If you have a life and haven't listened to yesterday's FD Podcast, then you may not know that I am thoroughly convinced that Reeshie is going to bounce Moose in the first round of RG. That trophy right there seems to bolster my argument. Good on him. Reeshie goes into RG on a wave of confidence, having won a challenger last week and winning Nice by beating Fer in three sets.
So all that *and* you didn't get the title, FeVer? Yeah, that was an awesome decision, Popeye.
Hey, have you heard? Balkan girls like to party like nobody. Especially in Warsaw. Alexandra Dulgheru defended her Warsaw title by beating the entire Chinese Fed Cup team. Keep an eye on her at RG.
And Masha claimed her 22nd title with a nice run at Strasbourg. Not a lot of tough competition for her but hey, she's still the Cow on Ice. Moo, baby, Moo!
Now enough of this nonsense. Get thee to Roland Garros!
FeVer continues his fun charade in Nice. Just because it's red clay and the people speak French, doesn't mean it's Roland Garros, dude. I hope someone in your entourage pointed that out.
Since you're in the final (third final on clay this Spring) you might as well win it. He'll play Reeshard, who has had a great tournament. And this pisses me off. For obvious reasons.
But in happy news, someone who actually needed the match play is in the finals of Strasbourg. Moo, baby, Moo!
And in the Caroline Wozniacki Open, we almost had an all Chinese final. But then Romania had to come and spoil the party, as they are wont to do.
Now pardon me as I make a horrible pun and put on my sunglasses as The Who scream forth.
RG favorite Heh?Nah was bounced in the first round of Madrid by gold lame Aravane. Justine said she wasn't feeling well and didn't have the energy to dig deep in this one. I mean, I guess. But like, you bageled in the third set. That's a whole lot of give up.
Nice win for Aravane, though.
In less surprising news, Masha's out too, losing to Lucie in straight sets. Given how long the Masher's been off the court and Lucie's solid play of late, this isn't all that shocking. What's shocking is that Maria only served four double faults. She'll try and continue her RG preparation at Strasbourg next week.
Loved this from Maria after the match:
Love the perspective.
After this setback, she started with the usual platitudes about being too slow off the mark; wishing she had more matches under her belt and moving forward.
Then someone asked her if it was a pain for her to have to change her travel arrangements because of this early loss. Weren’t the logistics a bit difficult?
“That’s why we get paid so well,” she shot back and then went on to reveal a little about her philosophy of life.
“We don’t get paid because everything is brought to us on a gold plate every single day. We don’t wake up in the morning with someone brushing the clay off our shoes. We go out there and we work as many hours as we need to become better. There’s no real secret to success. People ask you why you won this and why you became that. I don’t know. That’s the way life goes. Why is this a difficult period for me? I don’t know. It’s a lesson.
“I still have to go out tomorrow and change my flights and it’s not a big deal – I mean it is a big deal but it’s just another thing. The bottom line is that you rely on a strong family back home. Because realistically a tennis match is a tennis match. We hit a yellow tennis ball with a racket and it’s actually quite funny when you think about it. But that’s my life at the moment and I enjoy doing it and I know what comes with it.”
One of the things I love about Maria is how she makes every guy in the world (except for her boyfriend, I guess) look like a midget.
She was participating in some publicity event that involved cameras, serving, and motorcycles. My brain is too exhausted after today's earlier events I can't even be bothered to understand it. But she looked good, though all I could think when I saw this pic was "GIRL! PROTECT YOUR SHOULDER!"
It's like middle school all over again.
Masha playing some "doubles" with Sasha.
Masha: The dress. That's awesome. Thanks for buying it.
Me: No problem. It's a nice dress.
Masha: I'm surprised anyone even remembers that I wore it.
(Pics by Love All and C Note)
Ok, the counter goes to her knees. She is a giant.
Seriously, Masha is to that kitchen as Giada's head is to her entire body.
Somewhere in Venice, Dinara is pumping her fist at the idea of chocolate chip cookies being baked in Manhattan Beach. That girl's got a nose.
