Google Down the Line!: 2010-08-29

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fourth-seeded Jankovic ousted by Kanepi in US Open third round

Jelena Jankovic's summer of misery came to a fitting end today at the US Open. During a windswept Day 6 the fourth seed, who had only earned one win in three tourneys during the US Open Series, was defeated by hard-hitting Kaia Kanepi 6-2, 7-6 (1) in the third round. The pair struggled to keep the ball inside the lines combining for 78 errors against only 32 winners. The 31st seed will face last year's semifinalist Yanina Wickmayer for a spot in the quarterfinals.

JJ blamed the tough, blustery conditions on-court for her struggles today but credited Kaia for managing her game better under the circumstances:

Q. How bad was the wind and how did you try to manage playing into the wind when you were against the wind?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Oh, the wind was really tough. The conditions were really, really tough, you know, to play. I had a really hard time, you know, hitting the balls. You know, obviously they were going all over the place. The wind was really strong, and she handled these kind of conditions a lot better than I did. You know, that was the case today. It was really tough to play tennis, because, I mean, it's tough to serve, tough to hit the balls. The balls move all over the place, and I had a really hard time over there. Unfortunately, I lost.

Q. How close to unplayable was it?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know, but it's, you know, to be honest, you can't you know, I had a hard time serving. You toss the ball, and it was all over the place. And then you hit the ball one direction, it goes another. You're just getting ready to hit the ball and just moves away from you. So it was really hard out there. But like I said, she handled the wind a lot better than I did. She was the better player today. Congrats to her.
Regardless of the conditions this result is not a big surprise. As I mentioned earlier JJ has been struggling to find her best form all summer long after rolling her ankle in Portoroz. I think under normal circumstances (read: having actual confidence) the Serb would've out-steadied the Estonian in these tough conditions, but it wasn't to be today.

[Photo(s): Getty Images]
Bookmark and Share

FASHION FIX: Venus goes Vegas

So, remember how I wondered if Venus Williams had another EleVen day dress to go with the Tide-winning one she wore a couple of days ago? Right. Well, I still don't know if she does. But the 2-time US Open champ had a surprise up her sleeve debuting a second, and very sparkly, night dress during her 6-2, 6-1 domination of Mandy Minella in the third round last night.

Geez, who knew Charo could play such high-level tennis? I certainly didn't but I'm thoroughly impressed. By her play, not the dress.

[Photo(s): Getty Images]
Bookmark and Share

Friday, September 3, 2010

(UPDATED) VIDEO VAULT: Fight breaks out during Djokovic-Petzschner match at US Open

It was an eventful night at the US Open particularly during the Novak Djokovic/Philipp Petzschner second round match. Not only did we get a little cock talk from Nole but a fight broke out in the upper section of Arthur Ashe Stadium midway through the first set.

Here's my description of what went down:

[Open scene] She mad. He get madder. He say bad thing. She say, "Shhhhlap." He laugh. Crowd goes, "Ooooh." They keep fighting. [End scene]

It's Oscar-worthy stuff peeps.

UPDATE: Here's more footage post-shhhhlap including the two men falling over the seats and security making its way over. NYC tennis is for reals.

[Via: Arn522]

Bookmark and Share

HE SAID/SHE SAID: US Open Days Three + Four

Day 3

Q. Melanie Oudin was talking the other day about the difference of coming in this year with expectations as opposed to prior when people didn't have expectations of her. You at 20 years of age came in as the No. 1 and had to play with great expectations of you. Can you talk about as a very young woman of say 20 years of age what it's like coming in with those expectations and what you've learned now two years later?

ANA IVANOVIC: It is a whole different story. I see myself also as two different persons. Once you're actually coming up and you have no expectations, you are hungry for success, and you really don't know what the stakes are. You just go for it. You have no fear. You play freely against anyone you come up against. 

Once you actually get in a position to defend some points and there is more outside pressure coming in, it is a lot different story. Because even though you perceive yourself the same or maybe even better, if you're improving, still there is a lot of outside effect. That creates some doubts and obviously pressure. Everyone deals with it differently. That's what I feel it was the biggest change with me, is that I managed to sort of let go of this. Now I feel, you know, as I am just coming up again, and I have really nothing to lose. I got that joy of competing again.

