Defending champion Maria "Shriek"apova debuted her Nike day dress...and then proceeded to lose. Her tormentor: 18 year old Agnieszka Radwanska, a former junior World No. 1 from Poland. We are certainly disappointed by the loss and the fact that we won't get to see the dress, or her sneaky red undies a la Tatiana Golovin, in action at the US Open anymore. Nice touch Maria, but bad loss...
Saturday, September 1, 2007
The US Open is beginning to heat up and we like it. Here we have our first Women's Marquee Matchup, though we wish these two high-profile players were meeting later on in the tournament. Regardless, this is definitely a "popcorn" match in our books. Let's take a look:
Venus "V" Williams played her second night match and wasted No. 21 seed Alona Bondarenko 6-1, 6-2 in under an hour. World No. 5 Ana Ivanovic continued her march through the draw, blasting Russian Vera Dushevina 6-1, 6-3. The last time these players met was last month in the semifinals of Wimbledon, where V easily handled the Serb 6-2, 6-4 with her rocket returns and superior movement. However, Ana is a different player already and is feeling prepared to challenge the Wimbledon champion this time around.
Here's what V had to say about Ana:
"She's definitely a good player, great competitor, and a nice person. It's good to see good things happening for her."
Ana had this to say about playing V:
"We had tough matches before. Last one was in Wimbledon recently. She was in a great shape. She's also playing good at the moment. We had tough matches, but definitely I think I have chances. I'm looking forward to that match because I think I'm in a good shape. I feel good on the court. It will be exciting to play against her."
Matthew Cronin for FOXSports.com is calling this match a defacto final and isn't quite ready to pencil V into the quarterfinals, and neither are we. The hardcourt surface is a great equalizer in the movement category, so V won't necessarily have that advantage like she did on grass.
Venus vs. Ana: tell us who you think will move on to the quarterfinals!
Friday, August 31, 2007
Brit Tim Henman played his final Grand Slam match tonight, going down to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the US Open 2nd round. He is retiring after Britain's Davis Cup qualifying match against Croatia in September. Here's a look at the titles Tim won over his 14-year career:
SINGLES CAREER TITLES (11): 1997--Sydney Outdoor, Tashkent; 1998--Basel, Tashkent; 2000--Brighton, Vienna; 2001--Basel, Copenhagen; 2002--Adelaide; 2003--Paris TMS, Washington FINALIST (17): 1997--Antwerp, Doha; 1998--Los Angeles, Sydney Outdoor; 1999--Basel, Doha, London / Queen's Club, Rotterdam; 2000--Cincinnati, Rotterdam, Scottsdale; 2001--London / Queen's Club; 2002--Indian Wells TMS, London / Queen's Club, Rotterdam; 2004--Indian Wells AMS; 2006--Tokyo
DOUBLES CAREER TITLES (4): 2004--Monte Carlo AMS; 1999--Monte Carlo, London; 1997--Basel FINALIST (2): 2000--Rotterdam; 1996--Atlanta Olympics
All the talk about Rafael Nadal at the US Open hasn't been about his trademark aggressive baseline playing. This week the World No. 2 has been facing questions about his balky knees and the tendinitis plaguing them. Apparently he's been visiting Italian surgeon Pier Francesco Parra, who has used his laser treatments to cure what ails dozens of tennis stars, soccer players and Olympic skiing champion Alberto Tomba.
The Spaniard initially visited Dr. Parra on after Monday's practice session and then today. "It's like doing arthroscopic surgery, but without cutting the skin," Parra said. "And it takes 23 seconds."
(story via Slam Sports; photos courtesy of AP Photo)
Wow - there are so many visuals going through our heads right now that we don't know where to start. Novak Djokovic celebrated his 5-set win over Czech Radek Stepanek at the US Open today by showing his fans more of what his body can do. Keep it up Nole - we'll be watching...
Thursday, August 30, 2007
+ THURSDAY NETCORDS: Fed, Nole, Alona, Martina the black widow...Rafa's injuries worry, Lleyton is ready and more
Marion Bartoli is feeling disrespected and she's over it. The recent Wimbledon finalist is lashing back at legend Martina Navratilova for comments she made about Marion during a phoner with The New York Times. “She can beat a top-10 player here and there, but not day in and day out,” Navratilova said. “For that, you need better movement. But it just shows how good she is and how well she hits the ball. She doesn’t have the foot speed, but she still gets the job done.”
After hearing these comments, Marion told The New York Observer's John Koblin, "This really makes me nuts," [...] "You can't be in the final of Wimbledon if you can't move. I mean how impossible to beat the number one in the world [Justine Henin] in the semifinal if not moving great. And I beat Jelena Jankvoic, the number three in the world, and she moves so well. If you don't move well you cannot beat her, there is no way. So you cannot throw this kind of thing in the air and say 'she is a bad mover, she is not a great athlete.' You cannot say that, there is no way. So maybe Martina Navratilova is not right every time."
We think the Frenchie's run to the Wimbledon final was a fluke, too. Clearly she was in the zone, as evidenced by her post-Wimbledon (lack of) results. But, we're giving Marion her props - it's still a great result.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Former World No. 1 Martina Hingis is changing things up. The "Swiss Miss" was a loyal member of the Yonex tennis racket crew for years. However, Marty has been spotted working a blacked out racket at the US Open which means she's switch-hitting these days and trying out another brand.
