Google Down the Line!: 2008-06-01

Saturday, June 7, 2008

PREVIEW: French Open Men's Final

Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal
Head-to-head: 6 Fed, 10 Rafa
Last meeting: Masters Series Hamburg '08, Rafa 7-5, 6-7(3), 6-3

What's there left to say about this matchup? Well, in their 17th career meeting and third straight Roland Garros final, top seed Roger Federer will try to end all talk of GOAT with a resounding win over 3-time defending champion Rafael Nadal, who's undefeated at this major. To add spice to the mix, 6-time French Open champ Bjorn Borg publicly declared "[Federer] definitely will be the greatest player ever to play the game" if he captures the crown. I'm already out of breath.

How they got here: Fed displayed true grit and intesity in taking out a feisty Gael Monfils 6-2, 5-7, 6-3, 7-5. Though nowhere near his best, the world no. 1's stats were impressive with 87 winners against 30 errors, 71% first serve success, and converting 7 of 15 break chances. The marquee matchup on the men's side became more of a mismatch as Rafa taught Novak Djokovic a few things about clay-court tennis. The Spaniard dominated from all parts of the court hitting a ridiculous 66 winners against 16 errors in his 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (3) win. Gawdy.

Fed + Rafa just met last month at the Master Series Hamburg where the Mallorcan Matador snatched the title away 7-5, 6-7(3), 6-3 from the 4-time defending champion.

Here's what the Swiss had to say about playing Rafa:

He is not the kind of guy you can expect surprises from, because he's a top player, plays very well. He can play for very long matches. I know what to expect, so it's difficult on the one hand, and it's good on the other.

You know, in the past I was always trying to find a key of the match to win, and in the past I was less aggressive. He always played in the same way, so this is why I think I can surprise him more than he can surprise me.

Rafa had this to say about another battle with the world no. 1:

When you play against Roger you can't imagine anything. He's a very complete player. He has all the shots, so everything can do. But I expect a very tough match, and for sure I think he going to try to play aggressive

Each of us has tried to improve what he needs to improve, and most of the time people from the outside can't see that. But he is probably trying new things. He is trying new things and trying to go beyond what he usually does, but it's difficult to assess from the outside.
Outlook: Although I felt before Roland Garros started that Fed had a decent chance to complete his career Slam by winning in Sunday's final, my mind changed after seeing Rafa's sublime display of clay-court tennis over these two weeks. The 22-year old's use of the whole court - hard groundies into the corners, angled shotmaking, drop shots and smart approaches to the net - has me convinced that only a monumental effort from Fed will topple the defending champ from his throne this year.

The world no. 1 will need to throw everything, including the kichen sink, at the Spaniard and hope he's also having an off day. I don't see that happening. What do I see? Rafa's fourth consecutive Roland Garros crown.

Here's a video of Fed + Rafa in their post-match pressers talking about Sunday's big match:

(image via Getty)

PHOTO OP: Ivanovic defeats Safina for Roland Garros crown

It's all about Ana.

The tennis world has a new queen as Ana Ivanovic defeated Russian Dinara Safina 6-4, 6-3 in a highly competitive match for the 2008 Roland Garros crown, becoming the first Serbian woman to win a Grand Slam and the first Serbian ever to be ranked world no. 1. To have those two moments happen simultaneously is astounding. Her time has arrived.

In her post-match presser, Ana said about the great win:

I feel so happy. I have no words to describe that. But Grand Slam, winning Grand Slam is something I dreamt since I was a little kid, so achieving that goal, it's very thrilling.

You know, you work so hard and you're, off the court, on the court, and you put so much effort into it. I loved the game and I enjoy playing, so this is the best reward I can get.

It's something ‑‑ it's my incentive, you know, to keep working hard, and, you know, win more of these trophies.

(images via Getty)

Friday, June 6, 2008

PREVIEW: French Open Women's Final

Ana Ivanovic vs. Dinara Safina
Head-to-head: Ana 2, Dinara 1
Last meeting: Montreal '06 (hard), Ana 6-1, 6-4

I wondered aloud during this year's Aussie Open final preview featuring Maria "Shriek"apova and Ana Ivanovic whether that final was signaling a changing of the guard. Well, with Justine Henin now retired, the Williams sisters booted in the third round, Amelie Mauresmo a shadow of a former champion and new world no. 1 Ana and first time finalist Dinara Safina battling for their first Grand Slam title, I'd say the guard is changed.

