Google Down the Line!: 2009-05-24

Saturday, May 30, 2009

PHOTO OP: Serena's "O" face?

(image via PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)

Serena Williams showcased her best "O" face while battling, and defeating, Spain's Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in their entertaining (and somewhat "dramatic") third round match at Roland Garros.

Hello - don't forget this shit is being recorded and can be replayed. Like, duh.


I mean, to be honest, I think it was just me and my head today. I don't want to blame anybody else.

- Novak Djokovic on his stunning third round loss to Philip Kohlschreiber in Paris today

Oh right he meant his "head" amd not his HEAD, because blaming the racquet is always lame.

True enough, Nole got in his own way while Philip played great and now the Serb must regroup and hope for greener pastures at Wimbledon.

Another bracket-busting loss. Great.

(image: getty)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Agnes shocks Venus, makes fouth round in Paris

Agnes Szavay caused the first big upset on the ladies' side in Paris today knocking out third seed Venus Williams 6-0, 6-4 in the tourney's third round. In a match littered with unforced errors, the Hungarian was the steadier of the two hitting 3 more winners (13-10) and 5 fewer errors (18-23) in the match.

A day after saving a match point, V was unable to find the game that got her past Lucie Safarova in a match spanning two days. It was the second consecutive year V has gone down in the Roland Garros third round having lost to Flavia Pennetta in last year's tourney.

I guess playing 3 days in a row (plus doubles) was a tough task for V but it seems she never even came close to finding her best form while in Paris. Kudos to Agnes for taking advantage of the opportunity, grabbing the big win, and ruining my bracket.

She'll face diminutive Slovak Dominika Cibulkova for a spot in the quarterfinals.

(images: getty)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

JD injures back, forced to retire in Paris

The feelgood story of the Aussie Open, Jelena Dokic's comeback, turned to heartbreak in Paris when the Aussie baller was forced to retire from her second round match against Elena Dementieva with a painful back injury.

JD had already won the first set and was up a break in the second. However, Elena won the next two games and she called it quits.

According to JD,

I went for a return and I just went down and couldn't get back up. It's very painful and very disappointing because I felt as if I had the match in my hands.

It was her first trip back to Roland Garros since 2004.

It must be so tough for JD since she was playing so well and seemed on her way to a huge upset. And with ALL that she has been through it seems unfair.

I hope she gets better soon.

(images via getty)

PHOTO OP: Pico + Jo-Willy get Frenchie with some MOMA in Paris

Not only did Juan Monaco + Jo-Wilfried Tsonga entertain the Parisian crowd with some scintillating tennis during their second round match, they also came together for some intimate man-on-man action at the net. YUM.

Oh yeah, the Frenchie won 7-5, 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (10) and will face Christophe Rochus for a spot in the Round of 16.

Now back to your regularly scheduled gawking. *drools*

(images: ap, getty)

Bart gets bundled out of Paris, gets uber-cranky in post-match presser

Marion Bartoli was not pleased with anything after losing her second round match in Paris today.

The Frenchie was frustrated by the heavy conditions, her health and the tricky play/cheering squad of Tathiana Garbin and fell 3-6, 5-7 to her Italian conqueror. Bart was sure to let the media have it in her post-match presser:

Q. You didn't really feel good physically? You were like all white in the face when you hold? What's happened?

MARION BARTOLI: Well, I was a bit tired. A bit sick, I think, as well. So it was not easy. It was so cold out there. Really cold on the court.

I was not really fit,that's true. The conditions were notreally good for me. It was really hard.

Q. What about the incredible number of break points?

MB: Well, you know, the court was really heavy. The balls were heavy. My serve was not okay at all. I couldn't hit the balls correctly, either. So I wanted to fight back as well as I could,but that was not sufficient.

The way she played, her attitude was getting on my nerves, so I had to calm down. It was not easy. She would always return all the balls, all the points. I was not hitting strongly enough. The surface was really slow.

There was a lot of clay under my feet. It was a bit heavy. 15 degrees. It's not the best conditions.

Q. You said difficult conditions. What do you mean by this?

MB: What?

Q. You said her attitude was a bit strange. What do you mean by this?

MB: Well, it's her clan. When I made unforced errors, her team would shout. It's not sportslike. They're Italians.

Q. You're Italian too. Your grandfather, as well, is Italian.

MB: I'm from Corsica.

