So here's what I wrote for the Wimbledon site.
Every Forty Deucer knows how much I love music. I'm not all that great about telling people what I'm thinking or what my mental or emotional state is at any given time, but if you ever want to know where I'm at, just look at what I'm listening to that month, that week, that day, that minute. I don't think everyone is like this, obviously, so musical selections can only carry so much weight. For some, music is pure escapism. I can only assume this is why the Black Eyed Peas are so popular, to which I can only say, why the hell would you want to escape TO THERE.
With that in mind, introducing a new off-shoot of Tuesday Tunes, wherein I ask a player to curate the list.
This week, the incomparable Marion Bartoli.
Marion was on-hand to help out with the Stanford draw and, honestly, I can't deal with it right now. Potential 3R Serena/Masha? Masha/Dani 2R? Ana in Marion's quarter? Sam and Sabine, who are playing dubs, possibly clashing in the 2R? And, of course, Vika having a cake draw to the semis? WHY YOU HATE ME, TENNIS GODS?
Pfft, whatever. At least I reacted like a reasonable adult and immediately left the draw ceremony to down five beers. That's how the big girls do it, folks.
Here's the full Stanford draw. Qualies start Saturday. Steph (@bellyflopz), her camera skillz, and I will be creeping around Palo Altos starting on Sunday.
(Pic: Forty Deuce)
Mirka, airing it out au naturale.
Can someone get Andy a towel please? Gross, dude.
Nice to know that Robbo watches the tennis the same way most tennis nerds do: Smart phone in hand.
Celebrities. They're just like us!
All the women who're independent, throw your hands up at me.
All the honeys who makin' money, throw you hands up at me.
All the mommas who profit dollars, throw your hands up at me.
All the ladies who truly feel me, throw your hands up at me.
"Can I just touch it? For a second?"
"No. Get the fuck away."
And so we meet again.
Truly truly truly fantastic.
(Pics: Getty, Reuters, AP)
Look. Marion Bartoli is weird. That's not a knock. That's just a fact. She hits off two hands on both sides, does modern dance between every point, openly crushes on Roger Federer and Pierce Brosnan, lets her dad strap tennis balls to her heels during practice, and insists on wearing the newest Nike kits despite the fact that they refuse to sponsor her.
But you know what? Marion Bartoli is honest. I mean, doesn't all that weirdness prove that? The kid wants what she wants and she doesn't give a fuck if you like it. She speaks her mind at pressers and she is charmingly honest as all get out. She will give you the what's what (according to her, of course) regardless of your question. Last year at Stanford she went off on the FFT, she's gone off on other players, organizations, press, etc.
All this is to say, Marion Bartoli will not be contained. She will keep on keepin' on whether you like it or not. And for that, she has my respect. Trust me, that's way harder to earn than my love.
You were lights out today, 175. You held steady on your home court (maybe not so much in front of your home crowd, which is weirder than you are) and never let Sveta get her teeth into this match. Could Sveta have played better? Absolutely. But Marion gave her enough trouble that she couldn't even focus on her own game. I suspect Sveta severely misunderestimated Mono in this match. Not sure why she would. They're veterans and Sveta should fucking know better. I totally had you as my sleeper pick, Sveta. Way to fall asleep.
So I don't get the rematch that wanted (Sveta vs. Frank) but this one should be interesting. Can Mono wrest away Frank's hold on Chatrier? MEEP!
"I know that if a player has to beat me, either she has to overpower me or she needs to stand there for hours and hours. That's mostly what happens if a player has to beat me.
It's a good feeling to have, because I feel that I'm in good shape. I can stand there for hours and I can take my chances."
That was Caro on Thursday in advance of her semifinal matchup with Masha and as much as we all like to give her shit about her seemingly weaponless game, it's pretty hard to argue with her assessment. "Hit me off the court or outlast me. Those are your options."
Today against Mono, that "or" turned into a very emphatic "and". Caro dominated the first set, running down every ball and forcing misses from Mono.
"See? You can't hit through me."
With her back against he wall and recognizing her gameplan was fail (smart!) Descartes threw caution to the wind in the second, stepping into the court to blast the ball left and right. Caro couldn't get the balls back with interest, Mono capitalized. You know she's is in a good spot when she's standing two feet inside the court in the rallies. To give full-credit to the Mathlete, it wasn't just a fine display of ball-bashing. She came to the net, she mixed up the pace, and she smartly attacked Caro's forehand.
