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.

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.

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. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Jeopardy Roger Federer style

Rogerpardy by FFT

Forgetting the birthday of your kids, yeah that will come back at you later Rog LOL.

Monday, November 14, 2011

DWTS 13: Week 8 Semi-Finals

And then there were 4.  All the couples had a tough test ahead of them this week doing 2 individual dances and a Cha Cha Relay at the end.

So of course some stars suffered a few unfortunate injuries, more on that later.

Hope & Maks started the night off with the Paso Doble.  Len thought it had the right attitude and aggression, but within that lost control and finesse.  Bruno agreed saying the dance lost it's artistry.

Carrie Ann thought Hope nailed the character, but lost the grace and fluidity of the dance 21/30 was their first set of scores.

I thought it was a good dance as Paso's go, but I agree with the judges assessments wholeheartedly.  Hope was suffering some shoulder pain for which she received some meds, so as a result it didn't hinder her as much.

Next it was time for them to do the Argentine Tango (one of my personal faves) performed by all couples.  Len found it better then her Paso, liked the clean lifts and amount of content.

Bruno found it sexy, full of athleticism with more control.  Carrie Ann didn't find the lifts quite as clean as Len but appreciated the ambition behind them.  24/30

45/60 overall for 2 dances put them in last place.  I won't be shocked if they are the ones who head home.

J.R. & Karina danced a Zorro-styled Paso Doble that due to his twisted ankle wasn't quite as good as it could have been.  Bruno felt the thrill and excitement of the routine, but pointed out the posture wasn't right.

Carrie Ann agreed saying she credits him for attacking it with such vigor, but the injury did indeed effect his posture, and overall movement (in my opinion).

And although she sympathized with him she still had to score him on content alone.  But she hoped he would redeem himself with the second dance. 

Len just thought the dance didn't suit him.  Sadly I once again have to agree with all of it.  It's really unfortunate that the injury happened at the most crucial time.

Because otherwise he'd be beating Rob's butt left and right. 23/30 was the score (possibly his lowest since the start).

The Argentine Tango was up next.  Bruno was impressed with the technical difficulty and execution of the lifts calling him a strong fearless Latin lover.

Len found the mood and intensity to be spot on.  Also saying it was way better then his first dance. 

I gotta say at the end of that dance the poor guy looked like he was in some real pain.  I hope the audience overlooks this week and gives him a chance at the finals tomorrow.

It just wouldn't be the same competition-wise without him there.  I like Rob and all but I think J.R. deserves it more being the more consistent and impressive one throughout. 27/30 was the total for an over all score of 50/60.

Rob & Cheryl danced the Samba that all the judges found "bootylicious".  Carrie couldn't stop raving about it.  Calling his rhythm fantastic.  Even Len liked it despite the fact they started it on a float.

Saying once he got on the dance floor it was all good. 28/30 (a first 10 from Carrie Ann).

I thought it was alright didn't blow me away, or anything not sure I would have given them quite as high of a score but whatever.  His Argentine Tango was next.

Carrie Ann called his dancing strong.  Len said it's not where you start but where you finish and he was also of the opinion he finished strong.

Bruno also commented on his progress from goofy guy hiding behind Cheryl to leading man.  27/30 for an overall score of 55/60 putting them in second place (really?!).

Ricki & Derek danced a fun and energetic Samba.  Len put it best when he described it using one word.  Fabulous.  Indeed.

And I also agree I think they secured themselves a spot in the finals with this dance.  Bruno called it sizzling hot and brilliant from beginning to end.  Carrie Ann complemented her on her shoulder improvement from last week.

I can't remember if I have mentioned how much I love watching these 2 dance this season so I'll say it now.  I love watching them dance!.

Pure joy on the dance floor.  Derek continues to have an innate ability to bring out the best out of everyone he dances with.  Kudos.

As for their Argentine Tango Len loved the contrast of movement.  Bruno loved the spot on mood and fearless dancing.

