It must have felt nice (and different) to get a straight-forward straight-set win for a change, but the ninja made her work for it. Sveta has started 2011 with some great matches but not the best results. But in all of these matches she's unveiled Sveta 2.0, a more focused, more positive, fitter, and smartly aggressive Svetlana Kuznetsova. It has been a revelation and I've loved every minute of it.
Sveta's got Flavia next. She absolutely cruised over Kleybs, 62 60. So a great run for Flavia, who once again showed how important Fed Cup is to her career. She was the savior in Hobart against Australia. And here she is in the semifinals of a Premier 5.
But it's gotta end at some point. I'm rooting for Sveta to take the tournament. But as a few pointed out on Twitter, her legs have got to be tired from all the three setters this week *and* the doubles with Vera. That said, Flavia's hobbled on that left foot, which caused her to withdraw from doubles here in Dubai (though, word is that she'll ascend to #1 in doubles on Monday).
So let's play the match and see. But go get it, Sveta 2.0! This reboot has been awesome!
Strange happenings yesterday in Dubai. First off, Sveta and Frank locked horns, splitting the first two sets with a Frank breadstick and a Sveta bagel. Weird. They then proceeded to find their Melbourne form at the same time to play some awesome tennis in the third. There was some massive hitting from Sveta and "HOLYSHITSHEDIDNOTJUSTDOTHAT"-ing from Fran.
It took Sveta seven match point but she finally converted one to take the match 16 60 75. Can we just have a tour for these two? I honestly would not mind that at all. They really bring out the best in each other. Really, if these two are ever playing a match, get your ass out of bed, pour yourself some coffee, and tune in. They match up so well and it'll be worth the line of coke you have to snort in the morning to get through your 9 to 5.
Sveta's got Aga in the quarters.
Then there was this. Dudes...I don't even know what the fuck. Flavia looked on her way to a fairly easy win, up 5-1 in the second set, before Vika decided to run silent, run deep, quit her weird whooping noises, and stormed back to take the second set 76. THEN, Vika races to a 4-1 lead over a clearly pissed off Flavia, at which point I was like "LATES, YO."
Only to wake up to find Flavia won the last set 64.
Flavia's got Kleybs (is there an ointment for that?), who somewhat surprisingly beat #2 seed Bepa in two fairly easy sets. I mean, that's not that weird but it's kinda weird.
All this is to say...MARRY ME, WTA!!!
Inner Monologue: "What language are they speaking? Also, WHERE AM I???"
It's like she plays a version of tennis that only exists in her mind. She's like the anti-Neo.
It's cute that you guys all get along, but GODDAMMIT, FLAVIA.
Just wanted to confirm: She's still little.
Nice try, ladies. But despite what you may have heard, a drunk vagina is still going to get pregnant. Alcohol and bubbles ain't gonna stop those little fuckers.
As is always the case with Fran, the pictures tell the story.
In case we leave the weekend and forget, Jarka capped off a fantastic swing on her new home soil, winning Hobart, a solid run in Melbourne, and a three-set win over a top 5 player. Something tells me Australia welcomes you, Jarka.
My favorite picture of the weekend.
(Pics: Getty, Fed Cup Site)
Ah, Fed Cup. I always always always forget how much I love you and then you remind me every damn time. I don't know why I thought I wouldn't care all that much about Fed Cup this past weekend. I mean, for Christsakes I was flying to Hobart to go to a tie (more on that later), but I suppose I always need reminding as to how badass these ladies can be when they play for their flag.
First off, how about Sveta bouncing back after losing to THE CONE on Saturday (Alize had never won a Fed Cup rubber. Like...ever) to help Russia come back from an 0-2 hole (Uh...good job, Masha). But really, much props to Pavs for stepping up after Tarpi benched Masha, to beat Cones and pair up with Sveta to win the deciding doubles tie.
And then there was Flavia, who drove the business end of her Wilson racquet through Stubbsy's heart by taking her two singles rubbers and continuing her domination over Sam (she's now 4-0).
