January 27, 2008

NOLE DIGS DOWN DEEP



Melbourne, Just before midnight, Sunday January 27, 2008.

Life without god continues on. A new Australian Open Champion kisses the hardcourt with a humility that defied his earlier chest-pumping and blood curdling screams of agitation. It is NOLE, the antigod.

Was it easy, you wonder? Painless? Working your whole life for one goal and possibly having that dream derailed by one mishit, one unforced error at an inopportune moment - how can that be easy? How can that be painless? Let's be real here. No, it was not easy, nor will it ever be.

A 4th set tiebreak came to a premature end as crowd favorite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, until that very moment enjoying his new role as ATP vigilante (keeping higher ranked players in line), ripped a forehand wide. Much to the chagrin of the many members of his bandwagon, those like me who were thrilled with his athletic brand of tennis, and his abundantly flowing river of moxy, this one ended without a dramatic 5th set. It wasn't to be.

Nole aka the Joker Jokovic has won his first major championship, also the first ever for a male Serbian, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (2). The distance between the two players was thin, but Djokovic's return game was clearly superior to Tsonga's, which made it tough for the Frenchman to take the pressure off himself. Tsonga was only able to manage 2 breaks on 4 opportunities, even while Nole's 1st service percentage was uncharacteristically low at 56%.

And so, Tsonga aka giant killer, who was obviously nervous and erratic at times but clearly brilliant in a top ten sort of way at others, was unable to maintain the pressure on Djokovic during the times when the momentum seemed to be turning his way. Credit the Serb for a strong mental game, his effort in the final sets was unrelenting, almost as if he knew that if he let Tsonga up off the canvas, he may never be able to knock him down again. It takes wisdom to recognize such things, and when you work your ass off and take your lumps like Djokovic has, you gain that wisdom. Kudos to him, and to his cute little family (pictured above).

Now that the smoke has cleared, one has to wonder what comes next.

Will god resurrect himself and resume control of the universe? Will Tsonga's loss devastate him or will his improbable run boost his confidence, thus catapulting him to a future greatness that some now believe he is destined to achieve?

And what about Nole, today's hero? Will his steady rise to the top continue and eventually propel him to # 1?

And what about those who were shredded along the way? Those weary souls who lacked the firepower to deter their enemies assaults? Will the dirty red clay of Roland Garros provide relief? Only time will tell...

LAST MAN STANDING


CLAY IN MAY?

January 26, 2008

Chaos reigns supreme - Men's final preview





Atheists might like it, but I myself am a little scared. When our Heavenly father was mercilessly slain by the Joker in the men's semifinal on Friday it set the stage for a Major final not including either Nadal or Federer for the first time since Marat Safin's Aussie Open triumph in 2005.

Can Tsonga walk on water? Will Novak perform a miracle of epic proportions? Frankly, I fear that god's presence will be sorely missed by us little creatures. And yet it is true, God is dead, and death be not proud.

So in a matchup of two extremely talented, previously uncrowned heirs to the throne, unseeded and charismatic upstart Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will go against Djokovic, who has been knocking on the door by making it to the semifinals of the last four majors.

Both have been sensational thus far in the tourney, and both are gracious and entertaining on the court. One can only hope that their games and personalities clash in such a way as to make this an affair to remember.

The match will air live @ 0030 pacific time, 0330 eastern, on espn 2.

- Only one other Frenchman -- Yannick Noah at Roland Garros in 1983 - has won a grand slam title in the Open era.
- Tsonga began the tournament with a 5-4 record at Grand Slam tournaments and has never won a tour event of any kind.
- Djokovic leads the tourney with 36 break points converted.
- Tsonga has 85 aces thus far to Djokovic's 56.
- The two finalists have never met before.

THE PRINCESS CRUISES - WOMEN'S FINAL RECAP


The Princess runs away with it in straight sets!

I can't honestly say that this was a particularly impressive or captivating final. Both girls can really slug it out from the baseline, there is no doubt about that, but neither displayed any finesse at all. I think there were two volleys the whole match.

I don't know, maybe it's because I don't like listening to the Princess shreik. Or watching her father pump his fists. I can't really explain it. But I'm not thrilled about the results on the women's side. Hopefully Tsonga and Djokovic will give me something to remember tonight.

As cute and wonderful as Ivanovic is, she played tight and even when Sharapova handed her a first set break by double-faulting three times in one game, she handed it right back.

The result? Yet another straight set drubbing. Yawn.

