Sunday, January 30, 2011

Djokovic beats Federer to reach Australian Open final

MELBOURNE, Australia — Roger Federer saved a parting shot for anyone who thinks his time is up and a changing of the guard in tennis awaits.

"Yeah, I mean, they say that very quickly. ... Let's talk in six months again," he said.

The heavily hyped duel between Federer and Rafael Nadal will not happen in Melbourne, opening a rare window for someone else.

Federer, the defending champion, lost to Novak Djokovic 7-6 (3), 7-5, 6-4 in the Australian Open semifinals Thursday night. It marks the first time since 2008 neither of tennis' most dominant men will play in a Grand Slam final. 

Less than 24 hours earlier, an ailing Nadal's pursuit of a Rafa Slam evaporated in a quarterfinal loss to fellow Spaniard David Ferrer.

Djokovic will play Ferrer or Andy Murray in the final. 

On the women's side, the title match is set with Kim Clijsters facing Li Na. Clijsters beat Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 6-3, and Li eliminated top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Federer and Nadal have combined to win 21 of the last 23 majors. This is also the first time since 2003 that Federer, a 16-time Grand Slam winner, will not hold at least one of the four major trophies.

The Swiss great was outplayed by Djokovic, who reveled in the cooler night weather. It was the second straight time Federer has lost to the Serb – he had match points before losing in the U.S. Open semifinals.

"It's disappointing and it hurts in the moment itself," Federer said. "I wish I could have won here again for the fifth time. But wasn't possible tonight. It's not the end in any way. It's a start for many other tournaments after this."

Federer said he didn't play the key points well. He fell behind quickly in the first-set tiebreaker on backhand errors, giving Djokovic four set points.


I'll be frank I did not bother staying up for this match (given it was shown at 3:30am EST) I cheated and looked at the results of the match when I woke up later in the day.

After which I felt no need to watch the match.  I get too upset watching Roger lose.

I debated with myself on whether to even bother making this post.  But I do have a few things to say on the topic.

Having not watched the match but read plenty about it.  I know that Roger had plenty of chances, he just wasn't able to capitalize on them.

Djokovic was just too good plain and simple.

I'm not really surprised that he won he's been in great form all tournament long.  I do hope that having beaten Federer he goes on to kick Murray's butt and wins the title.

As for Federer he did awesome, he just got defeated by a better opponent who just happened to be having a better day.

ETA: I realize this is actually quite a few days late but I felt like posting my thoughts anyway.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Kim Clijsters fights off Li Na wins first Australian Open title!

tears of joy after winning the last game and the championship on her serve

Now Australia can finally call her one of her own. Cementing her status as one of the top players over the past decade, an emotional Kim Clijsters won her fourth Grand Slam by taking her first Australian Open with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory over China's Na Li.

It was a monumental victory for the Belgian, who despite being one of the best hard court players on the planet since 2003, had struggled time and time again to raise the big Melbourne trophy. 
Based on her winning the 2010 US Open as well as the year-end WTA Championships, Clijsters came into the tournament as the favourite despite her world No.3 ranking, but still had to put down a strong and ambitious field and did so by hardening her resolve when it matters most.

"Now I feel like you guys can finally call me Aussie Kim because I won the title," said the popular Belgian, who had earned the nickname during the first stage of her career when she was engaged to former No.1 Lleyton Hewitt of Australia.

She was in deep trouble against the powerful Li in the first two sets as she was unable to take control of cross court rallies, served poorly and watched Li rip winners to the corners and out-run her. Clijsters grew extremely frustrated at times, but finally bore down midway through the second set, as at 3-3, she began to mix it up her shot selection and won five straight games.

Li fought her heart in the third set, but by that time, Clijsters had found her game and began to fire winners down the line off both wings, return with more aggression and accuracy and spot her serves well. 

After holding to love to win the contest, Clijsters lifted her arms to the sky and cried in joy into her towel. She thought about her father, Lei, who passed away a few years ago and wished that he could share the moments with her. 

She let out all the tension that had wracked her body in an incredibly tense match. She thought about the difficult three-set loss she took to Justine Henin in the 2004 final.

She has wanted to win the Australian Open from the time she was kid when she watched Monica Seles win time and time again and go up into the audience to share hugs with her supporters.

"I remember Monica giving her speeches and how special it looked," said Clijsters, who also owns three US Open titles. "It was amazing. They're all emotional. I think what overwhelms me is that it's so intense up until that last shot, and then all of a sudden it's finished. Then it's just like a big relief. The disbelief maybe a little bit too it's over and that I was able to turn it around is what makes it all so special."

Li was hoping to become the first player from China to win major and unlike many first time entrants to major finals, she didn't freeze during the occasion. While she grew frustrated by some of her Chinese fans in the crowd who were trying to coach her, she still put up a valiant effort against the former No.1.

"She played better than me," Li said. "After the match, back to the locker room, I make joke, tennis should only play one set I still happy what I do today So I proud for myself. She have more experience than me in the Grand Slam. But after lose the first set, she changed a little bit, like play more aggressive, so I was feeling little bit like late or something."

Since her 2009 comeback, Clijsters has won three out of the five Grand Slams she's played. She's a humble sort who won't be the one stating how great she has become, but she's a much improved and more composed player since she returned as a wife and mother. 

With 13-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams out of the picture in the last two Grand Slams due to injury, the 27-year-old Clijsters has come in as the favorite and performed remarkably well.

Here, she survived the hard-hitting left-hander Russian Ekaterina Makarova in the fourth round, the intelligent Pole Aga Radwanska in the quarterfinals, then world No.2 Vera Zvonareva - who had upset her at Wimbledon - the semifinals, and then the red hot Li, who had knocked off No.1 Caroline Wozniacki in the semifinals.