(Source: HCFoo's Blog)
It's really too bad that Melanie couldn't hold up her end of the bargain and give us the Pova/Oudin that everyone outside of Sweden was rooting for. I'm really starting to think that kid is a total waste of time. What a disappointment she is. I mean, why does Mels even bother playing tennis? She's like the John Shuster of women's tennis.
That's right. A curling reference.
Oh, what's that? Is my forehead hot? THAT'S CUZ I GOTZ OLYMPIC FEVER.
American failure aside, I think I speak for the two Maria fans in the blogosphere (that would be me and Maria at The Double Bagel, who I got to finally meet in LA last week) when I say, "Yippee, Masha!" This is her first title of the year, 21st career title, and she'll move up to #13 on Monday.
And she's on the board.
Masha chalked up her first win of the year with a 60 62 win over Shenay Perry in Memphis last night.
Singles - First Round
(1) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. Shenay Perry (USA) 60 62
(3) Kaia Kanepi (EST) d. Arantxa Rus (NED) 60 64
Anne Keothavong (GBR) d. (6) Kristina Barrois (GER) 61 63
Michelle Larcher de Brito (POR) d. (Q) Madison Brengle (USA) 63 63
Michaella Krajicek (NED) d. Julia Schruff (GER) 26 61 62
(Q) Valérie Tétreault (CAN) d. Monica Niculescu (ROU) 63 64
(Q) Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) d. Marta Domachowska (POL) 57 64 63
(WC) Ajla Tomljanovic (CRO) d. Kristina Kucova (SVK) 64 64
Mashasha decide to bear the brunt of the cold LA winter to grab a bite of breakfast.
"It's the most important meal of the day, asshole!!!"
Given Sasha's haircut and Charlie's dick of a dad being, well, a dick to Conan during the Late Night fiasco, I'm 100% on the Mashasha train.
I hope none of their crazy sexitimes is putting undue stress on her shoulder.
And *that's* what you call "tennis analysis".
Totally cute Nike video for their "Lace Up For Lives" campaign, designed to fight AIDS in Africa. Dork!Masha's adorable in her pigtails. Didier is hot as always, as are Marco Materazzi and Fabio Cannavaro. But the star of the show is Andrei Arshavin. Adorbz.
You can support the cause by purchasing the Nike Red Laces for $4 at Nike.com and 100% of the profits will go towards the cause.
I played around with the Jersey Shore Nickname Generator.
That was fun. I'm totally using Juice Springsteen from now on.
Posted by C Note on January 18, 2010 in Andy Murray, Andy Roddick, Australian Open, Dinara Safina, Fernando Verdasco, Flavia Pennetta, Jelena Jankovic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Marat Safin, Maria Sharapova, Nikolai Davydenko, Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal, Serena Williams, Svetlana Kuznetsova, The Mighty Fed | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
Q. Was it a lack of match practice? You needed a few more matches perhaps to sharpen up?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, I don't really know what 'match practice' has to do with being up 4‑2, 15‑40 and not making a second serve return, so...
Q. How would you describe your sense of confidence right now?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, well, I'm leaving on Monday of the first week, so that explains a lot.
Q. Where is your level of disappointment, or do you just chalk it up, It's first round of a Grand Slam, that can happen first round of a slam?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, I could be disappointed or I could just take it as it is and just go back on the court and just keep working.
I choose option two (smiling).
Q. Why didn't you play any tournaments before?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I never do. It's worked before.
Q. So do you go on and start thinking about Paris now?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: About Paris?
Q. About Paris.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Not yet. Are you saying I'm going to go on a clay court right now (smiling)? Wishful thinking.
Who's named Maria, is Russian, graces the covers of magazines, leaves the boys gawking, has an awesome fist pump and determination, and gutted out a really impressive win today?
That's right. The Shrieky One has been silenced. If Shazam wasn't one of my favorite players I'd be 132% excited and happy for MaKiri. As it is, I'm kinda bummed but I am totally 99% excited for Lil' Mash. She's been plagued with injuries over the past two years (not significant ones, but niggling ones that were enough to keep her from 100%) but she's still be a solid top 40 player. Nice to see her get some recognition for something other than her looks.