Q. Is that the greatest lesson you think you've learned from having been in that rarified air of being the world's top player?

ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, it is. I mean, I learned about myself and just about the world in general and how everything goes. You know, I mean, what I learned is that it goes on no matter what. (Smiling.)

Q. There's a lot of talk with the McEnroes, John and Patrick, about the future of American tennis. Who is the next big American star. Do you embrace that and want to be that guy?

RYAN HARRISON: Absolutely I want to be that guy. I have a ways to go. I've qualified and still have a ways to go to get there, but I'm definitely working has hard as I can. I'm really putting all the work in. I'm trying to stay open minded with everyone who is giving me their opinion and really trying to listen as much as possible and take in as much as advice as I can. Then just trying to work on the game and work on transitioning up to trying to hopefully being a full time tour player.

Q. Who has given you the best advice?

RYAN HARRISON: Roddick has been helping me since I was 15, 16 years old. Every time I see him, he's always been extremely helpful and really talked to me a lot about some of the things he experienced when he was first coming up. Obviously coaches, Patrick McEnroe, Jay Berger, Diego Moyano is working with me most of the time now. 

My dad coached me from the time I was two years old, and he's been you know, he's been always there for me, always there to support me throughout my entire career. He's been unbelievable about being on me to stay humble and stay you know, stay I guess just to the point where I can really focus on taking it one at a time and just taking every day as it comes.

Q. The replay showed your left foot did touch the line.

ANDY RODDICK: That's fine.

Q. If she had just said left foot would it...

ANDY RODDICK: There would have been no discussion. There would have been zero discussion. There was two after that. It was the fact that I couldn't get her to admit that it wasn't the right foot just infuriated me beyond... The lack of common sense involved in that was unbelievable to me. I just have trouble when they stick to an argument that obviously isn't right. It's her job to call it. 

Like I said, there were two after that that they said front, and there's no argument there. There's zero argument there. I mean, we got to be able to maybe have a test, like point to your right foot, point to your left foot; okay, now call lines. I think that would be maybe standard.

Q. Did she have an opportunity to correct herself, though?

ANDY RODDICK: Well, she was talking. She was talking.

Q. She answered the one thing, right?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. Then I pointed again. She said, No. Then I said again, Have we thought about this? Do we realize that it's a physical impossibility? She says, No. I think she was definitely responding, you know, when I was asking questions. None of the responses was, It was your left foot.

Q. In hindsight, did you let it go too far?

ANDY RODDICK: In hindsight did I let it go too far? Yeah, probably. Probably. I think it was a very correctable mistake, and I probably let it get to me more than it should have. Yeah, sure.

Q. You are a good friend of Randy Lu. You play doubles together. You are coached by the same person. Randy beat Andy in Wimbledon. I was wondering if he gave you any tips to beat Andy?


Q. Or if your coach had specific tactics.

JANKO TIPSAREVIC: Coach told me the regular tactics. I played him twice so I more or less knew what to expect. Coach was mainly telling me what I need to focus on, you know. Regarding Roddick, I more or less knew what strengths and what weaknesses he had. Randy gave me a couple of tips. Well, they worked, so... I am grateful for that.

Q. Touching Andy's chest with your forehead must have some meaning. You don't do that after every match. Why did you do that?

JANKO TIPSAREVIC: You know what, he's not a good friend, he's a friend of mine. I think he's a very nice guy. And, you know, just to say those nice things after probably being really, really disappointed, it was just like an emotional thing. I wanted to hug him, but then it probably wouldn't be so good. So is just saying nice words after being disappointed and losing, I mean, against and underdog on your stadium in front of your home crowd, that just brings up a big champion in him.


Q. What are your thoughts on the possibility of playing Maria Sharapova? [She will be playing Shrieka]

BEATRICE CAPRA: I'm really excited. I think it will be an amazing experience. I know she's just such a tough competitor. You know, when I was younger I used to always look up to her, and so I think it will be a really, you know, good match for me to see where I am compared to that kind of level.

