It'll be Dani vs. Sabine in the finals of Birmingham on Sunday morning, and really, you have to be chuffed (heh, look at me!) for both of them. Dani came back from a set down to break the hearts of Ana fans everywhere (and, yeah, Ana herself), to survive and play on. My choice of "survive" is intentional. Ana had 20 break point chances and converted...two. 2/20, people. That, like, takes effort.
"In the second set, I don't know if I can even count the number of break points I had and didn't use, and obviously that was disappointing. But still I was positive coming out for that third set. I still believed I could come back and win that third set. But the last couple games there was not really intensity and I was still in the previous games and I just let my mind go off wander off a bit, and on grass everything happens too fast. But besides those last couple of games I really felt I created plenty of chances for myself and I feel like I was dominating the match in many cases."
But well done to Dani. She played a really solid match and, not to sound like a broken record, she's played really fantastic tennis this week. It's pretty hard to believe how crappy her results were in the first quarter of the season. She's like a whole new woman this past month.
On the other side of the net is Boom Boom, who is just unbelievably over the moon right now, both in terms of her play and her excitement. She demolished Peng today, 63 61, and the kid is absolutely savoring every moment of her resurgence.
"I think it's pretty much impossible to put it into words. It's been such a great week for me. From the first match on it was a really tough first round and I knew if I could win that one I would be into the grass court season well. It's just going well. I just love the grass."
"After the injury, I always enjoyed being on the court, but after the injury I did even more. I appreciate every minute that I'm on the court with the crowd. That's what I love that's what I miss so much about being away. Being on the big courts with the huge crowds, it's just the best moments."
There's lots of questions right now about whether Sabine's even eligible for a Wimbledon wildcard. They have three cards to give to the ladies and one would think she'd deserve one. But according to WTA rules she's used up her allotment of wildcards already, which might mean that if she gets offered one for Wimbledon and takes it then she would have to forfeit any points and prize-money she gets in the tournament. Still working to confirm this info but that seems to be the chatter on Twitter. I was under the impression that WTA rules don't apply to ITF tournaments, which the Slams are, but seriously, I don't know the rules for shit.
Man, Dani really hates the kids.
A fairly clean take-out of grass-loving American teen Alison Riske today, 62 64. Asked afterwards whether she thought there was more opportunity for the younger WTA set these days:
I don't think so. I think you've seen that in the last few tournaments and Slams, that there's still a lot of potential for the older players to win the big majors because they have the experience and they've been around much longer. I think it's much tougher now for the younger ones to break through because the overall level of the field, say Top 50 players, anybody can beat anybody. So it's much stronger and I think it's much harder for the younger ones to break through.
Deaaaam. Gramma be cranky. And it's awesome.
Speaking of awesome, it'll be Dani vs. Ana tomorrow in the semis. Thankfully for Old Granny Pants, you can't squeak your shoes on grass. OR CAN YOU???
Dani: "I'm looking forward to that match. I have nothing to lose, no pressure on me. She's the one that's expected to win and I'm just going to try and improve my game again for tomorrow."
Ana: "It's going to be a good test tomorrow. Daniela's has played extremely well the last couple of months. We had a tough match at Fed Cup and I noticed improvements in her game already then. I think she's the favorite, she's been playing really good lately. So I'm just going to go out there and enjoy it."
When told Dani said she was the favorite, Ana smiled "It's always like that, no?" HEEEEEEE.
GAME ON, PRETTY GIRLS.
Dani has been absolutely killin' it here in Birmingham this week. She's into the quarters tomorrow and sometimes I forget how great she is on grass. She's a regular in the Round of 16 and when she's lost deep in the tournament, she's lost to the great ones.
She's carried her form from the last month into Birmingham and has really impressed. Same effortless strokes, good serving, and solid movement. Keep an eye on her.
I asked her how she felt seeing Nails at 29 and Frank at 29, and Kim and Serena win Slams later in their careers. Her face lit up.
“It helps to have the old bodies around and gives me extra motivation to work hard and it just shows that, probably because of the experience and with age you become more aware of what you want to achieve in your career. It's great to see those girls. I'm so happy for them. More than anyone else. Hopefully I can be one of them too."
Crap. There's that "H" word. Hope that works out better for you than it does for me, Nutella.
They make the cutest couple EVER. I want them to have babies. Maybe the camera catches them in the back of the car on their next trip. I mean, I'm no TV producer but I'm just sayin'.
I think she's diggin' your cheddar, dude. And she does *not* dig a lot of cheddar. Make your move, Maximus!