How they got here: Ana fought tooth-and-nail against a determined Jelena Jankovic in the best women's match of the fortnight so far. With the no. 1 ranking and a spot in the final on the line, both women produced high-quality tennis with the 20-year old going up a set and a break in the second before her sister Serb won seven straight games to lead in the third set. But Ana hung tough and was the more courageous of the two, going for her blowtorch forehand at every chance and pulling out a thrilling 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory.

The second semifinal was thrilling for a different reason: Dinara Safina finally broke through at a major. It's uncomfortable to watch a baller implode the way Svetlana Kuznetsova did, but that's tennis. The Berlin champ played smart, kept her errors down and clinched an easy 6-3, 6-2 win.

The last time Ana + Dinara met was two years ago in the semifinals of Tier 1 Montreal when the Serb took a 6-1, 6-4 decision.

Here's Ana's take on playing Dinara:
Well, I think in past matches [at Roland Garros] I played I had big variety of players, a lot of them being, you know, aggressive, and some very good runners. Dinara is a great fighter, so I expect very, very tough match. I have to, yeah, focus on each point and work on some little points that I can't actually talk about right now. But, you know, I have some game some planning, yeah.
Dinara had this to say about Ana:
Well, definitely you cannot think about her unforced errors, because that's not the way you have to go out there. As I said, I just have to go there and focus on myself, to play my game. It's going to be, again, the one who first start to dominate the point. Because she likes to be aggressive, and I want also to be aggressive. So just the one who is going to be more aggressive and who take the incentive in the point is going to win.
Outlook: These two ballers can hit a ball. I mean they can really hit a ball. So as usual with power ballers it'll come down to who can keep their nerves in check, go for their shots in the key moments and keep those pesky errors down, or at least even with their winners.

Ana has been in two Grand Slam finals and has improved in leaps and bounds since then. But Dinara will have less pressure as the underdog and can swing for the fences. The Serb's movement and defensive skills have been incredibly impressive and her balanced attack will be too much for Dinara to handle.

It'll go the distance but I'm seeing a matching Roland Garros crown for Ana's new no. 1 ranking.

UPDATE: Here are off-court interviews of Ana + Dinara speaking with Barbara Schett and Eurosport about Saturday's big final.

(images via Getty)

PHOTO OP: Fed wins battle of the lovely locks

Hey Jamie Murray, listen up: this is how you keep those lovely locks at bay. Right Fed?


(image via Getty)

Serena goes old-school glamour for Ebony magazine, keeps marbles intact for now

Serena Williams loves to have a good time (right Party Watch?) and that's probably why Ebony magazine has put the 8-time Grand Slammer on the cover of their July "Fun" issue with an exclusive inside interview.

The mag styled ReRe in big hair, a fully made up mug, retro swimsuits, and heels - old style glamour at its best. Here's an excerpt from their exclusive interview with the tennis champ where she even mentions rumored boyfriend Common:

There’s no match for Serena Williams on or off the court. Showing off her stellar brick-house physique, the 5-foot-9 1/2-inch tennis star and Olympic gold-hopeful hung out with EBONY magazine in Malibu, Calif., in an exclusive cover shoot. To keep her body in top condition, Serena indulges in scrumptious salads, which include feta cheese, candied walnuts and strawberries. “It’s too hot in the summer to cook, so I love to grill chicken and fish,” she adds.

"I also love to grill vegetables and serve them chilled.” When asked about her rumored love interest, Common, Serena had this to say, “I think he’s a great guy. He’s obviously a great artist who is timeless and classic. You can’t beat that. But I have to focus on tennis because that’s my goal in life.”

Check out some behind the scenes video footage of the 26-year old at the photoshoot. And, no, she keeps her marbles intact, relatively speaking, unlike some other recent videos of our beloved ReRe:

(images via ebony)

Andy Murray has (apparently) lived a full life, releases autobiography

Andy Murray just released his autobiography "Andy Murray: Hitting Back". Wait - isn't he only 21? I thought you actually had to have a life before writing an autobiography?? Well if James Blake can...

