Sunday, October 31, 2010

Kim Clijsters WTA Championships winner!

All photos from tennisforum

DOHA, Qatar (AP)  -- U.S. Open champion Kim Clijsters defeated top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 to win the WTA Championships final on Sunday.

Clijsters, who won the title in 2002 and 2003, used a powerful forehand and her vast experience to take control against the 20-year-old Dane. 

After winning the first set, Clijsters went up 4-1 in the second but Wozniacki fought back to tie the match at 5-all. She broke Clijsters to go up 6-5 on her way to winning the set when Clijsters hit a shot long.

Wozniacki came out strong in the third set, forcing No. 4-ranked Clijsters to make four unforced errors. But Clijsters went up 2-1 and extended the lead to 5-2 before closing out the match.


Congratulations Kim, way to finish the season!.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Kim Clijsters ousts Stosur en route to WTA finals

DOHA, Qatar (AP)—U.S. Open champion Kim Clijsters was unhurt in a “scary” car accident before her match Saturday and advanced to the WTA Championships final by defeating Samantha Stosur 7-6 (3), 6-1.

Clijsters said a truck “came out of nowhere” at a roundabout and hit the right front door of her official WTA Tour car. Clijsters said she was not injured, but her manager suffered minor cuts.

“Obviously, it was a little bit of a shakeup. We’re all fine,” Clijsters said after the match. “I was really just kind of trying to kind of switch my mental state and focus on the match.

“We got lucky. There was a lot of glass.”
Clijsters will face top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki in the season-ending final on Sunday. 

The 20-year-old Dane routed No. 2 Vera Zvonareva 7-5, 6-0 in the other semifinal.

Wozniacki is the youngest player to reach the final since Maria Sharapova won at 17 in 2004. Clijsters won the only previous match against Wozniacki in the 2009 U.S. Open final.

Clijsters tweeted before the match that she was involved in an accident on the way to her semifinal at the Khalifa Complex. 

The fourth-ranked player posted a photo on her Twitter page showing damage to the right front door of her courtesy car.

She tweeted that “we just had a car accident on our way to the courts! So scary.”

She added that “we are all OK” but that “the car is ready for the junk yard.”
Organizers confirmed the car carrying Clijsters had an accident, but didn’t provide details.

Clijsters, who won the WTA season-ending event in 2002 and 2003, took a while to settle into the match.
“I was really white before I was about to warm up,” she said.

Stosur took a 3-0 lead in the first set, but the Belgian rallied to force a tiebreaker. Clijsters’ forehands caught the corners and her powerful serve clinched the set.

Clijsters went up 3-0 in the second set, with Stosur hitting forehands far and wide en route to 25 unforced errors. 

A backhand long gave Clijsters a 4-1 lead and a forehand long made it 5-1.
Stosur said it was tight match, but praised Clijsters for her accuracy.

“The end of that first set and the second set, she started using her backhand down the line more and hit some right on the line right when she needed to,” Stosur said. “Overall, I thought she just played very solid.

“There’s not too many weaknesses in Kim’s game. You’ve got to find them when they’re there and really try and take advantage.”

Clijsters served more consistently than she had all week, racking up six aces during the match and keeping her double faults—a problem in the first match of the round-robin tournament—to only two.

“I have had really tough matches against Samantha in the past. I knew I had to play my best tennis,” Clijsters said. “In the first set, I played well in important points. In the second, she dropped her level a bit.

“I had an early chance to break and I did and it gave me confidence to serve it out.”

yahoo sports

Wow, really glad Kim is ok!.  I gotta congratulate her for getting herself together after an event like that, and actually winning the match.

I wouldn't have been able to put that out of my mind enough to concentrate.  So well done!.  Wozniacki again eh?.

Is it me, or have those two been meeting an awful lot since Kim's comeback?, and always in the finals it seems. (kind of like Hingis and Davenport back in the day).

I guess it's a testament to how good that girl is becoming.  Caroline is a fighter so this one might be interesting to watch.  Good luck Kim!.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Kim Clijsters moves into semis in Doha

Clijsters edged out the Belarusian in a cagey opening set, before losing a dramatic second after being broken in two successive games.

But the Belgian responded with a crushing 6-1 sweep of the third as a weary Azarenka folded, and her strength proved too much.

With maroon and white Qatari flags fluttering above the Khalifa Tennis Complex, conditions were much more comfortable for the players than the oppressive humidity of the first two days.

The early signs were ominous for Azarenka as her serve was ruthlessly broken in just the second game of the match.

Clijsters wavered immediately on her own serve, and a tight opening set ensued after Azarenka had broken straight back to restore parity.

