A few of you have written inquiring as to when the next installment of the Forty Deuce podcast would be up. Here's the deal: It is SUPER awkward to do a podcast by yourself. And with my partner in crime (heh), Love All, off at an undisclosed location for much of this year, I've had to shelve the podcasts. Unfortunately my dog has very little to say about tennis.
But you can't say that I don't listen so here's the next installment, wherein I've roped in Forty Deuce regulars Sodapop, Carrie, and Victoria, to talk about everything from my general apathy towards Ana's losses, illegal immigration, and Stan's second fiddle, to how badly the WTA marketing department has failed, our love for tennis umpires, and the intimate details contained in Sodapop's diary. You'll have to excuse any technical issues. I'm still trying to master it all. But I'll get it all worked out and I can promise your tech savvy and topically focused p-casts in the future.
I'm warning you, it's a long one and very WTA heavy. Perfect for sitting in traffic while you're on your way to wherever you don't want to be.
Posted by C Note on August 07, 2009 in Agi Radwanska, Ana Ivanovic, Ashley Harkleroad, ATP, Dinara Safina, Jelena Jankovic, Maria Sharapova, Marion Bartoli, Michelle Larcher de Brito, Podcasts, Rafa Nadal, Sam Stosur, Serena Williams, Sorana Cirstea, Stanislas Wawrinka, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Vera Zvonereva, Victoria Azarenka, WTA | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)
Granted I missed the third set because I had to make a Sprinkles run. But at least for the first two sets, JJ was playing the way she needed to play: aggressively. She was going for her shots and leaning into her groundies, really forcing Mono to play defense. Had two match points points and couldn't convert and then she played a shit tiebreak in the second. But I figured she'd be fine in the third. Tells you what I know.
The people sitting around me kept looking at weird, wondering why I was taking pics of something other than the court. Whatever. This coming from people who, in response to me shouting "C'mon, JJ" whispered, "JJ? Why is she calling her JJ?"
It's enough to make me actually ditch work to watch a Mono match. Hmmm...that's an idea...
Singles - Second Round
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. Melinda Czink (HUN) 63 76(7)
(2) Venus Williams (USA) d. (Q) Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS) 61 75
(4) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. Sabine Lisicki (GER) 26 62 64
(8) Marion Bartoli (FRA) d. (Q) Melanie Oudin (USA) 75 64
Doubles - Quarterfinals
(3) Mattek-Sands/Petrova (USA/RUS) d. Kleybanova/Rodionova (RUS/RUS) 64 46 1210
(4) Cirstea/Kirilenko (ROU/RUS) d. Coin/Pelletier (FRA/CAN) 63 63
Stadium (from 12.00hrs)
1. Hantuchova vs. Dementieva
2. S.Williams vs. Stosur (NB 14.00hrs)
3. Jankovic vs. Bartoli
4. Sharapova vs. V.Williams (NB 19.00hrs)
5. Black/Huber vs. Chan/Niculescu
Work has been a bitch all week but I was finally able to make it to Stanford for Thursday's evening session, which featured JJ vs. Boom Boom and Nads/B-Matt vs. Klebs/Rodionova. I was able to secure a front row baseline ticket and we were in business.
The JJ/Boom Boom match was full of starts and stops by both players. In the first set Boom Boom was, well, booming her serve and her forehand. JJ was playing tentatively, as she's prone to do when she gets nervous or doesn't know what to do, and Sabine was just teeing off on the ball.
The second set saw Sabine just lose her way. Spraying balls all over the place and missing first serves. She seems really conscious of her service toss. She practices the toss motion quite a bit between serves and while it doesn't wonk off like Ana, you can tell when she's going to hit the slice as opposed to a flat serve. Clearly the service issues got into her head because she stopped moving her feet on her groundies and she was just off balance all set.
The last set went back and forth but all of a sudden JJ found her serve and began holding pretty easily. It was over after that, as Sabine's serving woes pretty much gave JJ the match. Serving to stay in the match, Boom Boom tossed in two doubles to pretty much give JJ the match. One serve bounced before it hit the net.
