Thursday, July 28, 2011

Serena's eyes set on top after dominating first match on US Soil since 2009

Let the stat's speak for them selves;

6 aces
100% first serve points won (17/17)
82% second serve return points won
Faced no break points
83% service points won
71% total points won
6-0, 6-0
47 minutes

Nice to Serena back to being Serena.

Next up for Serena is Maria Kirilenko who upset German Julia Goerges 6-2 6-3 in an impressive performance.

Another player who cause a bit of a stir was Ayumi Morita who upset 8th seeded Ana Ivanovic, as Ivanovic continues to struggle with her career.

Sorry to keep it short sharp and shiny guys but still a little jet lagged!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Why, hello there!

I am back in the land down after my little stint in LA. I had not yet been to LA, all the other times I have been to America I tended to spend most of my time on the East Coast. So it was a little different. But now I get the chance to voice my opinion of your craziness. Firstly all your light switches are upside down! It doesn't make any sense. Every time I said "three" all the locals thought I was saying "two" how can you possibly get three and two mixed up? And fortunately for me my US phone number just happened to have about twenty three's in it! And yes, you do drive on the wrong side of the road! Apart from that it was a great time and even better to escape the freezing Melbourne temperature! And now, as always, happy snaps. Bare with me, I think I got quite a few to share!
Sadly, we were still in Melbourne Airport when Sam went crazy
My boyfriend geek wanted a pic with the apple store
This is only the "large" meal.
Healthier lunch
Being all gangsta and what not
Santa Monica..I think
Just casually looking ahhmaizing after waking  up.
Crazy dogs and my holidays just mix.
Hollywood Boulevard? I honestly don't know! :\
Oh hai jks just the Boulevard.
My parent's always thought I had a talent.
OMG a borwn pigeon! Yeah Sam found that one a little too intresting.
My life is now complete!
At least Sam can keep his eyes open for a photo...
Now, this is defiantly Santa Monica! 
Why so many choices? 
Bean, Sabine! Woop Woop.
War of the worlds!
WISTERIA LANE! Hello, Lynette Scalvo! 
The Grinch!
More healthy food!
Damn right.
This one is defiantly Hollywood Boulevard Mall whatever. 

I have waaaay to much time on my hands!
Not only did I survive 'Carmagetan' also Jurassic Park! 
Rest assured, Sam found ways to entertain himself after leaving. 
Well that's about it for now...hope you didn't miss me too much!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The week that was.

  • In the week that the Spanish Armada ruled Anabel Medina Garrigus and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez won tournaments in Plaermo and Bad Gastein respectively. But it was MJMS who took out the ridiculous trophy award.
  • Serena Williams beat Martina Hinigis 5-3 in WTT. And The following night Martina Hingis Beat Serena Williams in WTT 5-3. Tennis Forum went comeback crazy when this story leaked. Hingis is playing Pro-Am not the actual tournament.
  • Elena Dementieva got hitched on the weekend. I now await babies. Alla Kudryavtseva leaked photos and put her bet on Maria Kirilenko and Igor Andreev to be the next Russian sport couple to walk down the aisle despite Vera (not Zvonerava) catching to bouquet.
  • The WTA welcomed Baku, Baku can already boast the third lowest main draw cut off rank (260, narrowly going down too Tashkent 2006 (262) and Bogota 2003 (263).
  • Jarka and Gools played some sweet tennis on a huge mountain, sadly they couldn't put that into their singles matches and Bad Gastein. And they lost the doubles final together to.
  • Aga reminded us not to sext text and drive. Good ad, good message, why Aga? 
  • After a long discussion it is know known Serena will be using  her Protected Ranking to enter tournaments. 
  • A blast from the past was bought back to life, once again kudos to Tennis Forum. 
  • And finally YouTube user TopTenTennisNetwork bought us the magic of Petra Kvitova, in case you wanted more proof, this *is* 222 reasons why.
And that was my view and review of the tennis week that was. Now a little something on  the side;

"Wife of the Year" Wendy Ding did something most wives wouldn't. And the incident was recreated in easy to understand subtitles. 

