Given that this blog is powered by indomitable Australian women who are going to kick ass over the next eight decades, it’s necessary to focus on the freshest story of the women’s tournament in the 2011 U.S. Open, one Samantha Jane Stosur.
One hastens to say that it’s necessary to celebrate this Summer Of Sam with a specific mindset – not in the way that household chores are necessary, but in the sense that giving full and honest expression to the soul is the fullest aim of human persons. This task of singing tennis psalms about Samantha – this redhead with a classically feminine name but a powerfully masculine game – is no burden, but a deeply joyful undertaking.
I can say this without too much hyperbole because I am a fan of Sam. (No, not as much as Svetlana Kuznetsova, but hey, since when does the Kooze remain on the radar screen anymore these days?) Stosur won my eternal gratitude and commanded my respect by staring down and stopping Serena Williams in the 2010 French Open quarterfinals. Yes, I can’t claim Stosur fandom as a lifelong badge of honor; I’m new to the Samantha Mantra and cannot say that I’ve known her since she began her professional career in 1999. I am a convert to the Church of Sam, and I freely acknowledge that religious converts can be obnoxious. Again, I don’t know the tennis life of Stosur from alpha to omega in the intimate way of a decades-long partisan. I freely acknowledge that my lack of long-term support is something I must own up to; I’m not the ideal Fan of Sam. What I can offer, however, is an appreciation of the values and virtues she brings to the sporting rectangle known as a tennis court.
The Fence is flooded with blog posts today! Be sure to check out Matt’s posts just below this one, where he wrote a USO week 2 preview and looking back at Wogie’s rather defining (also known as heart-attack inducing and hair-tearing) Slam matches over his career.
I’m just going to do a quick point-form recap of the day’s happenings, just to keep the wrap posts together.
1) As expected, Dave was able to give Rafa some trouble early in the match – securing a break with some dazzling play involving the rather effective Nalbandian backhand. But Rafa always do as Rafa always does, as he broke Dave while he was serving for the first set, and from then on, it was Rafa all the way, rolling through for a straight sets victory.
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.
- Rafa’s quarter: lots of people not named Rafael Nadal.
- Adorkable’s quarter: I’m sorry. Whut? WHUT?! WHUWHUWHUT?! Excuse me while I give Federbear a good kick where the sun don’t shine because WHAT KINDUVA FRACKITY FRACK FRACK DRAW IS THIS?! Provided that he gets past Raonic/Lopez FIRST MATCH, then a mildly rejuvenated Fernando Hair Fiasco second, our Darling Wodge will face the prospect of playing Almug, Jo-Willy or Zod. And should he battle vigorously into the semi, the Clay Monster himself awaits. Curse you tennis gods! I wish you a million constipated nights.
- Toothface’s quarter: Berdy and Toothface bookend this quarter like Crabbe and Goyle, but in between them, Monfils plays the fools, Dayvo brings the humour, Gillou has eyes like Icelandic lagoons, and Bellucci has the Golden Gate Bridge for a nose. Colour me interested.
- Satan’s quarter: Satan made a good choice pulling out of Monte Carlo. Not only did he extend his winning streak by an extra tournament at the very least (let’s face it – he ain’t gonna lose the Mama Djokovic Open), but he also gave himself a break to recover from winner’s fatigue and avoid facing the clay monster a week out from Miami. While Rafa may be seemingly back to normal programming this year, you get this feeling that Satan and Lord Farquaad are just ready to battle it out for the title of the Second Best Clay Courter of 2011. I’m not sure that Djoko will give Nadal a run for his kneecaps though. The clay season never turns out to be as intriguing as we want it to be. Satan and Farquaad aside, this quarter boasts a sea of minions, also known as Chela, My-Friend-Stanley, JCF, Ernie Gulbiscuit.
Full draw here
Ladies’ draw preview
- Woz’s quarter: who thinks Stosur is going to get past Dulko? I have an ominous feeling that no amount of “oi oi ois” can save her from Dulko’s giant slaying voodoo. Potential upset aside, Hamster, Julia the Gorgeous and Dinara keep it relevant, but I don’t expect anyone other than Woz to come through.
