Jay-Z is officially out of the Australian Open, which means she'll probably plummet down to somewhere in the 50s rankings-wise.
On behalf of all overachieving short Asians around the globe: FUCK!
(Pic: Forty Deuce)
Jay-Z is officially out of the Australian Open, which means she'll probably plummet down to somewhere in the 50s rankings-wise.
On behalf of all overachieving short Asians around the globe: FUCK!
(Pic: Forty Deuce)
As the rest of the tour limps and loses their way to the finish line, these ladies have all decided to shut it down for the season. Jay-Z is having wrist surgery, which may force her out of the AO. Aga has a stress fracture in her foot (which she played on for TWO TOURNEYS) and may also miss the AO. Venus' left knee is keeping her on crutches and out of the YECs and Fed Cup. And Maria and Sveta are also shutting it down due to injury, though with Maria, you have think it's more of a mental issue even if she has been hurting since the USO.
So there's your roundup. Rest up and heal up, ladies. The tour needs you.
Well, except you, Aga.
Well it looks like MaKiri and Jay-Z have returned to their regularly scheduled programming, teaming up with Vika and Yan this week in Cincy, respectively. Too bad. They were really the highlight of San Diego.
Holy crap. Steph and I were sure that MaZheng were going to get their asses handed to them by Stubbs/Raymond. But no. They were able to get some early breaks in each set and hold on for a straight set win. And they were adorable as ever about it.
I believe that MaKiri plans to partner up with Vika in Cincy and then
get back with Aga for the USO. I mean, that's what she said at her
presser last week in Stanford. But gosh, these two seem to have a lot
of fun with each other and despite any language barrier, they seem to
have great doubles chemistry.
The cutest doubles team ever were supposed to play Sveta/Bepa (i.e., the craziest doubles team ever) in the semis of San Diego, but Bepa pulled out at the last minute, presumably because she wanted to get to Cincy to prepare. Or maybe she didn't want Sergey getting too close to MaKiri. Who knows, really.
Thankfully, Lindsay stepped in and along with Coq au Vin, agreed to play a one set doubles exo with MaZheng. This could have been boring considering that MaKiri and Zheng aren't exactly known for their hilarious personalities. BUT IT WAS AWESOME! They were joking around, smiling, and giggling and hamming it up for the crowd, calling challenges on balls that were three feet long and acting all indignant, asking WTA announcer Andrew for coffee and Chinese tea, and rochambeau-ing on receiver's choice (best 2 out of three, in case you were wondering.)
I was watching from the terrace but Steph and Katie were courtside so they could hear all the chatter. At one point, JayZ asked Coco, who was serving, to take it easy on her. Coco served a double fault and Zheng smiled and said thank you. On another point MaKiri was down in the I-formation and Lindsay, who was returning, said "Oh, God. The I-formation again?" To which MaKiri smiled and said "Don't worry. I'm going right." Lindsay starting laughing, and MaKiri started laughing so hard she almost fell over.
It was all a lot of fun and I think the crowd thoroughly enjoyed it.
Oh, and to top it all off, there was this:
I have some video of the exo that I'll post next week. And yes, I caught the hip check on tape. You're welcome.
So you can either sit in the blazing San Diego sun and watch Sveta get pushed to three full sets by Sara Errani, or you can hang out in the shade by the La Costa Spa, chat some tennis with Victoria, see Domi in bootie shorts, Pam in bathing suit, and Team Stosur walking around, and then go watch MaKiri/Zheng doubles. What do you do?
MaZheng won their dubs over Ula/Scheepers. And they were as adorable as advertised.
Dude. You guys. Dani's playing well. Like, for serious. She totally outhit Jay-Z today, serving well, moving well (ok, "well" for Dani), and hitting the angles hard off the ground. It was great.
She also got into it with Lynn for...really, no reason. I missed the beginning of the match but Steph said a few points into the first game, Dani walked up to the chair and told Lynn she was "the worst umpire ever." Uh...what? But I was in my seat when she had another go at her later in the first set. Down 0-40, Zheng hit a serve that Lynn called a let. Dani was incredulous. "Are you kidding? I mean...It was this far over the net." Zheng wins the next point. 15-40. Dani glares at Lynn. 30-40. Double glare. Deuce. "I'm sorry, but just out of curiosity, how can you call that let when the serve is this far over." Jay-Z eventually takes the game.