So good on JJ for scraping through. The match was a typical JJ show. Some interaction with the crowd, lots of Serbian screams to the heavens, sniping at the ballkids, but in the end she found a way to win. Papa JJ and Ricky were in the crowd. No sign of Kung Fu Tennis dude.
Next up, Indigo Girls vs. Kleybs & Co. Nads and Bethanie were nails in the first set, and then Nads starting stinking up the joint in the second. The tiebreak was tight until the IGs opened it up with a stick forehand volley from Nads and then a ripped forehand return up the line by Bethanie. It got tight again after that but you had the feeling Nads and Bethanie would pull it out, which they did.
All in all, a fun time. I'm going to get tickets to tomorrow's night session to see Masha vs. Venus. That'll mark Maria's first big match against a true top player since her return. Can't wait.
"But, you know, from what I have seen, you know, she can play if you let her play. But she cannot hurt you with anything. She doesn't have any weapons, you know, from what I've seen... She's a consistent and quite solid player. She doesn't make so many mistakes. But she doesn't do anything either, so it's like she's depending kind of on you."
-- Jelena Jankovic, describing hersel-- I mean, Melanie Oudin's game. Consistent and solid with no weapons? Yeah, she sounds like a crap player to me too, JJ.
I mean, really, who other than JJ would go into a presser hell bent on talking about her lady times? Who? Just say you're sick, weren't feeling well, have a virus, whatever. But leave the "riding the crimson wave" excuses for school.
And she couldn't even just leave it at that. The Queen of Drama brought it:
JELENA JANKOVIC: Conditions were quite tough. It was very warm out there. But that was not, you know, my problem. After the first set, I felt really dizzy, and I thought that I was just gonna end up in the hospital. I started to shake. I was losing my ‑ how you say ‑ consciousness.
I didn't know. I was really gonna lose it, you know, to fall down and just, you know, probably go ‑‑ call the ambulance and leave the court. But I came back. Like I started to feel a little bit better.
Q. Have you been struggling for a few days, or is it just today?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, I felt okay, and then all of a sudden I won that first set. I felt, you know, I was like a ghost, you know, white in the face. Really, I didn't know where I was.
The physio came out and she asked me, Do you know like what is your name? I just saw blurry. I didn't know. It was really strange feeling. I was scared and I started to cry in this kind of situation.
But what can I do? These kind of things happen. Didn't have, you know, enough energy to hit the shots, to go after the shots, to do the right things. But I did the best that I could. And what can I do?
And of course, the money question:
Q. Is that the first time your monthly cycle has affected you so dramatically like that?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, I never had problem like that in the past. It was my first time experience, so...
It's just so weird. Always something with her.
Hopefully JJ's menses don't overshadow young Melanie Oudin's guts and courage. She really should have taken the first set but just kept missing by *thismuch* on set points. But I loved her shot selection and she had the balls to go for her shots while JJ was just dumping the ball back. Then in the second set she just kept plugging away, refusing to allow a let down after losing the first set.
That's two really huge wins for Melanie this year in some high profile, big stakes matches. Well done, kid. And it may not end on Monday. She'll play Agi, who definitely isn't going to blast her off the court. But either way, great run for her from qualifying through to the second week.
Nice performance by JJ today. Sounds like like she was in complete control in her 2 and 4 win over Iveta. The match only took an hour and 2 minutes to complete. Good job, Smiley.
Oh, and can someone thwack Jeelbair upside the head every time he says "Double J"? THAT'S NOT SHORTER, ASSHOLE.
Day 2 pretty much followed the script from Day 1. The top seeds played like top seeds, a few moments of heartburn, a few minor upsets. But all in all, no major shakeups.
The Getty caption to this pic is "Jeremy Chardy serves to Andy Roddick during their first round match...", which...uh, no. Still a rad pic though.
Momo will vanquish all that stand in her way. Or...well...at least the one who stood in her way today. Who knows what'll happen in two days.
