All joking aside, kudos to the WTA. Lately they've been making a concerted effort to pimp the lesser players. Pimp them for what? I dont know. But pimping nonetheless.
Q. How did you feel out there physically?
JAMES BLAKE: Not my best. A little bit of an upset stomach. I don't know if that's from the heat or nerves. I don't know what it's from, but had an upset stomach and didn't feel great. Actually got a lot better in the third set. Maybe because it cooled off, I don't know. But I was feeling okay after that.
My toe was reacting pretty well. That hopefully is not gonna be a concern at all at the Open. That's a positive to take from it.
With all this talk about more combined North American events, this little bit slipped under my radar. Tennis Canada isn't talking about combining the events a la Indian Wells or Miami. Oh, no, they've decided to be stupid about it:
Tennis Canada is considering a plan to combine the ATP and WTA events in Toronto and Montreal into one tournament featuring men and women playing at both venues in the same week, starting in 2011.
Under the plan, each city would stage one half of the men's main draw and one half of the women's.
Montreal and Toronto would stage one final apiece, meaning one of the men's and one of the women's finalists would switch cities, making the one-hour trip by private jet.
Q. On a different topic, this tournament is thinking of switching formats in 2011 where half of the women and half of the men will play in Toronto; the other half would play in Montreal until the final when somebody would get on a plane and fly to the other city. I can see by your expression you haven't heard of that. I was wondering what you might react to that.
DINARA SAFINA: Well, better that they keep it like it is now. It's much more nice, because it's completely going to be different final. Somebody's used to play here, and suddenly you have to fly from Montreal.
I don't know. Better they thinking one more time about this, because I don't think it's a great idea.
Q. This tournament is considering something different in 2011 when the men's draw and the women's draw will be the same week. They're thinking about having half the men in Toronto and half the women in Toronto, half the men in Montreal and half the women in Montreal with the finalists flying to the other city.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think that's a bit ridiculous.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: In the same week flying to other cities?
Q. Well, the finalists from Toronto would have to go to Montreal. The women's finalists from Montreal would have to come to Toronto.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Who told you about that one?
Q. Oh, Tennis Canada is talking about it, a way to generate interest, give Toronto and Montreal a feel for what a mixed tournament is like.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I'm not sure I can comment on that one. I haven't heard about that one yet. I think I'll need to get more info before I can comment.
I thought of both the men and women coming together, but I didn't hear us flying from Toronto to Montreal to play a same tournament. I haven't heard that one before.
Combined is combined. This is baloney. I assume that the top seeds will have their side of the draw in the city where the final will be held and the other half will play elsewhere. But if you're going to treat this tournament like a high profile Masters 1000/Premier 5 event, then you know what? Don't turn it into a circus.
"Yeah. I'm actually having a competition with myself to see how many errors and double faults I can make and still win the match in two sets. It's pretty interesting."
-- Masha, after her 17 double fault win over Bammer.
Aga and Caroline are playing doubles together in Toronto, which means some good old-fashioned fun on practice. I will give Papa Wozniacki some credit for trying (although failing) to get Caroline to pick up the mess of balls behind her. Oh well, Coconut and her man harem took care of it later.
Matches to watch: Safina vs. Rezai, Bepa vs. Vinci, Agnes vs. Agi, Masha vs. Bammer, Boots vs. Jay-Z, Gypsy vs. Flavs, Vika vs. Kim, Patty vs. JJ, and Lucie vs. Ana. Oh, and Kleybs vs. Domi, just for the optical hilarity.
Matches to watch (insane order of play!): Nole vs. Lubey, Marat vs. Steps, Chardy vs. Halpert, Seppi vs. Rafa, Sam vs. A-Rod.
The boys were all about showing off their goods today in Cincy. Isner scored a huge win over Haasi, in a tight three setter 76(5) 57 76(3). Really nice win for Halpert.
And Gilly has a two match win streak (what???) with his three set win over Igor. Man, there is a whole lotta lank going on in that wee little body of yours, Mr. Simon.
But the rest of the day saw quite a few surprising results. Gonzo retired after the first set to Big Berd, Fer lost to Garcia-Lopez, Lawnmower took out Sods, and Daveed stopped Not!Mario in straights as well. Add to that list FeLo going down 9-7 in the third set tie break to DoucheStamp, Techno falling to Gooch, and Blah losing to Consumption (ok, maybe that one's not really an "upset") and you have yourself quite the eventful day for the sausages.