The good news is that Sam played two tough three setters and she's not playing poorly. She's just not 100% dialed in yet and I think she was overusing the slice against Flavia. I'm confident she'll be alright though, despite being on a 3 match losing streak (Kvitova, Pennetta, Schiavone). Just as with Masha, the kid just don't play good on home soil. Moving on.
Belgium destroyed the Americans. They reacted accordingly.
Funny thing I read: Mel won 7 points in one set against Kim. Like I said, funny.
Germany did what they do. They perfectly combine being badassedly adorable.
But how about the Serbian Sisters? No, no THOSE ones. The ones that are good at tennis!
Bojangles and wee little AK47 took out Canada, 3-2. AK lost her two singles rubbers, but she acquitted herself well and teamed up with Bojo to win the decisive doubles rubber. She actually came back from 0-5 down in the third to Marino, only to lose it eventually, 7-5. As for Bojangles, there's no way she's not top 25 before the end of the year. Fantastic stuff in front of a not-even-close-to-sell-out-crowd in Belgrade.
(Pics: Getty, Fed Cup Site)
I never knew you could "smile out loud". Then I saw this picture. And I totally did. It's like when you're smiling so broadly and so suddenly that you actually make a noise. Yeah, I'm trademarking that, bitches.
There is no longer a Slamless #1 on the WTA doubles circuit, as Flavia and Gisela, or as they're known on Twitter, "FlaviGise", came back from a set and 4-1 down to beat Vika and MaKiri for their first Slam title. Much deserved for the ladies who had a great run last year, took the YECs, and are just a joy to watch.
"We were like in shock. I think a set and 4 1 down, in the changeover, we were like looking each other and saying, C'mon, we play less than an hour. We cannot finish the match playing less than an hour in the final. "
So they picked it and started playing really aggressively, putting the pressure on the net player. As it got tighter, Vika and Makiri totally started choking. The besties rolled from there, high fiving, vamosing, forzaing their way to a title.
It was such a contrast to Vika and MaKiri, who, especially when they blew the lead and went down in the third, acted like strangers. They didn't make much eye-contact, they didn't high five after points, and Vika's negativity in particular totally set the tone for their team. Stubbsy, who was commentating for Channel 7, was just about ready to jump out of the booth and whack Vika upside the head.
Congrats to Flavia and Gisela!
But particularly to Gisela, who was totally dorking it up.
(Pics: AP, Getty)
Q. You won the first set, then what happened after that?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: She won the second and the third.
Caro loses to Domi 3 and 3, Vera loses to Flavia, 5 and 5, and in the best match of the tournament so far, Sveta takes out Sam, 36 63 64. That's #1, #2, and #4 out in one day. Ouch.
Caro was predictably delusional in her presser. More on that later.
As for Vera, she acknowledged, as she should, that Flavia is no slouch, but it was her inconsistency that was her undoing. "There were some good points, good shots, and there were some bad points and bad shots. I think overall the consistency wasn't there, but I tried to, you know know, keep doing what I had to do. There were moments where I was thinking too much about technical stuff, sometimes too much about tactical stuff, and I was not able to find that good balance between playing technically good and tactically good. That imbalance gave me a lot of inconsistency."
The kid has a way with words. More:
"I came here from Hong Kong, and I didn't really get the chance to really play points and some practice sets, so of course I had to try to find my rhythm in the match. Different conditions from what I've been training in and what I played in Hong Kong. The courts are different, balls are different, windy. So taking all this in consideration, it was very difficult for me to produce very good tennis today. but I tried my best, and I definitely can see some moments where I can improve. That's why I'm pretty conident and positive that next few days, if I train well and if I play those practice sets, I will be able to put it together. Then i can really raise the level of my game for the Australian Open."
So there you go. It was actually a really positive presser from Vera. She was smiley, had good perspective, and as always, thoughtful. But watching a bit of her match all I could think was that she didn't look as fit as she did in New York or Doha. She seems to be carrying a bit of extra weight and I honestly couldn't tell if it was "unfit" weight or "hit the gym and bulked up JJ-style" weight. But it worried me.
