Sunday, November 11, 2007

Saving the best for last.

Wow, just wow. I know I'm not a huge Sharapova fan, but after that final...she gets props. Major props. Both players put everything out there on the court, and both showed moments of brilliance as well as nervous humanity.

In the end, the #1 came through, with Justine winning 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 in the longest three set YEC final ever.

While the rest that Sharapova took before this tournament allowed her to come in fresh and play at her best, it also seemed to be her undoing as far as match fitness for the final. At 3-all in the third, Maria's fatigue was visible, and the doubles faults, while not a huge problem, starting to creep in at really bad times - such as break point. But, she is to be commended...I mean, seriously, I don't think there are many players who, match fit or not, wouldn't have gotten tired during that battle. In the end, Justine just had a bit more in the tank, and more control on her strokes.

I am so happy to see the women's season end this way, especially with the criticism that it sometimes very richly deserves. These two women were both winners today!


The men have gotten underway, but because they are in Shanghai, and VS is not covering this event, I have trouble even keeping up with the scores. So far, Nadal has beaten Gasquet (not a surprise), and Ferrer defeated Djoko (this IS a surprise, at least to me).

TTC is at least showing us the doubles, which, unlike the women's double YEC, follows the same round robin format. I knew that Knowles/Nestor were breaking up, but Mark Knowles revealed even more break-ups during his commentary. Among the carnage is Bjorkman/Mirnyi, Hanley/Ullyett, Vizner/Dlouhy, Paes/Damm...hmm, I think that is all of them. Basically, the only ones staying together are the Bryan Brothers, the Israelis, and Aspelin/Knowle. The Bryans must love seeing all the gives them even more of an advantage over the other teams!


My own tennis is going well. I may be looking at a racquet change. Whether or not this is done in time for Florida remains a financial issue, and honestly, I'm a little wary at changing my stick less than a month before the tourny. Even if it isn't the best for me, it is what I've been using for over a year now.

The Final.

As expected, it will come down to Henin vs. Sharapova.

I actually got a chance to watch some of the semis from yesterday. My thoughts:

Henin vs. AnaIvo - As expected, Henin won, but this time, AnaIvo made her work a bit harder for it. This was a far cry from the beatdown Justine put on Ana in the French final. The marathon game in the first set when Ana had five break point opportunities, yet Henin still came through spoke volumes. Justine finds a way. However, she needs to also find her first serve, or Maria will feed off of it just like Ana did. On a hard court, I think it may only be a matter of time before AnaIvo starts to dominate...though I felt she had a few too many UE yesterday, but at least she was going for her shots and not holding back. A great effort from the youngster, and not a bad way to end the year.

Chakie vs. Sharapova - This was almost embarrassing. Well, for Chakie, it *was* embarrassing. She had never beaten Masha going into this, so I guess we shouldn't have expected anything different yesterday. Masha smacked her down pretty hard. During the match, the commentators mentioned that Maria hadn't started serving again until a week before the tournament. Maybe that is all she needed...a good long rest to heal the shoulder, as well as the mind.

This, of course, gives us the expected final (well, not expected at the beginning, but expected once everyone saw how well Maria was playing) of Henin vs. Sharapova. Will Justine once again find a way? Or will Maria's serve, return, and firepower be too much for the smaller (but not weaker) Belgium?


The doubles final was decided today, with #1 seeds Black/Huber taking on the team of Ai Sugiyama and Katerina Srebotnik. Black/Huber had to take out Pestchke/Stubbs to get this far, and that was quite the match. As to be expected, it featured a long argument by Rennae Stubbs with the chair, who finally put Stubbsy in her place. That semi, as well as today's final, was decided by the 10 point super tiebreak, and Black/Huber showed why they have been one of the dominate teams this a tiebreak, every point counts, and they stayed steady to win both and take home the title. It was especially sweet for Cara Black, who had many times been a runner-up at YEC, but never won until today.