Singles - Second Round
 G Simon (FRA) d I Andreev (RUS) 76(5) 67(6) 61
D Ferrer (ESP) d  M Cilic (CRO) 76(4) 62
Singles - First Round
T Berdych (CZE) d  F Gonzalez (CHI) 64 ret. (knee)
G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) d  F Verdasco (ESP) 76(4) 76(4)
L Hewitt (AUS) d  R Soderling (SWE) 36 76(8) 63 - saved 2 M.P.
[Q] M Youzhny (RUS) d V Hanescu (ROU) 75 62
J Melzer (AUT) d F Lopez (ESP) 57 76(4) 76(7)
A Seppi (ITA) d [Q] J Hernych (CZE) 36 64 61
[Q] C Guccione (AUS) d P Kohlschreiber (GER) 75 26 63
I Kunitsyn (RUS) d J Blake (USA) 76(5) 67(5) 64
P Petzschner (GER) d [Q] S Bolelli (ITA) 76(6) 63
[WC] J Isner (USA) d T Haas (GER) 76(5) 57 76(3)
Doubles - Second Round
 D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) d R Lindstedt (SWE) / M Melo (BRA) 64 64
Doubles - First Round
M Llodra (FRA) / J Tsonga (FRA) d J Melzer (AUT) / R Stepanek (CZE) 76(2) 64
Inspired by the insightful and elaborate tweeting of the likes of Serena Williams, Carrie and Sodapop have been keeping their minions (like, 7 minions to be exact) abreast of the goings on in Toronto. For those of you who don't have Twitter, well, far be it from me to let technology bar you from seeing the tournament through their beer goggles.
Their tweets for the past two days, after the jump.
Interesting stuff from the rumored-to-be-engaged Maratski:
So no tweeting about matches. But if you have books or jewelry to sell, please, go nuts.
Stadium (from 11.00hrs)
1. Magdalena Rybarikova vs. Ana Ivanovic
2. Venus Williams vs. Kateryna Bondarenko (NB 13.00hrs)
3. Alisa Kleybanova vs. Aleksandra Wozniak
4. Elena Baltacha vs. Kim Clijsters (NB 19.30hrs)
5. Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Samantha Stosur
Grandstand (from 11.00hrs)
1. Shahar Peer vs. Monica Niculescu
2. Yaroslava Shvedova vs. Daniela Hantuchova
3. Maria Kirilenko vs. Flavia Pennetta
4. Victoria Azarenka vs. Peng Shuai
5. Jans/Rosolska vs. Fichman/Wozniak
Court 1 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Lucie Safarova vs. Kaia Kanepi
2. Sara Errani vs. Dominika Cibulkova
3. Llagostera Vives/Martínez Sánchez vs. King/Niculescu (after suitable rest)
4. Yan/Zheng vs. A.Radwanska/Wozniacki
Court 3 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Alla Kudryavtseva vs. Julie Coin
2. Virginie Razzano vs. Ekaterina Makarova
3. Dushevina/Rodionova vs. Groenefeld/Schnyder
4. Mattek-Sands/Petrova vs. Kleybanova/Makarova (after suitable rest)
Court 4 (from 12.30hrs)
1. Elena Vesnina vs. Zheng Jie
Matches to watch: FeLo vs. DoucheStamp, Sods vs. Hewitt, Big Berd vs. Gonzo (heh), Igor vs. Gilles, Isner vs. Haas, Daveed vs. Tuxedo.
I'm not saying the results were what everyone wanted, but let's face it, they weren't shocking. Maria continued her domination of Nads, winning in straights, 63 64. Momo couldn't shake off the rust against Tranny, falling in three. And Mono? Well...she was Mono.
Oh, and The Cone lost. But you knew that before the draw was released.