EDIT: Almost forgot, Caroline Wozniacki is dating or holding hands or doing something with Rory McIlroy. Maybe its the closet she will get to a major tournament, who knows. All I knows is I don't care, and who could? WE HAVE MARIA KIRILENKO'S WEDDING TO GET EXCITED ABOUT ANYWAY. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Alisa Kleybanova diagnosed with cancer.

News broke today on twitter that twenty-two-year-old today Russian tennis star Alisa Kleybanova has been diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkins Lymphoma. World number 28 has been out of action for months with a mysterious illness and the tragic news broke today detailing what the illness was.

Kleybanova is receiving treatment in Italy and I am sure I speak for the tennis world when I say we hope and pray she recovers well and is able to get back onto the court as soon as possible.

My thoughts and prays reach out to her and her family also during this tough time. And hope they can get through this very upsetting time.

EDIT: Since posting this article Alisa has made a statement regarding the illness. 

Hello everyone :)

It's my birthday today and I want to thank all of you for the wonderful messages and wishes. I haven't written anything for a long time about why I haven't been on tour, so I would like to do it today.

It's not an easy time for me right now. I have Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of cancer. I'm having treatment in Italy and it's going well, but it takes lots of patience and time, and I need to be really strong and positive to go through this. I still have a few more months of treatment to go. But the good news is, if I feel well after I'm done with everything, there's a chance that I'll be able to play tennis again. There is nothing for sure, but the chance is a big hope for me and it helps me to stay positive and focus on my healing every single day! I really miss playing - I miss seeing fans and friends around the world, I miss hitting the ball, I miss everything. Tennis has been my life for the last 15 years.

There are a few reasons why I'm undergoing treatment in Italy. First, I have a training base and many close friends here, so it's like a second home. Second, the hospital in Perugia is one of the best in Italy that specializes in this problem and the doctors are doing everything the best for me. It's just the perfect place for me to be - the surroundings help me to feel at home.

I am a strong person. I've shown it before. Obviously this is different than anything I've ever experienced, but after this is over I'm sure my life will be even better than ever before. This is the toughest time of my life till now, and I hope it always remains the toughest time of my life. I'm sure I'll be able to overcome this - it's just a matter of patience and time and I believe I have enough!

Of course, even though I'm in treatment, I hope I'll have a fun birthday today :) I'm really happy I have my family, my best friends and all the most important people with me here today. They're here every day, week and month helping me with everything and giving me all their support.

Anyway, I just wanted to write to you all because it has been a long time and I really miss all of you guys... I won't be on tour for a little while, but I really hope to see all of you again soon :)


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Living on a Prayer.

Well, happy first birthday to the blog! Although Emily is on holiday in Los Angeles, she took the time to write a post regarding her blog being active for a whole year now!

Well, to be honest I do not know how I managed to have a blog, having in running for a year is just exceeded all of my expectations! I suppose that in all honesty I owe it all to Marija, from Women's Tennis Blog. Who kindly agreed to inform her readers of my blog, so if it wasn't for her I think I would be the only one reading this blog right now...oh and I would make Lucinda read it too!

Since then there have been good times and bad, the bad mainly being my embarrassments of Grand Slam predictions so far I am zero from three, yes that's right I am still yet to pick a player to make the final in my darw analysis'. In this year we have had twitter lost twitter and now gotten twitter again. We have foreseen three number 1's four grand slams but three champions. The changing of the guard almost, the beginning of the rise of the new generation. Its been one heck of a year!

I was fortunate enough to get a comment of my first post! And to make it even better abuse on my second :) that's when you can really say you're a blogger. We also welcomed the addition of Lucinda! And I am already on my third vacation! After skiing and Poland, I am now in LA and I promise no vacations next year! In true political style I should probably inform you I am already planning one! :P

And now because I know you are so interested in it some random facts and stats!
Total page Views - an astonishing 25,038 probably not that much but huge deal for me!