But the number three seed finally grabbed the decisive break to clinch it 6-4 as Azarenka's delivery faltered crucially.

The pair traded breaks of serve at the start of the second set, before repeating the pattern at 5-5.

Azarenka broke for a third time to clinch the set, and served out to take the second 7-5 in a gruelling finale.

The Belarusian cut a weary figure in the final set and was broken twice in succession as Clijsters stamped her authority back on proceedings.

Clijsters sealed the final set 6-1 to clinch victory, the second of her campaign in Doha.

yahoo sport uk

Yet another see-saw match.  Honestly I think this is why I don't watch WTA matches outside of the grand slams anymore. 

The excitement factor is not at the same level as the guys, matches like these are case and point. 

Nevertheless happy Kim has won another match :).  Rooting for her to win the whole thing.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Kim Clijsters makes successful return in Doha

Kim Clijsters beat Jelena Jankovic 6-2 6-3 at the WTA Championships in her first outing since winning the US Open at Flushing Meadows.

The Belgian got off to a successful start in the White Group, though she was not at her best in a match that failed to hit the heights in Doha.

Clijsters began well enough, breaking her opponent's serve in the very first game and then following that up with another soon after to go 5-2 ahead.

She comfortably served out for the opening set and although Jankovic did improve in the second, the out-of-sorts Serbian still slipped to a second defeat in the season-ending tournament.

"It was my first match back, and I was happy - not with everything but I'll take that," she said afterwards. "I need to be a little more consistent and deliver fewer double faults, but I will try to be better tomorrow (Thursday)."

Good to see Kim doing well, and back on court.  Looking forward to the next match.


Monday, October 25, 2010

DWTS 11: Week 6 Rock Week Paso Doble & Tango

These two styles of dance have always been, and still remain my absolute fave.

Audrina & Tony were up first tonight with the Paso Doble.  Both Bruno and Len thought it lacked character.

I have to side with them both on that, without character the dance just lacked the proper intensity and passion. But I do agree with Carrie Ann on Audrina's beautiful lines. 24/30 was their result.

Kyle & Lacey danced the Tango which the judges all agreed was a huge improvement over last week.  I'm still enjoying watching this guy so much.  They have such a fun chemistry on the dance floor.  23/30 was their total.

Jennifer & Derek danced the Paso Doble to Pink's "So What" (another weird song choice by the producers)

I guess with something like rock week you have no choice but to make the best of it.  And that they did.  Carrie Ann found the whole thing too hectic.

Len and Bruno thought she over did it with the emotion and thus lost the control and quality of the dance.

Unfortunately I can't say I disagree with that assessment.

I've been waiting weeks for Jennifer to do this dance thinking she would do as awesome as she did with her Argentine Tango in week 4,  but like the judges I was sorely disappointed.

I think Len was right when he said it just didn't have the right balance of intense emotion and movement.  Thus as a result the whole thing came off a bit disjointed. 

I think the choreography might have had something to do with it as well, it was kind of weak.  Not Derek's usual.  Wonder what happened there.

20/30 was their score the lowest in 5 weeks.  Good thing they got some additional points in the dance marathon.  But still people will need to get voting.

Rick & Cheryl did the Tango.  Carrie Ann thought it was amazing while Len liked the hold and posture.  As well as the back and forth push/poll emotion of the dance.  I thought it was well done, but nothing spectacular. 24/30

Bristol & Mark did the Tango as well.  She didn't mess up her steps, and showed some personality.  In short?.  Bristol finally looked like a dancer!.

I don't think she's a real contender for the trophy, but I congratulate her on some major improvement.  Well done!.  Her best performance by a mile, followed by her best score all season 23/30.

Kurt & Anna danced a Paso Doble set to "The Final Countdown".  Carrie Ann said it was unpolished, and just didn't come together.

Len just found it awkward and Bruno thought all his lines were wrong.  As a home viewer and non-professional I found nothing wrong with it.

In fact to my untrained eyed it looked pretty darn good.  The studio audience seemed to be on the same track judging by all their booing at the low score of 18/30 (which unfortunately put them at the bottom of the judges leader board right below Jennifer and Derek).  It may end up sending him home.

Brandy and Maks capped the night off with a Tango that satisfied all the judges.

They all agreed it was full of passion and aggression giving them the highest score of the night 26/30 putting them in first place on the leader board for the 2nd week in a row.

While I agree that the dance was full of all the right emotions, I didn't think it was all that impressive.  It might be because I think I will always compare any Paso Doble to the one Mel B and Max did in S5.

