Sunday, December 25, 2011

Song of the Moment: Robert Downey Jr.- River


It's coming on Christmas, they're cutting down trees
They're putting up reindeer, singing songs of joy and peace
Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on


But it don't snow here, it stays pretty green
I'm going to make a lot of money
And then I'm gonna quit this crazy scene
Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on


I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly
Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on
I made my baby cry


He tried hard to help me, you know, he put me at ease
And he loved me so naughty, made me weak in the knees
Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on


Well, I'm so hard to handle, I'm selfish and I'm sad
Now I've gone and lost the best baby that I ever had
Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on


Oh, I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly
Oh, I wish I had a river that I could skate away on
I made my baby say goodbye


It's coming on Christmas, they're cutting down trees
They're putting up reindeer, singing songs of joy and peace
Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on



Probably my all time favourite cover (despite such sad lyrics).

Reminds me why I used to have a crush on this lovely man way back when (in the Ally McBeal days).

Damn good singer!.  Merry Christmas :).

Friday, December 23, 2011

Martina Hingis prefers Kvitova over Wozniacki

FORMER champion Martina Hingis has added early spice to the Australian Open, questioning the credentials of world No. 1 and Melbourne Park top seed Caroline Wozniacki.


Hingis, a triple Open champion, said Wozniacki was a fine athlete, but was too defensive.

And, with familiar bluntness, Hingis sheeted the blame for the Dane's shortcomings to her father and coach Piotr.

"(Wozniacki) may (be) moving better than the others, and she tries to go inside the court, but not often enough," Hingis told L'Equipe."

The fact that she does not win grand slams is not only her problem, but also that of her coach."

Wozniacki, 21, has spent 56 weeks at No. 1, but has so far failed to win a major despite owning 18 Women's Tennis Association Tour crowns.

She is a US Open finalist, Australian Open semi-finalist and French Open quarter-finalist, but doubts persist over whether she is good enough to win at the highest level.


Hingis, who coincidentally returns to grand slam competition for an invitational event at Melbourne Park from January 16-29, admires current world No. 2 Petra Kvitova.

She described the Wimbledon champion as "very solid, left-handed ... and is the only one I really like to watch. With others, it is monotonous."

Kvitova has been acclaimed as the Czech Republic's athlete of the year.It is the 21-year-old's latest accolade, following her surge in 2011 from No. 34 in the rankings.

The left-hander was recognised as the International Tennis Federation's world champion despite finishing behind Wozniacki in the rankings.

Kvitova was also hailed for being part of the Czech team of the year for her pivotal role in guiding its Fed Cup team to the title.

heraldsun.com.au

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Martina Hingis tennis star turned coaching consultant

Former Grand Slam champ, Martina Hingis, will lend her talents to the


Mouratoglou academy and help train promising young girls looking 
to play professional tennis.

"I would like to give the girls some tactical and technical direction," 
she said of the move. 

"I'll try to teach them to attack and move to the net quickly, 
and not wait for the ball."

Hingis went on to say that the only player on today's circuit 
whose style she admires is Petra Kvitova, 
who won Wimbledon in 2011.

tennisworldusa.org

Monday, December 19, 2011

Kim Clijsters exhibition fun

  Imitation the sincerest form of flattery, or just plain hilarious?.



LMFAO!!

I wonder if some of the screaming players (we all know who they are) have seen this particular vid *snort*.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Alyson Hannigan expecting 2nd child


Alyson Hannigan is expecting her second child, her rep confirms to JustJared.com.

The 37-year-old How I Met Your Motherstar “is thrilled to be pregnant. 

She’s been wearing baggy clothes to cover the baby bump,” a source told Us Weekly, which first reported the news
.
Alyson - who already has a 2-year-old daughter, Satyana, with husband Alexis Denisof - was recently spotted showing off her growing belly in thin red crocheted sweater over a white shirt.

FYI: Alyson’s HIMYM character, Lily, is also currently pregnant!


Congrats to the happy couple on their expending family! :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Kim Clijsters exhibition fun turns dangerous


Kim Clijsters and her sister Elke were playing a recent doubles exhibition against Caroline Wozniacki and Yanina Wickmayer when Clijsters made an unusual offer to soem fans in attendance.


 "To all the men here," Clijsters said into the chair umpire's microphone, "the one who kisses Yanina first, wins that white car over there."
The four-time Grand Slam champion then pointed to a promotional vehicle parked on the side of the court and watched as two men lept out of the crowd and aggressively made their way to the 22-year-old Wickmayer.
Security took the men away, Wickmayer laughed off the incident and the doubles match resumed, with the Clijsters sisters winning an easy victory in their native Belgium. No word on whether either of the kissers got the car.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Martina Hingis & Jennifer Capriati play and mentor at Cayman

When international tennis stars rolled into Cayman last month, they brought much more than their racquets and best shots; they took time to mould Cayman’s future tennis players. 