"Oh, crap. You're hitting through me."
But the knock on Marion hasn't been her ability to hit the ball. I think she's proven over the time that she's one of the best ball-strikers if given the time to set up. The knock is her fitness, which, while she's looking trimmer this year, has never improved to the point to make her a real threat in a tough three-setter. I was shocked she made it to the finals at all. She has a history of rolling through the early rounds of tournaments only to hit a wall around the quarterfinals.
"Well, you're going to have to outlast me."
It was clear through the first through games of the third that Mono was out of gas. Her legs were heavy, she was breathing hard, and she just couldn't get any stick on her shots. Caro meanwhile, was fit as a fiddle. That was pretty much the story in this one: fitness --> consistency --> win.
Credit to Mono for a fine run here and a return to the Top 10. It'll be fun having her back in the mix. Her brand of aloof-nuttiness is always fun and, I must say, admirable. I get the sense that hers is a lonely world. I always see her walking around tournaments alone and unrecognized. She doesn't have a crew of countrywomen to hang with either. As she pointed out in her post-match speech, her father is the only person in her box, while Caro's was overflowing with family and friends. For whatever reason, rightly or wrongly (seriously, I'm not judging one way or the other), she's a misfit. And goddammit if I don't love misfits. I may not like your music, but I'll respect your ability to play it.
Congrats to Caro on arguably her biggest title of the year. You have to credit the girl, even if begrudgingly. She's doing everything she can do to quiet the haters. With an injured Kim in Miami, she's gotta be the presumptive favorite, whether we like it or not.
And damn if that kit looks so much better when you cover up the ruffles.
Mono cruised past Wicky to become the first Frenchwoman in to the BNP Paribas Open finals. Good for her. Sometimes it's nice to reminded that a player you don't necessarily like is actually quite good at tennis. She's definitely proven that this week. She has a chance to break back into the top 10 if she wins the title.
But whatever doubts or disdain I have for her on the court, I have nothing but love for her off-court. Chick gives amazing quote. From Matt Cronin's Ticker post:
Marion Bartoli claims that she has a 175 IQ. That IQ is higher the other published numbers of famous people, including Plato (170), Beethoven (165), Albert Einstein, Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking (160), the same as philosopher Immanuel Kant, but below that of chess players Gary Kasparov (190) and Bobby Fisher (187). Interestingly, Bartoli's father, Walter, is a chess buff.
"I hope to be that good in tennis one day,” she said with a laugh. "I did a test when I was younger, but I'm not really someone that is really telling everyone, 'Oh, I'm so smart.' I'm kind of hiding it. But that's how I am, you know. It just comes naturally. That's how I was born with."
Marion Bartoli and Lady Gaga: Born this way.
Of course, I've been having a go at her all day via Twitter:
It's a good day when you get to combine Scientology and Marion Bartoli into a good joke.
Mono fought off some sort of virus or food poisoning to end Ana's inspired run in Indian Wells, 64 76. It was, to use a technical tennis term, a bummer. All credit to Mono. She was clearly struggling physically but once the point started she wasn't missing off either wing and she was running down everything, putting pressure on Ana to hit not only an extra ball but a better ball. Marion has always been one of those players who seems unbeatable when she's on. She didn't have her A+ game today. But it was pretty damn good. She'll face Yanina next, a match I will very likely not be watching.
All that said, Ana clearly had her chances. The two traded breaks for much of the second set and while she'd play perfect aggressive tennis while returning, Ana seemed to take her foot off the gas pedal juuuuuuuuuust a bit on her service games to give Mono a sniff. The big serve that bailed her out against JJ just wasn't there today and she looked slow off the jump. It's almost as though she's so shocked her serves go in that she isn't ready for the ball coming back.
The epic rally on the third point of the second set tiebreak sealed the deal for Ana. It was a grueling point that ended with Ana flat on her back and completely winded. It seemed to take her lungs and legs for the next few points and she wouldn't recover until they changed ends. But it was too late.
Still, considering that she came into this tournament with minimal expectations and came out of it with three straight wins and notching her biggest win of the year over a Top 10 player, I choose to look at the positives. I just really want her to get her legs under her by the time clay comes around. She could really do some damage there if her confidence is up.