Which was pure perfection.  And it didn't help that they showed that particular dance in their 10 best of all time list (voted by the viewers) right before the show started.

Next it was time for a marathon dance off with all couples hitting the floor at the same time.

Each had to dance as long as possible (a total of 4 minutes) until the judges kicked them off with an additional score (which was added to their overall total for the night).  The score went from 4-10 with 10 being the highest.

Here's how all the couples stacked up:

Kurt & Anna were the first to be kicked off with 4 points

Bristol & Mark received 5 points

Rick & Cheryl 6 additional points

Kyle & Lacey got 7 points

Audrina & Tony 8 points

Jennifer & Derek came up one short with 9

Maks & Brandy won the 10

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Celine Dion & Rene Angelil welcome their twins

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Canadian songstress Celine Dion has given birth to premature but healthy twin boys at a Florida hospital.

A statement released from St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Fla., says the pop diva delivered the boys Saturday afternoon.

The hospital says one boy weighed 5 pounds, 10 ounces, while the other weighed 5 pounds, 4 ounces.
Dion's husband Rene Angelil, 68, expressed his joy at a press conference a few hours after the births.
"I did cut the cords, both cords ... it's a great feeling," said a beaming Angelil.
"I hope to provide to them all the love that I can for as long as I can."
Dion's obstetrician Ronald Ackerman said the singer and her husband were two of "the most caring and kind individuals" that the hospital has cared for.

He added that the twins, though healthy, would spend the next few days in an incubator because they were born early.

He also said both baby boys were born with a good amount of hair.
Quebec-born Dion is thought to be in good health as well.

She was hospitalized earlier this week after displaying signs of early child birth. She was in her 35th week of pregnancy and was due to deliver in November.
Dion and Angelil are already the parents of 9-year-old Rene Charles.

The couple has tried for years to have more children. Dion's yet unnamed twin boys come after the superstar singer went through several rounds of fertility treatment and even suffered the loss of a pregnancy in 2009.

In an interview earlier this year, Dion said she hoped that by publicly sharing her struggle, she could help others.

"If I help people through my voice, through my interviews, through what I go through, I do not want to change that at all," she said. "I think it's making a difference."
Dion, a five-time Grammy winner who has sold tens of millions of albums, announced earlier this year that she would be returning to Las Vegas for a three-year run at Caesar's Palace. She had a hugely successful five-year run in Las Vegas that ended in 2007.
— with files from the Associated Press.

yahoo news

Congrats to the proud parents!.

Monday, October 18, 2010

DWTS 11: Week 5 T.V. Themes

Before I go on to the individual couples I have to say, I admire both the professionals and the stars for actually making a very weird theme work well with ballroom dancing.

Granted some worked better then others, but that's mainly due to the theme they were given.  Some simply had to work with what they got.

Maks & Brandy Quickstepped to the Friends theme.  All the judges were impressed and happy.  Len thought it was the best dance Brandy has done in all 4 weeks.  I have to agree.

As Carrie Ann mentioned tonight they finally stepped it up and reached another level not only with their dancing, but in their working relationship as well.

I have said from the beginning that with a little more training Brandy could be a contender, well it finally happened tonight.  They got the highest score of the night 27/30.  Knocking Jennifer and Derek off the leader board.

Corky & Florence danced the Tango to the predictable theme from The Brady Bunch.

Bruno didn't like the goofy dance moves in the middle of the routine.  I agree with Len who said parts of it were a bit frantic, but it was by far her best dance.

I also gotta side with Florance on her "you try dancing the Tango to the Brady Bunch" remark because that's exactly what was going through my head as I was watching it.

It's not like there weren't many other themes that would have been more suitable to the dance style.

So I blame the producers for choosing to go the predictable route thus effecting her overall score of 21/30 though it was a personal best as well. 

Anna & Kurt Quickstepped to the Bewitched theme.  All the judges saw vast improvement over last week.

And I gotta say I really enjoyed it myself, hats off to both for keeping the musicality and rhythm throughout.  A fun little number that earned Kurt his best score of 24/30.

Tony & Audrina did the Rumba to The Hills theme.  Another predictable choice *yawn*.

While Len found it excellent Bruno seemed disappointed at the lack of smoldering heat often associated with the dance.  He thought she should be less plastic more fantastic.

Gotta agree again compared to her other dances this was kind of blah.  I don't know whether it was because of the choreography or the song, but it didn't work as well as it could have.

Especially since we've already seen that Audrina is capable of better.  23/30 was their total.

Lacey & Kyle did the Foxtrot to Charlie's Angels with Kyle of course playing the role of Bosley :D.  Once again I love this guy's ability to transform into different characters and mixing it with the dance style.

