Archive for the ‘robin soderling’ 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

trophy watch: robin’s robin? & filo’s furry fury

July 18, 2011

Is that a Robin in there? No but really: there’s a bird in his trophy. Swedish fella Robin Soderling played hometown hero yesterday when he fought his was past a tough David Ferrer 6-2 6-2 at the Swedish Open in Bastad. It was Soderling’s second title in three years in front of a home crowd, winning his fourth tour tournament of 2011. Soderling improved to an impressive 10-4 against Ferrer.

Furry fury. We guess Feliciano Lopez wanted to just head to the Colombian mountains, grow a little beard and unzip his JOma jacket — ahhh, the life! But FiLo played some tennis, winning in Bogota over Colombian Carlos Salamanca 6-4 6-3 at the Seguros Bolivar Open.

TSF Vault: Feliciano | Joma

That’s really her trophy. Remember that Andy Roddick commercial where he buys two tickets for the return flight? (Note: He doesn’t have to do that much these days.) This picture reminds us of said commercial. Here the folks in Bad Gastein, Austria, must have been upset that Maria Jose Sanchez Martinez took out their home girl Patricia Mayr in the final (6-0 7-5) so they gave her this giant, ridiculous trophy to PUNISH her. We think it may have worked.

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who wears calvin klein?

June 23, 2011

No Fruit of the Loom? Lleyton Hewitt goes for Calvin Kleins under his Yonex garb, so it would seem. But the Aussie’s trendy undies and backcourt game were not enough to get him past no. 5 seed Robin Soderling, even after the veteran led two sets to none. The final in favor of the Swede 6-7 (5) 3-6 7-5 6-4 6-4.

TSF: Chris has Sod going to the QFs | More undies

(Reuters image)

sunday survey: andy’s slam?

June 19, 2011

Question this: We figure that with the ladies trying to get their druthers about them, we’ll wait until next Sunday to let you weigh in on who’s going to run home with the title. But for the fellas, let’s check out who the TSF nation thinks is going to hoist high the Wimbledon trophy come July 3. Is it finally Andy Murray’s year?

TSF on Wimbledon: Men’s preview | Women’s preview

(adidas Murray image via Tennis Buzz/Flickr)

roland garros bracketology: the fellas

May 19, 2011

By Christopher Phillips

[Ed note: Chris Phillips, part of TSF West, files his thoughts on who's hot, who's not and who might just make a run at this year's Roland Garros. -NEM]

With the men’s and women’s most significant clay court tournaments just completed and a handful of players getting their last bit of match time in this week, let’s take a look at some of the contenders for the 2011 French Open.  I’ve listed my top 10 favorites below in my own rank order as well as some other players to watch who’ve had notable achievements this year or in the past.

Rafael Nadal | While the tennis talk of the town has definitely been focused on Djokovic the past five months, I still believe this title is Nadal’s to lose. Djokovic has beaten Nadal four times this year with his last two on clay, but beating Rafa three out of five sets is much tougher of a challenge than beating him two out of three.  If anyone can do it though, Nole’s your man. Result: Champ (d. Djokovic in five-set final)

Novak Djokovic | I think at some point “streak pressure” has got to get to him.  Once people start asking how long can you keep it going is usually about when it stops, especially when it becomes the only question (in 20 different forms) in the media room. I detected a bit of panic on his face when he was two points away from losing to Andy Murray in the Rome SFs.  If you’re looking for more reasons he won’t beat Rafa, Nole lost to Jurgen Melzer last year in the QFs after holding a two-set lead.  Additionally — and one of the reasons why I think Murray was as successful against Novak as he was in Rome — is that nobody on the tour expects to beat this guy right now, giving them an increased ability to feel like they can swing away at their shots.  That being said, anything less than a trip to the final for Djoko would have to qualify as the biggest upset (for whoever snacks on him) of the year so far. Result: Runner-up

Roger Federer | As the oldest of the top three, the great one is past his prime … but this doesn’t mean another major (or two or three) are beyond him. But I just don’t see it happening here, nor do I see him as the victim of an upset.  He’s played eight tournaments this year winning one (Doha) and losing five to either Nadal or Djokovic.  What should be most troubling for Roger however is his straight-set loss to Melzer in the Monte Carlo QFs and losing two tiebreaks to Richard “Baby Federer” Gasquet in the third round at Rome. Result: Quarterfinals