A plethora of international stars from the last two decades headlined the 2011 edition of the KPMG Legends Tennis tournament at the Residences of the Ritz Carlton in Grand Cayman. 

Swiss sensation Martina Hingis and her American counterpart Jennifer Capriati headlined the three day tournament which raised thousands for junior tennis and the Cayman Crisis Centre. Jimmy Arias, the perennial favourite, came again, Chanda Rubin for the first time and it was nice to see Nick Bollettieri inspiring the kids as he always does. Credit should go to Ritz-Carlton developer Michael Ryan for meshing it all together again. 

Local juniors like Simon Butler, James Priaulx, Callum Theaker and Daniel Reid also got a chance to play in a big tournament atmosphere. It was also nice to see Panav Jha, the stand-out teenager hoping to pursue a career as a pro, playing in the singles here. 

Hingis teamed up with Australian heavy hitter Mark Philippoussis and claimed the mixed doubles title, a new feature to the tournament, while veteran Wayne Ferreira was the singles winner. The extremely skilful Hingis was a perfect compliment to the power of Philippoussis, who at times during the competition unleashed his trademark serve. 

When the pros weren’t on court they took time out to work with several students and for the first time in the tournament’s ten year history more than 1,350 students got the chance to the watch tournament action for free; a master stroke by the tournament organisers to include more of the Cayman community in the sport.

Dan Kneipp, the tournament director, said: “The interest in this year’s competition was evident in each evening session with thousands of locals soaking in the top level tennis and the theatrics of Murphy Jensen and Arias who were guest umpires when not playing. 

“Not lost in the lively atmosphere was the need for the competition to have a charitable element - and again the Cayman Crisis Centre benefitted from the proceeds of a silent auction. 

“So while the big name tennis stars drew the crowds and changed the lives of the juniors the KPMG Legends Tennis tournament left another indelible mark with its community service.”

businessinsider

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hingis Fed Cup rumors untrue, no hope for Swiss Olympic pairing

Martina Hingis' representatives have denied reports that the former world No. 1 intends to play a Fed Cup tie for Switzerland in February. 

Hingis, who has never officially retired, has been linked with a mouthwatering doubles reunion with Roger Federer for the London 2012 Olympics

With a Fed Cup appearance part of the qualifying requirements for Olympic selection, Hingis was reported to be preparing for Switzerland's Fed Cup clash against Australia in February. 

Rene Stammbach, the president of the Swiss Tennis Federation, told the Swiss press that he hopes "to get Hingis' commitment within the next few days." 

But Hingis' camp has dismissed the latest rumours as a gimmick to sell tickets for the World Group II tie in Fribourg.

"They have a big arena to fill and no active players to fill it," a spokesman told Tennis.com. "We want to avoid their creating hype, rumours, gimmicks to sell tickets." 


With the recent retirement of Patty Schnyder, Switzerland's top two players are No. 138 Stefanie Voegele and No. 243 Timea Bacsinszky who has not played since March after under going surgery on a foot injury. 

Hingis, 31, had been involved in tentative talks with Federer's camp over the possibility of an Olympic match-up. However, the five-time major champion is yet to meet a series of requirements, including a Fed Cup appearance and a comeback on the WTA Tour. 

espn.co.uk

Monday, December 12, 2011

Martina Hingis & hubby Thibault Hutin at Gucci Masters














Martina Hingis and Thibault Hutin, both horse riders, competing in the Gucci Masters. International Gucci Masters is a a jumping competition held at the Palais des Expositions in Villepinte. 

More pics here and here

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Clijsters staying cautious in 2012

With injuries throughout 2011, Belgian Kim Clijsters opted out of some important tournaments this year including Wimbledon and the US Open where she was the double defending champion.

“The start of 2011 was really good. But after that I made some decisions I no longer would make now. 

After a physically and psychologically very strenuous Australian Open, the indoor tournament in Paris was the one event too much. Now, I'll be listening to my body much better,” commented Clijsters on her injuries in 2011.

The Belgian starts of her 2012 campaign at the Brisbane International before moving to defend her title at the Australian Open. 

When asked about her targets for 2012 Clijsters added, “I will take things one tournament at a time, but above all I would like to improve my game. I have been working really hard at my service, because that often did not go well in the past year.”