Integrating the 70's disco moves worked particularly well ( ok not according to Len but he's not the one doing the voting).  Props to Lacey on that one

Bruno thought there wasn't enough Foxtrot, while Carrie Ann loved the way Kyle lead Lacey in the dance.  Len as I mentioned above was not thrilled one little bit.

He found it a crazy mess that got worse and worse.  I'm starting to wonder whether he was even watching the same dance.  They got 20/30 which isn't great so I hope people vote for him tomorrow.

Cheryl & Rick did the Rumba to one of my all time fave t.v. themes Hill Street Blues complete with a cop uniform (hello Mr. sexy! :D).

Carrie Ann thought it got hotter and hotter.  I agree!.  Bruno said he went from Megatron to mega smooth.  Now I understand the lack of smolder Bruno was talking about with Audrina and Tony.  Nicely done!.  24/30

Mark & Bristol  danced the Monkey's theme Jive.  Bruno saw big improvement in the performance, but thought she lost the technique.  Carrie Ann thought she took a big step forward.  Len just loved the monkey suits :D.

I have to agree with him on one thing perhaps it would have been better if they kept the monkey suits on for the whole routine.  Because Bristol seemed a lot more lively hiding behind it.

With that said I thought the dance was actually one of the better ones she's done in the whole competition just in terms of character performance.

The scores didn't reflect that however.  They ended up on the bottom of the leader board once more with 18/30.  Unless people really do wanna see more of her she's heading home tomorrow night I think.

Derek & Jennifer for the first time in the competition were really feeling the pressure and burden of being at the top for several weeks in a row.  Which I knew was only a matter of time.

They danced a Foxtrot to the theme from Married with Children which seemed oddly appropriate after watching the tense rehearsal footage.

The judges reactions were mixed.  While Bruno found it beautiful, Len found it too theatrical and wanted more dancing.  Carrie Ann thought it was good, but that they were out of sync at times.

I'm with Carrie Ann while this dance was indeed well done it just didn't have the same wow factor as last week.

Perhaps the result of Jennifer taking a bit of a breather after so many high energy routines.

They ended up in second place tonight with 25/30. 

I have no doubt they will be back on top next week with the Rock and Roll theme.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Save "Life Unexpected" Campaign

Recent TV history is rife with passionate fan campaigns to save shows: Tabasco-for-Roswell, peanuts-for-Jericho, Subway-for-Chuck, etc. But in these Internet-fractured, dwindling-audience times, it’s increasingly become the producers and casts of the shows themselves who do whatever it takes to rally viewership. 

Joss Whedon crusaded to save Dollhouse before it even started; Lone Star creator Kyle Killen publicly (and, it seems, futilely) pleaded for viewers after the first episode tanked. 

Now the cast of The CW’s charming long-lost-kid-finds-birth-parents drama Life Unexpected is taking their underrated show’s fate into their own hands with a particularly intense flurry of efforts. They made their own posters (complete with little tear-off tags reminding viewers where and when the show airs. 

They created a funny, slightly salty “behind-the-scenes video” meant to go viral. (There’s nudity and unplanned pregnancy!) They made a Facebook page and a Twitter feed to talk directly to fans. Stars Kristoffer Polaha and Austin Basis stood on Wilshire Boulevard with “SAVE OUR SHOW” signs.

They’ve even blogged and sent mass e-mails exhorting friends and fans to spread the word about the show. Polaha’s helpfully specific instructions included: “So, in honor of public works of art, in honor of a collective, in honor of being arthousey, and in the honor of science, please tell one person this week about Life Unexpected. Strike up a conversation with that hot guy from English 101 and tell him he reminds you of Baze. He’ll ask, ‘Who the heck is Baze?’ At which point you can launch in to a full-tilt PR session about your favorite show. Brag about its great story lines, go on and on about the actors — especially the guy who plays Baze with the funny last name you can’t pronounce; more on the name in a later blog (there’s that word again) — in short, sell it.”
And their efforts have paid off, at least a little: Ratings hit a season high of 1.7 million viewers this week (boosted by a One Tree Hill crossover) and The CW just ordered two more scripts on top of the original 13-episode order for the season. 

I’m touched that the cast cares so much about their show — this isn’t true of as many shows as you might think. And God knows it’s no picnic to stump for your own work. 

But there’s a danger of going overboard here, too, and coming off like the guy who calls too soon and too often after the first date. 

I don’t know if this would draw me to a show I didn’t already watch. (Incidentally, I think Life is a sweet little show; it reminds me of The WB of old.) 

