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.
Fine, don't look at me. It's cool.
Looking lighter and leaner (she's reportedly dropped 4.5 kilos in the off-season) Samdog Millionaire (wow, where'd that one come from?) played a solid match against the always tough Yanina. Sam couldn't seem to find her range early on and Wicks was serving well and getting her out of position in the rallies, but at 4-5 she seemed to step it up, lock down her shots, and play with aggression. She'd take the match 75 64, fighting off not only Wicky, but the ball kids, who kept tossing the balls right at her feet as she was walking towards them. Yes, let's break the ankles of Australia's only hope at a Grand Slam trophy. Good idea, kids.
Hey, wanna see something cool? These two pics were taken at two separate times:
Pros: They're not at all like us.
The first thing that strikes you as you make your way to the Sydney Olympic Park is just how much of a hike it is from Sydney proper. According to Twitter, I was sitting on a relatively slow moving train for about an hour (I know this because I complained on Twitter for about an hour), then had to transfer to a shuttle train to take me to the Park. Sounds simple, right? Well when you tack on a good 20 minute walk from the station to the actual tennis venue (Sydney Olympic Park housed multiple venues so it's more like a college campus than anything else), we're talking over an hour and a half door to door. In hotter temperatures (it was relatively mild today because of the morning rain) I could see that 20 minute walk being a deal breaker.
I'm also from San Francisco. Put simply, I am an impatient candyass. Please disregard all prior (and, if you want, subsequent) comments, complaints, and criticisms.
But once you find your way to the tennis venue, this is, as far as I can tell so far, yet another quality event that should give tennis fans lots of bang for their buck. The grounds are fairly compact, with no more than a 3-5 minute walk from the outside courts to the main stadium and the for the most part you get unobstructed viewing access to my raison d'etre: the practice courts. Sure, the sun gets a little toasty during the late afternoon, but something tells me you Aussies would scoff if I said that out loud. As for me, I hid out in the air conditioned media center for much of the day. Please see paragraph 2.
After picking up my media cred, I did what I always do at tournaments: I got distracted at the practice courts. Now mind you, I had a 4 hour red-eye that got me into Sydney at 7am, a 1.5 hour meandering, f-bomb-filled sweat-fest as I tried to find the place I was staying, and then a figurative punch to the gut on the news of the crazy happenings in Arizona today.
In short, I was in a really crappy mood, especially after that long commute in from the city. But you know what? Tennis absolutely never lets me down.
Ok, that's a total lie but let's not talk about AO10, RG10, SW19 09, etc. Ruins my super uplifting story.
Where was I?
Oh yeah, tennis absolutely never lets me down. The minute I put that distinctive blue lanyard over my head (by the by, should I be concerned that there's an Emergency Action Plan printed on the back of my credential?) and heard the sweet sweet ping of a tennis ball, everything seemed worth it. Not even Vika's banshee wail could leave me in my funk.
Also a lie. It did. When I saw her practicing I spun on my heel and took the opportunity to go to the restroom.
Anyway, on to the practice courts.
Welcome to the Top 5, Sammy, and with that, a guaranteed top 4 seeding in Melbourne. She played a rusty match (was down two breaks in the first) but sometimes you gotta pull a Gilbert (translation: win ugly) and be happy.
But enough of that. Let's talk about the thing that's on all our minds: WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO, LACOSTE??? Sleeves??? A logoless cap that looks like it was bought at a truck stop in Santa Cruz??? SLEEVES??? I mean, yay to separates, but SLEEVES???!!!???!!??!.
Also, boo on the Asics.
Both Sam and A-Rod are donating $100 for every ace they serve this week in Brisbane to benefit the victims of the floods that are affecting tens of thousands in Sam's homestate of Queensland.
Sam knows floods. When she was six a flood destroyed her family's home and business on the Gold Coast. They had to relocate to Adelaide.
“We lost everything, photos, furniture, all our possessions apart from what we were wearing. It could have been a lot worse as my younger brother’s cot was completely submerged in water but he was in my parent’s bed that night. I also remember Daniel diving for my mum’s wedding ring which she lost in the water – he found it."
Huge props to both. You know what would be even huger? If everyone else in the draw would just sit back and let them get aced and Andy and Sam won the tournament without ever having to see a serve returned.
Just throwin' it out there. Or how about a Hit 4 Queensland? Brainstorming and the like.
"Sam always thought she had to hit backhand cross-courts with the best girls in the world. But the first thing I saw was: `Well, you've just got to hit backhands through the middle and lines to get more forehands. Why are you trying to go string for strings? Get it back on your terms'. No one had ever told her that and I can't believe that. It's pretty simple - the more forehands she gets, the more chances she has to win. It's not rocket science. Steffi Graf made a career out of it. And from then on, Sam said that (approach) just took all the pressure off to know she had this great shot she never (used before). She used to practise it for hours.
I just told her: `If you're going to win 70 per cent of your points with your forehand and serve, well that's what you should be practising. Not practising the two per cent shot, and I think that's a big philosophy I've got."