Clijsters also showed a certain level of uncertainty when asked about her Fed Cup and Olympic aspirations.

“I have spoken to team captain Ann Devries, but I have not decided anything yet. The year will be very busy already with the sequence of Wimbledon and the Olympics. I'll see how things are after the Australian Open. Should I do as well as last year it might all be a bit much, but should things go not too well Down Under the Fed Cup might be an appropriate challenge.”

It seems like we will see a new and improved Clijsters in 2012 and lets hope she bedazzles us with her scintillating tennis that we are used to!.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Kim Clijsters successful in 1st exhibition after long break


(CNN) -- Four-time grand slam champion Kim Clijsters made a successful return from injury by defeating world number one Caroline Wozniacki in an exhibition match in Antwerp, Belgium.
Clijsters, U.S. Open champion in 2005, 2009 and 2010, has been out for almost four months after sustaining a stomach muscle injury in August.
"So far, and today, everything felt really great," the 28-year-old said told the 10,000-strong crowd after winning 6-2 7-6 (7-5) at the Antwerp Sports Palace on Thursday.
The Belgian will now focus on preparing to defend her Australian Open crown in Melbourne in January after securing victory in one hour and 35 minutes.
Clijsters climbed to the top of the world rankings in February before sustaining shoulder and ankle injuries in April. She injured her stomach while attempting to recover in time to challenge for a fourth U.S. Open title and is only now regaining full fitness.
"I am happy to have played a match and break the rhythm of daily training," the 41-time WTA Tour winner said.
Clijsters initially retired from tennis in 2007 to concentrate on raising her daughter, but in 2009 she performed a u-turn and announced she would return to sport.
It was a spectacular comeback as Clijsters gained wild-card entry to the U.S. Open before going on to win the title at Flushing Meadows two years in a row.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Song of the Moment: Ingrid Michealson & Sara Bareilles-Winter Song



With the snow falling on the ground the last few days the song seems very appropriate.  I love the very subtle melody and lyrics perfect for sitting and relaxing around this time of year.

I fell in love with Ingrid Michaelson after hearing a bunch of her songs on Grey's Anatomy.  And I must say I'm really starting to enjoy Sara Bareilles as well.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Roger Federer 6 time ATP World Tour Champion!









Roger Federer has become the first player to win six titles at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. The fourth-seeded Swiss won his 70th tour-level trophy in his 100th final on Sunday after he defeated sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-3, in two hours and 19 minutes, to become the oldest titlist at the year-end championship.
The 30-year-old Federer, who won all five matches he played this week, at The O2 in London, picked up a cheque for $1,630,000 and 1,500 South African Airways ATP Rankings points. He was also year-end champion in 2003-04, 2006-07 and 2010. The victory also tied Federer with Ivan Lendl's wins record at the tournament. Lendl compiled a 39-10 mark, with five titles, while Federer is now 39-7.
It was Federer's third straight indoor trophy, after title runs at the Swiss Indoors Basel (d. Nishikori) and the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris (d. Tsonga) two weeks ago. He also beat Tsonga last Sunday in Group B round-robin play and finishes the year unbeaten indoors with a 16-0 mark.
Federer, who had won the first set in his six previous year-end finals, turned up the heat on Tsonga at 4-3, when he hit three straight backhand winners to give his French opponent a headache at 0/40. Federer, who had looked second-best for much of the first set, broke serve and ultimately clinched the set in 35 minutes, despite the best efforts of Tsonga to break.
On Federer's first set point at advantage, Tsonga drew Federer to the net before ripping a backhand winner down the line. Federer then hit a forehand approach winner and on his second set point chance, Tsonga made a backhand error under pressure. Federer hit nine winners to Tsonga's 12, but took his chance in the eighth game. Tsonga, lost just five points on serve and his 12 winners, but came out second best.
Tsonga almost buckled under the pressure at 1-1 in the second set, after he hit two double faults, but he managed to salvage the game from 15/40. Two games later, however, Federer set up one more break point opportunity. Taking advantage of a second serve at 30/40, Federer ran around his backhand to lash a forehand winner downthe line for a 3-2 lead.
Federer served for the title at 5-4, but a lapse in concentration saw him face three break points at 0/40. He saved two when Tsonga hit a backhand return long and a forehand into the net, but he could not win the third as Tsonga attacked the net off a forehand to strike a smash winner. In the next game, Tsonga saved one break with with a powerful forehand approach, which Federer could not scramble back. The set was decided on a tie-break.
Federer took a 4-2 lead in the tie-break courtesy of a forehand volley, after both players made edgey starts. 

