Archive for the ‘tournaments’ Category

bracketology: the men of flushing (and how they’ll fare)

August 27, 2011

By Christopher Phillips


Cool and calm: Novak is the US Open’s top seed for the first time ever. (Getty Images photo)

More: See Christopher’s breakdown of the women’s side of things here.

Djokovic — Winner | Shoulder injury aside, you’d be hard pressed to not pick Novak. He opens with a qualifier then would play either Pere Riba or Carlos Berlocq, two dirtballers, in the 2nd round. His first challenge could be in the third round against Nikolay Davydenko. 13th seed Richard Gasquet, 22nd seed Alexandr Dolgopolov, Sergiy Stakhovsky, Kei Nishikori, Ivo Karlovic, and Fernando Gonzalez could all be waiting Novak in the 4th round.

Rafael Nadal –- Semifinals | Nadal’s road is quite a bit trickier than that of Djokovic. He opens against Andrey Golubev. The Kazakh is currently ranked no. 97, but the ATP’s Most Improved Player of the year for 2010 was as high as no. 33 in October of last year. Nadal should get through that match without too much difficulty, but could face former Top 5 players David Nalbandian or Ivan Ljubicic in the 3rd Round, then two-time Open Semifinalist Mikhail Youzhny or 17th seed Jurgen Melzer in the 4th round.

Roger Federer –- Semifinals | Federer opens against Santiago Giraldo, who hasn’t played a match on hard courts since Miami, and then could play the Brazilian lefty Thomaz Bellucci, who just missed being seeded, in the second round. Ryan Harrison or 27th seed Marin Cilic should lie head in the 3rd Round with 23rd seed Radek Stepanek, 15th seed Viktor Troicki or Philipp Kohlschreiber potentially waiting in the 4th round.

Andy Murray –- Finals | This summer’s Cincinnati champion comes into New York in fine form. He’ll open against Somdev Devvarman in round one. Big-serving Robin Haase could challenge Murray in the second round and 25th seed Feliciano Lopez in the 3rd round could pose problems for Murray, but his solid return game should counter any danger there. | TSF Vault: Murray

David Ferrer — Quarterfinals | Ferrer reached the semis in New York back in 2007 and lost a thrilling fifth-set tiebreak to countryman Fernando Verdasco here last year in the 4th round. He also tasted a Major semifinal earlier this year in Australia. The only thing that brings about concern about Ferrer living up to his seeding is his lack of hard court match play this summer: an injury sat him out for every event save Cincy. To his credit, however, he beat Roddick and Fish in Davis Cup in early July — two giant wins on American fast courst. His biggest challenge to the quarterfinals will be 10th seed Nicolas Almagro or 21st seed (how strange is that number?!) Andy Roddick.

Robin Soderling –- Second Round | The Swede hasn’t played a hard court match since early losses to Juan Martin del Potro and Kohlschreiber in Miami and Indian Wells, respectively, but follows Djokovic with the second-most hard court championships this year (three). Soderling’s lack of play this summer could send him out early to rising American veteran Alex Bogomolov Jr.. Bogomolov beat Soderling 2 and 2 in Indianapolis in 2004, so there’s no reason to think he can’t do it again.

Gael Monfils –- Quarterfinals | Of the top eight, Monfils has the toughest draw into the quarterfinals. He’ll open against potential future star and current heartbreaker Grigor Dimitrov, before possibly meeting former USO finalist Juan Carlos Ferrero in the 2nd round. 31st seed Marcel Granollers, Albert Montanes or Xavier Malisse could wait in the 3rd round before a potential match-up with 9th seed Tomas Berdych — who’s never made it past the 4th round here — or Montreal semifinalist 20th Janko Tipsarevic in the 4th round.

Not filleted: Fish is riding a strong summer coming into the USO. (Getty)

Mardy Fish –- Round of 16 | Opening against German Tobias Kamke, Fish should have pretty smooth sailing to the 4th round where he’s likely to meet Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Tsonga could come through in that match-up, but potential matches against big servers Thiemo De Bakker in the second round and Kevin Anderson or 29th seed Michael Llodra in the third round could give Fish the extra batting practice he needs to beat the Frenchman. | TSF Vault: Fish

Dark Horses | Potential winners? Probably not. But these boys could pull a few upsets and find themselves in week two at Flushing.

