Baby Ernie acting with his Mom is a Latvian movie. Yes, you heard me correctly.
You know what the best part of that video is? Vika's not in it.
I'm warning you, woman. Stay the eff away.
CHECK OUT THIS LINEUP FOR TOMORROW NIGHT:
Elf vs. Special Kei
A-Rod vs. Ernie
Love All will do her best to keep me from jumping the barrier and running out on the court. That said, I highly recommend you try and find a stream for this. I guarantee you will either hear or see me at some point during the broadcast.
Tomorrow's full OOP for San Jose:
CENTER COURT start 9:45 am
T Dent (USA) vs [Q] T Widom (USA)
 M Fish (USA) vs [WC] J Isner (USA)
E Butorac (USA) / A Fisher (AUS) vs T Haas (GER) / R Stepanek (CZE)
 S Querrey (USA) vs D Gremelmayr (GER)
F Serra (FRA) vs  J Blake (USA)
Not Before 7:00 PM
K Nishikori (JPN) vs  J Del Potro (ARG)
 A Roddick (USA) vs E Gulbis (LAT)
J Cerretani (USA) / S Querrey (USA) vs J Blake (USA) / M Fish (USA)
Needless to say, I will not be sticking around for the dubs match.
Central (from 12.00hrs)
1. Cornet vs. Hantuchova
2. Li vs. Jankovic (NB 14.30hrs)
3. S.Williams vs. Sprem
4. Mauresmo vs. Niculescu (NB 18.00hrs)
5. Dementieva vs. Pavlyuchenkova
6. Dechy vs. Schnyder
Court 1 (from 15.00hrs)
1. Rybarikova vs. Date Krumm
2. Tanasugarn vs. Amanmuradova
3. Lertcheewakarn vs. Peer
Court 2 (from 15.00hrs)
1. Voskoboeva vs. Peng
2. Bammer vs. Dushevina
3. Diatchenko vs. Cibulkova
Yeesh. I'm glad I was too busy at work to pay attention to the livescores. I might have had a bit of a fit. Rafa was pushed to three sets by Goth Bols, eventually winning, 46 62 75. I can't stand all these indoor pictures. After being spoiled by all the great shadows and light from AO, this just looks so bush league. Oh well.
In other drama, Daveed couldn't keep is semi-strong run going, losing to Misha, 62 36 62. I wish I knew what was up with that kid. He had a nice win over Baggy last week in Johannesburg. It would have been nice to see him follow it up.
Meanwhile, the Frenchies roll on, as Jo and Gilly notched tough straight set wins. This winning is getting contagious as even their non-Muskateer countrymen are catching on, with Marc Gicquel and Michael Llodra both winning three setters over Koralev and Dr. Ivo, respectively.
Here are your scores (Kolya and Apricot Bars are still playing):
 R Nadal (ESP) d S Bolelli (ITA) 46 62 75
 G Simon (FRA) d P Kohlschreiber (GER) 75 76(1)
 J Tsonga (FRA) d [WC] J Huta Galung (NED) 76(4) 76(4)
M Ancic (CRO) d R Schuettler (GER) 75 62
M Llodra (FRA) d I Karlovic (CRO) 46 63 64
[LL] M Gicquel (FRA) d [Q] E Korolev (RUS) 36 63 62
M Youzhny (RUS) d  D Ferrer (ESP) 62 36 62
Why do these two insist on wearing this crap? That ugly space suit thing is back for Serena, and JJ ditched the green (which actually looked great on her) and went with orange, which makes her look...well...orange.
Luckily it didn't derail her too much. She got into a bit of a dogfight with Tranny but was able to comeback from a break down in the second to force a tiebreaker and take the win. And how about the shellacking Momo gave to Errani, who had just beaten her in Fed Cup a few days ago. Just goes to show you, some people get up for Fed Cup, some people don't.
Incidentally, Ai had to pull out due to illness and she was replaced by Rezai, who was beat by Lena. I love the Lucky Loser rule. It's hilarious.