Tough tough loss for Masha and for more importantly (not really) her fans. Maria didn't play any warmup tournaments other than the HK exo, so this was our first chance to see her play. I for one was really excited about her chances down under, and specifically looking forward to her potential quarterfinal match against Dina. Oh well. Uh...at her shoulder should be in good shape for Indian Wells, right?
"I'm in your second round, drinking your Smurf juice. Or dress dye. Or cap dye. Or bag dye. Whatever. It's yours and I'm drinking it, friend."
Yesterday, Nike signed an 8-year, $70m deal with Masha. Guess we know who's buying lunch from now on. She's also going to get a percentage of sales from the line she'll be "developing". It's almost like she's working on commission!
In other endorsement news, Sergio Tacchini appears to have dropped both my boyfriend Tommy and Flavia in order to fund their Nole deal. Tommy's pretty obvious, but Flavia? Not cool, ST. Not cool.
Also, Dinara has a new sponsor. It's a Russian mining/oilfield equipment company. I have about a million jokes about drill bits running through my head, but I'll spare you.
Keeping track of all the pre-AO exhibitions is impossible. But apparently Maria beat Venus 6-3, 6-4 at an exhibition in Thailand.
Looks good. Glad they're backing away from any "cutting edge" design elements.
As for Masha, Nike's putting her in...this. I shall reserve judgment. The stuff usually looks way better on her than on the rack. But...weird. She's going to blend right into the AO courts.
Team Russia is looking mighty awesome right about now.
Team Russia: Marat Safin, Maria Sharapova, Vera Zvonareva
Team Asia: Paradorn Srichaphan, Zheng Jie, Ayumi Morita
Team America: Michael Chang, Venus Williams, Gisela Dulko
Team Europe: Stefan Edberg, Caroline Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka
Please let there be Marat/Masha and Stefan/Vika mixed dubs. The former for the awesomeness, the latter for the complete and utter mindfuck.
So do you think the HK organizers changed the format to include the old fogies so that they could convince Marat to play? For a guy who keeps complaining about how much tennis sucks he sure does keep playing. I'm guessing it's because the weather in HK in January is 92% better than the weather in Mother Russia. Either that or the touching/cheezy Asian tributes really touched a nerve.
In other news... STEFAN!!!
Shuai Peng, ladies and gentlemen.
Huge back-to-back wins for her over the Bollitieri Bitches, this time ousting Masha, 62 64. I can't even imagine how amazing this must be for her, to make a run to the fourth round by beating two former #1s on home soil. Make no mistake, there is a lot of pressure on these Chinese players, and Peng is really the forgotten one. But halfway in, she's the only Chinese player left in the singles draw, with Jay Z getting a tough draw against Kuz in the first round, and Nails going out to Lena D today.
Can she do it again? She'll play the winner of Serena/Nads.
A really high quality match between Masha and Vika saw Vika fight to force a third set where she was up 5-2 and serving for the match.
But she was playing Masha, which means it ain't over until you shake hands at the net (or at your chair if you're JJ). Maria would go on to win the next 5 games to take the match. And boy, did this one mean something to both her and Mike Joyce. Both went a little nuts when Vika's shot went long.
But enough about the match. Here's what you really need to know. Vika called the trainer in the second set after Masha won to snap a streak of 3 or 4 straight games. The MTO, for whatever reason, took FOREVER. In the third set, after Masha broke back to 1-2, Vika called the trainer again, this time to tape up her other thigh. The on court mics picked up the conversation between the WTA trainer and Maria, which went a little something like this:
Trainer: She's taking a medical timeout.
Trainer: She's taking a medical timeout.
Maria: Is her last name Jankovic?
Aaaaand scene. There would also be a pretty hilarious point in the third set when Maria was down 2-5, and she hit a drop shot that Vika actually almost got to. When they cut to Maria waiting to return serve, she had this smile/smirk on her face and was shaking her head as if to say "if she's so hurt how the hell did she almost get to that?" I really think that sparked her comeback.
This week, I threaten to beat up Victoria, we break down the ever complex Dinara/Zeljko situation, give props to Maria Sharapova, ignore the ATP, touch on the Olympics, and we all talk about the best and worst matches we've ever watched.
Oh, also? Katie rules.
And if you missed it, my drunken tweeting after the jump:
First there was this...