Anyway, the Brit baller discusses everything from the LTA and Brad Gilbert to the traumatic shooting at his primary school where a classmate he knew shot and killed 16 students and a teacher in 1996. Here are some excerpts courtesy of the Telegraph:

Q: You were just 10 at the time?
A: I was so young, I don't have any real recollection of the day.

Holding court: Andy Murray interview
To your taste? Andy Murray admits to being a little opinionated

That is true. I genuinely can't remember much and it's not something I have ever wanted to go back and find out about because it's so uncomfortable.

Some of my friends' brothers and sisters were killed. The weirdest thing was that we knew the guy. He had been in my mum's car.

It's obviously weird to think you had a murderer in your car, sitting next to your mum.

That is probably another reason why I don't want to look back at it. Perhaps it's too close for comfort. I could have been one of those children.

His fiery temper...
Mum got defaulted when she was a junior and my gran was so disgusted she drove home without her. It's definitely in the family, the fury, but you've got to keep it under control.

Am I a brat?...
I am not stroppy at all. I can't count the number of times I've been called a bad-tempered brat but that is not how it felt growing up.

Being teetotal...
Q: Is it true you don't drink alcohol at all?
A: After two episodes in Barcelona I never drank again. I had a bad experience. I made myself look like a prat in front of my friends. The only reason I was drinking was to see what it was like to get drunk.

I hate the taste of alcohol. I don't even like champagne. I think beer is disgusting and I haven't tried whisky.

Britain's problems...
We have such a closed mind compared to the rest of the world. Everyone seemed to think that being the best in Britain was great.

You don't hear Rafa Nadal celebrating the fact that he's No 1 in Spain. He wants to be known as No 2 in the world. We live on a world circuit. That is how we are judged.

Anyone for tennis?...
I'm away a lot of the time but I turn up at the National Training Centre in Roehampton, the multi-million pound headquarters of British tennis and no one is there. I'm often looking for a partner to hit with.

A large number of British players only practise half the days in the year. The LTA have built the facilities but the players don't make the best use of them. When I go to the gym there never seems to be anyone in there.

There is something wrong with the mentality and work ethic of most of the British players. There doesn't seem to be anyone who's brutally honest about it either.

The LTA's problems...
The LTA should not spend so much money on a number of the world's greatest coaches.

That does not mean I am ungrateful for my time with Brad Gilbert, but I think British tennis at this stage needs good, experienced fitness coaches and physiotherapists who understand the demands of the game.

A Brad business...
Q: What went wrong with Brad Gilbert?
A: We spent days together, evenings together, ate dinners together. Imagine sitting next to someone at work in an office for eight hours a day and then going home and having dinner with them every night.

It's like groundhog day. I just got tired of it. There were little rows behind the scenes.

I was only jocking...
Q: What about the football remarks?
A: I am Scottish. I am also British. I am not anti-English, I never was... what happened was a little joke that went wrong.

It was the time of the 2006 World Cup and England were due to play Paraguay. Tim Henman and I were being interviewed and before we started the journalist asked Tim about England's chances in the World Cup and asked me who I would be supporting.

He was making the point that Scotland weren't there. I got the joke. I laughed. We did the interview and the last question was: "Who will you be supporting?" Remembering our previous banter, I just said: "Whoever England are playing, ha ha." I had a smile on my face.

It was obvious I was joking. It wasn't reported like that. They made up stories about me buying a Paraguay shirt, the whole thing was absolute nonsense.

I'm funny (really!)...
Contrary to my image, I do have a sense of humour. The Office is one of my favourite comedies and David Brent is simply the funniest character ever invented. It is so, so funny how much of an idiot that guy is.

Sometimes I meet people who remind me a little bit of him and I push them to try and say David Brent-ish things without them realising what I'm doing.

Surrey dreams...
I could buy a penthouse apartment in Miami. One day I think I'd like a house in Surrey.

First Wimbledon...
I was seven years old and my hero was Andre Agassi. I really wanted his autograph but I couldn't get near him.

Going bananas
Bananas are a pathetic fruit. They don't look great for a start. They're not straight and I don't like the black bit at the bottom. If you put one in your bag and someone kicks it, it spatters about all over the place and then sticks to everything.

They call me opinionated. I guess they're right. Even about bananas.

(image via

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Quote of the Day: Jankovic

No, I will have some dinner and maybe get drunk or do something. I don't know. Whatever makes me feel better.

