Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Sports

2010 sports was definitely dominated by the World Cup, and while the teams I rooted for fell by the wayside one by one (France, Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands...) Spain was undeniably the best team in South Africa. Of course, in the last few weeks, our own Philippine Azkals also made waves here in Southeast Asia. Maybe it's too soon to think about seeing our boys play in Brazil 2014, but hey, there's nothing wrong in dreaming of seeing them maybe in the next World Cups in Russia and Qatar, right?

Since my blog is tennis-dominated, my year-end sports review will mostly focus on tennis.

Male Player of the Year: Rafael Nadal
Now, you probably know that I'm a die hard Federer fan, but 2010 was Rafa's year. He won 3 of the four grand slam titles, including his first US Open, which put him in the very exclusive group of players who have won all four Grand Slam events.

Female Player of the Year: Kim Clijsters
Caroline Wozniacki may have won the most WTA titles and ended the year as #1, and Serena may have won the most Grand Slam titles among the women, but Kim won two big titles (the US Open and the WTA Year End Championships) and managed to be significant for the better part of the year. So by process of elimination, she's my player of the year.

Saddest News of the Year: Elena Dementieva retires :(
Elena took the tennis world by surprise by announcing her retirement after playing her last match at the WTA Year End Championships, without any hints or advance warning whatsoever. She's had a great career, where she won an Olympic gold medal in Beijing, and ended each year ranked inside the top 10 for about a decade(!) An update on Elena's facebook page earlier today just said that she's been hired as the Vice President of the Russian tennis federation, so it looks like her post-pro tennis career is going to be great.

Match of the Year: Wimbeldon, First Round: John Isner def. Nicolas Mahut, 6–4, 3–6, 6–7(9–7), 7–6(7–3), 70–68
70. 68. Nuff said.

Breakthrough Players of 2010: Petra Kvitova and Ernests Gulbis
Kvitova made the semis of Wimbledon where she made Serena work hard before eventually losing. If she can play in 2011 like she did there at Wimbledon, she could be a contender. There has always been some buzz about the talent that Gulbis has, but it really was only this year that he showed what he can do on the court, which is to beat Federer and take a set of Nadal on clay. Too bad an injury stopped his momentum at the French Open. I was thinking that he was ready to make a serious run to the top 10 during the second half of the year. Maybe in 2011.

Players to watch for 2011: Grigor Dimitrov and Laura Robson
I've been following Dimitrov's career for a couple of years now ever since I heard people calling him Federer Jr, and found out that he was being coached by Roger's previous coach, Peter Lundgren. He has loads of talent, and went on to win 6 ITF titles the past year. He's now knocking on the door of the Top 100, and I expect big things to come from him next year. Robson, like Dimitrov, won the Wimbledon juniors title back in 2007. I saw her playing at the Hopman Cup in Australia last January and was very impressed by what I saw. She played great for a then 15-year old girl. I don't think she'll be breaking into the top 10 in 2011, but it'll definitely be fun seeing her rise up the rankings.

And of course, closer to home, props to our Asian Games gold medalists (all coming from the 3 B's, naturally): Boxing's Rey Saludar, Bowling's Biboy Ramirez, and Billiards' Dennis Orcollo.

At siyempre, kay Manny Pacquiao. :D

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