Archive for July, 2009


Samantha Stosur defeats Serena.


Samantha Stosur earned the biggest victory of her career as she downed Serena Williams 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 at the Bank of the West Tournament. Serena had admitted yesterday that she was having trouble with her serve, and as if to confirm her problem she served a double fault on match point.

Stosur saved nine of 10 break points on Friday and played a steady game against the top-seeded Williams, who had a nine-match winning streak snapped.

Stosur is seeking her first WTA Tour title.

Third-seeded Elena Dementieva of Russia also advanced to the semifinals, beating Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia 6-2, 6-4.

Dementieva will play the winner of the match between Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams.

Stosur will meet the winner of the Jankovic/Bartoli match in the semi final.


Chef Andy at US Open!

_roddick taste_roddick taste 2

The world’s top tennis players and chefs are set to serve up the US Open’s hottest pre-tournament action at the 10th Annual BNP PARIBAS TASTE OF TENNIS. This year’s lineup includes tennis superstars Andy Roddick, Tommy Haas, Billie Jean King and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who will cook up culinary aces alongside TV personality and celebrity chef Bethenny Frankel, Carla Hall and Ariane Duarte from Bravo’s “Top Chef,” and Gotham Bar and Grill’s Alfred Portale.

The star-studded charity event, produced by AYS Sports Marketing and benefiting the Food Bank For New York City, is set for Thursday, Aug. 27, 7-10 p.m., at the W New York. ESPN personality Hannah Storm will serve as emcee for the evening.

One of summer’s most anticipated New York night-time events, BNP PARIBAS TASTE OF TENNIS gives guests the chance to mingle with their favorite tennis stars and chefs, while sampling an eclectic mix of specially-designed dishes that earn rave reviews each year.

This year’s lineup of scheduled players includes:

 *Andy Roddick (USA)

*Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France)

*Fernando Gonzalez (Chile)

*Tommy Haas (Germany)

*Nicolas Kiefer (Germany

*Lleyton Hewitt (Australia)

*Billie Jean King (USA)

*Vera Zvonareva (Russia)

*Anabel Medina-Garrigues (Spain)

*Victoria Azarenka (Belarus)

*Aleksandra Wozniak (Canada)

*Jarmila Groth (SVK/Australia)

*Yen-Hsun Lu (China)

*Sam Groth (Australia)

 This year’s BNP PARIBAS TASTE OF TENNIS benefits the FOOD BANK FOR NEW YORK CITY, which provides 68 million pounds of food annually to more than 1,000 emergency and community food programs — including soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, low-income daycare centers, kids cafes and senior, youth, rehabilitation and outreach centers — throughout the five boroughs of New York City. The Food Bank helps provide 250,000 free meals a day for New Yorkers who otherwise would go hungry or not eat enough, who are largely comprised of women and children, the elderly, people with disabilities and the working poor.


Kastles win WTT title…..looks like fun!


Olga Puchkova of the Washington Kastles held off three match points to defeat Vania King of the Springfield Lasers in the final set of the Advanta World TeamTennis Finals, leading Washington to a 23-20 win over Springfield and their first WTT Championship.

Trailing by two games heading into the final set, the Lasers were still exactly where they wanted to be – with their fate on the racquet of King, the League’s 2009 Female MVP. King had the opportunity to continue her season-long heroics but it was the Kastles’ Puchkova who sent the fans into a victory celebration with the upset 5-4 win over King.

The Kastles led from start to finish. Scott Oudsema of the Washington Kastles served three aces en route to a 5-3 win over Springfield’s Raven Klaasen in the opening set of men’s singles.

The League’s top two mixed doubles teams faced off in the second event. The Lasers went up a break early when 2009 Male MVP Leander Paes double-faulted in the opening game of the mixed doubles. The Kastles immediately broke Martin Damm’s serve to even the set at 1-1. Damm held serve the next time around to bring it back to 3-3. After evening up the match at 4-4, the Kastles rolled through the tiebreaker 5-1 for a 5-4 set win and an overall 10-7 lead.

Midway through the Advanta WTT Championship Finals on Sunday afternoon between the Washington Kastles and the Springfield Lasers, Kastles Coach Murphy Jensen implored his team to “play with a sense of urgency.” They did.

The Kastles built their lead to four games at halftime when Paes and Oudsema edged Damm and Klaasen 5-4 in men’s doubles to take a 15-11 lead into halftime.

King teamed with Liezel Huber to close the gap to two games with a 5-3 win over Olga Puchkova and Stubbs in women’s doubles.