See you in Miami, Ana! Call me if you want to grab a drink to talk about how Indian Wells is a far superior tournament ;)
(Pics: Forty Deuce)
Kim was forced to retire at 63 13 to Mono due to the shoulder injury that she's been complaining about all week, which she says she started feeling as early as the Australian Open.
The retirement means that Caro will retain the top ranking and, instead of playing Kim, Ana will play Mono. Kim says she's still planning to play Miami, but you have to think the rest of the field smells blood in the water. If I'm Kim I'm more concerned with getting healthy in preparation for a title run at Roland Garros. No need to run down the body and play injured.
I'm going to guess that Walter's "tennis balls taped to your heels" drill off the table for a while.
You can't catch all the action when you're running around the grounds, so I obviously didn't watch the Bartoli/Manasieva match. I assumed that Mono would roll. She dropped a double bagel on Tax Garbin in the first round and she was 4-0 up on the hard-hitting Manasieva, whom I had seen at USO qualies where she lost to Robbie. That was 16 straight games for Mono. So I couldn't help but chuckle when I saw her finally drop a game at 5-1 and call the trainer. I mean, you would chuckle (ok fine, I scoffed and guffawed) too.
But it turns out that, to the shock of no one, I'm an asshole. Mono would lose the match and, as it turns out, L'Equipe reports that she's suffered a tear in her calf muscle that will take her out of competition for six weeks.
So sorry for laughing, dude. That blows.
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.
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.
The court conditions were tough today folks, with on-court thermometers hitting the 120F mark. But you know what they say, the conditions are the same for everyone and everyone's gotta deal. JJ, the top seed at her second straight tournament, got bounced in straight sets by Akgul, denying us a JJ/Ana quarterfinal. I know that Akgul's big server, but this is a match that you expect JJ to win, using her movement and strokes to grind down her slower opponent in the blazing heat. But I guess Cincy is to Akgul as California is to Dani. She just seems to find some mojo there. The last time a qualifier made the quarters in Cincy? 2007. And yes, it was Akgul. Which means she's building quite the fan base:
A more respectable loss for Caro, losing to Mono in straights in her first tournament in the US after her run to the title in Copenhagen last week. Word on the street is that Caro's beefed up her serve. That's nice to hear, but once again she plays a match that shows that she, just like JJ and Aga, can be hit through. If the field wasn't quivering in their shoes at the thought of playing these counterpunchers before, they definitely aren't quivering now.
It'll be interesting to see how these two rebound in Montreal. Oh, and in a stroke of comedy, they'll swap places heading into to Montreal. That's right, Caro's back to #2.
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.
After that first set, which Mono won 6-3, it looked like she was going to run away with it. She was painting lines, hitting hard and flat, and building a 3-0 lead in the second set. But Vika picked up her game, started returning better, and was able to carry that form through to take the match.
But the real story was in their pressers, which I missed because, as Matt Cronin pointed out, I was hell bent on not missing a point of Sam's match. Thankfully I got the audio from the WTA.
It basically involved the issue of grunting, obviously spurred on by Vika's incessant thing she does. Seriously, you can hear her from across the grounds, even during practice:
"Yeah of course it's difficult to play against those kind of players. I think it's fine to grunt sometimes when you make an effort but sometimes it's just so loud, you know, it's hard to focus on your side of the net.
For sure, if you have a Azarenka/Sharapova match you better come with some earplugs. I try not to be that annoying but I played her before in Eastbourne in this year and in the first game of the match everyone was laughing about it so it was quite disturbing as well. But I think she's done that since childhood and it's just something that every time she plays tennis she's doing it even on practice. So it's not something we can change, I guess, about her.
Larcher de Brito when she was playing was is even louder than her. That was really disturbing because her grunting would continue even when the ball was coming on your side....I don't think Victoria is not that bothering.
You kind of get used it, honestly. It's kind of disturbing for the first 10 or 15 minutes but after you get used to it."
Of course, Vika would get asked about it too:
"Yeah, well, a lot of things can distract people, like doing this [imitates Bartoli's wrist waggle] when you serve can also be distracting. But I don't pay attention. But that's the way I play.... With me, the grunt is always there - in practice and in play. Ever since I was a kid, I was pretty weak and I needed that extra power.
There are some players that like to fake injuries and think they're dying out there but then the point starts they are running for every ball. But it's part of the game. You try to win however you can."
