Google Down the Line!: 2007-07-01

Saturday, July 7, 2007

PREVIEW: Wimbledon Men's Final

Roger Federer vs. Rafael "Rafa" Nadal
Head-to-head: Fed 4, Rafa 8
Last meeting: French Open '07, Rafa 6-3 4-6 6-3 6-4

The saga continues...

The two most dominant players in the men's game are meeting for the 13th time overall, 4th time this year, and second time in the Wimby final Sunday match. Fed is going for his 5th consecutive Wimby championship, which would tie him with Bjorn Borg for most consecutive wins. The legendary Swede was in the Royal Box to watch Fed easily handle the No. 12 seed Frenchie Richard Gasquet in the semifinals 7-5, 6-3, 6-4. Rafa had a quick path to the final when No. 4 seeded Novak "Djoker" Djokovic quit the match at 3-6, 6-1, 4-1 due to injury.

Fed had this to say about Rafa's play this year at Wimby:

"He had a couple of scares here, you know. He could have lost two matches. Came through. So in the end it looks like he played incredible again. But I think he was struggling a little bit. I don't know if he's playing better. The draw's been different for him. But he's tough as always, consistent. Gave himself a chance. He totally deserves to be back in the final."

Here's Rafa on Fed's grass game:

"Well, he has a very complete game. He's a very complete player. He has all shots. He control very well the speed of the ball here. It looks like he always has time to get to the ball. So that's very important."

Outlook: Fed will have more pressure on him this final to match the record of Bjorn Borg. If Rafa can get on top early, he could unsettle Fed and make him think about the moment. But, Fed's game is tailor-made for the grass so a 5th consecutive Wimby title is in his sights.'s Bud Collins has picked Rafa to win the title. Do you agree?

Let me know who you think will win the men's final!

(images courtesy of AP Photo)

Friday, July 6, 2007

Friend or Fraud?

Thanks to for tipping us off to this pic of V and her new beau, pro golfer Hank Kuehne.

Rumor has it Hank's a minor leaguer looking for a major league "sugar mamma" - he's pulling a K-Fed.

Watch out V!

PREVIEW: Wimbledon Women's Final

Venus "V" Williams vs. Marion Bartoli
Head-to-head: 1st meeting

Expect the unexpected - the theme for the women's road to the final. No. 23 seed V takes on No. 18 seed Marion for the women's title. V took out the French Open finalist and No. 6 seed Ana Ivanovic in a straight-forward 6-2, 6-4 match. Bartoli, on the other hand, caused one of the biggest upsets in Wimby history ousting world No. 1 Justine Henin 1-6, 7-5, 6-1. This is V's sixth trip to the final while Bartoli is making her debut. This match is their first meeting.

V on reaching her sixth Wimby final:

"I've had so many great times here. It's really an amazing stat. I guess I'm feeling proud of myself for that stat, but I don't want to take anything for granted going into the final."

Marion had this to say about playing V in the final:

"Well, I never play against Venus. I play against her sister, Serena. I guess, you know, to beat the No. 1 in the world will give me a lot of confidence. And to play on this court, Centre Court, win that match, I will be really up for tomorrow. I have nothing to lose tomorrow. Venus has been the champion here already. You know, I will try to figure out the way to play against her."

Outlook: Venus should be a lock to win her 4th Wimby championship but Marion can't be overlooked. After beating Justine, she will come in with confidence. But how will she handle her first Grand Slam final? Tracy Austin for still gives the title to Venus.

Tell me who you think will win the women's final!

(images courtesy of AP Photo)

PREVIEW: Wimbledon Men's Semifinal Showdowns

The quarterfinals have been completed and the final four Gentlemen of Wimby are set for their semifinal battles. Here's a preview:

Head-to-head: Federer 5, Gasquet 1
Last meeting: ATP Masters Series Canada '06, Federer 2-6 6-3 6-2

After 5 days off from competition and another rain delay yesterday, world No. 1 Fed finally completed a match, winning his quarterfinal against the Spanish No. 20 seed Juan Carlos Ferrero 7-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3. Fed lost his first set of the tournament to Ferrero. Frenchie No. 12 seed Richard Gasquet joined his countrywoman Marion Bartoli as a giant-killer this tournament, taking out No. 3 seeded American Andy Roddick in a epic match 4-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-3), 8-6.