But don't let me take anything away from Sharapova, she really slugged the ball effectively, and she was very accurate. Her serve was awesome and her intensity was laudable. If she continues to play this way she may grab a few more trophies this year before it's all over.

That being said, I miss the old Sharapova, the one with the bad shoulder, the one who sits quietly while other, better-behaved girls, compete for major championships.

What can I say, I follow my heart, and my heart says that until Sharapova has her vocal chords removed voluntarily, I'll never be thrilled about her winning a title, no matter how great she plays.

January 24, 2008

God will save us - semifinal preview



I can't sleep and I won't sleep. That's because Roger aka our heavenly father Federer will take on Novak aka the Joker Djokovic in less than 2 hours.

They've played before. The most recent meeting was won by god almighty, in straight sets at the U.S. Open Finals, September 2007. 15,000 New Yorkers came to worship.

Normally I'd say this would be an easy win for Roger, but The Joker has looked so good (hasn't dropped a set thus far) I'd say this one could be competitive. I still don't know what to make of Our Heavenly Father showing mercy to young Tipsarevic. Why hath he deigned to nearly lose in this thy major?

The winner will face upstart, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

After this one we have only 2 final matches left.

7 random things on Tsonga


1. Tsonga, 21 yrs. old, was ranked # 212 before last Years Australian open.
2. He has earned more money in this tournament than in the rest of his career, combined.
3. He lost to Nadal in straight sets in last years U.S. Open (3rd round).
4. In his match with Nadal he won 86% of points where he got first serve in.
5. Nadal only managed 56% against him.
6. He hit 49 winners to Nadal's 13.
7. After being a top performer on the Junior circuit in 2003 and 2004, he went through a series of debilitating injuries that set him back 2 years.

Anybody have 640K I can borrow?


Hey Tsonga, you just earned 640k for pummelling Rafa Nadal in three relatively easy sets - how do you feel?

Duh.

Ok, something weird has been going on at the 2008 Australian open. Since the quarterfinals have begun there have been nothing but one-sided straight-set demolitions. Hantuchova (and her surprisingly good tennis does deserve a mention) was the only loser that bothered to take a set.

True, it has been lacking drama a bit. One of my favorite readers Alyssa F asked if the tourney has met my expectations thus far. Alyssa F, I must say - after giving your question very serious consideration - it has.

Here's why: The emergence of Jo-Wilfried aka float like a butterfly sting like a bee Tsonga. What he has done thus far to perk the collective imaginations of those that are searching for an heir to the throne, and what he still could possibly do (both in the impending Men's Final and throughout his career), is enough to keep my interest at a very high level. So because of Tsonga, and because of the highly dynamic and inspiring performances of other characters too, namely Sharapova, Djokovic, Ivanovic, and Nadal, I must say I couldn't have asked for more. Yes, I could have been given more. Like 2 more sets from Rafa Nadal, or 1 more set from Justine Henin. But hey, sometimes life, microcosm for tennis that it is, is just that ironic, don't you think?

Thankfully, we have the Federer v. Djokovic semifinal and the woman's and men's final still to come. The story isn't written yet, and anything can happen in any one of these matches. TRANSLATION: I think there is one more classic match bound to happen here, and fuck if I'm going to miss it.

Congrats to the newest members of the 640 k club. (that's dollars for tennis y'all)

Jo-wildfried aka float like a butterfly sting like a bee Tsonga.
Maria aka the princess Sharapova.
Anna aka squeaky shoes Ivanovic.

January 23, 2008

Day 11 preview: the 320k question answered...



It's been a long road and we are down to 4 men and 4 women. Holy shit. God was nearly slain during the process. Houdini nearly drowned. The princess, meanwhile was coming of age. The matador was feeding on the frenzy of the moment.

It's getting simpler to follow, so get your shit together. There will be 3 semifinal matches today. Nadal v. Tsonga, which could potentially be the most athletic tennis match EVER. You never know, some matchups don't live up to potential. Think Sharapova v. Davenport. Think Djokovic v. Ferrer. Some matches do. Think Tipsarevic. Holy shit Tipsarevic. The guy attacked god.

Todays schedule, for all my friends...

January 22, 2008

THE $320,000 Question: Day 10 Preview

Are you good in big matches? That is today's $320,000 question, as 8 different contestants look to advance to the semis. For those that do persevere, there is $320,000 in guaranteed prize money, and the chance to earn nearly 4x that sum by winning the next two.