“I’m not talking about this subject right now,” said Marty. “Yup, it’s a black frame. Testing racquet.”
Anyone have any information on who the lucky racket brand might be?
Bethanie Mattek is at it again. Trying to muscle her way into the tennis fashion game, the American hits all the wrong notes with this US Open outfit. Bethanie looks like she's auditioning to be a dancer on the 1980's singing show "Solid Gold". Wrong decade, wrong outfit...
(image courtesy of AP Photo)
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
+ TUESDAY NETCORDS: Justin vs. Roger, Serena pimps HP...Maria's fat head, the latest betting news and more
Now, this is more like it. Lacoste didn't completely miss the fashion train at this year's US Open. The French sportswear label, though, seems to have saved the best for their male players at this Grand Slam. We are loving the smart use of color and the fact that this clothing looks like tennis gear, and acts like tennis gear.
Exhibit A: Andy Roddick, Exhibit B: Edouard Roger-Vasselin, Exhibit C: Arnaud Clement
We believe in comfort on the tennis court. But Lacoste looks to be taking this idea a little too far at the US Open. The latest fashions for their female French players have them dressed more for napping in the player's lounge than battling on the tennis court. And, the polka-dots aren't helping, either.
Exhibit A: Stephanie Cohen-Aloro, Exhibit B: Tatiana Golovin, Exhibit C: Alize Cornet
BIG HIT or BAD MISS?
Okay - this is just bad. Thailand's Danai Udomchoke clearly got dressed in his sleep. We're pretty sure his clothing sponsor, Dunlop, wasn't expecting this kind of exposure. It's a Grand Slam Danai, step it up!
This is exactly the reason why we believe the USTA should hire stylists, now that on-court tennis fashion is here to stay. Rachel Zoe, Jessica Pastor, Carson Kressley even...are you listening???
We're such dogs over here at Down the Line! We can't help ourselves when it comes to cute male tennis players. While reviewing US Open tennis coverage from yesterday's 1st round, we spotted up-and-coming American Alex Kuznetsov.
We first remember noticing Alex (and his sexy arms) at this year's Australian Open, playing fellow American James Blake in the second round.
Unfortunately, we won't get to see anymore of Alex: he lost his 1st rounder to Spain's Nicolas Almagro...*sigh*
While watching Venus Williams' demolition of qualifier Kira Nagy during last night's US Open 1st round match, we couldn't help notice the Hungarian's striking resemblance to a former World No. 1: Jennifer Capriati. Kira even has J-Cap's overbite down pat.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Singer and frontman for Matchbox 20, Rob Thomas, was one of many celebrities who made it out to Arthur Ashe Kids' Day at the US Open this past weekend. We've never thought of him as being very cute, but our thinking has changed since seeing these pictures. And, it looks like he has some decent form on the forehand side!
Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk & Daisy Fuentes
Serena "ReRe" Williams is one of many female athletes starring in Nike's new ad campaign to support women's sports. Entitled "ATHLETE", the spots also star skier Picabo Street, volleyball player Gabrielle Reese, and soccer's Mia Hamm. A large billboard of ReRe will be going up on Tuesday in New York City coinciding, of course, with the US Open. The ad features the former World No. 1 in a "ATHLETE" t-shirt with the provocative tagline "Are you looking at my titles?"
"It's important to hear from women who overcome stereotypes, ignorance and inequality," Williams says. "It's also important for a woman "to be an athlete, be strong and not feel sorry for kicking someone's butt." We couldn't agree more, ReRe...
Sunday, August 26, 2007
After unveiling THE dress and modeling for the media earlier in the week, Maria "Shriek"apova has gotten down to the business at hand. The World No. 2 sat down with reporters to talk about her game and her chances of defending the US Open title she won last year. Forever a fashionista, the Russian glamourpuss still looked great in the black Nike Flirt Maria jacket and pants.
Here's what Maria said when asked about defending her title:
Q. As the defending champion, do you feel more pressure or less pressure on your shoulders and why?
A. I'm sure going on the court I'm going to be a bit nervous. Nerves are part of an athlete. It's how you deal with nerves. I love it when there's something on the line. That's when I play my best tennis. I don't mind going out there and being a little nervous because it says I'm human.
Tracy Austin for MSNBC Sports gives the Russian a chance to make the final with her soft draw, but hands the title to World No. 1 Justine Henin. We're not so sure Justine will be the winner.
Do you agree? Tell us!
The continuing saga of Serena
A mother and child
If you had $1.4 million bucks you would buy _________.
An insider's look at Rafa's US Open threads
Maria's no dead frog
Boris the exhibitionist
Nole's got balls
A-Rod arrives in style
Red at night, sailors delight
She wears white in the day
Maria is inspired by the Big Apple
EleVen is the magic number
The sexy Spanish
Get cookin' with your favorite tennis player
Venus has a Late Night with David Letterman
Who's hotter: Rafa or the Djoker?
Fed eats, gets honored
A tennis ingenue hits her stride
THURSDAY: Venus & Serena, US Open seed report, Andy's troubles...Tim says farewell, being a ballboy (or girl) and more