Then Jay-Z gets into the action. She hits a serve that was called out. She calls for a challenge. Hawkeye doesn't come up for like, 45 seconds. She throws her hands up. Finally, the Hawkeye screen comes up and literally says this: "The original call stands." Jay-Z's like WTF? Lynn says Hawkeye was down so the call stands. Jay-Z's like, "It's been a minute." Lynn's like, "Bish, please, go serve." The Jay-Z was all "So do I get charged with a challenge, or what?" And Lynn mumbled something I couldn't hear. And then Hawkeye broke down again when she tried to challenge in the second set.
It was all kinds of hilarious. Oh, and Dani got issued a conduct warning for reasons unknown to me. She called her coach down, kept looking at Lynn, tried to give something to the security guy, the guy looked confused, gave it back to her, Lynn said something to her, and she literally chucked whatever she gave the security guy behind her. Seriously, I was all kind of confused.
MaKiri had herself quite the day, kicking off the morning with some practice with Kimiko, then spending almost three hours on court to win her singles match over a qualifier, and capping it all off with a super-tiebreak win in doubles, teaming up with Jay-Z to form what is hands-down the most adorable doubles team ever.
Pics after the jump:
Aw. Look at Dinara showing she cares. All bitch-facing and shit.
Though, to be honest, @sblily and I couldn't decide whether or not they were concerned for Ana or utterly confused by Kleybs. I mean, the head jerking, the sweating in 55 degree weather, the ponytail wringing (yes, it happened). There are a lot of questions, very few answers.
Even Jay-Z, the Ana Ivanovic of China, snuck a peek.
LET'S ALL BE FRIENDS!
So I was informed yesterday that not only did I go and guarantee a first round exit for Ana, I also pulled the chip that put Jay-Z up against Masha. I clearly was in a state of PTSD. I have no recollection of this. But upon further reflection I do recall making a "Of course. I pull the Asian one." joke under my breath.
Despite my personal excitement to see this rematch of Indian Wells, it's a damn shame that it's a first rounder. I mean, we have two qualifiers playing each other in one match and yet after tomorrow, Stanford will lose either Masha or Jie. Considering the large Asian population in San Francisco, San Jose, and the Silicon Valley, either loss will be tough for the tournament. Jay-Z has been a pretty big attraction all weekend and there's even Chinese press here covering the tournament.
So once again. I fucked up.
Aga practiced with Papa Rad today, and once again, shorts cannot contain her awesomeness. Apparently. Like, really? Booty shorts are so restrictive you gotta hike em up? But that's why we love her. Also, she was looking a bit sunburnt. Or, as Love All remarked, "orange".
And here she is with BFF and doubles partner MaKiri.
Said Love All, "Hey, check out the Bobbsy Twins."
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.
Aga's permascowl never fails to make me laugh.
"That's just her face."
Feli won. And then was beamed back up to the mothership. Or BabyDaddyShip.
Either work for the purposes of this joke.
So, you know, Caro's doin' her thing.
Venus' ruffles and mismatched top outgutted a tight match with Bepa.
That's two straight first round losses on clay, three straight since Miami.
Also, whuck is going on with her WTA Profile Pic.
Gael is back, wearing K-Swiss, and being otherwise entertaining yet overly dramatic.
And thus endeth the Cinderella story that lasted for like...24 hours.
So we get our "dream final" (I don't know what "we" I'm referring to. I was hoping for a Garbin/Kvitova final, myself). Serena hobbles into the final, niggles all over, after quite a mental test against Nails (76 76). Justine on the other hand probably needed to go out for another light hit after walking all over her #1 fan, Jay Z (60 61).
None of that matters though. It doesn't matter how hurt Serena is, or how easy Justine's had it. In the WTA, more often then not, it's all about who is mentally stronger. These two, whether I like it or not, are as strong as they come. So bring it.
They are so full of awesome. After years of toiling in the Chinese state-sponsored athletics program, wherein the State controlled where they played, where they trained, who they trained with, and of course, took a shitload of their money, Zheng Jie and Na Li broke away last year. They demanded that they be allowed full control of their schedule, coaching, training, etc.
