Saturday, June 30, 2012

Martina Hingis likes Roger's chances at winning his 7th Wimbledon title

Written by Martina Hingis

With Rafael Nadal out of these Championships, Roger Federer now has a great opportunity to win Wimbledon for a seventh time. Nothing is guaranteed, though, as we saw when Roger had to come from two sets down in his third-round match against Julien Benneteau. I have such admiration for Roger and the way that, after all those years on the tour, he’s still fresh and hungry and ambitious to win titles, and he could be the main beneficiary of Nadal’s defeat in the second round.

Roger has had a mental block when it comes to playing Nadal. That’s because Nadal’s game can really hurt Roger, with those cross-court balls into his backhand. 

I think Roger has much more of a gameplan in his matches with Novak Djokovic. He knows what he has to do to beat him and he creates opportunities against him at the grand slams. Roger beat Djokovic in the semi-finals of last year’s French Open, and at the last two US Opens he’s held match points against him in the semi-finals.


Rafael Nadal looked exhausted, physically and mentally fatigued, in his match against Lukas Rosol. I think winning in Paris, beating Djokovic in the final, took so much out of him. He was fine for an hour against Rosol, but then he looked so tired. Rosol played a great match, but Nadal was a long way off his best. I hope fans understand with Nadal. It would really help the players if there was an extra week between the French Open and Wimbledon, with the gap increased from two weeks to three.

That would make a big difference as after a grand slam, you are so tired because of the stresses, the city, everything and you need to mentally relax. So, if you go deep into the French Open, you often feel as though you don’t have time to properly prepare for Wimbledon. I’m sad for Nadal, but this was the first time that he had lost that early at a slam for seven years. I wish I could have had a record like that.


Caroline Wozniacki is struggling for momentum and confidence at the moment, and I think that can be traced back to playing too much tennis – going from one tournament to another without taking a break. She is such a great player and lovely girl and I was sad to see her go out in the first round. I’m sure that her team and many fans felt the same. I’m not sure whose decision it was for her to play so many tournaments – maybe that was hers, or the people around her – but it now seems as though she is fresh and hungry again.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Roger Federer survives another grueling 5-setter at Wimbledon

Roger Federer avoided another giant killing Friday at Wimbledon, coming back from two sets down to defeat No. 29 seed Julien Benneteau 4-6, 6-7 (3), 6-2, 7-6 (6), 6-1 to advance to the fourth round, keeping alive his bid for a seventh title and giving himself a chance to extend his record streak of 32 consecutive major quarterfinals.

The world No. 3 defeated Benneteau almost exactly 24 hours after his longtime rival, Rafael Nadal, was stunned by Lukas Rosol in one of the biggest upsets in the history of tennis.

It will go down as just another win for the all-time winningest Grand Slam champion, but he was as close to defeat as possible without facing a match point. 

Five times in the fourth set Benneteau was two points from victory. He didn't get to match point on any of those opportunities.

"I'm very fortunate," Federer said after the match.

He was broken at 4-4 in the first set, then never recovered from a mini-break in a second-set tiebreaker. After Federer won third set in 27 minutes, it felt like he'd sail to a five-set victory, much like he did in coming back from an 0-2 deficit against Juan Martin Del Potro at the French Open.

Benneteau didn't waver. When he saved three break points at 0-40 at 3-5 in the fourth, a murmur ran through the pro-Federer crowd at Centre Court. 

Could it happen again? Federer hadn't lost before the quarterfinals at Wimbledon since 2002. He hadn't been ousted in the third round of a major since the French Open two years later. 

There hasn't been a Wimbledon final without either he or Nadal in a decade.

Federer was forced to serve to stay in the match twice and then held off Benneateu rallies in the fourth-set tiebreaker. 

By the time the fifth set started, it was all but over. The Frenchman had to call for a trainer for cramping at 1-2 and was never in a return game. 

Federer lost just four points on his serve in the final set in coming back from a two-set deficit for the eighth time in his career.

The win puts Federer and top-seeded Novak Djokovic on a collision course for a semifinal. They're the only top 16 seeds remaining in their half of the draw.

Yahoo Sports

Kim Clijsters into the 4th round at Wimbledon after Zvonareva retires

Kim Clijsters reached the fourth round of Wimbledon on Friday when 12th-seeded Vera Zvonareva retired with an apparent respiratory problem when trailing 6-3, 4-3.

Zvonareva was coughing loudly during the match and the 2010 finalist was in tears as she needed a medical timeout at 2-1 in the second set. The trainer took her pulse and she was examined with a stethoscope before resuming play, but had to retire four games later.

Clijsters said, "I think she was having difficulties breathing" and that it's "sad to see her end the tournament this way."

The Belgian is playing in her last Wimbledon as she plans to retire after this year's U.S. Open. She will next play No. 8 Angelique Kerber, who beat Christina McHale of the United States 6-2, 6-3.

ndtv sport

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tennis grunters to grunt no more?

Maria Sharapova has backed plans to silence tennis grunters even though the world number one is one of the worst offenders.

Sharapova is well known for pumping up the volume with shrieks and screams during key points and the Russian raised the decibel levels again at Wimbledon on Thursday as she battled to a 7-6 (7-3) 6-7 (3-7) 6-0 second round victory over Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova.

But a growing numbers of players and fans are complaining about grunting from the likes of Sharapova and world number two Victoria Azarenka.

Germany’s Sabine Lisicki was the latest to join the backlash as she criticised Bojana Jovanovski for drowning out the sound of the ball hitting the racquet during their match at Wimbledon on Wednesday.

Tennis chiefs are finally ready to act, with WTA chairwoman and chief executive Stacey Allaster determined to stamp out the grunting in future generations.

Allaster’s organisation and the sport’s other governing bodies are developing plans to prevent future players making excessive noise, with one idea to introduce handheld monitors for umpires so they can measure noise levels during matches.

Sharapova agrees officials should be allowed to take action and she said: “I certainly spoke to Stacey about it. We’ve had numerous conversations.

