Tag Archive | Robin Soderling

Bobby Sod expecting Baby Sod.

HURRAH! Myla and Charlene will finally have someone to beat 11 times in a row now, as Robin Soderling announced on Twitter today that he and his wife Jenni Mostrom are expecting a bébé late September this year. CONGRATUMALATIONS!

With Roland Garros around the corner and Soderling still yet to play any tennis since last July, I find myself missing his blunt, powerful game and yoking ways more than ever.

Although he’s still slowly recovering from the kissing desease, Soderling has insisted that he has not given up on returning in 2012.

We wish him all the best on his road to recovery.

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20 for 30 – Roger Federer’s Early Round Tests At The Majors (by Matt)

PREAMBLE

Hi, everybody! It’s Matt Zemek, known as “Moonpie” when he gets tennis predictions horribly wrong. Doots has graciously offered me the chance to paint the Fence this week – thank you, Doots! Enjoy my (not-so) United States of America!

I’d like to give this week my own special flavor – writers have to be true to their literary voices – yet still maintain the Fed-centric feel that you come here for. Because I’m into writing, the “Fedporn” I have to offer will flow through the word, not the photo. It’s the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Pants-elational PJ who will contribute her own Fedporn-rich photos and whiz-bang additions to supplement your dose of Moonpie musings.

I welcome suggestions for writing topics this week — no, not because there’s a dearth of them, but because it’s the last major of the year and therefore the last time in which the eyes of the sports world fully focus on tennis until the third week of January in Dootsland (aka, Australia).

Now, on with the show as week two of the 2011 United States Open commences.

NEVER TRUST ANYONE OVER 30… UNLESS IT’S FED!

Read More…

US Open 2011 (by LJ): Day 3 Wrap – An Ode to Venus

Dear Venus,

You brought something very special to tennis, whether it was those early hair beads flung across the courts every swing, or your gangly but poised frame gliding across the Wimbledon grass there was tennis before the Williams sisters and tennis after the Williams sisters.

As the oldest Williams sister, you’ve endured so many generations of players but yet you still come back, time and time again, pulled back by your love of the game.

To have your career stopped, so cruelly by an illness which has no certain remission rate and no cure is just….UGH.

Get better soon Vee, you deserve to come back and receive a proper send off.

WTA

Venus Williams withdrew from the US Open 2011, citing Sjogren’s Syndrome and probably taking her out from tennis indefinitely. The diagonsis was long coming, Vee only having played 4 tournies this year has been looking out of sorts for a while. Sabine Lisicki goes through to the 3rd round.

A Slew of seeds fell by the wayside today including Cibulkova, Radwanska, Bartoli and Wickmayer. And it’s only the 2nd fucking round. I mean is the season just too long? Or is it the WTA points system? cause someone needs to sort this shit out.

Robson and Dulgheru underperformed compared to their first rounds earning themselves a boot from the tournament.

ATP

On the Men’s side, Soderling joined the list of US Open wounded, withdrawing just before his match with a virus, another statistic for the “Season is too bloody long argument”.

Roddick continues to struggle, needing 4 sets to get past Michael Russell, as Murray and Del Pony do it easy in 3.

Also doing it easy was Julien Benneteau taking out 10th seeded Almagro….Almagro was ranked 10????? WTfuckery?

3 matches went the distance including Gilles Simon who needed 5 to get past Brazilian Ricardo Mello, which shouldn’t bother him too much considering what he did at the Australian Open this year after winning Sydney , (almost burst an artery sitting through that match.)

And that’s it from me folks, the next few days will be brought to you by PJ but I may drop in sometime next week.

Happy USOing

LJ

RG2011 Day 11 (by PJ): The order restored

Realised that this is two days late and the women’s semis have been played, and finalists are decided – but thought I’ll post this just to keep the RG posts together.

Rafa/Bobby Sod. Gawd. From the onset, I did think it would either be a battle or a very straightforward three-setter in the favour of Rafa. I was right, and the latter was right, as Rafa disposed Soddy smoothly in straights.

Sooo. The Return of RRRRRRAAAFAAAA? Yes, I would say.  But then again, Bobby Sod forgot his meanie pants and played quite craptacularly for the first two sets.

