Google Down the Line!: 2010-06-06


Friday, June 11, 2010

My latest column over at S & S is up!


Just a pause as I bring you a self-promo moment courtesy of my friends over at the tennis site.

My newest "Who's Hot?" column is up and it features one of my fave tennis wags. Click here to find out who.

Here's a hint: Like me, she's into real joysticks. Not the Playstation kind boys.

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Nadal + Murray beaten at Queen's Club, Top 6 seeds now out


Rafael Nadal is out.

Andy Murray is out.

The Top 6 seeds at Queen's Club are now out. Ugh.

Rafa fell to compatriot Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (5), 6-4 while Muzz completed his match that postponed for darkness yesterday (under controversy) and lost 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (2) to Mardy Fish. The American played his quaterfinal match afterward defeating Michael Llodra 6-4, 6-4.

So it's Fish versus Feli and Sam Querrey, who beat Xavier Malisse 6-3, 7-5, versus Rainer Schuettler, who ousted Dudi Sela 7-5, 6-4, in the semifinals.

Not the final four anyone would've predicted. At all.

[Photo(s): Getty Images]

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QUOTE OF THE DAY: Rafa


I felt something after he handled it.

- Rafael Nadal discussing the injury scare to his Rafarse at Queen's Club today

'Something'? The word is 'fulfilled' Rafa.

Trust.

[Photo(s): AFP/Getty Images]

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Big boys take a beating at Queen's Club

"Look Ma! I can fly!"

Many of the top ballers have been struggling this week as the tour's moved from the long clay-court season to the short-as-all-hell grass tour. Just ask Andy Roddick, Novak Djokovic and Marin Cilic.

Fourth seed A-Rod made his earliest exit from Queen's Club since his first round exit in 2001 when he was shocked 6-4, 7-6 (8) by Israel's Dudi Sela in the third round today. To his credit Dude played exceptionally well mixing up his backhand and blocking back the American's booming serve to neutralize his advantage. But A-Rod seemed like he left his aggressive stance in his Babolat bag, playing too much from the back court and not imposing his bigger game on Dude.

Afterward, he told the press he won't take a WC into Eastbourne next week:
I'm not gonna go into a panic mode and start doing that stuff. I'll try to get some practice in. I'll probably get more time on the track or in the gym. Maybe I'll figure out if there's some shows or a concert to kind of get away and take my mind off the fact that I'm not playing here.
Since winning the Sony Ericsson Open back in March A-Rod has played five matches and won three (2 - Roland Garros, 1- QC.) Let's hope he gets some really, I mean REALLY good practice sessions in with all the points he needs to defend as last year's Wimby finalist. An early round loss could mean a big drop in the rankings for the World No. 7.


Second seed Novak Djokovic was booted by Xavier Malisse 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 and complained that the playing conditions were dangerous:
The whole match you can feel the rain and the court was extremely slippery. A couple of times I could have injured myself, to stretch the muscle or something like that.
Let's hope his loss has more to do with the conditions than with his game, particularly any lingering effects from his quarterfinal loss to Jurgen Melzer at Roland Garros. I thought he might take that loss hard which, if true, would put a second week appearance at Wimby in serious jeopardy.


And fifth seed Marin Cilic went down 7-6 (2), 6-2 to Michael Llodra who is consulting with Amelie Mauresmo this grass season. Nice win for this newly formed team. I'd say Momo has given him some good advice based on this result. Good on ya Frenchies.

Plus, did you hear about the drama between Andy Murray + Mardy Fish during their match? Check it here, if you're into that kinda thing.

[Photo(s): Getty Images]

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

PHOTO OP: Bringing the brightness

"Let me shine the light."

Rafael Nadal made the smoothest of transitions from his fave clay to the grass today at Queen's Club. The Roland Garros champ defeated Brazilian Marcos Daniel 6-2, 6-2 in his opening round match to extend his winning streak to 23 matches. It was also Rafa's first match on grass since since winning the Wimbledon crown in July 2008. He'll face Denis Istomin of Kazakhstan in the next round.

I love the perspective of this photo where the 7-time Grand Slammer seems to tower over the crowd, and the contrast of the dark background against the brightness of his outfit and accessories.

And speaking of accessories, what's up with that ginormous Nike bag and what's inside? Curious minds want to know.

[Photo(s): Clive Brunskill/Getty Images]

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FASHION FIX: Rez finds more interesting uses for foil


Here's a sneak peek at what Aravane Rezai has chosen (no, she wasn't forced) to wear at this year's Wimbledon.

I thought her last outfit was horrific but she actually has outdone herself with this latest disaster. Clearly Rez likes big + bold as evidenced by her power game and colorful off-court commentary but these pieces, from what I can see, just look cheap. Not cheap chic a la H & M. Just cheap a la Ke$ha.