Andy Murray | Murray’s year has been up and down, but the most encouraging thing for him going into the next two weeks should be the fact — not that he’s 13-7 on the year — but that he’s 7-3 on clay with two of those three-set losses to Nadal and Djokovic, respectively.  Hopefully these semifinal runs in Monte Carlo and Rome will give him the encouragement he needs to turn his game around for the year. More: Will Andy be OK despite his ‘injury?’ Result: Semifinals

David Ferrer | Ferrer is 15-3 (Update: DF upset by Alexandr Dolgopolov in Nice) on clay this year with his losses coming solely to … Nadal and Djokovic.  He’s had wins on the dirt over Melzer (twice), Nicolas Almagro (twice), Serb Victor Troicki, Jaun Monaco and Feliciano Lopez.  It’s going to take one of the big four to take him down. Result: Semifinals

Robin Soderling | Soderling’s made the past two finals at Roland Garros, but given his play this year, it’s difficult to see him going for a three-peat. He’s won three hard court titles (Brisbane, Rotterdam and Marseille) but has gone 5-4 on clay with his deepest run to quarterfinals in Rome, Madrid and Estoril.  Three of those losses were to Djokovic (losing most recently 3 & 0), Federer and Del Potro … but the other was to Ivan Dodig.  He also struggled against Almagro, Fernando Verdasco and Jeremy Chardy.  If any of the top eight are ripe for an early upset, it’s the Swede. Result: Quarterfinals

Scalp man: Soderling has had big wins the last two years. Don’t expect him to make it three in a row.

Tomas Berdych | Berdych made it to the SFs here last year, but hasn’t won a title in over two years. His record on the dirt this year is 5-3 with his most significant wins over Monaco (twice), falling at or before the QFs in all three events. His record going into Roland Garros last year wasn’t entirely dissimilar, but it’s hard to see him reaching the SFs again. Result: Quarterfinals

Nicolas Almagro | Many have considered Almagro to be the Spanish clay court successor to Nadal, but he’s yet to live up to any of that hype.  He’s 20-4 on clay this year with two South American titles (Buenos Aires and Costa Do Sauipe) with wins over Sam Querrey, Juan-Ignacio Chela (twice), Tommy Robredo, Nikolay Davydenko, Ferrero and Jose Acasuso. His clay success has helped him crack the top ten for the first time in his career. In seven trips to Paris, he’s lost to top 10 players on five of those occasions and twice been a quarterfinalist. The real question seems to be: Can Almagro finally break through to his predicted potential? Result: Quarterfinals

Richard Gasquet | While he’s 4-7 lifetime at Roland Garros (yep! You read that right.), four of those losses have been to top ten players (Murray last year after leading two-sets-to-none, Nadal and David Nalbandian (twice) and a fifth to eventual champ Albert Costa in 2002 (Right, we forgot about Albie, too).  So far this year on the dirt, Richard is 8-4 with three losses to top 10 players (Nadal twice and countryman Gael Monfils).  His play in Rome (with victories over Federer and Berdych) was inspiring and should serve him well in Paris. But will the home crowd be too much once again? Result: Third round

Stanislas Wawrinka | He’s 10-6 at Roland Garros, but — similar to Gasquet — three of those losses were to top ten players (Federer, Ivan Ljubicic and Nalbandian) and the other three losses were to future top ten players (Davydenko and Fernando Gonzalez) and eventual 2002 finalist (the now-forgotten Mariano Puerta).  Even though his 7-5 clay court record this year leaves plenty to be desired, needless to say it takes a considerable player to take out the second-highest Swiss player in Paris. Result: Third round

For a list of other players to watch, click to keep reading. (more…)

trophy watch: hold up that boo-boo, boo

February 21, 2011

We know, we’ve been a little Andy-crazy the last 24 hours, but really y’all, the dude is holding this boring trophy, looking so dang proud of himself and flashing a battle wound. That. Is. So. Cool. Seriousssssssssly. (AP photo)

Oh right, the ladies were playing in Memphis, too. At left, winner Magdalena Rybarikova beat Canadian Rebecca Marino. (Getty Images)

Is it just us, or is Nicolas Almagro getting cuter? The Spaniard won in Brazil for his second-straight ATP title in two weeks.  (AP photo) More trophies (and their holders) after the cut.

