Archive for March, 2009

31
Mar
09

djokovic looked sharp today…but is he sharp enough?

djokovic_miami7Novak Djokovic advanced to the Sony Ericsson Open quarter-finals in style with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Czech No. 21 seed Tomas Berdych on Tuesday at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tennis tournament in Miami.
The 2008 Australian Open champion converted five of 11 break point chances and surrendered only four points behind his first serve to extend his career lead over Berdych to 2-0 after just 72 minutes. Berdych, who ousted No. 13 seed James Blake on Sunday, was a semi-finalist at the Sony Ericsson Open last year (l. to Nadal).

31
Mar
09

dementieva’s deep dark secrets.

dementieva-6

1. SHE CALLS HOME TO SPEAK TO HER DOGS
“I know it sounds crazy. I just love them (Rocky, a French bulldog, and Patrick, a Yorkshire Terrier). They’re so much fun. Absolutely two different dogs, two different characters, but I just love them.”

2. LINUS HAS HER BLANKET, ELENA HAS HER BIRD
“I always have one little toy (a tiny stuffed bird) with me, which was given to me by my parents when I was born. I always carry it with me. It brings me luck. I just think it’s good to have it with me. I feel safe like that.

3. SHE LIVES IN MONTE CARLO, BUT NEVER ROLLS THE DICE
“I’ve never been in a casino, never in my life. I don’t think I will ever go there. I just think it’s so stupid. I just feel if I have any extra money, it’s better to help someone.”

4. TENNIS IS GREAT, BUT HER PASSIONS LIE ELSEWHERE
“I’d prefer to work in the gym instead of spending a couple of hours on the tennis court hitting balls. I like to play, but I think I could be a runner. I just like to run. I would run the 100 meters, for sure.”

5. HER LOVE OF CHOCOLATE IS CONSUMING
“I’m trying to stay under control, but it’s really hard. When I go to Switzerland, I always buy some extra stuff. I really love that really good dark chocolate.”

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31
Mar
09

Roddick needs his best today.

monfils-2roddick-5

Andy Roddick

30
Mar
09

more surprises in miami.

wozniacki_miami6 Caroline Wozniacki recorded her first victory in three meetings over No. 4 Elena Dementieva 7-5, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals of the Sony Ericsson Open on Monday in Miami.

Fourth-seeded Dementieva reached the Sony Ericsson Open final in 2004 (l. to S. Williams) and was also a semifinalist in 2001 (l. to Capriati). The 2009 two-time WTA Tour titlist (Auckland, Sydney) dropped to a 23-5 match record. She is the sixth Top 10 seed to lose in the past three days, joining No. 3 Jankovic, No. 2 Safina, No. 6 Zvonareva, No. 7 Ivanovic and No. 9 Petrova.

Danish Wozniacki improved to an 18-6 match record on the season and, excluding a third round loss to Jelena Dokic at the Australian Open, she has reached the quarterfinals or better at all five other events played

30
Mar
09

men’s draw true to form.

nadal-fed

By comparison to the Women’s draw, the Men’s draw is virtually predictable until it comes down to the final sixteen. In the bottom half of the draw we could see a rematch between Novak Djokovic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, with the winner facing either Federer, Roddick or Monfils. Roddick defeated Federer last year here, for his only win over the former #1, and has a record of 1-1 with Monfils on hard courts.

In the top half it looks to be an easy passage for Rafael Nadal. He will face the winner of the Murray/Verdasco match, a replay of the 2009 Aussie Open upset by Verdasco, if Verdasco gets by Radek Stepanek who beat him in Brisbane in January.

So if the results follow the predictions we will see a replay of Nadal/Murray in one semi final, and Federer/Djokovic in the other leading to the possibility of another Nadal/Federer final.

A lot of ifs, but there is no mystery about men, which is why women are more interesting!