Samantha Stosur is recovering from Lyme disease, so that is why we were missing Raymond/Stosur. Here's to hoping she makes a full recovery and is back in the *swing* of things in time for the events in her home country!

Friday, November 9, 2007

The final four!

Hmmm. So, Sharapova demolished AnaIvo today. That didn't make me happy. They were both already into the semis, but this determined who they would play.

So, tomorrow, the semis are:

Henin vs. AnaIvo - Ummm, I love AnaIvo, but Justine will win. The only question will be by how much.

Shriekapova vs. Chakie - If Sharapova continues the form she has had in this tournament, which has been surprising to say the least, she will win. You can never count Chakie completely out though.

But the bets are that our final will be Henin vs. Sharapova. And Henin will win.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Enough! I've had enough! No more! No more having to listen to Serena Williams TRASH TALK her opponents, declare herself fit and ready and the winner, and then watch her pathetically limp through a set to retire because of HER KNEES!! That's right, her perfectly fit and ready KNEES were taped up like a mummy! Ridiculous. How can she even dare utter the words she did leading up to this tournament?!? What kind of delusional world is she living in? She is becoming a laughing stock and a joke of women's tennis.

Enough. I'm done with her. I don't care if she wins every major from here until the end of time. She had me, then she lost me, then she slowly won me back, and now I'm done.

*deep breath*

So, let's recap some other news from today, shall we?

Well, the matchup between Jelena and Justine didn't live up to most of their previous matches. Henin goes through 6-2, 6-2. Honestly, there is nobody who is going to threaten this woman. When Serena retired, Justine qualified for the semis.

Next up was Chakie and Serena. I had actually picked Serena. Chakie took the first set 6-4, then Serena retired. She will be replaced in the draw by Marion Bartoli, who unfortunately has to assume Serena's record.

AnaIvo and Dani battled it out next. After rolling through the first set, AnaIvo took the second in a thrilling tiebreak (11-9 I think?). Dani has lost two matches now, and will not advance. Still, she played well, and hopefully will take some momentum into next year.


Tomorrow's matchups:

The Kuz vs. Masha - I pick the Kuz. 'Nuff said.
Henin vs. Maid Marion - Haha! Justine is *totally* going to be after revenge for Wimby. Lookout Marion!
Jankovic vs. Chakie - Hmmmm. Gut instinct says to pick Jankovic. However, will another loss to Henin take the wind out of her sails? Or, will she look at it as 'Ok, I got that out of the way, now it is time to steamroll?' Should be interesting!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

2 out of 3 isn't bad!

I got two of the my three picks for today correct.

The first one was the easiest:

Henin blasted through Chakie in the first set, and though the Chakster gave a mighty effort in the second, Henin won in a second set tiebreak.

For me, the next result was actually a surprise, as I didn't see Masha match-fit enough to come through:

Sharapova came through two tight sets over Hanuchova. And, by her outfit, planned to celebrate with an afternoon of either golf or sailing...I'm not sure which.

Beame me up! AnaIvo won a tightly contested match with the Kuz (*just* like I had predicted!) 7-5 in the third set. She is sporting the new Star Trek line from Adidas:

Seriously, what are they thinking over there?!? I know they can't use the three strips thing all down the side anymore, but this is getting ridiculous!

Oh, and happy birthday to AnaIvo! She celebrated her 20th on court after her win!


Next up tomorrow:

Henin vs. Jankovic - Oh dear. Of course, it promises to be a great match, but this is starting to look like Fed vs. Roddick. I see Henin pulling through with a very tight score.
Serena vs. Chakie - Hmm. This is a toughie. I fear that Serena's power may be just too much for the Chakster, and I'm not sure how she will react after losing that tiebreak with Henin today. I hate to say it, but I see Serena winning here (and if I'm wrong, I'll be happy!).
Ivanovic vs. Hantuchova - AnaIvo will win.