There is no denying that Rafa played HEAPS better compared to his play of the last few matches. It probably helped that he was facing someone he doesn’t particularly like very much, and the one person that inflicted much pain in him (knees otherwise) back in 2009. It seems like he’s been upping his ante whenever he plays Soddy after that dreadful 2009 season and Wednesday was no different. He was all there, Rafa the Matador, with his forehand and serve intact (two things that were largely on holiday in Majorca for the first week) AND his ability to consolidate breaks!

However, it helped him that Sod was having a disastrous serving day where he was serving like a noodle and overplaying his forehand 9 out of 10 times. Rafa was able to capitalise on these weaknesses to race away with a two-set lead before Bobby would emerge slightly awaken under his towel. He overcame an early break from Rafa, and held on to send the set into a tiebreaker. But Rafa would have none of the whole comeback shebang from Sodders, and took control early to win the tiebreaker and the match.

Sorry Bobby Sod, ya woke up too late.

But this is a great victory in the most comfortable way to push Rafa’s confidence back to where it belongs. From the start I did think Rafa would somehow wrestle his way into the final despite THAT first round, and would somehow take the title. I think my gut feeling still stands.

For the other quarterfinal match between Andy Toothache and Juan Ignacio Chela – wow, that was weird. Chela was up two breaks in the first, threw those away, threw away the tiebreaker. Andy was up two breaks in the second, did his bit to return the favour to Chela, and very nearly threw the set into a tiebreaker, narrowly avoided that. Third set was all teeth – aching and all – as MAndy comfortably wrapped that up in a less weird fashion.

On his injury thing though – torn tendon and popping more pills than Ozzy Osbourne – hmmm.. A “torn tendon” would mean he could hardly walk, much less play high-level, competitive tennis. And if he’s STILL playing on a torn tendon with super duper painkillers at the levels of morphine and heroin mixed together, dude’s pretty much looking at fucking up his Wimbledon chances, and in the long term, fucking up his career entirely. And since I don’t think his team is THAT stupid, hence I don’t think he is THAT injured. But I’m not accusing him of faking anything – there’s no doubt his ankle is dodgy.

Well, it all remains to be seen tonight, won’t it?

A quick recap on the ladies – as it’s probably already known – Li Na beat Victoria Azarenka in their AO rematch, keeping up the same result, while Shrieky Sharapova turned the tables and moondanced on Andrea Petkovic’s grave instead, blowing her off court in vengeful Shrieky fashion. So it was to be a meeting between Shrieky and Li Na, each gunning for their own first (first FO title and Career Slam for Shrieky, first FO/GS final for Li Na and China). And yes, we already have the result to that as well. Wrap up on that match will come 🙂

It’s Friday, people. And it’s THE DAY.

– PJ

RG2011 Day 9 (by PJ): Setting the other stage

How do you lose a tennis match when your opponent is playing rather craptastic tennis on all counts? You play even crappier tennis. And that was what happened to Papa Ljubs yesterday. Rafa was, on all accounts, missing yesterday and Ljubs could not capitalise on it.

As for Rafa…I don’t even know. The Nadal fire, grit and the amazeballs clay-court game, usually present from point 1 of any match in any round, has gone curiously AWOL. Dude’s burned out, this much is quite obvious – although I think his realism was more of pessimism. But what remains to be seen is the ultimate effect of this burn-out, and that will be the outcome of this Slam. Burned out and being totally funky (in a bad way) aside, he lives to play another day, and he meets Bobby Sod next.

I was expecting at least a four-setter with the Sod/Simon match. I was even thinking perhaps Skinny Legs can pull off an upset. Not even close…as Sod closed the match in three straightforward sets. Even the tiebreaker at the end of the third was comfortable and he was never really threatened.

Therefore, I can has my Rafa/Sod quarter-final. But if Rafa plays the way he did last match, we say hello to Soddy in the semis. I want Rafa to BRING IT, though. I want a completely awesome and amazeballs match.

I had an interesting snippet of a convo with FortuneCookie on Twitter this morning though – which would be the loss to have the worst effect on Rafa? Losing to Bobby Sod in the quarters, or losing to Djokovic (again) in the final, or losing to Pants in the final? (You can see we were totally discounting poor MAndy and Troicki as any kind of threat to Rafa, muhahahha)

I think most people would say a Djokovic loss. To be honest, it’s pretty much given.

Anyway, I don’t think this RG is a sure-fire Rafa deadlock anymore. At the same time, I still DO think Rafa probably still has the strongest chance to take the title. Don’t ask me why. It’s a gut feeling and I can’t explain my gut.