The warm up jacket wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't embellished to death but don't get me started on that skirt. I mean, she really loves foil as a fabric, huh? (see last outfit)

Listen up lady ballers: Keep it simple. For your sake and ours. I beg of you.

[Photo(s): WTA FB page]

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FASHION FIX: Ivanovic reveals adidas Wimbledon dress + leggings


Ana Ivanovic's website released an image of the adidas dress the former top lady baller will be wearing during her campaign at Wimbledon.

The Women's adilibria Dress in white (about $55) features a fitted, high-waisted bodice, wide straps and a square neck. She has the option to wear the Women's adilibria Leggings (about $29) if the weather gets cool, though I hope she NEVAH needs to throw these on.

"Considering the strict rules they have regarding all-white at Wimbledon, it's difficult to create a new look each year, but adidas have again done a great job of designing something that is both comfortable and stylish," said Ana. "I think it's a very feminine look and I'm going to enjoy wearing it in London."
Oh NaturAna. The dress is fine but I'm really starting to think your hand is permanently fist-pumped. Get thee to a doctor, stat.

[Photo(s): AnaIvanovic.com]

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

SIGHTING: Fran gets fancy at Palazzo Chigi


Francesca Schiavone was joined by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi at the Palazzo Chigi in Rome to celebrate her stunning win at Roland Garros.

She really deserves all the attention and accolades she's getting for her efforts in Paris. She really went out and won that tourney. Plus, she cleans up nicely.


[Photo(s): Reuters]

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SIGHTING: Kim Sears watching Muzz at Queen's Club - so what gives?


Tennis WAG Kim Sears was spotted in the baller box watching defending champ Andy Murray struggle past Spaniard Ivan Navarro 7-6(8), 6-3 in his opening match at Queen's Club.

The pair were in a serious 4-year relationship until last November when they called it quits amidst rumors the Brit baller was spending way too many hours working his Playstation joystick. That's a boy for you. However, the gossip mill started churning again this past April when Kim was spotted visiting the Surrey home they shared and word began to fly they were spending more time together as well.


Well, based on Kim's appearance at Muzz's match today (her face, not those awesome Ray Ban aviators we both share) and her I'm-so-happy-to-be-here-supporting-you expression I'd say it's 'Game On' for them. And that's good news for Muzz whose game hasn't been the same since they split - for real.

[Photo(s): Christopher Lee/Getty Images]

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(UPDATED) SIGHTING: Momo + scrunchee, Part Deux


A still very fit-looking Amelie Mauresmo + scrunchee were spotted playing a little football at Queen's Club yesterday. The 2-time Grand Slammer and her fave accessory were in the stands at Roland Garros recently watching Svetlana Kuznetsova go down to Maria Kirilenko.

Some ballers just can't stay away. I wonder what she's doing there, though. Anyone know?

UPDATE:
Thanks to reader Sam H-Q for the awesome insidery info yesterday in the DtL Peanut Gallery on Momo's appearance at Queen's Club that was confirmed in today's L'equipe (Googlely translated):

As we learn in L'Equipe on Wednesday, Amelie Mauresmo has agreed to come and assist her experience Michaël Llodra for Wimbledon. The former World No. 1, titled in London in 2006, was delighted to make this unique service to those who still led by Rémi Barbarin.

"You could say I am a value-added. On fonctionne au feeling. It works by feel. (...) I attend his training, if I notice something I said. Sometimes I wait it occurs. Nothing is written, "said the former champion. Llodra him, appreciates the helping hand. "She joined me on the Challenger Bordeaux and I told him I was a contractor helping hand. Amelie can bring me a lot about how we approach the big competitions. Even if it is moving more in a friendly than purely professional. During her career she has been much discussion and thought to blow up certain obstacles. She put me on a different look. I like this approach."
Yay! More Momo!

[Photo(s): John Gichigi/Getty Images]

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Monday, June 7, 2010

PHOTO OP: When you wish upon a star...


Rafael Nadal paid a visit to the Disneyland Resort in Marne-la-Vallee outside Paris today as part of a photo call for his Roland Garros win yesterday.

I guess by the fifth time the RG organizers needed to get crafty with the post-win photo location. I mean, who needs another shot in front of the Eiffel Tower when you have Mickey, Minnie and the whole Disney gang? Not Nadal apparently.

And, don't worry y'all: It's not meant to be a hint of things to come for Roland Garros. Or so they say.





