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Archive for the ‘memphis’ Category

Linz Went To Memphis And All I Got Was This Amazing Delpo Footage.

Posted by gauloises1 on February 22, 2011

So as you may or may not know, the legendary Linz was at the Memphis 500 last week doing some behind-the-scenes camerawork, and she sent me this fantastic video of Delpo being interviewed by The Koz of indietennis.com.

That’s right, Linz was that close to that much adorableness and somehow survived the experience.

Courtesy of Racquet Required, Linz was also on hand to film Delpo’s pressers after his win against Ivan Dodig and a more dejected Delpo after the semifinal loss to Roddick.

A big hand to Linz’s camerawork, Racquet Required and The Koz for the videos.

Posted in i witness, juan martin del potro, memphis, video | Tagged: | 9 Comments »

The Week In Winners: Memphis Edition

Posted by gauloises1 on February 21, 2011

OK, I was putting this off, but I’m knackered and off early in the morning and I just can’t wait for more photos to come through right now.

Ladies first: it was a sad ending to an exceptional tournament for Rebecca Marino when she was forced to retire, trailing by a set, in the final due to an abdominal injury she sustained during the semi-final. The young Canadian and female Delpo was in tears on the court, but comported herself fairly well and gave a very nice, mature press conference that you can see here. So congratulations to Magdalena Rybarikova, who clearly decided to have one of her somewhat rare good weeks and certainly deserved the title.

 But let’s talk about tonight’s final between Milos Raonic and Andy Roddick, shall we? Actually, I don’t know if I can because I’m very tired and still buzzing too much from the match to be articulate about it. It’s easy, looking at the score (two tiebreaks and 75 in the third) that this was your basic big-serving contest coming down to a few clutch points here and there. And although the latter is true, it was such a fun match. Roddick, who was clearly suffering from a cold, followed on where he left off against Delpo, deciding to match Raonic in the neck-or-nothing (to paraphrase Georgette Heyer) department, and Raonic handled the entire match magnificently. Not for a moment did he look overawed by the occasion or, come to that, the second-best player even when he was trailing. Roddick said during the trophy presentation that he was outplayed for two and a half hours and just ‘hung in there’, and while that’s a little too self-deprecating, it also gives an accurate flavour of the match.

But then sometimes all you need to do is hang in there and seize your opportunity when it presents itself. Raonic after being down a break in the third set broke back, held fairly easily, pressed but was unable to get anywhere on Roddick’s serve, and looked as if he was on his way to holding serve at 5-6. A couple of errors and it was 30-40. And then … this happened.

(There’s a better quality version here, but I couldn’t embed it.)

That, ladies and gentleman, is one of the best balls-out death-or-glory match-point shots you will ever see. Let’s not pretend Raonic didn’t play that point well. His cross-court backhand volley was brilliantly executed and could – should – have been a winner. Roddick had no business getting to that ball, still less hitting it back for a winner. And yet.

I said after the match that if I was Raonic, I would be feeling gypped. And I would. But I would also learn a big lesson from this: that sometimes you just have to say ‘too good’, and one amazing shot from your opponent doesn’t mean you didn’t play some fantastic tennis. He did, he really did – and then had the gall to be adorable in the trophy presentation, saying (I’m paraphrasing) “at least I’ll be in one of the most-watched YouTube points of all time. I’ll be on the wrong side of the court, but at least my name will be in the description.” Be un-won over, I dare you.

But the day belonged to Roddick. It was his fiftieth final, his thirtieth title, and had to be one of the best points he’d played in his career. It was also funny in a poignant sort of way to see him cram his hat back on his head afterwards, as if to hide his receding hairline. (It’s OK, Andy. You still have an amazing bum.)

 

 Roddick referred to himself as an “old guy” when he was congratulating Raonic afterwards, and while I wouldn’t go that far, it’s difficult to deny that he probably only has a handful of opportunities left to thrill the tennis-watching public at large like that. I was so glad to be watching. Thanks for a great match.