Do you think this kind of thing can work long-term, PopWatchers? Does a cast or producer begging you to watch make you want to support a show more…or less?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Why watch "The Whole Truth"

Why should you be watching 'The Whole Truth'? Two words: Maura Tierney.

Yes, the former 'NewsRadio' and 'ER' star Maura Tierney should be enough to get you, loyal reader, to give up an hour of your Wednesday evening to watch 'The Whole Truth' (Wed., 10PM ET on ABC). She's not enough? Fine. What about Tierney's chemistry with
Rob Morrow?

Honestly, you could probably put a jar of pickles in front of her and Tierney could make it charming, but when you put her with somebody as charismatic as Morrow, it's TV heaven.

Sure, there are problems with the ABC legal drama. Example: the same defense attorney and prosecutor face off every week. But wait, you probably watch a show where kids break out into song every 10 minutes. This is television -- suspend your disbelief and enjoy the ride.

Right now, 'The Whole Truth' is teetering on the edge of cancellation. ABC is airing a special on the rescued Chilean miners in place of a new episode tonight. It's pulling in around 4.5 million viewers, losing nearly 3 million from its lead-in 'Cougar Town.' For ABC, those are bad numbers. But given time, the series could evolve -- maybe ditch the kitschy little flashbacks to scenes that happened 15 minutes before. However, before it can evolve, it needs viewers. 

If you don't start watching 'The Whole Truth,' we might be lose potentially great characters Kathryn Peale and Jimmy Brogan. You know how 'Law & Order: SVU' has maintained its procedural element, yet we've seen layers develop in Detectives Benson and Stabler? 'The Whole Truth' could do that and more. The characters have a history, let the viewers learn about it. Plus, the supporting players are begging for some background. You know there's more to Sean Wing's incredibly earnest Chad.

The problem with new shows, as we've talked about here on TV Squad, is that sometimes it's cheaper to cancel them rather than let the show build an audience. 'Seinfeld' wasn't a hit from the start. It took seasons -- yes, more than one -- to get to its cult status.

The ratings for the Oct. 6 episode showed a tiny bit of life, they went up a bit, but not enough. Give the show time to evolve, there is a spark in these characters. Plus, given the format, there are tons of opportunities for guest stars. Great guest stars. Judd Hirsch's appearance was quality TV. Tierney's 'ER' pal Parminder Nagra is filming an episode now.

If you love smart character moments, great chemistry between actors and the law in general, then start watching 'The Whole Truth.' Start now.

The article pretty much hits all the important points, the most important one being that it is an excellent show that just needs time to develop. 

So please watch!.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Reason's I heart Pink

I just love the way she speaks her mind so eloquently in her own hilarious fashion.  Word :D.

Monday, October 11, 2010

DWTS 11: Week 4 Rumba & Argentine Tango

Tonight was acoustic night on a brand new raised round stage (instead of the usual rectangular one we've been so used to over the past 10 years).

Thus making everything more intimate, and at the same time more challenging for all involved.

Kurt & Anna started the night off with a Rumba.

Bruno thought there wasn't enough fluid arm movement, Len liked the hip action, both he and Carrie Ann thought he sold the romance well, but his musicality was better last week.  I agree.

I thought it was good, but I have seen better Rumba's in past season's.

I think Bruno had a point maybe a little bit more raunch would have been more effective then the intimate dance as Carrie Ann put it.

The scoring for tonight was split into performance and technique with a total out of 60.  Kurt received 15 for technique and 19 for performance for a total of 34/60.

Brandy & Maks danced a theatrically romantic Rumba (I loved the flowy fabric Brandy was wearing).  Bruno found it sensual, while Carrie Ann thought Brandy was back.

All of them agreed that she needs to work on more confident leg placement.  I thought the dance was alright, but it lacked the emotions of last week.  48/60 (22 for technique/26 for performance).

Rick & Cheryl did the Argentine Tango (which has always been a favourite of mine along with the Paso Doble).  Carrie Ann didn't feel the passion and found it very one dimensional.

Len enjoyed the exceptionally well done lifts, but thought the footwork could have been sharper.

Both Bruno and Len liked the intensity, but agreed it didn't carry out through the whole routine.

I gotta agree with Carrie Ann although the dance itself was decent, there was something missing (he could have done a better job at selling the passion or even raunchiness).  39/60  (19 technique/20 for performance).

Kyle & Lacey danced a Rumba that didn't impress the judges on a technical level.  Carrie Ann complemented his better footwork, but found the routine unbalanced.

Len thought the movements were too sharp and thus lost fluidity.

Though I agree that at times the movements looked very jarring I didn't really care even with all his imperfections I just enjoy watching both of them.  Kyle is a born performer. 