For some reason the most popular post was Kimiko Date Krumm defeating Maria Sharapova!

People from the United States have visited here the most, no real shock there! And most of you use firefox then...

Well thanks, and hopefully I will be able to last another year with being kicked off!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Who will be the next to rise the bar?

Fresh off her maiden Grand Slam title, Petra Kvitova has been tipped to be the next 'big thing' in tennis and has set the bench mark for quality of play for others in her generation. With superb ball striking and a sensational lefty serve Kvitova has the promise to dominate the tour and continue to rise that bar to the outstanding level set by Serena Williams in 2002-03.

The question is when Kvitova does hit her peek will anyone be bale to poses the weapons and temperament to match her power hitting game?  A few names would spring to mind, Maria Sharapova, Andrea Petkovic, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Victoria Azarenka, Sabine Lisicki and well as a few more, naturally people assume current world number one Caroline Wozniacki. So who can create a rich rivalry with Petra Kvitova?

Maria Sharapova (rank 5, best 1, won 3 slams) Sharapova is recently hitting her old form after struggling with a shoulder issue since 2008. When Maria Sharapova was still struggling to get consistent results she was written off as ever being a danger again by some, after a disappointing Australain Open this year Maria quickly got her game together to make the semi final at Indian Wells, a final in Miami, win Rome, reach the semi's at Roland Garros and finish runner up at Wimbledon and quickly turn her career around. If Maria can continue to hold this form and keep it consistent she will defiantly continue to be a contender at slam and get a few more to her count and stick around for a few more years and reach the level set by Kvitova.

Andrea Petkovic (rank 11, best 11, 2 slam quarter finals) the German powerhouse may not be slam winning potential completly but get used to seeing her in the second week of slams. She has great ground strokes the only flaw I can pick is that she does not appear to be consistent on all surfaces, she has got the clay courts and the hard courts down, just need some grass practice.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (rank 13, best 13, 1 slam quarter final) all about potential, Pavlyuchenkova has only sort of lived up to her expectations at Roland Garros this year reaching the quarter finals and narrowly going down to Francesca Schiavone. The only question mark that looms over her is will she be able to reach
her full potential and challenge for slams in the future?

Victoria Azarenka (rank 4, best 4, 1 slam semi final) yet another potential filled young gun who never seems to live up to her expectation, know I love Victoria to death but she can not win any slams with her current mental ability. It really is all mental with her, yes she is not the fittest player and serve isn't the best but its all mental, mental, mental! She did well not to go into meltdown after being thumped 6-1 in the first set of her Wimbledon semi, but that is one small step on a long, long road.

Sabine Lisicki (rank 27, best 22, 1 slam semi final) after suffering a horrific injury at the 2009 US Open Lisicki has struggled to return to the form that took her to the 2009 Wimbledon quarter final, however that all as turned around recently, Lisicki was unlucky to lose against Vera Zvonerava ar Roland Garros this year and reached the Wimbledon semi final as a wild card, now she has a lot pressure and expectation placed on her I hope and pray she can deal with it and make a big name for herself.

Wozniacki (rank 1, best 1, 1 slam final) weapons, weapons, weapons she has the temperament when she is in front of her matches but at the moment she does lack weapons. Players who are just 'pushers' just simply do not win slams, she has done work on improving her serve recently but she still needs a forehand and a net game, with a forehand and a net game she will be able to bring her game together to win big ones.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The promise of the greatest US Open Series ever.

The US Open series beings in just over two weeks time and this year it promises to deliver some great tennis and great match ups. On July 25th the premier level tournament will be played in Stanford which will feature a start studded line up. The next week the Series travels to San Diego which will again feature a ton of top players. The two big Premier 5 tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati which should feature all of the top players. The final minor tournament will be played in New Haven before player set out to battle for the US Open.