"Obviously, the last few years that I was playing [before her two year retirement], when I was No.1 or top 3, I've always been kind of one of the players that could win it," said Clijsters, who will rise to the No.2 ranking when they are released on Monday. "When I was younger, it kind of overwhelmed me a little bit. The pressure that I put upon myself got sometimes in the way of what I was trying to do out there. I think now that I'm a little bit older a lot of things that are being said in [the press], the pressure leaves as soon as I leave through that door. I think I was able to do that throughout this week, too."

"I know how hard it is to stay fit throughout two weeks, to try and be focused, and to try to not have a bad day like I had last year here [when she was stunned by Nadia Petrova]. You have to just try to stay really focused. I was able to do that really well, try to focus on trying to be the best Kim out there and not worry about the impact or the favorite role."


I started watching the match late last night (around 4am eastern) but decided to go to sleep after Kim lost the first set.

It was such a pleasant surprise to see her pull the championship out in 3.

Got to watch a repeat of the match later this afternoon.  Although I gotta say what's with skipping the trophy ceremony TSN?.  Not cool. 

For the first couple of sets it really felt like either one could have won it.

It's only mid way through the second set that I knew Kim would win it.

Once again just like at the U.S. Open she had some patchy matches but raised her game and played her best toward the end when it really mattered.

Congrats Kim on an awesome win and your 4th grand slam title!. 

I would love it if she could make it a "Kim slam" before leaving the game again.

If she keeps playing like this it just might happen.

Although that's a big ask, a French, or Wimbledon would do nicely :).

Friday, January 28, 2011

Kim Clijsters in the finals of the Australian Open! :)

The Australian Open Women’s semifinal match between No. 2-ranked Vera Zvonareva and No. 3-ranked Kim Clijsters looked like an epic battle, on paper. Clijsters won the U.S. Open last September, while Zvonareva was aiming for her third grand slam final in a row.

On the court, the match played out rather differently. Belgium's Kim Clijsters blew past her Russian opponent in two sets 6–3, 6–3.

I tried really hard every point,” Clijsters told ESPN. “I knew that I had to today. Vera is a tough player—I played some really tough matches against her last year, I lost to her a couple of times, so I knew that I had to come out here and really be on top of my game, and really lift my level compared to the other matches I’ve played here so far. 

“I really tried to focus on my tennis and tried to do what I do well out there and I tried to dictate the points and move around well and make my opponent go for that one extra shot every time.”

Kim Clijsters came out calm and in control, breaking Zvonareva in the first game. The Russian broke back, but Clijsters went on the win the set handily.

The second set mirrored the first, with Clijsters getting the early break. Zvonareva fought back to hold serve at love in the fifth game, and earned three break points in the sixth. 

Zvonareva then missed two shots, giving up four straight points, losing the game and pretty much losing her last chance to save the set.

Statistically, the match looked even: Clijsters scored 63 percent on her first serves, versus Zvonareva’s 65 percent; Clijsters had two aces and two double faults, Zvonareva one each. The only difference: Clijsters hit 18 winners and 18 unforced errors, while Zvonareva had 14 and 21 respectively.

This last stat tells the difference: Clijsters was able to get shots past Zvonareva, while the Russian either couldn’t return the favor.

It took Clijsters only 73 minutes to win the match, earning her the No. 2 ranking and a spot in the final against No. 9-ranked Li Na of China who upset top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark earlier in the day.


Remember that switch I was talking about the other day?.

How I was waiting for Kim to flip it and dominate?.  Well she did just that!.

Zvonareva always seems to bring out the best in Kim.  I don't know what it is I think Clijsters is a bit like Federer in a way she only raises her game when faced with the toughest opponents.

She played the most solid match since her first one in the tournament where she bageled Safina.

She served better then she has all tournament long, cut down on the unforced errors, kept her concentration throughout.

She also seemed more calm and composed (sometimes once things don't go her way her entire game gets really erratic).  Not this time.

She raised her level of play knowing it would be required if she wanted to make it through.

At one point in the second set there were shades of the U.S. Open final.  That's not to say that Zvonareva played badly quite the opposite.

She was much more impressive here in the semis then at the U.S. Open final where she imploded.  Kim just outplayed her again.

Li Na will be Clijsters opponent in the final.

Clijsters will get a chance for a bit of revenge, or redemption if you will Li Na beat her in the finals of a tune up tournament prior to the Aussie Open in Sydney (where she was actually leading 5-0 in the first set!).

If Kim plays the way she did today though there's no doubt in my mind she'll be the one holding the trophy on Saturday.  Good luck Kim!.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Justine Henin says goodbye for good

Justine Henin has shocked the tennis world by retiring from the sport for a second time in her career.

The 28-year-old seven-time Grand Slam champion announced her retirement on her official website yesterday, a serious right elbow injury cutting short the 'second career' she embarked on this time last year.

Addressing her fans in an emotional letter, Henin explained that following extensive medical tests doctors had advised her to stop playing professionally.

"I spent the last days undergoing various medical tests and they have confirmed that my elbow has been damaged by my adventure in Australia," she wrote, saying she had suffered a great deal of pain since crashing out in the third round of Australian Open 2011 to Svetlana Kuznetsova, but had believed her will power would carry her through.

"Today the examinations are clearly (sic) and the doctors formally my elbow is too fragile and hurt so that my passion and my profession at high level cannot continue to exist...It is now clear and I accept that my career here...finally ends. Even though it's hard, very hard, while I came back with tremendous fighting spirit."