[Photo(s): Reuters, AFP]

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Rafa officially tops ATP rankings while Fran makes Top 10 debut


The ATP World Tour rankings were released today with Rafael Nadal officially replacing Roger Federer as the world's top baller after winning his fifth Roland Garros championship this weekend. Fed falls back to the second spot.

Robin Soderling moved up one spot to No. 6 after reaching the RG final for the second consecutive year, as did Andy Roddick who now sits at No. 7. Reigning U.S. Open champ Juan Martin del Potro, who is recovering from wrist surgery, fell two spots to No. 8. He made the semifinals of Roland Garros last year.


The WTA saw some big moves today with the Roland Garros ladies' champ Francesca Schiavone making her debut in the Top 10 after leaping 11 big spots to land at No. 6. Her compatriot Flavia Pennetta matched her best result in Paris by reaching the fourth round and jumped five spots in the rankings to the 10th position.

This weekend's finalist, Sam Stosur, remained at No. 7 while Kim Clijsters moved up one spot to the ninth position. The Belgian pulled out of RG to recover from a foot injury she sustained at FED CUP. Her compatriot, four-time champ Justine Henin, moved up five spots to re-enter the Top 20 at No. 18 after her fourth-round appearance.

Svetlana Kuznetsova + Dinara Safina took big hits after their campaigns failed miserably in the City of Lights falling out of the Top 10. The 2009 RG champ went out in the third round and fell 13 nasty spots to land at No. 19 while last year's finalist tumbled from No. 9 down to No. 20 with her first round loss in Paris. Elena Dementieva is now the only Russian lady baller left in the Top 10 - astounding.

[Photo(s): ATP + WTA]

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

PHOTO OP: A resounding win and a return to the top for Rafa


Rafael Nadal played absolutely sublime clay-court tennis today during his 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 defeat of Robin Soderling in the Roland Garros men's final, earning his fifth crown in Paris and 7th career major tying him with John McEnroe + Mats Wilander on the all-time Grand Slam list. The Majorcan Matador also reclaimed the top spot in the world rankings from Roger Federer and did it all without dropping a set in the entire tourney. *clap, clap*

Rafa was flawless from all parts of the court landing 77% of his first serves, 7 aces, 28 winners/16 errors and saved all 8 break point chances against him. His defensive skills, in particular, were on full display becoming a human wall the Swede couldn't hit through on the day. He ran, dug and slid for every single ball like a terrier gunning for his favorite toy.

The heavier conditions, thought to be an advantage for Sod, helped the Spaniard with his footing and allowed his game to flourish. "At the same time, I can run better," said Rafa. "I feel more (through translation) stable on court than when the court is very dry. So that's the very important point for me today."


It's pretty incredible to think back to April and the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters tourney when the 24-year old fought for, and won, his first tourney in almost a year. Since then he grabbed two more Masters 1000's at Rome + Madrid, breaking Andre Agassi's all-time Masters 1000 record with 18 total shields, his fifth title at Roland Garros going 22-0 during this stretch and a return to the top of tennis.

Afterward, he explained why this win had so much meaning for him:

Is important because is one of the most important because I had difficult year, and for some moments was difficult to accept the injuries and everything. You know, for moments you don't know if you are ready another time to compete, you are 100%.

At the same time, sometimes is a big frustration when you are in US Open and you broke your an abdominal one week before and you are in Australia and have to retire during the quarterfinals match. So all these moments are difficult to accept. I was there all the time, and for that reason, today is a very, very special day for me.
And what about the post-match pool of tears he shed into his towel after the comprehensive win?
I was there crying, but was really emotional moment for me. But probably is because of the situation. I didn't thought about a lot of things but the moment, and after, a lot of nervous, a lot of pression for me and a difficult year. After you win this big title is, everything is you lose your tension.

For the second year in a row the towering Swede was denied his maiden major in straight sets. Sod could have stamped his mark on this match early in the opening set, though, when he earned the first of 8 break point chances in the fourth game. But Rafa's brilliant play prevented him from doing so at every step of the way and he admitted as much in his post-match presser:
You know, as I said, I think I can beat anybody. But when Rafa is playing like this, you need to have a really good day, which unfortunately I didn't have today.
True enough Sod. But even on your best day I'm not sure you, nor any other baller, was going to stop the inspired and determined play of the newly crowned World No. 1 today. He was just too good.

So congrats to Rafa on his stunning achievement!!!








[Photo(s): Getty Images, Reuters]

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Rafael Nadal wins fifth Roland Garros championship, reclaims top ranking


Rafael Nadal overwhelmed Robin Soderling 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 to win his fifth Roland Garros crown and 7th career major - all without dropping a set. He also reclaims the World No. 1 ranking from Roger Federer with the win.

More coverage to come!

[Photo(s): Getty Images]

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