And then there's this girl, who I must say, I'm the least worried about. There's no shame in losing to Sveta when she's playing well. And by golly she played great today. As she acknowledged afterwards, it was for sure the best she'd played since San Diego. I mean, Sveta was hitting the ball into the court, you guys. That's a victory in and of itself. She did a good job of moving Sam around the court, but also holding her own in their brutally crushing forehand rallies. You want to see some hitting? Watch a Sam and Sveta match when they bring their B+ games. Holy crapola.
Sam played well. She served at 75% and was 2/2 on her break point chances. But her forehand let her down on the big points, missing by less than a centimeter a few times. She's feeling confident going into Melbourne, though. She'll stick around Sydney to practice given the weather issues in Melbourne making practice courts scarce. Then again, I'm writing this as the skies have opened up to cancel matches, so I'm not too sure the weather here is that great either.
And for those who are wondering, her family hasn't been affected by the horrible flooding in Queensland. Knock on wood.
Ah, awards season. Ever since "Crash" beat out "Brokeback Mountain" in 2006, I have been totally over awards. I mean, I was pretty much over them before that when the idiotic "American Beauty", aka "Plastic Bags Are Beautiful. No Really!" beat out "The Insider" in 1999, but "Crash" sealed it. I've never really cared for award cereomonies since. The nominations are always wrong and the voters are uninformed, easily swayed by factors that are unrelated to the performance, and always biased.
Oh, and they're almost always wrong. Did I mention that?
But anyway. Here are the ATP and WTA awards for 2010:
So there you go. With the WTA being much more volantile from a results standpoint, there's a lot to argue about if you care to, but in the end I think they generally got it right. Sure, Serena only played six tournaments, but she did won two Slams, one more than Kim. There's an argument for Caro, too, if one were so inclined, especially considering the fact that Flavs/Gisela (who I love) went Slamless for the year, while Vania and Shved and the Sisters Williams, won two Slams each. So...consistency is important? Slams? Just winning the YEC? WHO KNOWS!
I initially scoffed at Justine winning Comeback POY. But she did make a Slam final after only three weeks. That's kinda impressive. Sure, she only played for seven months, but the only other real contender would be Ana, and she didn't post the same positive results as Justine (Slam final, Premier title) and the ones she did post only came in a three month period. So fine, Justine, you can have this one.
But seriously: Petra Kvitova? In what world is she a "newcomer"?
In more important news, hellooooooooo, Herr Kamke:
I mean, can any of us blame her?
After a fantastic performance by Believe to completely destroy Fran (who let's face it, played like absolute shit), the pressure was on Flavi to pull out the win for Italy. Because as much as I think Sara and Roberta are badass and might cut you in a back alley, I fully believe that if you leave the tie in Liezel's hands, you will get cut. On court. Repeatedly.
So all credit to Flavia who faltered yesterday but was tough as nails today, playing with calmness and purpose to make Coco (who subbed in for an ailing BMS) look like a junior. Sure, you can hit the ball harder than me, kid, but can you do it consitently? Yeah, I didn't think so. 61 62, bitch. GIVE ME MY TROPHY.
Congrats, ladies. That's defending your title.
Please tell me Franny eats a box full of Wheaties out of that Cup in nothing but her boxers.
(Pics: Getty, Fed Cup Site)
All went according to plan for Team Italia today, as Fran dusted an inexperienced and outmatched Coco and Flavia overcame some inspired play by Bethanie and her own brainfarting. Flavia blew a 5-1 lead in the first before taking it in a tiebreak. In the second set, Bethanie, who was reportedly suffering from a virus, started cramping in her legs. Flavia responded by cramping in her brain, gifting a break back to Bethanie when she clearly wasn't moving well. But Flavi stopped cramping, Bethanie kept cramping, and it was 2-0 at the end of the day.
Sadz. I just really feel for her.
And so we'll flip it and do it all over again on Sunday. No clue who MJ will throw out there for the US, but I can't think it will matter too much.
Get the Peroni on ice, people. The party's about to go down in San Diego.
So the Fed Cup final is this weekend in San Diego and everywhere I turn in my Google Reader feed all I see are references to this being a David vs. Goliath clash between the US and Italy, which...I kinda understand from an underdog vs. heavy favorite angle, but not so much from a litte guy vs. big guy angle. And forgive me if I'm wrong, but doesn't size have a huge impact in the analogy?
