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Monday, June 30, 2014

Eugenie Bouchard: Looking Every Inch A Potential Grand Slam Champion

Around this time last year, I did not even know about Eugenie Bouchard.  It's like she just came out of nowhere and took women's tennis by storm!  She is already straight into her third consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal! In fact, she made it into the semifinals of both the Aussie Open and the French Open this year - the only woman player on tour who did that this year!  And there is a good possibility, she can make it a third!

I saw her play against Alize Cornet last night.  Alize disposed of Serena two days earlier - and she looked every inch a potential grand slam champion!  She did not fluster during the important points and everytime she commits a mistake, she has the ability to just shrug it off and move on!  Most importantly, she has the firepower to attack players of Maria Sharapova's caliber!

All attention is at Maria since she and Petra Kvitova are the only two defending champions still fighting in the women's draw.  Maria will meet Angelique Kerber later today.

Czech Republic: Elite Women's Team Award for 2014 Wimbledon

The Czech Republic has won the Elite Women's Team Award for the 2014 Wimbledon!  I think this is their first award ever.  This year, they are led by Petra Kvitova, Lucie Safarova, Barbora Zahlavova Strycova and Tereza Smitkova.

This year, this award has gone to three different countries - the US (Australian Open), Russia (French Open) and the Czech Republic (Wimbledon).

Spain: Elite Men's Team Award for 2014 Wimbledon

Spain continues its dominance of the Elite Men's Team Award for the third consecutive Grand Slam this year.  They also win the same award for the 2014 Wimbledon, as three of its players reach the fourth round, led by Rafael Nadal, Tommy Robredo and Feliciano Lopez.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Jan Hernych: Player Ranked Outside the Top 100 Who Reached the Second Round of Wimbledon 2014

Jan Hernych of the Czech Republic is already 35 years old and has reached a career high ranking of 59.  He is currently ranked 285 in the world right now and has reached the second round of Wimbledon for the third time.  He also had to qualify for the main draw.

He won over Tobias Kamke of Germany (#87) in the first round 63 67(5) 63 57 64 but lost to Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain (#23) in the second round 57 64 26 26.

Surprise Quarterfinalist: Jeremy Chardy of France

Jeremy Chardy of France, currently ranked #42 has reached a new high in his Wimbledon, reaching the fourth round for the first time in his career.  Incidentally, Chardy was the boys champion here in Wimbledon in 2005.

His opponent in the fourth round will still be determined between Tomas Berdych (#6) and Marin Cilic (#29).

He defeated Daniel Cox of Great Britain (#214) in the first round 62 76(3) 67(6) 63.   Then he upset Marinko Matosevic of Australia (#58) in the second round 67(5) 76(7) 76(9) 46 75.  Then he had enough energy to dispose of Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine (#90) 63 67(4) 63 60.

He has reached the fourth round in Roland Garros in 2008 and the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in 2013.

Jimmy Wang: Player Ranked Outside the Top 100 Who Reached the Third Round of Wimbledon 2014

Jimmy Wang of Chinese-Taipei, currently ranked #147 in the world, has reached the third round of Wimbledon for the first time.  It's his best performance in any grand slam.  He actually had to qualify for the main draw and promptly won his first two matches.

He won his first round match against Colombian Alejandro Gonzalez (#76) 63 63 62.  Then he upset veteran Russian Mikhail Youzhny (#16) 76(1) 62 67(5) 63.

In the third round, he ran into Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France (#17) and lost 26 26 57.

Hopefully, his good run here should improve his rankings when it comes out next week. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Throwback Wimbledon Memories!

Since it's Wimbledon season, for this TBT, I unearthed this really old photo of me with Serena Williams in the back!! 

It was the finals day for the women and Vic and I caught Serena and her Dad warming up in one of the practice courts outside Court No. 1. We took many photos of her but this one shows her actually looking straight at our camera!!

Well, she lost in the finals to a youngster named Maria Sharapova.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Rafael Nadal Wants To Stop Early Round Losing Streak in Wimbledon

I know Rafa faces some very tricky opponents in the first three rounds of this year's Wimbledon, but I'm still picking him as my bet to get the semifinal slot on his side of the draw and maybe even win this tournament - again!

Potential early round opponents include first round opponent Martin Klizan, the dangerous Frenchman Benoit Paire and the hard-serving Croatian Ivo Karlovic.  Then he may have to face the real competition from potential opponents like Milos Raonic of Canada and Frenchman Gael Monfils.