With 43 WTA Tour titles, Grand Slam victories at the Australian Open, French and US Opens, and an Olympic Gold Medal to her name, Henin is one of the most successful female tennis players - and athletes - of all time. She injured her elbow in a fall during her fourth round loss to compatriot Kim Clijsters in the fourth round at Wimbledon last year.

The Belgian first retired on May 14, 2008 when ranked No.1 in the world, her long-time coach Carlos Rodriguez explaining: "Tennis became more than just winning for Justine and just winning wasn't enough for her anymore."

This time retirement was out of the famously strong-willed players hands. "After my crash at Wimbledon in June, I knew it would be difficult to come back. But I had decided to keep playing and to give everything to overcome the injury," wrote Henin on

"In these recent months I have rarely been spared from the pain, those last months were very hard. Time has passed and the doubts have grown and only return to the courts would give me answers. Not the answer I was hoping for...unfortunately.

"I'm in shock, of course, even with the work of these past seven months I had to understand there might be a reason for all this...I'm sorry...I had hoped for a different return and dreamed of a different ending.

Thanks for standing by my side during all these years. I will never forget your support and your loyalty."

WTA Tour CEO Stacey Allaster paid tribute to Henin's career saying: "We have all been fortunate to once again have had the opportunity to witness the beauty of her game during these many past months, and no doubt we will miss seeing her on court competing like only Justine can. Justine Henin will go down as one of the greatest female athletes of her era." 


Well, what can you say I sort of said it all the first time she retired back in May of '08.  Except this time it seems even sadder, because it really looks to be for good.

Ending it in the worst possible way too, ending it on your own terms is always better then being forced to do so due to an injury.

Goodbye Justine, thanks for all the craftsmanship and excitement you brought to tennis over the years.  Good luck in whatever endeavours you wish to undertake, the tennis world will undoubtedly miss you.

You can read the entire letter Justine wrote to her fans on her official website.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Kim Clijsters into the semis at Melbourne with a bit of a struggle

Vera Zvonareva and Kim Clijsters have set up a semi-final re-match of last year's US Open final with straight-forward wins in their respective Australian Open quarter-final matches on Wednesday.

No.2 seed Zvonareva, a finalist at the past two Grand Slam events, dominated the first match capitalising on the nerves of her opponent, Czech No.25 seed Petra Kvitova, to win 6-2 6-4.

It was a similarly comfortable time for the third seed Clijsters, Zvonareva's conqueror at Flushing Meadows last year, as she banished Polish No.12 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3 7-6 (7-4).

Having made her fifth Australian Open semi-finals, Clijsters looks well-placed to claim her fourth Grand Slam title as the only previous winner of a major tournament left in the women's draw.

In the second match, Clijsters took control of the first set with breaks in the third and fifth games. 

The Belgian was taking all the risks and getting the rewards, despite Radwanska pulling back a break, and when she broke her for the fourth time, she had wrapped up the first set in just 29 minutes.

Radwanska dug in for the fight early in the second set, but was unable to capitalise when holding 15-40 on Clijsters serve in the first game. 

The Belgian continued to attack and took a 4-2 lead only for Radwanska to reel off breaks in the seventh and ninth games to have the set on her racquet.

But the 21-year-old Pole was unable to close that out and the set went to a tie-breaker, where Clijsters' experience in the big matches came to the fore. 

With things evenly poised at 5-4, she upped the power and forced Radwanska into successive errors to claim the match in 94 minutes.

The 2004 finalist will feel she has plenty of improvement left in her game after making 37 unforced errors to Radwanska's 13 and being broken four times for the match.

It will be the third Grand Slam in a row that Clijsters and Zvonareva have met, with the pair having split their meetings last year in the Wimbledon quarters and the US Open final. 

Clijsters holds a 6-3 edge on head to head, but Zvonareva won their last meeting in Doha late last year.

It's hard to describe this match really.  It was so topsy turvy it's a wonder I didn't get whiplash :D.  Back to back breaks in the first 3 games. Not a stellar start.

I'm still waiting for Kim to flip that switch and really dominate like I know she can at this point in the tournament.  Instead she's still playing really patchy tennis.  This match really was Clijsters to win or lose.

With as many breaks as she had against Radwanska she should have steam rolled.

Rather then making things easy for herself every time she was ahead, she kept gifting Radwanska with chances to break even and get back into the match.

It was a really off day for Clijsters as she herself admitted saying her legs felt heavy in the post-match interview.  But she managed to pull through despite it all.

And I suppose when you get right down to it that is the most important thing.

Hopefully she can scrap this performance, and start fresh playing better in the next one.  And she will  have to raise her game at least 80% if she wants to get past Vera Zvonareva who's playing unbelievably at the moment.

The last time these two played Kim blew her off the court.  Nerves getting the better of Zvonareva.

I'm not so sure that will be the case this time.  Although Kim's experience will undoubtedly help her.  The question remaining is will that be enough?.

Hopefully this next match will be a little more exciting because so far aside from Francesca Schiavone's matches the men are far superior over the women on that front.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Roger Federer rolls into the semis @ Aussie Open

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Defending champion Roger Federer advanced to the Australian Open semifinals with a 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 win over Stanislas Wawrinka on Tuesday in a mismatch that had the intensity of a practice session. 

Federer, aiming to become the first man to win five Australian titles, was playing in his record-tying 27th consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal. He is into his eighth consecutive semifinal at Melbourne Park.
No. 19 Wawrinka was playing at this stage for only the second time at a major and struggled against Federer in the first all-Swiss quarterfinal at a Grand Slam. He had only beaten Federer once in their seven previous matches. 

Wawrinka had only one look at a break chance against the 16-time Grand Slam winner, in the sixth game of the third set, and lost three straight points to let Federer off the hook.
Federer cashed in on five of his seven break opportunities. 