“It’s the first person actually that’s sat down with many people and coaches and sports psychologists and analysts and really reviewed what could be done.

“I’m really happy with the system that she put forth. Going to the juniors, going to the academies that are producing the young players, and putting a system in place, I think it’s extremely smart.”

While Sharapova is happy to see the issue being confronted, she doesn’t believe she would be able to tone down her own, ingrained grunting.

“Certainly not now, not since I’ve been doing it since I was four years old,” Sharapova said.

“It’s definitely tough and impossible to do when you’ve played this sport for over 20 years.”

Ok, so there's gonna be a shriek-o-meter, how does that help exactly?.

What happens when they do get passed a certain decibel do they get penalized for it?.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Kim Clijsters eases into 3rd round of Wimbledon with comfortable win

Kim Clijsters eased into the third round of Wimbledon by beating Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-3 on Wednesday on Centre Court.

Clijsters never faced a break point and broke her opponent three times, including in the final game to wrap up the win in one hour, five minutes.

The match took place underneath the retractable roof on Centre Court after rain showers interrupted play earlier in the day.

Clijsters is playing in her final Wimbledon tournament, having said she is retiring from the sport after this year's US Open.

I'm very impressed with the way Kim is playing, very controlled and focused throughout nice to see.

If her body holds up she might be able to make a run at the title yet (and what a story that would be!).  Since her 2nd comeback I've learned never to count her out.

Roger Federer in the groove eases past Fognini into 3rd round at Wimbledon

Fair warning to the rest of the men's draw: Roger Federer wants his trophy back. Novak Djokovic, the reigning champion, and Rafael Nadal will no doubt have something to say about that, but if Federer maintains this sort of form, good luck to anyone who dares stand in his way.

Three years have passed since he won an epic final here against Andy Roddick and his crown has slipped a little after losing in the quarter-finals to Tomas Berdych and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the past two years.

Those defeats meant he was consigned to Court One on the opening Monday, but Federer was back on his beloved Centre Court on Wednesday and performed as if he had never been away.

Few men can make Federer bow on a court that has been a second home to him since the first of his six Wimbledon titles in 2003, but before dismantling the injury-cursed Italian Fabio Fognini in straight sets, he obliged for Prince Charles, who was watching from the Royal Box for the first time since 1970.

This was a display fit for a future king, Federer pipe-and-slippers comfortable throughout. Fognini's big day on Centre Court was over in a flash, Federer wrapping up a 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 victory in one hour and 14 minutes.

The numbers before the match did not give Foginini, the world No68, many reasons to be optimistic; while he was playing only his eighth match at Wimbledon, Federer was playing his 68th.

By the end of it, he had his 61st win and the only time he looked remotely flustered was when he fell awkwardly trying to reach a deep shot from Fognini in the second set. His wife, Mirka, briefly looked worried in the stands but she need not have worried. It takes more than that to knock Federer off his stride.

Doing so was far beyond the capabilities of Fognini anyway, although a murmur of disbelief spread around Centre Court when the Italian led 30-0 on Federer's serve in the first game of the match. Federer merely responded with a couple of aces, instantly quelling any thoughts of an unlikely upset, and then swiftly broke for a 2-0 lead when a Fognini forehand landed long.

That, you suspected, was that, and so it proved. Although Fognini battled gamely, occasionally producing some inspired shots, Federer was simply far too good. Piercing forehand after piercing forehand sent Fognini running from side to side and at times he was reduced to the role of admiring spectator, on one occasion standing aside in resignation as Federer polished off a point almost lazily.

Yet if Federer was bored by the lack of any real challenge, there was no danger of him losing focus and he wrapped up the first set in 24 minutes.

Federer broke immediately at the start of the second and Foginini cut a forlorn figure. When Fognini served and Federer contemptuously flicked a backhand return that dropped deliciously over the net, it was confirmation that while the pair were sharing a court, they were operating on different planets.

Federer's control was so complete that he did not even have to face a single break point and the contest ended with a whimper, Fognini double-faulting on match point, perhaps eager to bring his torture to an end.

Greater challenges await Federer, although his draw is kind. Until a likely semi-final against Djokovic, that is. That can wait, though. For now, simply revel in another afternoon watching a genius go about his work.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Michael Jackson 3 year anniversary

..In the hearts of his fans as they remember him through his music on his third death anniversary

When Michael Jackson was once asked how he would like to be remembered, he had said: 'As a person who came and brought light to the world, some escapism.' Today marks the third death anniversary of the King of Pop. Fans across the globe are set to celebrate his life and music.

While some organise concerts to pay tribute to the Thriller star, others like city-based artiste Nikhil Gangavane are going a step further to connect with MJ fans. In 2003, Nikhil wrote and sang The Michael Jackson Anthem when the star needed it the most (during his infamous trial).

Nikhil will pay tribute to his idol once again. He is all set to re-record the song and invite MJ fans to send in their sample voices after which he will select and use their voices in the song. Nikhil says, "The song was sung by fans who were present at the trial. Two million people downloaded it before MJ passed away. After his demise, it was downloaded by 4.3 million people."

For keyboard player Leo Mathew, Michael Jackson was one of the finest musicians in the world. "He had the groove and the moves. He was a star from childhood. My favourite song is I want you back by Jackson 5," says Leo.

While a lot of fans will go back to listening to some great songs sung by MJ, musician Mihir Joshi is playing it a bit differently. He plans to dedicate his 140th episode on his blog to MJ. He will play some rare songs that Michael crooned along with other singers like Celine Dion, Britney Spears and Paul McCartney. He says, "It's a rare duets show. I searched a lot and found some gems! I have been constructing this one for a few weeks now." Some of the songs which he will feature include What More Can I Give, The Way You Make Me Feel and Say Say Say.

