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.
Flashes of brilliance in a sea of poo. That's the only way to describe the 2+ hour match between Dani and Fosters Dellaqua. It was a battle of nerves as both ladies were broken over and over again. Fosters had every right to win this match, but she just couldn't shut the door on Dani. The key was the first set tiebreak, which Dani eventually won 13-11. She would go on to win the match 76(11) 64.
On the fashion front, I love the blue on Dani. Also love that she's left her ponytail loose instead of that uptight braid she was rocking last year (it made her look like an insane control freak for some reason). But please, Dani, invest in some Low Beams. It's so damn awkward watching you play sometimes.
Nice win for Chakky over AKO, but my heart goes out to Anne. Tough draw for her. She played well in Auckland and deserved to make it to the second round here. But she showed a lot of heart coming back from a set down. Unfortunately, in today's heat, she just ran out of gas.
One thing that stood out to me watching today's matches was the gulf in fitness levels between the top players and the second tier players. It's mindboggling to me to see players completely tank in second and third sets because their fitness prevents them from dealing with the conditions. I totally agree with Brad Gilbert (reluctantly) that it's inexcusable. This is the first Slam of the year and you've had two months to get into proper shape.
Interviews with Nole, Nalby, Dani, Sveta, Dina, A-Rad, and Mario here.
From Tom Tebbutt's dispatch from Sydney:
So don't fret Ana fans. He's still around and could work with her in Melbourne. And it sounds like he's the one that couldn't spend time with her. So it's not like she thinks she doesn't need a coach. He just wasn't available like last year.
Nice to hear that Nads is back on court. Pissed to hear that despite the fact that Nole's been out of the Brisbane tourney since Tuesday, he's not arriving in Sydney until Saturday for a tourney that starts Monday. Here's a hint to Team Nole. In order to defeat jet lag and get your body accustomed to conditions, courts, etc., YOU HAVE TO GET THERE EARLY. Idiots.
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.
Hottie Bowl 08 was another tight one (hah!) but in the end (hah!) MaKiri won 75 62, sending SuperGirl home to think about the year that might have been (hah...no wait, that didn't work).
In other news, Vika slammed the door on Momo's not-so-great season, 62 61, and in the battle of players who seem like they should be better than they actually are, Alona Bonderenko overcame The Cone in three sets, 16 63 76(6).
After the standard set by today's hotness, tomorrow's OOP is looking decidedly "not hot." But I'm sure the quality of tennis will be high. Maybe. Eh, except for the Dushevina and Woz matches, probably not.
Centre Court (from 14.00hrs)
1. Bartoli vs. Szavay
2. Niculescu vs. Chakvetadze (NB 15.15hrs)
3. Schnyder vs. Kvitova (NB 18.00hrs)
4. Dushevina vs. A.Radwanska (NB 20.30hrs)
Court 2 (from 13.00hrs)
1. Wozniacki vs. Schiavone
2. Medina Garrigues vs. Li (NB 18.30hrs)
Centre Court (from 12.00hrs)
1. Groenefeld vs. Kvitova (Singles Q Final)
2. A.Bondarenko vs. Cornet (NB 14.00hrs)
3. Hantuchova vs. Kirilenko (NB 18.00hrs)
4. Mauresmo vs. Azarenka
Court 2 (from 12.00hrs)
1. Sugiyama vs. Dushevina (Singles Q Final)
2. Arvidsson vs. Benesova (Singles Q Final)
3. Niculescu vs. K.Bondarenko (Singles Q Final)
Here's a preview for the boys:
It's amazing to look back and see the type of shotmaking Dani is capable of.
Other than Baby E's ouster at the hands of homegirl Zheng Jie, the ladies seeds had a fairly routine day. JJ took out SuperGirl in two sets, 75 61. But you have to think that Dani has to be encouraged with her play this week. Two wins and she took the world #2 to 75 in the first.
Kuzzi and Bepa also made through easily, Bepa handling a bagel and a chinese donut to Annabel Medina Guarrigues, 60 61.
As for the boys, it was a crazy day. Bjorn Phau, of "fastest man on tour according to Agassi" fame, took out the #3 seededGonzo, 63 46 63. This after Dudi Sela (heh, doodie) knocked out his second seed of the week, Disco Tommy, and Rainer Schuettler dispatched crazy head Reeshard 64 36 64. Nutty!
All this is to say, this yours to win Andy. He won his three setter over Juan Carlos Ferrero, 26 63 64.