Play is ongoing, but here are the scores so far:
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. Iveta Benesova (CZE) 61 64
(2) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 75 76(2)
(3) Elena Dementieva (RUS) d. (LL) Aravane Rezai (FRA) 64 63
(6) Patty Schnyder (SUI) d. Alona Bondarenko (UKR) 64 76(3)
(8) Amélie Mauresmo (FRA) d. Sara Errani (ITA) 62 60
(Q) Emile Loit (FRA) d. Kaia Kanepi (EST) 26 63 61
Baby E has finally announced her new coach, American Craig Kardon:
That's not a horrible set of pupils. And the idea of a coach that will encourage attacking is great. And from everything I've read he seems like a very positive guy, a cheerleader, and a good mentor. All things Ana needs.
I just wish he had a different name. It sounds like Craig Hardon.
More info on the new member of Team Ivanovic:
 Radek STEPANEK (CZE) vs Chris GUCCIONE (AUS) (9:45am)
[WC] John ISNER (USA) vs Guillermo GARCIA-LOPEZ (ESP)
Tommy HAAS (GER) vs Christophe ROCHUS (BEL)
 Sam QUERREY (USA) vs [WC] Marcos BAGHDATIS (CYP)
[Q] Andrea STOPPINI (ITA) vs  Juan DEL POTRO (ARG) (NB 7:00pm)
Vincent SPADEA (USA) vs  James BLAKE (USA)
Guillermo CANAS (ARG) / Juan DEL POTRO (ARG) vs James CERRETANI (USA) / Sam QUERREY (USA)
Really cool write up by Peter Bodo on Melanie Oudin's awesome, yet overlooked, win on Sunday:
The funny thing about "pressure" is that it's something felt equally by all players. The degree of pressure that a David Nalbandian faces upon meeting a Fernando Verdasco, or Nikolay Davydenko encounters when he squares off against James Blake, is no different in intensity or substance than what Oudin must have felt before playing Jozami. You don't feel less or more pressure depending on your status, unless it's notably higher or lower than that of your opponent, or some extraneous factor comes into play. And let's face it, one of the reasons top players are ranked where they are is because of their superior ability to handle pressure - not because there is any more or less of it. Pressure is all about the conditions, and the degree of pressure is created by a potentially volatile mixture of temperament, the match-up, and whatever vibe is in play - in this case, the whole cluster of issues that arise from an international, team competition.
And on that playing field, it's pretty easy to forget that when it comes to any competitive athlete, there's a point where it doesn't matter who is - or isn't - watching. It isn't about the hype, and it isn't about the press. It isn't about the endorsements, and it's not about size of the trophy. It's about you, the team, (vaguely) the nation you represent and, in a small way, about the record books. You go into the books as someone who pulled your team and nation through a tough but winnable tie, and it's. . . sweet. Oh, so sweet! And at some level that we fans and pundits easily ignore because we're so focused on Roger and Wimbledon, Serena and the Masters Series, Rafa and the Davis Cup final, this matters in a way we can understand, but rarely sit back and appreciate.
But this, in a nutshell, is also why people like Melanie Oudin (and Betina Jozami, for surely there will come a time when the shoe is on the other foot) continue to play this game, despite triple-digit rankings, and it's the moments like these when the differences between them and Serena and Ana and Maria are, well, irrelevant. The truth of the matter is that a Wimbledon final is played a few thousand times each year on the tour, on clay, indoors or out, by individuals destined never to decorate the cover of Tennis magazine. Every once in a while, conditions congeal to create a special moment of importance - a break from but also a payoff for all those hours of frustration, tedium, matches whose significance, win or lose, is pretty hard for anyone - including the person experiencing it - to fathom.
But there's also this: Players exist to be found by moments like the one that located Oudin on Sunday, and such moments will enable them to look back on their careers one day and allow them to feel satisfied, to say something like: Yeah, it was tough, I always felt the blow of a setback like a slap in the face, and I know the sting of defeat. But it was worth every hour and ounce of effort I put into it.