Well look what happened. A year later we have two Chinese women into the semifinals of a Slam. Before Jay-Z made the semis of Wimbledon in 2008, we had never had a Chinese woman past the quarterfinals. This is a remarkable story and one I hope the MSM pick up on.
Big Babe, what?
Pretty much the same story in both matches. Justine and Jay-Z played really well and Makiri and Nads just couldn't raise their level to match. For her part, Makiri looked worn out. She's had a busy AO, playing singles, doubles, and mixed doubles. She had to call for the trainer a few times but in the end she said it didn't effect the outcome. Zheng was able to run down everything and really force Maria to hit 2-4 winners just to get a point. She also served pretty big (well, for her), which was somewhat surprising.
But a tip of the cap to Maria. What a run here. She's still in the running with Agi in doubles.
As for Nads, well, yeah. She hung in there with Justine and made her earn it, that's for sure. But she just couldn't overcome here when it mattered. But again, tip of the cap and it was nice to hear commentators talking to her again.
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!!!
Dina fell to Jay-Z in three, 75 46 64. Of course no one could possibly offer any insight to this match because it wasn't broadcast anywhere. But from what I can tell from the livescore, it all came down to 1st serve points won. Dina only won 58% of her first serve points compared to Jay-Z's 63%. Even crazier? Jay-Z won 42% of her 1st serve return points, compared to 37% for Dina. Dina's one of the biggest servers on tour so if tiny Jay-Z is outplaying her on first serve points, you know we have trouble in paradise.
In other crap news, Boom Boom had to retire from her match against Sorana with a bum shoulder. Not that I was rooting for her against Sorana, but I would have liked to have seen those two play this one through. And by "see" I mean "stare at livescore".
But if Championship Sunday ends up with an all Polish final, I'm am going to crack some heads.
Oh, and did I mention Dani and Ai lost their dubs match? In fact, both of the top seeded dubs teams fell today.
Here are today's scores:
Singles - Third Round
(14) Zheng Jie (CHN) d. (1) Dinara Safina (RUS) 75 46 64
(2) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) d. Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 76(5) 46 64
(10) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) d. (5) Nadia Petrova (RUS) 63 63
(13) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. (6) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) 63 62
(8) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Anna Chakvetadze (RUS) 63 62
Urszula Radwanska (POL) d. (12) Li Na (CHN) w/o (right knee injury)
Sorana Cirstea (ROU) d. (17) Sabine Lisicki (GER) 63 10 ret. (shoulder injury)
Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. Alona Bondarenko (UKR) 46 60 63
Doubles - Quarterfinals
Kirilenko/A.Radwanska (RUS/POL) d. (1) Stosur/Stubbs (AUS/AUS) 63 76(3)
Chuang/Yan (TPE/CHN) d. (2) Hantuchova/Sugiyama (SVK/JPN) 16 63 107
(4) Hsieh/Peng (TPE/CHN) vs. A.Bondarenko/Vesnina (UKR/RUS) w/o (Vesnina: low back strain)
King/Niculescu (USA/ROU) d. Garbin/Schiavone (ITA/ITA) w/o (Schiavone: right hamstring strain)
Ok, I know. It was said repeatedly during RG. But seriously, can we get a little golf clap for what Masha is doing? This is getting a bit ridiculous. She finished off Alexa Glatch with no problem and then turned around and beat Tranny, and we all know Tranny is no slouch. All this while coming off a deep run at RG and barely having a week off to transition from clay to grass.
Seriously. You have to appreciate what she's doing here.
I'd love to see a Pova/Nails semifinal. And Pova/Sania or Nails/Sania final would give me warm fuzzies going into Wimbly.