Uh...but I digress.
So yeah. San Diego. Insert obligatory "whales vagina" joke. If I wasn't dazed on painkillers at the moment I could craft a pretty amazing Liezel/Whales Vagina joke that would blow your whale pants off. Oh well.
Ooh! Look! Mark Wahlberg riding a unicorn!
Teams have been in San Diego practicing and the draw finally rolled around today. Everybody's shocked that MJ tapped Coco as the #2 singles player instead of Believe, but really, why should anyone be shocked. I think sblily said it best on the Twitter gadget:
It was a well-run campaign. Stayed on message and backed up her argument with facts. Bravo, Mels.
So after they gave the seal a gag ball, which is apparently a thing in conservative San Diego, the draw was made.
Fran and the Seal will take on Coco...
...and Flavi will take on Bethanie in a match that will require me to keep my mouth shut. I really like them both and I really do want Bethanie to get something positive out of this year.
That said, there's no reason to think Team Forza won't take this. I don't think Coco can deal wtih Fran's variety and the Italians are solid in away ties.
Goliath looks really tense. And...not so Goliath-y.
Amazing photobomb, Shamu. I want to high five your tail.
Play starts tomorrow at 1pm PST.
(Pics: Fed Cup site)
What's not to love?
Congrats to Flavia and Gisela for taking the doubles title in Doha, beating Vania/Shveddy in the semis and Kata/Kveta in the finals. They'll finish as the #1 and #2 doubles players, with Gisela at #1.
On a selfish note, as much as I'm happy for them, please, Flavia, don't become a doubles specialist. I prefer you single.
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.
My day started with a little Dinara warming up on Armstrong. I figured I should probably soak this in as much as possible all things considered. I've unfortunately had to apply my Ivanovician "If you don't see her early you may not see her at all" tactic to Dinara. As we all know, it was a wise decision.
Dani tweeting away as she waits for Dinara to stop wheezing and get off the court.
Sania! She was absolutely CRUSHING the ball during her practice session and it was nice to hear that she beat Burrito later that day.
I...I...I can't even deal with that dress. First of all, it looks two sizes too big. Second, it looks, in person, like it's made of pleather. Third, well, Yonex designed it so the first two points were a given. Fugly dress notwithstanding, she won in front of a rather packed crowd on Court 11.
I was way too distracted by Rafa and Sam that I didn't even notice that Gilles was Rafa's practice partner. In fact, I do believe my inside voice actually muttered "What the fuck is up with Rafa's skinny, scrubby hitting partner?" Shame on me.
Walked by Court 6 right as Kleybs won her match. Kept my distance. Didn't know if she'd start shaking the sweat off or not.
Ran off to get some food (a hotdog and waffle fries in case you didn't care) and came back to see Ana and Flavia practicing together on Court 5. My hands were full of food so I literally stood courtside as I downed my hotdog in four bites. You know that scene from 30 Rock with the sandwich at the airport? Moi.
My phone was all crapped out all day (assume it's a network issue because it's fine when I get back to Manhattan) and I was having trouble hooking up with Lexi, who was busy boozing it up all over the grounds. But once she saw my message that Ana and Flavia were hitting, she found me. I'm predictable like that.
Flavia talking to Stefano, her physio, who I rather randomly met at a bar the other night. He is so so so nice. I have to say, one of the nicest "entourage" folks I've met. Well, he's doing his job right because the toe seems to be ok. She won later that night.
Then it was time for Coco, who couldn't back up last week's tight win over Dani. Not entirely unexpected, really, but still a bummer. But at least Dani had to play well to beat her.
The always awesome Flavi continued her domination of my lady, throwing down a 64 63 spanking. I mean, really, it wasn't even as close as the scoreline. Flavi clearly has a read on Sam's serve, returning everything (Sam had ZERO aces for the match), and using her backhand up the line effectively. At this point, the book on Sam isn't a secret: return well, and use the BHDTL to force Sam to hit her forehand on the run (which basically sucks balls) which then opens up her weak backhand. Vika did it last week and Flavia did it this week. Neither player has ever lost to Sam.
