacki (now known to this writer as “Bus Driver” — she wants to know if chair umpires attended school, after all…) continue her downward spiral with a first-round exit against Tamira Paszek?

Why did Tsvetana Pironkova – to the immense relief of Ye Olde Picket Fence Blog’s Owner And Publisher – not win a single one of her five set points against Maria Sharapova? Read More…

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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Roland Garros Preview: A Conference of Anti-Experts. Pt 2

Doots: Interesting thing when I mentioned the women’s draw, PJ said the field is “wide open”. I feel as if we’ve gotten used to saying this in the past few years, but actually this is the least wide open slam I’ve seen in the past few years.

PJ: Really? How so?

Doots: The women’s tour has been dominated this year by Sharapova and Azarenka. We’re literally looking at a Big 2 situation – with Serena occasionally popping up on the radar because she’s that awesome.

LJ: but it’s clay, I think therein lies the problem.

PJ: I guess for me, I feel like it’s “open” in the sense that there are no sure favourites despite domination from Azarenka and Shrieky. Not like how Rafa is for the men’s.

Doots: Well, I still don’t know. Sharapova has had her best results this year on clay: Rome, Stuttgart, and lost to Serena by the same scoreline as Vika in Madrid. She comes into Roland Garros with by far the best clay season record of the women, which is incredible considering how bad she was on this surface a few years ago.

PJ: That is true. I was rather impressed with Sharapova’s clay showing this year. I know clay isn’t her forte but going by recent form and results, I’ll peg her as one of the favourites. Historical showing otherwise.

LJ: I think Shrieky, Azarenka and Serena for me, but hey if previous results are to be followed, it’ll be a crapshoot for the win.

Doots: They do tend to be the “Big 3” these days, which was precisely my previous point – it’s not as open as in previous years where you just knew that Wozniacki or Jankovic or whoever was up at the top couldn’t do it. But looking at the draw quarters again –

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Calm before the storm…(by PJ)

Sooo. The Australian Open draw will be out in less than 12 hours. Am sure I WILL be frazzling regardless of whatever draw Fed gets (born worrier, etc  etc)…but I’m betting a hundred bucks he lands on Djokovic’s side of the draw again.

So Tennis Gods, I DARE YOU PROVE ME WRONG. GO AHEAD. DO IT.

Anyway, a quick wrap on the end of the AO lead-in tournaments…I know I should’ve wrapped this up earlier but I was depressed with the result of ATP Brissy and also, I have been quite tied up with work (this is me working extra hard so I can sneak some days off next week…WHERE IT ALL WOULD HAVE BEGUN).

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US Open 2011 (by LJ): Day 2 Wrap

I decidedly didn’t watch any matches other than the 10min of Fat Dave during breakfast today. This whole time difference thing kinda sucks and everything has been pulled off Youtube so no match highlights other than the 30 secs that the US Open website offers us. Seriously it’s 2011 and we’re still fighting against media totalitarianism, its bloody ridiculous…but anyway, enough about my plight, here’s my wrap of the day that I just made up from tweets and whatnot. I could be completely wrong, but it’ll hopefully be entertainingly wrong.

ATP

Let’s start with Rafa…W…T…f? really?  I believe Rafa is just trolling us with this inability to play like the Rafa of old, these days. I always think Rafa is gonna unveil himself at the end of some tournament and go...”Aha, I was playing you all for fools, no? I can actually play as Rafa but I was getting tired of steamrolling punks so I thought I’d just play shit for the lols.” =]

Que pasa?

Golubev was up 7 set points in the 2nd and had a break in the 3rd but still came out a loser in 3 sets.  I think Rafa just likes dangling the cheese in front of mice and pulling the string at the last minute.  And Golubev helped him by fucking up shot selection on every important point.

Yeah Golubev, your random Kazakhstani cuteness couldn’t even help your braincramps.

Rafa’s next foe will be Nico Mahut who dished a yummy bagel in the 5th set today.

