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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Li Na and Petra Kvitova: Having Difficulties Dealing with a Grand Slam Win?



The early exits of Li Na and Petra Kvitova, French Open 2011 champion and Wimbledon 2011 champion, respectively, in this year's US Open, begs the question once again about the pressures these players undergo when they finally make it! 

Svetlana Kuznetsova faced the same problems after she won her 2004 US Open title and took her another 3 years before she won her second Grand Slam in the French Open.  After that, she has continued to struggle.  Ana Ivanovic is another Grand Slam winner who has been struggling to find her great form after she won the French. 

I think this could be a good topic for research among sports psychologists!  Of course, there have been consistent winners like the Williams sisters, Kim Clijsters and Justin Henin - at least for the past ten years. 

Anyhow, I hope this trend stops since it's really unnerving to see former champions stumble so early in a Grand Slam. 

US Open 2011: Featured Player - Juan Carlos Ferrero


Juan Carlos Ferrero is no stranger to the Grand Slams, having reached the final here in Flushing Meadows before, and winning the French Open too.  However, he is currently ranked #105 and is slowly finding his groove again even though the season is ending.  He won over Pablo Andujar (#45) in five sets and will have a tough opponent in Gael Monfils in the second round. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

US Open 2011 Featured Player: Flavio Cipolla

Flavio Cipolla, Alex Bogomolov through to second round of BNP Paribas Open 2011 qualifiers

Flavio Cipolla of Italy, currently ranked #108, is one of the first qualifiers into the second round of the 2011 US Open.  Cipolla is sort of a journeyman in the tour and at the age of 27, he has yet to win a title in the ATP Tour.  He has reached as high as #99 in 2009.  This year, he qualified for both the Australian Open and Wimbledon, but promptly lost in the first round.  His victory over Kei Nishikori (#46) is his best performance yet this year.  He will have a tough second round as his next opponent is Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov (#23), another tough customer.

Analysis: Men's Draw US Open 2011 - Bottom Lower Half of the Draw


It hasn't been a particularly stellar hard court season for Rafael Nadal but his side of the draw in this year's US Open, doesn't have the stars that dominated the season, which is good for him.  His most likely opponents in the quarters are compatriot David Ferrer or Andy Roddick.  As for his fourth round, it could be Mikhail Youzhny, which I think is his biggest stumbling block before he reaches the semi's, where he should meet Andy Murray.

Analysis: Men's Draw US Open 2011 - Top Lower Half of the Draw

Andy Murray is still lucky to be placed in a draw where he has the most chance of reaching the semi's.  This happens again in this year's US Open.  His most likely opponent is former US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro, but since Andy had a much better hard court season, I think he should be able to defeat Del Potro.  Another likely opponent for him would be Robin Soderling.  En route to the semi's, his most likely opponents should be Stanislas Wawrinka and Feliciano Lopez, both players he should be able to handle.

Analysis: Men's Draw US Open 2011 - Lower Upper Half of the Draw


Mardy Fish is currently red hot this hard court season, and this year's US Open should be his chance to really make it deeper into a Grand Slam, in a surface that he is most comfortable in, in front of a home town crowd rarin' for another local hero.

One major obstacle though.  Five-time US Open champion, Roger Federer is in his side of the draw, his most likely quarterfinal opponent! And if he does get through, he may have to deal with equally red hot world #1 Novak Djokovic.  In other words, he really has to work it if he wants to win this Grand Slam this year!

Anyhow, basing on his form, his first major competition should be Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the fourth round. As for Federer, his only other more likely serious opponent would be veteral Radek Stepanek in the fourth round.  I would give this side of the draw to Mardy because if he does meet Roger in the quarters, it will certainly be a very noisy, raucous contest!

Analysis: Men's Draw US Open 2011 - Top Upper Half of the Draw


Novak Djokovic, who is still having an amazing season, should be able to top his side of the draw in this year's US Open.  His most likely opponent should be Tomas Berdych in the quarters and Richard Gasquet in the fourth round.  Otherwise, there are no dangerous floaters in his side of the draw that should stop his advance to the semi's.  Gael Monfils is his other likely opponent in the quarters, but he should be able to handle both since they don't have enough experience in the latter part of a Grand Slam.