Is it weird that I'm kind of excited for Kleybanova/A-Rad? I think I've convinced myself that Kleybs is a freak of nature. I'm oddly drawn to watching her. I'm sure it's some weird masochistic/self-loathing thing.
Paris is actually going to be cracking tomorrow. Pattaya? Not so much.
Paris Order of Play
Central (from 12.00hrs)
1. A.Bondarenko vs. Schnyder
2. S.Williams vs. Benesova (NB 13.45hrs)
3. Mauresmo vs. Errani (NB 15.45hrs)
4. Schiavone vs. Jankovic (NB 18.15hrs)
5. Dementieva vs. Sugiyama
6. Kleybanova vs. A.Radwanska
1. Loit vs. Kanepi (NB 17.00hrs)
Pattaya Order of Play
Court 1 (from 15.00hrs)
1. Rybarikova vs. Date Krumm
2. Tanasugarn vs. Amanmuradova
3. Lertcheewakarn vs. Peer
Court 2 (from 15.00hrs)
1. Voskoboeva vs. Peng
2. Bammer vs. Dushevina
3. Diatchenko vs. Cibulkova
Scores from Paris:
(4) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. (Q) Oxana Lyubtsova (UKR) 61 61
(5) Alizé Cornet (FRA) d. (Q) Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) 61 63
Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) d. Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) 62 76(3)
Monica Niculescu (ROU) d. Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) 64 63
(Q) Emilie Loit (FRA) d. Nicole Vaidisova (CZE) 61 64
(Q) Karolina Sprem (CRO) d. Petra Kvitova (CZE) 63 61
(WC) Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) d. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 62 62
(WC) Nathalie Dechy (FRA) d. Sorana Cirstea (ROU) 62 16 62
Meanwhile, in Pattaya, everything went according to form:
(1) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) d. Andreja Klepac (SLO) 64 63
(2) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. Chan Yung-Jan (TPE) 63 60
(4) Sybille Bammer (AUT) d. Urszula Radwanska (POL) 64 36 61
Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) d. Tamira Paszek (AUT) 63 64
Sania Mirza (IND) d. (WC) Nicha Lertpitaksinchai (THA) 76(4) 75
Neuza Silva (POR) d. Jessica Moore (AUS) 62 61
(Q) Yuliya Beygelzimer (UKR) d. Anastasia Rodionova (RUS) 62 62
(Q) Ivana Lisjak (CRO) d. Sesil Karatantcheva (KAZ) 62 46 63
The SAP Open in San Jose kicked off yesterday and Pete Sampras shook the dust off his Pro Staff to show the packed crowd what it kinda sorta looked like when he used to play, if he was slower, less flexible, less explosive, and wasn't as good. He was supposed to play Blah in the exo but Blah, ironically, had to pull out due to a sore back. So in stepped Tommy Haas.
What is this, 2002?
The night session was capped with Special K taking on the ever annoying Gilles Muller. Kei took him out in straight sets, 75 62.
 Radek STEPANEK (CZE) d [Q] Dominik MEFFERT (GER) 5-7 6-3 6-1
Christophe ROCHUS (BEL) d  Igor KUNITSYN (RUS) 6-2 7-6(7)
Tommy HAAS (GER) d [WC] Loerschke POERSCHKE (GER) 6-1 7-6(8)
Taylor Dent (USA) d Bobby REYNOLDS (USA) 6-3 6-4
Florent SERRA (FRA) d Jarkko NIEMINEN (FIN) 7-5 6-7(1) 6-4
Kei NISHIKORI (JPN) d Gilles MULLER (LUX) 7-5 6-2
Denis GREMELMAYR (GER) d Roko KARANUSIC (CRO) 3-6 7-6(4) 6-2
Other than that it was a weird day in Rotterdam. Daveed (yay!) gutted out a comeback win over Douche Stamp in three sets and Big Berd and Reeshie both got ousted in three. The draw just got a bit easier for the top seeds.