4 big matches are scheduled for Rod Laver, with Venus Williams v. Anna Ivanovic and Novak Djokovic v. David Ferrer highlighting the day session. Roger aka our heavenly father Federer will attempt to remain undefeated against the upset-minded James blake at the night session.


Day 9 recap: Rafa v. Nieminen

Rafa played three perfect points, down 3-4 in the first set. He was down 30-40 when he hit the pedal. He somehow transported himself into another realm and played afterburner tennis when the set was on the line. He slugged the feisty fin into a corner and continued the assault of his discombobulated victim. He gained the duece and took the game to even the set.



2 games later Rafa would have to fight off 2 set points while serving. 15-40, not looking good. The first point he cranks a service winner. 30-40. Can you say clutch? Nadal's nubile frame emits another serve toss... The wrist curls and the racquet strikes...he sends nieminen's return spinning to the far corner to even the game...2 points later it was a done deal. 5-5.




The momentum, and eventually the set, were his. Now he needed only maintain his elevated level of tennis to ensure a semi-final birth.

Nieminen's will was slowly and methodically melted into oblivion. . That's how it works with Rafa. He chokes you out and puts you in your own personal coffin in the later stages of matches. His fitness and foot speed are ridiculous.

Nadal rode his self-erected wave of momentum like a true zen buddha. He lost only 4 games over the next two sets.

The feeding frenzy ended peacefully, 7-5, 6-3, 6-1. Nadal will face Tsonga in the semi's.

DAY 9 RECAP - SHOW ME THE MONEY

The following tennis players have just made another 80k:

Jelena Jankovic (For your straight set ass-whooping (6-3, 6-4) of beauty queen and 2007 Australian Open Champion Serena Williams.)
Maria Sharapova (for forcing a 7-time major champion to lick the soles (6-4, 6-0)of your asphalt-coated tennis shoes).
Rafa aka the matador Nadal (for force-feeding Jarkko Nieminen his own kidney, in straight sets (7-5, 6-3, 6-1).
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (for being the only unseeded player in the semis (7-5, 6-0, 7-6).

alive



Did you know? - The semifinals are worth twice as much as the quarters ($320, 250). Each champion gets $1,281,000 for purse. A runner-up gets $640,500.

DAY 9 RECAP: Sharapova v. Henin



Sharapova aka the princess is playing like an absolute beast and is up 3-0 (1 break) in the first set. Wow. They are saying on espn that she dominates at night. Apparently so. Justine will be tested in a big way here.

It is amazing to watch Sharapova, she is so big she almost looks too big for the court. Yet she is graceful, even as she absolutely pulverizes the ball -these are highly destructive munitions that she is deploying. Bunker busters. She is accurate early and she is bullying Justine aka wonderwoman Henin.
It is over before it really began...6-4, 6-0.
This one went to Sharapova with very little fight from Henin. There just wasn't much she could do to get the unruly Sharapova to behave.

Sharapova has been eating her Wheaties and her semi-final engagement with Jelena aka houdina Jankovic will be something to see. If the bagel that she put on Justine in the 2nd set is any indication, Jankovic will have to bring her A + game.

January 21, 2008

DAY 9 RECAP: JANKOVIC V. SERENA

Congragulations to Jelena Jankovic aka Houdini, for showing last years champion, Serena Williams, to the exits. Jankovic has now reached her 3rd Grand Slam Semi-final, and she seems to be playing her best tennis at the right time. She employed virtuosic patience and high-precision shot-making to keep Serena running the baseline and huffing and puffing for much of the match. Though she was a winner in straight sets, this was not a one-sided match at all - it kept the large crowd in Rod Laver arena in suspense until the very last point.
ALIVE FOR TODAY


Serena will now have to don her fashionable digs and oversized sunglasses while playing cheerleader for her big sister Venus. Venus is looking to advance to the Semis tomorrow with a win over Anna Ivanovic.

CLAY IN MAY


As for Jelena, she awaits the winner of tonights night match between Justin aka wonderwoman Henin and Maria aka the princess Sharapova.

BRING YOUR PACEMAKER/ DAY 9 PREVIEW


Man is the tennis getting fantabulous down under. Day 9 is the beginning of quarterfinal action and there are several can't miss matchups to watch.