Definitely not a walk in the park for Rafa, but I think if he can make it in the early rounds, he should be able to master this surface as the tournament progresses.

Roger Federer: Always a Sentimental Favorite in Wimbledon

During prognostication time in men's grand slams these past few years, Roger Federer's name does not come up as consistently anymore yet during Wimbledon time, everytime I check the draw, like for this year, his name once again comes up among the four guys most likely win their semifinal slots.  His 7 victories on this surface and his consistency almost always trumps the new "it" guy in men's tennis.

This year, the "it" guy just happens to be his countryman Stan Wawrinka, who incidentally, is also in Roger Federer's side of the draw.  However, for sentimental reasons, I still pick Roger to win over Stan, if they do meet in the quarters.  

Roger has some very tricky potential opponents on his side of the draw, including former semifinalist Jerzy Janowicz, Frenchman Julien Bennetteau and Spaniard Marcel Granollers, all competent players.

However, realistically speaking, the best Roger can do for this Wimbledon is reach the semi's where he will potentially meet Rafa Nadal, who is in such fighting form this season.

Team Murray-smo Ready To Defend Wimbledon Title

It's always fun to have a little drama before any grand slam and this Wimbledon 2014 is no different.  It's rare indeed for a male player to hire a female coach, I believe it's the first time it ever happened, especially that Amelie Mauresmo is not a family member of Andy Murray. But Murray worked with his mother for years so I think - working again with another woman is something he has done before.

I saw Murray play at the French Open and I was really happy to see him reach the semifinal.  I guess there, the pressure is much lesser so he can be more relaxed to play his game.  He has do a lot more though if he wants to defend his title because Nadal and Djokovic are in really devastating form - and if they can retain that on that given day, they are the two main guys to fight for the title.

However, everyone, including champions have their off days so if windows like those can open for Andy, he has a fighting chance of defending his Wimbledon title.

I think he has an easier draw than Djokovic and as a side story, this Wimbledon is also the best chance of Grigor Dimitrov to finally be in the limelight!  I pick him as Murray's opponent in the quarters.  I pick Andy though to get the semifinal slot in his side of the draw, and possibly meet Novak Djokovic in the semi's.

Novak Djokovic Tries For Wimbledon Title #2

Well, Novak Djokovic has to go through a tough draw but looking at his opponents, once again, he has a good chance of making it straight to the finals and get a chance of winning that second Wimbledon singles title.

I saw how he methodically demolished even the toughest opponents in last month's French Open, save for Rafa Nadal.  And I believe he can still do the same thing here in Wimbledon.

His most likely opponents include tricky veteran Radek Stepanek, swift newcomer Vasek Pospisil, hefty Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and former finalist here Tomas Berdych.  He may have to win over those guys to get the semifinal slot on his side of the draw.  Not an easy task but something he was already able to do before.

Petra Kvitova A Dangerous Threat in Wimbledon 2014

Since Petra Kvitova is a former champion here in Wimbledon, I have seen how dangerous she can really get if she just gets the right kind of draw.  She faded in the last French Open but it was a tough match that she lost to Sveta Kuznetsova.

She still has potentially dangerous opponents but not someone of Sveta's caliber in this surface.  She may meet Mona Barthel, Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens and Li Na before she reaches the semifinals.  I choose her to get the semifinal slot on her side of the draw. Among this group, she has the most experience on this surface and the most dangerous weapons, so she is one of the likely threats to win Wimbledon 2014!

Agnieszka Radwanska Has Another Good Chance of Winning Wimby 2014

Already a finalist here in Wimbledon before, the luck of the draw has once again come to Polish player Agnieszka Radwanska.  I don't know how 100% Victoria Azarenka is, but I don't think she'd be able to go deep in the draw for this grand slam, especially that Agi Radwanska, Coco Vandeweghe, Dominika Cibulkova and Bojana Jovanovski are in her part of the draw.  

That part actually is left wide open, and I choose Coco Vandeweghe to make it to the quarters and possibly meet Agi Radwanska.

Agi also has her share of potentially dangerous opponents like grasscourt specialist Tsvetana Pironkova, 2-time grand slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova and Australian Casey Dellacqua before she reaches the quarters, but I still choose her to prevail over them.

Can Simona Halep Go The Distance Again Here at Wimby?

