Thursday, June 30, 2011

Whats in a name...

Sometime ago now reader Carlos asked me what my favourite nicknames of players were. Now with no women's play to report on, I decided to take this time to give you a selection of nicknames I like to use from time to time, now my favouritest nicknames in reversological order...

Caroline Wozniacki - Caro, Bunny, Wozza
Kim Clijsters - Kimothy, Aussie Kim (only to be used during AO series)
Vera Zvonerava - Beepa
Li Na - Mulan
Victoria Aarenka - Vika
Maria Sharapova - Masha, Divapova
Francesca Schiavone - Franny, Furby, Iron Woman
Petra Kvitova - Ostrich, Kvits
Marion Bartoli - Sponge Bart
Agnieszka Radwanska - Aggie, Aga, Duchess (only to be used on clay), ARad
Svetlana Kuznetsova - Sveta
Andrea Petkovic - Petko
Anastasia Pavlychenkova - aPavs
Jelena Jankovic - JJ, Wierd Al Jankovic
Julia Goerges - Goolia
Ana Ivanovic - FPI
Yanina Wickmayer - WickiWickiWicki
Serena Williams - ReRe
Maria Kirilenko - Makiri, Princess
Jarmila Gajdosova - Jarka, Jarks
Venus Williams - Vee
Nadia Petrova - Nads
Jelena Dokic - Jay Dee, Jelly
Anna Chakvetadze - AChak, Licki Tounge
Kimiko Date Krumm - Super Woman
Sabine Lisicki - Licki Bean
Alize Cornet - Mo Lolita

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Azarenka makes semi final break through. Lisicki, Sharapova and Kvitova to join her.

It was a 'moving' match (pardon the pun) for the highest women's seed left in the draw as she made history. Victoria Azarenka and Tamira Paszek began their match on court 1 however after one game, officials made the decision to move the match to Centre Court.

Azarenka looked very match at home and very dangerous as she was firing winners from all wing to race to 5-1 lead. A little bit of nervous kicked in but Azarenka served it out to 6-3. With victory basically just a question of when not will Victoria started hitting freer as she dominated the second set to wrap a 6-3 6-1 victory and finally making her Grand Slam semi final debut.

Wild Card Sabine Lisicki came into her semi final with only victory on her mind and the Birmingham champion appeared fresher after Bartoli had played oer 8 hours on court winning the first set 6-4. Lisicki held four match points in the second set but Bartoli stepped up when she needed to, and remembered she had just taken out Serena Williams to force a third set by winning a tie breaker. With all of Bartoli's energy gone on winning the second and her pre-point rituals Lisicki was dominant in the third winning eventually 6-4 6-7 6-1.

Maria Sharapova, the only previous Grand Slam champion to make the quarter finals, was brutal in her revenge demolishing of Dominika Cubulkova dropping just two games. Sharapova was seeking revenge for the pairs 2009 Roland Garros quarter final where Cibulkova dropped only two games, and was two points away from double beagling Sharapova. Sharpova will now be Lisicki's opponent in the semi final, Sharapova has won the pairs only previous encounter, in Miami earlier this year 6-0 6-2. But Lisicki has improved in leaps and bounds since then and as not lost on grass yet this year.

The final quarter final was battled out between 2010 Wimbledon surprise semi finalists Petra Kvitova and Tsvetana Pironkova. Now let me just say this, sometimes we have clay court specialists, well in Pironkova we have found a grass court specialist, SW19 just makes her come alive. She won more match at Wimbledon this year that what she had for the rest of year! Anyway, Kvitova proved to strong and continued her very impressive year with a  6-3 6-7 6-2 win and Kvitova will now play Aarenka as both players battle to make their first Grand Slam Final.


Sharapova vs Lisicki
Azarenka vs Kvitova

No prediction yet, only that...both semi's will go to three.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd for Lucinda;

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bartoli wins "best match of her life" with three 4th round upsets

Marion Bartoli needed five match points to do it, but the 2007 Wimbledon runner-up defeated the four-time champion Serena Williams 6-3 7-6(6) to earn her place in Tuesday's quarter-finals.

Bartoli, 26, came into this fortnight on a roll, having won her first career title on grass at Eastbourne and reached her first ever semi-final at Roland Garros. At No.9 her ranking is already equal to its career best, and will improve further next Monday. So whether this result truly amounted an upset is perhaps a moot point.

It is certainly a great result for Bartoli, who had not taken a set off Williams in their previous two encounters. Moreover the only year the Frenchwoman has progressed beyond the last 16 here was 2007, when she was the eventual runner-up to Venus Williams in the final.

The statistics say that Serena had won 24 of her last 26 matches on grass before today. But the fact is Williams returned to action from a foot injury and a life-threatening pulmonary embolism only two weeks ago in Eastbourne, where she promptly lost in the second round. This was only her sixth match in 49 weeks.

At 2-1 in the first set loose play from Williams made it 15-40. Bartoli's return deserved the prize but the American somehow got it back. That effort went to waste when a wild forehand saw the ball arc way beyond the tramlines. Bartoli celebrated the break by going through her pre-point rituals with even more energy than usual. All that bouncing around and dancing and stroke practice and fist pumping must have used up valuable energy on a court which was, for once this fortnight, scorching hot.

But for all that mental preparation, Bartoli still required six set point chances before that maiden career set against Williams belonged to her.

But when she sent a backhand long for break point on 5-5, Bartoli screamed in excitement. The Frenchwoman stepped way inside the baseline to receive Williams' first serve, never mind her second, and in the ensuing rally Serena had the advantage but did not make it count. Bartoli brought up two match points with her eighth ace; on the first Bartoli sent the ball wastefully wide, and on the second the power of Serena's return had the ninth seed stumbling backwards in dismay. Bartoli forced a third, and in a superb battling rally Serena would not be defeated. A great return earned break point for 6-6, then after doing all the hard work and saving it, Bartoli then delivered her fifth double fault of the match for another break point. A killer backhand return took it into the tie-break.

Bartoli brought up her fourth match point after a battling rally where Serena somehow seemed to stop halfway through. But it was on Williams' service, and an ace took care of it. An unforced error brought up match point number five, and this time the American could find no reply to Bartoli's serve, sending the four-time champion out of the tournament.