Singles - Third Round
(13) Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) d. (1) Zheng Jie (CHN) 76(10) 64
(16) Melinda Czink (HUN) d. (3) Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) 67(7) 75 75
(4) Li Na (CHN) d. (15) Aravane Rezai (FRA) 75 64
Sania Mirza (IND) d. (5) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 76(3) 36 62
Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (7) Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 61 63
Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) d. (14) Roberta Vinci (ITA) 61 64
Urszula Radwanska (POL) d. Julia Goerges (GER) 76(3) 63
Stefanie Voegele (SUI) d. (WC) Naomi Cavaday (GBR) 64 62
Singles - Second Round
(1) Zheng Jie (CHN) d. Melanie South (GBR) 63 61
(4) Li Na (CHN) d. Jarmila Groth (SVK) 64 26 61
(5) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d. (WC) Elena Baltacha (GBR)
67(1) 63 76(3)
(7) Francesca Schiavone (ITA) d. Mariya Koryttseva (UKR) 61 61
Julia Goerges (GER) d. (8) Sara Errani (ITA) 64 57 75
(13) Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) d. (Q) Chanelle Scheepers (RSA)
67(8) 61 63
(14) Roberta Vinci (ITA) d. (Q) Lilia Osterloh (USA) 64 62
(15) Aravane Rezai (FRA) d. Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS) 76(12) 36 62
(16) Melinda Czink (HUN) d. Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) 62 63
Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) d. (LL) Michaella Krajicek (NED) 62 64
Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. Alexa Glatch (USA) 63 64
Urszula Radwanska (POL) d. Petra Cetkovska (CZE) 63 75
See? I can be complimentary.
Masha came back from a set down to eventually win fairly easily. Serve and dress notwithstanding she was looking really good off both sides. Lateral movement looked good and she's still able to whack the ball into the corners and find some angles. But she's faced with the same questions Ana is: Can she hold serve against the bigger hitters?
And Venus "gave away" the second set to Bethanie before pulling out the three set win. Tough luck for Bethanie, who looked like she was struggling with a right wrist problem during the match.
And is Alexa Glatch the real deal? Again, it's not that she's beating top 30 players, she's demolishing them. Benesova, Kvitova, and now Flavia, 1 and 1. Where'd this kid come from?
Jay Z won and K-Bond is the only Bond left in the draw as she took out Peppermint Patty.
One match didn't finish. Vera D and Caro are locked at a set a piece before the match was suspended for darkness. Come on, Caro.
Jay-Z signed a deal with Anta this week and then returned home to her home province of earthquake torn Sichuan. This is the first time she's been back since the area was decimated by a disastrous earthquake in May.
UPDATED: Here's the WTA story. I totally forgot that she donated her Wimbly prize money to the rescue efforts. The woman is all class.
Also? 69,000 people. Hurricane Katrina took 2,000 lives (and for the record, the worst natural disaster in America "only" claimed 8,000). 69,000 is absolutely mindblowing.
Oh, Serena. The early rounds are always an adventure with you. There's no reason Jay Z should have been able to hang with you for so long. How you were unable to consistently break her serve is beyond me. I didn't see the match, so I can't comment. But from the match calls I was able to pick up, it sounds like Serena served like crap, lost control of her ground strokes, and Jay Z picked up her game and played very aggressive, painting the lines and causing ReRe a host of problems.
Sad for Hova. But I have to admit, this would have been a really shitty way for Dinara to get the #1 ranking. Right now, with Dina out, Serena has to make the final to stay at #1. That means she'll probably have to go through her sister to do it. Dra-Ma.
Please, Serena. Defend your title. I don't think I can stand the thought of Dinara obtaining the #1 ranking and knowing she's playing like crap and doesn't "deserve" it. JJ, the queen of delusion, was equipped to handle all the haters. Dina, I'm afraid, is not.
But no. Ana had to frickin' pull out her Sacrificial Virgin dress and Dina shoehorned herself into one of the dresses IMG told JJ not to wear last night, and this is what we have. Come on, BFFs. Get it together! Though, I do like the symbolic yin-yang thing they have going on.
Oh yeah, the awards:
Williams also received the award for 2002. She won the U.S. Open in September and ended last year ranked No. 1.
Dinara Safina was selected most improved player for 2008, and Zheng Jie was chosen comeback player of the year. Top-ranked Cara Black and Liezel Huber were chosen doubles team of the year for the second time.
Caroline Wozniacki was selected newcomer of the year. Ana Ivanovic was chosen humanitarian of the year for her work and contributions to UNICEF, and Elena Dementieva was honored with the Karen Krantzcke sportsmanship award.
Nothing too surprising, though the Lena as Sportswoman kinda raised my brow. I doubt she carried the American vote. Luckily for her, there aren't that many Americans. Would have still rather seen it go to Sveta though.
Yay for Zheng Jie! That's a rad win for her. Glad the Asian didn't go unnoticed. There's a first time for everything.