11th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga | Tsonga’s play has been one of the most exciting to watch this year. Assuming he’s regrouped and healed since his retirement against Novak in the Montreal semifinals, he’d meet slumping 19th Fernando Verdasco in the third round followed by “your country’s eyes are on you for a change” 8th seed Fish in the R16. Should Tsonga make it through both of those, he’ll face 3rd Federer for the 5th time this year and will be going into that match with some serious momentum beating the Swiss in their last two meetings.

16th seed Mikhail Youzhny | Youzhny has twice been a semifinalist in New York before: last year and in 2006. Despite a relatively easy loss to Nadal here last year, he did get the better of the Spaniard in 2006. He’s set to meet Nadal in the 4th round this year and — given the Spaniard’s unimpressive summer — it’s highly possible that Youzhny could find himself in the semifinals for a third time in six years.

18th seed Juan Martin del Potro | Well… in as much as a former champion can be considered a “dark horse.” JMdP has underperformed this summer, with second round losses to Federer and Cilic in Cincinnati and Montreal, respectively. Perhaps he’s just saving himself for the big show? The Argentine’s first challenge would be against 12th seed Gilles Simon in the 3rd round (Simon has never been past the round of 32). A potential 4th rounder versus 28th seed and Winston-Salem champ John Isner or Soderling would come next.

20th seed Janko Tipsarevic | The Serb loves the big stages and they don’t get bigger than Arthur Ashe Stadium. Janko opens against a qualifier and would face 9th seed Berdych in the 3rd round. Tomas’ track record in New York isn’t very good, so Janko could see himself in the 4th round against Monfils. And depending on the Frenchman’s form that day, perhaps even into the QFs to take on countryman Djokovic.

TSF Vault: US Open | Bracketology

First-Round Matches to Watch:

Youzhny vs. Ernests Gulbis | The Latvian was at his career peak at no. 21 in the world earlier this year, but has done little this summer since upsetting del Potro and Fish on his way to the Los Angeles title. He got the better of Youzhny at the Masters tournaments in Paris and Madrid last year.

23rd seed Radek Stepanek vs. Kohlschreiber | The dancing Czech dropped out of the top 70 earlier this year, but his title in Washington bodes well for him. The German has seen better days — but he’s always capable of an upset.

Harri situation? Ryan’s always an eye-brow raiser. (TSF)

Cilic vs. Harrison | Can the young (hot) American continue his hot summer?

Isner vs. Marcos Baghdatis | Just about anytime the Cypriot is on court, it’s going to be a fun match.

32nd seed Ivan Dodig vs. Davydenko | The Russian and former world no. 3 missed being seeded by a few spots, but twice a semifinalist here, he knows how to get it done.

Fernando Gonzalez vs. Ivo Karlovic | It’s great to see the Chilean back in action. Combined ages? 63.

See the full men’s draw here | Qualies

Predictions | 4th round:
Djokovic d Gasquet
Monfils d Tipsarevic
Federer d Stepanek
Tsonga d Fish
Del Potro d Isner
Murray d Wawrinka
Ferrer d Almagro
Nadal d Youzhny

QFs:
Djokovic d Monfils
Federer d Tsonga
Murray d Del Potro
Nadal d Ferrer

SFs:
Djokovic d Federer
Murray d Nadal

Finals:
Djokovic d Murray – 4 sets

short balls: open coverage explodes, around the parties and irene

August 26, 2011

Here we go! The all-out media blitz for the 2011 US Open has begun, the New York Times seemingly sounding the starting gun this morning when Novak Djokovic lived on its homepage for much of the morning with a piece written by Greg Bishop about the all-out transformation of Djoko over the last year: the diet, the game, the ranking and the media appeal. It doesn’t stop there with the Times, which has stories about Irene, finding tennis courts in NYC and qualies of course. But those are just the meat-and-potatoes posts. More? Andy Samburg dresses up (and celebrates like) the best champs from tennis’ past, though he didn’t pull a Djoko and sport a Maria-inspired wig. Check out the hilarious video here.