Then there was this...
Then Masha rolled her eyes...
And then they posed for a reenactment of a Bollttieri Yearbook picture that was surely taken in 1999.
JJ retired at 2-5 in the first set due to an arm injury, giving Maria her first title of the year:
Sharapova was up 5-2 at Ariake Colosseum when the seventh-seeded Serb took a timeout to have her right arm examined by the trainer. Jankovic returned to the court and lost the first two points of the eighth game before retiring.
"It's disappointing," said Sharapova, who had arthroscopic surgery to repair a rotator cuff in her right shoulder nearly a year ago. "It's toward the end of the year and there are a lot of injuries so I wish Jelena a speedy recovery."
Here's the thing...don't you just at least tough it out to let Maria win the first set, then retire? Oh, and when JJ retired she initially made no effort to shake Maria's hand. Which...was so JJ. Hell, even Serena made her way across the net when she got DQ'd to shake Kim's hand. It's moments like this that remind me why I just can't get both butt cheeks on the JJ bandwagon.
Here's the video:
So it'll be JJ vs. Masha in the Tokyo final, which given the calamity of the early part of the week, ain't a bad final at all. JJ had a challenging road, having to beat Mono and Nails, two players who for whatever reason, totally own her. So good for JJ who look on her way to recapturing her form. That said...yeesh...last night's match against Nails wasn't pretty.
As for Masha, it's been a bit of a banner week for her as she's reintroduced her old service motion and pounded her way to her second straight WTA final. Things got a little bit wobbly last night against Aga, but once she bore down in the third it was over pretty quick.
Maria leads this childhood showdown 4-1, with her last win being the 3 and 1 demolishing on her way to the AO 08 title. I give the edge to JJ right now, but you never know with the mind games between these two.
Leave it to the WTA Bitches to stem the tide. At least for a bit. Maria destroyed Sammy No-Stones, 60 61, and has apparently gone back to her full service motion. I guess with the end of the season looming she can afford the risk.
Meanwhile JJ, in full mensal gear, withstood a solid challenge from Boom Boom to win in three sets. The red underwear is really what makes this joke work.
As for the other "top" seeds, Vika dusted Jay-Z 1 and 1, and A-Rad made sure that Dani won't be missing Ai's raging retirement party.
The hair. It hides the tears.
But let's be clear, the clusterfuck continued in Tokyo today, as K-Bond took out Lena, Caro retired against CanWoz, and Kleybs beat Bepa.
Singles - Second Round
(Q) Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) d. (3) Elena Dementieva (RUS) 62 67(3) 61
Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) d. (4) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 50 ret. (viral illness)
Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) d. (6) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 36 64 62
(7) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. Sabine Lisicki (GER) 63 46 62
(8) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. Zheng Jie (CHN) 61 61
(11) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 63 36 63
Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (12) Samantha Stosur (AUS) 60 61
Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) d. (13) Nadia Petrova (RUS) 62 62
(14) Marion Bartoli (FRA) d. Aravane Rezai (FRA) 64 62
(15) Li Na (CHN) d. Vera Dushevina (RUS) 75 60
Elena Vesnina (RUS) d. Roberta Vinci (ITA) 61 76(6)
Iveta Benesova (CZE) d. Gisela Dulko (ARG) 63 36 64
Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. Peng Shuai (CHN) 63 46 64
What weird Saturday at the Open.
Didn't have time to post about it but nice win for Nole over Jesse Witten yesterday, and heck of a match from Witten to really push Nole and make us all think an upset was brewing. Glad as hell that Nole made it through though and that he won't have to face A-Rod....
...thanks to this guy. Love it.
As my best gay would say, "Uh, pass."
Amazing. Really amazing.
What can I say really? The kid absolutely took this match to Maria, whose service woes finally caught up to her. But even putting the serving problems aside, Oudin absolutely 100% punched her way through this match. She outhit her and even more impressively, she stayed just as competitive. The Kid (yeah, that's a capital K now) absolutely earned this one.
Maria called a MTO in the third for what looked like a right elbow/arm issue. Augh.
This picture makes me happy. Tough go, Masha. Go heal that shoulder.