Jelena Jankovic aka Houdini and Serena Williams aka thunder booty have come a long way to get to this point. One of them will be packing their bags by the end of the day. They are up on Rod Laver first in the day session - and this is only one of several "decadent" matchups scheduled for today. My practical side tells me Serena will survive, but my heart, silly and illogical organ that it is, is rooting for Jelena and her happy-go-lucky attitude.

After the conclusion of Serena v. Jankovic on Rod Laver, Rafa Nadal will attempt to dissect yet another unsuspecting opponent. This time it'll be #24 seed Jarko Nieminen who will be desperately trying to fend off the merciless blows that Rafa is sure to deliver. This one is a sure thing (Rafa will advance), and to me, the only thing to watch for is if the fin can actually test Rafa.

For poor suckers like me who crave live tennis coverage and who possess dedication enough to stay up until 0700 Pacific Standard time, we have a double-header night session on Rod Laver.
First up Justine Henin aka wonderwoman guns for her 34th consecutive win (she hasn't lost since the Wimbledon Semi's - crazy!) against the Princess aka Maria Sharapova. Sharapova has been cruising of late, and she's in good health too. She still screams as loud as ever every fucking time she hits the ball, by the way. It's annoying, and so is her dad, who seems to believe that his teaching is what's propelling his daughter to her refound glory. I expect the princess aka daddy's girl to sleep in a bed of her own tears after a hard fought yet decisive whooping at the hands of wonderwoman. But what do I know?

Finally, as the wee hours of the San Francisco morning approach, I will be at headquarters, waiting for the last match of the evening to start. It features two large men. Thumpers. # 14 seeded Mikhael Youzhny aka Drago will trade blows with unseeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Tsonga, the only unseeded singles player left in either draw, surely wants to continue his roll. He'll be pulling out all the stops tonight. I'm calling this one a toss-up. I will be thrilled to see either player go to the semi's as both are dynamic players who could be poised to make a move of the ATP ranking ladder in 2008.

That's the skinny for now. Play begins in approximately 2 hours on Rod Laver.

The real story about what happened this weekend

As many of you noticed, the blog was shut down temporarily over the weekend. We were negotiating a buyout with ESPN, and they asked that we stopped posting until the deal was done.

After 48 hours of negotiating over Irish Coffees (with ski goggles on) @ Northstar in Tahoe, we haven't come to an agreement. We are staying independent and real-time coverage of the 2008 Australian Open will begin again pronto.

The man can't keep us down.

January 18, 2008

American tennis sucks

I'm sorry I had to say it. I guess I'm just pissed watching James Blake lose the first two sets to Sebastian Grosjean. Hey, I'm not saying I could fold James' jockstrap, that's not the point.

The point is, well, American tennis sucks. Oops , there I go again.

Thank god for the Williams sisters. Those girls are saving our bacon here in the states.

END RANT
- - - - -
In other news, it is raining, so all outdoor courts have halted play.

In earlier action on the ladies side, in an all russian matchup, Maria Kirilenko fought back from a set down to beat the # 6 seed Anna Chakvetadze. Anna has become a favorite of mine simply because I love to mispronounce her last name. I Checked Maria's website however, and I see no legitimate reason to not be a fan of hers as well. As far as Anna goes, it's curtains for her - Clay in may, as they say.

In another, even grander upset (with more russian implications), # 2 Seed Svetlana aka the bulldog Kuznetsova was ousted by # 29 seed Agnieszka Radwanska aka the little choo choo who could from Poland. Radwanska gunned down # 2 seeded Maria Sharapova in the 2007 U.S. Open. She went on to lose in the 4th round there, but appears anxious to ruffle more feathers in the next few days.

* Before this blog was posted, Blake has taken the 3rd set 6-0. Unfortunately, he will have to win 2 more for me to stop saying American tennis sucks.

ALIVE FOR TODAY

CLAY IN MAY

USA! USA! USA! DAY 6

Better start cheering it now if you're rooting for American men's tennis. If you wait 'til Monday, well, it just might be too late. After Roddick aka izod and Fish were ousted yesterday, USA's hopes reside in the sometimes capable hands of James Blake. If you are wondering which other Americans are still alive, don't bother. Vince Spadea and Sam Querrey will both be fed to the lions today, against David Ferrer and Novak Djokovic respectively. Not to downplay their efforts thus far, it just seems that the end of their journey's are near.

Blake, on the other hand, has a good chance to match his best previous Australian Open results with a win over frenchman Sebastian Grosjean. Blake has been to the 4th round three times in his career, but never to the quarters. Grosjean has been to the Australian Open Quarterfinals 3 times, so this one probably wont be a walk in the park for Blake.