He then hit a drive volley winner for a three-point cushion. But Tsonga came back by winning three straight points, until Federer's sixth ace of the match took him to his first match point chance at 6-5. 

Tsonga kept his nerve and fired a mid-court forehand for a winner, then hit an unreturned serve for his first set point opportunity at 7-6. Tsgona jumped all over Federer's second serve, hammering a forehand return to the Swiss' feet.

Tsonga hit 18 winners in the set and won 10 of his 15 net points.

The quality of tennis in the deciding set improved with every game. Tsonga came through hold for 3-3, with his never-say-die brand of tennis, when he hit three forehand winners, while Federer continued to clinch routine service holds.
The presure, of serving second in the set, looked to weight heavily on Tsonga's shoulders at 3-4. He fought back from 0/30 with three straight points, but then committed two forehand errors to gift Federer a break point opportunity.

Tsonga saved it by following a forehand to the net and hitting a volley winner. Two points later, facing break point again, he came to the net and executed a perfect back cross-court angle that left Federer motionless. Federer made it third time lucky for a 5-3 lead, when Tsonga over-balanced while running for a forehand that he hit wide.
Federer closed out his 64th match win of the season (64-12 overall) with a hold to love, finishing with a forehand volley winner, and leapt in the air in celebration. He has a 6-1 record in year-end finals, losing only to David Nalbandian in the 2005 title match. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Roger Federer through to ATP World Tour Finals


If there is an identity crisis in tennis, someone forgot to tell Roger Federer - although he probably did not need a toe-curling paeon of courtside praise on TV after beating David Ferrer yesterday to remind him of his place in the world's affections (tucked in there behind Nelson Mandela, apparently).
Of the leading eight players in the game who gathered in London over the past week for the final tournament of a debilitating season, only the pristine Swiss has resembled his old self, and yesterday he reminded Ferrer that some things in life do not change by force of will alone.
Federer beat the determined Spaniard 7-5, 6-3 – his 12th win over him in 12 matches – to reach today's final of the Barclay's ATP World Tour Finals. Only Ivan Lendl with nine appearances, and Boris Becker (eight) have reached more title deciders in this tournament.
It is also the 100th final of Federer's career and might be his 70th victory. If he does win (only a fool would bet against him) he will secure a record sixth Tour Finals title and, tomorrow, reclaim the No 3 world ranking that Andy Murray took from him briefly during his hat-trick tour of Asia. Victory would also place him equal sixth alongside Stefan Edberg on 806 career match wins. This is the cv of no ordinary athlete. Alarmingly for his peers, joyously for his fans, he thinks he is getting better.
"For me, it's only logical to improve," he said, "but you have to have the work ethic, to sleep, drink, live healthy as a tennis player, because no one else is running but ourselves. That makes it extremely difficult mentally. I have also been amazed myself how long I've been able to keep it up."
It was not a perfect Federer performance; few since his last major, the 2010 Australian Open, have been, although there have been sightings of the old boy, memorably in Paris and New York. But, after an uncertain start - 19 unforced errors in the first set gave Ferrer cruel, passing hope - he was too good over an hour and 25 minutes for the world No 5.
Federer has emerged from a bruised pack, the oldest swinger in town at 30. Others have been less resilient. Talk of burnout might be boring, but it is an issue crystallised almost daily in Greenwich.
Janko Tipsarevic beat his friend Novak Djokovic for the first time on Friday, but reminded us this was not the same player who had won three slams in what he reckoned was the greatest single year in the sport's history; the real Rafael Nadal is somewhere in Mallorca, having sent his doppelganger to collapse in London; and Murray is hibernating with a variety of ailments to body and spirt, hoping to emerge renewed in Australia in the new year.
Ferrer's task was considerable, despite his surge in the round robin matches. The momentum was with him for a snapshot moment or two. He took it to the great man from the first game; at 2-2, he saved break point to hold. Then reality kicked in.
Having lost his last round-robin match in three sets the previous evening to Tomas Berdych, Ferrer - who had to play near his best to overcome a one-legged Murray in the first round - was one of the tournament's exhausted walking targets, but he showed eye-blazing vigour that made his game a neat fit with the languid skills of his opponent.
Federer's revamped backhand deserted him under pressure in the fifth game, going wide and long then into the net as mistakes mounted, but he held. He hit nervelessly through five deuce points to hold serve at 5-5.
Federer played a masterful rally, finished with a backhand volley, to hold two break points. Ferrer, looking ragged as Federer pulled him at will back and forth across the baseline, struck wildly and a forehand inched outside the white line. The set was gone from his limp grasp.
He went 2-0 down after a few minutes in the second set and, when he was dragged to deuce to hold in the fifth game, his resistance ebbed. Federer rifled a forehand down the line in the ninth game, and Ferrer could do no more than get the edge of the frame on to the whirring ball. He left for Spain's Davis Cup final with Argentina a shredded version of himself, a parting pat on the back from his conqueror scant consolation.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Federer keeps rolling on at ATP World Tour Finals