- Vika’s quarter: Dushevina first round probably wasn’t the draw Vika wanted, but she could’ve done worse with the other choices in her quarter – Flavs, Petko, A-Rad, Kiri and the newly single Jarka Gajdosova, not to mention the inimitable Lady Jaja.
- Franny’s quarter: my three lady crushes – Franny, Li Na, and MJMS – all crammed into a teenyweeny quarter. WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS ABOMINATION OF A DRAW, TENNIS GODS?! But Einstein once concluded for all mankind – for every awesome, there is an equal and opposite blah: Benesova, Petrova and Fistpumpovic are the other notable players in this quarter.
- Vera’s quarter: talking about awesome, I LOVE THIS QUARTER SO MUCH I want to propose to it in Kenya and kiss it TWICE on a balcony. Why, you ask? As if you needed reasons for TRUE LOVE. But just in case you did: Sharpie, Cilbulkova,Khooooze, Makarova, Wicky and Nutty Patty, Kvitova and Vera Zvoom Zvoom. Need I say more?
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.
Isn’t it refreshing when a teenager dresses like a teenager? Did Laura Robson get the memo?
Hello, I am Sweet Caroline and I just crawled out of a cabbage patch.
First and last time I’ll say this about Ferrer…
Just the clothes. I swear.
(Watermarked photos courtesy of Tennis Panorama)
For the second year in a row, Federbear and I watched Wogie’s first match at Indian Wells with a degree of trepidation. Igor Andreev, also known as the Right-Handed-Nadal-But-Shit (…I mean, dude’s even friends with Ferrer. What more need I say?) seems to be one of those players who finds an extra ounce of suicidal instinct in himself whenever he plays Fed. The combination of pace and spin from his forehand, his inclination to spank the snot out of every ball, coupled with the all-or-nothing mentality he brings to a match against Federer makes him a particularly dangerous player in the early rounds of tournaments.
But of course, in 4 matches he has yet to squeak a victory past Wogie McFuckerer, regardless of how close the match got. If you want to know why, just watch the second set tiebreak from his match against Federer today.
Furd’s backhand might’ve skipped off during the second set, muttering that he is no Robocop. Wogie’s first serve percentage might’ve dropped from around 70% in the first set to under 50% in the second. Break points might’ve been neglected like some poor unwanted child. Momentum might’ve shifted from the time Federer went up 2-0 to when he was down 6-5 … but at the end of the day, once again, Andreev became first person to crack. One miss by Igor at 4-4 in the 2nd set tiebreak was all that Federer needed to break out of his Vortex of Funk.Two serves later, Lemon Drop Wogie emphatically closed out his first ever straight sets victory over the Russian.
Sting like a bee, float like the omnipresent holy GOAT…
On a side note, I liked this answer from Lemon’s pressure.
Q. If you could take anybody’s shots, whose shots would you take? You’re famous for your phenomenal forehand. What shot would you take from the other players?
ROGER FEDERER: Um, well, I guess always a good serve is a good start, you know. Then you pick the obvious suspect, you know. The ones who are hitting aces and unreturnable serves and can clutch serve all day.
One of those guys, you know, one of the big guys, like John or Karlovic or Roddick and so forth. You know, guys who have proved themselves over a long period of time, of course. And also have variety.
And then, you know, backhands and forehands all come from the top players, really. If you look at the top 10, you know, I guess there’s always someone who does a few things better than others.
Um, but then at the end of the day, you know, you’re happy with what you’ve got, and that’s what you’ve got to work with.
Then again, I don’t know how much, how effective it would be, I don’t know, Murray’s backhand with my game, you know. My game needs my onehanded backhand, I feel, and I don’t know how his game would work out with my forehand.
So we all get used to with what you have, and, you know, your strengths and weaknesses. That’s how you go along.
At the end of the day, you’ve gotta work with what you’ve got. Your strengths, your weaknesses … At the end of the day, you’re happy with what you’ve got.
Advice we could all use.
A quick note on women’s side of the draw, Vera Zvonareva was her usual neurotic self, losing 64 67 46 to a tenacious Domi Cibulkova. But the most “upsetting” match of the day featured Mama Kims, who put on her stink-face and stank her way through an absolute stinkfest of a match, committed a total of 50 unforced errors (13 double faults) on her way to a 63 26 64 win against Sara Errani. My condolences to anyone who sat through the entire match. That was 2 hours of your life you will NEVER GET BACK.