Aside from Jennifer and Derek they're still the most fun couple on the floor no matter what style they're doing.
 40/60 (18 for technique/22 for performance).   

Mike "The Situation" & Karina the only thing he succeeded with in his Argentine Tango was the sexyness factor (or more precisely his six pack which I'm sure the ladies can't get enough of).

I would enjoy that too if it wasn't for his smugness and jock-like attitude.

Attempting to cover his lack of dancing skills by having Karina do all the work didn't score him any extra points with the judges however.  I think Len said it best at least it was consistent in it's horribleness.

With a total score of 28/60 (12 for technical/16 for performance).  I'll be surprised if  'the situation' survives another week.

Personally I would like him and his abs to exit the ballroom already!.

Florance & Corky Carrie Ann said it best 'what just happened, you're Mrs. Brady!'. Yes I don't think the world was ready for a raunchy version of Mrs. Brady.

At times it was like watching your parents attempt a dirty dance.  Uncomfortable *lol*.  Due to her many varied facial expressions it was very hard to get into, or even gauge the emotion of the dance.

But I give her kudos for improving her footwork from last week.  35/60 (17 for technical/18 performance).

Derek & Jennifer reminded me again why I love this dance so much.  It's not so much about the raunchiness, but all about the perfect balance of intensity and passion.

I think that's what was missing from Rick & Cheryl's  (and everyone else's Argentine Tango all night).

Flawless, amazing, left the judges and audience mesmerized giving them a total of 56/60 (27 for technique/29 for performance).

Garnering the first 10's of the season from Bruno and Carrie Ann. Thus putting them back on top. I said it before and I'll continue to do so, the woman can dance!.

Mark & Bristol the judges weren't riveted by her Rumba.  Bruno thought she still can't sustain the steps all the way through the routine.

Carrie Ann like Bruno still sees a lot of potential and expected better at this point (in week 4).

I tend to agree with both she has moments of brilliance with her movement, she just can't seem to be able to put it and keep it all together.

Which I'm sad to say will most likely send her home sooner rather then later. 32/60  (18 technique/14 for performance).

Personally I didn't find the whole thing as bad as the judges, but I could have just been distracted by the smokiness that is shirtless Mark Ballas :D.

Nice tats and muscle definition Mark.  Thank You!.

Len on the other hand was not as appreciative (must be that peck envy again).  He wants to see more teamwork less "me" more " "we".

And no more shirtless routine since as he put it 'you don't see me taking my shirt off'.  Yeah that's because nobody wants to see that!.  I'll take shirtless Mark any day of the week.   

Tony & Audrina closed the night with another Argentine Tango which while well done on the technical level lacked the same performance quality set by Jen & Derek.

I think maybe Audrina felt a bit intimidated after watching Jennifer dance the same style to near perfection and probably psyched herself out as result.

At this point I think it's pretty safe to say that both Jennifer and Audrina are the ones to beat.  46/60 ( 24 technique/22 for performance).  Putting them in second place on the judges leader board.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Martina Hingis on tennis then and now

You learn never to be surprised by the scheduling of matches at the US Open. No other Grand Slam tournament routinely plays its men's semi-finals and final on successive days, and who else would think of staging an opening ceremony several hours after the tournament has started?

Yet as the year's final Grand Slam event headed towards its climax last month, even those who have become accustomed to the foibles of Flushing Meadows raised an eyebrow or two. 

The men's quarter-final between Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco was an obvious choice for the showcase night session in Arthur Ashe Stadium on the second Thursday, but the other match, remarkably, was an exhibition in which Pat Cash and Mats Wilander took on Martina Hingis and Anna Kournikova.

Although they regularly infuriate the purists and traditionalists, the schedulers in New York at least know what the punters like. With all due respect to Cash and Wilander, there was no doubt who the crowd in Arthur Ashe Stadium wanted to see. 

The glamorous Kournikova has inevitably remained an attraction, despite the fact that a career in which she never won a singles title ended seven years ago, but there was even more interest in Hingis, who won her first Grand Slam title at 16 and enchanted fans with the grace and invention of her game before the sport came to be dominated by big hitters.

It is now more than three years since Hingis played her last tour match, her career having been brought to a premature end when she failed a drugs test for cocaine during Wimbledon. Hingis, who celebrated her 30th birthday last month, always denied taking any banned substance, but a mandatory two-year ban was imposed. 

Having also been suffering with a hip problem, she decided it was an appropriate time to announce her second retirement, having already made one successful comeback after taking a three-year break from the game following an ankle problem.