If Blake does advance (I'll be crossing my fingers because I love to see his ballistic style of play), he'll meet the winner of the Fernando Gonzalez v. Marin Cilic match.

Blake v. Gonzalez would be an absolutely sick matchup.

DAY 6 PREVIEW, RODDICK UP IN FLAMES

Even though my watch is set to Aussie time, I still have to maintain obligations stateside. That is my excuse for not watching Roddick get bounced in a thrilling 5 set marathon with # 29 seed Phillip Kohlschreiber.

I'm not happy about the fact that I missed live coverage of this one. I've got 4.87 MILLION readers now, and y'all deserve better.

Check out what's on tap for day 6 here. Add 16 hours for east coast time, or 19 hours for pacific standard time.

And now, those words that Andy never thought he'd be hearing after only 3 rounds....

CLAY IN MAY

January 17, 2008

CINDERELLA, RAFA, AND THE ANTI-PRINCESS


It's official, Su-Wei Shieh, ranked 158 in the world is going to the final 16. She used guile and determination to prevail over French counterpart Aravone Rezai. She's had the benefit of a weak draw, until now. Justine Henin aka wonder-woman will be next.
Can you say, cinderella, give your slippers back?
Can you say, bring your kevlar because you will be taking enemy fire?
Can you say, fake an anke injury to avoid embarrasment?
Congrats to the poised 22 year old from Tapei. Enjoy it while you can.
- - - - -
Meanwhile, after struggling early and fighting off several set points in the first set, Rafa Nadal has entered the kill part of the hunt. Picture several wolves, foaming at the mouth, burying their bloody snouts in the bleeding and exposed carcass of frenchman Gilles Simon. Picture distended bowels being swallowed whole...
After a 38 point rally in the 9th game of the first set, Rafa went on a tear. He's still on that tear, up two sets and on serve in the third. His game has looked incredible since late in the first set. He went from the hunted to the hunter in mere seconds, digging deep into his excess reserve to finally start to wear Simon down.
- - - - -
Serena aka the anti-princess, clad in a vivid purply mauve bandana and tights, put a licking on Russian Victoria Azerenka, 6-3, 6-4. No surprise here, but she'll now have to step it up to take out the hard-hitting and confident Nicole Vaidisova.
- - - - -
Sharapova also cruised in straight sets.

HOUDINI ON ROD LAVER

It's hard to keep up with so much tennis, but I really do try.



Jelana Jankovic aka houdini has just pulled another magic trick - she rode away with the third set against #30 seed Virginie Razzano of France, after getting pissed at the chair for giving her a coaching violation. The chair said her mom was talking to her too much and houdini said "how do you know she is coaching me when you don't even understand what she is saying?"

Then she calmly pulled out her assault weapons and proceeded with a demolition that was swift and umcompromising. The poor Razzano didn't know what hit her. It doesn't always come easy with # 3 seed Jankovic, but she seems to know how to pull a rabbit out of a hat.
------
Nadal aka rafa is taking Rod Laver at the moment. He'll direct his pent-up aggression against the #28 seed, Gilles Simon of France. I wouldn't want to be him.

It's 3:22 Pm in Australia, do you know where your tennis balls are?

DAY 5 - nothing like a cinderalla story

Hey all. It's 1:36 PM in Melbourne.
They've been playing since 11.

Some chick named Su-Wei Hsieh aka cindirella is a set away from the round of 16. Talk about a virtual unknown, this 5'4" 108lb fireball is ranked 158 in the world. She is from Tapei. She has some funny looking blue balm on her neck. I'll try to find out what that is and keep you posted.
* she just lost a 2nd set tiebreaker, and the fans from each side are desperately trying to outdo each other now.

Youzhny took the first set from Karlovic. That's a 14 vs. 20 - could be a battle. I love when Youzhny salutes the crowd after a victory. I rarely root against this guy as he is a mans man. I picture him eating borscht with his hunting rifle by his side in the off season.

# 1 seed Henin and # 12 seed Vaidisova are already through on the ladies side. Vaidisova's body might be hotter but I'll take Justines backhand for a real romp in the swamp.


# 4 seed Davydenko aka the gambler is already through on the men's side.

Serena Williams aka whole lotta diva is just getting underway with # 26 seed Victoria Azarenka.

