Archive for January, 2010

 

Wonder Women

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

It’s not too often that the top ranked women’s players are the ones causing stirs at tournaments. Although there have been a few major crashes at this 2010 Open, most of the top players are hanging on there. But there are two players that have been a real inspiration to watch. Two Wonder Women, that have really shone so far in the tournament. And funnily enough, they are about to play each other in the semi-finals; I couldn’t have asked for anything more thrilling to take place in the women’s tournament, which by this point can become a little stale and boring without these sorts of players to liven things up.

Jie ZhengThis is her second grand slam semi-final, and appeared to flare from obscurity at Wimbledon 2008, where she reached her first semi-final. Zheng is as scrappy as she is ruthless, with a movement around the court that makes getting a shot past her seem impossible. What impresses me most about Zheng is that she is one of the many fantastic women’s players who go into tournaments unseeded and yet do as well – or better – than the seeded ones. Clijsters demonstrated a similar dogged determination when she won the US Open. Zheng is very much on the rise at every tournament; it won’t be long before she moves away from being the unseeded surprise and becomes a top regular. She beaten Maria Kirilenko in her quarter final match 6-3 6-1, becoming the first Chinese woman to make a Grand Slam semi-final. She was cli more »

 

All things Aussie Open

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

I apologise for the slightly longer gaps between my blog posts. A flu-addled brain doesn’t make for great writing, so I took myself to bed with a big box of tissues and kept myself up to date on everything tennis. I obviously wasn’t much better when I wrote my last blog; my new feature of ‘My Favourite Twit’ never made an appearance. I apologise for robbing you all of this fresh and original blog feature (if you can call it that), and it will reappear at the end of this post.

Anyway, back to the tennis. If you have been living under the proverbial rock for the past five or days, or if you yourself have been struck with flu/some other ailment and you wish to catch up on all you have missed, then this blog is for you.

So, let’s start with the big ones. A number of top/favourite players have bowled out of the Australian Open in the last few days. Best example is Robin Soderling, who was beaten by Marcel Granollers in the first round. This came as a shock to, well, pretty much everyone. After being runner up in the French Open, ATP World Tour Finals, and an all-round threat everywhere else, it was a surprise to see him go. I get the feeling that this isn’t too telling of Soderling’s year to come though. Fingers crossed he continues to make it tough for the top players for the rest of the year.

Juan Martin del Potro lost yesterday to Marin Cilic, the wrist injury proving too much against the Croat. His niggling injury, on top of the five se more »

 

Love for the Underdog

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Why exactly do we love an underdog so much? Although we like to see Federer display a master class in all things tennis, style and cool, there’s still that little part of us that wants to cheer every time world ranked one hundred-and-something gets a point against the champ.

We love the underdogs. The media is obsessed with it. It has become a fashion trend, a real label of honour that can do wonders for a player’s PR if they are labelled ‘the underdog’. Underdogs are exciting and don’t fit the set pattern that, say, the top ten players do. They play to every maverick fantasy we have ever had outside of watching Top Gun.

There are two types of underdog. Type 1 is usually lowly ranked and rarely known outside of tennis circles. They have recently beaten a higher ranked player and a face is finally put to their name on the rankings lest. In depth details of their trials and tribulations are written about in newspapers because, let’s face it, we all know everything about Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, the Williams sisters, and the articles on them are starting to get very repetitive. They may have had a terrible injury in their past (Taylor Dent, for example), or have had to carry the preconceptions about a woman’s capabilities after having a child (Kim Clijsters). Or they could have just scored big at a Davis Cup match for their country, made one round further in a Grand Slam than everyone had expected, or caused a scare to a top ten ranker. more »

 

Australian Open 2010 under way

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Those last-day-of-the-slam blues feel a long way away on this glorious first day of the Australian Open. I say glorious, but in fact it started raining in Australia today as the tennis started. Go figure.

As usual there were a couple of slip-ups (quite literally for Andy Roddick) and mishaps (oh Sharapova, why?) in the first day, but things appear to be going as well as they should be. The rain has called some delays but I’m sure there are farmers somewhere in the area cheering, so let’s not get too down about it.

First, the men’s side of things. The big favourites all made their way through, and thankfully Andy Roddick seemed Ok after tripping over a line judge and taking a bit of a tumble: “I ran into one of those immovable objects called a referee…He wasn’t really trying to do much to get out of the way. Normally, they see a player running full speed, they decide to at least move or catch the player” claimed Roddick. He must feel a little sensitive about the issue, seeing as it was a fall during his Wimbledon final against Roger Federer that scuppered his US Open chances. Still, the American beat Thiemo de Bakker in straight sets.

It was a similar picture for Rafael Nadal, who is struggling to come back after his long injury lay-up, but beat Peter Luczak to get to the second round. Juan Martin del Potro came a little unstuck against his first and significantly shorter opponent (5ft 8in to Del Potro’s 6ft 6in), Michael Russell. It  more »

 
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