(Of course I know who I REALLY REALLY REALLLLYYY WANT to win it. But I won’t say it.)

Juan Ignacio Chela prevailed over Alejandro Falla for a spot in the last eight, and his opponent was only decided today as Andy Mooray and Viktor Troicki completed their match a mere 30 minutes ago. That match was stopped at two-sets-a-piece due to darkness, although it’s interesting to note that Troicki was TWO sets up.

On resuming play, Troicki was the first one to break – amidst a very dramatic game where an over-enthusiastic ball-kid accidentally ran out to the court before the point was finished in Troicki’s favour. A let was called and the point to be replayed.

If looks could kill, the poor kid would’ve died ten times over – despite the fact that Troicki DID get the break.

So dude was up a break, serving for the match, 2 points away…and then…guess what??? YES. HE GOT BROKEN!

Excuse me while I go laugh really hysterically in a corner.

I mean…seriously. That is serious, SERIOUS brain-cramping, considering the fact that he was serving for a place in the quarterfinals. But hey, it worked to Murray’s favour, as he managed to function on an ankle with a torn tendon, keep his cool and the zillion pills in his Ozzy Osbourne blood stream (quote post-match) to pull a win out of his rabbit hat.

But…a torn tendon? And he’s still playing? Not the wisest decision, truly? And will he pull a Fab Fog (should say that I highly highly doubt this)?

So there we have it, the stage is set for this half: Rafa v Soderling, Murray v Chela.

On the ladies side, Victoria Azarenka really proved to be a giant too much for Ekaterina Makarova, outplaying the latter in comfortable straight sets.

In an AO rematch, her opponent in the quarters will be Li Na, who proved herself to be as tough as her nickname NAILS as she stormed back from being steamrolled over in the first set to take out Petra Kvitova in three sets. She’s in her first quarterfinal in Paris, yay hooray! And this is her best result since her final appearance in Melbourne – in which she managed to lose subsequent first-round matches and be completely irrelevant in between. But now she’s back, and fierce, and fighting.

Fiercer still was Shrieky Sharapova, taking out a spirited Agnieszka Radwanska in two tight sets. I know all the top seeds are toasted, and the one person I really want to win was also dumped from the Parisian clay (WHY SAMMY WHYYY) but more than a couple of my favourites are still in with a fighting chance to win. Me likey. And me will likey if Shrieky shrieks her way into the semis.

To get there, she gotta scream her way past the Andrea Petkovic, who beat Maria Kirilenko in three sets.

I’ll put my money on Shrieky, to be honest. And I hope that I didn’t just jinxed her.

– PJ

RG2011 Day 3 (by PJ): And the Rest of Them Rolls

To say that there is a fair bit of controversy going around the fact that ITWA has managed to get Roland Garros to cock-block the availability of players’ press transcripts is a massive understatement. I thought about writing something about this for the Fence, but then again, I’m hardly a tennis blogger/writer, I’m in all honesty just a obsessive rabid insane nutters fan with only a casual interest in writing about tennis. Plus the fact that I can’t come up with anything more intelligent than “you all are a bunch of dictatorial wankers” so I will leave it to Dootsie, who is bona fide blogger and is more eloquent with the written word than I’ll ever be, especially on this issue.

So moving onto Day 3 wrap (Day 4 is well underway as I write this – and Pants had just won comfortably, through to the 3rd round and facing one of my least favourite people, meh).

1)      When Rafa was trying to claw his way through a very determined John Isner, Bobby Sod Soderling breezed through his first set with Ryan Harrison with a bored, dismissive air that suggested nothing less than a fast, straight-sets win. Not so. In midst of biting down my thumbnail over Rafa/Isner, Sodders found himself down a break in the second set.

He eventually broke back, but Harrison doggedly hung on to snatch the second set in a tie-break. Third set went Sod’s way, and the fourth seemed to be heading the same direction as well with an early break on Harrison’s service. But Sod soon found himself broken back, and it was neck-to-neck until an error from Harrison’s forehand earned The Yoker the break, and he served out the set without difficulty. Not a scare as major as Rafa’s – but still a scare nonetheless. Hey, Soddy, I need you to hang around a little longer for this tournament so don’t go around losing sets and matches.