The Frazzle Post for Monday (Aussie Tuesday) is up. Enjoy le tennis while I catch up on some well needed Zzzz, bitchezzz.
Since a picture paints 1000 words, I’ll let my supersadz pug brigade do all the talkin’.
Don’t get me wrong. Novak Djokovic is breathing out balls of fire and confidence these days. Still lossless in 2011, the guy’s on a streak so hot he’s giving his own father a permanent erection. Playing him so soon after the Aus Open was always going to be a tough job. Given that it was a minor tournament, in an attempt to be a modest fangirl, I prepared myself for a loss, cheered for the best and hoped for some good tennis.
But come, the fuck, on. Wogie McFed, what is with this tennis thing that you purportedly played in the Dubai final?
Built up to be a Blockbuster match of revenge, the Dubai final turned out to be an easy 6-3 6-3 drubbing by the Djoker. It would all be very well if the Djoker played brilliant tennis to win, which in part - he did. But while the first set may have featured Novak Djokovic piling up bricks of pressure on Federer like his name was Bob the Builder, the second set was nothing short of underwhelming, loose, and down right shite.
With Djoko fast losing concentration and the crowd firmly behind Federer, Wogie came out in the second set with an early break, and held to go up 3-1. But just as he looked like he had turned the corner, Wogie suddenly transformed into Robocop (né Ferd), and miraculously managed to lose the next FIVE GAMES to concede the match in a whimper.
I was so angry I could’ve BLOWN UP my ovaries in protest, but I settled for eating all of Federbear’s cookies instead. TAKE THAT, stoopid bear!
Onto less vein-popping tournament results:
Over in Acapulco, Ferru finally inflicted on Almug his first clay loss of the season in a 7-6, 6-7, 6-2 win over his compatriot, making this Ferrer’s 11th title, second in 2011.
“I didn’t think I could win here twice in a row and I realise I am having the best season start of my career this year. I hope I can continue like that this season.”
We talk too often in tennis about players who never quite live up to their immensely evident talents (COUGHGULBISCOUGH), but has there ever been a player who has made more of his God-given abilities than David Ferrer?
Name one. I dare ya.
While your Site Mistress is hardly a member of del Potro fan brigade, it was good to see him bounce back from a potentially career-threatening with a title at Delray Beach, although he seemed just as impressed as I was about his glass fallopian-tubes trophy.
On the genuine fallopian side of thing, Vera Zvonareva took home a Qatari Falcon of her own after a breakfest win of 64 64 over Pushniacki. This victory marks Vera’s first title in more than a year, making her the WTA’s new “Svetlana Kuznetsova circa 2007-8″.
She’ll be hoping she has turned the corner when it comes to converting finals, as the tour heads to Indian Wells, where Vera was a former champ.
Enough weekend recapping, back to my pug face. >:(
Watching Woger serve through my appropriately heart-shaped sunglasses may have been the most orgasmic experience ever.
Rally For Relief. I won’t sum up everything that went on because Tignor has done a great job capturing the highlights.
A year ago, we united for Hit For Haiti in the same arena. It was spontaneously organised. It drew a huge crowd with less than 24 hours’ notice. People lined up last minute and moved swiftly to their seats. It was as chaotic as it was natural. Things just … fell into place.
Rally For Relief this year, despite the amazing response, didn’t quite have the same organisational neatness to it. The atmosphere in Garden Square and Rod Laver Arena was lively and happy, but hours before we were able to go in, there was a Mecca-like human meat jam outside Rod Laver Arena – somewhat appropriate, but totally avoidable.
Despite the organisational clusterfuck, once in the arena, we were immediately treated to Federer’s normally scheduled practice session with Federcone and a young Australian (?) junior. And boy, was he lazy! MOVE YA FRIGGIN FEET!
Half an hour later, McSquishy packed his bags as the capacity crowd broke into a chorus of applause and wolf-whistling. 15,000 people watching a practice session, clapping at your forehands, groaning at the misses?