Wawrinka received a code violation for smashing his racket into the ground, shattering the frame, after falling behind 2-0 in the third. His intensity picked up, but it was too late. 

"I obviously played Stan many times in practice and in matches ... maybe a bit of a battle for him to get used to the conditions," Federer said. "I had to fight extremely hard and I thought Stan played an amazing tournament." 

Wawrinka was on a nine-match winning streak, including a straight-sets win over former No. 1-ranked Andy Roddick in the fourth round. 

Federer next plays the winner of Tuesday's later match between No. 3 Novak Djokovic and Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych. Federer's last two Grand Slam losses have come against them - against Berdych at Wimbledon and Djokovic at the U.S. Open. Djokovic also beat Federer in the semifinals here in 2008 before going on to win the title. 

For Federer, the match will be more about making the final than seeking revenge.
"I got them back a couple of times at the end of the year," he said. "I don't feel like I need to get back at them necessarily, but I'm not just going to come out here and give them the match." 

Well this turned out to be very anti-climatic didn't it?.  No sweating and hair pulling required 

Don't get me wrong I'm thrilled that Federer's form seems to be back on track with this convincing win.  

But after what Stan did to Roddick I expected a little bit more competitiveness.  

There were some wonderful shots courtesy of a very relaxed Federer.  He'll certainly have plenty of energy to spare for the 2 remaining matches that's for sure.  

And against either Djokovic or Berdych he'll need every drop. 

It only gets tougher from here on out.  But I know that Roger being the champ that he is will be up to the challenge.  Looking forward to it!. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Kim Clijsters battles into the quarters in Melbourne

(Reuters) - Third seed Kim Clijsters overcame the night chill and a sluggish start to beat Russia's Ekaterina Makarova 7-6 6-2 and march into the Australian Open quarter-finals on Monday.

The Belgian, a three-times grand slam champion and Melbourne runner-up in 2004, sealed a tough victory a little after midnight local time with a drilled backhand crosscourt.

"She was unpredictable," Clijsters told reporters. "I had to get a feel for it".

"In the second set I started being a bit more aggressive. I had to really step it up and finish it off," added the tournament favorite, who followed men's number one Rafa Nadal as the last match on Rod Laver Arena.

"I was very happy Rafa finished it off in three sets."

Clijsters squandered an early break gifted to her by a nervous Makarova and was forced to a first set tiebreak, which she took 7-3 on a cold evening in Melbourne.

Normal service resumed in the second set, although Clijsters needed to take anti-inflammatory pills for a tight hamstring in a minor scare.

However, she had already found the range with her heavier groundstrokes and broke the Russian twice to set up a clash with Polish 12th seed Agnieszka Radwanska.

"At important moments, like in the tiebreak, she played unbelievable -- fighting for every point," said the 49th-ranked Makariva after her best grand slam run to date.

"I just have to go for every ball because if I wait for a mistake from her, I have no chance to win. She was better on the big points."


Unfortunately I was not able to see this match myself due to poor coverage by TSN again :(.  So I can't make a fair judgement on her performance.

But from what I've been able to find out Kim did alright.  Not spectacular, but just enough to win (which she has been doing pretty much the whole tournament).

Her last 2 U.S. Open's are testaments that sometimes that's all it takes.  Although I think if she wants to win she's gonna have to raise her game and stop making so many unforced errors.

Radwanska can be tricky, but I think she will be a able to get through that one in straights.

Honestly the only one who can really test her would be Zvonareva (assuming she handles the pressure of being in another Grand Slam final better then she did in last year's U.S. Open).

And maybe Li Na (seeing as she beat Clijsters in the tune up tournament in Sydney just prior to the Aussie Open).  Although I'm not sure she's in the same half as Clijsters if I'm wrong please correct me.

Good luck in the next round Kim!.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Roger Federer through to the quarters in Melbourne

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Roger Federer made hard work of reaching his 27th consecutive grand slam quarter-final at the Australian Open on Sunday but it looked like a short shift after Francesca Schiavone's titanic tussle with Svetlana Kuznetsova.

French Open champion Schiavone took a gruelling four hours and 44 minutes to edge her Russian friend 6-4 1-6 16-14 in a Hisense Arena thriller and claim a place in the last eight after the longest women's grand slam singles match in the modern era.

Maria Sharapova would happily have played on longer in her fourth round match against Andrea Petkovic but the in-form German sent the former champion and world number one tumbling out of Melbourne Park 6-2 6-3 in just 79 minutes.

Defending champion Federer took his career record to 10-0 over Spain's Tommy Robredo but his 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-2 victory was not without its problems.

In hot sun on Rod Laver Arena, the 16-times grand slam champion raced through the first set in 32 minutes without losing a point on his serve.

Errors started creeping into the 29-year-old's game in the second -- his forehand particularly wayward -- and he conceded an unlikely break to allow Robredo to level the contest.

Federer was in no mood to give Robredo any more encouragement, however, and he upped his aggression level to keep his bid for a fifth Australian Open title on track.

"I'm happy I'm still alive and going strong in the tournament, said Federer, whose run of successive quarter-finals now betters American Jimmy Connors' previous mark.

"It's a tough match. I knew Robredo was going to come out and hit a lot of loopy shots and make me earn it. He wasn't going to just give it to me ... I was able to battle through," added Federer who will play close friend and fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka in the last eight after he battered American eighth seed Andy Roddick.


Another mediocre effort from Federer. 

One thing is for sure he's going to have to play spectacular if he wants to get past Wawrinka in the quarters the way he's playing (wow I never thought I would say that!).

"The other Swiss" has some major skills who would have thunk it!.

Federer is going to have his work cut out for him. 