Monday, August 29, 2011

US Open 2011 Featured Player: Madison Keys


US tennis, in both the men and the women's side is undergoing some kind of renaissance as more and more young and new players are slowly making their presence felt in the Grand Slams.  First up is #456 Madison Keys, who edged veteran Jill Craybas 62 64, her compatriot, ranked #114. 

She lost to her next opponent though, veteran Czech player, Lucie Safarova, ranked inside the Top 40, 63 57 46.  Because of her efforts here, her ranking zooms up to #296, a whooping 160 notches.  She might have to qualify though if she wants to play in Australia next year.

Alexandra Dulgheru Slays Wimbledon Champion, Petra Kvitova

Alexandra Dulgheru Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania returns a shot against Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden during day four of the 2010 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 2, 2010 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.

Alexandra Dulgheru (#49) of Romania defeats 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova (#6) 76(3) 63 in the first round of the US Open.  This was certainly a surprise to me since I picked Petra Kvitova as the woman most likely to challenge Serena Williams in the finals.  But I guess, it's not meant to be.  Petra just looked out of sorts out there and had 50+ unforced errors!  Que horror!

This certainly opens the door in their part of the draw, and compatriot, Lucie Safarova may gain from the loss, gaining access as far as the fourth round, while Radwanska in the quarters and potentially, Maria Sharapova in the semi's and the finals!

Analysis: Women's Draw US Open 2011 - Bottom Lower Half of the Draw


This is another tough part of the draw, and just basing on what I've seen during the hard court season, I'm picking Samantha Stosur to have a slim edge over Vera Zvonareva, as they potentially meet in the quarterfinal. Sam should proceed to the semi's where she can potentially meet Petra Kvitova.  Other top players in this side of the draw are Marion Bartoli, Stosur's potential 4th round opponent; Sabine Lisicki, Zvonareva's potential 4th round opponent; then Dominika Cibulkova and Venus Williams, as well! 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Analysis: Women's Draw US Open 2011 - Top Lower Half of the Draw


In my opinion, this is the toughest section of the draw among the women, and I pick Petra Kvitova, this year's Wimbledon champion, to lead this side of the draw.  She will have to defeat Maria Sharapova in the quarters.  Maria just came from winning Cincy and should be on a high.  There's also Agnieszka Radwanska, a potential 4th round opponent of Kvitova; Julia Goerges, Yanina Wickmayer, last year's semifinalist and Peng Shuai, Sharapova's potential opponent in the fourth round - all in the mix, making it a highly competitive draw for everyone!

Analysis: Women's Draw US Open 2011 - Lower Upper Half of the Draw


Serena Williams is the sure top pick in this side of the draw, much to the chagrin of Victoria Azarenka, currently ranked at #5, who will most likely meet her in the third round.  They have met earlier in the hard court season and Serena dealt with Vika emphatically.

Serena's most likely quarterfinal opponent is Jelena Jankovic, who reached a final of a hardcourt tournament a few weeks back.  Francesca Schiavone is the other Top 10 player in this side of the draw.  Jankovic might just edger her in the fourth round.

Analysis: Women's Draw US Open 2011 - Top Upper Half of the Draw


The US Open 2011 might be the perfect stage for German Andrea Petkovic to make herself known to the outside world.  There are actually two higher ranked players in her side of the draw (Caroline Wozniacki and Li Na) but Wozniacki's Grand Slam record is appalling and Li Na has not really been playing really well during this hard court season.  My pick for Petkovic's quarterfinal opponent is Daniela Hantuchova, who was also playing well this hard court season.

Treat Conrad Huey: FIlipino Davis Cupper



Tennis is not exactly a very popular sport here in the Philippines but I hope that our Davis Cup team, composed of Cecil Mamiit, Ruben Gonzales, Jeson Patrombon and Johnny Arcilla will win over Chinese-Taipei on September 16-18 in Cebu.  This is the first time I've seen Treat Conrad Huey and he's such a looker!  Well, good luck to them!  They deserve to be in Group 1 here in Asia!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Andrea Petkovic: Ends Her Hard Court Season with a Semifinal in Cincinnati



Andrea Petkovic (#11) ended her hard court season with a semifinal appearance in Cincinnati.  She lost to Jelena Jankovic (#14) 76(4) 61.