2)      Mandy Mooray won his match easily, playing French qualifier Eric Prodon. I didn’t watch the match, but post-match articles suggested that he was sluggish and not focusing very well. That sort of reminded me of his match against Stakhovsky in Australia – where he was grouchy and distracted but won convincingly anyway. It’s a Slam – I don’t think we’ll seeing much of Practice-Match-Andy. He’ll be fine.

3)      Fetus Fed Dimitrov continues to try and find his ground among the big boys, losing to French headcase Jeremy Chardy in straights.

4)      Hairbandwagon rolls on with Alex Dolgopolov scoring a comfortable straight-sets win over Rainer Schuettler, oldest player in the top 100 at the age of 35. I don’t think it’s an indication as where Dolgo is for the tournament – Schuettler was hardly a test. The thing with him is that he plays such aggressive, high-risk tennis that can be a train-wreck (and HAS been a train wreck more often than not all clay season thus far) if his crazy is not working for him. It’s hard to read him for now. I don’t think he’s lazy or that he doesn’t care – he wants it, but sometimes it just doesn’t seem like he wants it ENOUGH. For now, it seems like he’s lacking that sort of drive and focus that one MUST have if one wants to be at the top. He still has time to prove that his AO run isn’t a fluke, and I’m waiting – WANTING – for him to prove that it wasn’t a fluke.

He plays Andreas Haider-Maurer (cool name but I have no idea whossat) next and am I worried he’ll lose? Err, yes. On paper he should win, SO PLEASE WIN OKAY.

5)      The Fernando Verdasco who can play tennis showed up long enough to beat Juan Monaco in four sets – exceeding my expectations, as I was sure he would somehow manage to fart away significant leads to end up losing. His year and his tennis has been really unspectacular so far – taking a fast nosedive out of the top 10 since beginning of the year, and if he loses early in Roland Garros, he’s out of the top 20 even.

6)      Other Spainiard Nicolas Almagro fell to Lukasz Kubot in 5-sets. Having watched Kubot at AO this year, the guy CAN play but even so, taking out the one of the heirs apparent to the title of the Prince of Clay is quite surprising.

7)      Most of the seeds survived – even those that were not expected to, for example, Samurai Sam, who proved that he can still win matches by packing of Philipp Kohlschreiber. Granted Kohli was guy who knocked out Satan last year, this result is a surprise to me. Everyone’s favourite new Frenchie Nicolas Mahut also fell in his hurdle, losing in 4 sets to Kevin Anderson.

8)      Shrieky blasted Mirjana Lucic off court, dishing out a bagel in the process. She’s looking good – kit-wise and game wise. Never used to like her, but has warmed to her over time. Here’s to hoping she goes far.

9)     Ana Ivanovic – apparently injured – lost to Johanna Larsson in three sets, after serving a bagel in the second. I…actually don’t know how she’s still relevant anymore in the scheme of things, girl can’t seem to string herself together for the last two years. But I can’t honestly say I care a lot about Ivanovic so moving on.

10)   Aussie girls continued to roll, with Jarmila Gadjdosova scoring a win over Virginie Razzano in an emotional, heart-rending match. Both girls had just lost their significant half in very different ways – Jarka through divorce, and Virginie through death. Virginie’s bravery and heart was the one thing that stood out brilliantly in her loss.

“Me playing here was a decision from my fiancé. He wanted me to continue my life. He wanted me to play here and keep fighting on the court. With my family and friends here and the public, I tried my best to keep my emotions and play for him. It took me a lot of courage to go on Court Philippe Chatrier. It was difficult for me to be here. It was painful, it was hard, but I did it for Stéphane.

“He had faith in me. He knew I had this strength he also had, and this is why we worked so well together. We had courage. We fought together day after day.


“It’s difficult, especially when you lose someone who was – and who will forever be – the man of my life, whom I love and will always love. I have beautiful memories in good times and not so good times. It’s a history that’s alive, that we built together for 11 years. And I’ll continue to build it through my sport, through my passion, tennis, which gives me courage and mental strength.

Source: WTA website

It was completely awe-inspiring that she had the strength to go out to that court, when she was still in mourning, to honor someone she loves. I hope she will do well in Wimbledon.

11)   Dominika Cibulkova was upset by Vania King, losing in three but seeds for the ladies remained largely intact with Mama Kim leading them into the second round.