Venus was also ousted, for the second year in a row, by Tsvetana Pironkava. The 32nd seed, who had achieved little of note since upsetting Williams in last year's Wimbledon quarter-finals, suffering a catalogue of first-round exits, was still perceived as an underdog against the resurgent Williams, who had impressed in her first three matches here.

But there were signs of a repeat performance from Pironkova almost from the off, when she broke Williams to move ahead 4-2 in the first set. Holding serve to move into a 5-2 lead, the Bulgarian soon had two set points on the Williams serve. Williams saved the first with a thunderous volley, but sent a backhand deep in the net to hand over the first set 6-2.

One Williams sister departing in the fourth round of Wimbledon may be unusual, two is almost unheard of. But all credit to Pironkova, who proved that lightning really does strike twice.

And if that wasn't enough the "Monday Massacre" saw Caroline Wozniacki lose to Dominika Cubulkova. And against No. 24 Dominika Cibulkova on Monday, she faced a player with similar retrieving skills, but one who hits the ball harder despite being a good eight inches shorter and, on this day, just went for it.

The method is the tried and-true one against the Dane, who will never beat herself. But few have the willingness to take the risks required.

"Yeah, that's the way how you should play against Wozniacki because she's just great. She's the best in defencing. She's just waiting and waiting and then she takes her chance," Cibulkova said after the 1-6 7-6 7-5 victory.

"Today, I had to take all or nothing, you know? After first set, I realize I have to go for my shots 100 per cent or anyway I have no chance."

Today's quarter finals, same deal Bold indicates winner

Cibulkova vs Sharapova
Lisicki vs Bartoli
Paszek vs Azarenka
Kvitova vs Pironkova

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sharapova continues to impress.

Russia's Maria Sharapova continued her bid to win a second Wimbledon singles title with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Czech Klara Zakopalova, which earned her place in the fourth round and a match against the 20th seed from China, Shuai Peng.

In the first match of the day on Court No.2, Sharapova took control with her solid driving from the baseline in the cool midday conditions.

Zakopalova was in the third round of a Grand Slam tournament for only the third time in 32 attempts but she reached the last 16 at Wimbledon last year, proving she can play on grass.

However, Sharapova, who won her only Wimbledon title seven years ago aged 17, did not give Zakopalova time or space to settle and was soon ahead 4-1 with two breaks of serve.

At the start of the second set, Sharapova had one anxious moment when she was a break point down, but she saved that situation with a service winner.

Two games later she lost her serve on a double fault, which put the Czech 2-1 up, but Sharapova, keeping her concentration, was back on terms at 3-3 and then reeled off the next three games for victory.

Sharapova finished in convincing style with a forehand crosscourt winner to reach match point followed by another forehand down the line. It left Sharapova in the fourth round for the seventh time.

All of the third round matches have now been completed, so on Monday the forth round match ups will be;

Wozniacki vs Cibulkova
Peng vs Sharapova
Lisicki vs Cetkovska
Bartoli vs Serena Williams
Pasek vs Pervak
Petrova vs Azarenka
Kvitova vs Wickmayer
Venus Williams vs Pironkova

* Bold indicates the player I think will win.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Lisicki stuns French Open champ Li.

Asia's first Grand Slam winner wilted under one of the most intimidating serve in the women's game.

Third seeded Li slumped to a 3-6 6-4 8-6 second round loss to wildcard Lisicki who saved two match points in the ninth game of the third set with back-to-back serves which cracked the 120mph barrier.

Lisicki collapsed to her knees in tears on the covered Centre Court when she clinched the gripping tie with victory secured on her third match point in the 14th game of the deciding set.

It was the German's booming serve which proved crucial as she fired 17 aces and powered down 21 winners in the 2hr 11min encounter.

“From the first point until the end of the match, every serve was like 117mph. It's impossible for women,” said Li.

“We both played a great match. I was just a little unlucky. I had two match points but I couldn't do anything about them.”

The 21-year-old Lisicki, whose career suffered a huge setback in 2010 when a serious left ankle injury sidelined her for four months, will tackle Japanese qualifier Misaki Doi for a place in the last 16.

“It's been terrible. I had no muscles in my left calf after seven weeks on crutches. So I had to start to learn how to walk again,” said Lisicki, a quarter-finalist in 2009.

She next faces Japanese qualifier Misaki Doi, who put out China's Zheng Jie, and will again be looking to capitalise on her booming serve.

“I have always had a powerful serve. I think it's one of the best on women's tennis,” said the world number 62.

Defending champion Serena Williams struggled over three sets to defeat Romanian teenager Simona Halep 3-6 6-2 6-1, before sparking a sexism storm after her match was relegated to Court Two.

Williams's next opponent is Russia's Maria Kirilenko who defeated Tamarine Tanasugarn in the Thai's 15th consecutive Wimbledon.

Serbian 18th seed Ana Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open champion and who made the semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2007, eased past Greek world No121 Eleni Daniilidou 6-3 6-0.

The 23-year-old next faces Petra Cetkovska of the Czech Republic, who put out Polish 13th seed Agnieszka Radwanska, for a place in the last 16.

Svetlana Kuznetsova, the Russian 12th seed, and a two-time Grand Slam title winner, beat Romania's Alexandra Dulgheru 6-0 6-2 to set up a meeting with Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer, the 19th seed.

Birthday girl Francesca Schiavone, the sixth seed and 2010 Roland Garros champion, was also a winner on the day she turned 30 as the Italian beat Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic 7-5, 6-3.

Rain delays on the outside courts meant that top seed Caroline Wozniacki's tie with France's Virginie Razzano and 2004 champion Maria Sharapova's match aganist 17-year-old British wildcard Laura Robson, were held over until tonight

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Rising star Robson leads winning ladies on Day 3.

Young Briton Laura Robson led an impressive cast of women who advanced through the ladies' draw on Day 3 of The Championships.

Robson, just 17 years old and a former girls' singles champion here, held her nerve in a tense final set to defeat German Angelique Kerber in a fabulous come-from-behind victory, winning 4-6 7-6 6-3 in two hours and eight minutes.