As for Sam, another disappointing loss. But I'm glad the news of her arm problems are now public because I've been saddled with that news for a while now and I had to keep my mouth shut. I actually wasn't sure she'd even play San Diego. After the match, she said that she's feeling a constant ache in her arm and would visit the doctor to see what's up. And contrary to what Victoria and Matt Cronin think, no, I haven't seen her MRIs.
They weren't in her room last time I checked.
I'm really hoping she pulls out of Cincy. There's no reason she should be playing four straight weeks anyway, let alone doing it while injured. The Hammer is nothing without, well, her hammer.
Oh, and before anyone tries to get on Sam's case for even discussing her injury, she didn't bring it up, nor, as far as I know, did she blame it for her loss. Sam's a jock. That's not her way. The reality is that she's been hiding it. She's been feeling the pain since Stanford but when asked directly in a presser last week about whether she was feeling healthy, she simply referred to "some niggles" that she hoped wouldn't become serious.
But boy, I'm so happy for Flavi. She's playing really well and seems to be on the verge of turning around her rather disappointing season. I remember watching her practice at Indian Wells and she was thoroughly frustrated, arguing with Gaby, and losing in the early rounds everywhere. It's nice to see her playing well and happy. Word on the street is that she's giving amazingly charming pressers. Nice to see you back, woman.
Flavia vs. MaKiri was a badass match. There was high quality hitting and some really entertaining rallies. But in the end it was all about grit.
Both players were players were playing well and I remarked to Victoria, when MaKiri was up 4-0 in the second, that I never understood why she was ranked so low. There's no reason she shouldn't be top 15.
And then all hell broke loose and Flavia somehow rallied back to take the match in a tiebreak. We sat courtside for the whole thing and it's funny how hard it is to track a match when you're sitting so close. I honestly have no idea what changed or how Flavia got back into it other than to say that Maria started missing more. Which...isn't really cutting edge analysis.
Um...but she's pretty. Does that count?
And Flavia is badass. But I could have told you that regardless of my vantage point.
Sam was up top scouting the match. I'm fairly certain she knows not to get into protracted rallies with Flavia. Well, that and not to get into protracted conversations with Stubbsy when you're trying to scout a match. Man, that girl can talk.
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.
Sometimes I forget how long it's been since Wimbledon. We haven't seen a lot of these players since then so it was nice to "catch up" on Tuesday. It was like seeing a bunch of your friends and classmates after summer break.
Flavia was looking fit and tasty. She bounced K-Bond in straights, 62 75 and will face MaKiri next.
Flavia giving us a wave. We were kinda loud. But how can you not be? It's Flavia!
Do I know how Nads lost this match to Shvedova? Nope. But she did. And she bitchfaced all the way through it. Some things never change.
I saw Lynn last week. But you know school's not in until you see Eva and Allison. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like I'll be reunited with Allison any time soon.
Aravane is in the house and the word on the street is that she's absolutely crushing the ball in practice. We saw her wandering the grounds quite a bit.
As for Sveta? Well...she's...wearing shorts. That's a good thing. She eeked out her match against Wicky in three sets. Wicky went off the rails after Sveta left for a bathroom break between the second and third set. Though seriously, she needed to. That shirt was transparent.
While the rest of us are taking a much needed break from the intense first half of the season, the journeymen and women of the ATP and WTA keep plugging away with success. How do you define a journeyman? To me it's someone who literally plays tennis for a living. They probably don't have coffers of cash to fall back on from prior Slam/Masters/Premier wins, or an easy payday from sponsors that allow them to play tennis without too much stress over how they're going to afford their apartment at home. These are the men and women who plug away week in and week out, picking up paychecks wherever they can. Glory may come every once in a while, but really, they're playing to win matches so that they pay to get to their next tournament. You have to tip your cap to them.
So big ups to Albie, for taking the title in Stuttgart. Sure, Gael had to retire due to an ankle injury he sustained in the first set. But Albie plugged away all week, played some quality tennis, and walks away with a pretty swanky Merc. Maybe it's just the lawyer in me but all I can think whenever I see prizes like that is "Shit, the taxes are gonna suck."
