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Grand Slams 2008: A Look Back

What a year it was for grand slam tennis. With the last major of the year drawing to a close in New York, I think this is the perfect time to look back at the year that was. Let’s begin after the cut, shall we? Read the rest of this entry »

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Filed under: A Look Back, Australian Open, Djokovic, Federer, Ivanovic, Nadal, Roland Garros, Serena, Sharapova, U.S. Open, Venus, Wimbledon, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Order Restored

In a highly entertaining encounter, Serena Williams took out Jelena Jankovic, 6-4, 7-5, in the final of the U.S. Open. JJ had four set points in the second set, but Serena stepped it up. The win propels Serena back to the number one ranking, after a nearly six year absence. It feels like order has been restored to the top of the women’s game. Now that I think about it, as the last major of the year comes to a close, I realize that even in this year of questionable rankings and injuries, the four best women on the tour took home the four majors. As for Jelena, I really don’t know if she’ll ever find herself in the final of a major again, but if she does, she really needs to work on her trophy presentation etiquette. Interrupting Mary Carillo to ask how much her check was for wasn’t very classy.

Congrats, Serena!

Filed under: Serena, U.S. Open, , , , ,

Serena: The Voice of Millions

Serena on the upcoming all-Williams quarterfinal:

“It sucks.”

Just saying what everyone is thinking, I suppose.

Filed under: Serena, U.S. Open, , , ,

Quick Hits: U.S. Open Day 6

  • Qualifier Anna Lena Groenefeld reached the fourth round with a win over Alize Cornet.
  • Amelie Mauresmo beat Ivanovic’s conquerer, Julie Coin, 6-4, 6-4.
  • Dinara Safina was quite annoying in her three set victory over Timea Bacsinsky.
  • Serena and Venus looked very impressive in their one sided victories.
  • Rafa Nadal took down Victor Troicki in straights, including a third set bagel.
  • Kei Nishikori took out fourth seed, David Ferrer, 7-5 in the 5th.
  • Andy Murray came back from two sets down to beat Jurgen Melzer, 6-3 in the 5th.
  • Juan Martin del Potro kept his winning streak alive with a five set win over Gilles Simon.
  • Gael Monfils smashed David Nalbandian, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. Dancing ensued (see above).

Matches to watch on Day 7:

[21] Caroline Wozniacki v. [2] Jelena Jankovic – I’m telling you, there’s something about Caroline.

[30] Marin Cilic v. [3] Novak Djokovic – There’s going to be some intense rallies in this match.

[28] Radek Stepanek v. [2] Roger Federer – Fed’s first real test should be interesting.

[5] Elena Dementieva v. Na Li – Both players are on hot streaks coming into this match.

Filed under: Quick Hits, U.S. Open, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Quick Hits: U.S. Open Day 4

  • Ana Ivanovic suffered a shock defeat to Julie Coin, 3-6, 6-4, 3-6.
  • Serena and Venus Williams destroyed their respective opponents.
  • Amelie Mauresmo dished out a third set bagel to overcome Kaia Kanepi.
  • Anna Lena Groenefeld hit a 128 mph serve in her win over Jessica Moore.
  • Nicole Vaidisova went out to wildcard Severine Bremond.
  • Juan Martin del Potro won his 21st consecutive match over Tomaz Bellucci.
  • Andy Murray overcame a stern test from Michael Llodra, winning 7-6 in the 4th.
  • Retirements sent Victor Troicki, Kei Nishikori and James Blake into the third round.

Matches to watch on Day 5:

Jie Zheng v. [2] Jelena Jankovic – An upset could be brewing.

[23] Lindsay Davenport v. [12] Marion Bartoli – Should be a hard-hitting poweful match-up.

[8] Andy Roddick v. Ernest Gulbis – Gulbis has the goods to take out Roddick under the lights.

[14] Victoria Azarenka v. [21] Caroline Wozniacki -Two rising stars, might as well get used to them now.

[15] Tommy Robredo v. Marat Safin – Marat is always one to watch.

Filed under: Quick Hits, U.S. Open, , , , , ,

A Day in the Life of Serena’s Hitting Partner

This is what daily life is like for Aleksander Bajin, Serena Williams’ servant hitting partner:

  • Arrive early at the courts, usually by bus.
  • Warm up with Williams for 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Make sure she has help stretching, from him or her physiotherapist.
  • Make sure her rackets are strung correctly and her grips are just so.

Also, he “books the practice courts, make sure she has the food she wants and just try to keep her happy.”

Serena’s reason for keeping him around? “He’s a Libra and I’m a Libra,” she said.