Playing on Court 16 in front of a small yet vocal contingent, Robson remained calm despite nearly letting a 4-0 lead slip in the final set, celebrating jubilantly when Kerber struck her 15th unforced error. It was a case of third time lucky for the teenager - in her two prior Wimbledon main draw appearances she fell at the first hurdle.

Robson's performance belied her ranking of 254, as she struck an impressive 53 winners to only 30 errors. She joins fellow Briton Elena Baltacha in the second round.

Next up comes a stern test and will determine how her game stacks up against the game's best - she will take on No.5 seed and former Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova on Court No.1 tomorrow.

The 13th seed Agnieszka Radwanska and 2010 semi-finalist Tsvetana Pironkova breezed through their respective matches. Radwanska advanced to the second round after Belarusian opponent Olga Govortsova retired when trailing 0-6 0-3, citing a left ankle injury, while Pironkova moved through to the third round with a routine 6-1 6-4 win over Croatia's Petra Martic.

Pironkova, seeded 32, will be looking to exact revenge on her 2010 semi-final conqueror Vera Zvonareva in the next round, after the world No.2 defeated fellow Russian Elena Vesnina later in the day.

Also progressing with little difficulty was Sabine Lisicki, who reached the second round with a 6-1 6-1 thumping of Latvian Anastasija Sevastova. Lisicki, winner of the lead-up event in Birmingham and a Wimbledon quarter-finalist in 2009, is making a promising return from a left ankle injury which saw her ranking dip almost as low as 200.

Now back up to 62 in the world rankings, the German next faces a far greater test in the form of third seed and French Open champion Li Na.

Australian Jarmila Gajdosova moved relatively comfortably through to the second round with a straight-set win over Alona Bondarenko, a match featuring two players heading in opposite career directions.

Gajdosova came into the tournament ranked inside the Top 30, enjoying career-best form and fitness under the tutelage of coach Gavin Hopper. She clubbed 38 winners to 15 throughout the 7-5 6-3 victory over Bondarenko, formerly 19 in the world but now ranked outside the Top 100 after a season marred by a right knee injury.

The 25th seed Dominika Cibulkova played out a dramatic three-set affair against former teen prodigy Mirjana Lucic, winning 3-6 6-3 8-6 on Court 15.

Later in the evening, Andrea Petkovic and Daniela Hantuchova won their outside court encounters, albeit in contrasting styles. Hantuchova breezed through to the third round with a straight-sets dismissal of Kiwi qualifier Marina Erakovic. Petkovic, meanwhile, advanced to the same stage in rapidly fading light by staving off a fast-finishing Stephanie Dubois, wrapping up the match 6-3 4-6 6-3 at 9.20pm.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Stosur stumbles again, this time to lowest ranked player in draw.

Stosur, upset in the first round at Wimbledon for the second year in a row, was off Court 14 on Tuesday afternoon and trudging to the locker room before the scattering of fans had finished clapping for her No. 262 ranked opponent - entered on her Protected Ranking.

On a blustery Tuesday afternoon, with Stosur facing Melinda Czink, who had won one Wimbledon match in six appearances at the All England Club and who had gone out in the first round of 14 previous Grand Slams. You could count on the fingers of one hand the number of quality backhands Sam hit off the Wimbledon grass.

Stosur was down love-3 in the opening set before she could put together a run of points in this 6-3 6-4 defeat, but, though she didn’t play well, my sense was that Czink had a hot day serving and deserved credit.

Some expected a turn-around in set 2, but what they got was a 4-0 Czink lead in just 15 minutes.

The first match on Center Court saw two time defending champion Serena Williams kick off her campaign. Serena Williams was in tears and she was not quite sure why. She had just beaten Aravane Rezai 6-3 3-6 6-1 to begin the defence of her title and she could not stop sobbing. But after what she described as a "disaster year", she was finally back at her favourite tournament, on her favourite court - and she was winning again.

"I usually don't cry so I don't understand it," she gasped between the sobs. "It's been so hard, I never imagined I could be here."

As Wimbledon began, there were those who suggested that Serena had to be the favourite to defend her title. Where was the logic in that? Serena had not played for almost 12 months, she had suffered a freak foot injury - she trod on some broken glass in a Munich restaurant; she had had two bouts of surgery on that injury; she survived a pulmonary embolism (probably brought on by having her foot in a cast for weeks) and then had emergency surgery to clear a haematoma on her stomach. How could she be a favourite for the title?

But both Williams sisters have spent a career defying logic and put Serena within a few rounds of a major championship and she is a terrifying foe. Even so, when she opened the defence of her title she was playing only her third match in a year so surely she was bound to be a bit rusty. Rezai clearly thought so and went on the attack from the very start. As it turned out, that was not a good move.

Other players advancing included Wozniacki, Razzano, Yakimova, Baltacha, Pemg, Safarova, Zakopalova, Sharapova, Li, Ivanovic, Daniilidou, Bartoli, Dominguez, Kirilenko, Tanasugarn, Halep, Zahlavova-Strycova, Paszek, Dubois, Petkovic, Pavlychenkova, Petrova, Kateryna Bondarenko, Errani, Hantuchova, Erakovic, Benesova, Azarenka, Kvitova, Keothavong, Marino, Vinci, Martinez Sanchez, Pironkova and Martic.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Schiavone's expirence shines under Centre Court roof.

Italy's Francesca Schiavone became the first player to wrap up a win under the Centre Court roof at the 2011 Championships when she finished off the challenge of Australia's Jelena Dokic 6-4 1-6 6-3 in a match briefly interrupted by rain.

While play was halted around the rest of the grounds, the two veteran players had the advantage of being able to enjoy a quick rest and then resume battle in a match which was perfectly poised at one-set-all and one-game-all.

Schiavone then took the lead at 2-1 and broke for 3-1. This was a golden chance for Schiavone to open up a clear gap but she lost her own serve immediately, double-faulting to go three break points down and then standing no chance against a service return winner down the line from Dokic.

However, a double-fault from 28-year-old Dokic - who originally made her name with a first round win against reigning champion Martina Hingis in 1999 - handed Schiavone a 5-3 lead and another opportunity to wrap up victory. She had to save four game points before doing so but eventually a wide forehand from Dokic handed the former French Open champion victory after two hours and five minutes on court.