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trophy watch: there’s a hole in my trophy, dear liza!

February 14, 2011

Petra Kvitova slayed the biggest giant of all this weekend in Paris: new world no. 1 and Aussie Open winner Kim Clijsters, 6-4 6-3 in the final. Isn’t there something missing from her trophy though? Like… a big chunk of it??

Meanwhile, over in San Jose, Milos Raonic became the first Canadian man to win an ATP title in 16 years. His prize(s)? A Sharks jersey and bottle of maple syrup. I mean, jeez, don’t paint him as Canadian or anything…

Check out Daniela in Thailand, Soderling in Rotterdam and more of the isn’t-there-something-missing trophy of Kvitova’s.

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aussie preview: the power list

January 15, 2011

Since we’re done with our fashion coverage for the year (we only kid!), we decided to look a little bit closer at the tennis that will be played at the upcoming Australian Open, which begins Sunday night on American television.

Tomorrow: Who’s Up, Who’s Down and the Dark Horses of the AO | Follow us on Twitter @TSFtennis

The Power List – How the top men (and women) stack up

1. No one can come into the AO feeling better than Roger Federer. The Swiss Mister won his season-opening foray in Doha without dropping a set, beating Nicolay Davydenko in the final. Along with his win at the World Tour Finals, Federer has notched 10 straight matches. Federer played three exhibitions during the off season – all against Rafael Nadal – and looks primed to defend his title in Melbourne.

2. Serena Williams. It might be strange to see Serena’s name second on this list, but the current world no. 4 will be the biggest female force in this year’s draw - absent force, that is. The defending champion hasn’t played a match since winning Wimbledon, and the ladies look lost without her. Serena beat Justine Henin in the most memorable Slam final of last year here, and the sticky courts of Australia won’t have the same female ferocity without her.

3. Rafael Nadal is appropriately third on our list – especially seeing that he has won three straight Slams. And there are three factors that play into Rafa winning an illustrious, fourth straight Major: his health (most namely his knees); his focus against lurking dark-horses (there are plenty – check back tomorrow); and his ability to rise against the Roger challenge. He failed in two of those in losing soundly to Federer in London in November, but will look to build his confidence one match at a time at the AO.

4. There is hard to find a more like-able – or more important, match-savvy – player on the WTA right now than Kim Clijsters. Clijsters captured the US Open for the second straight year in 2010, and then went on to dominate the women’s season-ending event. Her loss in Sydney’s final on Saturday to Li Na? We say that’s a good thing: A more-focused Kimmie won’t produce any 6-0, 6-1 third-round catastrophes this year.

5. Robin Soderling and Andy Roddick and Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. OK, it’s a little unfair that we bunched these four gents together, but at this point, it’s hard not to. Soderling had a hot start to 2011, winning Brisbane and once again proving that he is no flash in the pan. As for Roddick – who lost to Sod in the Brisbane final – the American is said to be in some of the best shape of his life had seems as hungry as ever. And it’s hard to believe that Murray and Djokovic have just one Slam between the two of them. How is that possible? (See Nos. 1 & 3 for answer.) Any of these fellas could walk away from Melbourne the champ, and few would be surprised…

6. Is there more of a mystery than Justine Henin on the women’s side? She is the female version of Juan Martin del Potro, hasn’t played since Wimbledon, but might be playing second fiddle to Kim’s current reign. Justine shocked us all by making the finals last year. It was in 2010 when she toughed through a straight-set win over now-retired Elena Dementieva, and again has a Russian seed (that’d be Kuzy) in the Round of 32. | Full women’s draw

7. While Tomas Berdych continues to be a mystery since his French-Wimbledon brilliance (he’s 12-13 since July), Nikolay Davydenko and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga have made their own noise to start 2011: Davydenko took out Nadal in Doha and Tsonga fell to Roger at the same tourney. Tsonga is a former finalist here (downing Fed in the semis in ’08), while Davydenko has (shockingly) still not been to the last two of a major. Any of these three could fit in with our group at No. 5, but do they have what it takes to run seven matches straight?