And in a moment of levity, Vika ranks her grunting:
"I don't know. I think I'm top 10? [laughter]"
Even Sam, somehow, got pulled into this:
To be honest during matches I don't notice it too much against opponents. I've played her in the past, and some of the other...known...grunters. [laughter] When I'm playing against them I don't notice it. But when I watching TV or on the sidelines, of course I notice it.
Hopefully it'll be the same tomorrow [laughter]. I mean, I'm not stupid. I know who's loud and who's not, but it doesn't really bother me.
There are little mannerisms that certain players have that annoy you more than others. But that's part of the game. I'm sure that most of the time they're not doing it to try to put the other player off. It's just part of their routine or whatever they do. Maybe some days you're looking for outside things to annoy you as well. Maybe you're not playing well that day so it's annoying you that day more than others.
It's all much ado about nothing. And again, the comments are going to rile up different fan bases. But just remember that these comments were in response to questions. They weren't brought up sua sponte from the players, who, to their credit, all answered pretty honestly here. It shouldn't be held against them.
I'll say what I've always said: If you seriously think you lost a match or your opponent had an edge because you got annoyed about a grunt (and I exclude Burrito in this because I do think her prolonged grunt is a problem from a technical standpoint) then, well, yeah, you should have lost. You can't use it as an excuse.
Incidentally, Mono picks a Stosur/Sharapova final. And Vika doesn't drink beer.
Another tournament, another early round loss for Ana. This one was more respectable though, not that anyone will believe it. People will look at this scoreline and just chalk it up to Ana's slump. Sure, yeah, I mean, a little. But let's give credit where it's due. Mono played great. She was absolutely crushing the ball, putting Ana on the defensive early and, when Ana did get into an offensive position, forcing Ana to hit the extra ball.
After the match Ana said that Mono was hitting harder and deeper and serving better than in their three prior matches. She also cited the court and conditions, saying that the court was playing fast and the ball was moving much more quickly than she expected. She felt she was a "little bit late" on her shots. And from a spectator's perspective that's exactly what it looked like.
Still, it's tough to watch. This match, much like most of Ana's matches these days, turned on 3-5 points. But Ana tacitly admitted after the match that the big points are all about confidence and she's working on removing the doubt that she has on those point to allow her to play freely. She still feels more sure of her shots than she did, say, two months ago. But it's a work in progress.
Just to reiterate, Ana didn't play poorly here. This wasn't one of those shambolic performances that force you back to the drawing board. She got plain beat while playing about a B game. There are a lot of positives to take away from this tournament and I for one have been really encouraged by what I've seen. She's off to San Diego next week and lucky for her, I won't be there to fuck up her draw.
Because seriously, her draw was fucked up.
"It was crazy. But at the end of the day the French media likes that kind of stuff. And I think they just want to build up...I mean the are great because at some point they invented a story without anything. To be able to create a story without any kind of beginning of a story is quite a major achievement. But I guess it will always be like this. The year before it was Razzano, the year before it was Cornet, so it's always like this."
In response to a question as to whether she wants to talk privately with Aravane to tell her things have been blown out of proportion or untrue, and a question on her relationship with the FFT:
Boom. Suck it, France.
Marion's problems with the FFT are long documented but they primarily revolve around the fact that the FFT won't let any outside coaches for Fed Cup, which means her father can't help her prepare. She explained today that she doesn't need him as her on-court coach, but she does need him to prepare for her matches. Until this is resolved, don't expect Mono to fly the flag.
As for her post-Wimbledon break, she attended her older brother's wedding in Carcassonne. It was a crazy wedding, apparently. "We finished at 5am. Everyone in the pool. Including me, of course." And she didn't go voluntarily. "They pushed me."
Towards the end of the time the conversation turned to Serena. "I heard she has a cut on her feet, right? She can play no match before the US Open and still win the US Open without dropping a set. So that's not a huge issue for her...Eh, she won Wimbledon so she can have the whole summer off. That's not a problem for her. I heard she arrived 3 days before the Championship at Wimbledon from New York and she still won it."