Meanwhile Zvonareva, Vesina, Venus Williams, Date Krumm, Niculescu, Kuznetsova, Dulgheru, Tatishvili, Wickmayer, Errani, Parmentier, Pervak and McHale all posted wins before rain delays and light stoped play.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Wimbledon - Ten Women to watch

Interesting article from The Daily Forehand...and need I say, I do very much agree. Especially, Especially! Putting the Russian from Maria in inverted commas...god they've thought of everything!

Li Na's victory at the 2011 French Open showed just how wide open women's tennis is today, and that any number of women are capable of winning a grand slam title. Though things are slightly less open with the return of the Williams sisters and their combined total of nine career Wimbledon singles titles, there's still a lot of possibilites. Here's look at ten of the biggest contenders for the Wimbledon 2011 Ladies' Singles crown (in order of their positions in the draw).

Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) [1] -- Let me be clear about this: Caroline Wozniacki is not going to win Wimbledon. I don't see any way for her to make it past the quarterfinals, and furthermore it's extremely likely that she'll lose in the third round for the second consecutive slam. The only reason she's in this article at all is because she holds the WTA No. 1 ranking. She's a more impressive slamless No. 1 than either Dinara Safina or Jelena Jankovic was, for sure, and she could win a slam some day, but this won't be it. Grass exposes her lack of offense, and she's got a monster of a draw. After a pretty easy first two rounds against Arantxa Parra Santonja and either Virginie Razzano or Sania Mirza, Wozniacki runs into the incredible power of Aussie Jarmila Gajdosova, who gave Venus Williams all she could handle in the fourth round of Wimbledon last year. If she survives that match, she likely gets hard hitting Julia Goerges, who already has beaten Wozniacki twice this year. And if she survives that somehow, she will almost certainly run into Maria Sharapova. Get ready for the hard court season, Caro.

Maria Sharapova ("Russia") [5] -- Before her impressive run to the French Open semifinals, Maria Sharapova hadn't made the semifinals of a grand slam in over two years. But playing her best tennis in recent memory, Sharapova should cruise in this tournament. She has a rough potential fourth round match up against Samantha Stosur, but Stosur is so streaky on grass that she likely won't even make it to the second week. Sharapova should be able to hande Wozniacki/Gajdosova/Goerges in the quarterfinal, setting up what should be an incredible semifinal against Li Na, Marion Bartoli, or Serena Williams.

Li Na (China) [3] -- At her highest ever ranking and stepping onto her favorite surface, French Open champion Li Na should like where her game has taken her lately. What she should like less is her draw. The second quarter of the Ladies' Singles bracket is arguably the toughest, and Li will have her hands full from the jump. Her first round opponent is Alla Kudryavtseva, who famously knocked out Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon in 2008 (though hasn't done much since). Next would likely be Sabine Lisicki, a former Wimbledon quarterfinalist who just won the grass warm-up in Birmingham last week. Either Ana Ivanovic or Agnieszka Radwanska could prove tricky in the fourth round, and Serena Williams and Marion Bartoli lurk in the quarterfinals. Li plowed a tough road to get the French Open title last month, and Wimbledon won't be any easier.

Marion Bartoli (France) [9] -- After a shocking run to the semifinals of her home slam (on her worst surface, no less), Marion Bartoli should be going into Wimbledon with more confidence than ever. As her run to the 2007 Wimbledon final and five straight semifinals in Eastbourne (and her first title there this year) attest, grass is by far her best surface. Her subpar speed isn't as exposed, and the flat angles she gets on her shots are less retrievable. In another part of the draw (the third quarter, namely), Bartoli would be considered a favorite to make the semifinals. But she was drawn into Serena Williams' eighth of the bracket, so her odds of even making the quarters are slim. But if Serena is off her game (and she well could be at some point with her long layoff), Bartoli could definitely take advantage.

Serena Williams (United States) [7] -- The Wimbledon seeding committee bumped Serena up to the eighth seed (becoming seventh when Kim Clijsters withdrew), which almost seems low considering that she is the two-time defending champion at SW19. While Venus is more of a grass specialist (of sorts), grass has to be considered Serena's best surface as well. But, of course, there's the whole issue of Serena having only played one tournament (this week in Eastbourne) since last winning Wimbledon. That said, her preparation for Wimbledon seems to have been about as good as possible. She played six tough sets of tennis in Eastbourne against Wimbledon 2010 semifinalists, shaking off the rust to survive Tsvetana Pironkova in the first round before falling in three to top-seed Vera Zvonareva. Those matches should prepare her well for her road at Wimbledon, which is is certainly no cakewalk. Serena gets the always dangerous (but struggling) Aravane Rezai in the first round, and then either Simona Halep or Bojana Jovanovski in the second, depending on which makes it out of their first round clash. In the fourth round Serena would face an always tricky (and tough to prepare for) Marion Bartoli, and then a rematch of the 2010 Wimbledon quarterfinal against Li Na. If Serena is going to be the first woman since Steffi Graf in 1993 to win a third consecutive Wimbledon, she's going to have to work for it.

Francesca Schiavone (Italy) [6] -- Francesca Schiavone made the quarterfinals of Wimbledon back in 2009, but its decidedly her worst surface. Jelena Dokic, who is in the finals of the grass court tournament in 's-Hertogenbosch, could well take her out in the first round. If Dokic doesn't do the deed, Ekaterina Makarova should be able to in the third. And if neither of them can, Andrea Petkovic should be able to hit through her in the fourth round. In any event, Fran's not making it deep into the fortnight.

Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) [4] -- Vika Azarenka is a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside a Nike dress. She just retired from a match for the FOURTH time in 2011 in Eastbourne this week, so her health could be considered fairly suspect. Grass should suit her game nicely, and none of her recent injuries have been enough to keep her out of action for any prolonged period. Azarenka gets a tough test right away with grass specialist Magdalena Rybarikova in the first round, and another in the third round against the hot Daniela Hantuchova, fresh off a run to the Birmingham final and wins over Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki. This third quarter is there for the taking, though, so if Azarenka can make it past Hantuchova she should be able to make her first career grand slam semifinal.

Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic) [8] -- Wimbledon 2010 semifinalist Petra Kvitova was a popular pick to win her first grand slam title at the French Open, but fell into a long stretch of erraticness in a fourth round loss to eventual champion Li Na. Grass should be even better for her game than clay (as a run to the finals of Eastbourne shows), and she's got a draw that will let her get her feet under her nicely. Her first real challenge would come against Svetlana Kuznetsova in the fourth round, but a quarterfinal against Venus Williams or Vera Zvonareva would be a real challenge for the Czech lefty. The incredible fight she put up against Serena Williams in the semifinal last year proved that she's an incredible fighter, though, and she can't be counted out against anyone in the draw.

Venus Williams (United States) [23] -- Five-time champion Venus Williams needs little introduction when it comes to Wimbledon. Her seeding of No. 23 may look unimposing, but its the same seed she had when she won the tournament in 2007. Out with an abdominal injury since January, Venus played pretty solidly in her three warm-up matches in Eastbourne, looking pretty sharp given her rust. She's volleying well, serving well, and moving well. So watch out, field. For her resilience, Venus is rewarded with a real tricky draw, against the enormous Akgul Ammanmuradova in the first round, and tricky oldster Kimiko Date-Krumm in the second. In the third round, she gets No. 15 seed Jelena Jankovic, who upset Venus at Wimbledon in 2006. Jankovic is an extremely tough out, and will definitely test Venus' fitness with long rallies. If she gets past Jankovic, Wimbledon 2010 runner-up awaits in the fourth round, followed by Petra Kvitova. A tall order for the tall champion, to be sure.

Vera Zvonareva (Russia) [2] -- Though she had an incredibly impressive win over Serena Williams in Eastbourne this week, last year's surprise runner up has the odds stacked against her with her Wimbledon draw this year. American grass court superstar Alison Riske is Zvonareva's first round opponent, and she could face Tsvetana Pironkova in the third round, in what would be a rematch of their semifinal last year. If she survives those tests, Venus Williams looms. Vera has been a stellar early rounder at slams recently, though, so she could definitely pull off a surprise or two.

I would like to re instate, this article is NOT mine, just for the purposes of hatin' and what not. Anyway, The Daily Forehand also did an interesting piece on six day 1 matches to keep an eye on.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Rant time - Margaret Court, out dated and over rated.

I have not had a rant on the blog for a while and with Wimbledon around the corner, people begin to talk about slams, records, who has won how many and so on. It defiantly happens near the start of every slam, and in Australia one name pops up, Margaret Court and so does talk of her number of slams, and how no one will catch it. This really displeases me as I do find Margaret Court over rated and she holds a very outdated and ignorant. In this case, ignorance is most defiantly not bliss.

Court, a member of The International Tennis Hall of Fame is regarded by some as the greatest female tennis player of all time, I believe this statement is incredibly false and believe her opinion is bad for tennis. Court won a total of 24 Grand Slam titles, only 11 in the open era essentially meaning the majority of her titles came when professionals were banned from playing as she her self decided to not go pro.

During Court's era the skill level and ability of players was allot less, and no, it was not just because of equipment! If we were to take Margaret Court at her peek and put her against players like Chris Evertt, Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, Matrina Navratilova, Serena Williams, Kim Clijsters, Justine Henin, Venus Williams at their peeks, she would not stand much chance...if any at all. Court is very lucky to be born in the period she did.

Now to her personal opinion, first anyone who trains to be a minister and opens their own church is crazy in my eyes. Not only that but she has her own TV Show as well...on the Australian Christian Channel! Now anyway in 1990 Court stated that Martina Navratilova and other lesbian and bisexual players were ruining the sport of tennis and setting a bad example for younger 1994 when delivering a speech at Parliament House in Canberra, Court exclaimed that "Homosexuality is an abomination to the Lord! Abortion is an abomination to the Lord!" then in 2002, Court said that homosexuals commit "sins of the flesh" and can be "changed" I mean to say those things in a contemporary society in the 1990's and 2000's is just wrong.

Margaret Court is over rate and holds an outdated prejudice opinion that should not be publicly expressed by an influential person such as her self, her expressing these opinions is very bad for the sport.

Thankyou for your time, and for what its worth I think Navratilova is the GOAT, but there is someone else who is not far behind.

Baroli wins AGEON Internatinol while Vinci takes out UNICEF Open.

With rain washing the entire Friday schedule out, both women had to double up on Saturday morning, Bartoli routing No.7 seed Sam Stosur in an hour and 10 minutes, 6-3 6-1, and Kvitova ending Daniela Hantuchova's run with a 7-6 4-2 retirement victory - Hantuchova retired with a left abdominal strain.

Down a match point in the first round, it wasn't looking like her tournament. But Marion Bartoli never stopped believing and after surviving Lucie Safarova she kept on going, and Saturday she toughed out a 6-1 4-6 7-5 win over another Czech lefty, Petra Kvitova, for her first grass court title at the Premier-level AEGON International in Eastbourne.

In her first grass court final but a semifinalist at Wimbledon last year, the No.5-seeded Kvitova used her big power game to push the match to a third, right to 5-all - but Bartoli broke and served it out, Kvitova misfiring a forehand to end it.

Kvitova compiled the bigger numbers in the final with 40 winners and 41 errors (Bartoli had 14 winners and 20 errors). But Bartoli had bigger numbers on the bigger points (5/11 on break points compared to 3/10 for Kvitova).

Bartoli captured her sixth WTA title and first on grass. It was her second Premier-level WTA title, following her win in Stanford in 2009. She has now won 13 of her last 15 matches going into the grass court major, Wimbledon.

OMG, Marion! One hand!?
Wow, again! Now thats just show gloating...

Meanwhile in The Neatherlands, The two 28-year-olds had both pulled off upsets en route to the final, the No.7-seeded Vinci taking out both No.3 seed Yanina Wickmayer and No.5 seed Dominika Cibulkova and Dokic beating No.4 seed Flavia Pennetta.

The final was tight from the start, with an early exchange of breaks followed by neither player budging in their service games. Dokic held set points at 5-4 and 6-5; Vinci saved them all and eventually got her own at 6-5 in the tie-break but it was not to be and Dokic finally converted on her fifth set point at 8-7.

