Google Down the Line!: 2007-09-02

Saturday, September 8, 2007

SIGHTING: Catherine Zeta-Jones takes in the US Open

The stunning Catherine Zeta-Jones was spotted checking out the men's semifinals at the US Open today. She was accompanied by husband Michael Douglas and father-in-law Kirk Douglas.

Was CZ Jones watching World No. 1 Roger Federer make history by defeating Russian Nikolay Davydenko and reaching his 10th straight Grand Slam final?

PHOTO OP: Novak Djokovic wins, goes shirtless for his fans

Yes, we love when Novak Djokovic wins as he did today to get to his first Grand Slam final. Keeping with his tradition, the world's sexiest Serb celebrated his semifinal win over Spain's David Ferrer by removing his shirt. He sure knows how to spoil his fans...*sigh*

PREVIEW: US Open Women's Final

Justine Henin vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova
Head-to-head: Justine 14, Sveta 2
Last meeting: Berlin Open (clay), Sveta 6-4 5-7 6-4

Two familiar foes will battle under the lights at the US Open as No. 1 seed Justine Henin takes on No. 4 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova for the women's title. Justine made history as only the second woman to beat both Williams sisters at a Grand Slam (Martina Hingis beat the sisters at the '01 Australian Open.) Playing with all out aggression and incredible variety, the Belgian defeated Venus Williams 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 in an exciting display of all-court tennis. Sveta fought compatriot Anna Chakvetadze, and her nerves, and pulled out a 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 victory. Both players will be looking to add a second US Open title to their collection, with the World No. 1 winning the '03 title and Sveta taking the title the following year.

Here's Justine on playing the final:

"I mean, I want to enjoy this moment now, but I know tomorrow is going to be another big day and I have to be a hundred percent focused on that one. I will just try to take my experience from the past and talk a lot about that with Carlos. Just, yeah, I have to go and win it. I mean, I have to do it. I'm not gonna wait that she gives the match to me, because she won't. I will have to be very, very, very aggressive. With a lot of determination I believe I can do it, but we're both going to be feeling the same tomorrow."

Sveta had this to say about playing the final:

"I don't want to think about the win or lose. I just gonna go out there and enjoy the final. To play in the night I have not had one match on Ashe on the night yet. I played a little bit late with the lights, but I really didn't have night match yet. Just, you know, the opportunity for me to play a great final. I just gonna give my best. Doesn't depend on me if I win or lose. Of course, it does, but on the other player also."

Outlook: Though Sveta beat Justine in their last meeting, it was only her second win over the Belgian out of 16 matches. This loss may give Justine even more motivation to win - not a great prospect for the still mentally fragile Russian. Matt Cronin for is picking Justine to grab the US Open title in straight sets, and we wholeheartedly agree.

(images via AP Photo)

Friday, September 7, 2007

PHOTO OP: Ex-cabana boy offers spray-down at US Open

Get your spray on: Just some late Friday afternoon eye candy from the US Open. Meet hottie Jonathan Hays, an ex-cabana boy for The Four Seasons in Palm Beach and current model in New York City. Lucky tennis fans visiting the Open on this hot afternoon have the opportuntiy to sit back, relax, and let Jonathan spray all over them...with Evian water spritz of course. (via The New York Observer)

Dear USA Network: No more awkward celebrity interviews at the US Open

Cut the fat: We have had it, and it seems we're not the only ones. Down the Line! would like to submit a formal complaint to USA Network about roving reporter (although we have another title in mind) Michael Barkan. Barkan has this unique talent of interrupting a great US Open match at the worst time for a pointless and annoying celebrity interview. To make matters worse, he creates severely awkward moments for all involved, mostly for himself.

Jossip, the media gossip blog, posted the ridiculous interaction between Barkan, Jerry Seinfeld, and Larry David that occurred during the thrilling quarterfinal between Venus Williams and Jelena Jankovic. Our favorite part:

Michael Barkan (to Jerry): What are you doing, quickly?

Jerry Seinfeld: I have a bee—

Michael Barkan: Or not quickly! I’m sorry.

Jerry Seinfeld: —a bee movie coming out November 2nd, an animated movie.

Michael Barkan: (whispering) Really? A bee movie?

Jerry Seinfeld (whispering) Yes.

Michael Barkan: (loudly) A bee movie!

Larry David (whispering) You’re talking too loud! What’s the matter with you?

Michael Barkan (whispering): I’m sorry. What’s the funniest thing that—that you’ve ever seen on a tennis court?

Jerry Seinfeld (loudly): Not you.

Jerry and Larry laugh.