 A Murray (GBR) d I Ljubicic (CRO) 63 62
 G Monfils (FRA) d [Q] S Bohli (SUI) 64 10 ret. (left knee)
 D Ferrer (ESP) d J Melzer (AUT) 36 76(4) 75
[WC] G Dimitrov (BUL) d T Berdych (CZE) 46 63 64
P Mathieu (FRA) d R Gasquet (FRA) 36 76(4) 63
This is some fun Forty Deuce High he said/she said stuff. I love it. As we all know, our ASB President doesn't take any shit:
Last month, former world number one Federer hit out at the way the WTA rankings were calculated, saying a player who has never won a grand slam should not be granted the number one spot.
"To be honest, I do not like to talk about players, I really prefer to focus on myself," Jankovic told Reuters in an interview at the Paris Open.
"Why should he even care? I don't like putting my nose in other's business.
"I mean, one thing I like about Nadal is that he is such a great champion, he is so humble, always has kind words for everybody, he is a role model for everybody," said Jankovic.
"Federer is a great champion, I don't want to get in a fight with him but why does he care, I really don't understand. Why does he need to do that?"
I'm sure a lot of you are expecting me to rag on JJ but I actually don't have a problem with anything she said. Back when Fed first dissed her I was annoyed with him for even calling her out. I mean, come on, focus on your own tour, buddy.
That's not to say I'm not disappointed in JJ. This was an awesome opportunity to use the word "cry baby" and she passed. Or perhaps a well-placed "You know what I think is ridiculous? That Roger fucking Federer, who's won 23840103 Grand Slams and has made it his business to dash the hopes and dreams of 99.9% of the ATP tour, cried like a fuckin' baby because he lost in the Australian Open final. It wasn't even Wimbledon or the US Open. It's the Slam that no one really cares about. He lost and be cried like a little girl. Who has two thumbs and didn't cry like a little girl when she lost a final? This girl. Dude needs to man up. Also? Who wears their fucking' initials on a hat? Arrogant much? You want to talk ridiculous? How 'bout them apples. Jankovic, OUT!"
You know, or something to that effect.
Also, this cracked me up because I don't think she's being ironic, sarcastic, or kidding at all:
The Fed Cup draw took place today and Serbia has been drawn away to face a certain Serb's quasi favorite country, Spain. Interestingly, Spain and Serbia face each other in the first round of Davis cup in a few weeks. Focus on tennis, Ana. Focus on the tennis. This is actually a good draw for JJ and Ana, as they won't have to fly to China or Argentina in the middle of the clay court season. Do you think Ana will invite JJ over to crash at her pad in Mallorca?
Yeah, probably not. She'd probably be mortified at the thought of walking in on JJ and Mladan making out on her bed.
The other draws: France hosts Slovakia, Germany hosts China and Argentina hosts Ukraine. In World Group II, Belgium vs. Canada; Estonia vs. Israel; Poland vs. Japan; and Australia vs. Switzerland.
The matches will take place on April 25-26.
I had heard about this shoot a few months ago but I didn't know that Dani was participating. I mean, Tati, sure. What else does she have on her schedule other than smoking and hanging out at cafes. And of course MaKiri is the go-to glamour Masha on tour who doesn't say no to stuff like this. But good for Dani. I still want to feed her a sandwich or four though.
The full set of pictures can be seen at SI's site. There's also video. A look at the pics makes a few things clear. Dani will not smile, Tati will not keep her clothes on, and MaKiri is way cuter on the tennis court. That last one I'm sure the boys will disagree with but her whole spread (ahem) wasn't all that spectacular.
Tati's the most natural of all of them. Girl takes a good picture. Though really, are we that surprised? She's French, which means she likes getting naked and hates people flipping her off.
The top ladies are in action this week in Paris. Let's see if Serena can back up her new #1 ranking. No pressure. Seeing as how she's one of the few that didn't play Fed Cup this past weekend, I have a feeling she'll be ok.
How hard am I rooting for a ReRe/JJ final? But before we get there Serena's got an interesting draw. Potential second round match vs. an in form Kvitova and Lena D in the quarters. As for JJ, she's got a tricky first round match with Tranny, potential second round with giant killer Na Li (who beat Agnes today) and The Cone and Kleybs lurking in her half.