-- David Taylor, on his convincing Sam that she is 70% awesome. Keep practicing your awesome, Sam.
(Pic This: Forty Deuce)
No. Not actually. BUT YOU GUYS.
Sam is only a few points behind Venus in the rankings and could very well be ranked #4 going into the Australian Open. Heck one win would do it considering that there's no word on what Venus' warm-up tourney schedule might be and Sam's playing both Brisbane and Sydney.
As a random Sam-aside, I keep reading all these year-end lists and everyone keeps talking about how Sam "underperformed" or had a let-down in the RG final. The thing is, I totally don't remember it that way. I just thought she got outplayed by an inspired Fran. It's not like she came out and played like crap and yet that's how it's being spun. Kind of annoys me.
But the fact that Sam and Dave have finally reviewed the tape and seem to have come to the conclusion that Fran was too good that day, at least I feel like she doesn't feel like it was a let-down. Considering how Dave has historically been super honest and critical of Sam, that means something. Kind of.
Woman! Get yourself a bigger grill!
I still have to do a double take when I see Ana ahead of Masha. It seemed as Masha was actually part of the conversation at every Slam, while Ana had an eight month pity party. Solid years from Nails and Shahar (though really, how did that happen?) and nice to see Lil' Mash and Pavs finish the year with the highest year-end rankings of their careers. Hell, that can be said of a lot of the ladies: Caro, Bepa, Sam, Fran, Nails and Shahar, to name a few.
As for the guys, it's still weird to see Mischa in the top 10 and I'm shocked that Marin's first six weeks basically carried him to a top 15 ranking. But what's really surprising is the Tournaments Played stat.
Muzz played the fewest number of tournaments in the top 25, only 19, which is two fewer than the three big boys ahead of him. Sod played 24 tourneys and Tomas played 26(!), and I don't think this includes Davis Cup ties.
Marcos played 29 tournaments? That just makes his participation in New Haven either Herculean or Dumb and Dumber, depending on your take. Speaking of Dumb and Dumber, Sam Q really needs to take a look at his schedule next year. 27 tournaments? No wonder the guy was gassed through the second half of the year.
I'm still blown away that Andy only played 19 tournaments. That explains my state of constant longing.
Posted by C Note on November 29, 2010 in Ana Ivanovic, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Andy Murray, ATP, Caroline Wozniacki, Francesca Schiavone, Marcos Baghdatis, Maria Kirilenko, Maria Sharapova, Marin Cilic, Na Li, Robin Soderling, Sam Querrey, Sam Stosur, Shahar Peer, Vera Zvonereva, WTA | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)
Ah, Thanksgiving. A day where TSA agents will "Pope" thousands of reluctant travelers, mothers and grandmothers will fist a headless bird with breadcrumbs and chestnuts (kinky!), and dysfunctional families will avoid awkward personal conversations by talking about Brett Favre's cock and eating their feelings in the form of a small feast that could feed a bustling African village.
God Bless America, I say.
It is also a time to stop and be thankful. At least that's what I was told in second grade when I was tracing my hand to make a turkey out of construction paper. Those were innocent times.
Things I Am Thankful For:
Now go eat your fucking turkeys, turkeys. The shrill voice of Liezel compels you.
Heh. I love that Sam still has her Doha polish.
WTA Superfans rounds up some of the ladies' vacay plans.
Long torso. Short legs. Corgi. Rest up, Sammy. I want you to be like this in eight weeks:
BELIEVE IN YOUR DREAMS.
''Women's tennis is limited by what they mentally are achieving, and I think the men's game is more about the tennis. And if Sam can make it about the tennis, her tennis is good. Maybe the tennis is good enough to be [number] one in the world. If Caroline has reached that point, why not Sam? I think Sam is maybe more explosive, Caroline is better mentally, you could say, and if Sam can improve that part, she's got the tennis. She's top five, for sure, tennis [wise]; maybe not top five mentally at the moment.''
-- Dave Taylor, before Sam beat Caro. If that's what he's willing to tell the press I wonder what he actually says to her face. No wonder she's freaked out all the time.
Not that he's wrong. I mean...really. Besides, I would much rather have a coach who told me like it is rather than blow sunshine up my ass.
And no, that wasn't an accidental choice of words.
But thankfully, Sam's got friends like Frank:
''I think always before to win a grand slam you have to be a big person inside. A champion inside is not just tennis, forehand and backhand. So Sam is [a] fantastic person. She has the mentality part that she can do it. At the end of the match I say to her 'I played very good', but she has for sure the chance to win one day a grand slam. Of course, she has to work harder every day, but is good way for Sam.''
From your mouth to Sam's ears, Frankie.
And yes, this was just an excuse to post that picture.
No, that's not my locker combination. It's the ages of our semifinalists.
Alright. With Vera's surprise win over Kim, in straight sets nonetheless, the semifinals are finally set. Thanks for nothing, Vera. You better fucking beat Caro, that's all I'll say about that.
Kim's 4-0 against Sam. BUT Sam did finally take a set off her at the USO and, really, should have won that match. So...ah, who am I kidding? Just get a set off her, Sam. That would be nice.