I admit I became an instant fan of Romanian Simona Halep after seeing her gutsy performance in the finals of the French Open last month. Although a quiet and non-flashy player, her consistency allowed her to win over her opponents and eventually get to that historic final.  And she didn't disappoint.  I could really feel that she wants that Grand Slam title and that she believed that she belonged to that league of players.

Well, she has another chance again, this time at Wimbledon.  Her draw has some players which may make her work harder, especially that last year's finalist, Sabine Lisicki of Germany would be a likely quarterfinal opponent.

Other than Lisicki, Halep should get to her second straight grand slam semifinal without any hitches.  I choose her over Lisicki, although Lisicki has had some good results in grass in the past.  But that was in the past.  

In the French Open, Halep just showed that she wants to win a grand slam, and she's ready to fight for it! So I choose her to get the semifinal slot on her side of the draw.

Despite A Lackadaisical Grand Slam Season, Serena Still One of my Bets to Win Wimby 2014

It's Wimbledon once again and here I am picking the four men and women who I think have the best chances of winning the trophy based on the draw they find themselves in.

It has really gotten more interesting now, especially on the women's side, as there is a bunch of youngsters who are fearless when it comes to fighting against the veterans.

But, well, this is grass, and with five Wimbledon titles, and still ranked #1 in the world, even with a super duper tough draw, I don't see why Serena Williams wouldn't be able to get the semifinal slot in her side of the draw.

There are two women in her side of the draw which could halt her ascendancy, the current French Open champion Maria Sharapova (whom she could meet in the QFs) and Eugenie Bouchard (whom she could meet in the 4th round).

However, her head to head with Maria is embarrassingly lopsided (on Serena's favor) and if Eugenie has to contest Serena in the Center Court, might give the young ingenue a few jitters - so those are just what gives Serena the edge against these two players.  

Otherwise, any of these three have a very strong fighting chance for a semifinal slot in the top upper side of the draw.

Yet, my bet is still on Serena plainly because of her accomplishments on this type of surface.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Maria Sharapova Fights For Her Second French Open Title

Maria Sharapova really deserves this, her second French Open title!  Grabe, it's rare to see a 3 hour match among women players, to see one in a finals, is even rarer!  Akala ko when I arrived home late, replay na sya, live pa pala ang coverage!

Maria had to play three set matches since the fourth round - I think the first time I've seen any recent female Grand Slam champion have to battle so hard just to win the title!  

Naku, I think it's going to get harder to win a Grand Slam on the female side since not only do you have to deal with the strong senior players like Serena, Maria and Li Na and the young achievers like Azarenka, Halep and Radwanska, this year's French Open also showed that the young upstarts like Muguruza and Bouchard are very very hungry and impatient to make their mark - and di sila natatakot sa mga senior players!

Really looking forward to Wimbledon - but that's grass so it would be interesting to see another grass player, like Marion Bartoli, win this year!  Maybe Sabine Lisicki?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Bravo Simona on Your First Grand Slam Final!

So happy to see Simona Halep into the women's final of this year's French Open!  Always great to see new faces break into the mainstream!  

She plays like Agi Radwanska pala so the final against Maria Sharapova is going to be interesting!  I think one of her edge against Maria is that Maria had two previous 3-setters (SF and QF) so she might be a bit tired now, but well, she also has more experience at this stage of a grand slam!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Eugenie Bouchard Does It Again!

I try to follow women's tennis religiously but Eugenie Bouchard of Canada has done amazing things in just a short period.  She was not even in my radar when my December lists came out although she was already ranked in the 30s.

So for her to break into the Melbourne semifinals - and repeat that achievement again in Roland Garros - just shows she means business - and once again, the world of women's tennis is rocked by the entry of an audacious youngster!

Eugenie is definitely the heiress apparent to Maria Sharapova. They are so alike in many ways and to have them duel in a grand slam semifinal is a very interesting match-up, and knowing Eugenie - she's not going to back off that easily.

Can she defeat Maria?  If she exploits Maria's slow start and not allow Maria back into the game - and of course, hold her own nerve, knowing the gravity of the occasion, she has a fighting chance!

Simona Halep Shows the World Why She's #4

I admit I have been a bit remiss in following the WTA tour this past year due to some personal problems, and during that duration, Simona Halep of Romania has quietly climbed up the rankings and reached #4!  Imagine that!  The last time I saw her play, she was somewhere in the 50s, I think!

She has improved immensely!  Now, it shows in the grand slams.  I saw how she dealt with Sloane Stephens last night, and tonight, she was very calm in dealing with former French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova!  I think she has a very good chance of getting into the French Open finals!  How exciting for her!