Even Wogie McFed might find that to be a novel experience.
As for the actual Rally For Relief exhibition: the Djoker joked, Murray moaned, and substitute linesman Aaaaandee Roddick roared “IT WAS YOUR RIGHT FOOT” and foot-faulted Vera Zvonareva.
It was that kinda exho.
All of it was amusing, but none surprising – we all knew that Djokovic reveled in this sort of situation. If tennis were a Shakespearean court, the Djoker would naturally take on the part of the joker, one that waltzes in and offers a round of slapstick entertainment to break up the intensity that often typifies tennis.
And Roddick? We all knew he owns dry humour the way Federer owns hi- ah …
Not to mention Ahndee Mooray’s idea of humour turned out to be trading moans and grunts with Ana Ivanovic. Needless to say, I was immediately turned off having bébés FOREVER.
The real surprises for me came from the girls.
Caroline Wozniacki wiggled her rear-end, strutted her stuff and flicked her hair, all done with cheek of course. But there’s a girl comfortable in her own skin, knowing she’s hot potatoes.
Justine Henin: happy, relaxed, easy-going. It shouldn’t be this shocking but it was. We couldn’t feel much of that lionness-trapped-in-lamb’s-body vibe she normally exudes. And by the crowd’s reaction to her, we’re more appreciative of Henin than perhaps … ever.
The others. Victoria Azarenka missed a tweener so badly that she walked off court in self-mockery and shame. A few points later, Ana Ivanovic attempted another one poorly, “I just missed it to make you feel better.” Miss Muffet has cheek. Who knew?
And who could forget that immortal line offered by Miss Muffet? “Can you stand me behind me?” She said naively to Djoko as she prepared to receive Roddick’s serve. Watch again the fleeting look that crossed Djokovic and Roddick’s faces. A moment later, the crowd got it and started to snigger.
Unintentional, but utterly priceless.
And then there was Stosur. Just a year ago, she was star-struck, quiet and shy as a local favourite in Hit For Haiti. This year, she held her own. Granted, none of the last four doubles players, Kim, Rafa, Roger and Sam, was micced. But there was no longer a sense from Stosur that she didn’t think she belonged, that she wasn’t a “top player” in the same league as Azarenka, or Zvonareva or Kim. She had a new sense of calmness and settlement that just wasn’t evident in her demeanour last year.
Last but not least, the Roger/Rafa doubles pairing. It happened, I eyeballed it. And now my eyeballs are so privileged and priceless I’m considering taking out insurance on them.
But proving that too much of a good thing can lose to Sam Stosur, Wogie and Wafa took turns to see who could fail more spectacularly at an overhead smash. The result was that the girls took away the battle of the sexes, and Kim and Sam did the victorious chestbump to rub it in.
But at the end of the day, let us not forget the purpose of all this stuff and nonsense. The flood waters are receding in Queensland (and the rest of Australia) and people are returning to find their homes destroyed, evidence of their memory drenched and erased forever. The clean-up and rebuilding efforts will cost this country billions, and the emotional toll will be higher.
Rally For Relief raised an amazing $1.8 million today for the cause, and https://rallyforrelief.tennis.com.au/ will continue to accept donations, with QER (corporate) matching every dollar donated. Please do what you can.
PS. Who says Federer and Rafa fans hate each other? It was lovely to meet some Rafanatics pre-match today, and we didn’t even scratch each others’ eyeballs out. Now that’s civility!
PPS. By the way, the rest of my photos from today are here. Practice photos earlier in the week are on the same account.
They were the best of the rest, and the worst of the rest. These are the outfits that have made an impression in 2010, for one reason or another.
Let’s start with the worst, shall we? There is always something sinfully fun about criticizing someone else’s outfit.
1. Caroline Wozniacki, Australian Open til Roland Garros
Oh Stella, Stella, Stella. As far as clothing’s concerned, Ms McCartney has been everyone else’s favourite punching bag for 2010. But there is a reason for that: which part of shapeless, slate-grey rags with leaf patterns suggest “fashion hit” to you? Just look at poor Carol’s indignant face of pain OH WAIT -
That’s her normal game face.