8. Here’s a new trio for you folks: Jelena JankovicAna Ivanovic and … Bojana Jovanovski. While we could have included Janko Tipsarevic in this line-up, but this new ladies three-some is sure to have the eyes of some WTA followers over the next two weeks. Our guess: the three gals will chalk up 7 total wins (AI 4, BJ 1 and JJ 2) over the two weeks. The ultimate question? Who will have the best year of the bunch? Jelena is a dismal 9-13 since a French open semis run and Jovanovski beat Kanepi, Pannetta and Rezai last week alone. And another new coach for Ana… | Ana just wants to have fun?

9. Venus Williams didn’t win a set in two round-robin matches last weekend in Hong Kong. She hasn’t played a WTA match since the US Open. And before that? Wimbledon. It’s anybody’s guess for Family Williams in Melbourne this year.

10. Three ladies who have a solid shot at a week-two run and a decent chance of a first-round crash out include Caroline WozniackiVera Zvonareva and Maria Sharapova. Wozniacki won just one game in an exo with Zvonareva last weekend, and both had bizarre early losses in Sydney. Sharapova’s ’11 debut? A second-round crash against Greta Arn. Just another (four) reasons that this might be Kim Clijsters’ Aussie to win.

Tomorrow: Who’s Up, Who’s Down and the Dark Horses of the AO

(federer photo future capetown; soderling photo via getty)

and then there were four (spots)

October 23, 2010

Sweden’s Robin Soderling booked the fifth spot in the 2010 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. After his run to the quarters at this week’s If Stockholm Open, Soderling’s guaranteed his second trip to the finals (he made the semis last year). Rafa, Roger, Nole, and Andy Murray have already qualified for the year-end tournament.

His title win in Rotterdam, defending an appearance in the finals of the French, plus reaching the quarters at Wimbledon and the US Open contributed to this achievement. And as part of his qualification, the ATP’s showcasing his self-portrait, to be displayed (and then auctioned off for charity) alongside the pieces made by the other seven players. Much like Robin, his art is nothing to write home about. (Browse: Portraits by Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, and Murray.)

Tall task: “There are only eight players and you play against the world’s best so every match you play could be like a Grand Slam final,” Soderling shared with the ATP. “I will have to be ready from the first match.”

Doubles: Meanwhile, the team of Lukas Dlouhy and Leander Paes have also qualified for the Tour Finals’ doubles event for the third time. The draw will also feature the Bryan Brothers, Daniel Nestor/Nenad Zimonjic, and Jurgen Melzer/Philipp Petzschner as contenders.

(images courtesy of ATP)

nic’s six: author nic brown provides observations from this year’s uso

September 9, 2010

As the US Open winds down, we wanted to corral author Nic Brown into throwing over a few of his thoughts the TSF way. We asked the Doubles novelist to send us a list of five things from the last 10 days and he came back with one extra in “Nic’s six”. The guy has a way with words, no? If you didn’t notice, Nic’s good friend and former ATP doubles expert Tripp Phillips was featured as a recruiter on the Straight Sets tennis blog. -NM

1. The Serbian (Fashion) Equation
Exhibit A: In the past, the cast in the Novak Djokovic box have simultaneously removed their shirts in celebration.
Exhibit B: During Djokovic’s fourth round match against Mardy Fish, his father wore a black t-shirt emblazoned with a huge airbrush-type image of his son.
Exhibit C: Djokovic’s new wardrobe is decorated with dragons seemingly inspired by Ed Hardy.

Closing argument: I do not know much about Serbia, let alone Serbian fashion. But I do know quite a bit about the sun-burnt population of the Carolina coastal region. Hence, I think during this Slam, I have, for the first time ever, uncovered a direct cultural parallel between monster truck fans in Myrtle Beach and Djokovic supporters in Belgrade.

2. Wheel Me It Isn’t So
The Dostoevsky tattoos, the on-court glasses, the beard: Janko Tipsarvic is clearly rad. I have always loved this guy. But when he trotted out on court to play Andy Roddick wheeling behind him a giant tennis bag on wheels, he shot into the stratosphere for me. I guess he’s already been sporting this thing for a few weeks this summer, but this was the first I saw of it. He clearly doesn’t give a damn about toeing the traditional tennis line, and I love him for it. On a more complicated note, he has confounded my previous theories about Serbian fashion. There is definitely no one in Myrtle Beach who looks like Janko.