Talk of another return is inevitable, particularly after Hingis signed a new long-term racket deal with Yonex last month, but the chances of her playing singles again are remote. The "Swiss Miss" may well play some doubles on the main circuit – perhaps with Lindsay Davenport, who has asked her to be her partner – but her time on the singles court has surely come and gone.

She found it much tougher second time around, failing to go beyond the quarter-finals of any of the Grand Slam events, and acknowledges how physical the game has become, even if she enjoyed watching Francesca Schiavone win the French Open this year. The Italian is three months older than Hingis and stands just 5ft 5in tall.

Hingis enjoys the fact that people appreciated the intelligence and skill she brought to the court. "I hope that's the way people remember me," she said. "Even now people come up to me and say: 'We miss you. Thanks for being around. We loved watching you play. It was different.'

"I think today that it's harder to have this type of game unless you're really, really quick. You see so many players like Justine [Henin] come back and play this kind of style, but I think because of the power it makes it a little bit harder, though it's still possible. I always had to find a way to win because I was playing more physical players."

In her later years Hingis struggled to cope with the power of big servers like Serena Williams and Davenport. She also talks with her mother, who was her coach, about the high number of first serves that the top players now put in court. "That's definitely the key today," she said. "My mum says that I used to get away with it, but later on it was harder. Maybe today she would change some of the things on my serve, but she was always afraid that I might get a sore shoulder."

Hingis said Serena Williams was her toughest opponent: "I couldn't read her serve. It was hard to get her into play. At her best she didn't really have a weakness. Even Steffi [Graf] had a weakness, you could play on her backhand. It wasn't like you were shot off the court. Serena and I had close matches, but at times she would hit a great serve or forehand and you didn't really get to play."

Named after Martina Navratilova, Hingis's talent was recognised at an early age. She won the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open before her 17th birthday, but had won her last Grand Slam title before her 19th. The emergence of the Williams sisters in particular thwarted her chances of maintaining her early run of success. 

In order to avoid "teenage burn-out", tour rules have been changed since Hingis broke through, restricting the number of tournaments younger players can enter. "Today you're not given quite the same chance to play because of age-eligibility rules," Hingis said. "I was free when I was 16. Maybe it would help the girls today if they could play more events a bit sooner.

"I got to play at least some of the events at 14. That way you get a taste of what it's like out there, playing against the top players. Then you go back home and you know what you have to practise. Once you're 18 it gets a bit harder. You don't learn as quickly. You see today that players are a bit older when they start to win Grand Slams, though Maria [Sharapova] was only 17 when she won."

Hingis is impressed by Britain's Laura Robson, who won the Wimbledon junior title two years ago and is still only 16. "I think she has a lot of talent and great potential to make it big on the stage," Hingis said. "It helps to be left-handed as well. You don't see that many left-handers in the women's game. I played her a year ago at Wimbledon. Her serve and her forehand are big, so that can help her to get far in the game. It would be nice to see her play a little more at the bigger events so that she gets the experience and plays those top players so she knows how to adjust and how to beat them."

As for Hingis, the Swiss has loved being on the court again. Playing in exhibition matches in England this summer, including a doubles alongside Kournikova at Wimbledon, reminded her of how much she had missed playing. She went on to play team tennis in the United States and her diary has been filling up with exhibitions. 

Last week she was in Kuala Lumpur, partnering Goran Ivanisevic against Cash and Kournikova.

Hingis also "loved every minute" of her appearance on Strictly Come Dancing last year, even though she was the first to be voted off. "I'm playing tennis, riding my horses, enjoying life. I feel I deserve it. I've been full on for so many years and sometimes it's nice just to be able to relax."

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Monday, October 04, 2010

DWTS 11: Week 3 Story Night

Jennifer & Derek were up first tonight with a Samba to a student teacher theme.

Which I thought worked quite well :).  The judges noticed the first imperfection in her technique however.

Carrie Ann thought they were out of sync in the middle of the dance.

Len said there was a small twiddly bit in the routine, whatever that means :D.    Despite all that they still got a 24/30 for the 3rd week in a row.

Florance & Corky danced a sweet Waltz to a song from the "Sound of Music".  The judges enjoyed the love story.

Although Bruno thought the dance lacked continuous progression.  And Len thought the feet technique was non-existent.

I have no clue what he's talking about I thought the foot work was definitely there. 

I do agree with Bruno that the Waltz itself could have been a bit more fluid.  They got 20/30 for their effort.

Kurt & Anna danced the Foxtrot to Daniel Powters "Bad Day".

Which really isn't a very Foxtrot friendly song, I don't know what the heck the producers were thinking with that strange choice.