Filed under: Serena, , ,

Quick Hits: U.S. Open Day 2

  • Ana Ivanovic had another first round scare, beating Vera Dushevina 6-4 in the third.
  • Amelie Mauresmo beat Natalie Dechy, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. Watch out for Amelie, she seems to be regaining some form.
  • Serena and Venus breezed through their first round matches.
  • Anna Lena Groenfeld took out Dani Hantuchova, 6-4, 6-2.
  • 16 year old, Kristie Ahn, was very impressive in her 6-3, 6-4 loss to Dinara Safina.
  • Tommy Haas beat Richard Gasquet, 6-7, 6-4, 5-7, 7-5, 6-2. Richie needs to get his act together.
  • Sam Querry wholloped Tomas Berdych, 3, 1 and 2.
  • R. Fed had an easy win over Maximo Gonzalez.
  • Marat Safin needed five sets and a meltdown to take out Vince “Spadea ain’t afraid of ya”.
  • Jim Courier was still annoying and Tracy Austin still managed to worship the ground Maria Sharapova walks on even though she’s not even in the tournament.

Matches to watch on Day 3:

[3] Novak Djokovic v. Arnaud Clement – Clement should keep this entertaining.

[8] Andy Roddick v. Fabrice Santoro – The Magician could give Andy a bit of trouble.

Santiago Ventura v. [19] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – Jo’s first match back should be interesting.

Maria Elena Camerin v. [21] Caroline Wozniacki – Caro is playing really solid and I have a feeling she might do something special this tournament.

Filed under: Quick Hits, U.S. Open, , , , , ,

Williams vs. Mannings: Oreo Style

The real competition here is, which commercial will be overplayed more, this one or Maria Sharapova’s new Canon spot. I think this is the only thing Maria can beat the Williams at.

Filed under: Serena, Venus, Vids, , , , , , , ,

Photo Op: Nike Block Party in NYC

Some of our favorite tennis ballers attended Nike’s block party in New York City last night.

Serena Williams blogged after the event: Nike closed the entire BLOCK to put this on! I mean only Nike! I love them!!! They had fake grass on the street so it looked like a park in the middle of the street! There were sooooo many people out there trying to get in! It was INSANE!!!!!”

Serena met up with Roger Federer and Spike Lee and also blogged about that: Anyways I had a fun conversation with Spike and I think he is fab! As u all know I love acting so I hope we can work together one day… That would be awesome!!! lso I talked to Roger Federer! He’s so awesome! We were talking about the gold medals that we won and each of our experiences. It was cool to know that he felt the same way I did about winning a gold medal. It is such an amazing experience playing for your country and being able to bring back gold. He’s fun and so awesome! Clearly my fav player….” Sorry, Rafa, I guess you’re just not fun and awesome enough for Serena.

Steering clear of Serena was Maria Sharapova, who made up for her last event’s fashion mishap by rocking this cute outfit.

Filed under: Federer, Serena, Sharapova, , , , , ,

U.S. Open 2008: Women’s Draw Predictions and Previews

The last grand slam of the year is set to start on Monday and the women’s champion is usually someone who has managed to stay relatively healthy through the year.

Quarter One:

The whole top half of this draw is loaded so whoever is going to come through is really gonna have to duke it out. Top seed, Ana Ivanovic, is in this quarter, but is still recovering from an ailing thumb. However, she did not play in Beijing so it just makes her that much fresher. Daniela Hantuchova, Amelie Mauresmo and Nadia Petrova could cause some damage, but you never know what you’re going to get with them. 17 seed, Alize Cornet, is always a tricky opponent. Dinara Safina rounds out the quarter and we’ll see if her meltdown in Beijing affects her play. I’m betting it does.

Semifinalist: Ana Ivanovic

Quarter Two:

This quarter houses both the Williams sisters and most likely they will meet in the quarterfinals. Nicole Vaidisova could make some noise if she somehow manages to find her form, but I wouldn’t count on it. Agniezska Radwanska is the potential fourth rounder for Venus and is probably has the best shot at stopping an all-Sister quarter. I still think Venus and Serena are going to fight it out for a place in the semis. I’d go with Serena, who’s bound to hungry for a major, her last win was at the Aussie Open in ’07.

Semifinalist: Serena Williams

Quarter Three

This quarter is home to three Russian head cases, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Elena Dementieva and Anna Chakvetadze. Dementieva is hot off a gold medal, but I just don’t see her ever seriously contending for a major and don’t get why people suddenly think she’s going to start winning some now. Crafty Swiss veteran, Patty Schnyder could cause trouble for the fragile Russians if she’s on her game. Somehow, I see Kuz finding herself in the semis again.

Quarter Four:

World number 2, Jelena Jankovic’s quarter could have some interesting match ups, but should be an easy through for JJ, if she’s healthy. Bronze medalist, Vera Zvonareva, is the next highest seed, but she is very streaky. Lindsay Davenport is in this quarter, but she hasn’t played a singles match since Wimbledon due to a knee injury and I wouldn’t be surprised if she withdrew. The two youngsters, Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka are my dark horse picks for this section and if Jelena isn’t in the semis one of these two will be.

Semifinalist: Jelena Jankovic

Semifinals: Serena def. Ivanovic, Jankovic def. Kuznetsova

Final: Serena def. Jankovic

Filed under: Predictions/Previews, U.S. Open, , , , , , ,