Or at least do it once. Just to see how it feels.
In a result that in surprising, unsurprising, expected, and unexpected, Dani dumps out Caro 61 63. Sure, that looks like a straightforward scoreline, but this is Dani and Caro here. Dani was actually up 4-0 in the second set before Caro finally got on the board and made everyone hug their neighbor. It says a lot about both players that once Caro held serve to get on the board at 1-4, everyone was like "Well shit, Dani's gonna lose now." To quote Katie, "SHE CAN HEAR YOU."
Thankfully Dani brought her earplugs today. It was still touch and go there towards the end, but she held her nerve and got it done, showing off her amazing ball striking throughout the match. How great is it to see her get a win like this? More importantly, how great is it to see her smile like that? For a player who works so hard (she is *always* on the practice court, often twice a day) and has had a pretty tough go of things in the past (both on and off court), this is just so heartwarming. I JUST WANT YOU TO BE HAPPY!
As for Woz, the criticism has already started raining down. She's going to have it rough for while. It's not entirely fair but it's part and parcel of being numero uno: you get the perks and the potshots.
She's already won 40 matches in 2011. She didn't win her 40th match until August in 2010. The early loss here at least means she'll get next week off (accent-uate the positive) but she's then scheduled to play not Eastbourne or Edgbaston, both grass tourneys, but her home tournament of Copenhagen, which is an indoor hard court tourney. Clearly the country of Denmark is also conspiring against her.
Caro's always claimed (much like JJ) that she prefers to play matches rather than practice. I mean, I prefer eating mozzarella sticks to salad but I know that it's not good for my body. She played Brussels on the heels of Madrid and Rome, and looked physically and emotionally tired today. She was flat. She couldn't even muster up the energy to try and squeak her shoes on the clay. That's a whole lot of tired.
I don't see Caro having a chance at Wimbledon so we'll see if she can get herself back together for a run in New York. See you in New Haven, Caro!
They may not be best friends, they may not be great tennis players all of the time, and they may have disagreements from time to time. But after this weekend they both share one unbreakable bond:
Daniela Hantuchova hates them both equally.*
In what was hands-down the most ridiculously dramatic tie of the weekend, Team Serbia overcame every fucking obstacle thrown in their way to stage in improbable comeback to take the tie over Slovakia 3-2, thus avoiding relegation to World Group II.
I'm going to guess that the only person who is happier than JJ, Ana, Bojana, and Alexandra about Serbia surviving this dicey tie is Dejan. When he announced on Friday that he wasn't putting in JJ to play a singles match on Saturday, people (read: me) were like "THE FUUUUUUUUUUCK????" You're *not* going to play the Serbia #1 and player who's been making quarterfinal and semifinal runs for the past month and a half? Watchu smokin' and can I have NONE OF IT.
No one was providing any clarification other than "I just think it's the right move." We would find out after the tie that JJ wasn't feeling well so she essentially tapped herself out of Saturday's action. I totally get why Dejan wouldn't say that in the first place. But seriously, it would have saved everyone a lot of heavy drinking.
Shit could have been baaaad after Saturday. Bojangles couldn't hold on to a one-set lead over Domi and collapsed in three, shifting the pressure on Ana. AND WE KNOW HOW MUCH ANA LUUUUUUUURVES PRESSHA!
Actually, she lurved it quite fine. She threw down the best Fed Cup performance of her career, beating Dani easily, and no there was no squeaking so don't even start with me, Dani. WHEEE!!! 1-1 after day one. Surely Dehan would put JJ in on Sunday and Ana and JJ would win their rubbers, hop on a plane, and go broker some peace in the Middle East.
After dropping the first set 63 to Domi, Ana was up 3-0 when she went for a backhand and felt a twinge in her abs. Yup, the same abs that forced her to retire from Hopman Cup earlier in the year. After dropping three straight games after that, she pulled the ripcord and retired from the match. Oh, and when Ana retired in tears, Domi danced around and celebrated like she won a Slam.
And that's when the Tennis Gods were like, "HAIL NAWWWWW, MIDGET."
Help us JJ-Wan Kenobi. You're our only hope.
And so, like death and taxes (which are due today, btw #PSA), JJ summoned Falkor (anyone?) and rode in to save the, what turned out to be, very very very long day. First she needed over two hours and 45 minutes to beat Dani, 7-5 in the third. Then she powdered her nose, took some time to explain to AK-47 what it means when Aunt Flo comes for a visit (mentoring!), and took the court for the decisive doubles match. Which turned out to be nuts.