DAY 4 IN THE BOOKS

*We are down to 32 men and 32 women.

Baghdatis and Safin are currently battling it out for the last spot.

It is 10:17 p.m. Thursday, Jan 17 Aussie time. As I mentioned in a previous blog I have changed my watch to reflect the appropriate time zone. Aussie time is 19 hours ahead of SF.

I must admit I feel a bit tennised-out. Man I've been watching a lot of fucking tennis since Monday. I'll be ok though. A cup of morning coffee and a visit to my therapist and it'll be on to day 5 with a clean slate.

Safin is down a set and just went up 4-3 in the second. He really has one of the most dynamic serve motions in all of tennis. But the idiot is serving less than 50% on his first serve. Safin is a very interesting character. Some say enigmatic but I'm beginning to think A.D.D. I have the feeling that if you gave his toolbox to someone else that that person would have won 6 majors by now. That being said, the guy can really hammer the ball with authority when he's in his groove. It's pleasing to watch.

He is the last man to win a major other than Nadal or God aka Federer.

He has not won a tourney since the Australian Open in 2005. 53 tourneys.

He has not been to the Quarters of a slam since his run at the Australian Open in 2005.

It's been a long time. I was a virgin back then.

Currently, he's getting smoked by a chain-smoker.

I'll keep this post open 'til this match ends, and then I am going to friggin' bed. I would like to thank all my readers for their tremendous loyalty and support. I currently have 4.15 million readers in the U.S. Needless to say, we have loftier goals.

(final recounts of the baghdatis match)

10:34 PM: A sick point at duece, and I mean sick, with the players exchanging raucous blow after raucous blow - it goes to Baghdatis. He wins the next point and goes up 5-4 with a chance to serve for the set.
10:39 PM: Baghdatis fights off a break point (This has crucial implications).
10:40 PM: Baghdatis takes the second and it all hinged on those two crucial points. Very clutch. This Baghdatis chap is looking to take a run at Lleyton Hewitt in the round of 32.
11:14 PM Safin takes set three. It's 4:14 A.M at headquarters, in case you care.
11:53 PM Safin takes set four. Holy shit.
12:25 AM Baghdatis, calm and collected throughout (he didn't break his racquet, Safin did) prevails, 6-4, 6-4, 1-6, 3-6, 6-2.
I'll just say it... those words you are never prepared to hear...

CLAY IN MAY



ALIVE FOR TODAY



A LOOK AT THE DRAWS HEADING INTO DAY 5:
Henin, Sharapova, Jankovic, Mauresmo, Vaidisova, and V. Williams, among others, will be in action on the ladies side.

Nadal, Roddick, Youzhny, Gasquet, Tsonga, and Fish, among others, will be in action for the men.

8 matches from boys and girls each.

That's what Spade's about

Do you know this man?
He refers himself in the third person at a post-match interview.
He's into his rapping career more than his tennis career.
He just won his second straight 5-setter.
In his post match interview he said the following:
"that's what Spade's about...I can't win easy...I need to lose a few sets before I get going."
He did a chicken-like dance after high-fiving with his posse.
He's never broken through to the final 32 of a major.
Now he has.
4-6, 6-2, 6-3,2-6, 9-7.
At times it didn't look like professional tennis.
It was played on a sidecourt with people hanging over the chain-link fences and screaming their heads off.
He'll probably get clubbed like a baby seal when he meets # 5 seed David Ferrer next round.
But he'll undoubtedly outrap him.
Major props to this dude for battling it out, at the age of 33. That's 64 in tennis years.
HE IS VINCENT SPADEA.
Watch him rap on youtube.

January 16, 2008

DO YOU BELIEVE IN GOD?

Thanks to espn 360 I have found god.



He is currently rubbing Fabrice Santoro's nose in his own droppings.

God only knows what Fabrice Santoro has done to deserve this treatment.

God is blessing Rod Laver Arena with his divine countenance.

It appears that god will finish yet another match in Melbourne without losing a set.

Amen.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
In 5 hours and 30 minutes a highly anticipated match between Marat Safin and Marcos Baghdatis will begin. It should be fun.

More after the match.

DAY 3 HIGHLIGHTS - Nadal, Roddick, the Princess

A lot has gone on since I last posted. First of all, I want to thank espn for providing free coverage with 6 live cameras on espn 360. It was amazing flicking back and forth between all these matches. I really felt like a had a grounds pass, or 6 heads, whichever you prefer.