And on what makes Serena so tough:
"She has the serve. She can serve 4 aces and you don't touch the ball for 2, 3, 4, 5 games in a row. And that's it. When you see the Wimbledon final, Vera was in the final, for the major part of the match she didn't barely one point on return of serve against Serena.... She can serve every type of serve, everywhere in the box, with the speed she wants, and a topspin, flat, slice, so (pause) that's a weapon, yes? And she's quite intimidating when you play Serena in a match. You don't feel very comfortable, to be honest."
I feel bad because with all of these pressers, the tone can't be conveyed in a black and white quote. Marion, Sam, Elena, and Aga were totally great. Very funny, quick to laugh, very approachable and easy to talk to.
You know, if, unlike me, you had the balls to actually talk to them.
So the draw ceremony. Marion came in looking tan and fit and giggly. After drawing the top 8 seets, the press corp got to draw tokens to fill out the rest of the draw. I pulled twice.
So you can blame me for the Ana/Kleybs first rounder in the completely loaded Mono/Vika quarter. People in the press room who are familiar with FD either stifled a giggle or shot me a headshaking grin. My reputation precedes me.
Pretty crazy draw, actually. Sam should breeze into the quarters, where she's projected to play Wicky. The Mono/Vika draw is a tough one to call, but I'm going to tap Mono coming out of that. She just likes it here. My dark horse is MaKiri out of the Peer/ARad quarter. Wouldn't be surprised if Dani makes a run there, too if she can get past Shahar, who's got her right thigh taped up. As for the Russian quarter, I'm charting a Masha/Lena third rounder. But you gotta love the rematches there: Maria/Jay Z 1R, Dinara/Kimiko 1R, and potential Dinara/Lena 2R.
If I had to guess, I'd say a Sam/Maria final. Of course, that just might be my wishful thinking.
Will update with the draw when they release it. Until then, feel free to squint.
I'm not sure what's up with the tennis journos in London right now but they need to seriously step up their game. I mean, these are the elite athletes in, what most would argue, the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world. They're trying their hardest and I would suggest you do the same.
I know the World Cup is a big deal and I love any chance I get to laugh at France's general ineptitude, but I really could give two shits what Mono's thoughts are on the matter, or Gael's, especially in light of the fact that YOU DIDN'T ASK ONE QUESTION ABOUT THE MATCH OR THE TOURNAMENT. And why are you spending 90% of Kolya's presser asking him about Davis Cup when he just came back from two sets down? I mean, Stan just got ousted from the tournament and this is what you came up with?
Look, if you don't want to interview them then just don't. But don't make them come into the press room for this crap and then pat yourselves on the back as though you've done your job for the day.
Step it up, guys!
Please keep playing well. We need your brand of crazy on a more regular basis.
And I have a whole notebook full of poetry dedicated to you. You're my muse!
Ah. The irony of yellow.
Scuba! Scuba! Scuba!
Embrace your inner Techno.
"This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes."
Posted by C Note on June 01, 2010 in Andy Murray, ATP, Fernando Verdasco, Francesca Schiavone, Jelena Jankovic, Justine Henin, Lleyton Hewitt, Maria Kirilenko, Marion Bartoli, Nadia Petrova, Pic This!, Rafa Nadal, Roland Garros, Serena Williams, The Mighty Fed | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
After Nads took care of Rezai in like, 15 minutes, Mono became the last French woman standing. Shahar put an end to that. You have to love Shahar. Not only is she a no-nonsense professional in how she approaches the game but she always brings the fight. She may get outplayed or fail to execute, but you know she's always fired up and bringing it. And I'm pretty sure I'd pick her to have my back if I ever got into a back alley brawl. You do *not* fuck with the Mossad. All that is to say, regardless of her results, it's really easy to be a Peer fan.
Especially when Tennis Channel airs shit like this:
Q. Yesterday Marion Bartoli, after she finished her match, she showed some jealousy against you and the interest we, the press, have for you instead of her. What do you think about it?
ARAVANE REZAI: Well, Marion is a difficult girl. She already attacked me two years ago when I reached the final in Istanbul. So it's a bit strange she says that, because okay, if she has a problem with me, I don't know, because I did nothing. That's a bit of a shame, but that's her education. I mean, she attacked me many times in the press. I don't have the same education as the one she has. I think I have respect for players. I do what I have to do. I get on with many people. But with Marion, it's very difficult. She has difficulties getting included with the other girls.But it's a shame she says that, because I'm a French player, just like her. So that kind of behavior is a bit of a shame, because I never had any bad behavior towards her. I always showed respect for the other players, and I think players that deserve to be spoken about in the media, well, it's because they deserve it.