Clearly the fact that it was a decisive doubles match wasn't dramatic *enough* for Team Serbia so they decided to make it interesting: by going down a set and 5-1, 30-0 to Dani and Rybarikova. Just for shits and giggs.
Final score? 26 75 97. Serbia advances, Slovakia relegated.
I honestly had no idea whether those guys were Serbian coaches who were celebrating via dog pile, or Slovak fans who bumrushed the court to tear JJ's head off. Either way, that looked kinda scary. But also very very awesome.
A gutsy Sunday for JJ who should totally get a Heart Award for spending over six hours on court, and a wonderful win by TEAM Serbia. Ana secured a point, JJ secured a point, and AK-47 comes through YET AGAIN in a decisive doubles rubber. And before people even try to slag off Bojana, let us not forget that much like Tipsy's DC heroics from last year, Serbia wouldn't have even been in a position to get back into World Group if not for Bojangles' Heart-Award-Worthy performance in the first round against Canada.
As for all the stuff on the Twitter about pitting JJ fans against Ana fans and all that nonsense (if you don't know what I'm talking about don't worry about) all I have to say is this: Whatever. This is a great accomplishment and result for these four ladies and I would personally rather spend my energy celebrating that than trying to turn shit all negative. It just seems so unnecessary. For now, let's pop some champagne, link arms, and sing made up songs that involve words like "ajde", "idemo", and "swimming pools". We can all return to throwing poo at each other tomorrow.
That's Fed Cup, people. It brings people together for a united cause. Crazy shit happens when you stich that flag on your kit. Sorry, did I say "crazy"? I meant AWESOME.
(Pics: AP, Fed Cup Site)
*No, I do not know why JJ was dressed like the Hamburglar.
Another heartbreaker for the Can't-Close Kid. After dropping the first set 61 to Woz, both players would trade holds (I KNOW!) through the one hour and 24 minute second set. Then WTA ish came raining down on Stadium court.
Dani had three set points and, by all accounts, choked them. Then serving match point down, she double faulted. GSM, Danish Cockroach. I mean...oh, Daniela.
Going through my Twitter timeline it sounded like a nutty match, entertaining for all the wrong reasons. My favorite quote has to be Lindsay Davenport's, who said something to the effect of "the #1 player in the world just served a 73 mph first serve on match point." HEEEEEE.
So if you saw the match I'd love to hear your take in the comments. I fell asleep in the middle of the second. You can't blame me. It was Woz!
It'll be Woz vs. Petko next. Petko absolutely destroyed Iveta, dropping a bagel in the first and jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the second before Iveta fought back to get on serve. But Petko kept it badass and finally shut the door.
Looking forward to that match. Auf geht's!
(Pic: Forty Deuce)
Posted by C Note on March 16, 2011 in Agi Radwanska, Andrea Petkovic, Andy Murray, Daniela Hantuchova, Dinara Safina, Ernests Gulbis, Feliciano Lopez, Fernando Verdasco, Francesca Schiavone, Gilles Simon, Igor Andreev, Indian Wells, Janko Tipsarevic, Jelena Jankovic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Kei Nishikori, Maria Kirilenko, Milos Raonic, Pic This!, Sam Stosur, Sania Mirza, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Vera Zvonereva | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)
That would at least explain how Domi is taller than Dani.
(Pic: WTA Site)
The news out of Pattaya was Dani beating Vera on the way to her first title since Linz 2007. I mean, really, who thought Dani had it in her to go through a top 5 player to win a title?
But the hilarity came from Vera's slow-burn indignation in the semifinal after the umpire followed up a disputed line call with a conduct warning to Bepa right before Dani's match point. She claimed she heard Bepa cuss, which, Bepa was all "Say what?"
"She's reading my lips?!?!" is my new "We're talkin' about practice???"
Anyone watch the match live? What's the real story here?
I guess the kids really missed playing tennis. A good number of matches went the full distance on Day 1 with, in my opinion, the WTA matches bringing the quality.
First off we saw big Sam Q once again crash out in the first round of a Slam. And once again we saw him crash and burn while playing tentative tennis. Kubot was on his last legs, running on fumes, and dragging around the court. And yet he was the one that stepped up and showed the guts and heart necessary to win a five setter at a Slam, 8-6 in the fifth. He even had enough energy to do a little jig after he won. It was a really disappointing performance from Sam.
But on the bright side I won't get confused when people talk about "Sam" on Twitter. So yay for me.