Michael Barkan: Okay. Okay, with that, we, uh—shhhh! We send it back. With Jerry and Larry, and Larry and Jerry.

(image via jossip)

PREVIEW: US Open Men's Semifinal Showdowns

The final four men at the US Open have been decided and are set for the Men's Semifinal Showdowns. Here's a preview:

Head-to-head: Federer 9, Davydenko 0
Last meeting: French Open '07 (clay), Federer 7-5 7-6(5) 7-6(7)

Destroying American hopes of a US Open upset with his usual flair, World No. 1 Fed handled the best No. 5 seed Andy Roddick could muster and delivered a 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4), 6-2 quarterfinal victory. Speedy Russian Niko made quick work of Germany's No. 10 seed Tommy Haas with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 win. The last time these two met was at this year's French Open where Niko pushed Fed hard for 3 sets before succumbing to the Swiss' superior game.

Here's what Fed had to say about Niko:

"[...] I think he's a fantastic player. Totally underrated still sometimes from the media. Even though I have a great record against him, I'm aware of his ability. It was a very close match we did at the French Open this year in the semis. Last year I played out of my head in the semis, I remember. Looking forward to a tough match. He's a great player."

Here's what Niko said about playing Fed:

"You know, I always try, always try to come to [the level I played Haas] against Federer or like against Nadal, you know. [...] That's was to come to this level, it like Djokovic now try to come, you know, to this level, like beating Federer in Montréal. That's was for me also very important."

Outlook: We actually think Niko will play Fed tough here as he did in Paris. He won't win, but he'll push the Swiss hard and maybe even squeak out a tie-break set.

Head-to-head: Djokovic 1, Ferrer 2
Last meeting: Monte Carlo Masters Series, Ferrer 7-5, 6-4

Nole reached his 3rd consecutive Grand Slam semifinal, and first at the US Open, by defeating Spain's sexy No. 17 seed Carlos Moya 6-4, 7-6 (7), 6-1. David, who earlier defeated compatriot Rafael Nadal, continued his New York success by reaching his first Grand Slam semifinal by taking out No. 20 seed Juan Ignacio Chela 6-2, 6-3, 7-5. David has a winning edge in his head-to-head with Nole and won their last meeting on clay in Monte Carlo, so expect the Spaniard to come in with confidence as he's done all tournament.

Here's Nole's take on playing David in the semifinals:

"Well, he's a great competitor. Obviously he's performing his best tennis this year. He had an impressive year, especially here in US Open he's been playing some great tennis. He beat Nadal, so he plays every point, you know, he's running and he doesn't give you a lot of unforced errors, so you've got to earn every point if you want to be in control of the match.So that's what I'm going to try to do. I'm going to try to be aggressive and patient at the same time."

Here's what David said about Nole's game:

"Djokovic is unbelievable player. Very young player and he plays really very well. For me, he can move to No. 1 of the world five or six years. Depends of Rafa or Roger, no? But it's another generation.He serve well, he has a very good backhand, forehand. He do all. A really good player."

Outlook: Nole may be ranked higher the David, but this will be a tough match. Nole will have to serve a high percentage of first serves since the Spaniard is returning extremely well - so well that a certain Swiss called him "the best returner in the game." Nole will need to be aggressive and control the points or else the Spaniard could run him ragged and steal the match. A slight edge to Nole on this one.

Tell us who your picks are for the Men's Semifinal Showdowns!

(Images courtesy of AP Photos)

THE LOW DOWN: Is Serena Williams hiding a baby bump?

Is Serena "ReRe" Williams pregnant??? Reports online have been surfacing that the former No. 1 is hiding a baby bump and her father, the eccentric Richard Williams, and current boyfriend, actor Jackie Long, have been spreading the news.

If ReRe is preggers, maybe that explains the Nike baby-doll tennis gear she sported at the US Open...but not the ugly aftermath of her quarterfinal loss to Justine Henin.

(via usopentennis07; image courtesy of AP Photo)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

SIGHTING: Natalie Portman takes in the US Open

One of our fave actresses, the super-talented Natalie Portman, enjoyed the tennis action last night at the US Open. Her male friend? The gorgeous Nathan Bogle, a model turned designer who helped co-found fashion line rag & bone.

Could they be watching Venus Williams' stirring, and impressive, 3-set win over World No. 3 Jelena Jankovic in last night's quarterfinal?

(image via

SIGHTING: Boris Becker and girlfriend take in US Open, keep hands to themselves

Tennis legend Boris Becker and his gorgeous girl-of-the-moment Sharlely Kersenberg kept their hands off each other long enough to watch World No. 1 Roger Federer dismiss Andy Roddick from the US Open last night. It was Fed's 14th win over the American overall, with only one loss.