Ok, let's get to the tennis. I didn't say NFL football, I didn't say NCAA men's hoops, and I didn't say snow shoveling. Is that clear. Also, I've changed my watch to Australian time. I figured if you are going to commit you have to do what it takes. I must admit it fucked me up this morning as I woke up at 7 AM on Thursday. That's noon in SF on Wednesday. In other words, I slept in while I should have been blogging for the 3.56 million readers of this blog.

Here are some of the highlights from day 3:

1. Nadal is on track and steaming towards Federer. The pumped-up spaniard undressed italian Florent Serra, hitting 39 winners and only 16 unforced errors in an easy straight-set thumping. Nadal chipped in 9 aces and won 9 of 14 break points. Nadal is heading for a QF matchup with American Andy Roddick. Roddick also cruised, pelting German Michael Berrer with his usual formula: 10 aces, 34 winners and 6 service breaks later, it was practically over before it started.

ALIVE TODAY



I don't know about you guys (my 3.56 million readers) but I am very very very intruiged by a QF matchup between Roddick and Nadal. More on this development later.

ALIVE TODAY


2. Mardy Fish likes Australia!!! American Fish advanced to the quarters in '07 before being molested by Andy Roddick and his big game. It was by far his best major performance of his career. The 26 year old American must like it down under because he played near flawless tennis against 11 seed Tommy Robredo, in what was an upset of not epic, but still large proportions. Fish, ranked 43 in the world, was regularly serving at 130 mph, and not only that - he was hitting his spots with those bullets. Fish is now 20-20 in majors, and it would be great to see him improve on that this year. Unfortunately his buddy Andy Roddick is slated to pay him a visit in the round of 16.


3. The princess, Maria Sharapova, appears to be in pretty high form as she helped bring a collective yawn over a capacity crowd last night in Rod Laver Arena. Supermom Lindsay Davenport couldn't find her way and the Princess had her shellshocked from the early moments of the first set. Davenport never had a break point and the princess won 86 percent of the points where she got a first serve in. This was a sadomasochistic affair to say the least. After watching Maria's play in the first two matches, it is apparent that she is headed towards a QF match with Wonder Woman, Justine henin. That should be another highly anticipated affair.

ALIVE TODAY


OTHER TIDBITS:

Jelena Jankovic bounced back with a straight set win.
Amelie Mauresmo was challenged, but also won in straight.
Mauresmo and Jankovic are slated to meet in the round of 16.
Serena dominated her Meng Yuan of China, and also looks to be in tip form.

Drago-like russian Mikhail Youzhny advanced in 4 sets over italian Andreas Seppi.
Dimunitive kgb-like russian Nikolai Davydenko, the # 4 seed cruised in straight sets.
Youzhny and Davydenko are on course for a round of 16 match as well.

ON TAP FOR TODAY:

Roger aka god Federer will continue tuning up against frenchman Fabrice Santoro.
Novak Djokovic, David Ferrer, James Blake, and David Nalbandian will also be in action.
Should be another fun one! Go to espn360 to see a blitz of tennis or check the Australian open website for up to the minute scores and match info.

Party on!

January 15, 2008

THE BEST THING EVER!

If you aren't in Australia right now, clicking the following link might be the next best thing.

http://sports.espn.go.com/broadband/espn360/index

IT TAKES GUTS TO GO THE DISTANCE

This is true in all circles of life, so pay attention kids.

Some facts worth noting about the first round of singles play:

1. 12 men's matches went to 5 sets. That's 19% if you're scoring at home.
2. 20 woman's matches went to 3 sets. 31%.
3. Vincent Spadea lost the first 2 sets to 30 seed Radek Stepanek, then came back to win the last three. Even if he is sent packing in the next round he should be a proud man.
4. The same goes for #32 seed Dimitri Tursonov. He got his shit together after losing the first two sets to Xavier Malisse. He lost only 6 games in the final three sets. Pretty remarkable.
5. The highest seed to get upset in the first round was #9 Andy Murray of Great Britian . So much for life without Brad Gilbert as his coach. Jo-Wilfred Tsonga whooped his ass in 4 sets. Tsonga, incidentally, is quite large at 6'2, 200 lbs. He's ranked 38 and may make a move this year. Can you say top 20? I'd like to see that because he is really fun to watch. Hey Andy, there's really no shame in losing to this guy. Just talk to your therapist and see what you can do on Clay in May. Unfortunately that's the reality for him. It must hurt to get bounced so early and that is why you see guys like Tursonov and Robredo stiffening their resolve when faced with the alternative. The alternative is sucking on what could have been. Another life lesson. Sweet.
6. #10 seed Marion Bartoli, a Wimbledon Finalist last year, also went down in a heap of flames. She lost to Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden after taking the first set. Remember the phrase "clay in May."
7. 11th seeded spaniard, Tommy Robredo lost the first two sets to German Mischa Zverev before he got his head screwed on straight. Perhaps he had not gotten a good nights sleep. Whatever the case, he decided he wanted to live to see brighter days, as a third-set tiebreaker victory catapulted his ass to a 5-set, hard fought win. Poor Zverev, ranked 85 in the world at the tender age of 20, he had life by the balls for just about an hour.