Q. What was it that you looked up to?

BEATRICE CAPRA: I thought she was just so mentally tough. You know, she just always went for her shots, and you can never tell any of her emotions. You know, that really inspired me. One of my great assets is I'm really I like to think that I'm mentally tough, and I'll always stay in the match until the end.

Q. The New York crowd tends to be loud and especially in the night matches. How does the atmosphere at the Open compare to the other Majors?

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Well, the atmosphere here is great. I really love playing here. I mean, it's a great feeling. Also coming back from last year, you know, being in the finals, coming back here and just, yeah, playing on the big courts, it's a great feeling.

Q. How have your expectations of yourself changed from a year ago at this time when you were a surprise and you made the run to the championship match?

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Um, the expectations maybe from the outside has changed, but from myself I always go into a tournament and I want to win it. Doesn't really matter what tournament I'm playing, and I always believe in myself. It's not always possible to win every tournament, but at least I give it a shot. You know, the only time I get disappointed with myself is if I feel like I haven't given 100%. You know, I'm almost always giving 100%. It's just about if I lose a match, okay, the opponent was just playing better than me that day, and I need to get back and work harder and be better for next time.

Q. Have you seen any huge improvements in your style lately with Paul on your team now?

ROGER FEDERER: No. I mean, when I'm playing great, regardless of who's in my player box, I can beat anybody, you know. It's about being consistent and being confident in the way I play. I'm not all of a sudden going to play a two handed backhand or serve and volley on my second serve nonstop. It's just not gonna happen. 

It's in the details, and it's very important to me what Paul tells me and what Severin also tells me, who I've been with for three years now. It's an interesting, you know, time right now, because I went through times where I thought every time was interesting for me, because I went through times where I didn't have a coach, I had times where I had two coaches, as well, one coach. Here we are at the stage again where there's someone new to the team, and I kind of like those times, yeah.

Q. You're the only past champion left in the men's tournament. How much of an advantage is that, or a help is that, knowing you've done it in the past versus other players who are trying to but don't know that they can, because they haven't?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, it's definitely an advantage, I would think, yeah, because weathering the conditions here in New York. A lot of players can really do well here in New York because it's a fair kind of a court. 

It's a quick court, so if you're not feeling well, it can all of a sudden slip away from you. So it's a dangerous court to play on, and everybody has the last slam left to prove. I think that's why it makes it really hard to win. You could be unlucky and get hit with a really hot day or a very windy day, and not even in your control sometimes you lose a match here. 

That's where it's important like today to get through easily instead of maybe going five hour match, you know, and losing the tournament because of a match like this, you know. Yeah, I mean, I would consider it as an advantage. But again, I'm not at match point serving for it, so still a lot of hard work to do.

Gilbert: "Do you have that tweener shot between your legs?"

Novak Djokovic: "No, I have something else between my legs." [Would you care to share???]

[Photo(s): Getty Images]
Bookmark and Share

Thursday, September 2, 2010

FASHION FIX: Going day to night with Kim Clijsters + Venus Williams

Kim Clijsters made it safely through to US Open third round last night defeating Aussie Sally Peers 6-2, 6-1. Though the scoreline looked easy, the defending champ was broken twice and continued her serving issues keeping a mediocre 51% on first serves and throwing in four double faults. She'll face a sterner test in the third round where Wimbledon semifinalist Petra Kvitova awaits.

Kimmie is also debuting the Center Court Collection by Fila. For her day matches the Belgian baller is working the Center Court Cap Sleeve Top ($48) paired with the Center Court Skort ($45) while at night she's ball bashing in the Center Court Dress ($65).

I'm feeling the Center Court Dress much more than the day outfit. The top and skort fit well but the designs on their own are very busy, particularly with the blues and stripes fighting for attention. The two pieces alone are fine but together feels over-the-top. The night dress, on the other hand, looks fresh on Kimmie since she usually tends to stick with separates. The black tone offers the dress a nice contrast to the blue and adds sleek sexiness to the dress as does the tank style. Moreover, the silhouette is more flattering on Kimmie than the day separates.