I guess the Swiss' ethereal game can distract even the most amorous of couples from committing PDA (public displays of affection, y'all.) though Sharlely doesn't look too happy about it...

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

PREVIEW: US Open Women's Semifinal Showdowns

The final four ladies at the US Open have been decided and are set for the Women's Semifinal Showdowns. Here's a preview:

Justine Henin vs. Venus Williams

Head-to-head: Williams 7, Henin 1
Last meeting: Australian Open '03 (hard), Williams 6-3, 6-3

World No. 1 Justine continued her Grand Slam dominance over 2-time US Open champion Serena "ReRe" Williams, beating her in a third straight Slam quarterfinal 7-6 (3), 6-1 and feeding ReRe sour grapes afterwards. No. 12 seed Venus battled Serb Jelena Jankovic (in the best women's match so far) for over 2 hours, overcoming a first set lost and a break in the second before prevailing 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (4). Justine and Venus haven't played in over 4 years, so their head-to-head is deceiving. Justine is a much approved player and knows how to play, and win, the big matches now.

Here's what Justine said about playing Venus:

"[...] I didn't watch Venus that much in the last few months, so it will be another good test for me for sure. And I will have to, you know, just be myself, play my tennis, play my game. So, yeah, I didn't play Venus for a long time so that will be interesting."

Here's Venus on playing Justine:

"I think it will be a very similar match [to Jankovic.] I'm playing a player, Justine, a player very similar to Jelena. A little more power. A little more power off the serve, which quite honestly I think I like it when the serve comes with some pace. It's nice. So I think it will be pretty similar. I guess I'll be ready for it."

Outlook: Venus has the strength to overpower Justine, but Justine has the speed and variety to disrupt her rhythm and get Venus to make errors. Tracy Austin for gives a very slight edge to Justine in this semifinal and, after her win over Serena, so do we.

Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Anna Chakvetadze

Head-to-head: Sveta, 2-0
Last meeting: Warsaw '06 (clay), Sveta 6-1, 6-1

A former champion at the US Open, World No. 4 Sveta knows how to win in New York. She completely outclassed rising Hungarian star Agnes Szavay in the quarterfinals 6-1, 6-4. Her opponent in the semis, fellow Russian and No. 6 seed Anna Chakvetadze, dominated Israeli Shahar Peer, the No. 18 seed, by a similar scoreline, 6-4, 6-1.

Here's what Sveta said about her semifinal against Anna:

"I play Anna now and I am very happy there is definitely going to be one Russian in the final."

Anna had this to say about playing Sveta:

"She's a favourite in this match, so I have nothing to lose and no pressure, [...]For me it's much easier to play with no pressure, so I will try to do my best."

Outlook: This one is a real toss- up, with the knowledge that the winner from the Williams/Henin semifinal is mostly likely our '07 champ. But we'll go with "Chaky" just for the fun of calling her "Chaky"...oh, and her smooth groundstroking.

Tell me who your picks are for tomorrow's Women's Semifinal Showdowns!

(images courtesy of AP Photos)

THE LOW DOWN: Is Andy Roddick dating an SI swimsuit model?

Eye spy: Recently, tennis hottie Andy Roddick was spotted eating at uber-popular New York eaterie Nobu with a certain stunning Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, namely Brooklyn Decker. Previously, A-Rod dated star Mandy Moore (who watched him win the '03 US Open from the Player's Box) and has been linked to Russian Maria "Shriek"apova.

Apparently the pair went out twice last week and later hung out with coach Jimmy Connors, Dave Matthews Band violinist Boyd Tinsley, and Plum media’s Tom Scott.

Will Brooklyn be cheering A-Rod on during tonight's Marquee Matchup against World No. 1 Roger Federer? We'll be watching...

(via thehollywoodgossip; images courtesy of and Getty Images)

SIGHTING: Monica Seles takes in the US Open

2-time US Open champion Monica Seles was a spectator at last night's quarterfinal Marquee Matchup between Justine Henin and Serena Williams.

Mon is one of tennis' greatest champions and she is surely missed. And by the looks of it, she misses it as well...

Is she thinking about a return to the sport?

THE LOW DOWN: Sour grapes for Serena Williams

Serena "ReRe" Williams was thoroughly dismissed by World No. 1 Justine Henin in their quarterfinal Marquee Matchup at the US Open last night. Clearly chomping on sour grapes after the loss, ReRe was short and sarcastic in her post-match press conference. In typical fashion, she barely gave any credit to the Belgian's outstanding performance. Here are some outtakes from the interview:

Q. Can you explain what went wrong out there tonight?
A. No, I can't. I'm sorry. Any more questions?

Q. Can you describe your emotions after the match? Are you devastated by this loss?
A. No. I'm very happy.

Q. You fought pretty hard to get back into the first set. She played a good tiebreak. Second set, your level seemed to drop.
A. No, I just think she played better. I just think she made a lot of lucky shots, and I made a lot of errors. I don't think my level dropped.