2. Caroline Wozniacki, US Open til Will-This-Ever-End?
It’s semi-sheer. There is some form of bodice/bondage with horizontal stretch marks on the fabric. It hovers over her upper thigh, leaving you wondering where “the rest of it” has gone. Is it possible to give CWoz – a young, fit, female athlete – bulges where bulges do not exist?
Why yes! As Stella would say, “Impossible is NOTHING”.
3. Victoria Azarenka, US Open Series
I geddit. I geddit! Nerd is chic. Socially awkward, borderline Aspergers folks like Mark Zuckerberg are all the rage, programming your life into “walls” and “pokes” and “relationship statuses”. It’s okay. It’s about time.
But COME THE FUCK ON. There is nothing remotedly chic about wearing the double helix.
4. Aravane Rezai, Gold Foil 2010
There is so much gold foil going on here you wonder how many Lindt Bunnies died to make this dress. Don’t go around wearing this near a microwave oven now.
5. Aravane Rezai, Life in Plastic, It’s Fantastic.
Ever seen one of those “eco-fashion” shows?
They’re a bit like the modern Emperor’s New Clothes. Everyone claps along politely and talks about the importance of sustainability, environmental protection, when all the while, they are furiously trying to figure out why there are models parading around wearing ACTUAL PLASTIC BAGS.
That was how I felt, upon sighting this horror.
6. Marin Cilic, Davis Cup Tragic
I do not fucking care! No really. I do not. Whatever your national colours; however strong your “team spirit”, there is no excuse for wearing a picnic blanket on court.
7. Marin Cilic, US Open Tragic
Own up. Which one of you menstruated over him?
(I DID NOT WANT TO SAY IT IT CALLED OUT TO ME TO BE SAID)
8. Sam Stosur, First Half of 2010
There are many things to be said about this orange-ish, peachy, shapeless mess. But I believe Jodi of Tennis From Beyond the Baseline summed it up best when I ran into her at the Australian Open earlier in 2010:
“No one needs an apricot dress.”
Those are some of the worst outfits I personally remember in 2010. Have I missed any other travesties of international proportions? Lemme know.
But until then, without further ado: the best of the rest.
1. Gael Monfils, US Open
It was his first year with K-Swiss, and already, they’ve captured Gael’s personality so much more accurately than Nike ever did.
I don’t love or hate the clothes and hair per se. If Wogie had walked out looking like that, I would be banging my head against a rock hoping I destroy enough brain cells to make me forget it all.
But on Monfools, it all fell together to look so … Monfoolish. Likey likey.
The black and neon green version was also a little be funky.
2. Sam Stosur, US Open
This reminded me of Flavia Pennetta’s US Open 2009 dress, it was crisp, it was fitted, and I don’t know about you, but I personally have no issues with female athletes actually looking like female athletes.
Want to promote positive body image for young women? Celebrities posing nude for fashion glossies don’t help in the slightest. But seeing someone like Sam Stosur exude fitness and strength does.
The dark purple version, which was also lovely.
3. Pretty In Pink
What is it about Victoria Azarenka that just looks so good in pink?
If “real men wear pink”, then ironically, girls-gals often look horrendous in pink. Sure – it’s a feminine colour, but too much feminine pinkness can make it look like you accidentally ate Hello Kitty for breakfast.
Vika, on the other hand, gets the balance right in both her Australian Open and Roland Garros outfits.
That’s another thing: happy young people looking like happy young people. A point the likes of Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic often miss in their effort to look photoshop-worthy on court.
Talking about pink, I thought Alona Bondarenko looked like a teenage dream in her Australian Open dress.
4. Vera Zvonareva, Roland Garros 2010
Like Vera herself, K-Swiss is rather underrated. The colours are fresh. The combination of the pleated skirt and the simple tank top is sporty and feminine.
She doesn’t get many fancy, seasonal outfits every year, but you can always depend on Vera Zvonareva to look professional and sleek, 100% of the time.
5. Michelle Louder de Bretter, Wimbledon 2010
My favourite dress of the year has nothing to do with fancy tulle, vibrant colours or original designs. At the end of the day, it comes down to simplicity, class, and something that I can picture myself wearing. Not to mention, I love white and navy.
Anyone know who it’s by? I thought she was with adidas?