NB: Not to spoil the moment, but I’m away for a couple of days, so blogging may be light.

Posted in andy roddick, magdalena rybarikova, memphis, milos raonic, rebecca marino, titlists | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Dark Times.

Posted by gauloises1 on February 20, 2011

Andy Roddick d. Juan Martin del Potro, 63 64

Hearty congratulations that I nearly almost feel to Andy Roddick, who played impressively to claim his first win over Delpo and advance to his 50th (!) career final. If he wins tomorrow, it will be his 30th career title. That’s just insane. As Delpo said, “Andy I think will be in the top 10 forever.”

It’s, you know, hard to overlook the dispiriting aspects of today’s match to what Roddick did right, but really he did a hell of a lot right and if he played like this every match then things would really become exciting. He was fired-up right out of the gate, an aspect of his performance noticeably lacking against Hewitt, and broke Delpo in his very first service game (shades of last week’s semi-final against Verdasco).  He had his tactics worked out perfectly; Delpo had a fair amount of success in the first set when he pinned Roddick back behind the baseline, but Roddick refused to allow him to do that on a consistent basis, playing aggressively and actually hitting out.

Delpo did call for the trainer early in the first set for some intensive thigh massage, complaining of tightness in his hamstring, but it didn’t seem to hamper his movement too much. He was slow moving out to the forehand side and as a result Roddick repeatedly stung him with his backhand down the line (that he apparently has), but he’s had that problem since his comeback. As for the injury, I’m hoping (and believing) that it’s what it appears to be – a slight strain as the result of playing a decent amount of matches last week and this that his body has become unaccustomed to.

Roddick said after the match that he felt he’d played one bad game. That would be his first service game of the second set, a fairly woeful one which saw him give up the break; but Delpo, frustratingly, couldn’t hold despite ample chances. One of the things I’ve always associated with Delpo is his ability to pull the big serve, the big shot out of his pocket at the right moment, and he didn’t have that today. He had easy holds, but only when he was down a break; a fair amount of aces, but not at key moments; and some massive winners that he couldn’t land when he had to. Frustrating.

But I was talking about Roddick. He had some issues with his shoulder, self-diagnosed as a pinched nerve and not too much to worry about, but as the set went on and Delpo became more frustrated, his focus switched more to defense and he really showcased some absurd retrieving. There was one point in particular when Delpo was hitting the ball as hard as he could (meaty grunts and everything), and Roddick simply got everything back until he managed to draw the error. All in all, he had a solid tactical plan and executed it near perfectly.

And he made this face.

But as well as Roddick played, this match was a salutory reminder (again) of how far Delpo has fallen from his former level. I keep trying to remember how giddily happy I am to see him playing again, because there’s just nobody like him, and he’s taking lesser opponents in his mammoth stride right now; but there’s no denying that it’s utterly disheartening to see him being handled by players that we all know he can contend with. It’s an interesting education in the difference between mid-ranked players like Sela or Gabashvili, and the top-flight guys (I may be stretching a point to include Baghdatis in that, but the likes of Roddick and Verdasco, certainly). It just really bites that right now Delpo is on the wrong side of that line.

But then I’m losing myself in dark thoughts and I hear this quote from Delpo’s presser. Asked what the difference was in Roddick’s game that explained the result today, he said that the last time they played was in 2009 and “that was my year”.

And that just kills me. Because I simply will not countenance that kind of thinking. Obviously I’m charmed by his wry, man-of-few-words acceptance of his situation – I’m only human – but that’s the sort of thing I think to myself in maudlin moments. It’s not the sort of thing that anyone else is allowed to say or that he’s allowed to even think. Because your best days are not behind you, Delpo. They’re just not. You’re absurdly young, painfully talented, and healthy (sort of, even if you do need to be sellotaped back together in the middle of every match). You’re going to be fine, and back, and better than you were before. You just are. Keep the faith. No pasaran!