But today I'm on the Fed Cup team, I'm part of many things. I try and get included to many things, and if she's not happy, she is not that much in the media. I guess she has to make efforts just like I did. Then she has to see what she wants to say.
Oh, Cone. I miss you.
More after the jump.
Posted by C Note on May 25, 2010 in Alize Cornet, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Andy Murray, Andy Roddick, Dinara Safina, Jeremy Chardy, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Juan Monaco, Lleyton Hewitt, Maria Sharapova, Marion Bartoli, Pic This!, Rafa Nadal, Roland Garros, Sam Querrey, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Yanina Wickmayer | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)
Jesus. Talk about looking woo-- oh, no, that's just Marion.
She retired in the third set to Peng due to "dizziness". Yeah, I "retire" from running in the first 3 minutes due to "dizziness". The difference is, I'm not a professional athlete. Just sayin'.
Aw, shit. You think she's gonna put me on blast on Twitter? Fingers crossed!
"Yeah, I saw Serena before the match. I said to her, It's not fair you're dressing up so nicely. I'm gonna watch more what you're wearing than the ball. She looked really amazing."
-- Mono. I don't think it's a coincidence that I love everyone who hates her and hate everyone she loves. No coincidence at all.
Gotta make this quick but here's a pictorial round-up on yesterday's action, none of which I watched.
Fer, please get a kit that fits, a racquet that works, and a haircut that makes you aerodynamic. Tomas, please forget that you're in the semifinals of a Masters tournament after beating two top 10 players.
So...I'm guessing I shouldn't hold my breath anymore in anticipation of Sod's return to mediocrity. Second straight Masters semifinal for the embodiment of Evil.
It wasn't easy, but they're through. Some in spectacular fashion (Johnny!) and some in grinding fashion (Elf and Andy) and some in "last woman standing" fashion (Justine and Jay Z).
Florence played a fantastic match against A-Rod, but this not being Davis Cup, he faltered at the key moments. A-Rod played passively and refused to get anywhere near an attacking mode, and Feli took advantage. But in the end, it wasn't enough. He definitely gave A-Rod a scare though.
This was the match of the day for me, as Gael and Halpert played a fantastic three sets after Gael finally woke up after the first. This match pretty much came down to Halpert playing two *amazing* tiebreaks. He showed tremendous poise and guts, and its clear that he's improved in all aspects of his game: groundies, net, and movement. Gael played well, Halpert was just better. Really happy for him.
If Kleybs was going to pull this off it had to be in straight sets. Once she couldn't take that second set, eventually losing 4-6, she was gassed and Justine cruised. But I think she encouraged the field, showing that Justine is still vulnerable to big hitters. She also clearly suffered physically from her grueling match against Lena. She was a step slow and off on her groundies during the first set and a half. So kudos to Kleybs (who seems a good 10 pounds lighter) for making her play a tough 3 sets. Perhaps the field will tire Justine out as the tourney goes on. She doesn't have a break in the next round: Bring on Wickmayer.
I'm going to assume that somewhere in the middle of the second set, Mono found out that JJ lost that morning. And then all motivation left her. Or, you know, she's Mono and she ran out of gas. But yay, China!
As for Elf, I don't know what's up but he was fiddling with his forearm taping throughout the first set. Is it injury? Is it rust? I don't know. Hope he figures it out soon. Those big legs won't have enough left if he keeps this up.
For a second there I thought Bali was immune to the "limping to the finish line" theme. Shame on me for forgetting that Marion was involved.
I didn't see the match, but from the pictures it looked like Mono was in some real pain and did try to fight through the injury. She actually had set point at 5-2 in the first before Rezai was able to reel off the next 5 games. After that, Mono retired in tears, giving Rezai the title and her Top 30 ranking.
And as if it couldn't be more ironic, the retirement means Mono will stay outside of the Top 10, allowing her the opportunity to play as many tourneys as she wants next year.
Look, I have no doubt that she was hurt this time. But at what point do you not look around and realize that you've retired from so many frickin' matches relative to other WTAers, that clearly there is something wrong with your training regimen. It's really ridiculous and, honestly, irresponsible.