And that’s all about Day 3 from this girl’s point of view. I wrote an essay of some sorts on Rafa/Big John, which is found in the post below this one, so clickey if you’re interested.

Day 4 wrap will come, but not today. As Day 4 is still going.

– PJ

Roland Garros: FRACKITY FRAK FRAK FRAZZLE POST


OOP Preview

Day 13. Semi-finals day for the men.

Play starts 2PM local (Parisian time)

Court Philippe Chatrier:
Rafael Nadal (ESP) [1] vs Andy Murray (GBR) [4]
Roger Federer (SUI) [3] vs Novak Djokovic (SRB) [2]

RIDEORDIEBITCHEZZZ.

– PJ

P.S. Did a rambly sort of semis thoughts here. Something just a little more substantial.

1

AO2011 Day 5-Day 7: Heart (by PJ)

Seeing that Australian Open is the home Slam of this blog, and Dootsiez is just really worn out from working/tennis-ing/writing awesome SI blog articles, I thought I’ll give her a hand in keeping the Aussie Open posts somewhat intact-ish.

I was at Melbourne Park for tennis for AO Day 5, 6 and 7, so let’s see what I remember from those outings.

Day 5 was a last minute decision for me. I somehow scored a day off from work, and decided to buy myself a day ticket to catch Roger v Xavier Malisse. I missed most of Wozniacki due to successful Roger stalking (but to be honest, I don’t really want to put myself through a Wozniacki match, not even when I’d paid for it), and managed to catch Kuznetsova v Henin. It wasn’t that competitive of a match given the two players were – well, Kuznetsova and Henin. Justine seemed to be still suffering from her elbow injury. She was unable to find her first serve, double-faulting her way to being broken. She clawed back to take the second set to a tiebreaker – but it was a shockingly bad tiebreaker as both girls shanked shots, shanked serves and in the end, it was decided with what seemed to be routine for the match: a Justine double-fault.

I have to say though: Kuznetsova v Henin for a friggin’ 3RD ROUND? Man, that’s about ten kinds of cruel, ye olde Tennis Gods.

And then it was Fed-time with a match against Malisse. If I can be honest, I did think that Roger seemed a bit cranky during his practice session, but I brushed it off as my tendency to over-worry about things not worth worrying about. Until Roger started playing.

As said by Dootsiez, it wasn’t a bad match – he after all won in comfortable straight sets – 6-3, 6-3, 6-1. However, the whole match was just bizarre. His shot selections were bizarre. He seemed disinterested in the first set, but he won that. Only when he got broken in the second set, then he seemed to come to life.

Suddenly, I see Roger muttering, glaring, shaking his head, yelling NIEEEEEEEEN at missed forehands, and giving C’MONS and fistpumps at 15-all. He won the second set, basically steam-rolled Malisse in the third, but his mood didn’t seem to calm down, not until he got the match in his pocket.

If he’s a girl, I’ll definitely say he was PMS-ing. All the symptoms were there.  But hey, he won, and he’s through.

Day 6 observations in dot-points – mostly the outside court matches as there was where I was at:

1)      Milos Raonic. Who woulda though this young, gutsy and most unknown Canadian qualifier would have the goods to boot world no.10 Mikhail Youzhny? I watch one set of this match and he was outplaying le Colonel from the forehand wing. It didn’t help that Youzhny’s backhand was not as sharp as it usually was. Coupled with Raonic’s amazing serving – he currently holds the record for fastest serve for this AO season – Youzhny couldn’t keep up and was bundled out in 4-sets. It will be interesting to see how he now matches up against David Ferrer.

2)      Alexandr Dolgopolov. What a guy. At the ripe old tennis age of 22, he’s finally beginning to make himself seen and heard on tour, reaching the 4th round on his debut Australian Open (didn’t manage to qualify last year) after knocking out Jo-Wilfrid Tsonga in 5 sets.  Granted Jo was not 100% – still fighting off the effects of a niggling injury – but Dolgopolov hung on, clawed back from a 2 sets to 1 deficit, and blasted Tsonga with solid forehands and volleys and impressive serving. Tsonga’s frequent double-faulting contributed to the 6-1, 6-1 score of the last two sets, but well played, Dolgopolov. I don’t think he will get past Bobby Sod (who is flying under the radar looking ominous) but I daresay he will give Sod a run for his money.