… Maybe the new tagline of this blog should be “drunken Delpo fan therapy”. But still.

Anyway, on to Delray Beach with Delpo. And Roddick will be facing Milos Raonic in the final, after the wee Canadian defeated Mardy Fish  64 46 63 earlier in the day. Fish was fairly feeble, I thought, but Raonic was once again very impressive. He’s guaranteed to become the highest ranked Canadian ever or something even if he doesn’t win the title, and if he does, that’s a ridiculous achievement. Hell, it’s still a ridiculous achievement if he doesn’t. I still think we’ll get his true measure once the white-hot confidence that’s currently sustaining him runs out and we see how he regroups and kicks on from there, but at the same time I refuse not to be a little bit excited about someone who holds out such great promise.

  

Posted in andy roddick, juan martin del potro, memphis, milos raonic | Tagged: , , | 6 Comments »

Canada Flying the Flag at WTA Memphis.

Posted by gauloises1 on February 18, 2011

A slightly disappointing end to Great Britain’s Heather Watson’s campaign in the WTA Memphis tournament today, after she lost in straight sets to Evgeniya Rodina. Still, it was Our Heather’s second quarterfinal in 2011 – as a qualifier, no less – so we won’t bemoan the loss too much. Anne Keothavong also lost to Magdalena Rybarikova the other day.

So long and farewell, you old British ladies.

Memphis in general has been an utter seed massacre, with only one surviving; sixth seed, the very tall, hard-hitting, unassuming female Delpo Rebecca Marino, who beat Coco Vanderweghe in the quarterfinals. She’ll face Rodina tomorrow, with Rybarikova vs. Hradecka to determine who’ll await the winner. Go Rebecca.

Singles – Quarterfinals
(6) Rebecca Marino (CAN) d. Coco Vandeweghe (USA) 61 76(6)
Evgeniya Rodina (RUS) d. (Q) Heather Watson (GBR) 63 64
Lucie Hradecka (CZE) d. Ksenia Pervak (RUS) 64 63
Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) d. (Q) Alexa Glatch (USA) 63 62

Doubles – Quarterfinals
Pervak/Senoglu (RUS/TUR) d. (1) Voracova/Zahlavova Strycova (CZE/CZE) 60 63
(4) Hlavackova/Hradecka (CZE/CZE) d. (WC) Hampton/Oudin (USA/USA) 61 61

Posted in magdalena rybarikova, memphis | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

He Wo-on, He Wo-on #2

Posted by gauloises1 on February 18, 2011

The second installment in a continuing series. I just call them that because … well, that’s all I can really think after he wins each and every match.

 

64 63 over world no. 24 John Isner.

64 64 over world no. 62 Ivan Dodig.

Hitting the ball pretty damn well for someone who’s ranked 298 in the world.

Michael Russell next. He’s actually beaten Delpo once before, back in 2008. I mainly remember him as the Hobbit-a-like who took a set off Delpo during the big man’s troubled 2010 Australian Open campaign.

Elves > Hobbits. Everyone knows that.  

Posted in juan martin del potro, memphis, michael russell | Tagged: , | 9 Comments »

Game, Steps & Match.

Posted by gauloises1 on February 18, 2011

Milos Raonic: still happening. Fresh from his victory over Fernando Verdasco in the finals of San Jose, the pair met in the first round of Memphis and the result was the same, Raonic winning 64 36 76(5).

Verdasco, with a hint of sour grapes, was less than complimentary:

“For me that’s not a real match in tennis,” Verdasco said. “I hope to play soon against him in clay court to show him what it is to play tennis, and play rallies, and run, and not only serve.”

source

Saucer of milk, etc. Anyway, Raonic’s run continues after defeating Radek Stepanek tonight in the second round. Steps was on ebullient form, coming up with some superb play to save match points and snatch the second set tiebreak out from under Raonic’s feet, 10-8.