Then we had Gael playing crap tennis and getting thoroughly outplayed by Dutch youngin' Thiemo, until at 4-1 in the third set Thiemo sustained a groin injury that effectively took him out of the match. Granted, there was some brain crampage in there as well, but Gael was completely off-base after the match, essentially accusing Thiemo of being soft and how his strategy of "tanking" the fourth set to save energy for the fifth completely failed. Gael seemed awfully pleased with himself. Idiot.
Next up for the boys, Mardy Fish coming back from two sets down to save what was looking like an absolutely sorry morning for the Americans (Ryan Harrison lost in straights). Good win for Mardy, who has traded in his no-socks for actual socks. Either that or he has a ridiculous sock tan. Could be either, really, I wasn't watching in HD.
Other notable fivers for the boys: Ivo out to Dodig, Gil over Cuevas, Techno over Kamke, and Montanes over Dustin Brown.
As for the ladies, it was three-setters galore. Dani battled Kulikova for over three and a half hours, only to finally fall 9-7 in the third. The American women also got bit, with Bethanie blowing a 5-3 lead in the third to lose 7-5 to Rus, and Jamie Hampton imploding, gifting the decisive break to Elena Baltacha with three double faults to also go down 7-5. Of course, the top seed on the ladies side to fall was Aravane, who was broken for the match, 7-5.
I mean, that's not even scratching the surface. Justine and Sania, Wicky and Jarka, Domi, the list goes on and on.
She hates tennis, obvs.
Sadly, my camera just doesn't do that kit justice. The pleats and collar were a shimmery hot pink lycra that looked like tassles or cones when she walked.
Anyway, the punk costume didn't work. Rezza lost to the always-on-the-verge-of-killing-someone Barbara Zahlavova Strychova, 60 36 75. There was allez-ing, there was racquet tossing, there were pained cries to the heavens. And it all ended on a ridiculous two-handed backhand drop shot from BZS that seemed to drift in the wind for days before it landed, to the stunned-silence of the crowd, a foot past the net. Ridiculous.
So the ladies side, while generally straight-forward, loses two seeds after day one: Rezza and Dani, who lost in a 3 hour and 38 minut battle with Kulikova. Really rough loss for Dani. She didn't really play poorly. But I think we all know her glory days are well behind her.
(Pic: Forty Deuce)
It'll be Ana vs. Kleybs in the Bali final. The two have met three times per tournament this year. Or, if you prefer "facts", they've met four times this year, with Kleybs winning the first two and Ana winning the last two.
Ana had an intense and highly entertaining match against Kimiko today and, as expected, Kimiko came to play. Ana's rhythm on her serve was off in the beginning of the match, but she was eventually able to find her form to claw back from two sets down and save a couple of set points to take the first set 75. The second set was a bit of the opposite, with Ana leading for much of the set before Kimiko got a late break to force a tiebreak, which she won after coming back from 2-5. By the time the third set rolled around Ana was able to hold her form while fatigue began to set in with Kimiko, which allowed Ana to take the set 62. There were some awesome rallies in the match, which saw Ana defending like a mofo, trying her hardest to force Kimiko to hit that one extra shot. Really high quality tennis from both.
As for Kleybs, she completely outclassed Dani, who just didn't have the firepower to compete with Kleybs, who fired a barrage of shots all over the court to completely confuddle Dani. She won quickly so you'd think she'd be the fresher player going into tomorrow. Then again, she will have played three straight days, whereas Ana had a day off between her quarterfinal and semifinal matches.
This one should be a cracker. If Ana wins she'll end the year at #17.
Yeah, you read that right.
HOLY MOTHER FUCKING CRAP, YOU GUYS.
(Pics: Tournament Site)
So it'll be Ana vs. Kimiko and Dani vs. Kleybs for a spot in the finals in Bali. Ana dropped only one game on her way to a 60 61 rout of Pavs, Kimiko fought back from 1-3 down in the third to oust top seeded Nails, Kleybs dusted an "I'm over it" Aravane, and Dani scored a nice win over a feisty Wicky (is there any other kind?).
Awesome fact of the day: Ana was one years old when Kimiko turned pro.
Go Ana! Go Dani!
And no, that picture has nothing to do with anything. Except that it is awesome.
"Are you seriously saying you didn't?"
"That's ridiculous. Also, have you seen my manhands?"
"Ok, yeah. Those are pretty hilarious."