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30
Mar
09

li na for the quarters and beyond?

li_na_Between 1999 and 2004, Li won 20 women’s singles titles: 19 ITF events and one

30
Mar
09

who’s left in the women’s draw?

serena_300Of the sixteen players remaining in the Women’s draw at the Sony Ericsson in Miami, only five are in the top ten. They are Serena Williams, Elena Dementieva, Venus Williams, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Victoria Azarenka. The Williams sisters are both in the top half of the draw and are on course to determine which one goes on to the final. Who will make it from the bottom half is unpredictable. Yesterday Safina, Zvonareva, Petrova, and Ivanovic joined Jankovic in the losers column, and it makes one wonder about the status of the women’s game. On the one hand it is a much more interesting set of circumstances when the outcome of a match is in the balance, when every match is wide open, and the winner not necessarily the highest ranked player. But it is also a reflection on the robotic nature of the game, where many of the players have become clones of each other and where it is often difficult to determine whether one player exerts any superior quality over their opponent. Except for the glamorous clothes it’s sometimes difficult to distinguish one from the other.

With just a couple of exceptions there is little to choose between any of the top 25 players, and unless a particular player brings her A game, she is vulnerable to defeat. Consistency and athleticism are the two qualities that have become the most important, and not the quality of the shot making or the construction of the points, as all the players are in the same groove and quite capable of hitting the ball from corner to corner. The unforced error count has become more significant in determining the winner than the number of winning shots she produces. The winner of most matches is decided by the one who makes the least number of errors, and this is not a healthy formula for improving the sport.

Thank God for the Williams sisters! They add colour (pun intended) to the game, they bring a combination of power and court sense to their matches, and a degree of individuality that is missing with most other players. It is small wonder that Kim Clijsters is coming back, I’m sure as she watches from home she has convinced herself that she can beat most of the current crop of players. I doubt that she can!

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29
Mar
09

Safina and Ivanovic ousted.

stosur_2szavay-2

Samantha Stosur, one of the best doubles players in the world, shocked Dinara Safina 6-1, 6-4 at the Miami Sony Ericsson Championships. Safina, the #2 seed has now fallen short of reaching the finals at both Indian Wells and Miami.

Afterwards, Safina was extremely frank about her performance: “I think [it was] just a bad match for me. It was just a disaster match. She’s a great player. She played very good, but from my side, I just can say it was sad the way I played today. Just basically I wasn’t playing. I go to the court, and I don’t even fight for it. So it’s just bad behavior from my side. The champions, they don’t do this. It’s a good punishment for myself. I have to get smarter.”

In another match played at the same time as the Stosur/Safina match, Agnes Szavay of Hungary, who is ranked #25 defeated Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 4-6, 6-1. There was a brief rain delay during the second set when Szavay was leading by 3-0, but the delay didn’t help Ana’s concentration as she was only able to win one sevice game in the set.

“I’m really disappointed with today’s game,” said Ivanovic. “I hardly did anything well today. I couldn’t really hold my serve. And just the way I started, I felt like I had so many chances early on in the match. I always was missing by a little bit, and got really down on myself. It was kind of hard to pick up from there. I think [the reason was] I sort of expected some things would come easier today on the court than they actually did. It was tougher than I expected.”

Szavay now goes on to face Belarusian 11th seed Victoria Azarenka, who secured her place in the round of 16 with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Anna Chakvetadze, the No. 22 seed from Russia. The 19-year-old Azarenka came into the Sony Ericsson Open on the back of her second WTA Tour title in Memphis (d. Wozniacki) and a semifinal appearance last week in Indian Wells (l. to Zvonareva). She also titled in Brisbane (d. Bartoli) at the start of the season.

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29
Mar
09

masha the #1 grunter!

sharapova-30

Maria Sharapova holds tennis

29
Mar
09

szavay, a tough test for Ivanovic today.

agnes_szavay16Following her victory on Friday night, Ana takes on world No.25 Agnes Szavay in round three of the Sony Ericsson Open on Sunday. The match will be the second official meeting between the pair, with Ana winning their only encounter last year.

The two young players did in fact face each other in an exhibition event in Szavay’s native Budapest in December 2007, to mark the Centenary of the Hungarian Tennis Federation. Szavay triumphed in three sets on that occasion, but Ana won their only competitive meeting 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 on the clay of Berlin last year.

After enduring a tough run of losses at the end of the season and the beginning of 2009, 20-year-old Szavay is back on form. She narrowly lost to seventh seed Agnieszka Radwanska in Indian Wells last week and scored a three-set victory over former world No.11 Francesca Schiavone in the first round here yesterday.

“There are no easy matches,” said Ana. “To play someone like Szavay in the third round of a tournament shows just how strong the draw is here. I had fun on the court in my opening match and I want to continue enjoying this tournament, and playing some good tennis.”

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