I knew her on a faster surface, like on hardcourts. At the beginning of the match it was not the same type of match. But this time it was the slowest surface on earth, so to her advantage.

Q. What about her shouting all the time?

MB: She does that all the time. I do it, as well. Last time when I played against her, youknow, I didn't care.

This time, it's mainly the conditions that were really not good. It was so cold, freezing out there. The balls were stuck on the strings of the racquet, so that's why there were many break points, and the ball was too slow. It was not to my benefit. It was never something I could do well, you know, to hit the ball and to have many moon balls.

I thought, you know, I could hit as strong as I could. I couldn't have winning points. It was not, therefore, easy for me to get into my game.

Q. You said you thought you were sick. What do you think you have?

MB: Well, it's like a bit of a sore throat, and my nose is running. It was cold. It was very warm on Monday when I played, and then cold for two days in a row.

So I think it's the temperature change, and also a bit of tiredness.

Q. You had invested a lot on this tournament. So what do you feel today, just off the courts?

MB: Well, of course now I'm disappointed. I was very much involved. I had trained a lot and practiced for a very long week before, and fortunately this was not rewarding. Not the way I wanted, in any case, but this is the way it is. That's sports.

You can try and do your best before the tournament. You can try and practice as best as you can. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't. This is the way it is. It's life.

Q. You said you couldn't hit your balls, and you wanted to strike stronger and stronger. You made more mistakes?

MB: Yes, the ball, I tried to strike really strongly, and then it went off the court immediately. You know, I couldn't feel anything today. I couldn't feel my racquet. When I play well, this would never happen to me.

Everything was tough. Her game was not good enough. There was no pace in her game, so I had to hit more strongly, more strongly, and this is it. I was off‑pace. I started this match correctly, and then there was a long period of time when I couldn't feel anything. And then during the second set, I wanted to be back into the game, but it was too late.

Q. What next, then, for you?

MB: I think there's something called Wimbledon next, so I'll try and get ready for grass. This is it. I'll practice again. That's the only thing I can do.

Q. Maybe you will not really like my question, but don't you think that it's something else that has to be changed when you contemplate a new tournament? It's time for a turnaround for you.

MB: Do you have ideas for me?

Q. Or your coach?

MB: Oh, you mean changing coaches? You think my coach is really bad? That's why I'm No. 13 in the world.

And there's more: read the rest of her lovely remarks here, for comedy relief of course.

(images: getty)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

(UPDATED) PHOTO OP: Au revoir Marat

Marat Safin played what will most likely be his last match at Roland Garros and, in typical style, made it one to remember.

The 2-time Grand Slammer went down two sets, grabbed the next two and battled to the brink against homeboy Josselin Ouanna ultimately falling in an epic 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4), 4-6, 3-6, 10-8 thriller. The towering Russian had saved 2 match points, hit 86 winners and 19 aces total in the match and still lost. Ugh. Joss will next face 12th seed Fernando Gonzalez for a spot in the Round of 16.

Well, gotta give it up for the Frenchie - it was a tremendous win especially under the pressure of playing in Paris against the legendary Russian in what would be his final match at Roland Garros. And for the Marat fans out there, we still have two more majors to go. Try not to be too sad. Yet.

*BIG sigh*

UPDATE: Here's some of what Marat had to say about his last moments. Classic.

Well, as you can see, I didn't draw the heart, and I didn't lay down and I didn't cry and I didn't all those things ... it's not me.

(It's) a terrible way to finish with the French Open but anyway ... it's okay. It's not so sad. (It) doesn't get me emotional.

His best memory?

Well, hopefully I can forget this match, for sure.

My best memory was too far away in history. Nothing really great to write about for the last five years.


(image via FFT)

FASHION FIX: Serena survives in Paris, chooses Nike color-block design

Serena Williams never shies away from drama and it was no different in her first round match in Paris.

The 10-time Grand Slammer was on a 4-match losing streak and had not won a match on clay this year - and it showed. But after wasting eight match points ReRe converted on her ninth defeating Klara Zakopalova 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-4 and gaining revenge for her Marbella loss to the Czech. She'll next face Spanish veteran Virgina Ruano Pascual in the second round.