(Pics: Official Tournament Site)
One thing that's always fun to observe with respect to tennis tournaments is how each individual tournament takes on the personality of its locale. Last week, we saw the over the top luxury of Doha, which saw the players glammed up and, let's face it, kind of awkward. This week, the WTA season winds down the beautiful beach resort of Bali, and since Mayleen Ramey isn't there doing an episode of Destination Tennis, the WTA ladies are doing their best to fill in.
First up, Pavs, Kleybs and Wicky went on a surfing lesson, which they all seemed to enjoy.
And take very very seriously. As Pavs is wont to do.
From there it was on to WTA Arts & Crafts, with Aravane, Kleybs, and Ana.
Shit's intense, y'all.
Recognizing the intensity of the day's events, the ladies stop for some manicures.
And in a stroke of organizational genius, instead of having local (or "natives" as Kathleen Chloe Cahoon would say) manicurists do the work, they had AO08 semifinalists and former BFFs, Dani and Ana, give each other hand massages.
(Pics: Official Tournament Site)
The Bali field has been in flux for quite some time, as a number of top players have suffered injuries or called it a season (see e.g., Justine, Masha, Kaia). But it's finally set:
I know what you're thinking. Mariana Duque Marino got shafted.
Based on current form you have to like Ana and Kimiko's chances but all around this is a solid field. If all eight ladies can bring their A/B game, we should be in for a highly competitive week.
(Pics: Getty, AP)
Kimiko-Tan, you are out of con-fucking-trol. A day after she bounces Masha she celebrates her 40th birthday by advancing to the third round after Dani refused seconds on another bagel and retired, 26 60 40, with a right shoulder injury. That was one hell of a birthday present, Dani. Did Ai put you up to it? Kimiko plays Franny next.
Meanwhile, Ana took one look at Mono's get up and promptly threw in the towel, losing 62 61. The kid is wildly inconsistent right now but that's way better than being consistently stank. So that's the silver lining there, folks.
Except for the minor upsets of Petko over Sveta (dance, bitches!) and Coq Au Vin over Aravane (she's really gotta be hating American teenagers at this point) the remaining seeds pretty much cruised into their next matches. Vika, in her first match since kissing the ground in New York, posted a solid performance against Lucie and Caro does what Caro do: win matches at tournaments no one is watching.
Oh, what's that? You're saying that Sam, the number four seed, lost in straight sets to JULIA FUCKING GOERGES?
Bullshit. No stream, no livescore, and no pictures. It never happened.
It was a toasty one today in NYC. I know this because Aunt Pimmy told me so. Also because I finally ditched the jeans and t-shirt look and went with shorts and a tanktop. A wise move, I think. But between the heat, the crowds, and the size of the grounds, I've come to realize that you have to really want it to win it here at the USO, and I don't mean the players.
Typically when I go to a tournament I like to just wander the grounds and pop in to see whatever match tickles my fancy, or I'll stick around the practice courts to watch random players. Not so here in NYC. Nope, there better be a damn good reason for me to haul my ass out of the somewhat tolerable shade and stand/sit in the sun for the better part of an hour. Even today, I could barely get it up to stick around to watch Sveta, MaKiri, FeVer, or Elena for anything more than five minutes. To the extent I have pictures of any players or matches it is a reflection of my love for them. I thought I was going to go blind when Nole, Sam, and Dani were practicing, what with the Iguacu Falls-like deluge of sweat that was running into my eyes. At one point I looked down and realized sweat was just running down my legs. Which could have been weird if anyone who knows me, knows FD, and knows my love of all things Corgi had seen me.
IT WAS SWEAT! I PROMISE!
There is no wandering here at the USO. If you wander, you must do so with intent. And a lot of water. And sunscreen. And...patience.
Vika and Sergei Bubka Jr., who, according to Boyfriend Jon, is her man friend. No word on how long his pole is.
Practicing alongside Novak? Sam and Dani. So cute. They played a practice set that Sam basically owned.
Stupid Fabio Fognini photobombing my shot.
Sam plays fellow Aussie, Rodionova, on Court 11 tomorrow (AWESOME), and Dani has Vania King (who beat Sam last year) on Armstrong. Go get 'er done, ladies.
Also, I think it's hilarious that anytime I mention Rodionova to anyone around the grounds, their immediate reaction is either (1) an eye roll and/or (2) a chuckled "what a bitch." Her brand of crazy precedes her.
The weather finally warmed up today and it was nice and comfortable in the Stadium stands, which is where I caught the Dinara/Dani match. In a t-shirt, no less.