Roger Federer stands alone, again – naturally. In the space of a few days by the banks of the Thames the Swiss has reminded his weary peers as well as sniping doubters that 30 is a number no more significant than 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, the ones he put on struggling Mardy Fish on Thursday by way of limbering up for the semi-finals of the Barclay's ATP World Tour Finals, the game's last proving ground of the season.

After a third round-robin match, of no significance, he subtly deconstructed what he regards as the myth of burnout, an issue that has consumed others to the point of rebellion but has left him singularly unimpressed. As most of the seven others who started this tournament ruminate on their past bruises and more to come, il gran signore shrugs.

"My body, even if it's injured," he said earlier in the week, "can still play really well, whereas maybe other players, if they are injured, it doesn't work any more." It was the most unsubtle dig at Andy Murray, who had left the tournament on Tuesday with a groin strain.

At the moment Federer is floating above a sea of tennis turmoil. He has 20 gears and needed perhaps half of them to beat Fish, the 29-year-old American with nothing to lose and nothing to win, as he had already failed twice in the round-robin series. 

Homesick Mardy had his parents, Sally and Tom, in the stands but the American was a long way from home on Thanksgiving Day and a similar distance behind Federer at the end.

Fish won 93% of his first serves; the previous night David Ferrer's numbers against Novak Djokovic were similarly impressive: 92. Clearly, to compete with the best, players need to have their serve cranked to near-perfection.

But Federer remains the master of court manipulation, whatever the strength of his opponent's serve. When Fish served at 2-5 to stay in the match he was nowhere near as cool under pressure as Federer had been in a similar situation in the second set half an hour earlier, but he hung on. 

In the end he looked happy to be in the presence of a player whose gifts are so great their diminution is, for the moment, barely discernible.

After his calm demolition of Fish in an hour and 47 minutes Federer expanded on his thesis that the game is panicking for no reason.

"Next year's season is going to be shortened by two weeks," he said when asked if the season was too long. "That's as much as we can squeeze it, otherwise a lot of tournaments would have to go – or we would have four tournaments the same week, which I don't think is a very smart idea.

"The whole boycott thing [as mentioned by Murray, Rafael Nadal and Andy Roddick at the US Open], it's nonsense. The season's always been long, tough and gruelling. Maybe it's more physical. But I've played 10 years straight, 60-plus matches [a year], if not 90 at times. It's about how you manage your schedule."

So, no sympathy for Djokovic, the world No1, whose tired legs betrayed his ennui in a straight-sets defeat by Ferrer in an hour and 15 minutes the night before.

From ennui to Henry, then. Federer spent the evening away from the torture chamber in Greenwich watching Arsenal with his old friend, Thierry, and revealed the French player had begged him to come to the Emirates. "I said: 'Just let me try to beat Rafa first. If I'm through in the group, there's a good chance I'll come.'"

He went. "I'd ask him a question, why would they play this way, why did they do that, what does that player do well? He can explain all these things. He's like a manager. I was able to go down on the pitch, go in the locker room, meet the players. They were extremely happy." As they should be.

It was only the second match he has seen live in England, after England v Argentina at Wembley 11 years ago. May he soon have more time for Mirka [Federer's wife] and the twins, or are there goals left? "I guess I do play a bit for the legacy and the history, the record books. But it's really the press that remind me of most things. I just go along with it. I have no intentions to quit."

If Federer reaches Sunday's final, he will take back the No3 spot he surrendered to Murray on the Scot's exhilarating run in Asia. If he does not, it will be a surprise given the quality of his tennis this week.

If he wins his sixth title? Well, his vast army of fans will be encouraged to believe in the second coming of Roger. Is he excited about getting back to No3? As you might expect from someone who was No1 for so many years, no. "It doesn't mean the world to me," he said. But Federer still means a lot to the world of tennis.

guardian.co.uk

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Federer demolishes Nadal secures place in ATP World Tour Final semis

Five-time champion Roger Federer earned a spot in the semifinals at tennis’ ATP World Tour Finals by beating Rafael Nadal in straight sets.


The defending champion from Switzerland defeated the second-ranked Spaniard 6-3, 6-0 at London’s O2 arena. Although Nadal leads Federer 17-9 in their career rivalry, he’s never beaten the Swiss player indoors.