So here are the semifinal matchups and order of play:
1. ATP: Sela vs. Schuettler (NB 14.00hrs)
2. Jankovic vs. Zvonareva (NB 16.00hrs)
3. ATP: Phau vs. Roddick (NB 19.00hrs)
4. Kuznetsova vs. Zheng
I'm really looking forward to a JJ/Kuzzie final, with Kuzzie finally breaking her sorry streak and actually winning a final.
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):
First of all, how frickin' cold was it in Beijing last night that the ladies were all playing in sweats and crap? Perhaps covering up did the body some good though as Dani gutted out a nice win over Touchdown Tammy, who had taken out Kata Srebotnik in the previous round. Weird scoreline: 61 06 75. Clearly Dani learned from the AO that losing a set at love means nothing. Nice to see SOMETHING positive came out of that.
I love this new fired up Dani! I've never seen her that pumped! Also, I REALLY like her visor. I don't know why. I just love that deep maroony red she's got rockin' on her noggin'.
JJ also carried on her trend of beating players she's supposed to beat, beating A-Woz 63 75.
Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) A-Rad was unable to avoid another disappointing top tier tourney, listlessly losing to homegirl Zheng Jie 62 63. With a game as varied and wily as A-Rad's, these results are particularly shocking. When the power players like Ana, Masha, Nikki V., even Dani., lose early, the results don't shock me because they have high risk games. But when A-Rad loses early, there's gotta be something wrong. She's like JJ. She shouldn't lose to players ranked below her. At least in my head she shouldn't.
OOP for today:
Stadium (from 11.00hrs)
1. Kudryavtseva vs. Kuznetsova
2. Cornet vs. Ivanovic (NB 16.00hrs)
Court 1 (from 12.30hrs)
1. Zheng vs. Sugiyama
2. Zvonareva vs. Schiavone
Court 2 (from 12.30hrs)
1. Chakvetadze vs. Cibulkova
2. Szavay vs. Medina Garrigues (following ATP match)
Yay! Pictures from the Tokyo Players' Press Conference Extravaganza! Is it just me or should the WTA should out a memo to players telling them EXACTLY what the dress code is. I mean, Ana, Dinara, and Lena look like they're going to a cocktail party, Ai Sugiyama looks like she's going to a business meeting, Dani and JJ look like they're in St. Bartz, Momo, Domi, and Agnez look like they're going to the mall, Francesca Schiavone looks like she's going to a concert, and Na Li is wearing army capris.
I find Ana's attempts to dress up adorable because she clearly has no idea what she's doing. It's so relatable.
Oh, honey. You so need a Best Gay. Because here's what my Best Gay would say: "Oh my gosh. What. Are. You. Thinking? You cannot pack a silk dress and then put it on without steaming it first! And don't tell me you "steamed it" by hanging it in the bathroom while the shower was running. Because that shit is a LIE. It doesn't work. And honey, if you're going to wear heels, you need to OWN IT. Don't fucking slouch down like you're embarrassed you're so tall and hot. It's not your fault they decided to put some midget next to you. Augh! I don't even know why I'm friends with you. Sometimes, it's embarrassing! Cute Prada clutch though!"
So you're in good company.
Uh, this picture is AMAZING. Why? Ok, I do this all the time. I'll be dressed up for a wedding or something and I'll just be sitting there minding my own business, zoning off on some random thought, and without thinking, I relax, slouch down a bit, and then RELAX MY ABS SO THAT MY GUT IS TOTALLY HANGING OUT. Because yes, I (and apparently Ana) have to think about it to make sure my gut doesn't hang out. I have said it once and I will say it again: BABY ELEPHANT RULES!!!
AI and Company sharing what looks like a very genuine laugh about something. You know, for someone who is French and therefore ostensibly up to date (whether she likes it or not) on fashion trends, the fact that Momo still wears a scrunchy baffles me.
When will the WTA learn? You put MaKiri in the front row. It doesn't matter what her ranking is, it doesn't matter how successful she is, it doesn't matter if she's even there to play. Front Row. Always. Come on!
Wannabe Brazilian Tamira Pazcek has advanced to the Bali final, beating Dani H. 62 57 64. Good for Tamira, who seems to be ending this season on the right note. She's starting to become one of those "oh, crap, she's in my draw?" players. She'll play Peppermint Patty, who dispatched Drag Queen Nadia in straight sets, 75 61.
Oh, Dani. Just call it a year and go regroup. You clearly have the game that can beat anyone on any given day (6-0, 2-0, anyone?). But in order to hit your flat, clean shots you need to be able to move. And you clearly aren't doing that right now. Not your fault, you're coming off an injury to your foot. But still, you're playing like a club player right now.