Remembering MJ through creativity seems like a good initiative, says singer-songwriter Lionnel Mascarenhas, who recently moved to New Jersey. An ardent MJ fan, he shares, "As a teen I used to listen to metal bands and Michael Jackson. In 1991, when I first saw the video of Black or White by MJ, I was totally amazed by the quality of the music video. My first MJ CD was Dangerous and I used to listen to it every night." Michael Jackson had the best sound engineers in the world, he adds. "Whenever you play a CD by other artists and then play an MJ CD, you can literally hear a huge difference in the sound and production," he says.

And thus, MJ's music will play on and he will live through it.

Kim Clijsters last Wimbledon bid off to a good start

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Kim Clijsters' last Wimbledon got off to a good start when she beat former top-ranked player Jelena Jankovic of Serbia 6-2, 6-4 in the first round.

Clijsters is playing at the All England Club for just the second time in six years and has said she is retiring after this year's U.S. Open — this time for good, having returned to the sport in 2009 after a two-year break.

The 47th-ranked Belgian looked to have recovered fully from recent injuries, breaking the 18th-seeded Jankovic five times — including at love in the final game to clinch the victory.

She improved her record to 8-1 against Jankovic.

Roger Federer easy start on day 1 of Wimbledon

Third seed Roger Federer booked his place in the second round of Wimbledon as he eased to a 6-1 6-1 6-1 victory over Albert Ramos.

The Swiss player could not have hoped for a better start to his bid to equal Pete Sampras' record of seven titles at the All England Club as he crushed his Spanish opponent in just one hour and 19 minutes.

Clay-court specialist Ramos, whose only previous match on grass was a defeat in the first round of Wimbledon qualifying two years ago, was totally overwhelmed by the 16-time grand slam winner.

Federer's only slip in the first set came on his own serve, which he dropped in the fifth game, but it was otherwise a stroll for the world number three.

It was clear from the early stages there was no hope for Ramos, who could not match Federer in any department on Court One.

Federer kept his firm grip on the contest through sets two and three, with Ramos only able to win his standard single game per set. In the third set it came after he had fallen 5-0 behind.

Federer finished with a love service game and an ace down the centre on match point was a suitable illustration of how one-sided the clash had been.

"I thought I played a great match," Federer said.

"Maybe Albert Ramos is not the most experienced grass-court player out there, that's for sure, but I was able to take advantage of it and I played a very clean match from start to finish.

"It's always nice to save energy, if you want to look further into the draw. It gives you good confidence as well, being able to close out matches easy.

"I fought hard to get as many breaks as I could and try to focus on my own service game and things worked out perfectly today."


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Kim Clijsters on retirement and life after tennis

Recent injury problems have convinced Kim Clijsters she is right to finally call a halt to her illustrious career.

The former world number one confirmed last month that she will retire for the second time after the US Open later this year.

The 29-year-old, who missed the French Open due to a hip injury, has no regrets as she now battles to recover from an abdominal injury in time to appear at Wimbledon.

Asked if she had any thoughts about changing her mind, Clijsters, who initially retired in 2007, said: "No, this is it. I have no regrets. I'm too old to play the game that I want to play physically.

"It's not for family reasons, it's down to the physical side. I've put my body through enough strain and everything.

"The whole lifestyle, that's what I'm dealing with now, the lifestyle I've had for the last 15, 20 years.

"But it's been an incredible adventure these last three, four years.

"I feel like I've been able to kind of finish that chapter of my tennis year on a good note."

By the time Clijsters returned to the WTA Tour in 2009 she had become a mother to daughter Jada and many critics claimed she would struggle to compete at the highest level.

But she defied the doubters to win the US Open in 2009 and 2010, while also lifting the Australian Open title in 2011.

Wimbledon also retains a special place in her heart, even though she has never reached the final at the All England Club, and she is confident she will be fit to appear this year.

It is the personal memories and the history of the event that will make her farewell appearances at the grand slam and then the Olympics, which are also being played at Wimbledon, such emotional moments.

"The place has a big history for me personally, being there as a junior, playing junior finals. Just everything, the whole atmosphere of staying at a house with family and friends," said Clijsters, who will play Jelana Jankovic in the first round.

"I remember there were situations when I was playing juniors when we waited for three days to play because of rain.

"My dad was sitting on a bench in the rain for three days just waiting in case I would go on.

"So there's just a lot of history and tennis wise, I love the atmosphere that hangs around the courts. You don't feel that vibe in any other Grand Slam. That's what makes this so unique."

The Belgian has yet to make firm post-retirement plans, but she is keen to have another child, while also retaining some links with the sport that transformed her life.

"I haven't really thought about that yet. My husband and I, we'd like to expand our family. We would like to have more kids, then we'll see from there," she said.

"I own a tennis facility in Belgium that we're renovating at the moment.

"That's going to be a place where I'm going to be spending a lot of time, and I look forward to that."


Martina Hingis to launch Tonic apparel & play exhibition in Vancouver

Retired tennis great Martina Hingis, winner of five Grand Slam singles events, is coming to this year's Odlum Brown VanOpen at Hollyburn Country Club. 

No, she's not coming out of retirement, although she will play an exhibition match Aug. 1 against a "yet to be named top Canadian opponent." 

One night earlier, Hingis, a native of Switzerland, will also launch her new Tonic Tennis line of apparel on stadium court for Vancouver-based Tonic Lifestyle Apparel.

 "I love Vancouver and have heard great things about the tournament from my colleagues at Tonic," said Hingis. The $200,000 tournament runs July 28 to Aug. 5.

Read more:

Friday, June 22, 2012

Kim Clijsters withdraws from UNICEF Open with stomach muscle strain

DEN BOSCH, Netherlands (AP) Kim Clijsters withdrew from the Unicef Open with a stomach muscle strain Friday, saying she did not want to jeopardize playing in her last Wimbledon before retirement.

Clijsters' physiotherapist, Sam Versleghers, said the 29-year-old Belgian felt the injury a day earlier in her tough two-set quarterfinal against Francesca Schiavone. The announcement came just hours before Clijsters was due to play Urszula Radwanska in the semifinals.