Carrie Ann on the other hand complemented Ricki on her core-strength.  A perfect 30/30 for a total of a near perfect 59/60.

But the night wasn't over just yet, the couples hit the dance floor one last time together in the Cha-Cha Relay.  For some additional score points.  In order of appearance:

1st Ricki & Derek 2nd score wise with 8 points for a grand total of 67

2nd Maks & Hope 4th score wise with 4 points for a grand total of 49

3rd J.R. & Karina 3rd score wise with 6 points for a grand total of 56

4th Rob & Cheryl 1st score wise with 10 points for a grand total of 65

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Roger Federer wins first Paris Masters title

Weirdest/ugliest trophy ever made?

PARIS — Roger Federer’s tough season is ending on a high note after the Swiss star beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1, 7-6 (3) on Sunday to win his first Paris Masters title and the 69th of a glittering career.
The 16-time Grand Slam champion had never previously reached the Paris final, but gave the sixth-seeded Frenchman limited opportunities after saving two break points in his opening service game.
“I’m just ecstatic to have played so well this week,” Federer said. “I have had many attempts to win Paris and for some reason I wasn’t able to. It’s a special victory.”
The former No. 1 will end the season without a Grand Slam title for the first time since 2002, and his ranking has dropped to No. 4. But Federer has bounced back of late, winning the Swiss Indoors last week before arriving in Paris.
“I have had some really tough losses this year, but I kept believing the year wasn’t over,” said Federer. “I’m not playing to prove anything to anybody. I play for myself, I play for Switzerland (and) just to enjoy myself.”
Federer took six weeks off after the Davis Cup playoff against Australia in mid-September and feels it paid off.
“I always plan in the long term,” Federer said. “I know how grueling it is out there. Even I need my time away.”
His 18th Masters title puts him one ahead of Andre Agassi and one behind all-time leader Rafael Nadal. The 30-year-old heads into the eight-man ATP World Tour Finals in London next week on a 12-match winning streak.
“I can still finish this year on a high,” he said. “Now I have a massive highlight coming up in a week’s time.”
It was his third title of the season and his only Masters. Top-ranked Novak Djokovic has won five Masters this year, No. 3 Andy Murray two and the second-ranked Nadal one.
But with Djokovic troubled by a nagging shoulder injury, Federer will be confident of defending his title in London.
Tsonga improved his serve in the second set, but Federer was simply too strong in the tiebreaker, taking victory on his third match point when Tsonga’s return landed out.
“I felt good today but Roger was just better than me today,” Tsonga said. “I knew I needed to play a great match if wanted to win today and I was not able to.”
Tsonga won the tournament in 2008 but was let down by too many unforced errors on his forehand as he tried to find a way to pressure Federer in their sixth meeting this year.
“I just wish I could have competed more,” said Tsonga, who this year beat Federer in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, but lost at the same stage to the Swiss star at the U.S. Open. Overall, Federer now leads Tsonga 6-3.
Federer took only 80 minutes to beat Tomas Berdych in straight sets in Saturday’s semifinals, while Tsonga labored for three hours and saved three match points before getting the better of unseeded American John Isner.
Federer’s sharpness showed as he mercilessly attacked Tsonga’s weak second serve in the first set. He opened a 4-0 lead after Tsonga, visibly frustrated over too many loose forehands, double-faulted.
The opening set lasted only 30 minutes, Federer clinching it with a whipped winner into the open court after Tsonga returned a strong second serve to Federer’s forehand.
“On this kind of surface, Roger has always been among the best players,” Tsonga said.
Tsonga had to raise his game in the second set or risk a thrashing, and he dug out a crosscourt winner with a booming forehand in the fourth game to set up break point. With Federer on second serve, Tsonga missed his chance when his hurried forehand went out.
With Federer’s seemingly impregnable serve dipping for the first time in the match, the Frenchman missed another opportunity at 30-40 in the eighth game when he sent a forehand long.
Federer hardly had to dig deep, but he did thrill the crowd at the Bercy arena with one moment of brilliance in the next game.
A closely contested rally saw Tsonga send Federer scampering to the back of the court to retrieve a lob. Federer waited for the ball to sit up nicely, span around and hit a devastating backhand pass without even looking to see where Tsonga was.
Tsonga appeared nervous in the tiebreaker, netting a forehand long and a backhand into the net — either side of Federer’s forehand winner and service winner — to trail 0-4.
Federer raced to a 6-1 lead, and though Tsonga saved two match points with a neat drop shot and a service winner, it was a brief reprieve from an inevitable ending.
Having won the Swiss indoors and Paris Masters back-to-back, taking his total career wins to 802, Federer heads to London in fine form.