The fourth-ranked Federer is on a 14-match winning streak since the semifinals of the U.S. Open, winning back-to-back titles in his hometown of Basel and in Paris. He is seeking a record-breaking sixth ATP Finals title. Federer defeated Nadal in last year’s final to tie Pete Sampras and Ivan Lendl as the only men with five trophies. 

The ATP Finals feature a round-robin format, with the top eight players in the ATP rankings divided into two groups. Each plays the three others in the group, with the top two in each section moving into the knockout semifinals. Federer is the first player to qualify for the semifinals, having also won his opening match against France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. 

That ladies and gentlemen is what we call a thrashing!. 

I can't remember the last time I've seen Fed play so well (that forehand was on fire!), and get a bagel from Nadal no less. 

Hope this is a sign of good things to come in 2012 (I think there certainly will if he continues to play like this!). 

Masterclass indeed.

bloomberg.com

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

DWTS 13: The Finals Part 2

Ricki & Derek kicked things off for the last time with their most memorable dance (and choreography) the "Psycho" inspired Tango.

The call back to this dance was unsurprisingly loved by all.  Bruno called it an unforgettable grand cinematic extravaganza.

Carrie Ann thought it was perfect the first time and beyond perfect the 2nd.

Gotta say this one does stand out in the way that season 5 Helio Castroneves "Mask" inspired one still sticks in my mind all these years later. 

Dance choreography and performance at it's best.

30 points were added to their overall score from last night for a grand total of 84.  Sadly despite earning the highest score Ricki fell short of the final coming in 3rd place.

Which to me was the wrong choice because really out of the remaining 3 Ricki and J.R. were the better dancers in comparison to Rob.

But oh well, an awesomely valiant effort nonetheless.  An absolute delight to watch week in week out.  Thanks Ricki! :)

Rob & Cheryl were up next with their reprise of the Foxtrot.  Bruno reiterated that he's improved beyond everyone's expectations.  Calling him smooth and suave.

Carrie Ann loved how things look so easy for him at this stage.  Len said he possessed the best foot work of any guy in the history of the show.  Really Len?, really?.

I recall him saying the same thing in regards to Hines Ward (who I believe was dancing with Kim Johnson) last year.  26 was their score a grand total of 83 points.

J.R. & Karina reprised their Jive (which they performed all the way back in week 2).

Taking out the lift and Lindy Hop which Carrie Ann and Len complained about.

Carrie Ann loved the way J.R. has been the catalyst for joy.  Len added that he lights up the room each time.

Bruno called it energetic fast paced fun, fun, fun.  Agreed.  His exuberant joy on the dance floor is infectious. 28 was the score added to their overall total of 82.

As always the show also featured the return of all the celebs from this season, but I won't bother recapping any of that. 

Other then to say I loved seeing Lacey & Chaz shake their groove with Lacey's dad to boot!.

Definite highlight. 

Rob & Cheryl and J.R. Karina battled it out for the trophy with an Instant Samba to Ricki Martin's "Shake Your Bon Bon".  That they did.

As with all the final scores both couples got a perfect 30.  No big surprise there. 

In the end Rob & Cheryl had a final score of 113 and J.R. and Karina were just one point behind with 112.

In the end it was Mr. charismatic himself J.R. Martinez who became to new champ of Dancing with the Stars season 13.

Congrats to them both!.  So nice to see a different pro lift that Mirrorball trophy.  Been a while.  A well earned win.

And that's all folks DWTS will be back March 19th 2012 with a brand new cast.   

Monday, November 21, 2011

DWTS 13: The Finals part 1

And then there were 3.

Ricki & Derek were up first with a sexy Cha Cha.  Len found it action packed with good timing and rhythm.

And although he wanted more hip action it was a dance worthy of the finals.  Bruno said she's never been hotter.  Carrie Ann said she was living the dance.

I thought it was quite good, but I have seen better.  Maybe it's because the show has been on for so long there's only so much originality one can put into a routine and Derek has won the thing 3 times.

I just wasn't jumping out of my seat with excitement as I have in the past.  Still an excellent performance.  I guess it was a bit under par for the judges as well because they give a 27/30.

They received identical scores for their free style.  Which Len found fun and entertaining, despite a not so perfect Quickstep.  Bruno enjoyed Ricki's explosive entrance onto the dance floor.

Carrie loved the effortless lifts.  I tend to agree with a little bit of everything from the judges it was a really great number and the lifts were wonderfully done, but as I mentioned in their first dance something was missing (I think the choreography was a bit lackluster this time).   