Aw...how adorable. She went ditched the black tape and went with the traditional off-white tape out of respect for Wimbly. Or something.
And I'm pretty sure that if Martina saw this pic she'd cream herself. Go Volley!Ana!
I shit you not. Those are the lyrics to "One Moment In Time" by Whitney Houston.
That hand belongs to Georgie Stoop, who also admitted to listening to Spin Doctors before taking the court. Either Georgie Stoop is 40 years old or the early 90's just hit Britain.
Seriously, Adidas has to be feeling pretty good about themselves. That or they totally bribed all the photogs to not take pics of their athletes slipping on the grass.
To this day my parents still make fun of me because when I was a kid (and really, up until I was like 14) I always took pictures crouched down on one knee. I have no idea where that habit came from. But I'm fairly certain I have a childhood pic that looks exactly like this one. Minus the racquet and ball. But I think I was definitely in a skirt. All class, baby.
The world No. 6 said: “I am missing a bit of the motivation I had before. When you have been No. 1 in the world it is not so easy.
“It is a constant battle against yourself. You need to be disciplined so that when you want to eat chocolate you say no to yourself.
“You have to force yourself to go out and practise for four or five hours a day. For that you need to be strong.
“There is lots of playing and travelling and that is not easy. Every player has their ups and downs but when you are not doing well those are the times you need to work hard and come out of it stronger.
“I need a break and maybe not playing for a little bit will get me to the point where I want to play tennis again and want to run after those balls because that is missing at the moment.
“I will play Wimbledon and then after that we will see what I will do.”
Wow, you get really close to the action at the Eastbourne practice courts. I want to go to there. Here's Momo and Nads practicing.
Nads and Bethanie
AI practicing with Cahill.
Sveta and CSN.
Cones, Snot Rocket, and the Rads.
Rad, Stosur, and I can only assume Stubbsy there in the background.
JJ with, and I know I'm going out on a limb here, *not* Ricardo Sanchez.
"It took me a while to get the rhythm out there. And then for some reason from staying so low and getting those low balls my legs got so tight and so tired, and especially in the third set I didn't have the energy in my legs anymore to bend down."
"I played for two months on clay and I have it almost in my blood. I don't have to think about the tactics. I know how to defend, how to attack and what time; how to serve and this and that. And on this surface, everything is opposite. For me, it's too much to change in three days."The less shocking upset of the day was Momo over Bepa in three. Nice to see that while Bepa has added much needed strapping to her ankles, she has not gone away from her Casper routine. I'm just shocked her towel wasn't blue. Then she'd be *completely* invisible, just like she likes it.
Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) d. (2/WC) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 60 63
Anna Chakvetadze (RUS) d. (3) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 67(5) 63 62
Amélie Mauresmo (FRA) d. (4) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 63 16 63
(6) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) 63 62
(8) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. (Q) Urszula Radwanska (POL) 61 61
Marion Bartoli (FRA) d. Gisela Dulko (ARG) 63 61
(Q) Vera Dushevina (RUS) d. Ai Sugiyama (JPN) 67(6) 75 64
(Q) Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. (Q) Jarmila Groth (SVK) 76(7) 61
Singles - First Round
(1) Dinara Safina (RUS) d. Anna-Lena Groenefeld (GER) 60 63
Nathalie Dechy (FRA) d. (2) Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 63 36 63
Alona Bondarenko (UKR) d. Stéphanie Foretz (FRA) 64 67(1) 63
Doubles - First Round
Lefèvre/Védy (FRA/FRA) d. (WC) Flipkens/Kerkhove (BEL/NED) 62 64
He looks retarded. I laughed. Not proud of it.
Just do it, Wilson.
Jo just really likes biting balls.
I just want to tackle and lick him. Or lick his...wait, what were we talking about?
Both of them. Out. Just like that. Freaky. Lena D's been riding a wave of mediocrity ever since she lost the Gaz de France final to Amelie; Novak seemed to have been picking up his pace of late. Never mind, the end result was the same:
That's Serena's new record against Klara Zakopalova for the '09 clay court season. So... there's that. I can't really say anything about anyone's level of play since I didn't watch very much of it, but I can say that Serena's knee wrap looked oddly high tech. Although I could be making that up in my head.
