So there's a bunch of voting going on at the WTA site for various player awards, such as favorite player, favorite dubs team, most fashionable, most likely to retire from a match due to a paper cut, most likely to give an interview sounding like a 5-pack a day smoker, most likely to talk about the glories of Green Day in the midst of a nuclear holocaust, etc. You can read about some of the categories and nominees here.
So go vote. Because...it's fun, you should, and it'll get you into practice for November.
TMZ, you know the, the ALWAYS RELIABLE NEVER WRONG TOTALLY UPSTANDING TMZ, is reporting that Sasha popped the question to Maria on Tuesday. Uh...they don't say whether she said yes (nice, reporting, geniuses), but they have heard from a friend who heard from a friend who heard from a bouncer who heard from a dog that Masha's been wearing the ginormous rock.
So Mazeltov, if it's true!
Fuck you, TMZ, if it's not.
Also, for the record, I'm really hating myself for having to link to TMZ.
So in my attempt to be nice to the guy for like, a split second, here's an interview wherein he doesn't come off as a total doucheball. Ok, there are doucheballish moments, but overall, it's a pretty solid interview.
Caro will be 21 when she almost assuredly rides into New Haven next year.
Tennis will indeed be returning to New Haven next year, though without a title sponsor and without a significant amount of sausage. The New Haven Open at Yale will be a WTA only event, with the ATP side, according to Matt Cronin, being held that week though at a different location. So don't worry, journeymen ATPers, you'll still have your chance to tune up for your first or second round losses in New York.
I find it interesting that the ladies were able to get the tournament to stick it out with them next year. I have to think a lot of this has to do with the fact that their three-time defending champion just happens to be a highly marketable young kid who has professed her love of all things bulldog and will likely end the year at #1. And this year they actually had a pretty solid field, with Sam, Dinara, and Ana taking last minute wildcards, though Ana eventually had to withdraw.
Of course, this means that Caro's absolutely going to have to come back to New Haven next year, which means she'll likely have to do that Copenhagen --> Cincy --> Montreal --> New Haven --> USO swing again. I know she has to play Copenhagen and all but doing so definitely hampers her USO hard court preparation, as she misses out on Stanford and San Diego. Then, once she does get to the states, she has to play three straight weeks before going straight into the USO. That's a total of five straigth weeks of tennis if she makes it into the second week of New York. She clearly ran out of steam against Vera at the USO.
This does...not seem wise.
But congrats to New Haven for keeping the tournament for at least another year. One of my drivers was telling me how much money the tourney brought in to the City and I was blown away (can't remember the figure off the top of my head but it was huge). The Yale Tennis Center is a great venue for tennis and I would encourage anyone who's planning to go to the USO for qualies to come to NYC a little early and take the train to New Haven to catch some of the late round action.
Hopefully Sunshine can bring some sunshine in 2011. Because seriously? It was cold as fuck this year. Totally threw me a curveball on that one, New Haven.
This is Zarina Diyas. She was born in Kazakhstan 17 years ago. She is currently ranked #268 and had to qualify to get into the main draw in Moscow.
You know who this is, I presume.
Well, young Ms. Diyas dispatched Old Smokey, 61 62. She was up 5-0 in the first before JJ threw down the MTO card. Afterwards, JJ, THE TOP SEED, refused to give a presser but made sure that the WTA communications people wrote down her ailments to give to the press.
So shall we do another run through of JJ's losses since Wimbledon? OK!
Please come to Doha, JJ. Your presence decreases the possibility that Sam will be at the bottom of the table.
Also, we need you for the sleepovers. Your vajazzling skills are second to none.
So it's come to this. Ana, the #4 seed, wins her first round match over Larsson (with a second set bagel) and will play Santonja next. Meanwhile, four other seeds lost, including Rezai and Wicky.
So...Ana's now a seed you can count on? Do things really change that quickly in tennis?
(Yes, yes they do.)
And he was really happy about it.
You know who else was pretty happy? The Moscow tournament director. He not only lost Misha, his #2 seed, but top seeded Kolya lost to Cuevas. Oh, and with Vika clinching her spot to Doha with her win over Petko, I think we can officially file this tourney away in the "Irrelevancy" file.
Aga's out for the next three months with foot surgery and will miss AO.
Put your Zippos in the air and wave 'em like you just don't care.
If I hear the words "Moscow" and "party", I usually think of a pretty kick-ass time. Booming techno, nutty laser lights, carafes of vodka, and enough organized crime to make you feel nice a cozy.
What's all up in all the Russians' jocks tonight? It's a party! Loosen up!
Well, speaking of loosening up, nice sex hair, MaKiri. I presume Igor is smoking a cigarette in the backseat of a black Range Rover right now.
Jesus. Eat something. Gaunt is not a good look for you.