3. Spraying Balls as Performance Art
In the first seven points of Feliciano Lopez’s round of sixteen match against Rafael Nadal Tuesday night, Lopez sprayed three balls into the stands off miss-hits. I don’t takes cuts like Lopez does, and I’m not playing Nadal in post-Earl wind gusts, but still – if I lose one ball a set I’m embarrassed. Also, I’m not in the top twenty-five. I’ve never seen anything like it. It immediately erased any consideration I had that it was going to be a good match. And it wasn’t. More interesting, though, is the fact that I just learned Lopez plays himself on a Spanish sitcom. Very performance art of him. Perhaps that’s what was going on with the stray balls, too?

4. Back, And Looking Fabulous
Everyone seemed to think Roger Federer’s Wimbledon back injury was caused by some infection of sour grapes, but I had some inside sources who told me it was quite serious. I still thought it was sour grapes. But I now have to say I think he really was injured in England, because he’s moving so well again and looks better than he even did in Australia. If Nadal can’t pick up his return game by Sunday, and if Federer gets past Djokovic in the semis, Federer might actually win a grand slam final against him for the first time in three years.

Sign language and shoe-tastrophes to finish off Nic’s list. (more…)

live blogging the FO (men’s) final

June 6, 2010

5:39 PM 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 Game, set, match, Nadal I’m pretty happy for Rafa and that win. He definitely deserved it. Congrats, big guy.

5:24 PM 6-4, 6-2, 5-3 Nadal Time for the Robin Soderling to pull out the gladiator armor. He’s neeeeeeeeding it.

5:07 PM 6-4, 6-2, 3-1 Nadal No, we have no idea who the junior champions are, either. And so much for Bode Miller‘s U.S. Open bid. Kind of rough for the USTA‘s number one story line to flame out in the first round. McEnroe is really doing his best to verbally route for Sod to take this to four or five.

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trophy watch: acronym edition

February 14, 2010

SAP: At the SAP Open in San Jose, Fernando Verdasco beat a top-ten player for the first time in 15 tries with his 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 upset of Andy Roddick. Andy was none too happy about a few line calls that didn’t go his way.

GDF: Top seed Elena Dementieva needed three sets to overcome a nagging Lucie Safarova 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-4. This is Dementieva’s second title of 2010; she also won the Sydney tournament before the Australian Open.

PTT: Vera Zvonareva successfully defended her title at the PTT Pattaya Open title in Thailand by taking down hometown fave Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-4, 6-4.

ABN AMRO: Swede Robin Soderling was the last man standing in Rotterdam after Mikhail Youzhny retired while trailing 0-2 in the second set. Youzhny sustained the injury after he stunned top seed Novak Djokovic 7-6 (5), 7-6, (6). Soderling also upset a seed, Nikolay Davydenko, in the semis.

JCF: In Costa do Sauipe, the Joma-wearing Juan Carlos Ferrero steamrolled Lukasz Kubot 6-1, 6-0 at the Brasil Open for his 13th career title.

(images via Getty Images)

party in kuala lumpur

September 29, 2009

men-malaysia09a

What a motley crew, these guys. Snowman Richard Gasquet, the unsportsmanlike Robin Soderling, gambler Nikolay Davydenko, and casanova Fernando Verdasco — all in batik shirts at an event for the Proton Malaysia Open, happening this week in Kuala Lumpur.

Leave it to Verdasco to add Spanish flair to the traditional Malaysian attire by tucking it into his jeans. We didn’t expect anything less from the fashionista.

Bracket: After first-round byes, Kolya faces Dent, Verdasco will play Karol Beck, and Soderling is up against qualifier Brendan Evans (who played fellow qualifier/American Michael Yani in the first round). Gasquet is still slated for a first rounder against Romanian Victor Crivoi.

(image via PMO)

size does matter

September 9, 2009

Giant-Microphone-USOpen09

We guess everything is bigger in New York City. Or wait, isn’t that Texas?! In any case, we couldn’t believe our eyes when we laid our eyes on the chair umpire’s microphone Wednesday night during the Roger Federer-Robin Soderling match.

Are they for real?! That thing is so big it needs its own neighborhood name in Queens. We’re thinking Mico. Or GiMiVi (Giant Microphone Village). 

Supposedly tennis’ biggest stadium also needs tennis’ biggest microphone. What’s next? Tennis’ biggest line judge chairs?! Reminds us of those couches in Charleston, which you can see after the cut. (more…)

collared (and colored, on the) greens

June 25, 2009

When designers get painted into a corner by Wimbledon’s white-only (or white-mostly) dress code, a few of them respond in innovative ways, including colored collars.