''This is a decision taken with my head, not my heart,'' Clijsters said in a statement. ''But preventatively withdrawing from this tournament is the right decision. I am definitely going to play at Wimbledon.''

The four-time Grand Slam winner is unseeded at Wimbledon for the first time since 2000 and has a tough first-round draw against 18th-seeded Jelena Jankovic of Serbia.

Clijsters said earlier this year she intended to retire after the U.S. Open, where she won in 2005, 2009 and 2010. She also won the Australian Open in 2011.

On court Friday, Philipp Petzschner of Germany beat Xavier Malisse 7-5, 7-5 to reach the final. Top-seeded David Ferrer was playing Benoit Paire of France in the other semifinal.

Kirsten Flipkens beat Roberta Vinci of Italy 6-4, 7-6 (5) in a quarterfinal halted by rain Thursday night. Flipkens was playing Nadia Petrova in the semifinals later Friday, while Radwanska advanced to the final because of Clijsters' withdrawal.

Yahoo Sports

Hope Kim doesn't have to play on Monday.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Kim Clijsters through to the semis at UNICEF Open

Former world no. 1 Kim Clijsters has reached the semi finals of the UNICEF Open in 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.

Clijsters beat former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone 6-3, 7-6 to reach the last four in her first event since March.

8th seed Nadia Petrova upset 3rd seed Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-0.

Also reaching the last four was Urszula Radwanska, sister of world no 3 Agnieszka. Urszula beat Swede Sofia Arvidsson 6-2, 7-6. The Pole had to qualify for the main draw and is likely to break into the top 50 in the world rankings.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Kim Clijsters unseeded at Wimbledon

LONDON -- Five-time champion Venus Williams and four-time Grand Slam winner Kim Clijsters are unseeded at Wimbledon for the first time in more than a decade.

The seedings were announced Wednesday for the Grand Slam tournament that starts Monday, with top-ranked defending champion Novak Djokovic heading the men's list and Maria Sharapova leading the women's -- both for the first time.

The women's list follows the WTA rankings, while the men's has minor changes to reflect a player's prowess on grass.

Williams, who played in eight Wimbledon finals from 2000 to 2009, is unseeded for the first time since her debut at the All England Club in 1997. She has dropped to 55th in the rankings while dealing with Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease that can cause fatigue and joint pain.

Williams has played only five tournaments this year, last appearing in the French Open, where she bowed out in the second round. The last time she won Wimbledon was in 2008. Sister Serena, a four-time Wimbledon champion, is seeded sixth in line with her WTA ranking.

Clijsters, ranked 53rd, is unseeded for the first time since 2000. The Belgian has never reached the final at Wimbledon.

Since her Australian Open title defense ended in the semifinals in January, Clijsters has been limited by ankle and hip injuries. She has played only in the Key Biscayne Masters in March and this week's Unicef Open, where she has reached the quarterfinals.

Twice a Wimbledon semifinalist, Clijsters intends to retire after the U.S. Open.

Hey we all remember the last time Kim Clijsters went in unseeded, she won the whole thing (after years of no play) so I'm taking this as a good omen.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Kim Clijsters in the quarters of UNICEF Open

DEN BOSCH, Netherlands -- Kim Clijsters advanced to the Unicef Open quarterfinals with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine on Tuesday.

The grass-court win a week before Wimbledon is Clijsters' second since returning from a three-month absence because of a hip injury. She rallied past Romina Oprandi on Sunday.

This time, Clijsters played more aggressively and saved the only break point she faced.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Kim Clijsters makes winning return at UNICEF Open after long absence

Kim Clijsters marked her return from injury with victory over Romina Oprandi in round one of the Unicef Open in 'S-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands.

The former world number one, a four-time Grand Slam champion, had been out since March with a hip injury but came through 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 6-3.

In her defeat by Oprandi at last year's event, Clijsters suffered an ankle injury that saw her miss Wimbledon.

The Belgian will face Sara Errani or Kateryna Bondarenko in round two. 

BBC Sport

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Martina Hingis Eastbourne Father's Day Exhibition

As if there isn’t enough on offer at the AEGON International this year, four tennis legends will also be heading to Eastbourne to take part in a special Father’s Day exhibition match.

Wimbledon champions Martina Hingis and Conchita Martinez will be joined by former British number one Greg Rusedski and US Open finalist Mark Philippoussis on the Devonshire Park courts this year.

It will be the first time Hingis, Rusedski and Philippoussis will have played at the south-east seaside resort and they are all eager to get game time on some of the best grass courts in the country.

Five-time Grand Slam champion Hingis retired in 2007 but will make a welcome return to the courts against the runner-up in 2003’s Eastbourne International, Conchita Martinez.

The Swiss former world number one said, “ I have special memories of playing on the grass from my career and I’m looking forward to playing on the Devonshire Park courts.”

The women will take part in a mixed doubles match with Canadian-born US Open finalist Rusedski and Australian Philippoussis after they’ve locked horns in a men’s singles match first.

Thee matches will take place on Sunday, 17 June – the second day of the AEGON International tournament.

Kim Clijsters returns to tennis at UNICEF Open

Original link: ( )

‘S-HERTOGENBOSCH, Netherlands – One of the UNICEF Open‘s unseeded players will most likely have more eyes on her than anyone else in the field, with Kim Clijsters returning to the WTA this week.

Clijsters has not played since March because of a right hip injury, but is looking to get some grass court preparation in for one more run at Wimbledon, as she has indicated that she will retire after the US Open.

Clijsters has had success at ‘s-Hertogenbosch before, having reached her first grass court final here in 2001 and having secured her first grass court title here in 2003. In her first appearance here since her championship run, she was stunned by Romina Oprandi in last year’s second round – a match in which she suffered a right ankle injury that forced her to miss Wimbledon. Interestingly enough, her opener this year is against none other than Oprandi.