I'm both excited and in complete freak-out mode about the next match.  Let the nail biting commence!.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Kim Clijsters moves into 4th round at the Australian Open

(CNN) -- Kim Clijsters stayed on course to win back to back grand slams but was not at her best in grinding out a 7-6 6-3 win over Alize Cornet of France in their third round match at the Australian Open Saturday.

The third seed produced six double faults and a string of errors before securing a last 16 clash with Russian Ekaterina Makarova, who upset 13th-seeded compatriot Nadia Petrova.

"You never play a whole tournament playing your best tennis. And you have to also, you know, work for it. I think that's what I had to do today," the Belgian told the official Australian Open website.

"Just little things that keep that rhythm or get the rhythm to where I want it to be."

Third-seeded Clijsters came into the first grand slam of 2011 as one of the favorites having retained her U.S Open title last year, but after a strong start in which she took a 3-1 lead in the opening set, errors starting to creep in.

Cornet broke back to level only for Clijsters to claim her second break to pull again at 5-4 and serve for the set.

But she was broken again after a forehand volley error left Cornet with an opportunity she seized.
The first set tiebreak, which Clijsters took 7-3, proved decisive as Cornet also made unforced mistakes.

A single break in the fourth game of the second set was enough for Clijsters to seal victory against Cornet, who put up a fine show on her 21st birthday.

CNN International

Well, I knew this was gonna happen, she's been playing so well that it was only a matter of time before she had a bad match (42 unforced errors ouch!). 

The good news is that despite Clijsters not playing her best her opponent had nothing to hurt her with so Kim made it through. 

There was a moment there when I thought the match would turn into the disappointment that was last year (with Kim exiting in the 3rd round courtesy of a thrashing from Nadia Petrova).   

That really was a heart breaker because Kim completely fell apart right from the get go, and couldn't get herself together enough to even put up a fight. 

In this one she started off well, and went off the rails at certain points the difference this time being she kept her cool and pulled it out in straight sets. 

Had Petrova won there would have been a re-match of last year's nightmare. 

Thankfully Ekaterina Makarova pulled off an upset so that won't happen. 

Since I don't know much about this player I won't make any predictions, but I'm sure Kim will regroup and play better then this match (or at least I hope so). 

Otherwise I won't have a reason to watch the women's matches.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Roger Federer easily through to the 4th round of Australian Open

(CNN) -- Defending champion Roger Federer set a record for matches won at the Australian Open with Friday's third-round success over Xavier Malisse.

The 29-year-old secured a 6-3 6-3 6-1 victory over the Belgian to earn his 57th win in Melbourne and take him past previous record-holder Stefan Edberg.

World No. 2 Federer, a four-time winner of the event, said he was pleased to break Edberg's Open era record, but he admitted the retired Swede is still someone he looks up to.

"It's very nice, but he still stays my idol," Federer, who shares the record of five final appearances with Edberg, told the tournament's website.
The 16-time major champion -- also a record -- was happy with his performance following a testing five-set clash with Gilles Simon on Wednesday.

I'm happy I was able to come through it. It's surely not the easiest thing to come back after a five-setter, but I managed. I'm sure that another day of rest is going to do me good."

Tommy Robredo stands between Federer and a 27th consecutive grand slam quarterfinal after the unseeded Spaniard's 5-7 6-2 6-4 6-2 triumph over Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky.


Well, I wanted an easy match, I think this one was so easily even Roger was bored *lol*.  Which explains a few uncharacteristic errors.  Nothing to worry about though. 

A nice practice session after the grueling 5 setter.  I expect him to get through the next round easily as well.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kim Clijsters & Roger Federer Aussie Open 2nd round post-match interview fun

Kim Clijsters moves easily into Aussie Open 3rd round

Clijsters made light work of Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro, winning 6-1 6-3, and then left courtside interviewer Todd Woodbridge red-faced.

In their post-match exchange, the Belgian informed the crowd the Channel Seven commentator had been wondering from afar as to whether Clijsters was pregnant.

And Clijsters, who had been shown a text message Woodbridge had sent fellow commentator Rennae Stubbs during the Sydney International last week, wasted no time setting the record straight.

"You thought I was pregnant," she laughed.

A clearly-embarrassed Woodbridge asked the question, to the laughter of Rod Laver Arena, but Clijsters dispelled any rumours.

"No, I'm not. But let me tell you what the text message said. You said: 'She looks really grumpy and her boobs are bigger!'"

Later, Woodbridge said he had learned his lesson.

"It's my first texting error and I'll never do it again," he said.

"I've got a bone to pick with Stubbsy though."

While the crowd at Melbourne Park lapped up the post-match banter, they also revelled watching another super performance from Clijsters, who easily progessed to the third round.

The women's No.3 seed took just over an hour to win and while Suarez Navarro offered slightly more resistance than Clijsters' first-up opponent Dinara Safina - who failed to win in the pair's first-round clash - the Belgian star was never in any serious danger and powered to another comfortable victory.

She claimed the opening set 6-1 in just 23 minutes.

Clijsters then raced to a 3-0 lead in the second set before Suarez Navarro lifted, rallying to break Clijsters' serve and then hold to give the champ something to think about.

But Clijsters held her next game to love to make it 4-2. From there it was simply a matter of time.

Before I address the match itself I just wanna say in regards to Todd Woodbridge that it's pretty clear what he was paying more attention to :D.

Good on Kim for putting him in his place :P.

As for the match itself there's really not much to say, other then it was a snooze-fest.  No challenge for Kim.

I'm actually a bit worried that she's winning so easily early on.

What's gonna happen when she comes across an opponent who can actually play well?.

Will it be the same scenario as last year's Aussie Open?.