Flavia was clearly ready to party. Here's hoping Marat gave her a tour.
"Later, guys. I got a thing."
You can see more amazing pics here.
And believe me. They are amazing.
Has he not heard Andy drop some rhymes? Was he not charmed by DJ Pale Moose's monotone and unfeeling delivery? Was his mind just completely blown by the lyricism of MC Fuzz Muzz's debut jam that he's gone full retard?
Such a wasted opportunity. I mean, how is James Corden going to taunt him with two minutes of silence:
Random thought: Who's more dour: Andy or Thom?
I know I've already ranted about this on Twitter but I really do wish the seedings for the US and Serbia were swapped so that the US got Belgium in Group A and Serbia got Great Britain in Group B. That would have given us a guaranteed Serena vs. Justine match, which I would actually pay to watch, and Ana vs. Robbie, which would have been fun for no one but me. As it were, the seeding committee, through some "interesting" rationale, put Serbia first, then the US, GB, and Belgium.
And while I'm getting my complain on, I'm still bummed that Sam's playing Brisbane instead. And that it's not Shveddy and Evgeny. Or Gael and Aravane. Or Jo. Or even The Cone!
Oh, Cone. I miss you. Team France really could have done better here.
Overall, those are pretty balaned groups, I'd say. In terms of AO preparation, Andy's got a solid slate of matches lined up with Halpert and Gael, whereas Nole should cruise through his group play. The ladies draw sets up some interesting matches, with Ana vs. Justine, Serena vs. Fran, and Robbie's first bite of the big apple vs. Serena.
Mixed doubles is always the wildcard and more often than not, the decider. And really, can you bet against these two geniuses?
ANYWAY, is it January yet?
Sing it, Damon.
Let's start with this pasty weirdo, who played one of the best matches of his career to beat Fed rather 3 and 2 in under an hour and a half to pick up his second Masters shield of the year. Even if you don't like either of these guys, be sure to catch a replay of the match if you can. Some of the rallies were insane and Andy came through with some huge serving in the clutch. Fed definitely didn't play his best, but a lot of that was due to Andy's incredible defense. As Fed said after the match, Andy made the court seem smaller.
So, congrats, Pasty. You done good.
Also doing good? The Anti-Pasty.
She demolished Patty 1 and 2 in 47 minutes (shortest final of the year), ending the match with her 25th ace of the tournament to pick up her first title in TWO YEARS. She didn't drop a set all week and was broken only 5 times. Say what? Yeah, that's right. It was consistently big serving and hitting all week. Awesome stuff and it's fun to see all the support the kid is getting within the media. With the win Ana outright qualifies for Bali and will rise to #26 on Monday.
Don't worry, Serena. Your muffin basket is in the mail.
Wow. I didn't mean for that to sound dirty.
Anyway, WHOO HOO!
Ana takes a late wildcard into Linz and she now finds herself in her first final since IW09 without having dropped a set all week. She'll take on Crazy McGee, who denied us all a Petko/Ana final, tomorrow.
Oh, don't worry. He won. That's his happy face.
And that's his sexy face.
All this is to say, he is neither happy or sexy at the moment. But he's winning matches so what the hell do I care? That said, I was bummed to hear that Judy went and got a haircut yesterday. I was really hoping she'd hold out and drag Andy along for a 2 for 1 deal at Fantastic Sam's or something. Because, really, that hair is indefensible, Andy.
Anyway, it'll be Moose vs. GOAT in the final. Based on the quality of their play this week, I have to tip the Bleating One, who, with the win over Nole, is back to #2.
Oh, that's just the foyer of his house.
(Pics: Getty, AP)
I spent much of this summer watching Pico lose. A lot, actually. So how awesome is it to see him string some quality wins together and make it to the semifinals OF SHANGHAI.
A Masters 1000, you guys! He beat Hand Lotion in three sets and will face PS3 rival Muzz tomorrow.
Fly, Pico, Fly!
Except not tonight. Because I kiiiiiinda need Moose to make the finals here and I don't want to have to fly to Canada to beat the shit out of Brodie if you win.
This may be the greatest fan sign ever.
Though, this one gets commitment points for refusing to let the fact that this match was played on indoor courts that fans could not access stop her from cheering on her man.
And "allez" he did.
Obligatory cute Jo pic.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.
GGL is cute?
Jelena's not in Shanghai. So...just sayin'.
Hands off, ladies.
That sexy piece is aaaaaaaaaall mine.
It's a boy!
Uh oh, Maggie. Papa's not happy.
Ok, I'm going to say this once and then I'm leaving it alone:
I would not object to seeing Sod naked.
There. I said it. I'm gonna go take a hot bleach shower now.
(Pics: Getty, AP)
Hell of a match, Austrian Smurf. He played aggressively and I've never seen Hand Lotion hit the ball so cleanly. I know people are saying Rafa was tired and whatever, but I give full credit to Melzer. He was really good today, and really, a seated golf clap to him in recognition for his great year. Also, he's apparently dating a swimmer. I guess he just really likes girls and water.
But I guess Rafa losing created what can only be described as an EMP, but instead of a pulse disrupting all electric functionality it disrupted brain functionality:
Look, everybody makes typos and gets the occasional obscure-ish fact wrong. But when you're Tennis.com and you base an entire Ticker story on the "ZOMG! RAFA LOST FOR THE FIRST TIME IN FOREVER" angle, people are probably going to notice your fact-check fail. They've pulled the story down but that doesn't mean I've stopped giggling.
Even Sod had a laugh. EVEN SOD.
An excuse to post a VMars clip? Duh.
Ana's into the quarterfinals in Linz after beating a rather testy Barbara Zahlova Strycova 3 and 2. Oh, and Ana ate yogurt, which she immediately regreted because she literally had to run off court to puke. And when she returned she was docked four points. And there was confusion.
Things we learned: If you're going to puke, puke on your own time. Also, don't eat yogurt right before you're about to play.
The More You Know.
At first I saw this pic, right? And I'm like "Awwww, yeah. Gonna have fun with this one. Definitely a dick joke, maybe a "he needed both hands to try and find it", or a "Oh, you like a little ball action, too, Andy?" or something. But come on, this one was right in my wheelhouse and I was loading up ready to crush it home.
But then I saw this. And then I felt bad. I realized that the dick and ball jokes were totally uncalled for. The dude flew all the way to Asia in hopes of doing well to grab one of the last spots for London and he pulls up lame with a groin injury and has to retire against GGL in the first round.
He's had some shitty luck over the course of the last couple of years. I should probably back off for a while.
So sorry, Andy. If it's any consolation, your wife is still hot, I liked that Lacoste kit, and your balding isn't *that* bad.
Adorable video of Nole throwing on a hazmat suit to do some ATP Arts & Crafts, ala Rafa and Roger.
But the main thing I learned from this video: I could never work for the ATP. I simply do not have the professionalism to run away from Nole if he's threatening me with a hug. I probably would have just tackled him and sat on his face.
"Wait, you're coming to Perth?"
"FUCK YEAH, I'M COMING TO PERTH! (or will at least try)"
Ok, so obviouly the Hopman Cup lineup was already awesome. Nole and Ana, Serena/Isner, um... Fran...Shveddy...other people. But my super happy fun times pairing was finally confirmed today. That's right, Robbo and Muzz will team up once again, with Andy trying not to fuck up again and lose Laura's diamonds.
Because they're hers, Andy. They're hers. You owe her and we all fucking know it.
I actually missed their awesomeness last year because I was on vacation in Vietnam and, well, I know this is shocking, but they weren't exactly airing Hopman Cup in Saigon. So I'm really hoping I get to experience this dreaminess (Nole, Andy, Ana, Robbie, oh my!) live or in person.
COME ON! [/GOB]
Well, it took three tournaments, but Sam finally won a match in Asia, as she sets out to defend her maiden title in Osaka.
And Robbie won her three qualie matches to qualify for her fifth WTA main draw of the year. Of course, as we all know, nothing good happens for my stable of players without a dark raincloud forming overhead. Osaka is no different. Not only is Robbie in Sam's quarter but she also drew Kimiko in the first round. So we'll have the oldest woman in the top 200 (40!) vs. the youngest (16!). Ok, fine, Laura's at #201, but cut the kid some slack.
So, go Chicks Who Have Aussie Blood!
Yeah, sometimes you gotta stretch to find a narrative.
I guess being #1 and #2 don't mean what it used to.
The top 20 are all in Shanghai, which makes for some intriguing stuff. Rafa and Nole are coming off tournament wins in Tokyo and Beijing, Muzz is coming off...whatever you want to call that loss to Lubey in Beijing, and Fed returns for the first time since his loss to Novak.
Play started yesterday and Jo took out Feli and Fernando lost to Thiemo.
(Pic: Getty, AP)
The Caro Train keeps on trucking. That's six titles on the year after she bested Bepa in three sets to take Beijing. She's now won six straight finals since losing the final at Indian Wells, while Bepa's lost five straight finals since Pattaya City.
Too bad those stuffed animals aren't convinced. They're still angry about this whole #1 business.
Nole beats Daveed in straights to successfully defends his Beijing title and collects an awesome champagne bucket and stuffed...animal (?) to add to his collection. Surprisingly, this is only his second title of the year. But he's now 9-0 at the China Open and he clinched his spot at the London Championships this week.
I would totally watch this movie.
In a dark theater.
Wearing a trenchcoat.