Here are a few examples:

marcel-granollers-wimbledon09a

Marcel Granollers wore a Diadora v-neck with a faux blue layer to his second round match against Robin Soderling. The Spaniard lost 6-4, 6-7 (7), 4-6, 5-7. Nice touch with the gold logo’d hat. Go Bruins!

Kateryna and Nole: See two more styles after the cut…

set two: wimbledon on the d list

June 25, 2009

Yesterday my alarm clock rang at an ugly hour: 4:30 A.M.! I was off to day three of The Championships after failing to get tickets on Tuesday. This time I was determined to get my show-court on. I caught the 5:11 bus and made it to the ground by 5:35, only to be the 1,490th queuer of the day. WTF?! These people are hardcore.

Know who else is hardcore? Wimbledon D-Listers. So hardcore in fact that I’m back with set two. Enjoy!

Maria Sharapova warmed up on Court No. 6 before her disastrous 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 loss to Gisela Dulko on Centre Court. I caught most of the warm-up, wondering why she was hitting so poorly, but definitely digging her new, abbreviated service motion. And no, Hashers, Maria doesn’t make the D-List, but her two hitting partners certainly do. They provided the most action of the session when one (we’ll call him Tweedle D) was returning Maria’s serve and smacked the other (Tweedle C) right in the groinage. There was a loud gasp from the crowd (Maria put her hand over her mouth), and then laughing at the two hitting partners giggled about it. Who knew Maria supplied them with cups and jock-straps?! I bet Yuri put that rule into action.

At the newly-christened Court No. 2 (my show court for the day) I took in Robin Soderling (of Rafa-beating fame). But my eyes were mostly on Soderling’s box, not the match, where my (and Martina Hingis’) former boyfriend sat- Magnus Norman. You remember Maggie, right? He was that cute, world no. 2 that made us all wonder: ‘how does such petite, regular-built guy compete at the top of tennis?’ He answered that question a couple years ago by completely falling off the map. But he’s re-emerged as a coach as Soderling has surged. Oh Maggie, how I’ve missed you and your Ross-inspired hair!

Picture 1

Later on Court 12, I took in a fierce battle between Michelle Larcher de Brito and Francesca Schiavone. While there was plenty to see (and hear) during this match, I couldn’t help but wandering my eyes back to the seats. There sat the Queen of Bad Calls, Mariana Alves. Mariana must’ve wanted to take in some of her compatriot’s match, and is obviously pissed that Michelle is stealing her spotlight. I mean, Mariana totally worked really, really hard for that spotlight, over-ruling balls that were three inches in and somehow still keeping her job. Look at her, you know she’s piiiiiiiiissed.

(image via atp web site)

rg2009: no trophies were bitten in the making of this record-tying feat

June 7, 2009

Congrats to Roger Federer for getting that clay monkey off his back; up until this morning, he lacked a mini Coupe des Mousquetaires* in his overflowing trophy case, which put his place among the tennis greats into question. But now that he’s filled that French Open void in his record — with a 6-1, 7-6 (1), 6-4 performance over an overwhelmed (and likely exhausted) Robin Soderling — Federer can play out the rest of his years with a clear mind. He’s achieved pretty much everything: a prolonged stay at the top of the rankings, an Olympic gold (albeit in doubles), and singles trophy from all four majors. (Has he won all of the Masters Series events?). Nothing is stopping him from surpassing Pete Sampras‘s record in bagged Slam titles and becoming the GOAT of his generation. Unfortunately, Roger could also get a boost from his greatest rival, Rafa Nadal, if the Spaniard starts to sputter because of bad equipment; Nadal’s deteriorating knees have forced him out of this year’s Queen’s Club draw and makes a Wimbledon title defense uncertain.

Props to Soderling for his week, btw. Too bad he couldn’t push Federer to four or five sets. But after bulldozing Nadal, Nikolay Davydenko, and Fernando Gonzalez on the way to the final, something had to give. Also, the Swede gave one of the most sincere and gracious speeches I have heard in recent years. For as much as we hear that he’s disliked by other players for gamesmanship and such, he had a very cheery attitude as he received his runner-up platter.