Q. Are you saying that you lost the match rather than Justine won it?
A. I think that's usually the case with me, that it's for me to win or lose.

Q. How do you examine a loss like this? Do you go back and look at the tape?
A. Yeah, I got to go back and study and figure out how to beat her. That's it. Bottom line.

(image courtesy of AP Photo)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Men's 1st Marquee Matchup: US Open Quarterfinals

Finally, we've arrived at our first Men's Marquee Matchup of the '07 US Open. Although World No. 1 Roger Federer has a most dominant record over Andy Roddick (13 - 1) there are a couple of factors that make this battle a Marquee Matchup: 1) A-Rod is still a Top 5 player, 2) he's an American and it's a quarterfinal at the US Open under the lights. How did they get here?

Fed was seriously pushed for the first set and a half against streaky Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, losing a set but then settling down for a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 win. A-Rod was the beneficiary of Czech Tomas Berdych's retirement in their match, due to illness, and moved on to face Fed in the quarters. The last time these players met was in this year's Australian Open where Fed completely embarrassed the American with a 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 whipping.

Here's Fed on playing A-Rod:

"Yeah, I pretty much know his game. Yeah, I do. But, again, you know, he's played in different ways against me. He's obviously tried a lot: Returning from far back, returning in, chip and charging, serve and volleying, playing from the baseline with me. He's tried everything, so I hope I won't get surprised next match."

A-Rod had this to say about playing Fed:

"I mean, I think we played each other enough, you kind of know [each other's games.] I don't think I'm going to watch him and discover that he's good tonight, you know. [...] No offense to López, but I'm kind of already preparing for Roger."

Bud Collins for isn't giving A-Rod's current game much of a chance against the dominant Swiss. Unfortunately, we aren't either. We just hope he fights hard and puts on a good show.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Women's 2nd Marquee Matchup: US Open Quarterfinals

Let's do this: Here's THE matchup every tennis fan was hoping would come to be...and now it's here once again. Our second Women's Marquee Matchup features World No. 1 Justine Henin taking on 8-time Grand Slam champion Serena "ReRe" Williams in what we hope will be a classic quarterfinal under the lights at the US Open.

Justine, playing her first night match at the Open, completely dismantled Russian headcase Dinara Safina 6-0, 6-2 in a 59 minutes 4th round match. ReRe was challenged a bit more but still had too much game and dismissed the struggling Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli 6-3, 6-4. The last time these players met was, of course, their Marquee Matchup at Wimbledon with the Belgian besting the injured ReRe for the first time off clay. Moreover, this win was the second in a row for Justine over ReRe in a Grand Slam (Justine won their quarterfinal at the French Open this year as well.)

Here's what Justine had to say about her rivalry with ReRe:
"Well, I think it's important these contests because we all ‑‑ finally we all help each other to be better. And when you feel another player is playing well you just want to be better. That's great. That's the way I felt when I was with Kim on the tour. Kim and I helped each other a lot. I like this contests, and there's a lot of respect now and everything is fine. So that's very important, too."

ReRe had this to say about their rivalry:
"[...] she's playing well and she's fighting for everything. She kind of believes that she can win, and maybe that's what makes that special."

Bud Collins for gives the edge to ReRe this time around since beating her 3 times consecutively and in Grand Slams is a huge task. We're torn over here at Down the Line! but think ReRe will also come out on top this time around.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Stefan Koubek loses to Blake, reveals belly-button surprise

While watching Stefan Koubek take on James Blake last night at the US Open, we realized we had never noticed his amazing body. The Austrian is sporting some serious guns and you know how much we like that. Plus, when he pulled up his shirt he revealed a six-pack and a very sexy belly-button piercing. It makes us wonder what else Stefan may be hiding under his tennis gear...ouch.

FASHION FIX: The juniors take stage with style and flair

The US Open juniors tournament got underway this weekend, with some of tennis' future champions getting their game on. Stephen Donald of Australia, the boys' No. 13 seed, caught our fashion eye with his checkerboard headband, a throwback to fellow Aussie and past champion Pat Cash, and the great grey and red combo. We love his outfit, and we hope his game is full of the same flair. Unfortunately, Stephen was knocked out today by unseeded American Jeff Dadamo - great for the US, but bad for fashion...

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