Despite their 3-3 H2H, based on form you gotta go with Bepa.
Let's do this, ladies.
Here's your OOP, which now includes the doubles championship:
1. Raymond/Stubbs vs. Peschke/Srebotnik (15.00hrs)
2. Kim Clijsters vs. Samantha Stosur (NB 17.30hrs)
3. Caroline Wozniacki vs. Vera Zvonareva
4. Dulko/Pennetta vs. King/Shvedova (NB 20.30hrs)
(Pics: WTA Site, Getty, AP)
Some cool (or not cool, depending on your fandom) facts and figures out of Doha:
Wasn't that fun?
The semifinalists are set for Doha and if you look at that group it's hard to argue, as Brodie said, that of the eight players in Doha these aren't the four impact players of 2010. You've got the world #1 who was virtually unbeatable for the second half of the year, the world #2 who found her stride and made two back to back Slam finals, a defending Grand Slam champ who will likely end the year at least #3 in the world despite having to skip a Slam, and a new giant killer who proved this year that she has the game to beat anyone on any day (yes, even people named Serena) and will finish the year as the only player to beat both Serena and Woz while they were reigning #1s, aka, the chick who turned this blogger's stone heart into melty goo.
If that alone doesn't qualify as "huge impact" then you need to go read a dictionary for a bit.
While you do that I'll be in the corner with my Strunk & White trying to learn how to not write a sentence that goes on for seven lines.
But congrats to all four. Sam clinched her spot after she took the first set over Elena. Clearly she knew this and decided, as I did, to take a celebratory nap after that. Elena would take the next two sets, 64 76(4).
Just kidding. It was nice to see Elena pick up her game and play well. After that dismal performance against Caro on Tuesday it wasn't looking good for her. But she gets her revenge on Sam. Good on her.
Speaking of Caro, it was looking dicey has hell for the wannabe #1 after that first set, which Fran took 63. But the Kid righted the ship and took the next two 61 61 to clinch her spot in the semis and the year-end #1 ranking.
I haven't seen this match yet but I can't wait. Despite the scoreline I hear there were some tremendous rallies. You get on with your bad self, Fran. Now go win tomorrow to get yourself a $200k paycheck (well-deserved given the amount of on-court entertainment she's brought all week) and get thee to San Diego, where I will be rooting for you to raise that Fed Cup.
Sigh. What are we supposed to do with you, Vika? Look, everyone knows your potential is HUGE. I'm pretty sure we all thought you were going to be the first kid from your generation to hit #1, not that Danish Muppet. But it seemed as though every time you were under the radar you'd come out of nowhere with a quality run (Stanford) and when you were over the radar (I don't know...that works, right?) you would collapse, sometimes literally. The talent is there. But you gotta get fitter in the body and the head. It's just really frustrating to watch.
And mind you, I'M NOT EVEN A FAN! I actively root for you to lose. In fact, if I were to be blatantly honest, I pretty much root for you to literally collapse on the court (caveat: so long as you don't actually hurt yourself). When you walk by me at tournaments I have to hug the wall for fear that I might spontaneously kick you in the kidney. But I don't hate you as much as I love tennis and for the good of the game you need to be good. Besides, I can't hate on you when you're losing all the time. It just seems cruel.
Oh. She lost to Kim, 64 57 61. Yet another third set collapse (figuratively). Kim's win meant both she and Bepa clinched the group.
But don't go anywhere! There's still stuff to play for tomorrow! I'm really looking forward to Lena vs. Fran and Kim vs. Vera. Kim and Vera are the only undefeated players left and whoever wins will play Caro (loser gets Sam, as is life) and be eligible for bonus money for going undefeated in RR play if they win the title. Plus, and maybe I'm naive here, but I don't think any of those four will be tanking their matches. There's a lot of pride on the line.
It's a shame they're not both wearing flannel. Opportunity lost.
Thanks to the hard working folks at the WTA, here are the Doha scenarios going into tomorrow:
First up, we've got this rematch. It would be great if Elena were fully fit and able to compete at a top level, but based on what I saw against Caro on Tuesday, that looks doubtful. She said after the match that it wasn't her ankle but the heat that was affecting her. Either way, she did not look great on Tuesday.
Let's go, Sammy! Win and clinch not only your group but a year-end top 5 ranking.
And in the nightcap we have a rematch of the RG quarterfinal, where Fran really started her remarkable run by busting Caro 2 and 3. Fran leads the H2H 2-1, but Caro won their last hard court meeting this year in Montreal fairly easily. If Caro wins, she'll clinch the year-end ranking. If Fran wins, well, she'll be awesome and the WTA's collective foreheads will hit the desk.
The most anticipated match of the day for most will be Vika vs. Kim. Vika is 0-1 after losing to Bepa in straights. Kim is 1-0 after beating JJ in straights. Needless to say, this is a must win for Vika and it will be a good test to see where Kim's game really is.
This one's a toss-up for me, but I'm going with Kim. She leads the H2H 2-1 with both wins coming on hardcourts.