The five best players of the year (as of the points race) Caroline Wozniacki, Petra Kvitova, Li Na, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka are all capable of great hard court tennis and Wozniacki, Sharapova and Azarenka all had a successful US Open Series last year.

The recently returning Serena and Venus Williams as well as the soon-to-return Kim Clijsters are three of the four greatest players of their generation and all can produce breath taking tennis, the only question will be, can they return to form sooner rather than later? The three women have won eight US Open titles and will be out to prove that they can all still produce their best tennis.

Last years US Open finalist Vera Zvonerava is also capable of producing great tennis on hard courts but also needs to find her form that took her to two grand slam finals last year. Having her best year on tour, Marion Bartoli is also able to play on hard courts, and has had some great results this year.

Up and comers Andrea Petkovic, Shuai Peng, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Julia Goerges, Yanina Wickmayer, Dominika Dibulkova, Sabine Lisicki and Jarmila Gajdosova all have had some solid performances this year and last and have good solid all court games, which should no doubt lead to some potential upsets.

More experienced players desperate for deep runs and consistent results Svetlana Kuznetsova, Jelena Jankovic, Agnieszka Radwanska, Ana Ivanovic and Sam Stosur have all preformed well on hard courts in the past and will be hungry to post solid wins and gain some confidence and consistency.

The ever dangerous Daniela Hantuchova has played great recently and will be looming in the draws holding the potential to gain some early round upsets.

How will young rising American star Christina McHale be able to perform? Will she strive after the backing of a home crowd or crack under the pressure?

This US Open hard court season promises so much, I just hope it can deliver!

Always look on the bright side of life!

A good little tension breaker on match point. Wozniacki retired from her 2nd round match leading 6-2 0-1 with a shoulder injury. 

Now onto why she played Bastsad, she has been criticised befrore for playing so many tournaments, well in 2008 Caro signed a deal to play Bastad for two years (2009 & 2010) she didn't play last year for whatever reason, so she had to play this year. 

Meanwhile Australia is going to have two seeded players next week in Bad Gastein, and what better players from Australia to be seeded than mine and Emily's favourites Jarka (seeded 2nd) and Jelena Dokic (seeded 7th)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Caroline wins over Alize in possibly one of the worst tennis matches.

So normally its not huge news, Woniacki winning her first round match a tiny tiny tournament but this one was...something special.

The match which Caroline won 6-4 6-4 featured 14 service breaks...yes four-TEEN.

With Caroline serving at 6-4 5-3 40-30, just as she was going to serve Alize's phone went off.

The play from both girls seemed very awkward, they didn't seem to want to be on the court, it was more like #151 #209 not #1 and #69. Neither of these girls had their head in the right place, and Caroline will next play the relatively dangerous Sofia Arvidsson, who is natural on Clay.

A fitting end to what I am indeed calling the worst match of all time (based on the fact these girls should play much, much better) when Alize hit her 10th double fault.

I feel bad for anyone who  was unfortunate enough to pay to watch it, or you know what just watch it in general!

PS McHale def V.Williams 5-4 in WTT...

And baby makes 3

Lindsay Davenport has withdrawn from World Team Tennis with exciting news that she is, once again, expecting a child.

Already a mother a two the three time grand slam champion was amidst comeback rumours last year when she played doubles at Stanford and San Diego finishing a champion and quarter finalist respectively, both times partnering with Liezel Huber.

Davenport, who plays for the St. Louis Aces, was placed under travel and activity restrictions by her doctor. She was scheduled to play in her first match Tuesday night in Newport Beach., but will be replaced by Aces teammate Maria Sanchez.

Davenport teamed with Martina Hingis to win the Wimbledon ladies invitation doubles title on Sunday, beating Martina Navratilova and Jana Novotna.