TSF Vault: Short balls | US Open

Time out: But don’t think the Times is the only one who has it going on. New York magazine has an entire US Open guide section while Time took the time to follow Djokovic around, too. Tennis.com is unsurprisingly all blinged-out, currently with a Richard Pagliaro Q&A with Andrea Petkovic. Their USO-specific page is a looking a little bit like it’s stuck in 1999, though we’re positive that Tignor, Bodo and the rest of the crew will be on the grounds and covering as they always do. TennisNow.com is looking more and more like Tennis.com these days, which isn’t necessarily a horrible thing. But we do enjoy their easy-to-read breeze through the fashion of the men and women at Flushin this year, which is heavily linked to outside sources. CNN/SI gives little/no cover play to the Open on this Friday, but we expect them to beef up coverage as the tourney actually gets underway. No doubt they have frontman L. Jon Wertheim‘s piece on the seeds (he’s all Serena on the women’s side) featured on the tennis page. Tennis Channel wants folks to play in its Racquet Bracket challenge – and we would — if only that meant a date with James LaRosa of Sweet Spot fame. His latest Spot? A drinking game, of course! Oh James! You keep us sober (in life)! ESPN.com doesn’t have any USO coverage on its homepage, either, and hasn’t even pulled the “Tennis” section from out underneath the “More Sports” bar. But the .com side always adds to what TV has going on — which is bigger than ever. ESPN3 went as far as sending out a release to tout their individual coverage that supplements TV. What can we say? We sort of love it.

And the little guys? On the blogosphere, it’s business as usual around the horn. The blogging has been slow for C Note, but the tweeting? Outta control. So much so that Merriam-Webster finally appeased and made “tweeting” an actual, real world. Way to go, C! 52,346 tweets and counting. Down the Line has this hilarious cartoon via Women’s Tennis Blog. Tennis Panorama braved the epic crowds at Macy’s yesterday for the Rafa unveiling of a (shirtless) billboard. Did we expect anything else? Number of Rafa billboards? One. Number of words he spoke on stage? One. (“Hel-lo.”) The-Slice has tasty crumbs from Taste of Tennis last night. And Adjusting the Net is all about Winston-Salem. Someone had to be, right?

short(er) balls: The Post calls Serena’s path (she has Vika in the third round) “easy” for title. | TSF contributor Lindsay Sakraida has NYMag.com’s official preview of the men and women. | We didn’t see this coming: the USTA cancelled Arthur Ashe Kid’s Day because of Irene. Won’t reschedule. | Richard Evans writes on FoxSports.com that this is Mardy Fish‘s big opp. | More 3D tennis from Panasonic and CBS. Should we care? | Pete Sampras and other fellas part of an “Old School” tennis event last night in Murray Hill, Manhattan. | New Haven got all shaken up (and evacuated) after Tuesday’s earthquake. | Lleyton Hewitt? Out of the Open. | Tennis Channel is still battling with Cablevision. #overit | But really, NYT? Who is eating around the grounds. People are just eating in the grounds. | The next great gay film? We sort of think this is it. | Shameless plug: Housing Works has plenty of good sales this fall. In the city for the Open? Live there? Have the ability to shop online? Do. It.

(nytimes.com screengrab; hw photo provided)

 

trophy watch: serena’s (and nole’s) sizzling summer

August 15, 2011

Streak this: While Novak Djokovic may be 53-1 this year and 29-0 on hardcourts, he doesn’t have as many wins this summer as Serena Williams. Serena hasn’t lost since Wimbledon, winning her second straight US Open Series tournament in Toronto over the weekend, running through the field with a only hiccup here or there — much like she had in Standford at the Bank of the West Classic. Serena’s final triumph was over Sam Stosur, who beat Williams in the French Open quarterfinals last year in a tight affair. Not this time: Serena won the Rogers Cup for the second time, 6-4 6-2.