I bet you Dina and Ana are kind of in a tiff right now because Ana found out Dina voted for Elena. It's blood, man.
"But she beat you at the Olympics!"
"You beat me at French."
"Yeah, ok. Can I have your cookie?"
Oh, and before I forget, WTF is going on with Caro's boobs?
Girl needs to quit shopping in Vegas. Stop it. Also, stop listenting to Fernando when he tells you something would look good on you (also, I wouldn't leave my drink unattended around him, if you know what I mean). He's gross. You're a teenager. Be appropriate. Maybe that's why Dina's totally giving you the stinkeye.
Or maybe there's a piece of chocolate cake behind the camera. Who knows with her.
Three players were forced to retire mid-match today due to injury. Ironically, none of them were related to cramping or the heat. Zheng Jie was trailing 4-1 to Sveta when she fell on her already injured left wrist. Considering she's icing it before she's even walked off the court, I suspect it might be a break of some sort.
The scariest retirement came from Vika Azarenka, who authoritatively took the first set from Serena, 63 and was down a break in the second set when you could see she started to physically labor. It almost looked like she was hyperventilating between points. At the changover she called for the trainer and looked like she was going to blow chunks at any minute. After disappearing into the lockerroom to get treatment, Vika came back out and clearly looked wiped. Watching her attempt to carry on, while fighting to just stay upright, was just scary and sad. ESPN speculates that it's virus related and Lena D apparently confirmed that Vika did bring a virus into the tourney. There are other reports that it was food poisoning.
Hope the kid gets better. I know she'll recover physically. But a retirement while a set up on Serena for a spot in the quarterfinals is going to haunt her for bit.
The weirdest retirement goes to Monfils against Gilles. It was two sets to one when LaMonf called it quits, citing a right wrist injury. This wouldn't be odd except that (1) he has history of retiring mid-match, (2) it's a Grand Slam and you play through pain, and (3) after the match he said at first he thought the injury was in his head.
I don't know. Seeing as how you have on girl who retired because she may have broken her wrist, and another who was trying to play while trying to stay upright and conscious, this seemed kinda weak.
Lena and Flavs won 4 and 1, Domi dished out a bagel winning 0 and 2, and Kuz finally cruised, taking her match 2 and 2. I know upsets are fun and all, but if you look at the full draw, all you want are the favorites to play well and keep the draw in order.
It started out as a rough day for Team Asia, as we saw Project 45 go down listlessly to the douchestamped Melzer. The kid just didn't look right all match and I wonder how much of it had to do in the drop in confidence because of the arm injury that forced him out of Auckland last week. He lost 75 62 61.
Too bad Na Li isn't here.
The JB Group Classic exhibition in Hong Kong officially got underway today, and Team Russia fired the first shot. Bepa beat Zheng 76(3) 64 and Chakky beat Sania 64 64. Bepa's match was appanrently a break-a-thon, with 13 breaks of service.
In the doubles match, Team Europe beat Team America 64 75.
I think it's hilarious that JJ makes the Burrito look like a midget. On, and JJ? Just because you leave the stencil off doesn't mean we don't know it's still a Prince. Nice to see her back in the shorts though. She's one of the few that can pull off the on-court shorts look.
The JB Group Classic exhibition is set to officially kick off on Wednesday with Team Russia vs. Team Asia/Pacific and Team Americas vs. Team Europe.
But before the official start of the exo, the "Stars of Tomorrow" (no pressure) played two exhibition matches. Coco Vandeweghe beat the Burrito in three sets, 36 63 64, and Zhang Lin beat Alexandra Panova, 57 63 10-8. Nice win for CoCo.
More pics from the players' gathering:
Note to JJ. Never EVER turn your back on Chakky. She will cut you. And then seduce the PI she hires to investigate your murder.
I kinda want to see a knife fight between these two.
Zheng Jie is adorable. I just want to pick her up and put her in my pocket. I do not want to do the same with JJ. If I did put her in my pocket she would probably disintegrate into a handful of glitter. And that shit is a pain to clean out of your pockets.
Here are the details for the JB Group Classic, which is set to take place in Hong Kong on January 7-10:
(Hong Kong, November 27th, 2008) Organisers announced today a star-studded line up to take part in the J B • GROUP Classic 2009, a World Team Challenge.