Posted by Carrie on May 26, 2009 in Aleksandra Wozniak, Caroline Wozniacki, Daniela Hantuchova, Elena Dementieva, Gael Monfils, Guest Blogger, James Blake, Jelena Dokic, Jelena Jankovic, Juan Martin del Potro, Marcos Baghdatis, Nicole Vaidisova, Novak Djokovic, Phillip Kohlschreiber, Roland Garros, Sania Mirza, Serena Williams, Svetlana Kuznetsova | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Solid results all around for the ladies today, though not without drama. Dina bageled Lucie in the first only to have to come from a break down in the third to get through. Agnes held her nerve against a gimpy Vika to come back and eventually convert one of the many match points she had in the third (she was up 5-0). Joining Agnes as a surprise quarterfinalist is A-Bond, who served up a bagel, weathered the Chakky storm in the second, and closed it out in the third, 63.
Singles - Third Round
(1) Dinara Safina (RUS) d. Lucie Safarova (CZE) 60 46 63
(4) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. (Q) Elena Vesnina (RUS) 62 62
Agnes Szavay (HUN) d. (7) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 46 62 62
(9) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) 62 62
Alona Bondarenko (UKR) d. Anna Chakvetadze (RUS) 60 26 63
Doubles - Quarterfinals
(1) Black/Huber (ZIM/USA) d. (5) Llagostera Vives/Martinez Sanchez (ESP/ESP) 64 64
(3) Peschke/Raymond (CZE/USA) d. Hsieh/Husarova (TPE/SVK) 63 60
(4) Stosur/Stubbs (AUS/AUS) d. (7) Hantuchova/Sugiyama (SVK/JPN) 75 64
Chuang/Mirza (TPE/IND) d. Azarenka/Vesnina (BLR/RUS) 20 ret. (Azarenka: left knee injury)
I have to say though. I'm *really* bummed JJ went back to the flat blue Anta dress and didn't stick with her awesomely Smurf blue Serbia dress. It would have been fun to have a little trio of Serbian Smurfs. Plus, that dress was just way fuckin' BETTER.
JJ's thoughts from the All-Access Hour in Stuttgart:
From his most recent post on Fed Cup:
Uh, doesn't that assume that Serbia WAS EVER IN the World Group? Doesn't it also seem to assume that France had already been relegated to World Group II?
Maybe I'm just uber-defensive lately but doesn't that seem like a cap on Team Serbia? Like, "They suck so bad that they lost their World Group status and had to fight back into the elite group EVEN THOUGH they have SUPPOSEDLY elite level players (WHO SUCK) in JJ and Ana."
Dude, if you want to cap on the Serbs be my guest. But at least do it when they've done something wrong as opposed to, oh I don't know, CARRY THEIR COUNTRY FROM ZONAL GROUP TO WORLD GROUP I for the past 2 years? This was a great accomplishment for them (not to mention individually for Ana and JJ to beat Spain in Spain on clay when both are supposedly struggling and Ana hadn't played on clay for a year) and I can't help but get annoyed when I see someone trying to take swipes.
So yeah. Come on! [/GOB]
Congrats to Serbia, Germany, and Ukraine. They all won their World Group Play-off ties and gained promotion into World Group I in 2010.
Team Serbia beat Spain to gain promotion and force Spain out of World Group I for the first time in their Fed Cup history. JJ and Ana did their parts, taking the first three singles rubbers, with JJ securing the tie today with a hard fought three set win over AMG. JJ had to battle a cold over the weekend so good for her. I'm still really shocked that CSN didn't play. Odd.
Here's video of the celebration. I love that Ana was sitting with Sneki.
Give it up for Team Bondarenko. They blasted a Dulko-less Argentina 5-0 to gain promotion. To think how close Argentina was to making it past the U.S. and into the World Group I semis. Now they've been relegated to Group II.