King Nole: While it is clear that Serena is having a banner summer, so, too, is Nole. You just can’t take it away from him — he’s having a banner year. Prior to his final yesterday against Mardy Fish, Djoko had dropped just 20 games in four straight-set matches. Remember: this dude hadn’t played since Wimbledon! Seriously: undisputed world no. 1 on l-o-c-k. The final was a good one, thanks to a gamely Fish, who we hope will show up in similar form in two week’s time at Flushing Meadows. Nole, as he has 52 other times this year, emerged the winner with a 6-2 3-6 6-4 effort.

Clear as day: As for the trophies, we can’t say we’re the biggest fan of the clear glass look, but if we had to choose, we’ll take Serena’s lighter, thinner option over Nole’s marginally phallic offering. But the real question? Who had the better celebration?!

TSF Vault: Serena Williams | Novak Djokovic | Trophy Watch

(Serena images by the AP; Djoko images by Getty)

summer blockparty: christina mchale in new haven

July 20, 2011

The future Christina? How cute is this little aspiring tennis-playing gal? She joined some 200 kids from the New Haven area for a USTA 10 & Under tennis clinic, where American Christina McHale helped the youngsters with their form. Swinging Head racquets donated by First Niagra, the kids were treated to an afternoon of tennis and face painting (see below) at the “First Niagra Block Party.” The block party was held to help, in part, promote the New Haven Open at Yale, formerly the Pilot Pen. Set for the week before the U.S. Open, this final lead-up tournament will go from a men’s and women’s event to solely a WTA event as the men’s event has headed south to Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

The 19-year-old McHale, ranked no. 67, received a wild card into New Haven. The tournament already has commitments from world no. 1 and defending champ Caroline Wozniacki, along with former French Open champs Svetlana Kuznetsova and Francesca Schiavone and Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Check out the full player list here.

More great images from the New Haven Open’s Block Party after the cut.

(more…)

towels for roland garros 2011

June 2, 2011

French Open towels aren’t as solid this year (the Lacoste ones are better), but if we had to choose, we’d go for this one of the Eiffel Tower. The other honorable mentions after the cut…

practice makes perfect: novak djokovic

June 2, 2011

Nole switched to his French Open kit during the warm-up tourneys leading to the year’s second major, so no need to rehash (here it is, in case ya need a refresher). So instead, here’s a few looks at his practice gear.

BTW: Nole has dropped only one set (to del Potro) in his run to the semis, which included a retirement from Victor Hanescu and a walkover against Fognini (who injured himself in that marathon vs. Montanes). Djokovic will play Roger Federer tomorrow.

Too much red! Aside from this olive green tee, a Stepanek-esque polo/shirt ensemble after the cut…

flashback: stan the man

June 2, 2011

Gettin’ down: Stanislas Wawrinka needed to remind Jo-Wilfried Tsonga about who was seeded higher at this year’s French Open, and it wasn’t easy: it took Stan about four hours to log the third-round 4-6, 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, 6-3 victory over Tsonga. He lost the subsequent round — a Swiss-fest against Roger Federer. (Read up: Roger and Stan’s career head-to-head; Pt. 2: French Open Men’s Singles Draw)

Buy: Lacoste Forest Hills Gym Bag; white, empire yellow, flame scarlet, and blue aster; $160; lacoste.com.

(photos by Alexander Klein/AFP/Getty Images)

ground attack: nike.com’s french open landing page

June 2, 2011

For the curious, Nike.com’s French Open landing page looks like this. They also used Maria‘s image, seen without text below.

