Throw Up the Deuce


Quick Hits: Olympics Quarters + Semifinals

  • Rafa continues his stellar year and defeats Novak Djerkovic in three sets, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4. He’ll next face Fernando Gonzales for the gold medal.
  • James Blake wastes three match points against Gonzales and loses a thriller, 11-9 in the third. After the match Blake accused Gonzales of unfair play.
  • JJ loses to Dinara “WTA Tour Savior” Safina, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3.
  • R. Fed redeems himself in doubles with Stan Wawrinka, upsetting the Bryan Bros. in three sets.
  • Venus and Serena remain the last Americans still in contention for gold after smashing Elena Vesnina and Vera Zvonareva in dubs.

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What Happened?

I go to sleep with the prospect of a Federer-Nadal and Venus-Serena gold medal match looming and a wake up to these surprising results from Beijing. Serena lost. Fed lost. Serena’s gold medal campaign was ended by Sydney 2000 silver medalist, Elena Dementieva. Serena was up a set and 4-2 before Dementieva stormed back and took it 6-3 in the third. Seems like Elena has Serena’s number, she’s won in their last two encounters.

Even more surprising was James Blake’s upset of Roger Federer, in straight sets, too. Normally, I would be upset about this, but during the Olympics I seem to go all patriotic for some reason. R. Fed’s forehand was an unforced error machine and his serve was unreliable. Blake pretty much hit him off the court. Now, James is guaranteed to be in contention for a medal.

Crazy sport, tennis is.

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Quick Hits: Olympic Third Round

  • Serena wins a tight match over Alize Cornet, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, and breaks a racquet in the process
  • Venus beat Viktoria Azarenka to set up a meeting with Chinese hopeful, Na Li.
  • JJ somehow is winning matches beating Dominika Cibulkova, 7-5, 6-1.
  • Elena “Rocket Serve” Dementieva beat Caro Wozniacki, 7-6 (3), 6-2.
  • R. Fed avenges his Athens 2004 loss to Tomas Berdych, 6-3, 7-6.
  • Rafa routines Igor Andreev, 6-4, 6-2.
  • Djerkovic beat Mikhail Youzhny, 7-6, 6-3.
  • James Blake defeated Gilles Simon to set up a date with Roger Federer in the quarterfinals.

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Team USA Has It Made

Team USA, comprised of James Blake, Robby Ginepri, Sam Querry, the Bryan Bros.,Venus and Serena Williams and Lindsay Davenport, are almost ready to head to Beijing, but before they go they had to undergo something called Team Processing, which sounds a little bit like heaven to me. Every U.S. Olympian met at San Jose State University to get loaded with freebies from the likes of Ralph Lauren and Nike.

Athletes and coaches pick up an orange shopping cart – donated by Home Depot – and sign in, where they’re each given a clipboard listing every item of apparel that they are required to pick up….Nike and Ralph Lauren have created over 40 items for Team USA – everything from Olympic T-shirts to sports bras and socks. Some is podium-wear; other items, village-wear; and everyone is measured for opening and closing ceremonies attire… As athletes make their way down the lines of tables, they fill their carts with hats and shoes – flip-flops and two pairs of athletic shoes made by Nike, an outfitter and sponsor, and parade shoes from Ralph Lauren, the official outfitter. In between, they try on cargo pants, training shorts and shirts, track pants and jackets, rain outfits, hoodies, and several T-shirts and polo shirts.”

This makes all those countless years spent training for this one competition, devoid of any personal life, worth it.

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