A possible second round foe for Clijsters will be getting a lot of attention too, as No.2 seed Sara Errani plays her first event since her magical run to the French Open final. The Italian has a losing career record on grass, but will certainly be competing with a boosted sense of confidence after a European clay court season that saw her go 18-3 with two titles and crack the Top 10.

Though top-seeded Samantha Stosur isn’t usually in her best form on grass, she is coming off a semifinal showing at Roland Garros. Third-seeded Dominika Cibulkova also could be dangerous, as her quarterfinal showing at the French Open included a defeat of then-World No.1 Victoria Azarenka in the fourth round. Yanina Wickmayer, runner-up here in 2009 and into the final of the ongoing NÜRNBERGER Gastein Ladies, also is playing well.

The other former ‘s-Hertogenbosch champions in the draw besides Clijsters are 2011 winner and No.6 seed Roberta Vinci and 2002 winner Eleni Daniilidou, who actually play each other in the first round.

As the top seeds in doubles, Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci will be putting their 19-match, four-tournament win streak on the line. Their victims in the French Open final, Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova, are seeded second.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Roger Federer through to finals of Halle for a chance at 6th

HALLE, Germany - Roger Federer will face German wild card Tommy Haas in a bid to win the Gerry Weber Open for a record sixth time on Sunday.

The second-seeded Federer beat Mikhail Youzhny of Russia by 6-1, 6-4 to reach his seventh final while the 87th-ranked Haas defeated defending champion Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6 (5), 7-5 in Saturday's semifinals.

"It's a dream to be able to play him again in the final, he's a good friend of mine," said Haas, the oldest player in the singles draw at 34.

Kohlschreiber knocked out Rafael Nadal on Friday, when 2009 winner Haas defeated third-seeded Tomas Berdych.

After taking the first set on a tiebreaker, recovering from 4-1 down by winning six of the next seven points, Haas broke decisively in the 11th game of the second set to lead 6-5 before wrapping up the match.

"I said it all week, that Tommy's playing fantastic tennis," Kohlschreiber said.

Federer is aiming to win his 75th tour title, only two behind all-time leader John McEnroe.

"That would be nice but I want more titles. If I only get three more, then the years ahead don't look too good for me," Federer joked.

The Swiss broke Youzhny twice to wrap up the first set in 21 minutes. He was in such control that one fan implored him to slow down.

The 16-time Gram Slam champion responded by breaking twice more, before dropping serve to lead 5-3.

Federer wasted three break points in the next game, but sealed the match in the following one with his eighth ace.

"It was nice to come out and play some decent tennis after yesterday's shootout drill," Federer said, referring to his tiebreaker win over Milos Raonic of Canada in the quarterfinals.

The 29-year-old Youzhny has never beaten Federer in 13 attempts.

"Mikhail played a great tournament, and he deserves respect for the way he fought back in the second set," Federer said.

Federer's only final defeat at Halle was to Lleyton Hewitt in 2010. He is bidding for his fifth title of the season after wins in Rotterdam, Dubai, Indian Wells and Madrid.

"(Haas) is very dangerous on grass. So it won't be an easy final for me," Federer said.

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Roger Federer moves past Raonic into semis at Halle

HALLE, Germany - Canadian Milos Raonic came up short once again in a bid to upset Roger Federer, losing 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (3) on Friday at the Gerry Weber Open grass court tournament.

Despite Raonic's 25 aces, Federer rallied from a set down to defeat the 21-year-old from Thornhill, Ont.

After beating Raonic at Indian Wells in March and Madrid last month, Federer went on to win both titles. The 16-time Grand Slam champion is the favourite to claim a record sixth title at Halle after Rafael Nadal's loss in the quarter-finals to Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-3, 6-4.

Raonic fired 13 aces in the first set he won on a tiebreak. Federer broke his opponent early in the second, taking the match into the decisive set, which Federer won on a tiebreak to wrap up the match in just under two hours.

The eighth-seeded Kohlschreiber ended Nadal's 13-match winning streak four days after the Spaniard won a record seventh French Open title.

"It's not the time to look for excuses," Nadal said. "He played much better than me."

"Today, from the beginning was tough for me."

Kohlschreiber, the defending champion, fired eight aces in all, ending the first game with his first. He broke Nadal in the next — after the Spaniard saved two break points — and piled the pressure by pulling ahead 3-0.

The German missed the opportunity to break the 11-time Grand Slam champion again in the first game of the second, and defended three break points to hold his serve three games later. Kohlschreiber broke Nadal again in the seventh game and quickly pulled ahead 5-3 lead to win the match in 1 hour and 25 minutes.

"It was a world-class day for me," said the 34th-ranked Kohlschreiber. "In principle I did nothing wrong."

It was his first win over Nadal in nine attempts, although Friday's match was their first meeting on grass.

"It's more a tennis problem than a mental problem," Nadal said. "The transition is difficult. It depends how much time you have. Playing on grass can sometimes be a bit of a lottery."

Kohlschreiber will next meet the winner of the match between third seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic and wild card Tommy Haas of Germany, playing later Friday.

Earlier, Mikhail Youzhny of Russia beat Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Roger Federer off to a good start on grass in Halle

HALLE (Germany): Newly-crowned French Open champion Rafael Nadal and five-time champion Roger Federer both enjoyed comfortable opening wins to their grasscourt season at Halle on Thursday.

Nadal defeated Slovakia's Lukas Lacko 7-5, 6-1 in the second round while Federer also cruised into the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Germany's Florian Mayer.

Spanish world number two Nadal, playing at the German venue for the first time since 2005, will tackle German eighth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber in the quarter-finals.

Kohlschreiber, the defending champion, made the last eight with a 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-3 win over Poland's Lukasz Kubot.

Nadal, who captured a record seventh Roland Garros title on Monday, has won all his eight career meetings with the German.

"In the second set, I served better, the forehand had more control, I played more aggressive. I'm happy to be through," said Nadal.