Venus Williams debuted the winning design from her collaboration with Tide during her 7-6 (3), 6-3 second round win over the big-hitting 19-year old Canadian Rebecca Marino. The day outfit was a black and white printed halter dress with side slits. As you may recall, the 2-time US Open champ debuted her night dress from EleVen on Monday that continued the corset dress inspiration from the previous Slams most notably the "Can Can" style from Roland Garros.

I actually didn't mind the day dress print design so much but the fit and execution were an issue. The dress had some dangling ties which seemed to bother V at the start while it looked to be a bit short for her - she was constantly havig to pull it down. The night dress was pretty tame considering she described it as being "...a little bit louder, a little bit more in your face, and little bit more sexy," during Ralph Lauren conference call last week. I can see the sexiness but the rest she missed. Still, this dress actually looks well made and sturdy unlike some of EleVen's past offerings. Hopefully, V is getting a stronger grasp on her design chops.

Now, I'm not sure if this day dress is the one she'll be wearing for the rest of her matches or if it was a one time thing for the contest. She said she'd have two EleVen dresses for the tourney, but I'm not sure if she included this one. It does have an orange EleVen logo on the bust, though.

[Photo(s): Getty Images]
Bookmark and Share

SIGHTING: Kanye West, Usher and John Legend take in some tennis

The US Open always brings out major celebrities under the lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium and last night was no exception.

Kanye West, Usher and John Legend all made appearances at Flushing Meadows last night watching Andy Roddick get upset by Janko Tipsarevic in the second round of the US Open.

[Photo(s): Getty Images]
Bookmark and Share

(UPDATED) PHOTO OP: Head to heart

Janko Tipsarevic pulled the upset of the US Open so far on the men's side when he ousted ninth seeded and 2003 champ Andy Roddick in the second round. The Serb was the aggressor throughout the match stepping inside the baseline, moving the American out of position and cracking winners (60 in total) at will, in particular, his fave down the line blasts. It was A-Rod's earliest exit at a Grand Slam tournament since losing to Tipsy at Wimbledon in 2008. He'll face Frenchie Gael Monfils in the third round, his best result at Flushing Meadows.

After the closing out match point the two met at the net where Tipsy was seen head-butting A-Rod's chest and excitedly grabbing at his arm. So what was that about? "I just said, 'The last time you beat me in a Grand Slam second round, you lost the last match, so don't do that,' to which he head-butted me, which was fun," said the former top baller. Nice.

It was an impressive win for Tipsy whose size belies the big-ballin' game he owns. He possesses enormous power on his groundies, throwing himself into every shot, and on his serve where he put down 16 aces, one less than the big-serving, physically imposing American.

As for A-Rod, he went out there playing as if he'd never been beaten by his opponent before, without a sense of urgency or idea of how to overcome the Serb's game. Plus his boorish behavior at getting called for a correct foot fault was just annoying. Now he gets to watch the next generation of Americans including Sam Querrey, John Isner, and now Ryan Harrison (who won his first Grand Slam match over No. 15 Ivan Ljubicic) carry the load and pressure - the symbolic torch if you will - from the sidelines. And maybe, just maybe he's a little bit relieved.

UPDATE: Here's video of the foot fault incident and A-Rod's reactions...

[Photo(s): Getty Images]
Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

HE SAID/SHE SAID: US Open Days One + Two


Q. Do you think people were attracted to you, to your game, because you took such risks, in the [Roland Garros] final, especially?

FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE: I think they attract -- I attract them because I'm beautiful. (Laughter.) No, you have to ask to them why they come to watch me, but I'm really happy. And today when I see the stadium not full but with many people, I was really, really happy.

Q. Serena obviously stepped in at the last minute to play that incredible exhibition in Belgium. Did she say anything to you before or after the match about her injury?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, no. We also did a press conference together. No, I mean, they asked her about it, so no. I obviously saw her injury, but I didn't get the explanation.

Q. Have you been surprised about the severity, how severe it's turned out to be?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, because I saw -- I saw the injury, so -- and it's not something that she's making up or that it's a small cut or anything.