An all French final in Bali as both Mono and Rezai go undefeated into the final. It's an unlikely final but a satisfying one, I think. I wonder what the FFT is thinking, though. These aren't exactly their favorite Frenchies.
And correct me if I'm wrong here, but don't these two not get along? Or am I just trying to build in some drama where there is none? It's happened before.
If Marion wins, she's in the Top 10 and subject to the Roadmap (heh). If Aravane wins, she'll crack the Top 30.
Uh...GO KIMIKO AND ARAVENE!
Group A: (1) Marion Bartoli (FRA) d. Shahar Peer (ISR) 63 62
Group B: María José Martínez Sánchez (ESP) d. (2) Samantha Stosur (AUS) 76(4) 75
Group C: Vera Dushevina (RUS)* d. Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) 26 61 75
Group D: (4/WC) Sabine Lisicki (GER) d. Melinda Czink (HUN) 62 67(1) 64
The confusingly named Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions has kicked off in Bali. I'm not sure anyone would describe Melinda Czink as a "Champion" per se, but whatever. I'm tired, it's the end of the season, I'll go with it.
Here's your 12 woman field:
Vera is actually there as an alternate. Sammy Stones and MJMS are also in the draw, though they were probably still on the boat from Doha.
Speaking of which, I'm craving a Pina Colada all of a sudden. Not virgin.
Here are the groups:
The ladies will play Ring around the Robin, and the top player from each group will advance to the semis.
For more on how Indonesia knows how to throw a party, read this.
Dinara, Serena, Caro, Sveta, Venus, Elena and Vika are already in. That means there's one spot left for the Year End Championships in Doha...
Nice to see you're so excited about making your second straight semifinal by beating Lena, Agi. Don't ever change. Kuz cruised over Pavs in straight sets, setting up a fantastically headcasey semifinal against...
The Serena Slayer. Big ups to Nads, who followed up her win over Serena with a three set win over Bollitieri Beater Shuai Peng. Peng took the first set in a tiebreaker and was playing really well until she hurt her left leg. From there is was just a matter of time before Nads ran away with it, though seriously, she was still Nadsy about it. Headcases forever!
And in the "Wha happen???" story of the day, Mono somehow rallied from 63 51 down to win over Bepa. What. The. Fuck. Vera. She only won 7 points in the second set after leading 5-1.
Even after Kim dropped the first set 75, was there really any doubt that she'd pull this off against Mono?
And after Kimmy won the second set 61, was there really any doubt that Mono would call a MTO for what looked like a broken vagina? Ok, yes, that picture doesn't capture it. But when she was lying on the ground and the trainer was palpating, it looked like a broken vagina, or at least a vaginal sprain. And as I said on Twitter, I don't know the specifics of Mono's anatomy so I'm going to stick with broken vagina.
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)
Well Stanford was the Williamses in a nutshell. If it ain't a Slam, Serena can and will lose early and Venus, while more consistent than Serena, can go wonky at any time and lose to consistent hitters.
Hell of a performance by Mono, who wavered a bit but sacked up and courageously stepped up her game late in the third for the win. This is only her first WTA Premier title. I really didn't think she had it in her. I figured, as most of us probably did, that she'd crumble under the pressure. So all credit to Mono for finding the will to fight on, especially after missing her chances serving for the match. I guess the bathroom break after the second set helped. Amazing what five minutes in heaven with your laminated picture of Pierce Brosnan can do.
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
Fantastic run for my favorite Canuck. There's just something so damn likeable about her. The French-Canadian-Polish accent, the perpetual smile, the little extra chub, the completely mismatched and out of season Adidas gear. What's not to love? So good on her for this impressive run. Just goes to show that on fast(ish) surfaces, she's a dangerous lurker. Remember what happened last year in Stanford?
So we get yet another Woz-Woz matchup. I wonder if CanWoz was waiting courtside to give Caro a high five this time. Yeah, probably not. We all know how that worked out last time.
As for the other semi it'll be an all French affair (seriously, why can't you girls play on CLAY?). I guess I'll go with the Gypsy on this one, mainly because she dumped A-Rad out today. Can't wait to see Agi's artistic rendering of that one.
(6) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. (Q) Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 63 62
Virginie Razzano (FRA) d. (8) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 76(5) 75
Marion Bartoli (FRA) d. Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) 61 64
Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) d. (Q) Vera Dushevina (RUS) 61 60