She was also a quarterfinalist in Toronto and a semifinalist in Carlsbad.  Not bad!

Andrea won over #27 Nadia Petrova in the quarters 75 61.  She dominated Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the 3rd round 63 63.  She won over #58 Sofia Arvidsson in the 2nd round 62 64 and a tough first round match against #30 Jarmila Gajdosova 57 76(5) 62.

She is definitely in the second tier list of favorites for the Flushing Meadows title!

Jelena Jankovic: Runner Up in Cincinnati 2011



Jelena Jankovic's (#14) last good performance was in Charleston where she reached the semifinals.   So it's a good surprise to see her do well here in Cincinnati where there was a very competitive field present.  She however lost to Maria Sharapova in a very tight finals 46 76(3) 63.

Jelena won over some very competent players here.  In her semi's, she defeated #11 Andrea Petkovic 76(4) 61.  #15 Peng Shuai had to withdraw from their quarterfinal match.  In the 3rd round, she won a tough three setter match against #8 Francesca Schiavone 63 57 64.  She also had another tough 3 set match against #65 Zheng Jie 46 63 61.  Finally, she dominated #41 Iveta Benesova in the first round, 60 63.

Sharapova: Definitely A Contender in US Open 2011 after Cincy Win!



It was great to see Maria Sharapova hold on to her game as she slowly but surely, defeated Jelena Jankovic, whose game went to bonkers at 46 76(3) 33.  From then on, Maria won the next three games - and the title!
This shows that she's ready for Flushing Meadows!

Her opponents here in Cincy also confirm that her preparation is more than adequate.  In the semi's, she won over compatriot Vera Zvonareva (#2) 26 63 63.  She also blitzed through Samantha Stosur (#10) in the quarters 63 62.  That was also the case in her 3rd round match with #13 Svetlana Kuznetsova 62 63, and easily routed Anastasia Rodionova (#113) 61 63 in the 2nd round.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Who Has the Most Beautiful Legs in Women's Tennis?








I was watching the match between Vera Zvonareva and Daniela Hantuchova last night and the commentator just commented that Daniela had the longest legs in women's tennis - and the most beautiful, I might add.  She's tall at 6'2 and it helps that she also plays a mean game of tennis.

Well, after Daniela, I'd have to say Maria Sharapova, also can lay claim to this title.  Also at 6' herself, Maria is also playing very well at the moment and yes, takes advantage of that legs of hers. Interestingly, both women are also good movers in the court, despite of their height.


Well, in the runners up position, I can think of two other very good players, both former #1's, Ana Ivanovic, and Jelena Jankovic, both Serbians.  Ana looks remarkably slim right now.  Jelena Jankovic also moves well in the court, yes, helped by those beautiful legs of hers.

The Final Four Women In Cincinnati



Maria Sharapova (#7) looks like she's poised to hoist the Cincinnati title in a few days time, as she tamed Samantha Stosur (#10) in the quarters 63 62.  Her opponent in the semi's, Vera Zvonareva (#2), looks very tough too, as she disposed of Daniela Hantuchova (#23) 63 76(6).  Whoever would win the semi's here between the two is my favorite to win the title.  Sharapova should win in 3 tough sets.

Andrea Petkovic (#11) is continuing her winning ways by beating another Russian, Nadia Petrova (#27) 75 61.  She will meet the resurgent Jelena Jankovic (#14), who had a walkover from Peng Shuai (#15).  I think Andrea should be able to win over Jelena in three tough sets.

Mardy Fish: Runner Up in the Rogers Cup Montreal

Mardy Fish Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Mardy Fish of the United States pose for photographers after the final of the Rogers Cup at Uniprix Stadium on August 14, 2011 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

The picture above will most likely be replicated in the upcoming US Open this year, and it would really be fantastic if Mardy Fish (#7) would be able to win in home soil.  I think it's been a long time that a champion of a Grand Slam has come from the home soil!  And the good thing is, Mardy Fish is poised to do just that with his fantastic form in this year's hard court season.

Well, for the Montreal Rogers Cup, he had to settle for runner up to eventual champion and main rival, Novak Djokovic (#1).  I won't be surprised if they meet again in the Cincinnati final in a day or two.  I hope Mardy trumps Novak there.  That would at least help him mentally.