And how about the month Kaia's had? She's someone that has to play with confidence to win and she seems to be putting it together. People seem to forget that just over a year ago she was ranked #18 in the world and she was a legitimate upset threat at any tournament she entered. Nice to see her back-up her win over Sam at Wimbly with a solid run in London and now a tournament title in Palermo.
And Agnes! You keep giving me false hope that you're on your way back, but I'll take it, even if you insist on wearing the samurai headband.
And then there was Nico, who beat Sod in his own backyard in Bastaad. Sod wasn't all too happy about it.
I get being pissed at the umpire, but come on. At least congratulate your opponent.
Aravane picked up her second title of the season, beating Gisela in three sets. How's this for a stat: WeatherVane is 4-0 when she makes the final of a tournament. If I were a betting man, I'd keep that stat in mind in the future.
The dubs final offered a bit of redemption for both Olivia and Flavs (Flavs lost 3 and 1 to her in the semis) as they picked up their fourth title of the year. It's starting to look like we're going to see them in Doha. That should be fun. I hope they get to go shopping again.
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)
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'm pretty sure "If you were a..." translated into "What's your favorite..."
Dina's loss wasn't all that surprising all things considered (but really -- Dulgheru???). She's still finding her legs, game, and rhythm and figuring out if she can trust her back 100%. But Flavi? Losing 1 and 2 to Lucie on clay in ROME? Not good.
Interestingly, after today there are no more Italians in the singles draw in Rome. Franny, Flavs, Errani, Vinci, Camerin, the entire Fed Cup team and JV team are out. So much for home court advantage.
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.
We saw Flavia practice the day after she lost that weird three-setter with Peer and boy, was Gaby making her work.
A day after things were kinda boring in the WTA, well, the drama returned. Though not upsets, Pavs lost to Lena and Kleybs is out to Flavia.
In perhaps the biggest surprise of the day, Wickmayer, the third seed in Paris, lost to a Croatian wildcard who I have never heard of, 64 36 75.
And in Thailand, Sabine, Sania, and Kimiko-Tan all lost. So...you have no excuse, Bepa. Well, other your hair.
Singles - Second Round
(1) Elena Dementieva (RUS) d. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 64 64
(2/WC) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) d. Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) 76(4) 61
Tathiana Garbin (ITA) d. (8) Elena Vesnina (RUS) 64 26 62
Singles - First Round
(WC) Petra Martic (CRO) d. (3) Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 64 36 75
(5) Aravane Rezai (FRA) d. (Q) Evgeniya Rodina (RUS) 64 64
Singles - Second Round
Tamarine Tanasugarn (THA) d. (2) Sabine Lisicki (GER) 63 36 75
(4) Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) d. Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) 76(8) 63
Sesil Karatantcheva (KAZ) d. (8) Julia Goerges (GER) 62 61
Singles - First Round
(3) Vera Dushevina (RUS) d. Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) 64 62
(5) Sybille Bammer (AUT) d. Marina Erakovic (NZL) 76(8) 75
Tatjana Malek (GER) d. (6) Sania Mirza (IND) 36 64 63
Anastasia Rodionova (AUS) d. (7) Kimiko Date Krumm (JPN) 61 10 ret. (left ankle injury)
Lena takes the court for the first time since the AO and Kleybs and Flavs do battle, in what could be a Fed Cup final preview. Hah. Nah. Shamil would *never* let Kleybs play the final. Silly Rabbit.
Also, Momo is supposed to be honored in Paris. Here's hoping she shows up with a bottle of wine in hand. An empty one.