Q. Is it on the bottom of the foot or the top of the foot?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Both, both feet.

Q. On both feet?


Q. Was it on the bottom of the foot or the top of the foot?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Um, I don't remember. I wasn't paying such close attention.

Q. Well, if you don't remember whether it was on the bottom or the top...


Q. In terms of trick shots, there's been a lot of skepticism about the YouTube video.


Q. Skepticism.

ROGER FEDERER: There's a difference.

Q. Some doubt that it's real.

ROGER FEDERER: They're not sure, those guys? They don't dare to try it (smiling).
One thing I tell you, that the shots on center court in front of 22,000 people is a bit more difficult than what I did at the Gillette commercial. That was just having a bit more fun.

No, I can't tell you if it's real or not. That's up for debate. Still up to debate, you know. I'm not going to answer that question.

Q. Could you hit one between your legs and knock the can off someone's head?

ROGER FEDERER: That's kind of tough, the trajectory going up. You can feel like the nose and everything being hit first. No, I wouldn't be able to do that.

Q. Do you still have a place in New York?


Q. Do you spend a lot of time here or...

ANDY RODDICK: No. I mean, my home is Texas. You know, my wife is probably here more than I am. Yeah.

Q. Do you feel more like a New Yorker now than maybe three or four years ago?

ANDY RODDICK: I certainly pay enough taxes for it. (Laughter.) So, yeah, that buys me... I don't know. I mean, it is nice having a place here and having a kind of quasi home. I always feel comfortable here in New York even when I didn't have a place. I stayed at the same hotel and everything for years and years and years and years, so I don't mind New York. People tell you what they think, and I've always kind of appreciated that.

Q. Seems like you have switched your racquet to a new model. I don't know if that gives you a reason you play good or not. Does it suit your play style?

ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, I did. Actually funny thing is did change just before Cincinnati, and I really like the new racquet and the new model Yonex put out. It's really helped my game a lot, especially in the end range. But I think it's combined with all the hard work. 

And just, you know, like I said, it's been hard, because in Stanford and San Diego I really felt like I was playing good and I was moving well on the court. But it was just little bits and pieces missing in the most important moments. It's been very frustrating. But then a few matches, a few victories in Cincinnati did help my confidence. Maybe that's something I needed, you know, to be more relaxed and for things to come together. But one way or another, I'm just happy it's happening.

Q. If Serena were here, even with your knee, would you definitely have played doubles?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. It's so hard not to play. I always play. It's really hard. Especially at Wimbledon when we didn't win, I realized how much I loved winning the doubles. I think for a while we both took it a little bit for granted that, Oh, we could win the doubles. 

It's not easy winning it. Committing to playing the singles and doubles and playing all those matches so... I think I'll never take it for granted again, not winning Wimbledon, not being able to play here. Just when you win the majors, they say your name, She has 22 whatever. I like that. I want to keep adding those numbers, singles, doubles, mixed. It all goes down next to my name. I'd like to keep that happening. Would I have tried to play? Yeah, probably.

Q. Will it make it better for your knee that you're not playing doubles?



Q. You have the Cyprus emblem on your clothes right now. Can you explain why that is?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Because I have no sponsor, so I just want to put my country.

Q. Is it the office of tourism?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: No, no sponsor. It's not a sponsor, it's because I want to put it.

Q. How long have you been without a sponsor?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: A year since January.

Q. Who makes the clothes?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: My mom. I buy them from Technifibre and my mom puts the flags on them.

Q. Could be very troublesome serving. What goes through your mind when you toss the ball up to serve these days? Trying to think of some sort of image that I could describe as you're staring down a break opportunity for her, she's swinging at the ball, you hit some great second serves in the match.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: You're making this a little way too dramatic for what it was. It's like a Shakespeare poem. No, you focus on what you need to do. You think of the patterns. You think of where you're gonna serve, things like that. I mean, it's not really complicated. You just have to do it.

Q. Did you see the replay or the actual live shot of [Federer's] tween the legs shot last night?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No. I've seen it live last year passing next to me (smiling). That's enough traumatic experiences for me. Today when Viktor tried to do the same thing, I said, No, no, please. He was running for the ball between the legs. Please miss it. Please don't embarrass me again.