It was the best serving I've seen from Dinara since her return. She popped seven aces (by my count) and her velocity was up, staying in the 90-105 mph range for most of the match. She was hitting pretty solidly off the ground as well, though nowhere near as heavy as she used to hit the ball. But it was still effective.
All in all, a nice win for the kid. Dani was playing well and definitely made her work for it. A month ago, hell, a week ago, this isn't a match she wins.
Rausa rocked her Juicy again and even Mr. and Mrs. Wozniacki checked it out.
And for shits and giggles, and some insight into Dinara's current state of mind, check out this edited version of her presser, which was was adorable:
Despite the fact that my stable of Ana, Dinara, and Sam kind of crashed and burned, this tournament is shaping up nicely as we hit Championship weekend. Sure, it's not so much a "casual fan" tourney so much as a "tennis nerd" tourney, but hey, I'm a tennis nerd. This will do.
Along with Flavia we have Dani (whee!), who's beaten Mono and Kleybs to make it, Sveta, who, while shaky, still managed to come through and make her first semi of the year (crazy!), and Aga, who has clearly been zoning for the past two weeks, demolishing Shahar under the lights last night.
This isn't a horrible group of four. I'm genuinely ok with any of them winning.
But really, go Flavi and Dani!
Dude. You guys. Dani's playing well. Like, for serious. She totally outhit Jay-Z today, serving well, moving well (ok, "well" for Dani), and hitting the angles hard off the ground. It was great.
She also got into it with Lynn for...really, no reason. I missed the beginning of the match but Steph said a few points into the first game, Dani walked up to the chair and told Lynn she was "the worst umpire ever." Uh...what? But I was in my seat when she had another go at her later in the first set. Down 0-40, Zheng hit a serve that Lynn called a let. Dani was incredulous. "Are you kidding? I mean...It was this far over the net." Zheng wins the next point. 15-40. Dani glares at Lynn. 30-40. Double glare. Deuce. "I'm sorry, but just out of curiosity, how can you call that let when the serve is this far over." Jay-Z eventually takes the game.
Then Jay-Z gets into the action. She hits a serve that was called out. She calls for a challenge. Hawkeye doesn't come up for like, 45 seconds. She throws her hands up. Finally, the Hawkeye screen comes up and literally says this: "The original call stands." Jay-Z's like WTF? Lynn says Hawkeye was down so the call stands. Jay-Z's like, "It's been a minute." Lynn's like, "Bish, please, go serve." The Jay-Z was all "So do I get charged with a challenge, or what?" And Lynn mumbled something I couldn't hear. And then Hawkeye broke down again when she tried to challenge in the second set.
It was all kinds of hilarious. Oh, and Dani got issued a conduct warning for reasons unknown to me. She called her coach down, kept looking at Lynn, tried to give something to the security guy, the guy looked confused, gave it back to her, Lynn said something to her, and she literally chucked whatever she gave the security guy behind her. Seriously, I was all kind of confused.
Flavi and Sveta, yukking it up before Sveta's dubs match.
I wish Bepa would do *this* on the changeovers.
I'm thinking the security folks get really confused when they check her badge.
Z and Domi watching the JJ match. I burst out laughing when I spotted him coming down in that shirt. Because seriously, you could spot him from space.
Sveta, Bepa, and Sergey watching Dinara.
"It's not a tumor."
Dinara enjoying a latte while watching Dani beat Mono.
It was tres cute.
Oh, Sam. I'm gonna need a ring, not a ball. But yes. A THOUSAND TIMES YES.
Genius, Steph. Genius.
Dani scored a solid win last night, coming back to beat Mono in three, 36 76(3) 64. After dropping the first set to an in-form Mono, Dani found her groove midway through the second, saving two match points by returning well and cleaning the lines with her forehand. Mono's form would dip in the third, as she started throwing in doubles and hitting long, but she couldn't capitalize on Dani's stereotypical hiccups in the third and Dani, after being broken while she served for the set, would break back for the win.
Throughout her third set slump Mono kept looking over her shoulder at her Dad. It was really creepy.
This is Dani's new coach.
I like seeing him around. I'm deep like that.
Dani, Dani, Dani. She drops a bagel on Shahar in the first set only to lose the next two 64 63. I missed the first set but by the time I settled into my seat this matchup was playing out exactly as you would expect. Which was sad if you're a Dani fan.
Despite a strapped right thigh, Shahar was moving very well, playing some good defense that forced Dani to either go for too much and miss, or drop a ball short that she could put away. The defense wore Dani out and she was visibly frustrated when she called her coach down to the court between the second and third set. Shahar had the support of the crowd and was throwing fist pumps and "come ons" like there was no tomorrow.