Vinci rebounded with a 6-3 second set and broke for a chance to serve out the match at 5-4 in the third; Dokic broke back but Vinci broke again and served it out at 6-5, squandering three match points from 40-0 up but grabbing the fourth

On the day it was the all-court game that overcame, as Roberta Vinci edged Jelena Dokic, 6-7 6-3 7-5

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Wimby Whites 2011.

We have already seen what some players wore at the pre-party. So why not take a look at what players are expected to ware during The Championships.

First of all, Nike.

Maria Sharapova will be bringing style and elegance in her whit and gold ensemble. While her 'minions' will be wearing the tank and skort.

Sometimes simplicity is the key!

Serena Williams will be looking fierce in her Nike dress with plunging neck line and pleats.

Victoria Azarenka will be looking good in her Nike dress with roman waste while French Open winner Li Na will be wearing a timeless classic polo and skort.

And now to Adidas!

Ana Ivanovic and Daniela Hantuchova will look the part in their Adidas 'Feather Dress'

The Adilbra girls (Robson, Cirstiea etc.) will wear this tanks along with a skort.

While Stella McCartney is expected to show case nothing new again, Caroline Wozniacki will wear the same dress she debuted at Indian Wells except in white.
I hope this information is wrong, and Caro decides to wear a new dress.

Pics - Tennis Dresses & TennisForum

Friday, June 17, 2011

What do the hallowed lwans have in stall for 2011...Wimbledon draw Anaylsis and Prediction.

Whack on the whites, line up for strawberries and cream the proceed to make your way to the pims tent. Wimbledon is here again and promises to be a rather interesting tournament as the most successful players, especially on the grass of SW19, over the last decade Serena and Venus Williams are both returning from lengthy breaks. This poses many question, can the great champions put rust aside to return to great from? Can Wozniacki finally make that break through? Can Maria reinstate her self at the top? Or can someone shake up the women's game?

First Quarter

Do I need to go through the whole Caroline searching for her maiden slam thing again? Well sorry Caro but you better get ready to do it all again at Flushing Meadows. Caroline has be given a very challenging quarter which will see her possibly face up against Miza, Gajdosova, Cibulkova and Goerges before the quarter finals. I would assume (hope) that Jarka will beat her in the 3rd round setting up a heavy hitting 4th round match with Goerges, which should be highly entertaining. But who will be the other player in the quarter final? Well I can't even pretend that's a difficult question! Sharapova will prevail in a 4th round clash with Peng, duhhh!
Predicted QF - Julia Goerges vs Maria Sharapova

Second Quarter

Now this is where it begins to get interesting! Many would expect Li Na to make it to the quarter final, I on the other hand beg to differ. Toughest second round match - Sabine Lisicki which for some reason I see Sabine winning and making it to the 4th round only to lose to Agnieszka Radwanska, sorry Sabine. The it only gets getter Serena Williams and Marion Bartoli in the 4th round! OMG talking about anticipated. Inform versus Comeback, would have Serena gotten rid of the rust? It could possible be one of the better 4th round matches and I can't wait to match it.

Predicted QF - Agnieszka Radwanska vs Serena Williams

Third Quarter

Okay so if you ever wanted a definition of unpredictable just check out the top half of this quarter. Well umm Dokic will beat Fran in the first round. Oh there will be a qualifier in the 2nd round. I think Petko should win her 1st round match...that's all I am willing to predict. Its just too difficult! The bottom half of this quarter however features the best 3rd round match Azarenka and, talk about QF worthy, who ever wins that match is with out a doubt going straight to the SF.
Predicted QF - Andrea Petkovic vs Umm, going out a limb here (biased) Victoria Azarenka

Fourth Quarter

Well well, Kvitova looks pretty good to make it to the QF but then again there is always the unpredictability of Svetlana Kuznetsova and Yanina Wickmayer. Kvitova would like to hops she can go far with her stack of points to defend from last years SF run. While in the lower sector of this quarter a blockbuster 4th round clash looks likely to played out between Venus Williams and Vera Zvonareva, oh how blogging is challenging. This match could possibly be one again one of the best matches of the tournament.

Predicted QF - Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Vera Zvonareva

QF's predictions

Julia Goerges vs Maria Sharapova
Well this could be very very interesting! Maria will be on grass but Julia can be very very dangerous. It will be a hard hitting tussle and Julia will be looking forward to avenging her tough three set loss to Maria in the Australian open this year, its going to be tough, powerful and won by Maria.

Agnieska Radwanska vs Serena Williams
Should this really be written about, Serena will be to strong and to good for Radwanska on the day.

Andrea Petkovic vs Victoria Azarenka
Azarenka is going to make her SF break through, I just know it will be here! I can feel it!

Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Vera Zvonareva
Well to be completely honest Vera will win this one too, I mean yeah, yeah. Sveta should just be happy I am putting her into the QF.

SF Predictions

Maria Sharapova vs Serena Williams
Its going to be loud and powerful and won by the better server. Serena should just be stoked to be in SF and yes its lovely blah blah blah, but Maria will be too good for the returning, possibly still rusty Serena.

Victoria Azarenka vs Vera Zvonareva
Drama and melt downs, flips a coin, lets see who wins. There will be towels over heads, screams and busted raquets, high drama but in all honestly, its the only reason I watch tennis! Vera in three.

Maria Sharapova

Vera Zvonareva

Yeah I know huge call by me, but I think its the right time for her to make the break through and Maria, well shes still unpredictable and unreliable with her shoulder.

Picture perfect Beautiful - Wimbledon pre party.

The red carpet was rolled out last night for the Wimbledon pre-party and our favourite tennis starts did not disappoint in the style section...Okay well some of them looked good others however, well they do say a picture says a thousand words.

First of all, the 'Queen of Tennis Fashion' Maria Sharapova does not disappoint in her red Alexander McQueen dress. Sharapova does look stunning and yes, I want that dress!

Of course, for those who do not know Alexander McQueen was also the label behind the Duchess of Cambridge's gorgeous wedding dress and sister Pippa's bridesmaid dress which earned her behind public recognition...including its very own facebook page!

Sharapova wasn't the only tennis start sporting red as Jelena Jankovic was wearing the same shade in a dress by my favourite designer, Vivienne Westwood. Westwood's designs also recorded critical acclaim, for the wrong reasons, at the Royal Wedding as Princess Eugenie sported a less favourable creation by the world renowned fashion designer.