- An extremely disappointed Jelena Jankovic after her semifinal loss to compatriot Ana Ivanovic at Roland Garros today

JJ, your time will come - strengthen your serve and body and you'll no doubt grab a big one.

(image via Getty)

Men's 1st Marquee Matchup: French Open Semifinals

Okay y'all - the match of this year's French Open has finally arrived: 3-time defending champion Rafael Nadal will battle Novak Djokovic in the first Men's Marquee Matchup for a place in Sunday's final and the no. 2 ranking.

Rafa has barely broken a sweat or broken out his trademark kick/fist pump dance move getting to this round, losing only 25 games along the way - an open era record. The Mallorcan Matador completely outclassed and embarrassed compatriot Nicolas Almagro, no slouch in the dirtballing department himself, with a 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 scoreline. Nole had a more challenging time with friend Ernests Gulbis but used his superior experience on key points and knocked out the Latvian 7-5, 7-6 (3), 7-5. These two ballers most recent meeting was at the Hamburg Masters where the Spaniard pulled out a thrilling 7-5, 2-6, 6-2 win.

Here's what Rafa had to say about battling the Serb:

Q: Playing Djokovic is always difficult and dangerous. On clay you have an added value, so you walk on the court knowing that you have an advantage as compared to other surfaces.
A: As I said, all matches are different and open. This is what we saw in Hamburg. Of course, I prefer playing on clay in the semifinal rather than playing on hard surfaces, but he can play very beautiful tennis on clay. He won at Rome; semifinal in Hamburg; semifinal in Monaco, and he lost to me or to Federer. He also reached the semifinal here in Paris. That's the second time in a row, so he's a very good player on clay, quite clearly.

Nole had this to say about taking on Rafa:

Q: Is this the ultimate challenge in tennis, playing against Nadal on clay?
A: Well, yeah. In this position, yeah. In this period of the year when he's so dominant in last couple of years on this surface, he's never lost a match on the center court in the French Open, you know, he's ‑‑ all to his favor. But it's a big challenge for me, I think, as the third player of the world and Grand Slam winner this year. He has, you know, things have quite changed since the last year playing on clay. I think I have more quality in my game and more variety, so hopefully I can use it against him.

The Serb won't make an impression on this match if he stays at the baseline. He'll need to use variety and come in when the opportunity hits. But Rafa can hit incredible passing shots on the run and his defense is tops so Nole's approaches will need to be accurate and aggressive. But to do this time and time again against the Spaniard is exhausting physically and, more importantly, mentally.

You'd be a fool, a fool I say, to pick against the "Muscles from Mallorca". He seems more determined to than ever to win for the fourth straight time and make a statement about his place in the game. But Nole will come in with his motivations to claim the no. 2 ranking a challenge for the top.

But it's Rafa and it's clay and that combination is deadly. So I'll take Rafa in three tough sets to make his fourth consecutive Roland Garros final!

(image via Getty)

Is Jamie Murray's hairy situation channeling John McEnroe?

Okay Jamie Murray - your hair is officially OOC - out of control.

The Brit baller, who lost in the first round of men's doubles and quarterfinals of mixed doubles at Roland Garros, is dealing with a massive hairy situation in Paris. Believe me, there's no headband in the world that can keep that mess on lockdown.

Could he be channeling John McEnroe circa 1980? You be the judge:

(image via Getty)

Dani resurfaces, may return at Ordina Open in June

Daniela Hantuchova is ready to come back after suffering a stress fracture in her right foot recently. Even though the slender Slovak hasn't touched a racquet since April, she hasn't just been sitting pretty:

Daniela, how do you feel physically and mentally after one month without playing tournaments?
On the fitness front, I have been doing a lot of pool and low impact work but it’s hard not be able to run. Treadmill training is best for endurance and speed and it’s like a mental outlet for me. Of course I’m trying to stay positive but I greatly miss the game. I haven’t really picked up a racquet since early April so it’s been frustrating to say the least. At this point, yoga is a big factor in keeping me sane :-) !

What did you do during Roland-Garros tournament ?
One very nice thing was that I was able to celebrate my big brother’s 30th birthday at home with him, our family and closest friends. Other than being in and out of medical facilities for tests, check-ups, treatments, etc… I am reading and spending lots of time at home while I have a break now. I also spent some time in Barcelona with my coach.