So Happy to See Andrea Petkovic in the 2014 French Open Semifinals!

I'm so happy to see Andrea Petkovic in the semifinals of the French Open for the first time!!  She's one of the more articulate tennis players on tour and I follow her blog when she was still actively writing!  

She's innately funny and crazy and she used to dance and do a lot of crazy steps before, everytime she won. She was like the female Novak!  

She's more reserved now though.  Unfortunately, when she reached the top 10, she had injuries and disappeared for a while.  I think it took her a year to finally beat the top girls again.

No German woman has reached the finals here in Roland Garros since the great Steffi Graf, and with the current depth of German women's tennis, I'm happy it's Andrea who is again leading the way for her very talented teammates! 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

It's Your Time To Shine Jelena Jankovic!!

On paper, Romanian Simona Halep should win this year's French Open.  Using achievement as the barometer, Maria Sharapova would be the clear favorite.  

But for personal sentimental reasons, I am rooting for Jelena Jankovic to finally win her very first grand slam title.  I first saw her in Wimbledon in 2004 and she looks much much prettier in person, tall with very long legs and chinita, which is not a common look for a European woman.

In tennis circles, she is known as the most talented lady still active in the main draw, who has yet to win a grand slam title!  

She's been a former #1 player, she has been to a grand slam final and several semifinals, yet she has always been the bridesmaid or in the entourage, but never the bride.

With the very decimated women's draw as four of the top five seeds gone by the fourth round, this is Jelena's best chance of winning her first grand slam!! Dapat mag-Marion Bartoli na siya from this stage on!! Gyera na kung gyera sis!!  

Finally Ernests Gulbis Makes His Mark!

Joskoh Ernests Gulbis! After cheering for you for years and hoping that you take your tennis seriously, finally I saw the day that you played fearless tennis - and to defeat Roger Federer, just icing on the cake! 

Hayyy, so difficult talaga to follow underachieving and erratic yet very talented players!

Jurgen Zopp: 2014 French Open Male Breakout Player

Since Jurgen Zopp is the lowest ranked player to reach the second round this French Open, he is rewarded as the Male Breakout Player for the 2014 French Open by this blog.

Jurgen Zopp of Estonia currently ranks at #335 in the world today, but reached as high as #71 two years ago.  He was able to reach the second round of this year's French Open after Tommy Haas of Germany retired during the match. In the second round though, he lost to Dusan Lajovic (#83) of Serbia, 62 64 64.

This is the second time he has reached the second round of a grand slam tournament.  He last did it in the US Open of 2012.

Kiki Bertens: 2014 French Open Female Breakout Player

Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands (#148) is finally showing her potential, after seeing her play really well before.  She reaches the fourth round of the 2014 French Open, and promptly wins the 2014 French Open Female Breakout Player Award.  

I think, this has been the deepest she has ever been in any grand slam.  She defeated Romanian Alexandra Cadantu (#81) in the first round 76(5) 61.

In the second round, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia (#25) retired in the third set after trailing Bertens, 75 64 30.

In the third round, she demolished Spaniard Silvia Soler-Espinosa (#85) 62 61.

She will next meet German Andrea Petkovic (#27) in the fourth round.

French Open 2014: Elite Women's Team Award

Russia wins the 2014 French Open Elite Women's Team Award putting two players in the fourth round - Maria Sharapova (#8) and Svetlana Kuznetsova (#28).

Actually, two other countries placed two players in the fourth round, Germany and Spain, but the total sum of the seedings of the Russian players was the lowest among the three countries, making it win the award.

French Open 2014: Elite Men's Team Award

Spain continues its dominance of men's tennis.  It wins this year's Elite Men's Team Award for the French Open 2014 - putting four players in the fourth round - Rafael Nadal (#1), David Ferrer (#5), Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (#27) and Fernando Verdasco (#25).

Eugenie Bouchard: Young and Fearless!

Eugenie Bouchard is one young player who is consistent and certainly causing seismic waves within the women's game!  I don't even remember her name a year ago or even at last year's US Open!  

But since she came crashing into the semifinals of the Australian Open where she lost to eventual champion Li Na, here she is now charging quickly into the quarterfinals of the French Open - and her chances of winning a slot into the semifinals is good!  

She will meet the experienced Carla Suarez Navarro, but seeing how gutsy and fearless she is playing now - she may even win the title - what with the women's field decimated and all!