Oh yeah and Vivienne also made the famous Sex and The City wedding dress of Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker)

Returning after a tad under a year layoff, Serena Williams made sure she would stand out at the part as she wore a figure hugging turquoise green Burberry creation which accentuated her body figure...not as much as last year's outfit though!
I really like the shoes Serena!

Anastasia Pavlychenkova had an interesting outfit that I am not sure suited her or not, all I know is that I am not a fan Pav...better luck next time! While Andrea Petkovic was wearing a simple pink Richard Nicoll dress which did look quite good on her. Hair and make up on the other hand were a letdown.
British hopefuls Laura Robson and Heather Watson wore Temperly and Mulberry respectively.
As Bethanie Mattek Sands teamed up with Lady Gaga's designer Alex Noble she most defiantly did not disappoint as we were left to expect a creations of tennis balls and racquet string! Well, I think this just tops some of her other crazy on-court creations.
 Sania Mirza was pretty in pink and looking amazing, her to die for engagement ring was present too!

Vania King and Tsvetana Prionkova managed to bring style despite heavy sock tans. I think the pleasant surprise of the part for me was Pironkova.

Ana Ivanovic combined colour an glamour successfully to create a nice outfit.  However Caroline Wozniacki chose an unflattering Stella Mcartney design which looks passable from this angle but does not complement her figure when looking at the dress front on.

And now my absolute favourites from the players party, Sabine Lisicki and Sorana Cirstiea.

Couldn't find out who the wore but both look stunning in their outfits and everything worked well for them, hair, makeup, shoes, everything!

Who were your favourites?

Azarenka leavs Eastbourne with groin injury. Kvitova survives one more scare.

It is doubtful whether Daniela Hantuchova flounced back into the locker room at Devonshire Park and proudly proclaimed, "No one beats Daniela Hantuchova 11 times in a row", as Vitas Gerulaitis was supposed to have done after ending a run of 16 consecutive defeats to Jimmy Connors.

The leggy Slovak said her record against Venus Williams never entered her head but she looked pretty happy when she brought Williams's comeback to a halt at the Aegon International here yesterday. There are, however, the mitigating circumstances of Venus's five-month lay-off.

There are limits to what even the Williams sisters can achieve and winning a third match in four days against the cream of the women's game after such absence turned out to be one of them. In cold, blustery conditions that would have tested a skilled yachtsman never mind a tennis player, she found Hantuchova just a bit too steady for her – just as the world No1 Caroline Wozniacki had done at the French Open – and she lost 6-2 5-7 6-2.

Not only had Hantuchova lost 10 times out of 10 to her opponent – and eight times of nine to Serena – she had only ever won one set against Venus, so serving for the second one in nine years took some nerve. And when Venus came back to level at one set all, last week's finalist in Birmingham stayed strong.

Hantuchova's semi final opponent will be rising star, Czech Petra Kvitova. Kvitova set up the semi-final clash with Hantuchova with a comeback victory over Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska. The Czech star lost the opening set 6-1 but recovered well to take the following two sets 6-2 7-6 to win the two-hour tussle.

In the other half of the draw, Australian Samantha Stosur fought back from a set down to dispatch Russian top seed Vera Zvonareva in a titanic two-hour-48-minute match.

The turning point appeared to be game 11 in the second set, when Stosur held her serve following 11 deuces, the seventh seed going on to seal a 4-6 7-6 6-4 win.

Stosur goes on to face Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli in the semi-finals after her Belarusian opponent Victoria Azarenka was forced to retire at 2-6 0-2 down.

"Marion's a very tough player," said Stosur of her last-four opponent. "She's been playing very well lately and grass is probably her best surface. But I'll give it my best shot."

Pic - Tennis Dresses

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bjorn Borg tips Sharapova to clam Wimbledon title.

Maria Sharapova is Bjorn Borg's tip to claim her second Wimbledon title.

The Russian won her first Grand Slam at SW19 as a 17-year-old in 2004 and reached the semis at the French Open last month.

Sharapova lost to defending champion Serena Williams last year in the fourth round. But Borg doubts the American can reclaim her title.

"I hope Serena comes back and enjoys her tennis and finds motivation but I don't think she is going to win this year," he said.

"Sharapova has struggled and grass is not her favourite surface but she is playing well enough to win here."

The only thing I can fault is I am pretty sure grass is Maria's favourite surface...

Venus wins, Serena loses and Kim is out.

It says something about this extraordinary player that most people expected Serena Williams to progress against the world No 3 Vera Zvonareva in only her second match back after a year's absence from the game – and she wasn't far away from making it. As it is, the Aegon International will have to make do with just one comeback queen from that family in the quarter-finals after Venus Williams powered her way past former world No 1 Ana Ivanovic.

Serena actually served for the match at 5-4 in the second set and but for a double fault on break point might have made it. She still showed plenty of her famous tenacity and courage in coming back from 5-2 down to pull level in the third set, but just couldn't quite keep up the revival. Consequently, it was something of an anticlimactic victory for the No 1 seed, who won 3-6, 7-6, 7-5 in just over three hours, which was at least some compensation for the American; what Serena needed most of all was time on court and she's had five hours this week.

As a result, she will go into Wimbledon next week in better shape than she has any right to expect and fully justifying her bumped-up seeding.

Venus Williams continued her winning return with a straight-sets demolition of former world number one Ana Ivanovic at Eastbourne.

The five-time Wimbledon winner, who is joining her sister Serena in a return from long-term absence this week, moved closer to top form with a 6-3 6-2 victory over the Serb.

The second round victory took just over an hour and she will now prepare for a quarter-final on the English south coast on Thursday.

"I feel I'm playing very tough, playing well on big points," said Venus, who last competed at the tournament 13 years ago. "I just need to continue.

"These matches have been huge and crucial for me to just get back literally into the swing of things. I'm focusing on all the positives, and I think there's a lot of them.

Meanwhile the last of the big 3, Kim Clijsters, has been forced to withdraw due to an ankle injury she re-sustained this week. The world No. 2 Belgian was advised by doctors to withdraw from the grand slam, which starts on Monday, after carrying out tests yesterday.