If she had squeaked her shoes this would have been really eerie.Video clip of the last game after the jump.
Dani hit the courts on Sunday and she was rocking a pretty amazing tan. She may or may not have rolled around in baby oil as part of her pre-match routine, too. Unfortunately my media access does not allow me to confirm or deny this.
Seriously, I have to think that she spent her holiday on the beaches of Miami drinking Pina Col-baby-oils for two weeks. Inexplicable.
Lanky. But we knew that.
Jay Z back there.
"Oh, shit, she's coming towards me..."
Yeah. This one got awkward.
Ana headed to her car. Which Heinz was driving. Was really hoping he'd screech up, open the door and yell "Come with me if you want to live!" Kid signed and posed for pictures with all the fans. She knows what's up.
Also? Asian people love Ana. Huh.
MaKiri warming up.
This vantage point isn't creepy at all.
Dani! Smiling! Happy!
That was it for today. Put it in your spank-bank, boys.
Dani came through in her continued match against Vania and JJ survived a solid challenge from CanWoz. The only surprise of the day was Shahar losing to Kerber in three. Mels also lost to Jarmila, but given their recent form, I don't think that one's a shocker.
Singles - Second Round
(2) Venus Williams (USA) d. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 60 64
(4) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) 46 62 64
(8) Kim Clijsters (BEL) d. Karolina Sprem (CRO) 63 62
(12) Nadia Petrova (RUS) d. Chan Yung-Jan (TPE) 63 64
Angelique Kerber (GER) d. (13) Shahar Peer (ISR) 36 63 64
(15) Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) d. Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 76(9) 64
(17) Justine Henin (BEL) d. Kristina Barrois (GER) 63 75
(21) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) d. (Q) Andrea Hlavackova (CZE) 61 64
(26) Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) d. Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS) 64 62
(27) Maria Kirilenko (RUS) d. (Q) Shenay Perry (USA) 61 64
(28) Alona Bondarenko (UKR) d. Varvara Lepchenko (USA) 46 64 63
Regina Kulikova (RUS) d. (30) Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) 62 64
Jarmila Groth (AUS) d. (33) Melanie Oudin (USA) 64 63
Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) d. Vera Dushevina (RUS) 63 64
(Q) Greta Arn (HUN) d. Alicia Molik (AUS) 75 64
Singles - First Round
(24) Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) d. Vania King (USA) 67(4) 76(4) 63
Round 1 is done (almost) and 64 players are drowing their sorrows in champs and berries.
In the grand scheme of things, that doesn't suck.
Yeah, you fuck that air, Daveed. Vamos!
Aw, shit. Game on.
And by "Game On" I mean, "I'm leaving Wimbledon drunk, poor, and working off my debt owed to Pimmy by doing things that I dare not write on a blog that my parents read."
Posted by C Note on June 23, 2010 in Andy Murray, Anne Keothavong, Caroline Wozniacki, Daniela Hantuchova, David Ferrer, Dominika Cibulkova, Fernando Verdasco, Flavia Pennetta, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Maria Sharapova, Pic This!, Robin Soderling, Serena Williams, Wimbledon | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
Meanwhile, Dani's in a dogfight with Vania. They've split the first two sets 67 76, and will play one set to decide it. Get it done, Dani. You are rocking that dress. It would be a shame to see it stuck in the first round.
And so another RG comes to a close. All in all, it was an odd tournament that had some unexpected twists and turns that ended in two memorable feel good moments that made you happy and proud to be a tennis fan. You can't ask for more than that.
Autograph request fail. Or win. I'm actually not sure.
Come to Mama. I'll make it all better.
Hey, does anyone have 3-Across?
I'm happy to see you too, Andy. At ease.
Posted by C Note on June 07, 2010 in Andy Murray, ATP, Daniela Hantuchova, Fernando Verdasco, Flavia Pennetta, Francesca Schiavone, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Justine Henin, Mary Pierce, Novak Djokovic, Pic This!, Rafa Nadal, Roland Garros, Sam Stosur, Stanislas Wawrinka | Permalink | Comments (17) | TrackBack (0)
I find myself in a very odd predicament. I've tapped JJ to win this whole thing. I love being right. Like...LOVE IT. I also think she's the only one who can stop Serena and I guess I'd rather see her win than Serena. You would think, under there circumstances, that I would be rooting for JJ.