Central (from 11.00hrs)
1. Evgeniya Rodina vs. Aravane Rezai
2. Yanina Wickmayer vs. Petra Martic
3. Elena Dementieva vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
4. Elena Vesnina vs. Tathiana Garbin
5. Alisa Kleybanova vs. Flavia Pennetta (NB 18.00hrs)
6. Pavlyuchenkova/Senoglu vs. Benesova/Zahlavova Strycova
Court 1 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Jans/Rosolska vs. Uhlirova/Voracova
2. Peschke/Srebotnik vs. Védy/Zalameda
3. Govortsova/Poutchek vs. Jurak/Marosi
Court/time TBA (NB 17.00hrs)
1. Black/Huber vs. Coin/Cornet
Court 1 (from 15.00hrs)
1. Galina Voskoboeva vs. Vera Dushevina
2. Tatjana Malek vs. Sania Mirza
3. Tamarine Tanasugarn vs. Sabine Lisicki
4. Yaroslava Shvedova vs. Chanelle Scheepers
5. Rodionova/Rodionova vs. Karatantcheva/Rogowska
Court 2 (from 15.00hrs)
1. Marina Erakovic vs. Sybille Bammer
2. Kimiko Date Krumm vs. Anastasia Rodionova
3. Julia Goerges vs. Sesil Karatantcheva
4. Chakvetadze/Pervak vs. Chang/Chuang
I'm drunk. How drunk, you ask? Let's just say I fell down putting on my pajamas and I put my shirt on backwards and I just ate a powdered donut.
With that...here we go....
Alona cares not for your "tactics", creepy dude.
No you have to enter her password. No seriously, this has to get done TODAY.
Ruh Roh. Someone raided the Bunny Ranch eyeliner stash.
Didn't she just have a kid, like 4 days from now?
Oh, Casey. Go buy some tissues from Target.
Uh...I don't know. That's a kangaroo. Seemed funny. Probably funnier if I was sober. Or less. I don't know. Huh?
ALIZE, GET THE FUCK OUT OF PEOPLE'S WAY!!! JESUS!
Someone got a new Toyota....
Kata! I haz a happee.
Whereabout is she???
Oh, Alex. Yelling only scares her more.
You'd think that was Cones. It's not. Hence the current state of Team France.
The first round of Fed Cup is over and after all the dust and thundersticks have settled we have the four teams we pretty much expected to advance.
Kudos to Team America for their surprisingly (at least to me) decisive win over France. Mels Bells clinched it in her opening match today over Julie Coin. Their reward?
Hosting Team Russia in the semifinals. On the, uh, broad shoulders of Sveta and Kleybs, Russia advanced after trouncing the dream (or nightmare, depending on your perspective) pairing of JJ and Ana in the decisive doubles match.
The day started with JJ engineering yet another three set come from behind victory over Sveta, only to see Ana crumble under the pressure of being a clincher. The kid came out nervous again, dropping to 0-4 in the first, before dropping the match 62 63.
Rough luck for Serbia, even rougher luck for Ana, who will surely have to endure some fun questions and commentary. But kudos to the Glitter Queen of Serbia, who put her money where her mouth was and pulled of a solid Fed Cup weekend. And her win over Sveta should give her some confidence.
If only that darned back would heal....
On the other side of the draw will be the Czech Republic at Italy. The Italians sealed their tie after both Flavia and Franny won their reverse singles to clinch 3-1. As for the Czechs, they had a surprise hero in Lucie Hradcka, who subbed in for a sick Lucie Safarova and beat Petkovic in singles, then teamed up with Kveta Peschke to win the decisive doubles match. It'll be a tough task to beat Italy in Italy on, I presume, clay.
Huh. I never thought A-Bond would get the upper hand on Franny in any situation. On the court, in a dark alley, at a bar, nowhere. So color me shocked that she didn't just beat Franny With A Fringe On Top (I honestly have no idea how my mind works sometimes), but she beat her handily, 61 64.
Leave it to Flavia to right things for the defending champs, as she took out K-Bond 75 63. This tie is turning interesting though. If neither team can close it out in singles tomorrow it sets up an awesome doubles tie with the Bondos vs. Whoever Italy chooses to field. That could be entertaining as hell.
Speaking of entertaining as hell (aside -- I clearly have a subliminal obsession with hell as being an incredibly awesome place), Sodapop said there were Ukrainian cheerleaders at the match and they did a cheer to "Personal Jesus".
Anyway, I'm just waiting for one of them to close it out so we can get to the back alley knife fight.
So here we go.