He celebrated thusly.

The third set also went to a tiebreak, but Raonic showed impressive composure to close it out with an ace even when some typical Steps-like antics were employed (going around high-fiving the linespeople at 1-6 down, for example). The Canadian has to be feeling the effects of so many matches now, emotionally and physically, but his confidence is frankly absurd and this mini-tear continues to be so much fun to watch. It may not be real tennis, but it’ll do me.

Posted in fernando verdasco, memphis, milos raonic, radek stepanek | Tagged: , | 11 Comments »

Monday’s Results: Dubai, Bogota, Buenos Aires, Marseilles, Memphis

Posted by gauloises1 on February 15, 2011

No time wasted in getting going in Dubai, where probably the biggest upset was qualifier Chanelle Scheepers (apparently pronounced ‘Skeppers’, at least according to the Eurosport commentators) upsetting Maria Kirilenko in straight sets. Scheepers was on really sharp form and Kirilenko … was wearing shorts, which looked nice.

Jeepers creepers.

Alisa Kleybanova came back from the brink of defeat against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, in what was an all-too-familiar Pavs tale; unable to close out the match from a commanding position, she utterly collapsed in the third set. I still think Pavlyuchenkova has all the game in the world, but she has to improve her movement so that she can defend her way through a rocky patch, otherwise this is just going to happen again and again and again. Here endeth.

Speaking of improved movement, a back-from-injury Marion Bartoli beat Kimiko Date-Krumm. And we all know how an in-form Marion can lend a frisson to things. Go Marion.

Memphis saw a seed massacre in a not-particularly-strong draw, as lucky loser Alexandra Stevenson accounted for second seed and defending finalist Sofia Arvidsson, fifth seed Olga Govortsova went down to a qualifier (in what could be a stroke of luck for Heather Watson, now facing Foretz Garcon in the second round), and top seed Barbora Zahlalova Strycova lost to big-serving Michaella Kraijcek.

On the plus side? Wins for Melanie Oudin, Rebecca Marino and last year’s semi-finalist Anne Keothavong. Up the British.

In Bogota, I talked up Simona Halep and she promptly lost to Mathilde Johansson. And Annabel Medina Garrigues lost too, to Colombian wildcard Catalina Castano. What has happened to AMG of late?

Not much to report on the men’s side. Grigor Dmitrov lost rather disappointingly to Dmitry Tursunov in Marseilles, and that’s about it.

Full results under the cut.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in barbora zahlalova strycova, bogota, buonos aires, dubai, maria kirilenko, marion bartoli, marseilles, memphis | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

ATP Week Ahead: Buenos Aires, Marseilles, Memphis

Posted by gauloises1 on February 14, 2011

Memphis

500; Sam Querrey defending; draw here.

Top 8 seeds: Andy Roddick, Fernando Verdasco, Mardy Fish, Sam Querrey, John Isner, Yen-Hsun Lu, Kevin Anderson (Gael Monfils withdrew)

Points of interest: Delpo, Delpo, Delpo … and his first round match with defending finalist John Isner. Delpo’s won both of their meetings so far, but Isner’s improved since 2009 and it’s just a big ask for Delpo right now. Having said that, at least he’s sharp. Otherwise, it’s mainly seeing how many of the eight American men in the draw can make it past the first round and being amused that San Jose finalists Raonic and Verdasco will be meeting in the first round.

Buenos Aires

250; Juan Carlos Ferrero defending; draw here.

Top 8 seeds: Nicolas Almagro, Stanislas Wawrinka, David Nalbandian, Albert Montanes, Juan Monaco, Tommy Robredo, Alexandr Dolgopolov

Points of interest: The South American clay swing is so incestuous, I feel like I’ve thought about all these match-ups many, many times in the past two weeks. Anyway, if we’re not going to get this level of sexy bromance, then this may not be the tournament for me. But you know … I wish them well. And does anybody else think that Stan Wawrinka looks really quite like French international Dmitri Yachvilli?