When and where will you do your come back ?
I have my hopes set on playing Rosmalenn [Ordina Open], always a nice warm up for Wimbledon. Helps to get a few matches in before a Grand Slam. I can’t wait to be back doing what I love most, tennis !

Let's hope that shaky foot stays healed for a while - can't wait to see you back Dani!

(image via

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

PHOTO OP: Serbian Storm rocks Roland Garros - who'll be left standing?

Kudos to the "Serbian Storm" - Novak Djokovic, Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic, Nenad Zimonjic - for making it to the semifinal rounds at Roland Garros!

(images via Getty)

La Monf continues dream run in Paris, joins shirtless brigade

Gael Monfils is the toast of Paris today - and if anyone says they saw this one coming, they're lying!

"La Monf" out-thought and out-ran and weary David Ferrer at Roland Garros today in a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 win to reach his first Grand Slam semifinal where Roger Federer awaits. He also became the first Frenchman in 7 years to make it past the quarterfinals and could punctuate the 25th anniversary of Yannick Noah's triumph in Paris with a title run here.

La Monf also became the newest member of the shirtless brigade after the match throwing his Nike shirt into the crowd. Afterwards, the Frenchie donned a t-shirt with his nickname emblazoned on the front.

(images via Getty)

SIGHTING: Serena moves on, hits up Party Watch in NYC

The Serena Party Watch blew up recently when the 8-time Grand Slammer was spotted drowning her Roland Garros misery at New York hotspot Prime Nightclub in Chelsea recently.

Can ReRe pull herself together and make it three titles on the greener pastures of The All-England Club?

(image via

In her dreams: rapper Eve to play Sveta in made-for-TV movie

So what do Svetlana Kuznetsova and Eve have in common? Absolutely friggin' nothing except that the Russian, who made the semifinals of Roland Garros today, told the French Open website that she would like the rapper/actress to play her in a movie. WTF?!

But I suppose this comes as no surprise since Sveta once said she believes she was black in a past life. Well, okay I guess their hair is sorta similar and maybe Sveta is hiding cat claw tattooed breasts underneath her Fila gear. Who knows...

(images via Google + Getty)

Women's 1st Marquee Matchup: French Open Semifinals

The women's draw hit the serious skids during this year's Roland Garros with Maria "Shriek"apova and Venus + Serena Williams doing their best slide out of the tourney (were they ever really there?) But, alas, we've arrived at our first Women's Marquee Matchup and it pits the "swinging Serbs" - Ana Ivanovic + Jelena Jankovic - against each other for a place in Saturday's final.

Second-seeded Ana made quick work of a hair-y Patty Schnyder 6-3, 6-2 cracking 39 winners against 19 errors and 69% success on her first serve. Brown-nosing JJ, who flew home to Serbia for treatment on her sore arm after her fourth round match, looked all but recovered in dismissing Spain's rising star Carla Suarez Navarro by the same scoreline of 6-3, 6-2. The last time these countrywomen met was at Indian Wells in the semifinals when Ana took a 7-6 (3), 6-3 decision on her way to grabbing her first title in the desert.

Here's some of what Ana had to say about JJ:

Q. When you have played Jelena you've had the better of the results. Why do you think that is?
A. Well, it's hard to say, you know. Against some players who just do better than against the others. She's a tough opponent and she defends really well. You know, I try to, you know, step in and be aggressive and play my game. You know, every match is a new match, a new experience, and I just have to keep playing like I played so far.

Q. How would you describe your relationship with her?
A: Well, obviously, you know we come the same country, so we know each other for a long time. When she was younger she went to America and I went to Switzerland, so we didn't really have chance to practice together or to hang out much. So that's how we develop, as well. Now, you know, traveling, she has her own team and I have my own team. You know we don't ‑‑ yeah, we don't just hang out.

JJ had this to say about facing her compatriot:

Q. In your matches with Ana, she's had the upper hand most of the time. Why is that?
A: : I don't know. You know, she plays a different game. For me, it has been hard to follow. I didn't ‑‑ you know, it's hard to read what she's going to hit, because she likes to play short points. She just goes for broke most of the time. You know, I had troubles in the past against her, but we never ‑‑ I don't think we played on clay many times. So it's a different game and it's different circumstances, so I think it will be a completely different match. So we will see how it will go this time.