A spate of retirements also hit the mens side today with Djokovic, Ilhan and Chela benifiting.

James Blake made it in 4, so did Fat Dave, who was spraying errors left right and center until about the 3rd set but managed to hold out his Fat Daveness enough to win. Similarly Ferrer, Nando and Stan the Man all overcame sluggish starts to move into the 2nd round in 4 sets also.

Donald Young sets up a 2nd round encounter with Stan the Man after a straight sets win over Lukas Lacko. His first at the USO since 2007. Much has been written about Young, about his uber-awesomeness in the juniors, his parental coachfails and his lack of propensity to win 1st round matches in anything despite the number of wildcards he’s been given.

Now it’s easy to hate his cockiness but if any of you have managed to catch the very good Jim Courier funded doco called Unstrung about the journey of tennis juniors in the US, you’d realise how frustrating it must have been for Young. He was regularly beating 18 yr olds at 15, and having long been touted as the next big thing in American tennis, he has fallen short at every step, but the kid has game, and I hope he gets his breakthrough one day.

Gulbis created the biggest upset on the men’s side, taking out Youzhny in 3. Billed as the battle of the headcases, I guess Gulbis was just way less headcasey today.

WTA

2nd major upset in the womens side in as many days with 6th seed  Li Na falling in straights to Simona Halep. *sigh*, WTA….*sigh*.

Like COME ON, Steffi won like 20+ slams, I don’t expect that kind of consistency but I expect my top 10, reigning slam champs to at least make the 2nd round of a slam…FFS!!!!

Li’s compatriot Zheng Jie thankfully battled it through in 3, likewise with Franny “I always take 3 sets to find my range” Schiavone.

Everyone else (Serena etc),  took it hunky dory and a special mention goes to Jelena Dokic for making it to a 2nd round of a slam, you’re doing better than some others, dudette.

That’s it from me, for those peeps in timezones actually able to watch the Open please feel free to tweet match reactions at me.

 

LJ

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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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

Frazzle Post: Wimbledon

TOURNAMENT ENDED.

Flabbergasted Kitty

 

RG2011 Day 14 (by PJ): Girl power!

Rewind two weeks ago, and anyone who tells me that Li Na is going to win Roland Garros, I’ll tell them that they’re pretty much just a tiny bit deluded. Me, who is a citizen of Delusion Land.

But the (comparatively) tiny Chinese girl showed that dreams can become reality, and delusions may not be so deluded after all when she threw her all onto the red clay, and defeated an equally spirited opponent with an equally big heart, Francesca Schiavone.

Nobody thought she could do it. But yet, she did it. And in doing so, Madame Li became the first player from Asia to win a Grand Slam.

HURRAH!!

From the start, Li Na was focused. And determined. She knew what she had to do, and she did it. She kept her calm to keep her serve after breaking Franny in the first set. She kept her cool when Franny broke back in the second set to snatch away her lead. And she was absolutely imperious in the tiebreaker, where she seized control and never looked back.

Watching the match elicited more than just a little bit of conflicting emotions in me. I love Li Na. I love that she stands tall, love how she loves the game, love her quirkiness and her honesty in interviews and press conferences. But at the same time, I love Franny. Like many, I’ve been won over by her when she won that fairytale title last year (beating Sammy boo hoo). I’m won over by how she fought in Melbourne this year – first against Kuznetsova and then just refusing to give up against Wozniacki.

So I was feeling absolutely bipolar – ecstatic for Li Na, and yet crushed for Franny. But hey, my feel-good moment came when I realised that both ladies standing on that court – they are BOTH Grand Slam winners.

How joyous. Truly.

I can’t be more comprehensive because I’m, you know, trying not to puke from nerves over the men’s final (which is a final that I marginally care a bit more about HAH HAH HAH) but let’s just say that I’m extremely happy for Li Na and extremely proud that a Chinese player has defied the odds and won a clay Slam.

Congratulations, Li Na! You are officially a GRAND SLAM WINNER. And also, you’re really cool.

– PJ