The Hong Kong Tennis Patrons’ Association (HKTPA) recently created a new concept for their January Event. The J B • GROUP Classic will feature teams from four regions of the globe, Team Europe, Team Russia, Team Americas and Team Asia Pacific. There are 3 players to each team and full details of each team and the format were announced today.
Jelena Jankovic (Serbia) – World No. 1
Agnes Szavay (Hungary) – China Open Champion 2007
Michelle Larcher De Brito (Portugal) – Portuguese No. 1
Maria Sharapova (Russia) – Australian Open Champion 2008
Vera Zvonareva (Russia) – World No. 7
Alexandra Panova (Russia) – Star of the Future
Venus Williams (USA) – Wimbledon Champion 2008
Gisela Dulko (Argentina) – South American No. 1
Coco Vandeweghe (USA) – US Open Junior Champion 2008
Team Asia Pacific
Zheng Jie (China) – Wimbledon Semi finalist 2008
Sania Mirza (India) –Indian No. 1
Zhang Ling (Hong Kong) – Hong Kong No. 1
That's a damn strong Russian team. They should steamroll Asia into the final.
The most intriguing match-up? Venus/Coco vs. JJ/Burrito. That should be a fun one to watch if only for JJ's reaction upon hearing Burrito's epic squeal/grunt/scream. I can hear her in my head saying "Oh my God. You gotta be kidding me. What the hell is that?"
Oh well. It was fun while it lasted. Zheng Jie toughed out a tight match, beating Baby E. 76(4) 26 64. It was a really tight match and Baby E had her chances, namely in the first set when she was serving for the set was broken fairly easily by Zheng. After bouncing back in the second, she gave Zheng an early break and though she kept fighting, she couldn't get the break back despite a number of chances to do so. All credit for Zheng for fighting through it because Ana did not go away. She kept the pressure on Zheng and made her hold and serve it out.
But there is a silver lining. Ana looked better than she has in the past few months. Her serve was off at times, which hurt her, but her movement looked good, her shot selection was generally spot on, and she was working her forehand pretty well. But it all came down to execution on key points and AI just couldn't shake the rust. And boy, Zheng was absolutely crushing the ball and painting the lines. Not much AI could do there.
But hey, she should still walk away feeling better about this tournament and her progression. She should also be disappointed because she had this match but just couldn't close it out when she needed to. But I think all in all, this was a positive tourney for her and she should go into Moscow with more confidence than she had going into Beijing.
Ok. I'm tired. And a wee bit drunk. So I'll stop now. I will simply leave you with this:
UPDATED: He was also watching her practice. Cree. Pee.
First of all, how frickin' cold was it in Beijing last night that the ladies were all playing in sweats and crap? Perhaps covering up did the body some good though as Dani gutted out a nice win over Touchdown Tammy, who had taken out Kata Srebotnik in the previous round. Weird scoreline: 61 06 75. Clearly Dani learned from the AO that losing a set at love means nothing. Nice to see SOMETHING positive came out of that.
I love this new fired up Dani! I've never seen her that pumped! Also, I REALLY like her visor. I don't know why. I just love that deep maroony red she's got rockin' on her noggin'.
JJ also carried on her trend of beating players she's supposed to beat, beating A-Woz 63 75.
Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) A-Rad was unable to avoid another disappointing top tier tourney, listlessly losing to homegirl Zheng Jie 62 63. With a game as varied and wily as A-Rad's, these results are particularly shocking. When the power players like Ana, Masha, Nikki V., even Dani., lose early, the results don't shock me because they have high risk games. But when A-Rad loses early, there's gotta be something wrong. She's like JJ. She shouldn't lose to players ranked below her. At least in my head she shouldn't.
OOP for today:
Stadium (from 11.00hrs)
1. Kudryavtseva vs. Kuznetsova
2. Cornet vs. Ivanovic (NB 16.00hrs)
Court 1 (from 12.30hrs)
1. Zheng vs. Sugiyama
2. Zvonareva vs. Schiavone
Court 2 (from 12.30hrs)
1. Chakvetadze vs. Cibulkova
2. Szavay vs. Medina Garrigues (following ATP match)
Isn't it a better world when the Sisters Williams are smiling on Championship Sundays? The duo destroyed their Spanish opponents in the Gold Medal match 62 60, meanwhile, Zhang/Zheng took out the Sisters Bonderenko to take the bronze.