“Lindsay is like family to us, so her family and health are what is most important,” Aces president Dani Apted-Schlottman said in a statement.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tennis needs the USA, the USA needs tennis.

Today, as the greatest player of her generation, Serena Williams plummeted 150 places on the rankings down to 175 (following a 4th round exit at Wimbledon) and sister Venus falling to number 34 on the rankings the USTA is left in quite an odd predicament. Bethanie Mattek Sands is now the highest ranked female tennis player from America, the USTA needs to begin massive talent scouts with, in my eyes, only three real possible success stories rising up (Christina McHale, Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys...well maybe Coco Vandeweghe can rate too) With no points for Serena to defend until June next year, there is no doubt that she will be able to return the top 100, 50, 20 and so on, she got to the 2nd week of Wimbledon rusty so watch out for her in the US Open. But for how much longer will she be able to play? Serena turns 30 this September realistically she only has another 2, 3 years max left.

America needs one of their young stars to step up, they need another Melanie Oudin story (the beginning of it anyway) they needs players like McHale or Stephens to make it to the second week of a slam. Perhaps its just a cycle America, Australia and England used to be the most dominant nations in tennis, and America continued to be thanks to the Williams sisters, Davernport and Capriati in the 2000's but England and Australia seemed to fall off a bit and now they are getting young players back - Australia's Ashleigh Barty won junior Wimbledon and Laura Robson from the United Kingdom is with out a doubt going to be a top 5 player. So perhaps it is just a matter of time before America finds its next Williams like players, but what can they do in the mean time? Is it really a cycle?

Perhaps it could be a duty of respect for the ITF to show greater assistance, The United States plays host to three of the seven most prestigious and sought after trophies in tennis (Indian Wells, Miami and the US Open) Perhaps it is the ITF's responsibility to pay greater attention to protect this great tennis dynasty. The WTA in conjunction with the ATP World Tour needs to preserve this great tournaments that, to be honest are completely irreplaceable! What would the tour be with out the Indian Wells, Miami double? Where else could such tournaments be played? With out Indian Wells and Miami the tour would be left having to fill massive holes, we would most likely be left with two other half hearted 'mandatory' events like Madrid and Beijing. Would tennis be able to survive, especially in the US, with out the American hard court Series? What would we do then? Grant the selfish, laughable wishes of Samantha Stosur and extend the clay court season...I think not. In all honesty I think we have enough clay already, going off topic a bit here but, do we really need another 3 weeks of clay after Wimbledon? Why not extend the grass court season?  The original tennis surface with is only used 4 weeks a year! Back to the American hard court season, what would the ITF be able to do to salvage the WTA and ATP tours, give a Grand Slam to Asi-oh wait...Australian Open, the Grand Slam of Asia and Pacific! And good luck trying to get Kim Clijsters to go play.

The tours would be lost with America, so I believe it is the responsibility of the ITF save American tennis tournaments and the USTA needs to save its dignity! And quickly too, before long Serena, Venus and Andy will be hanging up the racquet's and the USTA will be left embarrassed if the only home town hopes they can get in their tournaments are Wild Cards.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Grunters gon grunt.

Well first of all welcome to the world of Lucinda....

Grunting in tennis is a very delicate issue in tennis that does divide many fans, everyone seems to have an opinion when it comes to the subject.

Definition of grunting, Make a low inarticulate sound resembling this, typically to express effort or indicate assent
- Graham grunted and heaved as he helped the masons fit a huge slab of stone into

Definition of screaming, Give a long, loud, piercing cry or cries expressing excitement, great emotion, or pain
- they could hear him screaming in pain
- a houseful of barking dogs and screaming children

Grunting, is a natural noise that occurs due to effort. Every player that I have seen play - man or woman - has grunted at some point in their career, its only natural, you can NOT stop grunting.

One this that does annoy me about this subject is when people, uneducated to the subject, say grunting is deliberate, and should not be allowed. Well no, that's when you are wrong.