Singles - First Round
Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (10) Nadia Petrova (RUS) 63 64
Alona Bondarenko (UKR) d. (13) Marion Bartoli (FRA) 64 63
(14) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) 63 63
Francesca Schiavone (ITA) d. (15) Amélie Mauresmo (FRA) 62 36 61
Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. (Q) Heidi El Tabakh (CAN) 76(2) 76(4)
Patty Schnyder (SUI) d. Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) 62 61
Sybille Bammer (AUT) d. Anna Chakvetadze (RUS) 36 64 62
Agnes Szavay (HUN) d. (WC) Valérie Tétreault (CAN) 62 64
Aravane Rezai (FRA) d. Alizé Cornet (FRA) 64 75
Ai Sugiyama (JPN) d. Iveta Benesova (CZE) 63 64
(Q) Roberta Vinci (ITA) d. (WC) Stéphanie Dubois (CAN) 61 62
(Q) Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) d. (Q) Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 76(4) 62
Doubles - First Round
Hsieh/Peng (TPE/CHN) d. Azarenka/Zvonareva (BLR/RUS) 46 60 106
Senoglu/Shvedova (TUR/KAZ) d. Chuang/Pelletier (TPE/CAN) 64 64
Kirilenko/Vesnina (RUS/RUS) d. (WC) Dubois/Marino (CAN/CAN) 62 67(5) 106
Amanmuradova/Kudryavtseva (UZB/RUS) d. Koryttseva/Poutchek (UKR/BLR) 76(10) 62
(WC) Kuznetsova/Mauresmo (RUS/FRA) d. Husarova/Parra Santonja (SVK/ESP) 60 64
Marin bounced back from the early ousting last week to take out JCF in straight sets. Something tells me Ferrero's running out of gas. Meanwhile, Ivo scored a nice win over Gael, 64 67(5) 76(2). So...LaMonf should be well rested going into the USO.
In other upset news, Daveed took out Stan and Jeremy upset Boredo.
Singles - First Round
 G Simon (FRA) d [WC] W Odesnik (USA) 63 62
I Karlovic (CRO) d  G Monfils (FRA) 64 67(5) 76(2)
 M Cilic (CRO) d J Ferrero (ESP) 63 64
J Chardy (FRA) d  T Robredo (ESP) 63 75
 R Stepanek (CZE) d V Troicki (SRB) 76(2) 10 ret. (foot)
I Andreev (RUS) d N Kiefer (GER) 61 75
B Becker (GER) d M Vassallo Arguello (ARG) 63 63
N Almagro (ESP) d D Sela (ISR) 64 10 ret. (groin)
P Mathieu (FRA) d M Zverev (GER) 67(4) 75 63
[Q] I Ljubicic (CRO) d F Serra (FRA) 46 63 64
D Ferrer (ESP) d S Wawrinka (SUI) 75 62
J Acasuso (ARG) d [Q] L Kubot (POL) 64 63
[WC] M Safin (RUS) d [WC] R Ginepri (USA) 75 76(2)
S Querrey (USA) d [Q] Y Lu (TPE) 63 64
Doubles - First Round
F Lopez (ESP) / F Verdasco (ESP) d S Huss (AUS) / R Hutchins (GBR) 46 76(2) 10-3
T Berdych (CZE) / P Kohlschreiber (GER) d N Davydenko (RUS) / I Kunitsyn (RUS) 57 76(4) 10-7
R Lindstedt (SWE) / M Melo (BRA) d J Coetzee (RSA) / J Erlich (ISR) 76(3) 36 14-12
Nole in the recording studio with the Bryan Brothers. Yeah, wrap your head around that. Also, for some reason he's insisted on wearing clothes again. Bastard.
(Thanks to Victoria for tweeting)
The biggest news from the draw? Elf and A-Rod aren't in the same quarter. So that must be nice for Andy. That said, he is in Fed's quarter. There's been a lot of talk lately as to how much of a psychological impact that Wimbly final had on Andy. Did it inspire him and show him his hard work was paying off? Or did it completely demoralize him and send him into Loveable Loserville? It's a tough call but if I'm Andy, I'm chomping at the bit to get another shot at Fed. Here's hoping they meed in the quarters and Andy gets his revenge. That would be quite the statement going into the USO.
As for Muzz, if he can get some easy early round wins, I give him a good shot here. He'll probably have to go through either Elf or Fernando (my bet is on Fer given Elf's empty tank), either of which would be fun matches. Then he would meet either (probably) Fed or A-Rod.
On the other side of the draw we have Rafa, Nole, Jo, and Kolya. All eyes are on Rafa, of course, who was pretty jolly after his quarterfinal loss to Elf. The knees seem fine and the kid can still compete. He's just gotta hit the rust out. Unfortunately he's got a tricky draw, where he could face Ivo or Gael, and then a big hitter like Gonzo or Jo. Not players you can get into a rhythm with. But at this point I'm pretty sure Rafa doesn't care. He just wants to get on court.
In the last quarter we have the invisibles, with Nole, Kolya, Gilly, and Haasi. Nole should come through to the semis, but really, is anyone comfortable counting on him these days?
After three USO Series events, we still don't have a true frontrunner for the USO. Dina and Serena haven't been able to build too much momentum so far, though (a) does Serena really need any momentum going into a Slam and (b) maybe the run to the finals *was* a momentum builder for Dina. But of the top 10, no one's really made too much of a convincing statement.