Marseilles 

250; Michael Llodra defending; draw here.

Top 8 seeds: Robin Soderling, Tomas Berdych, Mikhail Youzhny, Jurgen Melzer, Ivan Ljubicic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Ernests Gulbis, Michael Llodra

Points of interest: It’s everybody who played in Rotterdam, just on slightly faster courts. And yet … the interest. Former better-half-of-Bendra, restaurant victim Julien Benneteau, returns to the tour only to face not just the defending champion, but the man who dumped him for Nenad Zimonjic in the doubles department, in the first round. Wildcard Grigor Dmitrov gets abs-flashing partner in crime Dmitry Tursunov, while Nikolay Davydenko and Gilles Simon – both unseeded! – will play each other.

Posted in ATP week ahead, buonos aires, marseilles, memphis | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

WTA Week Ahead: Dubai, Bogota, Memphis

Posted by gauloises1 on February 13, 2011

Dubai

Premier; Venus Williams defending; draw here.

Top 8 seeds: Caroline Wozniacki, Vera Zvonareva, Francesca Schiavone, Samantha Stosur, Li Na, Jelena Jankovic, Victoria Azarenka, Agnieszka Radwanska

Points of Interest: The amazing thing about the WTA is that, with a half-decent draw, you are never short for things to say in this category. To start with, Wozniacki could get the no. 1 ranking back if she reaches the semi-final – a tough prospect given her draw. Although her probable second and third round opponents (Hantuchova and Kvitova) could be expected to be weary from their exploits this week, there’s also Yanina Wickmayer and Li Na in her quarter. Both Kaia Kanepi (who’s played well in Dubai in the past) and Andrea Petkovic have a good shout in JJ’s quarter, if the perennial wait to see Ana Ivanovic come up with something in a big tournament isn’t over and Sam Stosur isn’t feeling it. I have a feeling about Vera Zvonareva and/or Svetlana Kuznetsova, though. Just saying.

Bogota

International; Mariana Duque Marino defending; draw here.

Top 8 seeds: Julia Goerges, Polona Hercog, Simona Halep, Arantxa Parra Santonja, Carla Suarez Navarro, Edina Gallovits-Hall, Lourdes Dominguez Lino, Annabel Medina Garrigues

Points of Interest: I’m all about the young guns this week (and most weeks). Let’s see if Polona Hercog and Simona Halep can come up with something. I have major hopes for the latter, who was in fine fettle in Auckland. Still, someone with more than one surname will probably win this one.

Memphis

 

International; Maria Sharapova defending; draw here.

Top 8 seeds: Barbora Zahlalova Strycova, Sofia Arvidsson, Melanie Oudin, Alla Kudryavtseva, Olga Govortsova, Rebecca Marino, Renata Voracova, Vania King

Points of Interest: This … is not a good draw. And yet I’m perversely excited. Two words: Heather Watson, who has already beaten Andrea Hlavackova in the first round and will face Olga Govortsova (probably) in the next. Two more words: Rebecca Marino, who is a lot like Delpo, only female and Canadian. And higher-ranked.  

Posted in bogota, dubai, memphis, wta week ahead | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

All Bromantics End the Same Way

Posted by gauloises1 on February 22, 2010

Poor John Isner. He was a set and 5-2 up in the second set tiebreak up on Sam Querrey, and couldn’t close the deal.

I wasn’t watching the match – bit involved with a pair of sexy Spaniards at the time – but from all accounts, Isner somewhat choked. Great work from Querrey to hang in there and take advantage, but a tough, tough loss for Isner. Still, it’s a great result for Querrey, bouncing back strongly after his whole glass-table incident.

Fortunately for team spirit, the pair went on to win the doubles and celebrated by bringing their mums on to court:

Damnit, that’s just sweet.

Posted in john isner, memphis, sam querrey, titlists | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »