TTC's profile on Boots. Much props to TTC for doing these profiles on "lower profile" players (read: Not the Williamses or Masha).
But man, *those* are some braces.
See? I can be complimentary.
Masha came back from a set down to eventually win fairly easily. Serve and dress notwithstanding she was looking really good off both sides. Lateral movement looked good and she's still able to whack the ball into the corners and find some angles. But she's faced with the same questions Ana is: Can she hold serve against the bigger hitters?
And Venus "gave away" the second set to Bethanie before pulling out the three set win. Tough luck for Bethanie, who looked like she was struggling with a right wrist problem during the match.
And is Alexa Glatch the real deal? Again, it's not that she's beating top 30 players, she's demolishing them. Benesova, Kvitova, and now Flavia, 1 and 1. Where'd this kid come from?
Jay Z won and K-Bond is the only Bond left in the draw as she took out Peppermint Patty.
One match didn't finish. Vera D and Caro are locked at a set a piece before the match was suspended for darkness. Come on, Caro.
Times Online profile of Viko and Caro. Apparently the kids want to put an end to the cattiness on the WTA tour:
If the pair possess potential in abundance, they also share a refreshing attitude. Though both are committed to their tennis, they want to enjoy other things in life and certainly don’t subscribe to the cat-fighting that seems so prevalent at the top of the game, such as Serena Williams’ recent attack on Safina’s climb to the summit.
Both have witnessed the hostility of those above them and don’t like it. “I am a very open person, I like to keep in touch with a lot of people and a lot of them are my fellow tennis players,” said Wozniacki. “Vika is one of my really good friends and I don’t see that as a problem. If we play each other we are determined to win but when we leave the court things get back to normal. Isn’t that the way it should be?”
Azarenka agrees. “The guys in the top 10 seem to respect each other and get on well,” she said. “Look at Nadal and Federer, they have such a healthy relationship based on mutual respect. The players at the top of the women’s game should be a little more like them.”
Pardon me while I try to stop laughing. Oh, Viko. You're such a comedian.
It took her seven match points to get there but Sabine Lisicki blasted her way to her first career WTA title, and a Premier one to boot (heh).
Tough loss for Boots, who looked sluga step slow and completely overwhelmed by Sabine's aggressive game. But Sabine exposed the weakness in Boots' game that has plagued many a counterpunching retriever: the game is not in your hands and you can always get hit off the court. The knock on Boots has always been that she lacks a weapon. That showed today.
It'll be kids in the finals of Charleston as they both took out the wily and unpredictable veterans. For Caro, she'll be heading to her second straight WTA final, beating Lena in three tough sets, 64 57 75. Haven't seen the match but all credit to the kid for keeping her nerve after dropping that second set. One thing that has always endeared me to Woz is her positive attitude and fighting spirit. She might get beat but she never just goes away.
But the story of the tourney is Sabine Lisicki's run to the final. She's beaten Venus, Mono, and Vezzie on her way and she's done it all in fairly convincing form. She beat Mono in straight sets, 63 61. Is it pretty much a given these days that Mono might have some big wins in the early part of a tournament but she's guaranteed to fade towards the end?
Anyway, nice runs for both. I'm looking forward to the final, though I'm fairly confident Boots will pick up her second straight title in two weeks. Looks like the work at the Bunny Ranch is finally kicking in. Who knows, maybe she'll have take a Vika-like tear through the clay season.
Without the fucked up attitude, of course.
As for CanWoz she just didn't show up today. Clearly Boots' ability to just sit back and play retriever didn't jive with her game. Lots of unforced errors and untimely double faults all over the place. That's ok though, nice tournament for her.
And I'll always tune in to watch CanWoz for no other reason than to see what crazy combo of Adidas leftovers she'll rock on any given day. Today she kept with the Easter theme, working the white and pink Adidas competition tank with the blue competition skirt.
Come on, Canada. Get the kid a sponsorship deal.
CanWoz regrouped after losing a 4-1 lead in the second set to take the match 64 46 62. Per Nads, I've never seen anybody paint more lines than she did today." Good job, CanWoz! I can't wait to see what Adidas leftovers you'll wear on the court tomorrow.
As for Boots, WTF? Happy for you but good lord, Vezzy. That was a pretty epic display of refusing to win a match. I mean, all credit for Boots for being courageous and staying calm (she had problems dealing with the heat all through the match), but Elena! You had four match points and couldn't convert. You served for the set at 5-2 in the second and still lost the set. You had match points with two break points at 6-5 in the third and couldn't convert. And then you cried. You cried going into the tiebreak. And then you lost.
Oh, Russians. It's almost comical at this point.
Well Viko had her "take notice of me yeah I'm for real" run last week. Could this be Woz's breakthrough run? Seems to be a similar storyline. Both beat top 5 players who, let's face it, aren't at their best right now. But both also were a few games away from beating Serena earlier this year, too. Huge difference? Caro's not a raging bitch. So there's that.
Really happy for Boots, who bested Lena in straight sets. I felt really bad for the kid when she played so well against Lena in Luxembourg and still lost in three tight sets. But I love her attitude and her game has a lot of upside. She's not even close to tapping all her potential. Also, thanks for making me not lose all faith in the Adidas Player Development Program, Boots.
Muzz and Venus are also through, though Venus was tested by a resilient and crafty Agi. It took her three sets, but she got it done with, what else, an ace. As for Muzz, he fell behind 0-3 in the first, but again, there was never a doubt that he'd figure out Massu's game and get his back on track. He took it in straights.
Is that a poorly placed tat I see on Boots? I'm not convinced that thing is even on her hip. It's like an inch and a half from her belly button.
Boots and Sorana, the two ladies holding it down for the Adidas Player Development Program, lost to Momo and Sveta, the two ladies holding it down for...well...something else.
Also, I'm kinda starting to think the APDP is a curse this year. I don't know, we'll see if my theory pans out this week. But something tells me they don't pick up many racquets when they're training in Vegas. I mean, it's fine that y'all are fit and everything, but if you can't hit the ball between the lines (OR TO FEDERER'S BACKHAND), you're not really going to "develop" per se.
Maybe they'll prove me wrong. But Sorana already lost her first rounder yesterday.
But no. Ana had to frickin' pull out her Sacrificial Virgin dress and Dina shoehorned herself into one of the dresses IMG told JJ not to wear last night, and this is what we have. Come on, BFFs. Get it together! Though, I do like the symbolic yin-yang thing they have going on.
Oh yeah, the awards:
Williams also received the award for 2002. She won the U.S. Open in September and ended last year ranked No. 1.
Dinara Safina was selected most improved player for 2008, and Zheng Jie was chosen comeback player of the year. Top-ranked Cara Black and Liezel Huber were chosen doubles team of the year for the second time.
Caroline Wozniacki was selected newcomer of the year. Ana Ivanovic was chosen humanitarian of the year for her work and contributions to UNICEF, and Elena Dementieva was honored with the Karen Krantzcke sportsmanship award.
Nothing too surprising, though the Lena as Sportswoman kinda raised my brow. I doubt she carried the American vote. Luckily for her, there aren't that many Americans. Would have still rather seen it go to Sveta though.
Yay for Zheng Jie! That's a rad win for her. Glad the Asian didn't go unnoticed. There's a first time for everything.
I bet you Dina and Ana are kind of in a tiff right now because Ana found out Dina voted for Elena. It's blood, man.
"But she beat you at the Olympics!"
"You beat me at French."
"Yeah, ok. Can I have your cookie?"
Oh, and before I forget, WTF is going on with Caro's boobs?
Girl needs to quit shopping in Vegas. Stop it. Also, stop listenting to Fernando when he tells you something would look good on you (also, I wouldn't leave my drink unattended around him, if you know what I mean). He's gross. You're a teenager. Be appropriate. Maybe that's why Dina's totally giving you the stinkeye.
Or maybe there's a piece of chocolate cake behind the camera. Who knows with her.
Q. What are some of the things you wrote on your shirt? Like, "Pain is Nothing" or...
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah. You know, what did I write?
Q. "I Hate You, Gil"? (laughter.)
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: No, I was nice to Gil. Because sometimes I was
hurting and sometimes it was tough, so, you know, I wrote "No Limit" on
my shirt. I wrote, you know, "Iron Woman" on my shirt, you know.
Because he was, you know, really making me strong.
I was writing, "Ouch, It's Hurting," or, you know, if there was a if there was a tough exercise, you know, I was like, "Aye Yi Yi," it's going to be tough. So I wrote, "Aye Yi Yi" on my shirt, or "Vamos."
Then on the back, I wrote, working with Gil makes working with Gil no, what did I write? I wrote, "When You Work With Gil, Impossible is Nothing." Yeah.
So, yeah, I can bring the shirt. I'll have it with me.
Vika dusted Caro, 61 63 for the title and in my eyes, really made a case for being at the top of the class of young kids. She's got power off both sides and if she can be consistent there's no reason she won't win multiple slams. Boots still has to work on her consistency and she needs a weapon. Otherwise she'll end up being the JJ to Vika's Masha. I still kinda can't stand Vika and I don't really enjoy watching her play (I don't know what it is and there's no reason for it) but I'm super impressed with her talent. And her coach is super hot so I'll stay tuned just for that.
Vika and Boots also took the doubles title.
 M Erakovic (NZL) d [WC] M Oudin (USA) 46 62 63
[Q] M Krajicek (NED) d K Barrois (GER) 63 36 76(0)
 V Azarenka (BLR) d S Cohen-Aloro (FRA) 62 62
 C Wozniacki (DEN) d [Q] J Dokic (AUS) 61 62
[Q] C Scheepers (RSA) d L Hradecka (CZE) 61 57 76(5)
S Bremond (FRA) d K Flipkens (BEL) 64 60
S Foretz (FRA) d M Czink (HUN) 62 46 62
 J del Potro (ARG) d G Canas (ARG) 63 76(5)
E Gulbis (LAT) d T Dent (USA) 64 36 62
[WC] M Baghdatis (CYP) d K Nishikori (JPN) 75 63
F Serra (FRA) d  R Soderling (SWE) 64 67(1) 62
C Rochus (BEL) d [WC] D Young (USA) 64 63
S Koubek (AUT) d G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) 62 62
So Ski Boots draws Snot Rocket in the first round. That's just harsh. Word is that The Rocket was offered a main draw wild card but refused it, opting to qualify instead so she could get a few matches under belt. Hard core, yo.
Speaking of Boots, is she the new A-Rad? Avoiding all the big tournaments and playing the tiny ones? She played Auckland instead of Brisbane, Pattaya instead of Paris, and now Memphis instead of Dubai. Odd, no? And heck, if she gets booted (heh) in the first round by Dokic she'll have earned fewer points than she probably would have had she just played Dubai.
Hilariously they've got the US Fed Cup team in one quarter, with Melanie Oudin opening up against Jill Craybas. The Burrito is also in this quarter, which is anchored by Brit #1 AKO. Could be fun.
The other half of the draw is anchored by Vika and Sabine. Could it be that in 2-3 years Vika and Caro will be anchoring Premier draws? These two are bound to keep bumping into each other and they both have the potential to win Slams. That could be fun.
And what's this? Alexandra Stevenson got a WC into this tournament? Have fun, crazy girl!
A very cool video on the Adidas Player Development Program (warning, it's 12MB). They interview Sven, Gil, Ana, Fernando, Woz, Sam, and Sania.
It's such a smart program from a branding perspective.
Caro and Nads are also through easily. Caro took out Ruano Pascal, 3 and 3, and Nads ousted Sania (sad face), 3 and 2. Doesn't look like she's suffering any ill effects of the viral menge. Good for her.
It's so amazing with Dani how obviously mental her game is. Good memories bring good results for her. How can you explain her two wins at Indian Wells and now, at the tourney where she reached the semis, she's actually progressing through her draw. This from a woman who we're used to seeing lose before the third round at Tier II tournaments. Good for her. Hopefully this is a signal of things to come for her season.
Dinara had a solid straight set win over Alla Kudrywhatever. Alla was cracking the ball but as expected just couldn't keep that level up over the course of the match. She had chances to put pressure on Dina and couldn't do it. Still though, Dina's not looking as sharp as she needs to right now. Hope a little "pep talk" from Zeljko will do the trick.
Oh, and in case you haven't gotten the memo, Dinara wants to go as Safin-a as opposed to SaFEEna. So noted.
Oh, Ski Boots. She's young and you can't blame her. But she choked hard against ReRe. She served for the match at 40-0, and double faulting and missing an easy smash for the win. This would have been her official coronation as the player to watch in 2009. But as it was, she played well, gained a lot of respect, showed some guts in not going away after dropping the second set, and the match should give her a lot of confidence going into Sydney where, depending on the draw, she should easily be a quarterfinalist.
But still. Serving at 40-love for the match and you lose? Can we all agree that Serena may be the most difficult player on the tour to close out? Stosur couldn't do it, Boots couldn't do it. What makes you think it'll be any easier for the lower players to do it on the big stage of a Slam?
As for Serena, to be fair, she didn't play great and seemed to be hampered by some niggling injuries. At one point she was stretching her back and in the third she was redoing her ankle tape job. It wouldn't surprise me if she withdrew from the tournament. This is a lot of tennis to be playing in advance of the AO, and she doesn't have an easy road. She plays Lena next and then most likely Dinara (who faces Ai in the SF) in the final.
Caro tore through Brianti 61 60 in 54 minutes. Elena Vesnina beat Aiko Nakamura 61 60. And Carla Suarez Navarro beat Natalie Dechy 64 60.
As for Lena D? Things started out rough when she fell behind in the first set to Chan "But call me Latisha" Yung-jan, 5-1. She the reeled off nine straight games to take the first set and continued to roll in the second, eventually winning 75 63.
Centre Court - 11am start
Nicole Vaidisova(CZE) v Elena Vesnina(RUS)
Jill Craybas(USA) v Caroline Wozniacki(DEN)
Elena Dementieva(RUS) v Marina Erakovic(NZL)
Ayumi Morita(JPN) v Aleksandra Wozniak(CAN)
Court 4 – 11am start
Barbora Zahlavova(CZE) v Shahar Peer(ISR)
Anabel Medina Garrigues(ESP) v Edina Gallovits(ROU) (following a doubles match)
Court 6 - 12:30 am start
Carla Suarez Navarro(ESP) v Anne Keothavong(GBR) (following a doubles match)
The ASB Classic draws the ladies to Auckland on Monday with Lena and Ski Boots leading the field. Here's the draw.
There were a lot of people doubting whether Ana could pull off the win against an in-form Bepa. Ana struggled mightily yesterday against Agi, while Bepa bageled and breadsticked Mono. A poll over on Tennis Forums showed the vast majority of folks believing Vera would win, probably in 2 sets. And given AI's form over the past few months, you couldn't blame them.
But if there is one weird quirk about Ana, it's that she gets up to play top players. Sure, she may lose to qualifiers and lower ranked players, but if you're in the top 10, a switch gets flicked and she dials in. It's like clockwork. She destroyed Bepa 62 61.
Ana was just solid today. She played just as aggressively as she needed to without taking stupid chances. The forehand was clicking, the backhand was solid, she came to the net when necessary, and her serve was clicking, notably because she was taking something off the first serve and just making sure it went it. Bet the game plan worked.
Poor Bepa. As well as Ana played, Bepa didn't make her work for it. 30+ unforced errors is embarassing in a final. That said, I do think Bepa's sub-par performance is due to Ana. Someone over at TennisWorld was saying that Ana didn't so much win this match as Bepa handed it to her. I always get annoyed when people do this, take away from one player's accomplishments by saying the other player didn't show up. In this case, Bepa's failure to execute is obviously linked to Ana's early form. The way Baby E shot out of the gate, Bepa had to realize that she had to go for more than what she was used to. It's the same mentality as when you play JJ, or Serena, or Venus. The crap you're hitting keeps coming back and with interest, so you go for too much and bang an UFE. For lot of the top players, they're already in your head before you step on the court.
But enough with the negative. Ana won!!!
As for Roger this was a solid tournament for him. He was tested early in the tourney by a few no-names, but when push came to shove (just like Ana) he stepped it up with some quality wins. Today he beat an in-form Nalby, 64 63, in a very high quality match wherein The Mighty Fed reared his head and showed his hometown why he is (to me inarguably) the GOAT. Absolutely beautful tennis.
The Muzzah train just keeps on going, as he successfully defended his St. Pete's title and wins back to back titles. Can he three peat in Paris? That would be impressive and to be honest, I wouldn't rule it out.
And Lena had a pretty epic struggle against Ski Boots, finally winning the third set 76(6). I'm bummed Ski Boots couldn't pull it out, but this type of match is just what Lena needed to tune up for the YECs. But did she know she would be winning a trophy that looked like a vagina? Probably best if they didn't tell her that.
The Luxembourg semis mirrored the Linz semis, with one player having a easy run, and the other grinding it out. Lena D had no problems taking care of Sorana Cirstea, winning 62 62. Ski Boots had to fight off the always pesky Na Li, but finally came through, 76(1) 36 62. This is Caro's second final of the month.
There shouldn't be too much mystery in Luxembourg, but then again, who knows given the recent form of some of these players. The way the draw worked out, it looks like a pretty easy warm up tournament for Lena D, who will be looking to regain her sharpness for Doha. Standing in her way to the finals: Momo and Dani.
Yeah, I wouldn't exactly be shaking in my Yonex boots either.
On the other half of the draw it's a complete crapshoot. A-Chak and Ski Boots will be contesting that half, but again, given their recent form who knows? I'd actually put my money on bracket buster and FOJJ (friend of JJ) Na Li to possibly get through this half. Cuz it's kinda crap.
Nonetheless I will be tuning into this tournament to see the progress of two Forty Deuce baby faves: Sorana Cirstea and Laura Robson. Cirstea won her first title a few weeks ago in Tashkent and Robson was granted a wildcard for this tourney. Hope they do well.
Good for JJ. Instead of letting the #1 ranking drop in her lap by doing nothing, JJ actually won Stuttgart, beating Venus along the way. She beat Nads 64 63. She'll now have to decide whether to take the $98k winners check or the Porsche Carrera 4S. As JJ said, "I already have a Turbo, so why not the Carrera as well?" Why not, indeed.
You know, of the Mean Girls cast, she is SO Gretchen Weiner. Can't you imagine her saying "I'm sorry that people are so jealous of me. But I can't help it that I'm so popular." So fetch.
Go Ski Boots! She beat Kaia Kanepi 62 36 61 on her way to her third title in three months. But more importantly, she showed all us Adidas haters that you CAN win in that cursed outfit:
In the upset of the day, Tomas Berdych took out Crazy Train 61 64. Apparently JMDP had some sort of stomach virus and was running off the court to boot. But he got his legs back under him in the second set and all credit to Big Berd for staving off a few break points on his serve and finally holding for the win.
In Tashkent, Sorana Cirstea won her first WTA title, beating Sabine Lisiki 26 64 76(4). And in Metz, Dima gritted out a tough win over Paul Henri Mattieu, 76(8) 16 64.
JMDP took Daveed behind the shed and gave him a whoopin. Is there any doubt in anyone's mind anymore that JMDP is the real thing? Watch out Kolya, I think we have a new #5 coming in 2009. Watch your rear view, boys, Eli's coming. Sylar will simply not be stopped.
I'm about to hit the hay, but it looks like A-Rod is in fine control of his match with Viktor. Good for him. It would be nice to see him end the season strong.
As for the ladies, are we on the verge of a Woz v. Woz final? Ski Boots has been plowing through the Tokyo field, beating Touchdown Tammy today 64 61. Meanwhile, on the other half of the draw, A-Woz took out Sam Stosur, 75 63.
Is it just me or is it kinda weird that Tokyo gets a Tier II ladies' tournament and then only two weeks later, and another joint ATP/WTA tournament. It gets very confusing.
You know what's also weird? Ski Boots is the #1 seed on the ladies' side. She survived a bit of a scare from Gisela Dulko, recovering to win in three 46 60 63. Maybe that ugly petal dress does have mojo.
You know doesn't have mojo this week? Number 3 and 4 seeds Zheng Jie and MaKiri. Both had very strong runs last week at their respective tourneys and crash out this week in the first round against far less talented players, 61 62 and 46 62 75, respectively. Too bad.
The rest of the WTA results:
Yanina Wickmayer, Belgium, def. Iveta Benesova, Czech Republic, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
Camille Pin, France, def. Carla Suaraez Navarro, Spain, 6-0, 7-5.
Shahar Peer (6), Israel, def. Kimiko Date Krumm, Japan, 6-3, 6-1.
Rika Fujiwara, Japan, def. Petra Cetkovska, Czech Republic, 7-6 (6), 6-4.
Aleksandra Wozniak (8), Canada, def. Jill Craybas, United States, 7-5, 6-7 (2), 6-3.
Ryoko Fuda, Japan, def. Pauline Parmentier, France, 7-5, 6-2.
Jarmila Gajdosova, Slovakia, def. Mara Santangelo, Italy, 6-4, 7-6 (0).
Tamarine Tanasugarn (7), Thailand, def. Stephanie Dubois, Canada, 6-1, 6-3.
As for the boys, no major upsets here and the big boys won't hit the court until tomorrow (tonight U.S. time). Dudi Sela continued his quality play, beating Bjorn Phau 75 61 (unfair first round match!) and earning a second round match with Crazy Elf. Special Kei sent Robert Kendrick home and fellow American Donald Young also lost in three.
Roko Karanusic, Croatia, def. Hiroki Kondo, Japan, 6-2, 6-2.
Wayne Odesnik, United States def. Kevin Kim, United States, 6-4, 6-3.
Jesse Levine, United States, def. Danai Udomchoke, Thailand, 4-6, 6-1, 6-0.
Joseph Sirianni, Australia, def. Yuichi Ito, Japan, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Simon Stadler, Germany, def. Philipp Petzschner, Germany, 6-2, 6-4.
Yen-hsun Lu, Taiwan, def. Luka Gregorc, Slovenia, 6-4, 7-6 (5).
Flavio Cipolla, Italy, def. Ivan Navarro, Spain, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4).
Cecil Mamiit, Philippines, def. Brendan Evans, United States, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4.
Bobby Reynolds, United States, def. Tatsuma Ito, Japan, 6-3, 6-1
Let's start in China. Where it was 57 degrees at the start of the match. But JJ summoned the power of Burberry to steamroll Sveta, 63 62. Was there any doubt that JJ would win? As loyal Forty Deuce commenter CMS said, "Well since JJ can't get #1 with the title here, my money's on her." So true, CMS. So true.
There's nothing flashy about JJ's game to me, but it's just solid. Her game consists of getting balls back and not missing. She figures out how to get it done and one thing that I will always tip my cap to her for is her ability to read the game and construct points (unless under stress in which case she loses it a bit). JJ never looks like she's actually that fast but before you know it, she's on the ball. She anticipates really well in, in the way that Roger's quickness is very much tied to his anticipation.
Back to back finals for Kuzzie, so that's gotta feel good. But her finals record now goes to 1 and 11 over the past two years.
As for Andy, a really solid performance, winning 64 67 63. He was tested but he was serving well and playing his weird "power pusher" game. As for Dudi Sela, dude (hah!), you hung with the big boys this week. Good on you. Hope this win gives Andy some momentum going into the indoor season and the YECs.
Over in Thailand, revenge is sweet (though, I don't know WHAT is going on in that pic), as Jo won 76 64. Isn't it hard to believe that this is Jo's first singles title? Ever? I didn't see the match but given the scoreline, it looks like it was a really tight one that was probably decided by 2 or 3 key points.
Another tough runner-up loss for Nole, who is still working to recapture that swagger on the court that got him his first Grand Slam title. He's playing well, he just doesn't have that X-Factor that allows him to kick it up a notch. But it's always nice to see that smile (standing there with good buddy Paradorn Schiripan). Does anyone get the sense that Nole doesn't mind losing to people he likes? Maybe I'm just making it up in my head, but his recent losses to Muzzah and Jo come to mind.
Finally, in Seoul, the ugly Stella dress that hangs off Maria Kirilenko threatened to tag her with its bad mojo (though it looks great in that pic), but MaKiri recovered from dropping the first set to dominate the rest of the match, winning 26 61 64. Yay, Lil Mash!
Bonus: Ski Boots won a doubles title!
UPDATED: Seriously, Nando was spitting some SERIOUS game.
Dude! Baby Elephant's just trying to grub. Leave the girl alone!
UPDATED: Don't you love how Ana runs away from boys and JJ just strips around them?
The Serbian Sisters in a nutshell.
More pictures from the "Opening Ceremonies" of the China Open, which was decidedly less fireworky, gymnasticy, and lip syncy than the actual Opening Ceremonies. But it does look like the participants had way more fun (UPDATED with more pics):
Meet Caroline "Ski Boots" Wozniaki:
She must be the only 17 year old that still uses a "walkman". I wonder if Sony Erricsson supplies her with a beeper, too.
Well it started swimmingly but in the in the end, Ski Boots just couldn't solve the Pong-like defense of our Drama Queen, losing 63, 26, 16. All credit to JJ, who played her best match of the tournament. She was moving well, served at a high percentage, and hit the ball with conviction. All in all, she was more aggressive than Caro in the second half of the match and once JJ took it to her, Caro just didn't have any answers. She's going to look back on the tape of this match and just kick herself for how she started the match so aggressively, stepping into her shots and dictating play, but ended so listlessly, playing defense and letting JJ yank her around.
But a great tournament for Ski Boots. A lot to be proud of here. But as great as her year has been, she has yet to be able to solve the Serbs at the Slams. Ana put her out of AO and RG, and JJ put her out of Wimbly and NYC.
Welcome to the big time, Caro! Nice article on Ski Boots' great season by Bonnie Ford at ESPN.com.
Sven Groeneveld, who works with Wozniacki occasionally as part of his corporate coaching gig with adidas, said her father has done an outstanding job, and predicted that the teenager will give Jankovic "a run for her money.'' "She was up a set and a break at Wimbledon,'' said Groeneveld, who helped Wozniacki prepare for that match. "She took her game to her, and she wasn't afraid of her. Unfortunately, she didn't take advantage of the opportunities she created. "She's so determined. She's a girl who works on her weaknesses and she's very mature for her age. I saw her the other day with a camera crew following her around, no parents, no agent, very independent, just doing her own thing. She's not afraid of being on this stage, and that's a gift. If you don't have it, it takes a while to learn.''
Nice to see Sven working with Caro, even if just occasionally. The Adidas Player Development Program just gets better and better every day.
And, since they didn't show a lick of the match on USA, here's a clip of the end of the Vika/Caro third round match. That Adidas petal dress makes Caro look remarkably like Wilma Flintstone, no?
In what was an expectantly tight match, Ski Boots Wozniaki guaranteed that all of America will be forced to view that ugly-ass petal dress at least one more time. Hmmm...maybe that petal dress has the mojo and not the two-piece Edge outfit that Ana has been rocking lately? Baby Elephant's last easy win was in the first round of Wimbly, and what was she wearing? You guessed it, the petal dress.
Ski Boots faces Drama Queen JJ next, most likely on Sunday.
But in big upset news, Ender of Grand Slam Dreams Katya Srebotnik gutted out a three set win over the struggling Kuznetsova. Srebotnik also beat Serena in the third round at RG this year. I really like her a lot and I root for her to do well. She just seems like a normal, down to earth person and she has a great all around game.
Poor Sveta left the court in tears. Clearly even she doesn't know what's wrong with her game.
My Latvian boy Ernests made it through in 4 sets to set up a probable Friday night matchup with Andy. If Andy wants a test he's going to get one. Ernie, for better or worse, always plays as if he has nothing to lose. Probably because he comes from a filthy rich family. Seriously, boy, why are you playing tennis? Go home and drive your sportscars!
Nole looked great in his straight set win over Clement. Unfortunately the match wasn't without incident as Nole rolled his ankle returning a serve in the third set. He called for the trainer and looked alright, but who knows. But really, he looked sharp, orange and turquoise Adidas gear notwithstanding.
As for A-Rod, he kicked off his 2008 campaign with a new "coach" in PMac, and improved form against The Magician. Andy reminded me tonight of how good he can be, which was encouraging. But once again it was a match that was marred with a touch of controversy. On the second to last point of the match, A-Rod smacked a 140mph body serve that almost took Fabrice's head off. Fabrice was none too happy and basically stood there while Andy aced him for the match. Afterwards, Andy was extremely apologetic. But something tells me Fabrice is a little miffed to lose so badly to the young brash American at his last US Open.
For the rest of the men, no huge surprises, though the start of the day saw retirements and withdrawals from Janko and Youzhny. Robby Ginepri had a nice win today, as did Chris Guccione (as coached by Killer Cahill). New Haven champ Marin Cilic fought hard for a 5 set win over French cutie Julien Benneteau. And welcome back Jo Wilfried Tsonga! He didn't look too sharp today, which is understandable since he's coming off injury, but he did win which means we'll get to see more of that million dollar smile.
Meanwhile, Kuzzie is doing what she does and quietly making her way through the tournament. She beat my girl Sorana Cirstea (seriously, people, keep an eye on this girl) in straight sets, but Sorana showed a lot of fight in the first, taking Kuzzie to a tiebreak. Cirstea's got a great serve and solid groundstrokes. She just needs the consistency and maybe some fitness work. And she also needs to not wear that stupid Adidas petal dress.
As for Lindsay, with Bepa's surprise loss today and JJ's struggles, boy, she's looking pretty good. I've been really impressed with both of her matches. If she can get past Mono Bartoli in the next round and stay injury free, I think she's clear into the quarters to potentially play JJ, who I can see her beating. So keep an eye out on this bottom half.
As for the rest of the Ladies, I've already mentioned the Bepa upset. But look out Britain! Anne Keothavong had a huge win over Franny Schiavone. I love Anne. Her accept is lovely. In another upset only on paper, Zheng Jie beat Annabel Medina Garrigues. On the other hand, Pazcek lost to Rybarikova 1 and 2. A real shame as I was expecting at least a run to the third round after her success in Montreal. But don't lose faith in the youth of the tour. Ski Boots and Vika Azarenka both had solid straight set wins today and will play each other on Friday. Go Ski Boots!
Lastly, I leave you with this:
Seriously, I could just write an entire blog on JJ. But it's just too easy.
Isn't that kind of weird? To wear shoes that have your opponent on them? That would be like Rafa wearing an RF cap, or Roger wearing Rafa's "Vamos Rafa" Air Breathe Cages.
Well, we'll know tomorrow at 11AM EST what Ana's going to wear. Hopefully the fact that Ski Boots stole her thunder will convince her to avoid this dress like the plague and just wear what she wore at Kids Day.
Congrats to Marin Cilic and Caroline "Ski Boots" Wozniaki on their title wins at New Haven on Saturday. For Cilic, it was his first career ATP final and title, which he earned by beating Scruffy McNoSocks in three sets. As for Caro, she came back and outlasted A Chak, who, in typical A Chak form, had a total mental meltdown in the third set and basically gifting the title to the Danish teen. But a title is a title and both earned it.
Now on to Flushing Meadow, where the organizers were kind enough not to schedule either of these two for Monday matches. Hope they get their legs back by Tuesday!
Caro defeated a hobbling Alize Cornet today 75 64 to reach the finals at New Haven. She'll play the winner of the Momo/A Chak crazyfest. This is probably a blessing in disguise as Cornet now has to heal up for her US Open run. Here's hoping that Ski Boots isn't peaking too early and comes into the Open mentally and physically tired. Either way though, she'll have confidence!
In sad news, Tabasco lost to the Sockless Wonder, 60 16 63. Ugh, whatever Marty. Go back to your Deal or No Dealfriend.
I'm telling you, my girl Ski Boots is getting ready for a good run in Flushing Meadows. She had her biggest win today, destroying Mono Bartoli 64 60 today. She'll play Feivel in the semifinal tomorrow. On the other side, don't look now but Momo may be finding some form. She beat Agnez Szavay in straight sets today, which, given Szavay's form this year isn't that big of deal I suppose. But nevertheless she's advanced to the semis and will play top seeded A Chak. That'll be quite the test for her. But the runs by all four semifinalists has to be taken into account as we look to the US Open.
I'm calling it now. Caro will beat JJ.
Having won her first title only two weeks ago in Sweden, flying immediately to Beijing to play for Denmark, Ski Boots is back in action at the Pilot Pen tourney in New Haven. Considering the US Open starts in less than a week, I'm thinking Caro probably should have taken a break. But hey, what do I know?
At least the tour is doing their best to make it easier on her. Caro drew a tough first round match against Montreal finalist Dominika Cibulkova (who also played in Beijing last week). But after Caro took the first set 76, Cibulkova retired early in the second set. What is up with her? She retired match point down against Ai Sugiyama in LA, makes a run in Montreal to the final after playing a number of tough 3 setters, and then retires in New Haven. Then again, Cibulkova shouldn't have been playing either. She's played a tough hard court season (back to back to back to back tournaments). She didn't need the hard court warm up before the USO.
In other New Haven news, Feivel beat Nikki V in a rematch of their first round Beijinger, Sorana Cirstea (another young player I like) beat Alla Kudrywhatever, and Fosters Dellaqua beat Virginie Razzano. Peppermint Patty also made it through.
The guys are also playing in New Haven, and Fernando "Tobasco" Verdasco is the top seed. Crazy Little Elf wisely withdrew to rest up and prepare for the USO. The only surprise in today's first round matches was Arnaud Clement's presence. He played the bronze medal doubles match on Saturday and he's in the States playing today. Crazy Frenchie.
Overall the Ladies are looking good. My favorites are ReRe and Dani, though I have yet to see a nice clean shot of JJ's.
Jelena "Who's #1 Now?" Jankovic
Venus "But it goes to eleven" Williams
Dinara "I let my play do the talking" Safina
Elena "I'm Russian!!!" Dementieva