And the concentration lapses are still a bit worrisome, on the other hand I can't really blame her, when the only opponent you have to beat is yourself it can be hard to keep your head in the game.

And I do recall her being very streaky all throughout last year's U.S. Open and coming out the day of the final and demolishing Zvonareva.

So I guess that's no real indication.  Congrats Kim on another easy win!.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Roger Federer outlasts Simon moves into Aussie Open 3rd round

As elegantly as he moves, as smoothly flow his delicate strokes and his five-language rhetoric, Roger Federer is no less vulnerable than his peers to the pressures of his sport.

The difference is, as he demonstrated when surviving an intense examination of his composure by Gilles Simon in the second round of the Australian Open, he can still draw on powers that seem outrageous to everyone but himself.

Foes and doubters will probably see further evidence of his gradual decline in this heart-stopper stretched over three hours and 19 minutes, which ultimately went Federer's way 6-2, 6-2, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, and he too may feel under more pressure now than he did at the start of the tournament.

Indeed those left on his side of the draw, including Novak Djokovic and his opponent in the third round on Friday, the Belgian Xavier Malisse, may be less uncomfortable when they look across the net at him from now on.

Yet Federer remains a ruthless punisher of even minor mistakes. The Rod Laver Arena, filled with the Federer faithful, swayed to his every fightback in the fifth set, and he got the job done yet again as Simon wilted, even though it took every sinew of the Swiss's will and talent. "Yes, I was tired," Simon said. "I had to run everywhere for three hours. There are not too many players who can play longer than me, but Roger is one of them."

Of the many astounding statistics that illuminate Federer's career, one still to be consigned to the past tense, is that of his nerveless ability to close out a match when in front. The only times he has lost when leading two sets to love were against Lleyton Hewitt in the Davis Cup in 2003, and against David Nalbandian in Shanghai in 2005.

Nevertheless, for a long while in the middle of this match, that record was in jeopardy. The world No2 looked bereft of ideas. Simon had his measure in timing and tactics, as he drew him on to the punch at the net, only to pass and lob, sometimes with chilling ease.

Federer likes to give the impression that he always plays within himself, but that was not consistently the case last night. From the moment in the third set when the Frenchman discovered a reservoir of self-belief that surprised even him until he was broken in the final stanza, there were no guarantees, no certainties that the favourite would prevail.

The anxiety that invaded Federer's normally expressionless, sweat-free features when he was battling to save the set, the match and his aura, spoke far more eloquently than his post-match dismissal of the crisis as a passing danger – or even proof that he still has a fifth gear.

"Four or five sets, what's the difference really?" he said, with mock flippancy. "Doesn't matter if you win in straight or in five. Just keep on moving on in the draw."

Federer's concerns here were real enough – and not dissimilar to those that consumed him on Centre Court at Wimbledon last July, when the then world No60, Colombia's Alejandro Falla, took the first two sets in a first-round match that also jangled the nerves. 

Then, Federer slowly recovered his poise to win in five sets.

Here, although he would not agree, he betrayed the sort of fear he has induced in others. It was not just the prospect of defeat, coming after some wayward performances last year, that reduced him to a toiling mortal. It was the excellence of his opponent. Nobody has a divine right to rule, not even a tennis god.

"He's a great player," Federer said of Simon. "Matches against him don't come easy. It's my first win against him [in three attempts]; they always go the distance. Hopefully I don't play him any more. I really enjoyed myself out here tonight. I wasn't playing poorly to lose the third and fourth set – Gilles really took it to me. Today I got lucky and I'm happy I'm still in the tournament."

A match that should have been a straight set win, turned into a real nail-biter. 

As a fan I prefer these kinds of matches to come in the second week of the tournament not so early in the first.  It becomes a little to close for comfort.

The match got so tense at one point that I admit to taking a peek at the end result on the Australian Open website (the benefit and curse of living in north America) to see if Federer makes it through.

My frazzled nerves just couldn't take it this early in the tournament.

Even though there were a few scary moments as a long time fan I also still held on to the hope and faith in Federer's abilities to pull him through.

And once again I was glad and extremely relieved when they did.

I must give some credit to Fed's French opponent though, because despite what Federer said in his post-match interview his level of play dipped in the 3rd and 4th set allowing Simon to relax and start to play better.

But a win is a win, and perhaps this will serve as a good test for the difficulties he will no doubt face as the tournament goes on.

Though for my own sake as well as his I'm hoping for an easy 3 setter next round.

Congrats Roger on gritting it out and proving once again why you are the best! :).

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Kim Clijsters thrashes Dinara Safina moves into Aussie Open 2nd round

Kim Clijsters powered into the second round of the Australian Open and left former world number one Dinara Safina shattered with a 6-0 6-0 victory.

The third seed was too strong, wrapping up victory in only 44 minutes.

 Clijsters made short work of her fellow former world number one, never allowing Safina into the match. 

The Russian, who was beaten in the 2009 final by Serena Williams, has seen her world ranking slip to 75 after a back injury and the defeat means she is likely to drop out of the top 100 for the first time since May 2002.

But the Belgian showed no mercy, sending pinpoint forehands to all areas of the court and when Safina did have an opportunity to return, she committed too many unforced errors.

Clijsters is hoping to reach her second Australian Open final

Safina's best chance of winning a game came in the last one, but her attempted winner was buried deep into the middle of the net. Two points later, Clijsters sealed victory, thanks to another Safina error.

"I expect my opponent to come out and play their best tennis," said the Belgian afterwards. "She obviously didn't do that today.

"But my attitude still was there to try and finish it off and not let her get back in the match, build some confidence, build some rhythm."

But Safina, who has won only nine of her last 25 matches since returning from her back injury, was less polite about her performance.