"I haven't played here for a long time. As I said, every hour I spend on the court works for me on the grass because I haven't had a lot of time to adapt. Tomorrow is a big challenge because Philipp is the defending champion.

"He's a very complete player. He does everything well."

Top-seeded Nadal last played this tournament seven years ago, fresh from his first French Open title but suffered a rude awakening on his debut on grass, losing in the first round to Alexander Waske.

Nadal took just 75 minutes to complete his fourth win against Lacko, who is one of the few players on tour to have won a set to love against the Spaniard, achieving the feat in Doha earlier this year.

World number three Federer will tackle Canadian fifth seed Milos Raonic on Friday for a place in the semifinals of this Wimbledon tune-up event.

Federer, who missed last year's tournament, needed just 74 minutes to see off Mayer.

The Swiss star, who was champion in Halle in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008, was playing his first match since losing to Novak Djokovic in the French Open semifinals.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Alyson Hannigan gives birth to baby girl!

Alyson Hannigan gave birth to a girl, Keeva Jane Denisof, on May 23.


Keeva Jane joins big sister Satyana who turned three in March.

Alyson and hubby Alexis Denisof met on the set of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and married in October of 2003.

The actress stars in CBS' How I Met Your Mother (in which her character is also pregnant) and recently returned to the big screen as Michelle Flaherty in American Reunion, the latest sequel in the American Pie series.


Alyson has been spotted all over L.A. with a big baby bump, so when fellow expectant mom Jessica Simpson gave birth early last month the actress Tweeted:

"Congrats to Jessica Simpson! Does this mean I now have the biggest baby bump in Hollywood?"

The baby bump torch will have to be passed on once again.

Congrats, Alyson and Alexis!

Congrats to them both! :).


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Roger Federer stays positive as he moves on from clay to grass

Paris: Sweep away the clay, bring on the grass summed up Roger Federer's emotions after his French Open defeat to Novak Djokovic on Friday.

The Swiss star lost in straight sets 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 to the top seed from Serbia in a semi-final encounter that left him on a record 16 Grand Slam titles, the last coming over two years ago at the 2010 Australian Open.

It was a poor performance from Federer, by his own superlative standards, and it brought down the curtain on a claycourt season that, for him, was a damp squib after a promising few months.

"That's how it goes sometimes. I've got to change things around now for grass anyway," he said.

"I'm looking forward to that. It's been a difficult clay court season. I wasn't in the best shape physically, to be quite honest.

"Still, it gives me a little bit of a lift, coming into the grass court season now."

The grass court season for Federer traditionally means Wimbledon and what he has always maintained is the title that means more to him than any other.

This year though there are two Wimbledon titles at stake, the other being the Olympic title, the one major honour that, unlike arch-rival Rafael Nadal, has so far eluded him, although he did win doubles gold for Switzerland with Stanislas Wawrinka at Beijing four years ago.

Federer, who will turn 31 in August, had his chances against Djokovic, especially in the second set when he jumped out into a 3-0 lead.

But in windy, variable conditions, he never really settled into his game, while Djokovic, who needed two five-setters in the two previous rounds, was able to establish more consistency in his game.

"I was struggling to sort of keep the ball in play long enough, even though I wasn't hitting the ball poorly," he said.

"It's been a tough week for me. Maybe in these conditions today didn't help me, help the cause, let's put it that way.

"I did have enough chances, so it's no excuse there. I tried, and it just didn't work out today."

Federer also had words of understanding for Djokovic, who stands just one match away from becoming just the third man in tennis history to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time.

He should know as he has been twice in that position himself in 2006 and 2007, only to fall to Nadal's claycourt prowess at Roland Garros on both occasions.

"Maybe luck will be on his side again," he said of Djokovic.

"Novak therefore will have more pressure, I think, which is quite normal, even though everybody thinks that Rafa is going to win.

"I think Novak has more pressure on him. To be in this situation you have to win three Grand Slams in a row again, which is more difficult."

ndtv sports

Perhaps made more difficult by the fact that the match for the first time in 39 years has been moved to Monday due to rain, still betting on Djokovic as the eventual victor if he can keep his momentum in the 4th set going.

I'm with the author ready to move on now, sweep away the clay and bring on the grass for Fed!.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Up Close & Personal with Martina Hingis at Roland Garros

Martina Hingis, former world no.1 and two-time French Open finalist is here at Roland Garros to defend her Perrier Legends trophy alongside Lindsay Davenport. She was kind enough to answer our questions.

What was your most embarrassing moment on court?

Oh, that’s easy! It was during the finals here at Roland Garros when I went back out on the court crying with my mom for the trophy ceremony (1999). Embarrassing, wouldn’t you say? Otherwise, I always find it a bit awkward to see photos where you can see up my skirt. At the French Open, the photographers in the pits seem to love those shots of the women. Plus, when I was playing, we didn’t wear shorts under our skirts, just ugly bloomers.

What was the worst excuse you ever had for missing a practice session?

It was not possible for me to miss a practice! How do you think that would work? My mom was always there. I couldn’t say my alarm didn’t go off – Mom was my alarm! Sometimes I missed practices but only when I was hurt or sick. Otherwise I it wasn’t even an option. At the most, I might have been a few minutes late.

What was your craziest night on the tour?

I had a great time at the parties at the Australian Open at the beginning of the year. We were all there, young and beautiful (laughing). I was always happy to have a day off so I could have a little fun.

Who did you dream of kissing when you were a teenager?

Kiss might be going too far, but I would have loved to meet Johnny Depp when he was on 21 Jump Street. Today it’s different – he’s taken (laughing)! He’s got a great relationship with Vanessa Paradis. It’s rare to see that with movie stars.

Are you jealous of another player and why?

I’ve never been jealous of another player for how they play. I don’t think I was so bad. As far as someone’s style off the court, it would have to be Anna Kournikova or Mary Pierce. They were divas!

Who did you get your first autograph from?