This was his path to the finals of Montreal -

Finals: lost to Novak Djokovic (SRB) (#1) 26 63 46
Semi's: won over Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) (#24) 63 64
Quarters: won over Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) (#17) 63 67(8) 60
3R: won over Ernests Gulbis (LAT) (#55) 36 63 64
2R: won over Feliciano Lopez (ESP) (#25) 62 63
1R: BYE

Down to the Final Four Men in Cincinnati



Novak Djokovic continues his supreme form into the semifinals here in Cincinnati and really looks like the top contender for the 2011 US Open title, winning over Gael Monfils in the quarterfinals.  He also won the Rogers Cup in Montreal earlier.  His opponent, Tomas Berdych, dispatched Roger Federer.  Djokovic should win this in 3.

Mardy Fish will most likely be one of Djokovic's main rivals for the US Open title this year and he has already won Atlanta.  He defeated an erratic Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals with a 63 64 scoreline!  He will meet Andy Murray in the semifinals, who won over Gilles Simon in the quarters.  Mardy Fish should win their bout in 3.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Serena Williams is Truly The #1 Women's Player Right Now!



Serena Williams showed the rest of the field in women's tennis right now who really is #1!  Her performance against Samantha Stosur in the final of the Rogers Cup in Toronto, and against Victoria Azarenka in the semi's really shows that she's inching back to her former killer form!  It was great to see her booming serves and those powerful forehands whiz past these two players who are currently in the Top 10.  It would be interesting to see how the rest of the hard court season pans out but Serena is definitely now, the main contender for the upcoming US Open.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Resurgent Kazakh Galina Voskoboeva in the Roger's Cup in Toronto



Kazakh Galina Voskoboeva was ranked somewhere in the 500s in the start of 2011.  She should be near the Top 100 when the rankings are released next week.  This week, in Rogers Cup Toronto, she had wins over Bartoli, Sharapova and Pennetta, all Top 10 players now and before - so really not a bad performance for Galina. 

She lost today though to #4 Victoria Azarenka, who played very sharp tennis.  It's just the start of the hard court season so let's see how far into the rankings Galina can enter before the start of the US Open.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Radek Stepanek: The Veteran, A Finalist in Legg Mason



The veteran Radek Stepanek (#54) still has something left in him to fight the top guys as he reaches the finals of Legg Mason.  He will meet the resurgent Gael Monfils (#7) in the finals.

Radek easily dispatched Spaniard Fernando Verdasco (#19) in the quarters, 64 64.  In the third round, he edged Finn Jarkko Nieminen (#51) 64 36 62.  In the second round, he only gave two games to American Wayne Odesnik (#161).  In the first round, he was taken to three sets by German Philipp Petzschner ( 67(2) 64 60 (#43)

Donald Young: Another American Makes A Splash in Legg Mason



There's a new crop of American tennis players slowly making their presence felt in the ATP Tour and one of them is Donald Young.  He makes the semifinals in Legg Mason, only losing to Radek Stepanek, the wily veteran, 36 36. 

Currently ranked #128, Donald won over players ranked much higher than him.  In the quarters, he disposed of Marcos Baghdatis (#26) 63 76(4).  In the third round, he defeated fellow American Michael Russell (#109) 63 63.  In the second round, he got his biggest scalp in Austrian Jurgen Melzer (#18) 67(6) 64 31.
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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Alex Bogomolov Jr. Made Semi's of Los Angeles



Alex Bogomolov Jr. gets his highest ranking (#56) right now and he shows it with a semifinal appearance in Los Angeles.  He lost to eventual champion, Ernests Gulbis.

In the quarters, he won over Thomaz Bellucci (#36) 16 64 61.  In the second round, he won over Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov (#57) 64 63.  In the first round, he won over Australian Greg Jones (#231), 46 61 61.

Ryan Harrison Continues Winning Ways in LA Open 2011



Ryan Harrison (#82) continues his winning ways, reaching another semifinals in Los Angeles.  He also reached the semifinals in Atlanta.  He lost both semi's to Mardy Fish.  Here in LA, the scoreline was 0-6, 6-4, 6-7(3). 