Sorry, Sunshine. Not today.
Or as Sven might say, NOT TODAY!!!!
A fantastic match from Sam, where we saw her play within herself, engage in intelligent shotmaking, and play the big points well, beating the current #1 and Never-Loser Caro, 64 63. Seriously, this only her third loss since Wimbledon, which is crazy because she also plays, like, four tournaments a week.
Just a really clean and awesome performance from Sam. The first set was pretty tight, with Sam having to climb out of break point holes seemingly on every service game. But once she finally started serving and hitting into Caro's forehand, things seemed to get easier. She was able to open up space on the court and not let Caro dictate with her backhand, which she hits much harder, flatter, and with more angle. Caro can't dictate with her forehand and started leaving balls shorter or more in the middle of the court, which gave Sam a chance to take control with her forehand.
But perhaps more importantly than her tactical execution, Sam played well on the key points. Caro had six break point on the match. Sam saved them all. Sam had three. She converted them all. Not bad for a chick who was down 0-4 in the first set to Fran yesterday.
So Sam takes the clear lead in the Maroon Group. She'll play Lena tomorrow. A win obviously clinches the group for her (and she would play the #2 to come out of the White Group in the semis) and a loss would still get her into the semis depending on the result of the Fran/Caro match.
"Turnaround, bright eyes..."
Day two should see more competitive matches, primarily because there are more healthy players on the slate. That's always a plus.
First up, Vera vs. Vika. This one's juicy and Vika's coming off a win in Moscow, but I'm going with Bepa, who leads the H2H 5-2. Vika doesn't have a great history of performing well at back-to-back tournaments. Then again, they've met three times this year with Vika winning two and retiring in one. So...shit, I don't know.
Yup. That's some quality tennis analysis right there.
Next up, Kim vs. JJ. Something tells me I will be napping during this one. JJ only took 3 games off Bepa and had to be put on an IV drip after the match. So...how many do we give her off Kim?
Yeah...that's what I thought.
Kim leads the H2H 6-1, with JJ winning their last match in Toronto in 2009.
Rounding out the night, Sam vs. Caro for supremacy in the Maroon Group. Their H2H is 2-2, though they haven't played since Osaka in 2009. Based on recent form I'll go with Caro, though if Sam can go a full match serving the way she did in the second set against Fran, this could go Sam's way.
Doubt it, though. Sorry, Sammy.
Oh, also, if Caro wins she secures the year-end #1 over Bepa.
Play starts at 5pm local time, 10am EST.
I really don't know how I feel about this whole "Comeback Kid" thing. On one hand, I mean, it's better to be known for comebacks than to be known as a loser. On the other hand, WTF??? Why are you digging yourself these holes, Sam? Is it so you can show off your amazing muscles as you scratch and claw yourself out of them? Come on, kid. Inquiring minds want to know.
In the most competitive and entertaining match of the day, Fran built up a 4-0 lead over a UFE-tastic Stosursaurus (credit to Ben), only to have Sam finally find her rhythm to roar back, reeling off the next six games to take the first set 6-4. Sam even served for the set and held. Held! AT LOVE! With, like, aces and shit! It was weird.
The second set remained tight as both players showed some gutsy shotmaking interspersed with some dumb errors. But I thought the quality was high and I really enjoyed the match. There were slices, drop shots, power, and net play from both. These two have such different games and yet they match up so well. Whoever can execute their game plan better wins and today, Sam's serve, once she found it, really put her in the driver's seat. She was finally able break at 4-4 and then she served out the match. And held. SHE HELD TO SERVE OUT THE MATCH. It was weird.
But awesome. But weird. Whatever, I'll take it.
Oh, come here, you.
(Pics: Getty, AP)
Play begins tomorrow at 5pm local time.
Here's hoping JJ wears clothes.
First up is new world #2 Bepa vs. an already whining about injury and fatigue JJ. JJ's just going to go out there and try her best, you guys. The two have a 6-6 H2H but you have to like Vera in this one. Reports from the ground say Vera is looking great in practice, JJ not so much.
Also, is she breaking out in hives or something in that picture? That's a distracting amount of splotch all along her neck and upper chest.
Next up, very nice blond ladies who haven't won shit. Or so the narrative would read if I weren't me and I were someone else. Elena is coming off an ankle injury that forced her to withdraw from Luxembourg so who knows what her form is. Caro is coming off -- what's this? -- a two-week break since she won in Beijing. That's like a three-month break for most people.
Caro leads the H2H 4-3, but she's beaten Elena both times they've met in 2010, most recently in the Tokyo finals. Gotta tap the kid here. She kinda really needs to win this title.
I don't even want to talk about it.
I'm still smarting.
Though, Sam, if I may, can I just as you one teensy-weensy little favor? Please get that nail polish off. Otherwise I'm going to spend the entirety of your match laughing my ass off, and that's not the type of support or intensity I want to be bringing to this match.