Here's Fed speaking about Gasquet's game:

"With Richard, I think he's a wonderful player off the back of the court. He now mixes it up very well, coming to the net much more. He's got a nice slice, fantastic backhand. He's really improved. I think he's going to be one of the good players in the future."

Here's Gasquet on playing Fed:

"I have no pressure. If I win the first set tomorrow, everything can happen. But I have to play against Roger on the Centre Court in Wimbledon. He won a lot of time. But for sure I have to enjoy this match. That's incredible for me."

Outlook: Gasquet's match against A-Rod was a draining battle - physically, mentally, and emotionally. Now he goes up against 10-time Slam winner in Fed tomorrow. Can he recover enough to challenge Fed, who's going for history in capturing a 5th Wimby championship in a row (tying the legendary Bjorn Borg)?

Head-to-head: Rafa 4, Djoker 1
Last meeting: French Open '07, Rafa 7-5 6-4 6-2

No. 2 seed Rafa had a tricky quarterfinal match against the No. 7 seed Tomas Berdych, a player who has given the Spaniard fits in the past. However, he schooled the Czech with a 7-6 (7-1), 6-4, 6-2 decision. The Djoker, the No. 4 seed, beat last year's semifinalist No. 10 seed Marcos Baghdatis in a gruelling 5-setter 7-6, 7-6, 6-7, 4-6, 7-5.

Here's Rafa's take on his semifinal tomorrow:

"Well, be in semifinals, anyway you play one guy or other one, is good for the confidence, no, because you have to win good matches for be in semifinals of one Grand Slam. But this Grand Slam, especially I beat very good players, so that's give me good confidence. But I know tomorrow I gonna have another test, another difficult test against Baghdatis or Djokovic. They're playing very good."

Here's the Djoker on his fitness for the semifinal:

"From the start of the tournament, I don't know if I had one day off. Maybe I had one or two. But basically I was on the schedule every day. That is not, you know, really the encouraging thing for semifinal. But he was kind of in that situation as well, even though of course he spend much less hours than me on the court. But he was on schedule every day, as well. You know, he's physically probably the most prepared player in the world. We all know that. But, you know, I'll try to do my best and recover."

Outlook: Any match Rafa is involved in will most certainly be a physical one. The Djoker has little time to recover from his 5 hour match today, not to mention his 4 hour plus match against Aussie Lleyton Hewitt in the Round of 16. Will the Serb have the legs to run with Rafa?

(Images courtesy of AP Photos)

U.S. Open Series - Road Trip!

No rest for the wicked. With Wimbledon winding down this weekend, the tennis gods have begun their media push for the US Open Series and the final Slam of the year, the US Open. The US Open Series runs for six weeks from July 16 – August 25, 2007 and culminates with the US Open from August 27 -September 9. Buidling on the "Road Trip" theme of the previous years, these clips showcase the players on the bus talking, and laughing up, the Series.

Check out these 2 clips currently promoting the U.S. Open series featuring all your fave tennis players including Roger "Fed Ex" Federer, Maria Shriekapova, Serena "ReRe" Willaims, Rafael "Rafa" Nadal, Justine Henin, Andy "A-Rod" Roddick, Venus "V" Williams, and many more!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Summer Lovers?

As Women's Tennis Blog reported, cutie Jamie Murray, Andy's brother, had asked Jelena "Weird Al" Jankovic to be his mixed-doubles partner at Wimbledon this year. Much to his suprise, after Weird Al's suprising defeat to semifinalist Marion Bartoli in the Wimby Round of 16 she decided to stick around and play with doubles that is...