Puchkova and King traded nervous service breaks in the first two games of the final set. King rallied to a 4-2 lead and three championship points before Puchkova staged her comeback to win the final and the championship. Puchkova credited her team and the Kastles crowd with pushing her to the victory. “It was amazing, it was awesome,” said Puchkova of the crowd chanting her name after she closed out King for the win. “The win boosted my confidence a lot. Hopefully this year I can build on this experience.”

“The team just never game up,” said Coach Jensen. “That’s what makes WTT so exciting.”

Kastles team owner Mark Ein called it the most exciting match he had ever seen. “It’s a dream come true to win this in front of our fans,” Ein said.

Springfield’s coach John-Laffnie de Jager said the difference in the match was Washington’s success with 3-all points but said the atmosphere and competition was vintage World TeamTennis. “This match is what WTT is all about,” said de Jager. “It was exciting.”

The Advanta WTT Finals MVP was the Kastles’ Scott Oudsema who had the highest winning percentage of any player in the Finals.


Fish squirms off the hook in LA.

Mardy-Fish-LA-Open-2009_2340973Second seed Mardy Fish saved three match points against Australia’s Chris Guccione before booking his place in the quarter-finals of the LA Open.

Guccione won the first set on a tie-break and had three chances to clinch victory in the second breaker.

However, Fish held firm and levelled matters before pushing on to win after an early break of serve in the deciding set.

He finally wrapped up a 6-7 (3/7) 7-6 (14/12) 6-4 success after two hours and 22 minutes on court.

Fish will tackle Leonardo Mayer for a place in the semis, after the Argentinian knocked out fifth-seeded Russian Igor Kunitsyn 7-6 (7/5) 6-7 (7/9) 6-3.

Elsewhere in the second round, fourth seed Dudi Sela reached the last eight with a 6-4 3-6 6-1 win over American Robert Kendrick.

Next up for the Israeli is sixth seed Sam Querrey, who beat fellow American Ryan Sweeting 6-3 6-7 6-3.


Final eight decided at Stanford.

APTOPIX Stanford TennisSerbia’s Jelena Jankovic rallied to beat Germany’s Sabine Lisicki 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals of the Bank of the West Classic on Thursday. Jankovic, seeded fourth and ranked No. 6, joins Serena and Venus Williams in the final eight, giving the Stanford event one of its most prestigious quarterfinal matchups.

Wimbledon champion Serena Williams advanced after beating Hungary’s Melinda Czink 6-3, 7-6 (7) and Venus Williams got by qualifier Alla Kudryavtseva, 6-3, 7-5, setting up an evening showdown with former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova, who continues her comeback from right shoulder surgery.

Eighth-seeded Marion Bartoli of France advanced with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over qualifier Melanie Oudin of the United States and will meet Jankovic.

“There should be a lot of good tennis,” Bartoli said. “I always beat Jankovic so who do you think I want to play?” Jankovic was less than impressed with Bartoli’s comments. “She talks like she’s Serena Williams,” Jankovic said. “Who is she? She’s just another player on the tour.”

As for her match Thursday, Jankovic had a difficult time in the first set adjusting to the fading light.

“It took me awhile to adjust to the shadows,” she said. “I haven’t played at night for a while and it was tough to see where the ball was going at times. I felt rusty out there. I need the matches; I need to compete.”

Lisicki had seven aces but also committed 11 double faults and managed to put her first serve in play about half the time. “My philosophy is the more tennis I play the better I play,” Jankovic said.

Serena Williams, seeded first and ranked No. 2, has won nine straight matches and 13 of 14 overall. She next plays Australia’s Samantha Stosur.

“It should be a good match,” Williams said. “She’s improved tons; leaps and bounds. I’ve been a little bit off this whole week. I hope I can get back on.”

Williams finished with 10 aces Thursday and brushed past her opponent in the first set. Czink, a left-hander, played a stronger second set in forcing Williams to a tiebreaker in a match that lasted nearly two hours.

“She served well, toward the end especially,” Williams said. “I could have returned better, but it was still good practice.” Williams adjusted to a shorter toss on her serve at the beginning of the match because of a bright noon sun.

“It only affected four or five games but those games could be crucial,” Williams said. “I made some key errors so it was good I ended up winning.”

Venus Williams, seeded second and ranked No. 3, joined her younger sister in the quarterfinals, needing just over an hour to get by Kudryavtseva.