Outlook: The clay surface is notorious for exposing baller's lack of mobility and between the two Serbs, JJ is the more fluid mover. But her serve is soft, especially the second delivery, and if Ana's forehand is on (which it's been this fortnight) she can run around her weaker backhand and make short work of this match.

There also something called the number one ranking on the line if either one of these ballers wins the whole she-bang. How great would it be to win your first Slam and become world no. 1 at the same time?

Ana has been to Grand Slam finals before (here last year of course) and has historically owned the mental edge on her Serbian sister. Nick Bollitteri is giving Ana the match in 3 sets and I agree!

(images via Getty)

PHOTO OP: ITF hosts World Champions Dinner, honors Federer + Henin

The ITF hosted the World Champions Dinner at the Pavillon d’Armenonville in Paris and celebrated the achievements of the 2007 ITF World Champions.

Roger Federer accepted the award for Men's Singles and an absent Justine Henin was given the Women's Singles Award.

Additional awards included the Men's Doubles given to Bob and Mike Bryan and the Women's Doubles Award given to Cara Black and Liezel Huber. Both teams are pictured here with ITF president Francesco Ricci Bitti.

(images via Getty)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

PHOTO OP: Jelena brown-noses the Parisian crowd

Jelena Jankovic matched her best effort at Roland Garros, defeating Spain's talented giant-killer Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3, 6-2 and making the semifinals where she'll meet compatriot Ana Ivanovic in another Marquee Matchup (which I'll preview tomorrow.)

Okay - so it seems JJ's managing her injury woes nicely even sharpee-ing "I heart Paris" on her bandage. But no need to brown-nose the Parisians JJ - they love your performances just as much as your tennis (and so do we!)

Some of JJ's post-match presser:

(image via Getty)

PHOTO OP: Rafa turns 22, gives back at Roland Garros

Rafael Nadal celebrated his 22nd birthday today by giving back.

The 3-time defending champ gifted Nicolas Almagro all of 3 games in a scarily dominating 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 performance over an in-form dirtballer and matching the 3 games he gifted Fernando Verdasco in the round of 16. The stats say it all: 47 winners against 9 errors, 68% first serve percentage, and converted 8 of 13 break point chances. I'm scared!

Rafa also gifted all of us tennis fans with one of the Marquee Matchups we've all been waiting for - a semifinal with growing nemesis Novak Djokovic, who defeated future star Ernests Gulbis 7-5, 7-6 (3), 7-5, for a place in the final Sunday.

Check back for my preview of the Rafa-Nole semifinal tomorrow!

Here's video of Rafa's post-match presser:

(image via Getty)

VIDEO VAULT: Sveta into quarterfinals, talks tennis with Schett + Eurosport

Svetlana Kuznetsova is the highest seed left in the top half of the draw after Maria "Shriek"apova's screaming exit from Roland Garros yesterday. The 2007 finalist looks to be in great form, easily dismissing the talented Belarusian Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 6-3 by hitting 10 aces and 44 winners against 26 errors - very solid. Sveta will battle Estonia's Kaia Kanepi in the quarterfinals.

The Russian took time out this week to interview with retired baller Barbara Schett and Eurosport about her chances at Roland Garros and her thoughts on the controversial tennis calendar:

(image via Getty)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Monfils turns career corner, makes French Open quarters - will Cibulkova be watching?

Though five Frenchies made the round of 16 at Roland Garros, Gael Monfils is the last one standing. The 21-year old junior standout is having his best showing at a major making his first quarterfinal by defeating Ivan Ljubicic 7-6 (1), 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. He'll take on Spain's David Ferrer with a potential Roger Federer semifinal looming.

So what's the cause of this long-awaited breakthrough Gael? Could it be your game and naturally explosive athleticism have finally come together or has your new rumored relationship with upstart Dominika Cibulkova helped you turn the corner??

I'm not sure but in any case GO GAEL!!!

(images via Getty +

Quote of the Day: Sharapova

I can’t please everyone. It’s not in my job description. I’m an athlete, and I go out there and fight my heart out. They paid the ticket to watch me, so they must appreciate me on some level, right?

- Maria "Shriek"apova on the negative crowd reaction to her over-shrieking after today's loss to Dinara Safina

The French crowd is notorious for eating their own alive nevermind a visiting baller so take their reaction with a grain of salt. Plus, you aren't the first to be booed by the Frenchies and then loved again (right Serena?) But Maria, you're shrieking can be off the charts even when you're not hitting hard so accept your fate!