Don't they look like the happy couple? They're both keeping it cool publicly but The Guardian had this to say:

"Asked about the compliment [Jankovic] had paid him by playing [Murray] said: "I obviously didn't know if she wanted to stick around but she seemed happy enough. If I keep her smiling she'll keep playing with me."

And asked about equivalent names to those of Booty and Stretch (Murray's men's doubles combination with Eric Butorac) the sought-after answer emerged at once. "Beauty and Stretch," he said. Jankovic proffered no indignant response at that."

Hmmm...I spy summer love!

(images courtesy of Getty Images)

PREVIEW: Wimbledon Women's Semifinal Showdowns

The final four Ladies of Wimby are all set for their semifinal showdowns. Here's a preview:

Venus "V" Williams vs. Ana Ivanovic

Head-to-head: Williams, 2-0
Last meeting: Luxembourg '06, Williams 6-3, 6-4

No. 23 seed V put on another sterling performance handling No. 5 seed Sveta Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals 6-3, 6-4. It was V's first win over the powerful Russian in 3 matches this year. No.6 seed Ivanovic won the battle of the "beauty teens" saving 3 match points and outlasting Czech Nikki Vaidisova, the 12th seed (and my darkhorse), 4-6, 6-2, 7-5.

Here's what V said about playing her next opponent:

"[Ivanovic and Vaidisova] are both very good players, a lot of talent, a lot of power, a lot of potential. They both love the game. I think they're both very similar. They both have similar games to me. It will just be a matter of me playing that game a little better."

Here's Ana talking about V:

"It's going to be very tough match. Venus is in a great shape. They played amazingly last couple of matches. It's going to be very tough. But I have experience. I played on Centre Court already. So I just want to go tomorrow and enjoy, try to play the best I can and see who will be better tomorrow."

Outlook: V, a 3-time Wimby champ, has the edge in every category over the Serb, so on paper this is a match she should win. Tracy Austin for has already given V a passport to the title. But which Venus will show up to play?

Justine Henin vs. Marion Bartoli

Head-to-head: Henin, 2-0
Last meeting: Eastbourne '07, Henin 6-1, 6-3

As the No. 1 seed Justine truly established herself as best in the world and earned another chance at the Venus Rosewater Dish by beating 8-time Slam winner and No. 7 seed Serena "ReRe" Willaims 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. This win was Henin's first over ReRe on a non-clay court - an important win for the fiery Belgian. France's Bartoli, the No. 18 seed, is this year's Wimby Surprise Semifinalist (isn't there always one?) winning her quarterfinal over 18 year old Michaella Krajichek of the Netherlands, the 31st seed, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Here's Justine on her upcoming semifinal:

"Well, still going match after match. I have a semifinal now. Still that's how I build something good, I hope. On Friday it's going to be another tough match. Even if on the paper I'm going to be the favorite, it's going to be another kind of story on the court. So it's still too early to talk about it. It would mean a lot, but still have a lot of work to do."

Here's Bartoli on playing Justine:

"I've been through some big stage already against some big players and in some tough situation, finals of tournaments. I'm not afraid to play against the big players. Not afraid. It's going to be my first time on Centre Court. I'm very happy to be for the first time on Centre Court in Wimbledon. I will really enjoy that moment."

Outlook: Justine, welcome to Wimby final #3. Could the third time be the charm?

Tell me who your picks are for tomorrow's women's semifinals!

(images courtesy of AP Photos)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Men's 1st Marquee Matchup: Wimbledon Quarterfinals

The men's field has finally caught up to the women's in terms of matchups and here's a potentially great clash. Third seed Andy "A-Rod" Roddick took care of the mentally fragile Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-2, 7-5, 7-6 (6) and will look to defeat a second Frenchie in the uber-talented Richard Gasquet, the 12th seed. Gasquet trumped his countryman Jo-Wilfired Tsonga 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.