Yet why am I so fucking annoyed every time she wins? All Dani wanted to do was hang out in Paris and eat Nutella crepes. Why you gotta shorten her stay, JJ?
Oh well. The good news is that I'm definitely rooting for her to get some revenge on Yaroslava Shvedova. If you'll recall, Shvedova took JJ out of USO 09.
At least...I think I am. Maybe. Possibly. Fuck. I honestly don't know.
Q. Isn't she a player you wish you can avoid in the draw, for instance?
YANINA WICKMAYER: No, not really.
Q. Nothing which is disturbing you in her game?
YANINA WICKMAYER: No.
Congrats to Dani! She's quietly made it into the 4th Round, beating Wicky in straight sets. She'll play JJ next, which is kind of funny because apparently, Dani's packing on the muscle with the architect of JJ discontent, Pat Etcheberry:
Q. You played very well, and I'm very happy for you. How can you explain this moment of your career? You are coming back so good. What do you change in your something, I don't know, in technical things, in your mind, in your physical, in what?
DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Thank you. I think it's because the motivation is a still so big for me. There are still so many goals that I haven't achieved, and I'm doing anything I can to be able to get them one day.
I'm working hard on and off the court, especially fitness wise. I've been working with Pat Etcheberry. It's been a great success for me being able to have him on the team.
I think that transforms to the tennis court as well. I'm more confident and I know I can last in the long points. Yeah, I feel like I'm doing the right things.
Q. It looks like with your arms that you put a lot of muscle on. Can you talk about some of the things that you've been doing?
DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Yeah, we're doing a lot of strength work basically almost every day, even during the tournaments. It just gives me so much confidence, not only physically, but mentally too, that I know I'm working harder probably than anybody.
When it's important times in the points, in the matches, you remember those things you do outside the court. That definitely transfers to the court as well.
Q. So movement wise do you feel faster than you've been?
DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Yeah, definitely. I think it comes hand in hand with being stronger. You automatically gonna feel also faster as well. I think that's what's helping me a lot, that in the points I don't rush anymore going for the winners like before, and being able to cut unforced errors because of that, because I know that I can lat in the points and I don't have to rush for the big shots.
So *this* is what it feels like to win? IT'S AWESOME!!!
Something tells me that 'Roo has seen some things. Oh yes. It has.
The Fashion Police strikes again.
Quite the dilemma, this match. Do I root for my new love, Sam? Or do I stick to my guns and root for Dani, knowing that a win and a final would make her happy, which is all that I've ever really wanted for her?
Tough call. Katie said I should root for Dani because "she doesn't get a chance to play on center all the time." Not convincing, Katie. And so while I was fighting off hipsters left and right at Record Store Day, I was quietly rooting for Sam, knowing that she needs to build her confidence on clay, you know, seeing as how she actually did well at Roland Garros last year.
So no, I didn't watch the match. But from what I understand, Dani was up 5-2 in the second before she collapsed, Sam started busting forehands to force a tiebreak, which she took easily, 7-2.
What? That was me being positive!
And thankfully, after Day 1, all these women are still in the tourney. Phew!
Because that's how she rolls.
I love how Kim always look like she just took a major bong rip. She's so boho.
One of the really fun things about being a tennis fan is emotionally/psychologically/financially (kinda) investing in a player only to see them actually break out and do well. I definitely felt that way with Ana, who I began following for no other reason than I thought her forehand was AWESOME. It was only later that I learned she was actually a good, nice, normal kid. Well, as good, nice, and normal as you can be when you suck at tennis, anyway.
Well now, nearing my one-year anniversary of seeing Pavs for the first time at Indian Wells last year, she's done gone and won her first WTA tournament of her career, beating Dani (ok, boo) 16 61 60 in Monterrey. Now *that* is a WTA scoreline.
I still remember sitting next to Mrs. Saifn marvelling at this unknown kid's moxie as she beat then #3 JJ in the second round. We were both totally blown away by her power and her ability to take balls out of the air despite only standing 2 feet inside the baseline. It was awesome. We were immediately fans. A few days later we saw her walking around the grounds and she was adorable. I think I made some crack to her about having to find a shorter way to sign her name. I was being dumb.
But I've been tracking her progress ever since and it's so cool to see the kid win her first title. She seems like a genuinely nice kid with a good head on her shoulders. And the braces. Oh the braces.
See you in Indian Wells, Chevy Nova. Oh, and while you're in the car for the two hour drive from LA to Indian Wells, can you please call up the WTA and change your profile pic? We know you're Russian. We don't need pictorial evidence.