“I’m excited. I love playing against her and it’s been a while,” Sharapova said Wednesday. “It’s great to come back and have the chance to play against a great player like Venus, who is at the top of her game right now.”

Sharapova has won three of the five previous meetings, the last a three-set win in 2007 at Miami. Williams’ only two wins have come at Wimbledon in 2005 and 2007.

“My key is to execute my game as best I can,” Williams said. “There’s no secret to that. I feel like it will be a good matchup for me. I always enjoy playing against Maria.”


……only in California!…



If you think that you’ve seen every stupid event related to tennis, well think again. At next week’s LA Open,a WTA sanctioned event, a competition will be held to find the loudest grunter! What is the tournament committee thinking? Is Women’s tennis insufficiently exciting to draw a crowd? Are the grunting competitors expected to dress in their favourite players garb? I just hope that ‘real’ fans do not enter such a ridiculous competition.


Qualifier ousts Wawrinka in Gstaad.

Stanislas-Wawrinka-Wimbledon-2009-rd-4-woe_2323199Top seed and home favourite Stanislas Wawrinka suffered a shock straight sets defeat to Brazilian qualifier Thomaz Bellucci in the second round of the Allianz Suisse Open in Gstaad.

World number 119 Bellucci took just 75 minutes to polish off Wawrinka, ranked 24th, and claim a quarter-final tie against German veteran Nicolas Kiefer, who beat Spain’s Ivan Navarro 6-3 6-7 (3) 6-2.

On a fine day for Brazil, Bellucci’s compatriot Marcos Daniel also advanced to the last eight with a 6-3 7-6 (8) win over Frenchman Julien Benneteau.

Daniel will next play Frenchman Florent Serra, who took the first set over fourth seed Victor Hanescu before the Romanian retired from the tie due to an upset stomach


Billy Jean to receive Medal of Freedom.

billie-jean-kingPresident Barack Obama today named gay civil rights pioneer Harvey Milk and tennis great (and open lesbian) Billie Jean King as two of 16 recipients of the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom.

 America’s highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom is awarded to individuals who make an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.

 From the White House press release:

 “This year’s awardees were chosen for their work as agents of change. Among their many accomplishments in fields ranging from sports and art to science and medicine to politics and public policy, these men and women have changed the world for the better. They have blazed trails and broken down barriers. They have discovered new theories, launched new initiatives, and opened minds to new possibilities.

 President Obama said, “These outstanding men and women represent an incredible diversity of backgrounds. Their tremendous accomplishments span fields from science to sports, from fine arts to foreign affairs. Yet they share one overarching trait: Each has been an agent of change. Each saw an imperfect world and set about improving it, often overcoming great obstacles along the way.

 “Their relentless devotion to breaking down barriers and lifting up their fellow citizens sets a standard to which we all should strive. It is my great honor to award them the Medal of Freedom.”

 President Obama will present the awards at a ceremony on Wed., Aug. 12.”


Smiling all the way….to the bank!

serena and FedATP Money earnings as of July 28th. 2009.

1, Roger Federer, $4,881,261. 2, Rafael Nadal, $4,248,648. 3, Andy Murray, $2,463,532. 4, Novak Djokovic, $2,107,241. 5, Andy Roddick, $1,931,744. 6, Robin Soderling, $1,212,550. 7, Juan Martin del Potro, $1,209,522. 8, Fernando Verdasco, $976,874. 9, Fernando Gonzalez, $906,766. 10, Tommy Robredo, $885,030.


WTA Money earnings as of July 28th. 2009.

1, Serena Williams, $3,897,541. 2, Dinara Safina, $3,237,977. 3, Svetlana Kuznetsova, $2,308,984. 4, Venus Williams, $1,827,567. 5, Victoria Azarenka, $1,759,484. 6, Vera Zvonareva, $1,243,771. 7, Caroline Wozniacki, $1,084,774. 8, Elena Dementieva, $1,073,392. 9, Samantha Stosur, $790,016. 10, Anabel Medina Garrigues, $664,278


“I’m in a sea of doubt,” Rafa admits.

rafaThere have been brief statements and no lack of speculation over Nadal’s prognosis following the revelation that he had tendonitis in both quadriceps – though revelation may be a bit strong; perhaps confirmation would be a better description. Concerns over the damage Nadal’s full-blooded style would have on his body have followed the Spaniard for years now, sparking debate ever since a foot injury prevented him from playing in his first ever Masters Cup in 2005, the same year he won his first Roland Garros title.