3)      John Isner and Marin Cilic. There’s something about Mr. Isner and 5-set marathons. . If I was John Isner, I will bloody make sure that I never play 5th sets, ever again. I think he is still haunted by Wimbledon. After missing a chance at 0-30 on Cilic’s serve at 6-all, his face was literally wrought with PAIN. He was totally thinking about Wimbledon and OH LORD PLEASE NOT AGAIN I SWEAR.  But the final scoreline of 9-7 fell short of his 70-68 Wimbledon record, of course. And the other difference is that he was not the victor. Marin Cilic won himself the right to be stomped on by Rafa in the quarter-finals

4)      Bernard Tomic. The kid was a spoiled brat with no EQ skills and social etiquette, but if people expect him to roll over and play dead for Rafa, they expected wrong. Tomic rose to the occasion, matched Rafa on every play – even managing to take a 4-0 lead in the second set before inexperience on his part and experience plus GRIT on Rafa’s part levelled things again. The scoreline of 6-2, 7-5, 6-3 was much closer than it suggested. Rafa was actually pressured in most of his service games. Tomic is no pushover, but he is still a brat. Still, I am curious to see where he goes from here, whether could he sort his personality out along with his game.

Day 7 of tennis was pretty full-on – and again, I missed Wozniacki’s match due to Feder-stalking. Oh well, wouldn’t change it for the anything!

My first match on Rod Laver Arena saw Li Na taking out Vika Azarenka in straight sets – although not without the usual WTA business of losing serve a couple of times before hanging on for the win. Li Na definitely had the crowd on her side – as Azarenka’s screeching just annoyed the hell out of everyone else – little old lady next to me called it “disturbing the peace”. Crowd tittered and laughed every time she went “OOOOOOOORRRRRHhhhhhhhhhhh” and imitations were rampant. Mean, but no one could really stand her. I’m pleased that Li Na is through. She’s playing well, and she meets Andrea Petkovic – who completely outplayed Shrieky Sharapova – in the quarters. It will be a match worth catching.

Roger McFed then took centre court for what 99.9% of the tennis community expected to be a routine trashing of Disco Dancin’ Tommy Robredo. Roger has a perfect 9-0 record, and has only ever lost two sets to Mr. Bright Red Pants. He was imperious on serve the first set, firing aces and unreturnable serves and T-Rob could not even make a single-point dent on. However, although he wasn’t really taking his chances with T-Rob’s serve, he did well enough to earn that one break and to take the first set. The routine was still on track.

Until the second set. Suddenly, T-Rob found his first serve and his disco groove. Fed lost his first serve and most of his ballet groove. A loose game from Roger late in the set found him broken, with Tommy then serving for the set and before I can yell FUCK YOU FEDERER, it was one-set all.

Roger wasn’t in the mood for any more five-setters though. He broke the Disco serve early in the third, and hung on to close the set out in a back-to-routine fashion. Tommy then changed into a presumably lucky red shirt (and maybe lucky red underwear) but it wasn’t nearly enough. Le Fed then earned early simultaneous breaks again in the fourth, and then it was business as usual in the office of Federer.

When asked by Courier whom he prefers for the quarter-final, Roger answered, “My friend, Stanley”.  Well, Roger’s friend Stanley was at his smokin’ Ewok Stanley best when he literally blew Andy Roddick off court in the last RLA match in straight sets. Everything was working for The Other Swiss Guy – his backhand was sublime, his forehand was clicking, his volleys were there, he was able to chase balls, return them, and suddenly, out of nowhere, he was pulling 200kmph serves and outserving The Serve himself. Poor ARod didn’t help himself by having a horrendous serving day by his usual standards, seeing his first serves faulting, and thus having Stanley pouncing all over his second serve like PJ pouncing all over Federer if she can guarantee she won’t be arrested for *ahem* inappropriate harassment.

I would just like to remind Roger that when he meets Wawrinka during the quarter-finals on Tuesday, he’s not going to be Your Friend Stanley. He should be Stanley Your Enemy Whom You’re Going To Destroy So That He Won’t Get In The Way Of Number Seventeen. Heads up, okay?

As for the other quarter-final, Djokovic and Berdych both hammered Almagro and Verdasco respectively. As Jodi so aptly puts it, it will be The Battle Of Sesame Street when Bert meets Big Bird. I hope they clobber each other to death.