And Alles Gut in Deutschland. They came into Sunday with a 2-0 lead, but China stormed back today to take both reverse singles rubbers, taking the tie to a decisive doubles match. There, Sabine and ALG came back after dropping the first set to Zheng/Peng to take the match 46 75 62.
Nice to see some new blood in World Group.
The draw was held this morning. JJ's up first on Saturday:
Maria Jose Martinez (ESP) v Jelena Jankovic (SRB)
Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) v Ana Ivanovic (SRB)
Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) v Jelena Jankovic (SRB)
Maria Jose Martinez (ESP) v Ana Ivanovic (SRB)
Lourdes Dominguez-Lino/Nuria Llagostera Vives (ESP) v Ana Ivanovic/Jelena Jankovic (SRB)
Pete Bodo's write up on the WTA storylines going into the clay season.
Apart from his need to remind everyone what a joke the WTA is compared to the ATP, it's hard to argue with his take on the players' prospects:
Madrid may be just the inducement Serena Williams needs to boost her interest clay, thereby protecting her chances to remain no. 1 and perhaps even open a little distance between herself and an odd crew that features not one but two women who have yet to win a Grand Slam events - Dinara Safina and Jelena Jankovic.But can Serena still be a force on clay? That's an interesting question that was raised in Melbourne and Miami, where she often looked both more powerful - and less mobile - than in the past.
It's hard to see Serena gettting "better" on clay, but remember that she's won Roland Garros, and took the Charleston title last year before shipping out to Europe - where she lost a very tight quarterfinal to Safina in Berlin, withdrew from Rome with an injury, and lost in the third round in Paris to Katarina Srebotnik. Discount her at your peril.
No. 2 Safina began her personal makeover last year at Berlin, where she beat three of the women who have remained major hurdles to her Grand Slam ambitions - Serena, Elena Dementieva and Victoria Azarenka. Safina will have many ranking points to defend starting in Berlin, and there's no telling how she'll react to the pressure. Last year, she frequently spoke about the way she's re-invented herself, but the failure to break through in a big way - with a major title - suggests that the makeover wasn't quite finished. Will it ever be?
Elena Dementieva is coming off a good year, and capable of doing a lot of damage on clay. She was a Roland Garros finalist in 2004, and could easily make a similar run there again. But she may be the most unpredictable player on either tour. It's funny, though, I never really get the feeling that Dementieva is choker (except, of course, when it comes to that serve - but that's a slightly different issue), or that she's an imposter at the top of the game. She doesn't really collapse. If anything, she seems to have a way of bringing out the best in her opponents - a talent I'm sure she'd rather not possess. I've always felt that she's sufficiently athletic and powerful to win a major. Maybe this will be her year.
Vera Zvonareva is in good shape to make a move, fueled by her recent victory at Indian Wells. She started like a house on fire on clay last year; she lost to Serena in the Charleston final and snatched the Prague title from Victoria Azarenka before she lost momentum. Zvonareva lost to Venus at Rome and Dementieva in Paris, but who's going to describe either of those as a bad loss?
My own feeling is that Ivanovic must find a way to, well, loosen up - in every sense of the word. She needs to re-discover the hard--hitting, free-swinging Ivanovic of a few years ago. It just seems to me that somewhere along the line Ivanovic came to believe that she needs to be Miss Perfect (at any number of levels), and maybe that stifled her game.
Congrats, JJ. Not a phenomenal performance through the tourney but a win is a win and you now have your first title of the year. You also finally have a win streak going.
I'm not entirely sold on her ability to turn the season around quite yet. Much like Ana's run at IW, it was an impressive result that wasn't backed up by impressive play. But that tenacity and refusal to lose will steal you a lot of matches on clay and she definitely wiggled out of her share of tough spots this week.
As for the much ballyhooed Andalucia Tennis Experience, as much shit as I gave them all week, I have to say it was a blogger's dream. A fantastic website, fun promos, live streams, and awesomely random Spanish music. Good job, Conchita.