Will things begin to shake out in Toronto? We'll finally get a full field so we'll get top notch matches from the get-go.
Here's the draw.
Venus and Serena have pretty sweet draws, and Venus finds herself with Bepa, Masha, and Aga and Serena has Caro, Mono, and Ana. She'll have to deal with a confident Dani in the second round though, and that could be an interesting match.
Coconut, the defending champion, finds herself with JJ, Vika, and Kim, though luck for her, she'll only have to play one of those three, as they're in the other half of her quarter.
The bloodbath draw? Kuzzie. She could play Sam in the second round, Flavs in the third, Lena in the fourth, and Serena in the semis. A rested Momo is also floating in that section of the draw.
That's what back to back tournaments and a grueling 3 setter yesterday will do to you. More specifically, that's what the new and improved Andy Murray will do to you. All credit to both players for being able to play their games in rather spectacular fashion (especially Elf for two sets). I don't know how he was able to dig deep to run down some of those balls and he served so well in tight moments.
But Andy did what he did. He hung in there. He scrapped and kept his frustration in check to hang in there, even though I was sure Elf was going to run away with it after he broke back in the second set.
The hard yards and grueling workouts in Miami were the difference today. Once Andy took the second set tiebreak the match was over. There was no way the big guy was going to be able to gut out a third set. And sure enough, he didn't. Andy took his second Masters title of the year, 67 76 61.
The win gives Andy a 565 point lead over Rafa going into Cincinnati, where things are just going to get even more interesting.
Ok, actually, once the rallies got going the quality of the tennis, for the most part, wasn't horrible. Some impressive shotmaking from Elena and some pretty awesome counterpunching from JJ.
There's no other non-word for it. Elf is now 3-0 against A-Rod, beating him twice in seven days, in two really tight, could have gone either way, matches.
Congrats to The Boy Everyone Loves To Hate! No, not Nole, Andy!!!
He had to weather the Jo-Dub storm but eventually came away a 64 76(8) winner. Jo, seriously? You thought dropshotting Muzz was a good idea? Aw...you're pretty, but you're dumb.
Andy's ability to go further than Rafa in Montreal means that he'll become the new World #2 on Monday. This will be the first time since 2005 that Roger and Rafa won't sit atop the standings. FOUR YEARS! So crazy. If he keeps on keepin' on in Cincy he could be #2 going into the Open, and Rafa could potentially bet placed in Roger's side of the draw. Insanity? Oh, and apparently if Andy wins Cincy and USO he could be #1. 52 weeks, people. An oh so crazy, 52 weeks.
Of course there will be the haters who say blahblahblah, Rafa's been injured and didn't play Wimbly, blahblahblah fishcakes. But I'm pretty sure those people will also remember Fed fans saying the damn same exact thing last year when Rafa took over #1 right around this time. It was bullshit then, and it's bullshit now.
At the end of the day, Muzz didn't pull a Harding on Rafa. So he can't control what happened around him. But can there really be any doubt that he busted his ass for this and unlike some people *cough*Nole*cough* won the matches he needed to win in order to get the ranking?
So how about a little respect. Kudos to Andy. Onward and upward! But watch your back. I hear the rumbling footsteps of a charging bull not far behind.
Also, I'd like to just preemptively give a mighty hearty chuckle at the fan frazzling that's already going on because "ZOMG!!! THE SKY IS FALLING!!! THE ATP HAS A SLAMLESS #2!!!!" Shut. The. Fuck. Up.
On this week's FD Podcast: Dinara battles a Coconut, does Serena care at all about non-Slams, tips on how to get into a tournament when you don't have tickets, WTA vs. ATP marketing (and the failure of the former), and tennis journalists vs. bloggers, aka, why Pete Bodo can never be a blogger.
We had an agenda this time. Really we did. As you can see, it doesn't really help.
Congrats to Elf on his win over Rafa. He had to fight hard for the first set, eventually winning 76(5) and then cruising in the second set to win 61. I only saw parts of the first set and though Rafa still looked rusty, it didn't seem like the first set was a "bad" loss. Not sure what happened in that last set though.
Novak, you ignorant slut. GET ANGRY! Play on the edge! I don't care that it's A-Rod and you're all self-conscious about how you come across to him or to the crowd. What do you care more about? Unfortunately, I think I know what the answer is to that question, which is why I don't have much hope for Nole during this USO swing. Muzz and Rod own him. In fact, it seems like the one player who can get him up to play with and edge is Feds. Sigh.