Saving the best for the last – Schiavone and Kuznetsova. What a brilliant, brilliant match, and brilliant, brilliant display of heart, of determination, of passion. I started watching at 5-all, and could not leave Garden Square despite brambles sticking to my thighs and an extremely sore back. I watched those two girls played their guts out. The level of tennis was RIDICULOUS. The points played – I could only gasp and scream NO WAY as they just blazed the balls back into play for winner after winner with the most ridiculous volleys and ball-chasing.

Towards the end, there would be four breaks of serve. And each time, the girls broke each other with amazing plays and gutsy shots – really going all out for it instead of hanging back and hoping for the opponent’s mistakes. They let nothing go. NOTHING. It wasn’t a serving marathon to hold serve. It was a tennis marathon for every single point. Every single one of it.

In the end, the first to blink was Kuznetsova, as she lost serve that one final time. But she made sure that Franny did not have an easy time serving it out. Sveta kept chasing the balls, kept hitting the winners and never once gave up the belief that she could maybe break back and keep herself alive. But it was not meant to be as Franny finally held that one crucial serve, and it was all over.

At the same time, my heart breaks for Kuznetsova, as I’m sure with millions of other people out there. Franny will play Wozniacki next. And unfortunately, she will have nothing left in the tank to play Wozniacki’s brand of tennis. Still, I hope for a miracle, I hope that Franny’s heart will be enough to propel her through, and through again, and again.

Because I now truly think she deserves the title of Australian Open women’s champ, 2011.

No prizes on who I think should have the men’s title. But I won’t say it outloud.

And onward we go.

– PJ

P.S. photos from daylife.com

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

AO2011 Day One: Fortune Favours the Stalkers (by PJ)

Hola, y’all, this is PJ descending upon the most celebrated Fence again, in the Australian Open 2011 season. Although it all officially began today, I’ve already been feeling the AO mood since Saturday when I attended the 3rd day of Qualifying. I honestly had a LOT of fun during qualies and will definitely be looking at going again next year if I’m in the country. It’s super awesome for player stalkerage plus the top players do their pre-tourney interviews on that day, means chances for photos and autographs. For the record, I got Djokovic’s and Rafa’s, but missed Federer by a breadth. If only I had not stuck around watching Schoorel and Koubek both trying NOT to win the set. FML.

And Rally for Relief. Hilarious antics by Djokovic and Roddick, Fedal doubles and Fedal giggles, and pure smashing girl power. What more could we ask for?

My original plan on Day 1 was to go for the night session, but crap scheduling meant that I ended up buying myself a Ground Pass, and LJ helped to get us both upgraded sessions for a Day Session in Rod Laver Arena where Roger was slanted to play the first match.

Lots of time before that so I saw lots of tennis!

My day actually began fantastically when after seeing Clijsters’ practice session, I ran into a group of fans in red and white, and then I saw this guy entering the practice courts. Whaddaya know, he’s Swiss and all.

Roger’s hitting partner today was Papa Ljubs, and they seemed to get along well, having a chat and a laugh before they started hitting. I unfortunately was at the end of the court where Roger was NOT practicing. My telepathic to lure him over to our side failed so I didn’t manage to get super good photos. But here’s some of them anyway.



Evidently Fed has telepathic abilities…he commands balls.

Both me and LJ didn’t expect him to sign autographs today because the norm for Rog is that if he is to play that day, he doesn’t sign autographs. But to every stalker’s delight and squeeage, he jogged over, firstly to talk the huge, enthusiastic group – the RF Brigade, who handed him gifts and the Red Envelope. Fed took pictures with them, chatted and signed all their memorabilia before moving on to the other fans.




I was lucky to get my Bear signed, and LJ her cap.

As Roger moved away from us, I thought about asking him for a photo, but we both thought we may have missed our chance. Then again, as he walked back towards our direction to pack up and go, on a whim, I called out and asked him for a photo. He looked at us, and the big Swiss flag LJ managed to borrow from her friend, smiled and gestured for his physio to take my camera.

And this is the result.


MuhahhahahhahaAHAHAHHAHHAHA OUR LIVES ARE TOTEZ COMPLETED 4EVERZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Might I also add we showed very graceful and commendable restraint by not grabbing him, molesting him, or trying to steal his pants.

After that, we moved on to the show courts, but honestly, we were all giddy and giggly and glompy over each other…random skipping and hugging. The things Federer do to us and our mental states! We managed to calm down enough to get into Nishikori Kei v Fabio Fognini.