(Nike website screengrab via nike.com; maria image courtesy of Nike)

fashion focus: in lotto, schiavone keeps the frills to a minimum

June 2, 2011

While we wouldn’t have picked Francesca Schiavone as the woman who could best showcase the uber-feminine clothes from this season’s Lotto drop, the Italian is keeping up her end of the sponsorship bargain during this claycourt season: she’s backed up her decision to lay low during the last Fed Cup tie with a quarterfinal appearance in Rome (losing to Stosur) and a semifinal defeat in Brussels (to Caro). Now she has a chance to defend her French Open title in the finals against Li Na, played tomorrow. (Draw: RG Women’s Singles)

TSF loves the skort in particular, with its super-bunched hem and bow off to the side. (We first noticed this on Pironkova back at Indian Wells.) Schiavone’s done a good job mixing up the skort’s three colors — pearl (grey), dark navy, and white — with the irid cocktail (light salmon) and dark navy pieces. We’re also glad she’s opted for the more subtle ruching of the cap-sleeve top, leaving the messy criss-cross design of the tank back in Rome. All that extra fabric is doing nothing for her flat-chestedness.

Buy: Lotto Missy Skort, €30.17; Polo, €34.03; Tank, €30.17; Dress, €45.29; Cap-Sleeve Top, €30.17.

More: Images from her 2011 Roland Garros looks — plus two from Rome — all after the cut…

want: wear the clay without getting dirty

June 2, 2011

Let’s leave the grime to the pros, ok?

What an entertaining semi! Schiavone played Bartoli, with the defending champ taking out the hometown fave 6-3, 6-3. She’ll face Li Na in the final; their combined age makes this the oldest women’s final since Tauziat and Novotna played Wimbledon in 1998 (via Christopher Clarey, that one).

Swatch comes up with the Jeux d’Elite Roland Garros watch — the same shade as the tourney’s clay courts — and puts it in a tennis ball case. Buy: € 67,00 at storerolandgarros.com.

(image via storerolandgarros.com)

fashion focus: adidas adiace (roland garros)

May 27, 2011

Stanislas Wawrinka needed to remind Jo-Wilfried Tsonga about who was seeded higher at this year’s French Open, and it wasn’t easy: it took Stan about four hours to log the 4-6, 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, 6-3 victory. And it doesn’t get any easier: up next is a Swiss-fest against Roger Federer. (Read up: Roger and Stan’s career head-to-head; Pt. 2: French Open Men’s Singles Draw)

Tsonga was the only ATPer clad in the Roland Garros-branded adidas adiAce line. On the men, they produced a slim-fit polo with flattering color-blocking (not that Tsonga needs help in that department). And you know how we love a popped collar, so the quarter-zipped stand-up collar on the polo is a nice touch. The colorways: Intense Green with white and Medium Lead; Medium Lead with Intense Green and Ice Grey.

On the women, they’ve used a maroon colorway on a scoop-neck dress with a pleated skirt. The accompanying wristband and warm-up jacket — accented with a neon (“Aero”) red — round out the collection. Also of note: a few graphic tees and a white, ruffled top for the ladies. See our picks below; browse (and buy!) everything here. What do you think of the adiAce goods?

(Tsonga photos by AP Photo/Michel Euler and Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images)

practice makes perfect: roger federer

May 27, 2011

Roger Federer has reached the fourth round of the 2011 French Open after brushing aside Janko Tipsarevic 6-1, 6-4, 6-3. Even from a different perspective — i.e., the buzz words these days are “Nadal” and “Nole” — it’s safe to say that this man can still play some good, clean ball: so far this week, he’s used his efficient serve to rack up only two break points after three rounds of play.

Nike Air Max Redux Men’s T-Shirt, $20, nike.com.

(photo by AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

happy, happy, joy, joy

May 27, 2011

For the curious: Steve Darcis is the tennis face for clothing brand J&Joy, whose logo is embroidered on the Belgian’s polos at this year’s French Open.

Gael force: Darcis couldn’t upset a second Frenchman — he took out Michael Llodra, the tournament’s 22nd seed, in the first round — in his match against Gael Monfils. Darcis lost in straight sets. (Draw: See how the rest of the guys are doing)

Lookbook: Just the basic stuff from this brand. Nothing to write home about visually, so let’s hope they make it up in fabric choice and quality construction. See more images from their Spring/Summer 2011 line after the cut…

fashion focus: lacoste’s 40th anniversary with roland garros

May 27, 2011

Lacoste and Roland Garros put their heads together for a small collection in time to celebrate their 40th anniversary. Men’s and women’s pieces include polos with embroidered anniversary logos, screenprinted tees (two with photos from a 1973 ad campaign), and custom packaging.