(Pics: Getty, AP)
The ladies are finally in Doha (doesn't it seem like we've been talking about the YECs for forever now?) and kicked off the festivities by glamming up for the sole purpose of showing off their amazing sock tans. Which is kind of the only thing they really can show off given that it's, you know, Doha.
This is actually the last year Doha will host the YECs, which is kind of a shame because it looks like the ladies finally figured out how the hell they're supposed to do their hair and makeup. I hope they take everything they've learned with them to Istanbul next year.
Yes, Vera, I said Istanbul. Try to act enthused, Kim.
But really, they all looked great.
Most "Yeah, What Up Now, Tracy? Say It To My Face"-iest.
Most--wait, is that FRAN???
Most "I Really Don't Want To Be Here-iest."
Uh...JJ? Yeah, hi, sorry. I'm gonna need that award back.
Here you go, Kim.
Most--wait, is that SAM???
(Pics: Getty, AP)
Well, it took three tournaments, but Sam finally won a match in Asia, as she sets out to defend her maiden title in Osaka.
And Robbie won her three qualie matches to qualify for her fifth WTA main draw of the year. Of course, as we all know, nothing good happens for my stable of players without a dark raincloud forming overhead. Osaka is no different. Not only is Robbie in Sam's quarter but she also drew Kimiko in the first round. So we'll have the oldest woman in the top 200 (40!) vs. the youngest (16!). Ok, fine, Laura's at #201, but cut the kid some slack.
So, go Chicks Who Have Aussie Blood!
Yeah, sometimes you gotta stretch to find a narrative.
Did Andy get his fashion cues from Sam for the Beijing Player Party? Or maybe from Marat? The plaid, the frizzed out hair, the forced smiling. Did I miss this month's issue of InStyle? Though, I suppose plaid shirts, frizzed out hair, and forced smiling is pretty much my look, too. See? MFEO, Andy. MFEO.
They're all so happy and smiley! That's the comedic effect of Fer's hair, I guess.
Stop doing one armed pushups on that thing, Sam.
I don't know what's crazier: Sam's forecep or Caro's crazy eyes.
Lovely. The boy knows how to wear clothes.
Also, those are some really tall Asian chicks.
I was really looking forward to the Beijing player party. But I guess the days of unscripted awesomeness and costuming are behind us. Sadness.
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.
Sorry, I meant crab.
Also, she's boozing it up again in Asia. Which is awesome.
You know, for someone who's a bit on the shy side, the kid is rocking Facebook.
Did someone photoshop out the dildos? Because those are some seriously anemic fist pumps, if that's what they're trying to do.
The Tokyo draw is out and everyone in that picture has a reason to be smiling other than Lumberjack Sam. She's in a quarter along with Vika, Ana, Dinara, Aravane, Wicky, and Mono. That's...rough. So I will excuse her weird fist thing up there. But the rest of you? No excuses.
In other news, BEPA YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!!! CAN YOU HEAR ME! CAN YOU????
Come on, Caro. Do us a solid and tell her.
Someone's gotta get through that thick skull of hers.
So I'm sitting here catching on a month's worth of Tivo and I started going through my files. Sometimes, as you're surfing the interwebz, you just see funny or interesting photos and you save them, not having any idea if you're going to actually have a reason to use them in the future.
So here's me unloading a few randoms on you.
Vania and Shveddy at the Wimbledon Champions Ball.
I...don't want to talk about it.
If there's one thing we know about Igor, it's that he likes pretty things.
Ah. A classic.
Masha, about to eat her dinner.
Robbo and one of her two pooches.
Leather brings out the best in everyone.
Where was I?
Oh, right. I realized this afternoon that I never did a proper Pic This entry for the USO. Shame on me.
So here we go....
Posted by C Note on September 14, 2010 in Ana Ivanovic, Andy Murray, Andy Roddick, Francesca Schiavone, Gael Monfils, Gilles Simon, Janko Tipsarevic, John Isner, Kim Clijsters, Maria Kirilenko, Maria Sharapova, Melanie Oudin, Novak Djokovic, Pic This!, Rafa Nadal, Richard Gasquet, Sam Stosur, The Mighty Fed, US Open | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack (0)
It's been 48 hours since this match. In that 48 hours I got drunk, fought a hangover, endured what was the worst eight hour, two flight/one layover, coast-to-coast trek home, and a day of absolute lethargy. I've sat down to write this post three times, each time giving up after staring at a blank screen for 30 minutes.
All this is to say, this one is still smarting. And here's why.
I'm not an idiot. Or maybe I am, but I was under no illusions at 8:30pm on Tuesday night that Sam would win this match. Kim has been playing lights out, the wind was whipping around the grounds, and Sam was apparently wiped on Monday after her amazing match against Lena that ended at 1:30am Monday morning. She didn't hit the hay until 5am, woke up at 8:30am, and could barely make it out to the grounds for a 20 minute hit. Kim on the other hand has looked fantastic and to me, her movement and ability to turn defense to offense was going to make this a fairly easy straight set win.