Monica Seles. I remember really well, it was in Zurich when she was there for the tournament. A newspaper had set up a meeting because I was 12 and already Swiss champion. I got a photo and her autograph. I told Monica about it years later and she still remembered.

The craziest spending spree you went on that you later regretted?

Horses, maybe. I bought several during a time, I maybe went too far. You know how when you’re at a sale and you get caught up in things and find yourself bidding higher and higher, like if you were at a casino. It’s hard to stop. I got a little carried away. Other than that, I’ve been reasonable. Just clothes and shoes – girl stuff.

What is your most stupid nickname?

I’ve never really had any nicknames.

What is your worst habit on court?

When I was younger, I used to throw around my racquets and break them. Luckily, I’ve calmed down since!

 The craziest thing you’ve done to attract a guy?

I’m pretty romantic and I like to plan surprises. I recently bought plane tickets without telling my husband where we were going. But he kept asking me and I ended up spilling the beans the day before we left (laughing).

Who is the person that you never had the guts to talk to, either on the circuit or elsewhere?

At first I was awestruck by all the players! When I was in juniors, I really admired Steffi (Graf), Gabriela (Sabatini) and Arantxa (Sanchez). So when they asked me to train with them, it was a like a dream!

If you could exchange one of your Grand Slam trophies for another, which would it be?

Iva (Majoli) and I have already worked out a switch – her French Open for one of my Australian Opens (laughing).

Love her answer to the last one!.  And I must say I kind of miss the nostalgia of racquet smashing (most players are way too composed these days).

Friday, June 08, 2012

Happy Birthday Kim Clijsters!

And on a happier note, a very Happy Birthday to my favourite Belgian (tennis player that is) Kim Clijsters who turns 29 today,  (dude I'm older then Kim that's just depressing! :D).

All the best Kim, looking forward to hopefully watching you play at Wimbledon & the summer Olympics in a few weeks.

Also Happy Birthday to Lindsay Davenport as well!.  Had no idea they shared a B-Day.

Roger Federer ousted by Djokovic again at Roland Garros semis

It happens to everyone. Getting older, slightly slower, slightly weaker. Even the greatest athletes in history have had to face the eventual decline of their abilities. There always comes a day when that reality begins to set in whether the athlete realizes it or not. On Friday, that day might have arrived for Roger Federer. In losing to Novak Djokovic in straight sets (6-4, 7-5, 6-3), Federer is starting to slip into an unfamilar spot. Always the semi-finalist, but never can make the finals anymore.

For Federer, it was a day filled with mistakes. While Djokovic played perhaps his best match of the tournament, Federer pressed to make winning shots. He made 46 unforced errors in the span of those three sets, a number that is so very un-Federer. He might blame the wind for some of those. I blame the pressure that his faster, stronger opponent placed upon him.

It's really too bad that Federer (who will turn 31 in August) is several years older than both Rafael Nadal (who just turned 26 in March) and Novak Djokovic (turned 25 in May). It would have been illuminating and eye-opening for tennis fans to see these three men in the prime of their careers face off regularly against each other. Would Federer's peak form have kept both Djokovic and Nadal from some of these Grand Slam titles they have accumulated over the past few years? It's too bad we will never find out.

As it is, because both of these men are in their prime and playing some of the best tennis anyone has ever seen, there's not much room at the top next to them. Federer managed to squeak into the French Open final in 2011 by defeating Novak Djokovic, but I believed part of that at the time was due to Djokovic's exhaustion as a result of his 41-match winning streak. Federer also believed he could still beat Djokovic (who had only won the Australian Open at that time), and that made all the difference. A year later, and Djokovic has showed his superiority by winning three of the last four Slams.

Now I wonder if Federer truly believes in his heart that he can beat Djokovic even if both men are playing at their best. We know that Nadal virtually owns Federer at this point (something that I suspect Federer knows to some degree as well), and especially at Grand Slams. I know some may say that I'm burying Federer perhaps a little earlier than he deserves, but I wonder if we'll look back on his career one day and realize that the beginning of his end started here in 2012.

By Julie Hayes | Yahoo! Contributor Network 

Yahoo Sports

OK, I'm gonna go off on a small rant here.  While I agree that Federer was far from his best form in this entire tournament (and indeed squeaked into the semis).  Djokovic isn't playing his best either despite what this article claims.  The only one who is playing flawlessly and like it's business as usual is Rafa Nadal.

Also not that this is anything new but why is it that every time Federer loses in a slam (or otherwise) but especially in a slam we bring up his age and the eventuality of his retirement?.

He'll retire when he's damn well good and ready, don't count him out just yet!.  Out of all the top players he still remains the healthiest throughout the year, and let's not forget he has won 4 titles this year prior to playing at Roland Garros, that's certainly something to be proud of.

I believe he's got a few slams left in him yet!.  And Wimbledon will certainly be his best chance, (and of course the Olympics).

As for the question whether he believes he can beat Djokovic or not, the answer is a resounding YES!.  When he is in good form he is more then capable of beating Djoko last year's Roland Garrros semis are a case and point (he was the one who stopped Djokovic's never ending winning streak after all).  He still has a better lose/win ratio with Djokovic then he does with Nadal (especially on clay).

So yeah I wouldn't worry about whether Federer believes he can beat Djokovic.  Nadal would have been a real challenge.  It'll be very interesting to see how things shake out on grass.  Season is not over yet and still a couple of slams up for grabs, I believe one of those will be Federer's.

And as for Sunday's final I'm actually going with Djokovic for the win even though everyone thinks the way Nadal is playing he's unbeatable, if anyone can stop Nadal it's Djokovic.  Should be a high quality tennis match!.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Federer fights off Delpotro in 5 sets to win semi final spot at Roland Garros

PARIS — With Roger Federer a point away from going two sets down in his French Open quarter-final, his wife Mirka was spotted in the players’s box sitting with her palms pressed together – perhaps praying for some divine intervention.