Carrie Ann was charmed, while Bruno thought the dance has to be cleaner and reprimanded Kurt for nearly dropping Anna, which I have to admit I did not notice. 

A lackluster performance to a lackluster song 23/30.

Margaret & Louis danced a pride infused Samba to "Copacabana" complete with feather headdress.

The judges thought she started out well, but somewhere along the line completely lost her timing and footwork.

Which was very apparent.  I would still like her to stick around, but with a score of 18/30 she could end up going home.

Audrina & Tony danced a beautiful Waltz full of grace and emotion by far the best one of the night. 

All judges found it compelling and touching giving them the highest score of the night 26/30.

Although I'm sad Jennifer and Derek got knocked off the leader board.  The score was well deserved, definitely her best dance thus far.

Bristol & Mark Foxtrot showed definite improvement, but as the judges said failed to sell the story putting them at the bottom of the score board with 19/30.

Brandy & Maks Samba set to a singer/bodyguard story failed to wow the judges.  Len and Carrie Ann criticized his harsh teaching techniques shown in rehearsal.

Bruno thought he finally saw the comeback of the diva.  I thought it was better then last week, if she continues to progress she might just become a contender yet.   

Kyle & Lacey showcased a teenage romance with their Waltz. 

I thought he did an excellent job playing a gentleman. Bruno thought his arms look better, but footwork still needs work.

Len sounding like a broken record thought foot work was non-existent.  I enjoy watching these two so much and really hope they stay around.  23/30

Mike & Karina danced a futuristic Foxtrot to Blackeyed Peas "Boom Boom Pow".  Carrie Ann thought he took baby steps to becoming a dancer. Len found it bizarre, Bruno found it weirdly entertaining.

Personally it didn't really do anything for me, while I can see he's at least putting in some effort I still don't care much for him and would rather see him kicked off.  20/30

Rick & Cheryl shook their booties to the Samba.  Carrie Ann was rendered speechless while Bruno wanted to see more of the same.

Definitely the sexiest Samba of the night, for such a tall guy he can really shake it.  I'm with Bruno I wanna see more!.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Kim Clijsters/Justine Henin face-off on home soil in December

On 9 December, Kim will play Justine Henin at the Diamond Games in the Antwerp Sportpaleis. Yanina Wickmayer and Francesca Schiavone will take part in the event as well.

Like that the Diamond Games will be an opportunity to relive the initial BNP Paribas Fortis Best of Belgium setup earlier this year. Then Henin had to bow out due to the elbow injury she developed in Wimbledon.

is currently recovering well and is pressing for a thorough preparation autumn to be fit for the start of the next season early January. Henin: "I'm happy to get this new opportunity to play Kim, especially before a home audience. I cherish warm memories about Antwerp, so seeing the Sportpaleis again will be great."

The same Sportpaleis is a second home to
Kim, a location that has offered her a lot of memorable moments already. In December she as well will be prepping for the new season. Clijsters: "Everybody knows how fond I am of matches on home soil. Playing Justine makes it even more exceptional, especially since we last missed out on each other in July. It is also a great opportunity for me to give something in return to the people who stayed up all night to be watching my watches at the US Open."

The Diamond Games in Antwerp have more top level tennis on offer. The third Belgian ace,
Yanina Wickmayer, plays the French Open title holder Francesca Schiavone! In-between the audience will be treated on a musical act.

Bob Verbeeck: "We held our very first Brilliant Game in 2001, in the Antwerp Sportpaleis as well, with two promising Belgian tennis players. Nine years and twice a career later they play each other again, undoubtedly before a huge crowd. In the meantime we now even have a third top player and she will have to dig in deep to keep Schiavone at bay. Two absolute top level matches."

The Diamond Games take place on Thursday 9 December in the Antwerp Sportpaleis.

Kim's official website

Friday, October 01, 2010

Kim Clijsters out of China Open with foot injury

A foot injury keeps Kim Clijsters away from the WTA tournament in Beijing. After the US Open, Kim underwent surgery on her foot sole but her foot doesn't heal according to plan. 

"I am very sorry to have to cancel for Beijing," Clijsters said. "After I returned from New York, I had some moles removed. The operation had been planned for quite a while. However, the wound on my foot sole heals really bad. Therefore playing tennis is not possible."

Clijsters' next tournament should be the WTA Championships (Masters) in Doha. Physically, she will be ready for it, no doubt about that. It is just a matter of reeling in enough points to make it to the top 8 who are allowed to play there. On December 8 Kim also plays the Diamond Games in the Antwerp Sportpaleis. 

Kim's website