*funny observation by Pierre, who commented on Bodo‘s blog that mentions of the CdM had overtaken terre battue as le mot de l’année

(image via Getty Images)

a budding bromance?

June 2, 2009

Nikoliano? … or maybe Lopydenko? Josh pointed out this quick Q&A by the folks at rolandgarros.org, who drilled quarterfinalist Nikolay Davydenko about a few things, including who he thought was the nicest guy on tour. Here’s how the world’s top Russian tennis player responded:

“They’re all really nice: Federer, Nadal. All of the guys in the top 100 are cool. But if you asked me which one was the best looking I’d say Feliciano Lopez. Everyone thinks he’s gorgeous, with his blue eyes and curly hair.”

Scoreline: Tenth seed Kolya just fell to real-deal Robin Soderling 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 a day after the Swede upset Rafa Nadal (and Nikolay beat eight seed Verdasco in straight sets). Meanwhile, Lopez dropped out in the second round after losing to Janko Tipsarevic.

More: A few more photos of Lopez’ Halloween costume, courtesy of Joma, after the cut…

trophy watch: giant balls, david’s peak, jelena’s hat trick, and changing the russian guard

October 13, 2008

Another Philipp to watch: Sorry, Herr Kohlschreiber — you’ll have to save some space at the table for qualifier Philipp Petzschner, who nabbed his second career ATP title at the Bank Austria-TennisTrophy when he beat beat Gael Monfils 6-4, 6-4 after taking out Wawrinka, Moya, and Lopez in earlier rounds.

In Stockholm, David Nalbandian performed as expected, winning his second title of the year with a 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 victory over Robin Soderling. He’ll head into this week’s Mutua Madrilena Masters as the defending champion.

Marat Safin failed to convert his finals appearance in the 2008 Kremlin Cup into a title (this would have been his first since the ’05 Australian). Meanwhile, props to Igor Kunitsyn and his 7-6 (6), 6-7 (4), 6-3 victory over his veteran countryman for his maiden title. He even prepared a speech that congratulated Marat!

Hot potato: The top players of the SEWTA continue to keep us fans on our toes, making sure that whoever holds the No. 1 ranking isn’t the last woman standing at a tournament. In this week’s episode of “The Consistency Caper”, second-ranked Jelena Jankovic downs Vera Zvonareva 6-2, 6-4 for her fourth title of 2008. Meanwhile, top-ranked Serena is MIA. BTW, this is the third meeting in as many weeks between Jelena and Vera.

(Note: Apparently — see first comment below — this is no longer the case. TSF apologizes for the error. Congrats to victor Jelena, who now has all the spoils.)

It’s in the bag: The flip-flops of Roger Federer (first, he’s out “indefinintely”, next, he’s back on the schedule a week later…) played second fiddle to Rafa Nadal, who received a trophy from the ATP this week in recognition of his No.1 ranking. He’ll pretty much end the year in the top spot barring any missteps.

Trophy Watch: Warm-ups wrap up

May 26, 2008

Even though most of the ATP and WTA tours have already flocked to Paris for the French Open (which started on a Sunday this year), there were still titles contested in some nearby warm-up tournaments.

Kolya announces his intentions to challenge Rafa and Roger for the French Open title with his win over Juan Monaco (6-2 2-6 6-2) in Poertschach, Austria.

Monaco failed to defend his title from last year. Nikolay was bothered by a thigh injury (he had to have it taped), but assured the press that it wouldn’t affect his play in Paris.

Robin Soderling, Robert Lindstedt, Thomas Johansson, and coach Peter Carlsson pose with their hardware after taking out the Russian tennis team (of Dmitry Tursunov, Igor Andreev, and Mikhail Youzhny 2-1 in the ARAG ATP tennis World Team Cup in Dusseldorf.

Anabel Medina-Garrigues shows off her trophy (from Baccarat) after winning the Strasbourg International against Katarina Srebotnik. Scoreline: 4-6 7-6 6-0.

23-year-old Gilles Simon beat countryman Julien Benneteau 7-5, 6-2 at the Grand Prix Hassan II in Casablanca, Morocco.

And Agnieszka Radwanska became the first Polish woman to crack $1 million in career earnings after winning the Istanbul Open over Elena Dementieva. Agnieszka beat the Russian 6-3, 6-2.

(photos by Getty Images)


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