"I was sitting in the changeover, and I was like, OK, at least how can I get a chance to hurt her?," she said.

"Nothing was hurting her, not my backhand, my forehand or my serve. My return, nothing. She was dictating basically from the first point.

"There was nothing that I could do to hurt her. Embarrassing."

The 24-year-old Russian has vowed to try and regain the form that saw her top of the rankings as recently as October 2009. 

"I will give my 100% to get back. I will fight. I will go through whatever it takes. But first I want to find answers," Safina added. 

"I'm fully motivated. I practised hard. I cannot say that I didn't practise hard but I guess something was not right. I don't know. I have to figure out the answers.

"It's not that I don't want it, I want it. There's no doubt I want to come back and I want to play better. But now I have to find answers how I can come back. 

"My returns are not as aggressive as they used to be and maybe I need to serve closer to the lines, I don't know. 

"I was putting the pressure on the players. Now it's the opposite and they are putting the pressure on me."
And Clijsters has also given her backing to Safina, who lost 6-0 6-1 to Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli in Hobart last week. 

"She just doesn't have that same power that she used to have anymore. She used to have one of the best and most unpredictable backhand down the lines in the game. Now, she just doesn't use it as much anymore.

"I think it's obviously a big matter of confidence so that game is still in her. She didn't get to number one just by luck. 

"She just has to win a few matches, win a few tough matches, too, then build some more confidence."

Wow, that's really sad, and very impressive at the same time (from Clijsters perspective).

And to think a lot of people were worried about this match up, and Clijsters having a hard time with it.

Not so much.  Looking forward to her 2nd round hopefully it'll be a little more competitive.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Rally for Relief charity match

I always love watching stuff like this the players enjoying themselves with no pressure just pure fun.

Interesting match up too Rafa & Kim and Roger & Sam.  Jim Courier's running commentary is a hoot :D.

"Kim you've been married a while you gotta communicate with us guys". 

And my other favourite "He understands you he just plays like he doesn't speak English" in regards to Rafa *rotfl*.

Also this one "That was a great shot Roger I could smell your cologne" LOL.  I ♥ Jim Courier!.

Lovely little one on one with Sam and Kim as well.  And of course Fedal a little preview for a future match up perhaps? (yes I know I'm jumping the gun can't help it).

The best part had to be at the end though with the ladies doing the chest bump! LOL.

Well, that and Kim's great return on the very last point (in part 2 of the vid).  So much fun!.  And the ladies won too! :).

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Kim Clijsters fights her way into Sydney final

SYDNEY — Two-time champion Kim Clijsters will play China's Li Na in the final of the Sydney International after a marathon three-set victory on Thursday.

Clijsters struggled early in the heat before storming home in a final set tiebreaker to overcome unseeded Russian Alisa Kleybanova, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/1) in 2hr 39min.

The Belgian third seed will now take on Li, who earlier wore down Serbian qualifier Bojana Jovanovski 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 in 1hr 40min.

Clijsters, 27, who won here in 2003 and 2007, will be bidding for her 41st career singles title in Friday's final, while Li is after her fourth WTA title.

Kleybanova, who got past Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova in Wednesday's quarter-final, began well, twice breaking Clijsters' serve to claim the opening set.

Clijsters jumped to a 3-0 lead early in the second set, but despite losing her service in the seventh game, she broke again to level the match.

Kleybanova, who needed two medical timeouts for back and foot troubles, kept the pressure on Clijsters and they traded two service breaks before the Belgian kicked away in the decisive tiebreaker.

Li, 28, who will be defending her rankings points from last year's semi-final appearance at next week's Australian Open, was looking forward to her showdown with the world number three.

"I have nothing to lose because I have played her also many times," said Li, who trails 1-4 in their meetings.

"She's a great player, so I just have to show my best tennis on the court."

The Chinese number one trailed in her match after a service break in the third game.
But she traded four service breaks with Jovanovski before breaking the Serb's serve again in the 12th game to force a tiebreaker.

She won the tiebreaker 7-5 to take the set and controlled the last set with three more service breaks to wrap up victory.

"It wasn't easy," Li said. "I mean, she's young, she's playing well.

"At the beginning of the match I didn't know how she played because I have never seen her practice or play a match.

"It was like, 'What's going on?', I was asking my team.

"Yeah, I was lucky I can finally win the match."

Li is in winning form ahead of the season's opening Grand Slam tournament in Melbourne after eliminating two-time major champion Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia in the quarter-finals, and Australian Anastasia Rodionova and French qualifier Virginie Razzano in the earlier rounds.

Li became the first Chinese player to break into the world top 10 rankings after reaching the semi-finals of last year's Australian Open.

She is making her fourth appearance at the Sydney International and reached the 2007 semi-finals in which she lost to Clijsters in three sets.

"Australia is always the beginning of the season," Li said. "So sometimes I do well at the Gold Coast and sometimes I do well in Melbourne and sometimes I do well in Sydney.

"I always do well in Australia. I don't know why. Maybe because of my winter training back home. So maybe I should move here," she laughed.


Tennis stars rally for flood relief in Australia

Superstars of tennis will unite on the eve of the Australian Open grand slam event to raise money for the victims of Australia's flood disaster.

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Kim Clijsters are among the topliners who'll join Australian No.1's Lleyton Hewitt and Samatha Stosur and former great Pat Rafter in a Rally for Relief exhibition match at Melbourne Park on Sunday.

World No.6 Stosur said the devastating extent of the Queensland flooding was really brought home to the world tennis fraternity when they saw Pat Rafter Arena, where many of them played the Brisbane International last week, under water.
"To see that under water, everyone who is not from here realises how bad it is now," said Stosur in Sydney on Friday when she announced the exhibition event which will be a key plank of tennis' support effort.
"It's an enormous disaster."