Melanie Oudin's shoes ushered in a crazy day four at the USO.
What is up with the obsession with Hubba Bubba?
Not so much.
The forgotten but adorable Swisser. You go on with your winky self, Chuds.
I have stared at this picture for 5 minutes now. I literally have nothing interesting or funny to say. So goes my relationship with Tommy Boredo.
Seriously. Sandwiches are your friend, Andy.
Loved this quote from Masha from her post-match presser:
The amazing thing when I look back to being that young is I really didn't care who anybody was. I don't know. I certainly didn't watch a lot of TV. I actually didn't watch much tennis on TV. That's why when people ask me who was my hero growing up, I never really had one. I don't know why. I don't know if it was because I didn't get to watch so much on TV.
But I remember many big names coming to the academy and practicing. I wasn't overwhelmed by them. I admired them. I always wanted to watch them practice. But I wasn't sitting there with my mouth open and saying, Oh, my goodness, I want to be that person one day.
From this day on, when people tell me, like a girl or little boy comes up to me, say, We're so inspired by you, I want to be just like you. I always say, No, you want to be better than I am. You always want to be better. By no means am I perfect.
I think that's from when I was very young, I never thought anybody was perfect. I admired Hingis' quickness and the way she thought on the court, but I certainly didn't think she was perfect at everything. So I don't know.
The big money stars came out to entertain the kids on a wet Arthur Ashe Kids Day. And it looked like good times were had by all, even that unidentifiable popped-collar-dbag on the the left.
It's always something, with Serena, no? She was a born entertainer.
The look of shock and confusion is pretty great.
And the looks didn't really change for Serena either.
One of these things is awesome. And one of these things is James Blake.
And based on Andy's reaction here, I think you know which is which.
A-Rod's off doing some cross training at Yankee stadium.
(The jury's out on the "comfortability" of the Cole Haan gear.)
And then everyone and their mother showed up to the BNP Paribas Taste of Tennis event as if it were a free buffet. Even the Daveed's sensitive soul couldnt say no to that. But trust me, he was way emo about it. Well, or whatever the Spanish equivalent to emo is.
Shit, even Bepa showed up. BEPA!!! That's how crazy this is! And dudes! She even went to the K Swiss event! Dammit, now I want to just do Patron shots with her. And that's saying something. Because I feel about Patron the way Bepa feels about her racquets.
Let's face it, when Bepa is the only Russian at your cocktail party, something's gone horribly awry. Unless it's like...a U.N. peacekeeping envoy cocktail party, in which case, you better get ready for a shot of peace with a harmony chaser.
But seriously, where are the Serbs in all this? You're telling me a party was thrown and Ana wasn't the guest of honor, Nole wasn't invited, and JJ didn't crash it? What is this world? And where the fuck are Marat and Dina? My head hurts.
I didn't get a chance to watch the Toronto final, but thanks to Double Bagel, we get a nice little recap of Mike Joyce's frustrated coaching timeout.
“All right I’m wrong. It’s fine. You do what you want to do.(!!!!!) Everybody knows you’re tired but either you just give in to yourself and get out of here or fight for it.”
Ah, good times. If only he had dropped a "shitting the pants". Then all would have been right in the world.
For all the ups and downs and momentum shifts in the match, Masha/Kleybs was actually a really fun match to watch. Well, maybe not aesthetically, but tennis-wise, it had its moments.
After the first set it looked like Maria had this in control. Kleybs looked overwhelmed by her power. But then the serving woes hit and she dropped the second 64 and fell behind 3-1 in the third. Kleybs was doing a better job handling Maria's pace and more importantly she was showing off that very perplexing ability of running down balls you would never expect her to.
But then Maria called out Mike Joyce and he seemed to be able to calm her down and give her clarity. From there, Maria just ground it out and came back to take the last set 64.
She advances to the All-Russian Final against Lena today, who she owns, 8-2. That said, I don't give her much of a chance against Lena. But congrats on getting to your first final since the comeback and last night's win means Masha will be seeded at the USO. Is it weird that I'm kind of bummed about that. I liked the thought of Masha as a floater, taking out top seeds early. It's not like she's got a chance to win the whole thing anyway. Might as well make it entertaining.