And I was totally ok with that. This was an awesome run from Sammy, who bested her career finish here at the USO, made her second Slam QF of the year, and played, arguably, the best match of her career against Lena, which is saying something given her wins over Serena and Justine. No cause for complaints from this Sammy diehard.
But then they played the match. And despite the fact that neither player was playing their best, Sam got her chances. She was a break up in the first, only to lose the set. She was a break up in the second, only to get broken back, and then fought her way to even the match, taking the set 7-5. Even then though, I didn't think it was going to go Sam's way. I don't know, I just wasn't feeling it.
So the third set started. And Sam broke straight away. Holy crap! Ok...may--oh, no. She got broken back. But she broke again! ZOMG! This could totally happ--oh, no. She got broken back. Then she broke agaaaaaaaaaaaain! %^*@$#!^!!! ALL SHE HAS TO DO IS SERVE IT OU--- FUCKKKKKKKK!!!! She got broken back.
Sam had her chances and for whatever reason (fatigue, nerves) she just could not execute. She wouldn't hold for the entire third set. And it's not like Kim was playing all that well either. Sam broke herself.
We had snuck down to the middle level to sit near our "lucky seats" from Sunday night and thankfully, the people sitting around us totally covered for us when the usher came by. That was really nice of them. But as I left the stadium to the quizzical "You're not staying for Rafa?" questions and headed out of the stadium I was in quite the daze. I sat outside next to the fountains in the plaza to watch the Rafa match on the big screens. But I wasn't watching the screen. Sitting there I saw the StoBros and StoParents at the bar, having a drink, doing one last "Sammy Sammy Sammy! Oi! Oi! Oi!" cheer, and wandering the grounds singing some other Sammy songs. It was cute.
I caught myself staring off into the distance or into the fountain for minutes on end. It was so noticeable that some media friends (what up, Pete and Kevin), who were calling it a night, saw me as they were walking out and yelled "C Note! Don't do it! It's not worth it!" I don't know. It felt like it might have been worth it.
Part of it was the reality of the last four weeks finally crashing down on me. As I tweeted a few seconds after Sam lost, "It is finished." It's been a glorious run. A total dream for any tennis fan, to travel across the States by plane, train, and automobile, to see your favorite players play the game you love all the while meeting fantastic people along the way.
But part of it, admittedly and rather somewhat embarrassingly, had to do with the loss. Let's be clear: The result was exactly the one I expected. If I had been at home and gone to sleep and woken up to see the scoreline, I would have just shrugged it off. But Sam had her chances and there's absolutely no reason she shouldn't have at least forced Kim to take the match in that third set. As it was, it was a total chokejob. And I really don't know where it came from.
After the match, Kim said she had no idea how she won the match. She played like crap. As for Sam, she was rightfully bummed, even if the journos (bless them) were trying to cheer up and stay positive:
Look, I'm happy to make it to the quarters, by far my best result here. I'm gonna be disappointed about this one, I think. You can't break serve and have chance after chance after chance and blow it in a quarterfinal. It's just too big of an opportunity to kind of let go, and unfortunately that's what I did today.
I know Kim's a great player and a very tough opponent here. I mean, it wasn't the easiest match to win. But when you have chances like that, that's what's disappointing, not to kind of lose 'em on your own racquet. I don't think she really stepped up and hit, you know, 12 winners to break my serve three times in a row.
And on the difficulty of holding serve:
Um, oh, I think from the end against the wind it was very hard. I think we both definitely struggled from that end more than the other. So don't really know what excuse I can use to not hold serve with the wind unfortunately.
So yeah, this one will hurt for a while. Credit to her for not bailing on her Lacoste shoot, which took place the next morning. But I'm going to do my best to crawl out of Bummertown by tracking down a download of that Lena match and reveling in that moment of happiness until the Asian swing comes around in a few weeks.
Yeah, that'll do it. I think. I hope.
Oh, fuck. There's that "h" word again.
14 hours. 14 hours in the life of a tennis fan. To people who don't follow our sport we sound insane. How can your fortunes change over the course of 14 hours? But think about it. In what other sport are you juggling multiple rooting interests (sometimes simultaneously) throughout the course of a day? None. You don't have 8 different favorite football teams playing in one day. But you do have 8 or more favorite players playing in one day at a Slam.
Which means your fortunes and moods can change on a whim. It ain't easy.
Which brings me to Sunday. I hopped on the 7 to Flushing Meadows, cued up my iPod, hit shuffle, and it kicked off the day with "Happy" by the Rolling Stones. Not bad. Not bad at all. Then it went to "Ready To Go" by Republica. Hmmm...are you trying to tell me something, iPod? Are you my new Ouija board? Can you see into the future?
And then it went to "Needle in the Hay" by Eliot Smith. Ahem.
What the fuck would this day have in store for me?
Sorry I haven't blogged in a few days. But my energy and attendance at the USO has been a bit on the spotty side so here's my attempt to catch up.
As you may have noticed if you follow me on Twitter (seriously, it's the easiest way to keep track of me and my tourettes-like musings), the schedule of play is stacked so that almost all of my favorites play on the same day. For example, Ana and Sam, both in the same part of the draw, are always a double header. Which makes it so that I'm really excited one day and kinda bored the next.