Yep the end of the year is definitely looking up :).

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Roger Federer in the finals of BNP Paribas Paris Masters

PARIS -- Roger Federer played a masterful match against Tomas Berdych to set up a Paris Masters final against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who saved three match points against American John Isner on Saturday.

Federer used his strong serve and did not face a break point in cruising past Berdych 6-4, 6-3.

Tsonga edged the unseeded Isner 3-6, 7-6 (1), 7-6 (3) in a gritty contest lasting nearly three hours, a contrast to Federer's 80-minute victory.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion broke the fifth-seeded Berdych's serve at the start of each set to take control.

"I really played great today. I didn't give Tomas much. I was able to play aggressive and serve good, so overall it was a wonderful performance," Federer said. "I just felt like I was reading his serve, I was playing well from the baseline."

Tsonga and Federer will meet for the sixth time this year, and first since the U.S. Open quarterfinals when Federer prevailed. Federer leads 5-3 overall, but two of Tsonga's wins this year came at Wimbledon and the Rogers Cup.

"I have no particular problem playing against him. I'm not afraid of him," Federer said. "I would be afraid of him in the first round, but (not) in the final, when I feel good."

Tsonga won his only Masters title in Paris three years ago, and aims for his eighth career title. He almost threw away the semifinal against Isner. Serving at 40-15 up in the 12th game of the third set, he let Isner back in.

Tsonga saved three match points, with Isner helping him with unforced errors from the baseline.

"You come so close to winning, it gets taken away from you. It wasn't to be," Isner said. "He came up with the goods, hats off to him. That's why he's one of the best players in the world, he came up big."

Isner held serve for the entire match, but Tsonga dominated the tiebreakers to give the final a Frenchman for the fourth successive year.

Tsonga won the first tiebreaker 7-1, and the second 7-3, clinching victory on his first match point with a quick forehand pass that flew past Isner, who was hoping to become the first American to win here since Andre Agassi in 1999.

Berdych, the 2005 champion, looked nervous and failed to find any rhythm as Federer dictated rallies with his unwavering forehand.

Berdych was so impressed that he felt like he was playing against "the old Roger," who won 42 titles, including 11 Grand Slams, between 2004-07.

"We can count the unforced errors he made on the fingers of one hand," Berdych said. "He played like I remember him (playing) a few years ago. Today was pretty much no chance at all for me."
Federer agreed that he was close to his best.

"I take it as a compliment because the Roger Federer of old, he lost five matches a year and won 90 or 80," Federer said. "I think he did really well to hang in there, because I did have more chances than him."

Federer clinched victory on his first match point, on Berdych's serve, when he hit a forehand into the corner that Berdych returned into the net.

The Swiss star, who won his home tournament in Basel last week, will try for his 69th title in his 99th final. He has now reached at least the final of all nine Masters events.

Federer improved to 10-4 against Berdych, who had won their last meeting in straight sets at the Cincinnati quarterfinals in August by attacking Federer's second serve. He got few chances this time, as Federer made 70 percent of first serves.

He won 94 percent of those first serve points in the first set, and 91 percent overall in the match.

"I mixed it up a lot, and I always chose the right moment to do something," said Federer, who is looking to win the Paris title for the first time. "That's a major difference in tennis. I think I did it perfectly today."