All in all, I'm really happy for Roger, Venus, and Serena walking away from Beijing with gold medals, even if they're doubles. Interesting how it all worked out. They all got dusted on the same day and all turned around to win gold in doubles.
Roger, Nole, and Rafa all went through with ease. Rafa disposed of an exhausted Lleyton Hewitt, who had been up past midnight finishing a marathon doubles match that ended 18-16 in the third. Thankfully, Rafa's form was much better today. Maybe he got a call from Ana telling him not to worry and that her hand was ok.
As for "upsets", my boy Paul Henri Mattieu (so cute!!!) ousted Kolya and Juergen Melzer knocked out weary Stan The Man Wawrinka. Too bad for Stan. The heat and humidity got to him. In other bad news, Janko had to withdraw with an ankle injury against Olivier Rochus. Poor Janko. He needed a wheelchair to get to his presser:
As for the ladies, the Sisters Williams, JJ, Dinara, and Lena D. all went through with ease. The big news was Agi Radwanska getting ousted by Frannie Schiavone. Tough loss for A-Rad. I she going through a bit of slump? She got dusted by Caro last week in the semis of the Nordic Light Open. That being said, Schiavone was a tough match-up. She always has that little extra something when she plays for her country.
As for other "upsets", SKI BOOTS IN DA HOUSE!!! Caro dismissed Dani H. 1 and 3 and Mama Bammer ditched Peppermint Patty, 4 and 4. Seriously, who is going to come out of that top quarter? I have to put my money on Bepa, but since everyone else I've picked has lost so far I fear I may have just jinxed the crying Russian.
Finally, in the only match I actually watched from start to finish, Zheng Jie had to dig down and fight hard to come back and beat Lloggostera Vives, 67 61 64. That first set was a tough one and Zheng looked absolutely wiped out. She was leaning against the back wall, doubling over for air, etc. But she kept fighting and as it turned out, it was Vives who had nothing left in the tank. Mondo Kudos (yes, that's an official term) to Zheng, who I find myself rooting for more each and every day.
Well that was a full day of tennis. Fed, Nole, and Rafa are through, as are the Sisters Williams, JJ, Lena D., and Dinara. Nicole Vaidisova, though she looked fitter, was still dumped out Alize Cornet and Dani H. had a typical Dani H. stumble but was still able to beat good buddy Ai Sugiyama.
But though the day went mostly according to form it wasn't without surprises.
Who didn't have high hopes for Muzza to make a run here? The story was just too perfect. A streaking player who would have to get past a player he has recently dominated and a player who he has never beaten. I really thought it was going to be a storybook ending for Muzza. Didn't know it was a Stephen King book though. Different kind of ending.
And what to make of Kuzzie's loss to hometown girl Na Li? Not much really. I thought Kuzzie would have a good showing here simply because it seemed that she had finally gotten her form back in Montreal. But let's face it, her US Open title aside, Kuzzie has consistently shown that she cannot perform in big matches. Her early loss at the AO, semifinal no show at RG, another early round loss at Wimbly, and now a first round dump at the Olympics. The girl simply overthinks on the court and crumbles under the weight of the moment. It's really unfortunate because she has all the talent and game to be a true #1. If only she could win a damn final!
And what of David Ferrer? Currently ranked a career high #4, he got dumped out by a solid Janko. This was a tough first round draw as Janko has been playing relatively well lately. But I don't know if it's his movement or his head, but Ferrer is just not looking like the same player. He's going for big shots at the wrong time and he's getting beaten off the ground.
Rafa, to put it nicely, did not look good. He was missing (which he never does) and he was missing BADLY. Distracted by the prospect of Ana leaving Beijing? Who else will he have long walks with in the Village to talk about...whatever those two would talk about? Luckily he refocused and closed out the match in three sets. Let's hope he plays himself into form.
And new medal favorite Agi Radwanska struggled to put away the pesty Yung-Jan Chan, 61 76(6). That was close. I was getting worried.
Let's give a hand to Zheng Jie, Na Li, and Shuai Peng, all of whom had to dig deep and fight to get through to the second round. No doubt the hometown crowd was the difference in each very close match.