With that in mind, I took Day 4 off and just hung out in and around my hotel, catching up on some reading, doing some errands, and hanging out with friends. It was a much needed respite. If you want to catch the full day's action you're pretty much up at 8am, out the door by 9:30 and on the grounds at 10:30am through midnight, and getting home around 1am. When you throw in an uncontrollable urge to tell people what happened that day (i.e., blog) then you're really not getting much sleep at all. Do that day after day after day and...yeah, you need to recharge.
So yeah, I didn't go on Thursday. Which was fine because nothing major happened, though I would have liked to have seen that Petko vs. Bethanie match.
But Friday was going to be a big day. Ana, Sam, Andy, and Rafa were all on tap, with Ana and Sam scheduled to have some potentially tricky opponents. On top of that there was the stress of a potential hurricane, which is totally a new thing for me as I have never actually been in or around a hurricane. So seriously, I was kinda stressed.
But it was all good. Sam won easily in straight sets and it was super fun to watch. As always.
After that I had some time to kill, so I got a little bit of food and drinky drink. Thankfully I arrived back to Armstrong just in time to see that fanny pack. There are no words.
Just a really amazing match against Razzano, who had just beaten Marion in the prior round. The first set was fairly tight, with Ana getting frustrated with her inability to get the ball through the court. Mind you, it was a bit gusty.
But they didn't, and she totally got her focus back to take the first set. It was kinda funny. After she won and shook hands at the net, she came out to do her crowd salute, and immediately took off her wristbands to throw to them. For a split second I was scared she was going to just start stripping.
Team Ivanovic in the hizzee. I was hanging out by the media center/practice courts/Heineken bar (seriously, it's the best area to chill out) and I saw Dragana walking out of the media center. She stopped to rustle through her bag to find something (my immediate thought -- "Is there a latte in there?"), clearly found it, and walked out of the gate. As I had been drinking vodka for two hours, I compulsively yelled out "Good luck to Ana today!". She stopped, she turned, I screamed (in my head), she smiled, and said "Thank you" in the *exact* same way Ana does. I smiled and then started giggling to myself as she turned to walk away. It was awesome.
From there I had more to drink as I wandered to the grounds. And low and behold I saw Hannah Storm drunkenly hitting on my boyfriend, who looked absolutely cuddly in his Adidas hoodie. Step off, Hannah. Not only can I properly pronounce player names and speak about tennis intelligently, I also have a knife. And trust, I know how to use it.
I didn't have a night session pass and I was EXHAUSTED by the time the sun came down, so I headed home. The hurricane never came, thankfully, and everyone I loved won. So I was all gravy.
Court scheduling is a funny thing. As TV viewers we get all pissy when our favorite players aren't on the bigger show courts. But as a tournament attendee, I get really excited when I see big names on the outer courts. That means I can sit courtside and actually see the players I love. This was the case with Sam, who was scheduled to play on Court 11, which is one of the larger outer courts but with limited restrictions on where you can sit. We were fourth row behind the umpire. And it was a great spot to see Sammy rock her new purple kit, which I must say, looked surprisingly great.
Sam was pretty much in control throughout the match, which helped dissipate my concern over her arm, which was taped up during her practice earlier in the day. I stuck to my "C'mon, Sammy!" and "Let's go Hammer!" cheers, but it was fun to hear StoBros and Co. do their "Sammy, Sammy, Sammy! Oi Oi Oi! Sammy, Oi! Sammy, Oi! Sammy, Sammy, Sammy, Oi Oi Oi!" cheer, which actually made Sam smirk a bit on court. Rodionova was in typical form, popping off to Lynn on line calls (no Hawkeye) and taking a ridiculous amount of time between a few points.
Personally, I'm still worried about that arm. She was stretching it quite a bit while waiting to do her Aussie TV interview after the match. But whatever. All I wanted from Sam was to get a career best result here, which she's done with her win over Rodionova. She's into the third round and she'll get a crack at Errani, who she beat in rather dramatic fashion last week in New Haven.
Go get it, Hammer. See at Starbucks in the morning. Hopefully this time I won't be in my pajamas.
It was a toasty one today in NYC. I know this because Aunt Pimmy told me so. Also because I finally ditched the jeans and t-shirt look and went with shorts and a tanktop. A wise move, I think. But between the heat, the crowds, and the size of the grounds, I've come to realize that you have to really want it to win it here at the USO, and I don't mean the players.
Typically when I go to a tournament I like to just wander the grounds and pop in to see whatever match tickles my fancy, or I'll stick around the practice courts to watch random players. Not so here in NYC. Nope, there better be a damn good reason for me to haul my ass out of the somewhat tolerable shade and stand/sit in the sun for the better part of an hour. Even today, I could barely get it up to stick around to watch Sveta, MaKiri, FeVer, or Elena for anything more than five minutes. To the extent I have pictures of any players or matches it is a reflection of my love for them. I thought I was going to go blind when Nole, Sam, and Dani were practicing, what with the Iguacu Falls-like deluge of sweat that was running into my eyes. At one point I looked down and realized sweat was just running down my legs. Which could have been weird if anyone who knows me, knows FD, and knows my love of all things Corgi had seen me.