To many tennis fans Federer is already a god when he is let loose on a rectangular surface but Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro made him look like a mere mortal for an hour and 39 minutes on Tuesday.

“Just trying to figure out how to play a guy who returns from so far back on a slow court. Do you try to serve through him? Which I tried – didn’t work,” explained Federer following the 3-6 6-7 6-2 6-0 6-3 win which kept alive his dreams of a 17th grand slam title.

With his dark hair tied back in a bandana and kitted out in a canary yellow shirt and grey shorts, Del Potro buzzed around Suzanne Lenglen Court stinging Federer with vicious winners.

Such was Federer’s frustration at being broken for the fourth time in the match, when the Swiss netted what appeared to be an easy forehand, he flashed a rare burst of anger.

Narrowing his eyes, he took a ball out of his pocket and whacked it ferociously against the net, as if to say: “How dare you block my shot?”.

It failed to have the desired effect for the rest of the set, as Del Potro went about his task as a man on a mission determined to execute a winning game plan.

In fact, Del Potro had made no secret what his tactics would be.

“I have to play an unbelievable match, try to take my opportunities, serve at a 100 percent, try to play winners with my forehand, with my backhand, and force him to raise his game,” Del Potro, who has had his left knee heavily strapped throughout the tournament, said on the eve of the showdown.

“I don’t like to run too much, so I will try to be more aggressive than his game and look for unbelievable shots.”

For two sets he was true to his word as Federer’s chances of reaching a record-equalling 31st grand slam semi-final appeared to be sinking fast as he drowned under a hail of “unbelievable shots” flying off Del Potro’s racket.

The one thing Federer, however, was banking on was the belief that: “The road to victory is much longer and it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.”

A double fault from Del Potro handed Federer a 2-0 lead in the third set, and from then on it seemed as if a re-energised Federer had suddenly turned from Haile Gebrselassie into Usain Bolt.

The Swiss swept through the next two sets at lightning fast speed, flicking backhand winners here and forehand winners there, while Del Potro lost his spark.

The fireworks of the first two sets had gone and he lumbered around court, increasingly troubled by his dodgy knee.

He won just eight points during the fourth set whitewash and even after taking some painkillers and having his knee re-strapped before the start of the fifth, he failed to get going.

After three hours and 15 minutes, a bouncing netcord ended Del Potro’s challenge and a hugely relieved Federer was off to get ready for a semi-final date with Novak Djokovic.

This whole match was a little too close for comfort again, on the other hand as one of my fave Federer bloggers pointed out the last time he fought this much (while not playing great) he won the thing.

That was his career grand slam and only Roland Garros title in 2009.

So you never know, but it's gonna be a toughie, Djokovic he beat last year in the same round, but never Nadal.

Keeping the hope alive though and looking forward to some pretty awesome tennis on Friday.  Bring it on Roland Garros!.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Roger Federer through to 32nd consecutive quarter at Roland Garros

Roger Federer is through to the quarter-finals of the French Open after rallying to beat lucky loser David Goffin 5-7 7-5 6-2 6-4.

Goffin, in the main draw after the injured Gael Monfils pulled out, threatened an upset with a fine performance in the first set.

But Federer's class told as he took the next three sets to progress to his 36th Grand Slam quarter-final.
The world number three will next play Juan Martin del Potro or Tomas Berdych.

Goffin was playing in his first-ever Grand Slam against an opponent he idolised while growing up, but his performance belied his lack of experience.

"I came out of the qualifiers and I played my best tennis in my first three matches. Then playing Roger was the cherry on the cake," said the 21-year-old.

"I won't hide the fact that I had photos of Roger everywhere on the walls of my bedroom. It was like a dream for me playing him here."

Goffin certainly made former world number one Federer work hard for his place in the last eight, and at times played some sublime shots.

The opening set went with serve for the first 11 games as world number 109 Goffin showed he was not overawed by the occasion.

The Belgian then stunned Federer with a superb forehand down the line to break serve and claim the first set.

Goffin was clearly brimming with confidence and once again the contest was evenly matched before Federer broke serve to make it 6-5 before winning the next game to level matters at one set all.

From then on Federer was in control as Goffin's early exuberance began to make way for fatigue and the Swiss star closed out the match to progress to a 32nd consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final.

Afterwards, Federer backed Goffin for a bright future in the game.

"I thought he played really well," he said. "He took the ball early every time. He's got great potential in terms of his touch and the way he reads the game.

"I think he can go very far. He's very talented. And I hope he can make it to the top 20. That would be great."


Friday, June 01, 2012

Roger Federer battles past determined Mahut to reach Roland Garros 4th round

Roger Federer was made to work hard for a four-set victory over Nicolas Mahut in the third round of the French Open.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion coasted through the first set, but was broken in the final game of the second as the Frenchman levelled.

Normal service was resumed in the third set, but Federer was pushed all through the fourth before securing a 6-3 4-6 6-2 7-5 win and a tie with David Goffin.

Federer's 235th career win at the Grand Slams looked likely to be routine when he broke Mahut in the fifth game of the match and closed out the first set.

But Mahut clung on in the second, and, when Federer went wide with a forehand in the final game to gift away a break point, the world number 89 found the line with a backhand return to level the match.

World number three Federer, who has reached 31 consecutive Grand Slam quarter-finals, responded by breaking in the third game of the third set and taking it easily, and he seemed set to close out the win with a break in the seventh game of the fourth.

However, Mahut, most famous for his 2010 defeat by John Isner in the longest Grand Slam match of all time, broke back immediately to extend the set.

It would though, be only a temporary reprieve, as Federer took the third chance to break presented to him in the 11th game, and then served out for the match and a meeting with the unseeded Goffin.

The Belgian 21-year-old initially lost in the qualifiers but was handed a place in the main draw after the withdrawal of Gael Monfils.

With his straight-sets win over Lukasz Kubot, he became the first 'lucky loser' to reach the last 16 of a Grand Slam since fellow Belgian Dick Norman at Wimbledon in 1995.