Monday, January 25, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
So every time a grand slam tournament comes along, I join this contest over at the Tennis X forum, we basically predict who makes the quarters, semis, finals and who eventually wins, plus guesses on extra categories such as the Biggest Loser (Top 1-16 player who loses the earliest) and Winning Ugly (player who plays the most games on his/her way to the quarterfinals), and some bonus categories, in this case it's the Homeboy Hewitt Hanging On (guess the round when Aussie Lleyton Hewitt loses) and the Belgians vs Americans (who wins more matches on the women's side, the 4 Belgians or the 8 Americans?) We can also earn extra points for every bagel and breadsticks our quarterfinalists bake. (Note to non-tennis fans: A bagel is when a player wins a set with a score of 6-0, a breadstick = 6-1.)
So here are my picks. I wonder how I'll rank this time...
Roger Federer (SUI) vs Nikolay Davydenko (RUS)
Richard Gasquet (FRA) vs Robin Soderling (SWE)
Andy Roddick (USA) vs Marin Cilic (CRO) (substitute player: Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG))
Andy Murray (GBR) vs Rafael Nadal (ESP)
Federer vs Soderling
Cilic vs Nadal
(I'm a bit surprised with my own men's SF line-up, but let's see how it goes.)
Federer vs Cilic
Champion: Roger Federer (This really is more wishful thinking than an informed prediction, Roger might easily lose in the quarters to Davydenko based on recent results. He's already got 15 grand slams in the cabinet anyway, so this shouldn't be heartbreaking.)
WU: Reeshard Gasquet
BL: Novak Djokovic (the world #3 lost in straight sets to Fernando Verdasco, and in 3 sets to 17-year old, #291 Bernard Tomic last week, not a very good omen)
HHHO: 3rd round (to Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis)
Serena Williams (USA) vs Victoria Azarenka (BLR)
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) vs Venus Williams (USA)
Justine Henin (BEL) (substitute: Elena Dementieva (RUS)) vs Kim Clijsters (BEL)
Marion Bartoli (FRA) vs Maria Sharapova (RUS)
Serena vs Wozniacki
Clijsters vs Sharapova
(I made this prediction last Sunday, before Masha lost to fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko in the first match of the tournament yesterday. Go Makiri! :D)
Serena vs Clijsters
(Wanna bet Serena won't be challenging any calls on this match?)
Champ: Kim Clijsters (picking up a back-to-back Grand Slam, the 3rd of her career, and remain unbeaten this year. I'm actually rooting for Justine or Elena, but they'll be facing each other in the 2nd round, then Kim in the quarters... But really this is all just wishful thinking again, since the title will probably go to Serena anyway.)
WU: Caroline Wozniacki (she could meet Daniela Hantuchova in the 4th round, and I'm just hoping Daniela makes a match out of it.)
BL: Elena Dementieva
Belgium vs USA: America, but only by a small margin. And only because the four Belgians in the draw are all in the same quarter.
So the tennis season is back on again, it actually started 2 weeks ago with the pre-Australian Open tournaments. The Hopman Cup was broadcast on Star Sports, and it's one of my favorite events. It's a team tournament, like the Davis Cup and the Fed Cup, except this one is a mixed event where countries face each other in 3 matches, a women's singles match, a men's singles match, and a mixed doubles match. This year, Spain (with world #16 Tommy Robredo and world #5 in doubles Maria Jose Sanchez Martinez) took the crown over Great Britain (represented by world #4 Andy Murray and 15 year-old Laura Robson.) What makes this format awesome is I get to see my favorite male and female players playing together (like Roger Federer/Martina Hingis for Switzerland way back 2001, last year's Marat Safin/Dinara Safina for Russia, any team with Daniela Hantuchova or Mary Pierce.)
Anyway, the main reason why I'm talking about the Hopman Cup before I proceed with listing my Aussie Open predictions is I wanted to add the hype on Laura Robson. She's 15 years old, 5'10'', won the Wimbledon Girls title last 2008, and was the #1 ranked junior in the world last year. And although still ranked outside the top 400, she showed some serious talent (she beat #27 Martinez Sanchez in the final, and helped a lot in the mixed doubles matches.) She's a lefty who can play with lots of spin and angles and while her game isn't just about ball bashing from the baseline, she showed that she can hang with the top 100 players she played against at the Hopman Cup. I guess I'll be keeping tabs on how her career goes, since it's taking a bit too long for Arantxa Rus to make her breakthrough...
So, are hyped up with Laura Robson yet?
Monday, January 11, 2010
So, 11th day into the new year...