Screeching and screaming, infamously used my Monica Seles, Maria Sharapova, Michelle Larcher de Brito and more are screamers not grunters. Now we can put a stop to that, or tone it down a bit but...why? It is part of their natural game, to would be like telling Justine Henin she can't use a one handed back hand. If you take away the thing that is so natural, it would be expected that their level drops, I mean Ana Ivanovic when she was criticised for squeaking her shoes she stopped for the final, and her level of play dropped.  There is a reason why these people are 'professionals' they should be able to deal with it, if an opponent is honestly distracted by the noise made by her opponent perhaps their commitment and concentration should be questioned.

Grunting and occasionally 'screaming' can add not detract from a match, to be honest its a lot better than watch tow silent players hit back and forth between each other. I do like drama and emotion in my game, I like cries of "C'MON" I like racquet's being broken I just basically love the drama and all these things to add to the match.

So this is me adding my opinion to the subject, let them scream, its natural to them.

On grunting its laughable that people make ridiculous suggestions to stop "grunting"

Your King and Queen...

I am so glad they didn't drop them in the process!

Petra looks good!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I, know a place, where the grass is really greener, warm wet and wild, there must be something in the water

Okay, some of you may be aware that I am holidaying to Los Angeles this year. Well it seems like just yesterday  I had booked my tickets and now I am jetting off tomorrow. So I am taking this opportunity now why I remember to bid adieu for now.

So your stuck with Lucinda for three and a bit weeks, psychologists will be available after. I hope that I will be able to comment still, as far as I know I should be able to get Internet fingers crossed, so you wont be totally doomed.

God this is so emotional, if I can I will comment when we land, if not, I will call Lucinda at some ungodly hour to do so!

Don't have too much fun with out me, I shall miss you all.

While I am here VAMOS RAFA!!!

Fearless and flawless Petra Kvitova claims first Grand Slam title.

This time last year, a twenty year old Czech lefty named Petra made her way over to London to play in The Championships, having never won a match on grass before. Ranked 62nd in the world she upset Zheng Jie, Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th rounds respectively before losing in the semi final to eventual champion Serena Williams.

And now, as the eighth seed this year Petra Kvitova in the 2011 Wimbledon Champion as she 'upset' three times slam champ Maria Sharapova 6-3 6-4 to raise The Venus Rosewater Dish. The left handed powerhouse has now become the youngest winner since her opponent at 21 years old.

Perhaps some would have assumed Kvitova would have had some nerves coming into the match, it was not the case. Kvitova bought her trademark hard hitting ground strokes and looked as if she was playing for her 10th slam title, defiantly not her first. Firing winners off both wings and from all angles of Centre Court.

Having already won Brisbane (hard), Paris (indoor hard), Madrid (clay) and now the Grand Slam of Grand Slams Wimbledon, obviously on grass has won tournaments on all the surfaces this year. Kvitova's fearless attitude and love of the big stage as cemented the fact that she could very much be the next domination of tennis, as the win sets her up to take over the likes of the Williams' and Clijsters.

After winning the first in fine form and getting a break in the second, Kvitova found herself against a resurging Maria Sharapova has she found her fight, but it was not enough to see off Kvitova and after four consecutive service breaks, Kvitova found the fatal one to wrap up the win 6-3 6-4.

Many could has it a guess that history was not made today...well you would be wrong, Petra Kvitova has now become the first EVER eight seed women's winner of a grand slam, hows that for useless trivia!

With this inspiring win, I am going out on limb, with Matt Cronin and say that Petra Kvitova is now the greatest player of her generation, as the first of her generation to win a slam, beating Caroline Woniacki, Victoria Azarenka and Agnieszka Radwanska to reach the crowning glory of tennis. I will also make a bold prediction for Petra to be top 2 by the end of the year.

As always HAPPY SNAPS;

Yeah, as you would assume Nike already has their facebook all up in this things twitter.