Her demise saw Sam Stosur rise to 10th seeding, with fellow Australian Jarmila Gajdosova moving up one place to 27th seed.

Defending champion Serena Williams, who was originally promoted from 26th in the rankings to eighth seed, will now be No. 7.

Bulgarian Tsevtana Pironkova moved into the seedings at No. 32.

Clijsters, who injured her right foot at the Unicef Open in the Netherlands on Tuesday, used Twitter to reveal she would not be playing next week.

"Hey guys, bad news... No Wimbledon for me this year," she said.

Oh yeah and I heard Sabine got her wild card :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Serena to be seeded 8 - okay on my phone in bed, wont let me type anything in the blog box so...ranked 24? I think, defending champ Serena Williams will be the eigth seed at Wimbledon 2011. Sister Venus will be the twenty forth seed.

Serena shakes off rust to win first match of comeback.

There is no denying she is the biggest fighter, and boy did see need to dig deep today. And now she has a 2010 Wimby final rematch on her hands!

Okay so the first set was bad, but you know, what more could you expect people? In case you forgot she did just have a year layoff and yes she did nearly die and yes Tsvetana is pretty good on grass. So Serena's tentative Wozniacki-esque half swing shot play saw her quickly down 0-5, but finally warmed up. as things go Serena held to 1-5 but Tsvetana served it out.

Second set, Serena decides to rock up and she bought her serve with her bursting out the banks to storm to 4-0 lead. Pironkova got one of the breaks back but couldn't manage the other as Serena served out the set 6-3 and got her first love game win in there some where too! And she eventually won the match 1-6 6-3 6-4.

And seriously, well done to Serena Williams, she was coming into her own more and more in the second two sets and I imagine she will want to forget the first sharpish. She's by no means back to her best but there are definitely signs that she could be there soon.

Serena said in here post match presser, "It's great to be back and I'm excited. Tsvetana is a great player – she beat Venus at Wimbledon last year. I'm rusty yeah, but I really enjoy playing on grass. And I'm honestly just taking things one day at a time."

Oh yeah and meanwhile in 's-Hertogenbosch Kim Clijsters has suffered a big blow losing to world number 81 6-7 3-6 and to make things worst she appeared to re-injure her ankle...thing not looking good for Kim.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

ZOMG! Guys, you have no idea how much I would pay to see this!

Can't wait for the world tour...

Don't worry Petko, its just cause shes a Williams.

Venus Williams made a successful return to action with a 7-5 5-7 6-3 victory over Andrea Petkovic at Eastbourne.

The AEGON International represents Williams' first tournament since the Australian Open, when she retired after one game of her third round match - ironically against Petkovic - with a hip injury.

The 30-year-old double-faulted twice in her opening service game and took a couple of tumbles on the damp lawns, but otherwise enjoyed her return to tennis.

"It was definitely an adventure today...the conditions, falling down on every point," she joked. "I was extremely excited coming back with a win against a player who has been playing so well the last 12 months."

It was never going to be an easy comeback for Williams against the German who has risen to 11th in the world rankings.

She took advantage of Williams' rustiness to lead 4-2 early on but was broken in the eighth game before the American went on to take the set.

The eighth seed levelled the match before Williams saved four break points in the decider, converting on her only break point against her opponent's serve to close out the match.

Third seed Victoria Azarenka also advanced through to the second round after overcoming China's Shuai Peng 6-4 7-6 and Czech fifth seed Petra Kvitova beat Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 5-7 6-1 6-3.

Australian Samantha Stosur, who is seeded seventh, easily saw off the challenge of Nadia Petrova of Russia 6-1 6-4, while Spain's Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez picked up a 7-5 6-3 victory over Israeli Shahar Peer.

Polish hopeful Agnieszka Radwanska was pushed all the way by Jarmila Gajdosova before recording a 7-6 7-5 win.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Give her a WC...let her keep it all

Sabine Lisicki dropped a big hint for a wild card entry to Wimbledon last night after reaching the final of the Aegon Classic singles.

The German beat Chinese hope Shuai Peng 6-3, 6-1 to set up a clash with Daniela Hantuchova at the Edgbaston Priory Club and in a plea to the All England Club, said: 'There are still a couple of wild cards left, so we'll see. I wouldn't mind one at all, I think I deserve one. But it's not my choice.

'If they don't give me a wild card I will play the qualifiers because I love Wimbledon.'

Hantuchova, who beat Serbia's Ana Ivanovic 6-7, 6-3, 6-2, said: 'I'm here to prepare for Wimbledon - and the way it has been going, I couldn't ask for more, but I don't want to put pressure on myself!'
Lisicki, who suffered an ankle injury at Indian Wells and only recently returned to action, added: 'It was a hard road back because it felt like I had no muscles in my leg and it was really tough mentally and physically.'

A win on Sunday morning against the favourite Hantuchova would complete a superb comeback - and probably clinch that Wimbledon wild card, too.

A forecast of heavy rain later on Sunday has prompted organisers to start the final at 10am.

However, apparently Lisicki has already used up all her eligible Wild Cards? So, if Wimbledon were to offer her a wild-card and she were to accept she may have to forfeit all points and prize money she earns, because the WTA are just like that.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Seren'a close friend Andy Roddick says her return is what tennis needs.

Men's tennis star Andy Roddick says that Serena Williams' return will bring a much-needed strength to the women's game and he's welcoming the comeback of his fellow American.

Roddick thinks that women’s tennis has not been in good situation without Serena:

"I mean, I think, no disrespect to any of the women that are playing right now, but I think women's tennis needs that dominating figure."

And a defense of her 2010 Wimbledon title would not be an impossible accomplishment for Serena, according to Roddick:

"I don't think it would shock anybody if she came through and won it again. It's very smart of her to play a lead-up event [Serena's playing Eastbourne], especially after being gone for a year."

Also, Roddick admires the extra things Serena brings to tennis:

"She's a great champion, but she brings pop culture to tennis. She brings crossover appeal and creates storylines even when she's not trying which, at the end of the day, is a healthy thing for our sport."

I mean these two are great friends and they go way back, and yes I did once hold hope they would marry because seriously, they get along pretty well and known each other since dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Cute presser guys...

Source - Women's Tennis Blog