The word on the street is that Nalby will NOT go to Shanghai just to sit around as the alternate. So, he is staying put, and moles say that Robredo is on the plane heading to the far east. Too bad.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Oh! And...

Lindsay won another tournament this weekend, the Bell Challenge in Quebec City. A tier III I believe, but would be great to have her permanently back in the mix!

I'm Baaaaack! (WTA YEC)

Hey, everyone needs a hiatus sometime, right?

I knew this may happen, school plus tennis plus a new-found addiction (I'm in therapy, it's ok!) to msn chat have resulted in my poor tennis blog being left behind. But with the YEC right around the corner, I thought this would be as good a time as any to pop back on the scene.

This week kicks off the WTA's YEC in Madrid (ahhh, Madrid!). The eight qualifiers are (not in order, by the way):

Justine Henin - duh
Svetlana Kuznetsova - strong season, but still lacking that breakout win
Jelena Jankovic - great season, but Henin owns her
Ana Ivanovic - another great season, Henin owns her as well
Serena Williams - pretty shaky going into this YEC, but is already trash talking. Oh, and Henin owns her, too!
Maria Sharapova - even more shaky going into YEC than Williams. I'm wondering why she is even bothering to show up. Ivanovic, Williams, Henin all own her. Maria only got in when Venus withdrew, so she needs to send the sister a thank card, in my opinion.
Anna Chakvetadze - if she can control her emotions on court, she just may pull of a surprise or two.
Daniela Hanutchova - Dani played some of her best tennis to squeeze into the 8th spot, and if she can keep that going, she's got a shot. An outside one, but is there.

They are divided into the following groups:
Yellow Group

Red Group

Horrendously lopsided. The yellow group is screwed, really. The only question that remains to be answered is who will advance other than Henin. I'm hoping Jelena. The red group would favor Sharapova, if she had actually played a match sometime in the recent past. I'm picking Kuz and Ivanovic, but I would love to see Dani come out of there, too. Really, I'm ok with anyone either than Serena or Maria going through to the semis. For some reason, I've had it with both of them.

Play kicks off tomorrow with the yellow group:
Henin vs. Chakie (Henin)
Sharapova vs. Hantuchova (go Dani!)
Kuz vs. Ivanovic (hmmm, I see AnaIvo coming through this one, but I think it will be the most tightly contested of the three matches).


The men's YEC had a lot of last minute drama, with the final spot being decided in the later rounds of Paris.

The eight:
Roger Federer - duh
Rafael Nadal - duh, but he fell off during the end of the season again. If he ever wants to overtake Roger than he needs to figure out a way to have a consistently strong season.
Novak Djokovic - the Djoker will make things interesting and fun!
Nikolay Davydenko - certainly not in form, mentally or physically. First, the gambling speculations, and now he has been fined *twice* for not trying? This will be a tough tournament for him.
Andy Roddick - Didn't show up for the last two Masters Series, and qualified while sitting at home. We all know all that Andy really cares about is Davis Cup right now, so why not withdrawal so that someone else (NALBANDIAN!!) can have the spot? Some speculate that he doesn't deserve the spot, and while my knee-jerk reaction is to agree, you can't argue with the race. Nalby didn't show up until a bit too late, and Andy had consistent results. Still, if his heart isn't in it, then I hope he does withdrawal.
David Ferrer - depending on which group he is in, Ferrer can definitely cause some damage.
Fernando Gonzalez - oh Gonzo. Still searching for that form that saw him threw to the Aussie final. I love him, but I don't see him getting out of his group.
Richard Gasquet - Reeeechard squeaked in at the last minute in Paris when Baggy lost. Such a beautiful game, I would love to him put together some wins.

Missing, of course, is last year's finalist James Blake. Unfortunately, we may have already seen the best he has to offer...and I do say this with regret.


Doubles will come later. Suffice to say, Sam Stosur is sick, so the current champs will not be able to defend their title.