Q. When it happened last year, did you see the moments of your lives pass...

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: They keep on repeating that. I mean, it's amazing shot. Just incredible. At that stage, as well. It was the last game. You know, once in a while you get that shot.

Q. It had a lot of zip on it. It wasn't just putting it back in play.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I got to the net. I did what my coach wanted me to do: covered the long line. I was just standing there, following the ball. Okay. Everybody applause. I applause.

Q. As somebody who does very good imitations, is that something you can imitate?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, definitely not. I am not as good as he is in that. I'd like to be very careful with my racquet (smiling). You know what I mean.

Q. You made a comment about sleeping with your girlfriend out on the court. What was that analogy to?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don't know. He asked me for the comparison of the feeling, what kind of feeling was it to feel the shade. The sun came down and I didn't have any more heat, what kind of feeling was it. It just came up to me. It's one of the best feelings, I guess, when you're sleeping with your close one. So I compare it to that.

Q. Must have felt good.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It felt unbelievable (smiling). Let's get back to tennis now (laughter).

Q. Are you as comfortable at this Grand Slam as you are at the others?

RAFAEL NADAL: Is the more difficult for me, especially I think because the ball. The ball is the more difficult thing for me because the ball I think is more easy to play that ball for the players when they have the flat shots, no? That's much easier for them than for the topspin players. That's the only thing.

But I won Olympics with this ball. I won in Beijing in 2005 with this ball. I can do it.

Q. You're about ready to unveil your new, big, flat forehand?

RAFAEL NADAL: That's almost impossible. The thing is play with topspin, but play very aggressive all the time, play with very high rhythm. That's the way.

Q. There's a doubles player here who is playing with a two handled racquet.

RAFAEL NADAL: I met him.

Q. Does that strike you as crazy?

RAFAEL NADAL: For me, yes (smiling). For me, yes. For me is no reason to play like this, yeah. Is add the complication on the game, you know.

[Photo(s): Getty Images]
Bookmark and Share

(UPDATED) DEVELOPING: Azarenka collapes during second round match at US Open

Victoria Azarenka was rushed to the hospital after collapsing during her second round match at the US Open today. She was trailing Gisela Dulko 1-5 in the first set when she fell to the ground.

There haven't been any updates on the cause of her collapse or her current condition as of yet. As soon as more information is released I will update this post.

It was another day of searing heat at Flushing Meadows with temperatures expected to reach the mid-90's with high humidity. And, believe me, after dealing with it yesterday I can tell you it's BRUTAL. Although we don't know if it was the heat that caused Vika to fall, please take precautions and stay hydrated if you are visiting the Open this week.

Here's video of the moment Vika fell to the court (not sure what the strange video game music is all about...) edit: I found a better video of the incident

UPDATE #1: The Washington Post blog The Early Lead is reporting Vika received treatment from a trainer for an arm injury and complained of blurry vision.

UPDATE #2: USTA statement via Jon Wertheim: "She was taken to a nearby hospital for diagnostic testing. Out of respect to her privacy, we can not give any more details. However, we can say that this does not seem to be primarily a heat-related illness." They also mentioned "headache-like symptoms." Okay, vague - even a bigger mystery now. But apparently she had fallen during an earlier practice and had the medical staff alerted during the Dulko match.

UPDATE #3: Vika diagnosed with a mild concussion. She fell in the gym while doing sprints and hit her arm and head.

[Photo(s): Getty Images]
Bookmark and Share

Djokovic, Perello and Petrova keep it HAWT (or not) at the US Open

What a great day at the US Open yesterday!

It's always so much fun walking around the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows during the first few days - a must for any tennis fan. There's a certain electricity in the air with every court showcasing a match and fans meandering from court to court to check out the fate of their fave ballers. You can even catch a glimpse of the ballers practicing and sometimes walking and/or running through the grounds to get from their practice to the locker rooms. Granted, it was, how do you say, 'sultry' yesterday (at least that's what I would tell myself every time I wanted to crawl under an air conditioned rock) but you just deal - it's the US Open for fuck sake!