If you are wondering what my point is here it is simply that any match in a major is a difficult one, even if you're seeded and won the first two sets. Just ask Radek Stepanek. Clay in May.

The French open starts May 25th.

clay in may



alive for now


clay in may


alive for now

January 14, 2008

Turn off your tv sets!!!!



Because of this woman the best match of the tourney may have already been played. Turn your tv sets off it's over - NOT!!!

Yes, she played like a manic depressive adrenaline-junky who just lost her boyfriend. But hey, the #3 seed won, as predicted. What wasn't predicted is that she'd participate in a 22 game 3rd set that included 15 breaks of service. I can't believe it. There were 21 breaks in the match (which totalled 38 games). That's a lot. 21. That's fucking magnanimous.
Is the 17 year old Austrian, Tamara Paszek, currently ranked 39 in the world, so awesome at returning serve?

Jankovic, the 22 year-old Serbian, lost 53 % of her service points. You didn't have to watch the match to see that she didn't serve well. You could just read that last sentence and go back to shovelling snow.
She advanced to the final 16 in every major last year so she will have to shake whatever demons are currently plaguing her. I heard today that she's been having some hamstring problems. I would rub her hamstrings, incidentally, if she was short a trainer.

This was an awesome match. And it bodes well for the potential wow-factor of the tourney. Jankovic was down 5-3 in the third set. She was also down a game several times later in the set, with her ass about to get tossed from the tournament by a relative unknown. Somehow she pulled a Houdini and won that set 12-10.

12-10. 12-10!!! That is such a cool score for a set. I'd be proud no matter what side I was on. These girls played for over three hours. It was nearly an upset special on a grand scale. A number 3 seed losing in the first round is something to chew on for sure.

Stay tuned, my homies!!!

January 13, 2008

Time to Adress some of your comments!

Wow, it is only day 1 of the tournament and the feedback I have been getting from readers is absolutely off-the-hook!

Francisco V. from San Francisco said "Warriors!!!" Hmmm...I guess he means to say he prefers basketball to tennis this time of year - Fuck him then!!

Dave F from Connecticut (a legendary professional athlete who now coaches and teaches at many reputable institutions) said (about the tournament) "That will be a tough one to get into right now. I'm so into the NFL Playoffs this year." Hopefully Dave F will find some time to check back in as the field narrows down.

Katy F from Santa Cruz, Ca. commented that (about the blog's color pattern) "she dug the green."

Mike F from NY says "i fuckin love the blog. i'm tuned in. be looking forward to more. i love the pictures." I knew there was a reason I loved that kid.

Joe R from NY wrote "Squirrel madness, no diggidy!" (If anyone can help me decode that, I'd be much obliged).

I just wanted to say how much your passion and enthusiasm for the sport of tennis matters to me. It is you guys who are making this whole endeavor an enjoyable experience. keep it up! And please, feel free to post your comments on the comment section of the blog. It would mean a lot to me!!!!

Let me get back to the tennis, as there is currently men and women's singles action on 15 different courts.

IS THERE A GOD?



And if so, is his stomach feeling better?

Roger, aka god, was briefly hospitalised last week due to a stomach illness. Conspiracy theorists like myself wonder if he was poisoned by someone who has a lot of money on someone else to win the tourney. I guess you never know with tennis these days.

So, will the fact that god, aka Roger Federer, hasn't played an ATP event since November in Shanghai, have any bearing on his performance in the land down under? Only time will tell.

The top seeded guru is gunning for his 13th major, and 3rd consecutive Australian open. Last year he did not lose a set here. I couldn't find a picture of him in a bikini so this is all you get. The first match of the tourney is less than 6 hours away.