This could get interesting.
A G-Chat convo with my kid sister:
Only tangentially tennis related for obvious reasons, but I'm taking this opportunity to pimp one of my favorite sites, Fuck You, Penguin, which is the snarktastic answer to Cute Overload, which I can't stand.
As my friends have said, "It's like you wrote it. Like, a funnier and more talented you that was into animals instead of tennis."
Thanks, guys. Thanks.
Congrats to Jo who beat Jeremy Chardy in the all French final to win the SA Open, 74 75.
I'm a little stressed out for him though. That is one fragile body of his and he is playing A LOT. He played Brisbane, Sydney, AO, Johannesburg, and now flies to Europe to play Rotterdam. That's FIVE back to back tournaments. Granted he withdrew in the second round of Sydney and lost in the quarters of AO, but still, that's a lot of tournaments.
There is a Croat. He is very tall. Very lanky. His name starts with an M. Ends in an itch. He has dark hair. And he is super at tennis.
And his name is not Mario.
Marin "Tuxedo Mask" Cilic continued his strong start to the season by beating fellow Croat Average Mario to win his home tourney in Zagreb. This is his second title of the year.
I like Marin. He's just a no-frills, solid and workmanlike. Not unlike Mario, in fact.
Second, this picture makes me feel like I'm on acid.
Third, Ana has, in addition to Man Hands, Man Feet. Look at those boats!
Congrats to Team Serbia, who knocked out the expected win today with both AI and JJ going 4-0 in the tie. They love on to the World Group I playoff, where they'll play one of the teams that lost their World Group I tie (China, Argentina, France, or Spain). Since we all know the Chinese are like kryptonite to our Lady Serbs, let's not hope for them. Or France. Or Spain. So basically, Argentina.
Team Slovakia is into the World Group playoff after Domi clinched the tie with her win in the first rubber of the day. Dani sat out the second match and was replaced by Wienerova.
That's not important, really. I just wanted to say Wienerova.
No word on whether Alona still has to marry that old dude.
Last but not least, Germany took the doubles match to beat Switzerland, 3-2. ALG led the way after Sabine dropped the first match of the day to Peppermint Patty. ALG went on to beat the racoon-eyed Timea in straight sets, and then tamed up wth Tatjana Malek to beat Patty and Voegele 4 and 3.
The draw for the World Group playoffs will be held on Tuesday.
Sure, maybe the U.S was expected to win this tie, but with the team they fielded I was doubtful. But hello, Melanie Oudin. The Georgia teen was waxed by Gisela yesterday and looked like she was going to get waxed by Jozami today, dropping the first set 62. But the kid's competitive and she buckled down, even overcoming a rain delay when she was up 4-0 in the second, to come back and beat Jozami, 61 62 in the next two sets to keep the U.S. alive going into the doubles...
...which the U.S won easily behind #1 doublist (?) Liezel Huber. So congrats to the U.S., who move on to the World Group semis to play a surprise semifinalist...
The Czech Republic. What? Yes, the Czech Republic, who pulled off quite the upset beating last year's finalist, Spain. Petra Kvitova was the real hero of the tie, winning her two singles matches. You guys know that I'm always scared of Kvitova and it's nice/scary to see her playing well. Lucie also played a big role, coming in today to beat CSN. I'm always happy when Lucie wins.
The other upset of the day? How about Italy not just beating France, but blasting them 5-0 for the win? Flavs should get obscene more often. After coming back to beat Momo yesterday, she came out to easily dispatch of a world weary Cone, 2 and 2. They'll face Russia.
Drama in the France/Italy match:
Pennetta won a knife-edge encounter 2-6, 7-6 (9/7), 6-4 in Orleans, northern France, to give the visitors a 1-0 lead in their Fed Cup World Group One tie.
But Mauresmo said she felt Pennetta should have been kicked out after appearing to insult the chair after a shot she thought was good was ruled out in the crucial second set tiebreak.