Nadal had some ominous-sounding things to say about the situation yesterday in an interview for Spanish television station TVE. “I’m in a sea of doubt,” he admitted when asked whether or not he is fit to return this August. “My main objective is not to regain the No.1 ranking. My main goal is to be well and happy to be playing tennis.”

The concern is that Nadal’s game is so entrenched in his physical prowess. He generates more revolutions per minute on a ball than any other player – up to 4900rpm, and 3300rpm on average on his forehand, a hefty 20% more than his closest rival in that, and seemingly every other, department, Roger Federer. The spin allows him to impart huge velocity into his shots with the safety net of topspin to help the ball meet the court. But achieving this requires momumental all-body strength, as does his infamous court coverage. The margins for failure in his game are therefore much slimmer than they might first appear.

Fortunately, tendonitis is widely acknowledged as an injury borne out of overexertion – entirely understandable following the Spaniard’s incredible 2008, which briefly spilled into 2009 at the Australian Open. Time is indeed a healer and, while disappointing, his decision to skip Wimbledon was undoubtedly the right one. Unfortunately, it may not be the only factor affecting Nadal’s game. There has been a second strain troubling the 23-year-old – that of his parents’ separation.

His strength of mind is legendary – but how long until it returns to its bulletproof best?

The first hint that the Spaniard was struggling to keep his emotions in check came in Miami earlier this year. A double break to the good against Juan Martin del Potro in the semi-final, Nadal crumbled. Uncharacteristic isn’t the word. Afterwards, when asked if he could explain such an out-of-character collapse, he replied: “Always is a reason why you are not playing at your level during the tournament. No, I am calm. I am happy about myself, about everything this year, yeah. I don’t know. Always is a reason, but it’s personal.”

Slowly that personal reason leaked out, and in June Sebastian and Ana Maria announced the news that they were set to divorce. Soon after a friend described Nadal as “devastated. All through the past couple of months he has been trying to get his tennis back on track, but his heart has been elsewhere. In public he has put on a brave face, but in private he has been hoping for a reconciliation and fervently wishing this wasn’t happening. Now he has returned home and is catching up with his family. He talked about resetting his body after withdrawing from the championships and yet he has a more difficult task.”

Nadal himself finally discussed the issue publicly yesterday. “I am human and it is difficult, not to accept, but to assimilate, and you suffer when you aren’t at home,” he said in his interview with TVE. “I’m almost over it, but it happened a few months ago and I still won in Indian Wells, Barcelona and Rome.”

Nevertheless, this is a young man who places great faith in the stability of his personal life. He is coached by his uncle Toni. He has dated Xisca, a girl that he used to go to school with, since 2004. And he still bases himself on the island of his birth, Mallorca. His meticulous routine, along with the water bottle geometry and underwear extraction, includes a phone call home after each practice session, let alone each match.

Strength has always been Nadal’s weapon. His physique has faltered, but that will only be temporary. His strength of mind is legendary – but having shown signs of cracking under the strain of this personal trouble, how long until it returns to its bulletproof best?

Targets may help, and may explain his desperation to return to tennis. Nadal’s proposed return to action not only coincides with the anniversary of his ascent to the top of the rankings, but will see him attempt to fend off the challenge of Andy Murray. The world No.3 is now within touching distance of the Spaniard, having moved just 475 points behind as of Monday’s rankings totals, and regardless of Nadal’s result in Canada, a Murray victory would see the two switch positions.

Beyond that, Nadal could become the second player in the space of a year to complete a career slam with victory in Flushing Meadows. The mountain standing between him and such a staggering achievement may seem an impossible task, but right now focusing such a challenge may be just what he needs to set his head straight. But there’s no point curing the mind at the expense of the body.

There seems little doubt in his mind that the court is where he wants to be, not just now but for a good while yet. “I’m very happy to be back training, get to touch a racket again and do what I love doing the most,” he said after returning to action last week. “At the same time, it was just a very light session, without putting too much pressure; just enough to see how I am.

“I still have to be very careful and I think within the next week and a half we will know more. Nevertheless, I’m still very happy.”

Time, as the saying goes, is a healer. How much time Nadal will need in the face of a new family life, we can never know. But perhaps tennis, an area of his life he can control with such dominant effect – and the challenge from Murray in Montreal from August 10 – is what the Spaniard thinks he needs right now. If he does indeed returns, we can only hope it is with knees as strong as his will. Because tennis, in this golden era of great rivalries, needs Rafa.

Posted by TennisHead.

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