"A lot of us just want to make some sort of contribution. It breaks my heart to see what is happening to thousands of people in these floods."

Two-time US Open champion Rafter, originally from Mount Isa, said he was personally touched by the disaster when news arose that his brother-in-law was stuck in flood-hit Toowoomba.

"He was fine, but they were trying to get hold of him, so we were left wondering there for moment."

Rafter said while he was amazed to see images of the court named after him submerged in Brisbane, helping those affected by the disaster was paramount.

"It's just amazing."

"But it's a tennis complex, so it's the least of our worries.

"We need to worry about the people and their houses and their livelihood."

World No.1 Nadal, who arrived in Melbourne earlier this week aiming to become only the third man ever to hold all four major trophies at once, was one of the first to put his hand up for the relief effort.

"This is a terrible tragedy," he said.

"I am pleased to be able to contribute in some way and help bring the attention of the world."

Federer, who has volunteered his time for various world disasters including the earthquake in Haiti, was also quick to join in.

"We just want to do something to aide the recovery because we know there thousands of Australians who will continue to suffer as a result of the disaster."


My thoughts and prayers go out to all those effected.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Kim Clijsters powers into Sydney semis

January 13, 2011 - 1:49AM


Kim Clijsters showed why a maiden Australian Open title looks to be within reach after a dominant display on Wednesday night took her into the Sydney International semi-finals.

The world No.3 had too much artillery for Victoria Azarenka, downing the Belarusian 6-3 6-2.
Clijsters, a sentimental favourite on these shores after a long relationship with Lleyton Hewitt, is starting to look like a short-priced favourite to capture the women's crown and her first major trophy outside the US.
With no Serena Williams at Melbourne Park and the sketchy early season form of other grand slam suitors such as Caroline Wozniacki, Vera Zvonareva and Sam Stosur, Clijsters and compatriot Justine Henin are warming as the women most likely at Melbourne Park.

The only problem the third-seeded Belgian appeared to have on Wednesday night was the swirling winds in Ken Rosewall Arena, some untimely double faults giving her opponent the briefest of sighters in a match Clijsters otherwise completely controlled.

The 27-year-old was in devastating touch from the baseline, her deep groundstrokes quickly putting Azarenka on the back foot.

She raced to a 5-1 lead before briefly allowing Azarenka back into the set, then closed out the second with two breaks.

Clijsters said the match was a little deceptive with Azarenka only winning two of 14 break points - both of which came when the Belgian double faulted.
"I think the score definitely sounds a lot easier than it was," she said.

"Even when I was up 3-0 in that first set it was close, I think we both started at a pretty high level - I think I played the important points a little bit better."

As for her growing favouritism to win the Australia Open, Clijsters said she it hadn't even considered it.

"I don't think about it like that at all, it's something that is kind of put on you from the outside and it doesn't change anything in my mind," she said.

"I am very happy with the preparation that I've had and have worked hard in the off-season and that's the only thing I can do from my side."

Clijsters will play Alisa Kleybanova in the other semi-final on Thursday after the Russian downed Dominika Cibulkova 6-3 5-7 6-2 in the late match.


Sunday, January 09, 2011

Roger Federer Qatar Open Champion!


Roger Federer won his third Qatar Open title without dropping a set when he beat the defending champion, Nikolay Davydenko, 6-3, 6-4, in a 79-minute final Saturday. 

Federer became the first three-time winner in Doha, having taken the title in 2005 and 2006.
When asked about his chances at the Australian Open, which begins Jan. 17, a smiling Federer said: “I am not ready now. I will be when I get there. But obviously, the wins here will help me build my rhythm.”

Davydenko, who beat top-ranked Rafael Nadal in the semifinals and also had not dropped a set entering the final, was attempting to become the first player to beat Nadal and Federer in the same tournament three times. He did it in Doha a year ago and at the 2009 ATP finals.

The fourth-seeded Davydenko looked overmatched from the start and fell to his 15th loss in 17 matches against the second-seeded Federer.

Federer earned his 67th career title, fourth best in the Open era after Jimmy Connors (109), Ivan Lendl (94) and John McEnroe (77). 


Nice way to start the year (way to go Rog!), and a great little tune up for the Aussie Open. 

Also one of the better looking trophies.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Roger Federer another year another "tweener"!

Yep, he's still got it :D.

Seriously Roger we get it you're the tweener master.  I wonder if Mirka gets a little apprehensive watching these.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Roger Federer & Rafa Nadal water tennis anyone?

Ok, I admit it one of the coolest courts I've ever seen.

Makes for some pretty pics too :).

 Roger & Rafa in Abu Dhabi and Doha (I think)

Is it me, or are those two hanging out a lot these days?.

Not that I'm complaining ;).

Oh, and I'm loving the outfit Roger (yellow definitely suits you), can't wait to see more of it in a couple of weeks.

Counting the days till Aussie Open 2011! (my favourite grand slam).

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Shania Twain tied the knot!!

Shania Twain and Frederic Thiebaud tie the knot in front of 40 of their closest family and friends at a private mansion in Rincon, Puerto Rico on Friday (December 31).

The guests were treated to a private fireworks show for the New Year’s Eve festivities according to TMZ. After the exchanging of vows, everyone joined in the festivities with “All You Need Is Love”. Shania also reportedly sang at the reception.
Congrats Shania and Frederic!

Read more:
That's certainly one way to start a new year.  Gotta be the fastest engagement and marriage I've seen since Britney Spears 24 hour marriage and divorce *lol*.  
Congrats to the happy couple :)

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Welcome 2011!

Happy 2011 to all!.  May it bring more joy then the one just passed.