Neither man has lost a set at this tournament. A-Rod was a heavily-touted junior who owns one of the biggest serves in tennis and 1 Grand Slam - the 2003 U.S. Open. Gasquet was also a heavily-touted junior player and owns one of the best one-handed backhands in tennis, but he is making his first quarterfinal appearance in a Slam at age 21 (the same age Federer won his very first Slam at Wimby, incidentally.) He has yet to take even a set off of A-Rod the 2 times they've played, but something tells me things could be different this time around.

Here's what A-Rod said about playing Gasquet:

"Yeah, you know, I think it will be correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't know if Gasquet has been in the quarters before of a Slam but I think it will be the first time for either [Gasquet or Tsonga]. That's probably not going to hurt me. I just hope they play for about 12 hours today."

Gasquet had this to say about A-Rod:

"I have to be aggressive, but it will be hard with his serve for sure. That's not easy on my serve after I have a lot of pressure, because I don't want to lose my serve because after with his serve, that's incredible. That's really difficult."

Matthew Cronin for thinks A-Rod has the stuff to be a Wimby champion this year.

Tell me what you think!

(images courtesy of AP Photos)

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

+ Netcords

- Lucky London: The season-ending ATP championships will move to London from Shanghai starting in 2009.

- Struggling with your forehand (are you listening Venus)? Check out this video.

- Another personal note: my women's darkhorse, Nikki Vaidisova, ousted defending Wimby champ Amelie Mauresmo and took her rightful place in the quarterfinals. Next up: French Open finalist Ana Ivanovic.

Women's 2nd Marquee Matchup: Wimbledon Women's Quarterfinals

Let's do this - THE matchup on the women's side that we've all been anticipating. Justine Henin wrapped up her 4th round match against Swiss Patty Schnyder in her trademark no-nonsense style: a 56 minute 6-2, 6-2 beatdown. Serena "ReRe" Williams displayed her trademark dramatic style, fighting through an apparent injury to her calf and gutting out a 6-2 6-7 (2-7) 6-2 win over slender Slovak Dani Hantuchova.

Here's what Justine said about the upcoming match with ReRe:

"Well, we are different styles, that's for sure, which is interesting and very exciting for the fans, too, to see the differences between us. I'm not going to talk about my tactics against Serena even if everyone can see it on the court. I don't look really what happens from the outside of the net. I just try to stay focused on me."

ReRe took a similar approach when asked about the match against Justine:

"You know, I think getting through today is great. That's the only thing I'm focused on right now, just to fix what I have going on and go from there . So I'm excited about getting that done."

Their last match was at this year's French Open, with Justine winning in dominating fashion 6-4, 6-3. Afterwards, ReRe was quoted as saying, "All [Justine] had to do was show up."

Will ReRe show up injured? How will Justine handle this situation?? Let me know what you think.

(images courtesy of AP Photos)

Monday, July 2, 2007

Women's 1st Marquee Matchup: Wimbledon Round of 16

Here's a tennis barnburner folks: Maria Shriekapova takes on Venus "V" Williams in the Round of 16. Shrieka won her 3rd rounder over the weekend against Japan's Ai "Sugs" Sugiyama, winning match point as the rains (again) came pouring down. Venus wrapped up her struggle today against another Japanese player, Akiko Morigami, fighting through 3 sets and 14 double faults (ouch).

Ooooh, this is a good one people. I wish this was a little bit deeper into the tournament, but I'll take it. In their last meeting here in 2005, Shrieka was the defending champion and Venus was struggling. But Venus showed her champion spirit, out-slugged Shrieka in a 7-6, 6-1 win, and won an epic final defeating Lindsay Davenport 9-7 in the third set after saving 2 match points.

NBC's Bud Collins, who will be leaving his 35 year gig hosting 'Breakfast at Wimbledon', has predicted Venus will win this match AND get to the final. Do you agree?

(update: check out Matthew Cronin's scouting report on Shrieka v. Venus)

(images courtesy of AP Photos)

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