Notably absent: Uh...all of Russia, The "real" Belgians, The Williamses, The Golden Flowers, Sabine, and Gisela Dulko. And it still cracks me up that Mono isn't on France's team.
World Group I
Saturday - Play starts at 16:00 (15:00 GMT)
Ana Ivanovic (SRB) v Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS)
Jelena Jankovic (SRB) v Alisa Kleybanova (RUS)
Sunday - Play starts at 14:00 (13:00 GMT)
Jelena Jankovic (SRB) v Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS)
Ana Ivanovic (SRB) v Alisa Kleybanova (RUS)
Ana Ivanovic / Jelena Jankovic (SRB) v Vera Dushevina / Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)
Ukraine vs. Italy
aka "Aw, hell no! I did *not* leave the South Side for this!"
Saturday - Play starts at 13:30 (11:30 GMT)
Alona Bondarenko (UKR) v Francesca Schiavone (ITA)
Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) v Flavia Pennetta (ITA)
Sunday - Play starts at 13:00 (11:00 GMT)
Alona Bondarenko (UKR) v Flavia Pennetta (ITA)
Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) v Francesca Schiavone (ITA)
Mariya Koryttseva / Viktoria Kutuzova (UKR) v Sara Errani / Roberta Vinci (ITA)
aka "Yeah, have fun, Cones..."
Saturday - Play starts at 13:30 (12:30 GMT)
Alize Cornet (FRA) v Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA)
Pauline Parmentier (FRA) v Melanie Oudin (USA)
Sunday - Play starts at 13:00 (12:00 GMT)
Alize Cornet (FRA) v Melanie Oudin (USA)
Pauline Parmentier (FRA) v Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA)
Stephanie Cohen-Aloro / Julie Coin (FRA) v Liezel Huber / Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA)
Saturday - Play starts at 13:00 (12:00 GMT)
Lucie Safarova (CZE) v Anna-Lena Groenefeld (GER)
Petra Kvitova (CZE) v Andrea Petkovic (GER)
Sunday - Play starts at 12:00 (11:00 GMT)
Lucie Safarova (CZE) v Andrea Petkovic (GER)
Petra Kvitova (CZE) v Anna-Lena Groenefeld (GER)
Lucie Hradecka/Kveta Peschke (CZE) v Kristina Barrois/Tatjana Malek (GER)
Marta Domachowska (POL) v Yanina Wickmayer (BEL)
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) v Kirsten Flipkens (BEL)
Sunday - Play starts at 12:00 (11:00 GMT)
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) v Yanina Wickmayer (BEL)
Marta Domachowska (POL) v Kirsten Flipkens (BEL)
Klaudia Jans / Alicja Rosolska (POL) v An-Sophie Mestach / Sofie Oyen (BEL)
Slovak Republic vs. China
aka "Why does Domi have to ruin everything?"
Saturday - Play starts at 14:00 (13:00 GMT)
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) v Xinyun Han (CHN)
Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) v Shuai Zhang (CHN)
Sunday - Play starts at 13:00 (12:00 GMT)
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) v Shuai Zhang (CHN)
Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) v Xinyun Han (CHN)
Dominika Cibulkova / Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) v Xinyun Han / Shuai Zhang (CHN)
Saturday - Play starts at 18:00 (07:30 GMT)
Samantha Stosur (AUS) v Maria-Jose Martinez Sanchez (ESP)
Casey Dellacqua (AUS) v Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP)
Sunday - Play starts at 16:00 (05:30 GMT)
Samantha Stosur (AUS) v Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP)
Casey Dellacqua (AUS) v Maria-Jose Martinez Sanchez (ESP)
Alicia Molik / Rennae Stubbs (AUS) v Nuria Llagostera Vives / Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP)
Saturday - Play starts at 12:00 (10:00 GMT)
Maret Ani (EST) v Maria Irigoyen (ARG)
Kaia Kanepi (EST) v Paula Ormachea (ARG)
Sunday - Play starts at 11:00 (09:00 GMT)
Kaia Kanepi (EST) v Maria Irigoyen (ARG)
Maret Ani (EST) v Paula Ormachea (ARG)
Maret Ani / Kaia Kanepi (EST) v Mailen Auroux / Aranza Salut (ARG)