The power of the Euro: Oh, that conversion rate… You can look at the goods at the Roland Garros Store

(images via storerolandgarros.com)

monfils wears k-swiss fading stripe in purple

May 27, 2011

Purple, please: Roland Garros 14th seed Gael Monfils booked a spot in the fourth round by taking out Belgian Steve Darcis in straight sets. He’ll go up against David Ferrer — the Spaniard we predict will go all the way to the semis. Yep, that means a potential win over Roger Federer. (Draw: RG Men’s Singles)

With the Nike men toning down their attire, Gael and K-Swiss have stepped up by using purple and showing off the Frenchman’s guns this spring. The color always reminds us of Serena‘s clay dress from 2007. More info: K-Swiss Fading Stripe Series.

More: A few more on-court pics of Gael going up against Bjorn Phau and Steve Darcis after the cut…

kolyateral damage

May 27, 2011

Shirtless: Croatia’s Antonio Veic did his part to make a name for the qualifiers who reached the third round of this year’s French Open (the others: Leonardo Mayer, Lukasz Kubot, Lukas Rosol). In the process, Veic took down 28th seed Nikolay Davydenko 3-6, 6-2, 7-5, 3-6, 6-1. Veic next plays Nadal. (Draw: RG Men’s Singles)

More: A few more shots of Veic in (and out) of his Lotto gear, plus Kolya in his Dunlop kit. Nothing to see there, really. It’s just for my records…. See it all after the cut…

goerges keeps it classy

May 27, 2011

No better way to dress up your Nike clothes than with some pearl studs and painted nails. Too bad Julia Goerges couldn’t run away with a first set win over Marion Bartoli, eventually losing 6-3, 2-6, 4-6 to the 11th seed.

Draw: Things are all kinds of crazy in that top section of the draw, with both Caro out (upset by Dani Hantuchova) and Stosur going down to Dulko. See how it’s all playing out.

Clothes: Julia wore the Nike Maria Sharapova separates from this season.

(photo by Alexander Klein/Getty Images)

practice makes perfect: andy murray keeps it real

May 26, 2011

French Open: 4th seed Andy Murray is through to the third round with wins over qualifier Eric Prodon and Italian Simone Bolelli. Up next is Michael Berrer. (Draw: RG Men’s Singles)

Buy: adidas Originals Stan Smith Printed T-Shirt, $46.16, asos.com.

(image via Getty Images)

flashin’ the pearly whites

May 26, 2011

Just as we were scratching our heads to figure out what the eff happened to Arnaud Clement, the scowly Frenchman (he and Kolya Davydenko should start a club) showed flashes of smileyness after beating Italian Filippo Volandri in four tough sets to open his 2011 French Open campaign. Unfortunately, Clement’s wildcard didn’t do him so good: he fell to Michael Berrer in the subsequent round. (Draw: RG Men’s Singles)

Clothes: The Lacoste kids are still wearin’ the same Striped Tennis Polo that they’ve been using all clay season long.

(photos by Alexander Klein/AFP/Getty Images)

sharapova survives scare

May 26, 2011

Maria Sharapova‘s trying to consolidate that title win in Rome, but not without trouble: she had a slight hiccup in second round while facing French wildcard Caroline Garcia, going down a set and 1-4 before grinding out the 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 victory. Up next for Masha is Yung-Jan Chan of Taiwan. (Draw: RG Women’s Singles)

Meanwhile, her eponymous accessories collection at Cole Haan dropped a blue nubuck version of the Air Bacara flats. (Flashback: Maria’s Cole Haan Spring 2011)

Buy: Air Bacara Ballet by Maria Sharapova by Cole Haan, $138, colehaan.com.

And speaking of her off-court dealings, one of TSF’s favorite writers, Eric Wilson, sates his Masha fa(n)scination with this article in the NYT Style Section.

(match photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images; Air Bacara image courtesy of Cole Haan)


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