For the ballers, however, dealing with conditions becomes a severe test of their fitness and stamina. Novak Djokovic, working a cute new black + white Sergio Tacchini kit (sans hat PLEASE), has a well-documented history of retiring from Grand Slams matches due to breathing issues caused by soaring heat so no one would've been surprised if he pulled the plug at some point during his opening round battle against compatriot Viktor Troicki yesterday. BUT! The third seed prevailed gutting out a 6-3, 3-6, 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 win, a good sign for his chances this year.

And what was Nole's response when asked what it was like when he was finally able to grab some much needed relief from the sun in the late afternoon on-court shadows? "Ahhhh. It was like sleeping with my girlfriend." Ahhhh, it was like tossing rock salt in my open wounds when I read that quote. Thanks Nole.

Speaking of WAGS it was awesome to see the beautiful and stylish Xisca Perello make an appearance at Rafael Nadal's opening round match where he grabbed a tough win against Russia's Teymuraz Gabashvilli. Normally she shows up later in a tourney to give her support, at least in the baller box, so this appearance seems telling about Rafa's focus and desire to win his first title at Flushing Meadows and complete the Career Slam. He's got his girl there - one of the three greatest loves of his life.

Now, one lady baller who always strives to be stylish is Nadia Petrova. I'm not sure if she meant to wear this outfit or just fell into a Crayola crayon box that was left out in yesterday's heat but, honestly, it fits Nads - for better or for HELLA worse. In any case she got booted by Andrea Petkovic in the opening round match so we'll be spared. For now.

Finally I've added a few shots below from the matches I got to see including David Nalbandian, Yanina Wickmayer and Na Li. Nalby (barely) + Wicky (easily) made it out but Li, who was sporting support tape on her right knee and seemed hampered towards the end, was not so lucky. I'll upload the full sets to the Down the Line! Facebook page.


[Photo(s): Getty Images, DtL]
Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Letter to DtL readers: Ready? Play!

Hello people,

I'm heading to Flushing Meadows today to grab my first look at some live tennis action - psyched much? I'll be sending updates throughout the day via Twitter @RawUncutTennis and the Down the Line! Facebook page. Follow along, if you dare.


P.S. Regularly scheduled posting will return tomorrow. Or tonight if I have time. Uh, more like tomorrow. Fine - TOMORROW.

[Photo(s): Michael Alan]
Bookmark and Share

VIDEO VAULT: Federer's tweener shot, Part Deux

Roger Federer's making a habit of this. The 5-time US Open champ performed another incredible tweener shot during his 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 first round win over Argentine Brian Dabul last night. He was about 10 feet behind the baseline and hit the screaming tweener past his stunned opponent.

Last year Fed hit a tweener passing shot by Novak Djokovic to reach match point during their semifinal bout. If you'd like to learn how to hit it, click here.

Huh, come to think it, after the Gillette mystery it wouldn't surprise me if the USTA and the Swiss planned this out. C'mon, you know it could happen.

[Video: pabloMr92]

Bookmark and Share

Monday, August 30, 2010

FASHION FIX: Azarenka ousts Niculescu, debuts Serena's Nike dress

With Serena Williams pulling out of the US Open with injury someone needed to step up and wear the dress designed for her by Nike. You know they weren't going to let it go to waste. And now we know who got it: Victoria Azarenka.

The Belarussian basher debuted the Women's NYC Control Court Dress ($90) in black during her topsy-turvy 6-0, 5-7, 6-1 first round victory over Romania's Monica Niculescu.

My first thought after seeing Vika in the dress? It's really not her style. This dress is def better than what she wore at the Nike event last week (which seemed like two unrelated pieces thrown together) but it feels older and not as fun and bright as her usual duds. The other colorway - blue laquer - would've been a better choice particularly for the day matches.

But, hey, maybe ReRe's Grand Slam magic will rub off on Vika and she'll finally break through. A happy accident, perhaps (and what lady baller couldn't use that?)

[Photo(s): Nick Laham/Getty Images]
Bookmark and Share

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...