Needless to say I was a bit disappointed.

Sorry Derek that's what you get when you're damn near perfect 3 years in a row.  Their overall total was 54/60.    

Rob &Cheryl danced the Waltz.  Which Bruno thought was full of expression, and he loved the continuity of lines.  Carrie Ann thought he looked like the male Cinderella.

Len thought he lost posture a few times but the simplicity of it was beautiful.  27/30 (popular score tonight).  I thought it was pretty decent myself, he's certainly proven he's 10 times the dancer his sister never was.

Their free style was up next.  Bruno loved the brilliant content and execution.  Carrie Ann was simply blown away.

Again I thought it was alright but nothing spectacular.  They performed the exact same lifts as Ricki and Derek, so I didn't see anything outstanding content wise.

Not really sure they deserved a perfect score but whatever. 30/30 it was making their grand total 57/60 putting them in first place.  WTF.  Again I say whatever.

J.R. & Karina did a Cha Cha that received mixed reviews from the judges.  Carrie Ann thought he was off musically and warned him to watch his arms.

Len and Bruno on the other hand both agreed his enthusiasm got the better of him making him attack it a little too hard making the whole thing fall apart in the process.

I agree that it wasn't perfect but I don't think it was as bad as they deemed it to be I would have given them a bit higher then 24/30.

But no worries because they redeemed themselves with the free style. 

Which was pretty damn good.  Carrie Ann was so impressed with the lifts she used the word 'sick'.  I don't think I've ever heard her use that term in all the years I've been watching.

Len thought the dance revealed 2 things Karina's body and J.R.'s talent.  Bruno was equally enthralled calling it a brilliant comeback.

I must say Karina certainly took some risks with pretty crazy lifts.  It payed off I think, made it look different then the rest of the routines. I loved it.

Definitely deserving of a perfect score tying them with Ricki and Derek 54/60.

I'm split on who I want to win the Mirror Ball this season.  Although I love Ricki & Derek, I'm kind of leaning toward J.R. & Karina (not just because of his inspiring story) but because I think he really deserves it.

His personality and spirit (as Carrie Ann) said has shown in every single dance.  Plus given that both Derek and Cheryl have won the thing already it would be nice for a first timer to get it.

And it's about time for Karina.  As long as Rob doesn't win I won't complain about the end result.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Roger Federer on track at ATP World Tour Finals