When Berdych missed an easy smash at the net in the fourth game, Federer took the reprieve and hit a crisp passing shot into Berdych's feet for a 3-1 lead.

Federer held his serve in a flurry of shots to lead 5-3 in the second set. Another superb winner -- a crosscourt forehand hit with the casual brilliance that is Federer's trademark when on form -- was his 34th of the match. It set up three match points with Berdych 0-40 down.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Roger Federer reaches semis at Paris Masters

Swiss superstar Roger Federer has become the seventh man in the Open Era to earn 800 career match wins. He is still 424 victories shy of Jimmy Connors' all-time record of 1,242 match wins.
Federer reached the milestone as a result of beating Argentina's Juan Monaco 6-3, 7-5 in 85 minutes on Friday to book a place in the BNP Paribas Masters semi-finals. It was Federer's third win over Monaco this year (also Sony Ericsson Open and US Open).
Third seed Federer, who also reached the Paris semi-finals last year, goes onto meet fellow Barclays ATP World Tour Finalsqualifier and fifth seed Tomas Berdych.
Federer has now won his past 62 matches against players ranked outside the Top 20 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings. The 30 year old hit seven aces and won 67 per cent of his service points for his 57th match win of the season (57-12 overall). He has won 17 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophies.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Federer in the quarters of Paris Masters

Roger Federer is three wins away from what would be his first Paris title. Standing in Federer's way of the semifinals is Juan Monaco.

Roger Federer
and Juan Monaco will be going head-to-head for the fourth time in their careers and the third time this season when they clash during quarterfinal action at the BNP Paribas Masters on Friday.

Federer has won all of their previous encounters, including two on hard courts earlier this year. The world No. 4 prevailed 7-6(4), 6-4 at the Sony Ericsson Open then absolutely destroyed Monaco 6-1, 6-2, 6-0 in round four of the U.S. Open.

Monaco will be hard-pressed to turn the tide because he is by no means catching his opponent at the right time. Federer is coming off a second consecutive Basel title and he has been rolling in Paris. The fourth-ranked Swiss booked his spot in the quarters with blowout wins over
Adrian Mannarino and Richard Gasquet.

At the same time, though, Monaco is playing his best tennis of the season. The 34th-ranked Argentine finished runner-up last week in Valencia and he has bounced back incredibly well despite having virtually no rest in between tournaments. Monaco trounced
Donald Young and Gilles Simon then got past Mardy Fish via third-set retirement after saving two match points.

A slow hard court will help Monaco and he should at least be able to get more games in two sets than he did in three sets at the U.S. Open. Nonetheless, his run is going to come to an end as Federer should cruise with minimal trouble

Looks like Rog is having a better end to the year:).  Recharging batteries for a month was a good decision.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Martina Hingis, horse rider turned coach?

by Pete Bodo

For someone who retired from tennis and seemed to transition seamlessly into what most people would call a full—and fulfilling—"normal" life, one that includes marriage and incorporates an authentic, long-lasting passion for equestrian arts, Martina Hingis has sure spent a lot of time nibbling around the edges of the game that turned its back on her more than once. 

Hingis has created headlines and fuelled rumors, and let's not even get into the fact that she retired once at the tender age of 22 (although she had solid, injury-related reasons for taking a long break) and only aborted a subsequent comeback that took her as high as No. 6 in the world because she tested positive for cocaine while at Wimbledon.

Rumors of a second comeback by Hingis following her latest official retirement in 2007 sprouted like mushrooms for some time; her enthusiasm for World Team Tennis suggested that she was seriously considering it. 

Then back in July, Hingis herself reported that she had been approached by Roger Federer's representatives about perhaps playing mixed doubles with the greatest Grand Slam champion of them all at the upcoming London Olympic games. She said at the time: "I'm not sure, because you have to really commit. I feel great right now, but it's still a long way to go."

Well, that opportunity came and went, with Hingis doing nothing to meet the requirements for becoming part of the Swiss team. It's a shame, because Federer-Hingis would be a delightful team to watch—especially in an Olympic context, where all events, even the mixed doubles, seem to matter. 