IT WAS SWEAT! I PROMISE!
There is no wandering here at the USO. If you wander, you must do so with intent. And a lot of water. And sunscreen. And...patience.
Vika and Sergei Bubka Jr., who, according to Boyfriend Jon, is her man friend. No word on how long his pole is.
Practicing alongside Novak? Sam and Dani. So cute. They played a practice set that Sam basically owned.
Stupid Fabio Fognini photobombing my shot.
Sam plays fellow Aussie, Rodionova, on Court 11 tomorrow (AWESOME), and Dani has Vania King (who beat Sam last year) on Armstrong. Go get 'er done, ladies.
Also, I think it's hilarious that anytime I mention Rodionova to anyone around the grounds, their immediate reaction is either (1) an eye roll and/or (2) a chuckled "what a bitch." Her brand of crazy precedes her.
After Dinara's loss, I had a bad feeling about things as Sam took Armstrong. Hahaha, US Open organizers. Nice court choice. Don't think the irony is lost on me. Bastards.
From the minute Sam took the court I was pretty much yelling my head off. I had to make a good impression because her family is in town. Papa Stosur's there in the blue and Mama is hiding behind the magazine. Probably because she had the same sense of impending doom that I did. This was one of the toughest first round matchups on the slate.
Sitting across from me were The StoBros. Well, at least one of them. I know the one on the far right with the blue cap is her little brother Dominic. Miljan actually rode the train in with them and said they got a biiiiit annoyed when he asked them if they were going to watch Lleyton. Hilarious.
Unfortunately the match was more of the same of what I've seen from Sam in the past few weeks. No aces, ineffective backhand slice, and the forehand is just not getting through the court or kicking as much as she'd like it to. Sam had to come back from a set and a break down to pull this one off, with a bit of help from Vezzie, who had a bit of a choke in the second set. But a win is a win at this point and I just have to keep reminding myself that I'll be happy if she gets past the second round.
So I have this weird thing about pics. If there's a huge crowd I generally won't venture through to get a clean shot unless my favorite players are involved. This typically applies to Rafa, who is always surrounded by crowds that go 5-7 rows deep. I just assume that everyone else there is a bigger fan than I am and thus I let them get the prime spots and go merrily on my way.
So there I was just chilling out when I saw that little corgi-colored ponytail flopping about. I'm not saying how I got to the front but let's just say a few kids had to die. That's all I'll cop to. Oh and to the guy who kept at me to sit down: Shut the fuck up.
So you guys can thank Sam for not only these Rafa pics (which aren't that great, sorry) but also for rather hilariously scurrying over to stop an errant ball that was about to roll onto Rafa's court as he was serving. She's a RafaKAD, after all. Can't have him going down on her watch.
Corgis are protective like that.
Smell the pit, Rafa. Smell it all. day. long.
Today, Sunday, was awesome. With qualies done the players took to all of the courts to practice for extended sessions, and I got to see a lot players from up close. It was relatively quiet around the grounds but concessions were still open (ahem, beer, ahem) and I highly recommend coming to the grounds (still free!) on the Sunday before play starts. This was absolutely my favorite day so far. Saw some Sod, Flavia, Nenad and Daniel, Rafa, Errani, Rodionova, Corretja, Pico, Nico, Aravane, hell, we saw a lot of people and made drunken fools of ourselves. It was fantastic.
The "sexy" USO pick, Vika, grunting her way through her session.
Vika was practicing next to Venus, who kept looking over at the grunter.
Courage, nee Believe, was out on court hitting with Snooki.
You could see those things from space.
Because I can.
Dinara hitting with Agnes.
Aaaaaaand Aga, who can't get a sponsor but refuses to be silenced.
Today was all about the Serbs. I was sitting courtside, taking in some Deliciano, when I got an email from FDer Miljan that Sam was practicing on Grandstand. Needless to say I literally sprinted off the court, pausing only momentarily to chat with Christina and Lexi, before unpolitely excusing myself because, as they knew, I had to see Sam.
Unfortunately I got there right as her practice was ending. But I did get to finally meet Miljan and snapped some pics of Sam. And I am just going to say it because I have no shame: guy or girl, there is nothing sexier than a sweaty grey t-shirt. It's kryptonite to me.
After a walk around the grounds, my new BFF and future hubby Miljan and I headed back to Armstrong, where low and behold, we saw this sexy motherfucker:
They chatted for a bit, with Nole asking about Ana's foot and Ana explaining what happened. At least that's what I'm told was going on thanks to Miljan (who, on top of that ugly-ass Sergio hat, also got Leather to get Ana to give him her visor).
Trust me, I love Adam and I love Jelena. But I want so badly for these to to have sex and make beautiful tan babies. I can't help it. I know they're all brother/sister with each other but they're just so cute when they interact.