Tennis: Roger Federer needed three sets to see off the challenge of Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the opening encounter of the ATP World Tour Finals.
The Swiss raced swept aside a strangely subdued Tsonga in the first set before losing the second. Federer regained his focus in the third to prevail 6-2 2-6 6-4.
Their fifth meeting this season and 10th in total, the Swiss took a 6-3 head-to-head supremacy going into the encounter, including a straight sets victory in the Paris masters final eight days ago.
Matters resumed where they left off in the French capital with the Swiss racing to a break advantage and a 4-1 lead in quick fashion.
The trademark Federer forehand found the corners with regularity in the mid-part of the opening set and Tsonga, with his mind still seemingly in the locker room, struggled to cope with the early aggression of the 16-time grand slam champion.
By contrast Federer couldn’t have been more relaxed, stroking the ball to its intended spot at will and quickly notching game after game on the scoreboard.
Serving to stay in the set at 2-5, Tsonga was unable to rally and succumbed to a second break and the loss of the first set with a series of errors, including a pitiful double fault which would have been more at home down the local park courts than at the world tour finals.
Onlookers, including Arsenal and France legend Thierry Henry who was sat in the Federer box, had expected to see more from the French number one and their expectations were soon raised.
Notwithstanding a supremely confident opening Federer service hold, including an audacious overhead volley winner from near the baseline, Tsonga found his feet in startling fashion in set two, booming ground strokes to the corners from both wings and serving with both power and authority.
Serving at 1-1, Federer lost all concentration and needlessly threw away his serve with three consecutive unforced errors at an early stage in each point.
Tsonga, now with the bit between his teeth, wasn’t about to hand back his unexpected advantage and more confident serving delivered aces, which along with further unforced errors from the Federer racquet, consolidated the Frenchman’s break and established a 3-1 lead.
The set continued in the same vein, apart from a series of sublime exchanges in game seven which saw Federer arrow a desperate yet brilliant defensive slice at the feet of the advancing Tsonga and the Frenchman responded with a backhand crosscourt drive of bewildering power.
More ferocious hitting from Tsonga, an ace and a double fault, followed and ended with Jo-Jo securing a 5-2 lead and with it, effectively the set which he took comfortably in his next service game.
A more composed Federer got matters underway in the deciding set, outfoxing the French sixth seed brilliantly with a number of slow first serves out wide onto the line, earning him victory in the first and third games of the set, and with it a 2-1 position in spite of some deep, confident hitting from Tsonga off the service return.
The pattern continued for two further games with strong serving from both men and a wicked topspin forehand planted into Tsonga’s backhand corner from a short position bringing up 3-2 on serve for Federer.
Game six set the place alight with a miraculous backhand blocked pass down the line by Federer from a high speed approach leaving Tsonga helpless at the net.
Break point beckoned for Roger and his expectant fans after a successful exchange of powerful backhands and a poor Tsonga error. Yet, the breakthrough failed to materialise as Jo-Jo fired down multiple aces to save himself, nearly decapitating one terrorised member of the audience in the front row on two occasions.
Worryingly for Tsonga, Federer, now re-composed, held serve with ease and strolled to a 5-4 lead courtesy of some fine striking on his forehand and a number of disappointing errors from Tsonga.
A decent contest ended abruptly in anti-climactic fashion with an unforced error and a double fault handing Federer a 0-30 lead from which he didn’t look back, sealing victory with the help of a miss-hit backhand return on his second match point.
Federer celebrated and expressed both joy and relief in his courtside post-match interview with Mark Petchey. A clearly disappointed Tsonga spoke candidly to the press, in English but mainly in French about the nature of his defeat, citing Federer’s “super quick” play as well as his own dismal start as being to blame.
The French Journalists present tried to engage Tsonga in debate about topical issues, namely the levels of tax foreign sportsman pay when competing in Britain and the controversial comments made by his compatriot Yannick Noah, accusing top level Spanish sportsmen of widespread doping in a recent interview.
The French number one refused to be drawn on politics and answered only that he “doesn’t care” and is only thinking about his next match at the O2.
Federer conducted a seamless press conference in three languages, his mood undoubtedly buoyed by success in this important opening match.
When asked by the Morning Star what he made of playing at the O2, not a tennis venue in the traditional sense, ever the diplomat he politely replied that it would be unfair on the other great stadiums to name this his favourite but that he finds it "electrifying, great for the players and crowd and that it is somewhere he will be proud to say that he’s played in years to come."
Effortless and charming in person, Federer will walk onto court for the second round of matches with his title defence in good shape. Tsonga must regroup must should draw positives from the match and not be downbeat about his chances which remain intact.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Kim Clijsters return to tennis at Brisbane International


Kim Clijsters announces return to 2012 Brisbane International Open – Tennis News
Kim Clijsters announced her return to the Brisbane International Open 2012, following a torn stomach muscle injury that kept her from defending her title at the US Open.
The Belgian will take part in the tournament which is held just a week before the first Grand Slam of the year and acts as a warm up tournament prior to the Australian Open. The tournament will be hosted at Queensland Tennis Centre, Australia from the 1st to the 8th of January.
Belgian star is currently ranked as world number ten as she was unable to play prior to the last Grand Slam; US Open because of an injury but she is much better and eagerly waiting for Brisbane.
The former world number one is looking forward to the event and in an exciting tone said, “I am really thrilled to be coming back to Brisbane in 2012, and the last time I was there I played extremely well and had some really tough matches. Australia has always been a home away from home for me and I am very comfortable there”.
A brief sweetheart to Aussie star and former world number one, Lleyton Hewitt, Clijsters enjoys the local support from the Australians in years to follow. She became a title holder at her debut performance at this tournament in 2010. The Belgian thrashed Lucie Safarova in the quarterfinal and got rid of Andrea Petkovic in the semi final to an en-route victory against Justine Henin during the final. In addition, the former ‘numero uno’ outshone Li Na in the clash of the trophy at the Australian Open this year and took home the crown along with, the hearts of many Australians.
Many famous players have confirmed their entries and Clijsters is expected to play against world class players such as Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic, current US Open champion  Samantha Stosur, last but not the least, the thirteen time Grand Slam champion  Serena Williams!
Tournament Director Cameron Pearson said, “Clijsters would be a welcomed addition to the Brisbane International, Kim is an extremely popular player with both fans and players alike and it will great to see her back on court in Brisbane this summer. As a past champion, Kim will add another exciting dimension to what is already a spectacular line-up attending the Brisbane International in 2012”.
Clijsters is not only famous on the court but also off the court and has achieved many wards. The most recent being in June 2011 when Time Magazine awarded her one of the "30 Legends of Women's Tennis: Past, Present and Future". The former world number one both in doubles and singles has won 41 WTA singles titles and 11 WTA doubles titles.