(image via Getty)

Dinara's deja vu: sends Maria out of Roland Garros again

Dinara Safina has becomes Maria "Shriek"apova's worst nightmare on red clay.

In a match reminiscent of their 2006 French Open encounter, Maria gave up a 5-2 lead in the second set and in the set's tiebreak and also a match point to end her dream of a career Grand Slam this year falling 7-6 (6), 6-7 (5), 2-6 to her countrywoman. At the same stage in 2006, Dinara overcame a 1-5 deficit in the third set to win their match 7-5, 2-6, 7-5.

The Berlin champ will now battle spandex-loving Elena Dementieva for a spot in the final four.

Neither one of these women are great movers or defenders, so I wonder what it is about Dinara that gets into Maria's head on clay?

(image via Getty)

PHOTO OP: Gulbis breaks through in Paris but can he take down Nole?

Latvia's Ernests Gulbis is ready for his close-up.

The 19-year old giant-killer continued his remarkable run at the French Open making his first Grand Slam quarterfinal by hitting 11 aces and defeating Frenchie Michael Llodra 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-3. He'll face Aussie Open champ Novak Djokovic for a place in the semifinals.

Nole, for his part, won't be taking this match lightly. The Serb spent time and practiced with Ernests a few years back at Niki Pilic's tennis academy in Munich, Germany and said,

He was destroying me in practices. I couldn't win a match. Practice? No chance.
But what about Ernests' current on-court success? The lass from Latvia puts his it down to pure and simple hardwork and smarter tennis:
I practised well for three weeks and worked on my physical condition and I changed some tactics. For example, one year ago I was playing some pretty stupid clay-court tennis. I'd go for winners when I didn't need to and it was more hard-court tennis.
Could there be an upset brewing on the red clay of Paris? Stay tuned.

(image via Getty)

Ana gives good face (and then some) for FHM August issue

Ana Ivanovic's Global Domination Tour is gearing up for an assault on the UK again. The sexed-up Serb, who fed Czech Petra Cetkovska two cold bagels for breakfast in the Roland Garros round of 16, will be giving it up for the cover of lad mag FHM's August issue.

Let the drooling begin boys + girls.

(image via

FASHION FIX: Elena makes quarterfinals - will those spandex biker shorts follow?

Elena Dementieva's game may be coming together but her fashion is falling apart at the French Open. The Russian made the quarterfinals today, her best showing since her runner-up finish to Anastasia Myskina in 2004, by defeating compatriot Vera Zvonareva 6-4, 1-6, 6-2. She'll take on either Maria "Shriek"apova or Dinara Safina in the final four.

Okay Elena - what's up with those horrendous spandex biker shorts under that Yonex dress? The dress isn't anything to write home to mom about, but you truly hit the fashion skids hardcore with those mismatching shorts.

Couldn't you have at least worn something with a similar color? Just a little effort is all we ask - ugggh.

(image via Getty)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Quote of the Day: Mathieu

Even though he says clay is not his favorite surface, I think his game is perfectly suited to it. I think he can win the tournament.

- Paul-Henri Mathieu on Novak Djokovic's chances at the French Open

This is gettin' goooood.

(image via Getty)

Ginepri still alive in Paris, fans breathe sigh of relief

Color me impressed (and a few other things) by Robby Ginepri.

A fave member of the shirtless brigade, "Melons", as he's affectionately known to his many adoring fans (fine...just by me), has had the best showing by an American baller since Andre Agassi made the 4th round in 2003. Robby defeated Florent Serra of France 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 and will battle Fernando Gonzalez for a potential quarterfinal meeting with Roger Federer.

Let's all take a moment to enjoy Melons while he's still alive in Paris, shall we?

(images via Getty)

PHOTO OP: Schnyder's hair-raising run to Roland Garros quarters

Patty Schnyder is raising more than eyebrows at this French Open.

The 29-year old baller, playing in her 12th Roland Garros, equaled her best showing reaching the quarterfinals by slamming Serena Williams' conquerer Katarina Srebotnik 6-2, 6-4. The Swiss lefty made the same round 1998 and will now face a bulldozing Ana Ivanovic for a place in the final four.

Doin' it for the older ladies - nice.

(image via Getty)

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