"At that moment, I didn't really see and cotton on," said Mauresmo, who indicated that when she did look up Pennetta appeared to have mouthed an insult at the chair, flicking her middle finger for good measure.
"She gave the finger - she should have been removed right away," insisted former Wimbledon and Australian Open champion Mauresmo.
The point gave the Frenchwoman a match point but in the hullabaloo she served up a double fault and then slumped to defeat.
Pennetta, who did receive a warning for her conduct, said she was sorry afterwards.
"I am not pleased with myself but that's the first time such a thing has happened to me - it was a gruelling match from the start and I lost control as I really thought the ball was in," said the Italian.
French skipper Nicolas Escude was angry that the Italian was not handed a stiffer penalty.
"It's amazing. When (former French footballer Zinedine) Zidane loses it he gets sent off. Great, everything's possible. Magnificent, you can do as you like," Escude said in allusion to Pennetta.
It was a little touch and go there and Ana's still serving like crap, but she somehow came away with a 64 64 win over Ai to kick off Team Serbia's 2009 campaign to get into World Group I. JJ had a much easier go, beating Morumi 61 60. So Serbia is 2-0 and they'll kick off the reverse singles with JJ/Ai (rematch of AO) and then, if necessary, Ana/Morumi. At this point it wouldn't surprise me if Ana took the match just for the court time. Let's also hope that the girls stick it out for doubles in front of the home crowd.
The drama tie so far has to be Italy/France. Even though Italy has a 2-0 lead, it didn't come easily. Flavia came back from a set down to beat Momo 26 76(7) 64. Great win for Flavs. Maybe this will kick start her season. But sad face for Momo. She really should have taken this in straights.
SuperGirl returned and took her match in straights over Wickmayer, 76(2) 63. And Domi took out The Flipper, 76(4) 61. Looks like they're well on their way in advancing to play the winner of Germany/Switzerland. Dur. Nevermind.
The two split Day 1 but Day 2 should be the interesting one. Lisicki will play Patty and ALG will play Timea. You have to think ALG has the game to beat Timea easily, which means the Swiss hopes are all on Patty to beat Sabine. That should be a fun match, actually.
Petra Kvitova had a nice win over CSN, holding off a late comeback charge, 64 64. But perrenial midriff flaunter Iveta couldn't keep her lead, eventually losing to Llagostera Vives 16 61 64. Still, you have to think Spain has this one given their doubles prowess.
Shahar Peer is one of those players that always scares me in Fed Cup. Like she kicks it into a whole different gear when you slap that flag on her back. Must be the military training. Anyway, she kept Israel in the hunt by beating K Bond 63 67(6) 63. The winner of this tie will play Serbia (if Serbia wins).
SAP Open draw. It's actually a really fun draw with some interesting potential early round matches:
I'm going to try and actually attend the night sessions of the tournament. Unfortunately that means that in order to see Crazy Train I'm probably going to have to sit through an A-Rod or Blah match. That would be enough to keep me home, but I promised Gauloises that I'd try and get Elf into a body bag and ship him across the pond in time for Valentine's Day.
I am a woman of my word.
I hope they don't screw me and schedule him for the day session all week. If that's the case he better make it to the weekend so I can see him then. Here's hoping I can catch Sam/Baggy, Special K, A-Rod Ernie, and at least 2 sessions of Elf.
And avoid Blah, of course. I'm not going to drive an hour through traffic to take a nap.
UPDATED: The tennis gods hate me. There is no other explanation:
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 9 - 7PM
Featuring PETE SAMPRAS vs. JAMES BLAKE
followed by KEI NISHIKORI vs. GILLES MULLER
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 10 - 7PM
Featuring ANDY RODDICK vs. TBD QUALIFER/SPECIAL EXEMPTION
followed by MARDY FISH vs. LLEYTON HEWITT
followed by THE BRYAN BROTHERS
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 11 - 7PM
Yeesh. It's pretty ugly for the world #1. Goth Bols, Big Berd, and Jo in the first three rounds. Oof. Here's hoping for a Rafa/Muzz final. Also, Kolya returns to action.