ReRe showed up for her match in the new Nike Dri-FIT Athlete Women's Tennis Dress ($95) in bright coral/classic charcoal/vivid pink (second option: classic charcoal/black/soft pearl.) It's a pretty simple scoop neck, color-block design and features colors that compliment each other nicely. This dress is a much better choice than either outfit she wore in Oz and maybe the best this fortnight.

Nice moves, ReRe.

(images: getty)

Michelle shocks Zheng, makes third round in Paris debut

Michelle Larcher de Brito, who's making her Roland Garros main draw debut (the first Portuguese lady baller to do so), pulled a big upset today defeating 15th seed Jie Zheng 6-4, 6-3 in the second round. It's the 16-year old's best Grand Slam result to date and will next face homegirl Aravane Rezai for a spot in the Round of 16.

I'd say Shrieka 2.0 has a great shot against the Frenchie in the third round, but if the seeding holds true she'd run up against a blazing Dinara Safina who's lost a total of TWO GAMES in two matches.

Good luck with that one.

(image: getty)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

MEDIA MASHUP: Rafa doesn't like to be home alone

Here are some images from Rafael Nadal's story in the latest edition of U.S. Vogue.

The world's top baller, who made safe passage into the Roland Garros second round after defeating Brazil's Marcos Daniel 7-5, 6-4, 6-3, gives us some insight here (though mostly the usual answers) including one of his biggest vulnerabilities:

Being home alone at night makes me a bit nervous. If I'm at home alone I have to sleep on the sofa—I can't face going to bed. I'm there with the TV on and all the lights on. I'm not very brave about anything in life. In tennis, yes. In everything else, not very.

Anyone want to keep him company?

Click here for the edited story on Full story in the June issue.

PS - Thanks Courtney!

Check out some behind-the-scenes video below!

(images courtesy of Vogue via Nadal News)

FASHION FIX: Time to retire EleVen by Venus Williams?

Venus Williams struggled mightily in her opening round match in Paris against Bethanie Mattek-Sands, going the distance but eventually pulling out a 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 victory. She'll face Lucie Safarova in the second round.

The 7-time Grand Slammer is also struggling mightily with her design choices for her EleVen by Venus Williams dresses lately. I thought her Miami moment was horrendous but this one takes the f-ugly prize. I mean, there's nothing even remotely interesting in terms of color, design, silhouette, etc. It's as if V has lost her inspiration now that EleVen isn't available for purchase right now.

Plus, who would've guessed B would be the better dressed baller on-court in ANY match?

*sits shocked*

(image: getty)

FASHION FIX: JJ pummels Petra, shines in ANTA blue dress debut

Not to be outdone in the blue dress debut department, Jelena Jankovic showcased her new ANTA gear during her opening round match at Roland Garros today. The slidin' Serb cruised past Czech Petra Cetkovska 6-2, 6-3 and will face Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova in the second round.

I def liked this dress when I previewed it late last week and I have to say it didn't disappoint especially now that we can see the interesting design on back:

This choice is much better than the ANTA dresses she's been wearing of late and I'm excited they gave JJ something special to wear in Paris.

So whose blue dress debut did you like the best: JJ's or Shrieka's?


(images: getty)

FASHION FIX: Shrieka defeats Anastasiya, debuts secret Nike dress

Maria Sharapova made her debut at Roland Garros yesterday dropping the first set against Belarusian Anastasiya Yakimova but storming through the last two for a 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 opening round victory. And even though she hit 7 double faults, the 3-time Grand Slammer cracked 36 winners against 29 errors.

Shrieka also unveiled the top secret Nike dress she mentioned in her recent Weekly Doodle. The billowy tank dress has interesting detailing most noticeably the gauzy lighter blue tiered fabric that drapes asymmetrically around her waist.

Okay - the blue coloring (which continues the trend of her last few RG dresses) is striking against the crushed brick and the design is intriguing especially when it's in motion. But the dress hides any hint of her body lines and certainly couldn't be worn anyone who isn't as skyscraper tall as Shrieka.

Always leave it to the Russian, though, to bring something special to the party.

(images: Getty, AP )

Monday, May 25, 2009

Letter to DtL readers: Memorial Day

Hey guys,

Today we're celebrating the Memorial Day holiday here in the U.S. which involves being outside and doing lots of grilling and eating. I'll be back tomorrow to wrap up the opening days of Roland Garros.

Have a good one!


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