It was actually an entertaining match, except both guys couldn’t drop shot to save their lives. Each attempt was quite a spectacle of fail. We started watching when Kei was up two sets to love, and choked away two mini-breaks to lose the third set. He ended up winning the match anyway, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-4.

LJ totally find Fognini doable, by the way. Me? Not so.

After that, we tried to get into Davydenko v Mayer, but it was very full. Nevertheless, LJ opted to wait while I head off to Querrey v Kubot. Kolya ended up losing (WTF Kolya!??! I know Mayer can be good but WTF REALLY KOLYA?!?!??!) and Querrey ended up losing, 8-6 in the final set. It was quite competitive in the 5th set…both guys had chances on each other’s serve, but ended up shanking them away until that one break point when Kubot pounced for the win.

In between matches, we saw Rafa, but because we wasn’t stalkerish enough to know beforehand, there was no way we could even get a spot for decent photos. Boo hoo.

And oh, Bobby Sod practiced after Rafa.

And then it’s YAY FEDY TIME. We got like second-to-last row seats but hell, we didn’t even care. Besides, there’re no REALLY BAD seats in Rod Laver. Because the arena wasn’t super-ass huge, we can still see pretty clearly. My camera didn’t quite cut it, but LJ’s…wooosh.


Thank goodness we can see pretty clearly, because my oh my, what a pretty show from Mr. Federer. He was on from the moment go, providing a clean, sharp display of OMGWTF BBQMG shots – blistering forehands, crisp backhands, OH MAH GAH dropshots and shots that just seemed to work in the most ridiculous way – to go two sets up to love. Seriously, some of the shots were unbelievable and I was just like HOW THE FUCK DID HE DO THAT HOW THE FUCK WAS THAT IN IS HE A FUCKING ALIEN?!!?! Yeah, it was that good. I think at one point Lacko wanted to throw a tennis ball at him and not in a friendly, haha way either.

Lacko stepped it up in the third set but Feddykins has never lost when he was up two sets to love and he wasn’t about to make today the day, breaking Lacko in the 9th game and eventually winning 6-1, 6-1, 6-4.

And then we joined Jodi for Mahut v Dabul. Boy, both these guys have some cracking forehands and cracking shots. Mahut held it together to edge out with a straight sets win. I gotta say, everyone’s new favourite Frenchie is just quite a sight on court, suitably pumped and suitably gritty. You can see his determination – it was as intense as his hair (which did not move an inch for the entire match, I swear).

I caught a bit of Ewok Wawrinka and Gabashvili as well. The Ewok may be a total douchebag in the aspects of his personal life but he does have a very pretty backhand. He won comfortably anyway.

I then wandered to check out Fed’s potential second-round opponents, just to freak myself out. Lu Yen-Hsun was playing Giles Simon and whoa, the Asian brigade was out in full force, yelling in Mandarin and decked out in Taiwanese flags and Chinese signs. Support not enough for Lu though – after winning an intense tiebreaker in the first set, he fizzed away to lose in 4. But Simon was looking solid. A bit head-casey, but good.

So Federer v Simon is set for Round 2. You may begin frazzling now.

After that it was Rod Laver Arena for some snooze fest matches. Thank goodness the second set of Wickmayer and Groth was actually quite a display of solid hitting from both girls…so I got something out of my ticket. I then got dragged out to watch Verdasco – in one of the most horrendous shirts I’ve ever seen – play Schuttler. Seriously, Nando’s shirt was BAD. I’m rather positive that the designer is colour-blind. It then began raining, so back to RLA we go.

Djokovic v Granola Bar was…BLARGGHHHH. Djokovic was decent but he didn’t need to play well, as Granola Bar evidently forgot to eat himself – he was flat and low in energy and didn’t put up too much of a fight. He fought to earn back a break in the second set, but promptly got broken again to lose the set. In which my friend now owes me twenty bucks.

To sum it up, here’s the most interesting thing in the entire match:

Guy behind me to his friends, and he was rooting for Granola Bar, said: “I always, ALWAYS root for the underdog except when it comes to Federer. His game is too beautiful to go against.”

Anyway, bring on Day 2! More stalking, more stories, more tennis! Yahoo! And killer night matches 🙂

Now I need to sleep.

🙂
PJ

P.S. All photos from the camera of yours truly, moi.