He should be ready for the US Open with the way he's playing.  He should be in the main draw since he's inside the Top 100 now.

Ernests Gulbis Wins Second ATP Title in Los Angeles

Ernests Gulbis Ernests Gulbis of Latvia returns a shot to Marat Safin of Russia during the LA Tennis Open Day Three at Los Angeles Tennis Center - UCLA on July 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.

I am one of the fans of Latvian Ernests Gulbis, so I'm really happy to learn that he won his first ATP title this year in LA.  This is his second title already, after winning Delray last year.  2011 has not really been a good year for him but hopefully, by winning this title, he can slowly bounce back since the hard court season is just on its way.

He won over local favorite Mardy Fish (#8) in the final, 57 64 64.  In the semifinal, he won over Alex Bogomolov Jr. (#56) 62 76(4).  In the quarters, he won over Juan del Potro (#20) 62 64, showing how ready he is to tackle the big guys!

In the second round, he won over American Daniel Kosakowski (#390) 62 64.  In the first round, he took care of veteran Belgian Xavier Malisse (#42), 26 63 76(5), where he almost lost!

Fabio Fognini Makes Semi's of Umag Open



Fabio Fognini (#65) reached the semi's of Umag, following his surprise quarterfinal appearance in the French Open.  He lost to Marin Cilic in the semi's.  In the quarters, he won over compatriot Potito Starace (#63) 36 63 61.  In the second round, he took care of veteran Olivier Rochus of Belgium 64 61 (#75).  Portuguese Rui Machado (#84) was his first round opponent, 64 63.

Juan Carlos Ferrero: Former Umag Champion Reaches Semi's This Year



Juan Carlos Ferrero, currently ranked #104 reached the semi's of the Umag Open, losing to eventual champion, Alexandr Dolgopolov.  Hopefully, he finds his form again so he can reenter the Top 100. 

In the quarters, he won over Argentinian Carlos Berlocq (#69) 61 76(5), then over another co-veteran Ivan Ljubicic (#32) in the second round, 16 63 64.  In the first round, he won over Argentinian Maximo Gonzalez (#99) 36 63 11 Retd.

Alexandr Dolgopolov Finally A Champion: Wins Umag Title



When I first saw him play, I knew he would go somewhere, so finally, Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov wins his first ATP title in Umag, Croatia, denying local Marin Cilic from winning in his own soil.  The final had to go to three sets with Dolgopolov winning it 64 36 63. 

In the semi's, he won over veteran Juan Carlos Ferrero 64 64 who's on a comeback trail.  He's currently ranked #104 right now.  In the quarters, he won over #74 Spanish player, Albert Ramos 63 75.  In the second round, he handled Italian Filippo Volandri (#73) easily, 61 62.

Gael Monfils Should Win Legg Mason!



Monfils, Isner, Young and Stepanek are the final four in Legg Mason and Gael Monfils looks like the best bet to win it!  It also helps that he's ranked in the Top 10.  The finals should be between Monfils and Donald Young.  Monfils has played well the whole week, and Donald Young looks like the most ready among the four to make the finals appearance.
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The Top Four Back in Action in Montreal: Novak Should Win the Title



The top 4 of men's tennis are congregating again in Montreal next week, and looking at the draw, it will most likely be them slugging for the title!  Djokovic and Federer should fight it out in the first semifinal, while Murray and Nadal in the other semi.  I don't think any of the other seeds are capable of defeating them.   Among the top 4, I'm hinging my bet on Novak, who's really on a roll right now, and who's really capable of playing in the hard court, to win this title and start his hard court season with a bang!

Brazil May Have Another Top 100 Player in Joao Sousa



Brazil has two players in the Top 100 right now, Ricardo Mello (#89) and Thomaz Bellucci (#36).  In Kitzbuhel, Brazil's #3 player, Joao Sousa, made a splash by reaching the semifinals.  He's currently ranked at #110.  He lost to eventual champion Robin Haase.  He might reach the Top 100 in the next few weeks, if he continues his form.

In the quarters, he upset #46 Pablo Andujar of Spain 63 64.  In the second round, he won over Argentinian Diego Junqueira (#97) 62 62.  In the first round, he won over Polish Jerzy Janowicz (#142) 63 46 76(3), which ironically was his tightest match.