And given that Federer is a defending doubles gold medalist, and almost sure to be among the top eight seeds in singles, you couldn't entirely discount the possibility that Federer might top off his career with a three-gold medal performance in London (the Olympic event will be played at Wimbledon, on grass, where Federer has enjoyed some success). Stranger things have happened.

Now the French sports daily L'Equipe tells us that Hingis is joining the Patrick Mourataglou Academy in Paris, and will be an advisor who helps oversee the development of promising youngsters Daria Gavrilova, Yulia Putintseva, Naomi Broadly and Sachia Vickery.

In fact, Hingis has been on the job for a month already. Mourataglou told L'Equipe, "Now that she has accepted the end of her career, Martina is ready to move on and coaching is a natural. The girls are delighted and are well aware of the opportunity they have. It's been one month that she has been with us and everything is going very well ... We all know about her tactical understanding of the game, her insight on the court."

This is news to make you smile on a number of levels, not least of which is that it constitutes another tacit declaration of Hingis's love for the game—something not to be taken for granted in a day and age when most top women players seem to want to be anything but tennis players. 

Hingis, a five-time Grand Slam singles champion (and a woman who won a calendar year Grand Slam in doubles, albeit with two different partners—Mirjana Lucic at the Australian Open, and Jana Novotna at the other three), will be going to Australia on a kind of busman's holiday. She'll be coaching the aforementioned Mourataglou players as well as competing in a "Legends" event.

Women's tennis needs more women like Hingis. Who knows, she may even end up being the first singles Grand Slam champion in recent memory to serve as the official "coach" to a Grand Slam champion. One of the enduring mysteries of women's tennis is just why there are so few former WTA players coaching the present generation. 

Obviously, tennis is in Hingis's blood, and it's a real pity that that other banned substance was found there as well back during her successful comeback in 2007. Hingis swore she was innocent, but chose to retire once again rather than appeal the decision—or sit out the long suspension to which she was subject. 

That controversy once again raised the question of whether or not the tours ought to test for recreational drugs, like cocaine, which don't really have any performance-enhancing benefits (like chemically created energy) that aren't outweighed by liabilities (like addiction, or the extremely short period of time that the false energy lasts).

Hingis has weathered all the ups and downs of her asymmetrical career in admirable fashion, given the terrible struggles faced by some other prodigies, including her pal and one time rival Jennifer Capriati, Monica Seles, Jelena Dokic, et al. And make no mistake, she was a prodigy of the absolute highest order.

Hingis's career can be said to have started in earnest when she won her first junior Grand Slam title, in Paris, at the record-breaking age of. . . 12. 

Over the ensuing years, she accumulated a passel of "youngest this" and "youngest that" honors. But she also absorbed some terrific blows, especially once she matured. She lost the 1997 French Open singles final to Eva Majoli in one of the most stunning upsets in tennis history. 

To make matters worse, that would be the only Grand Slam singles match Hingis lost that year, as she fell one match short of becoming just the third woman (after Margaret Court and Steffi Graf) to complete a proper, calendar-year Grand Slam.

And then there was the career-long struggle with injuries, which began in 2001 when Hingis had the first of her surgeries, on her right ankle. She was barely 21 at the time, and never the same player again—although she did make her sixth consecutive Australian Open final (which she lost to Jennifer Capriati after squandering four match points) after the operation. 

We could go on, but the point is clear: For all kinds of reasons, Hingis might have soured on tennis. But her love for the game is obvious. Turns out she's played WTT (among other things) all these years because. . . she enjoys it!

For a former prodigy, Hingis is one of the most well-adjusted people you can every hope to meet. We'll be lucky if this present generation of players produces one or two players who follow a similar path, guarding and sustaining their love of the game. Perhaps it will be one of the girls presently under Hingis's care.

Always enjoy reading complimentary Hingis articles, good for the game too.