Sunday, June 28, 2009

Reflections on a Middle Sunday

by Savannah

The powers that be at Wimbledon decree a day of rest on the first Sunday of the tournament. In the past this was done for religious reasons and while I'm sure the good folks at St Mary's church on the grounds of the AELTC would love to see a few players in the pews, especially since it was made public that they were allowing people to park in their cemetery, I somehow suspect that most of the players still in contention are on the practice courts.
@Jim Courier tweets the following re practice time at Wimbledon.
Found out that current situation is 30 mins/day for seeds 1-16. 30 mins every other day for seeds 17-32. 30 mins 1 time for non-seeds.

It's a good time for those of us who blog to look back on the week that was on the sacred tennis ground that is Wimbledon. Were there surprises? Yes there were. Cupcake draws? Please. Let's see what the men and women were up to last week.

If you don't have ESPN360 it's time to bug the shit out of your ISP provider to get it because if you don't have it you missed the match of the week between Juan Carlos Ferrero and Fernando Gonzalez. This was not a clay court match on grass. It was a grass court match with shots that made you leap out of you seat (or off of your computer chair) in awe and wonder. It was seeing Juan Carlos say to himself that he was not going to lose and then not losing. It was Fernando using his big forehand to try and intimidate Juan Carlos. It was a match of two veterans pulling out all the stops and yesterday Juan Carlos was the one left standing.

The match lasted until after 9p London time but neither ESPN or NBC saw fit to air any of it. ESPN stuck with the match between Andy Murray and Victor Troicki, a match in name only since Troicki vs Murray is a bad match up for Troicki and Murray was doing what he wanted when he wanted from the first ball toss. As for NBC all claims they want to make to being the Wimbledon network went out the window when they aired the complete Andy Roddick match that had taken place earlier in the day. This is the same network that aired golf's US Open live on Monday disrupting their daytime schedule folks. Do you have any idea how much advertising money is invested in daytime television ladies and gentlemen? Yet when it comes to tennis they air a match that only casual tennis fans didn't know was long over.

I understand that there are situations where people can't see the matches live online and don't scoreboard watch and that many of them were happy to see the Roddick match. It just wasn't gripping tennis. Yes Andy dropped a set and it's still interesting to see the new and improved Andy Roddick play his way into the second week but really people. Why is tennis held to a three hour window while golf is given free rein of the airwaves? I'm sure the programming geeks at NBC were happy to have a match they could put into their alloted space. I'm sure fans with no other recourse were happy to see some tennis. It's just that Gonzalez vs Ferrero was the better, and more compelling match and would've brought more fans to the sport. I could speculate as to why this match was not deemed worthy but I won't go there, at least not today.

The other match of the week was also a men's match. Veteran player Tommy Haas gave tennis fans a glimpse of what could have been in his career if not for injury. In a best of five set match that saw the fifth set spill over from Friday into Saturday Haas won the deciding set 10-8 over Marin Cilic, one of the up and coming players on the ATP tour. Haas had played a lot of tennis coming into Wimbledon and I really thought he'd be too tired to get through to the second week. I was wrong. This match also had everything, great shot making, great thinking, and great attitude from both men. Since I spent most of the day on the computer I don't know if ESPN aired the end of the final set of this match so I'll let them slide. I know what network didn't show it. I'm just saying.

Lleyton Hewitt is somewhat of a surprise player in week two. I'll admit I don't watch his matches because I find myself waking up and they're over but from all accounts he's playing well this week. I wonder how many times they cut to his actress wife beaming a la Nancy Reagan at her husband. I'll take Haas' gum chewing fiancee any day over those scenes. I know. I'm not apologizing although someone should teach Ms Foster that a lady does not chew gum like that. I'm all for keeping it real but all I could hear is my mother making a reference to cud chewing by bovines.

As for the women the matches of the week were the big upsets. I really don't like watching Jelena Jankovic matches. Even when she's winning she pulls some stunt that makes me want to hurl a shoe at her. You can only imagine my amusement when she found herself on the wrong side of the score in her match against American teenager Melanie Oudin.

I hate to say it but when Jelena or Novak Djokovic play unless I see blood or a bone protruding I take their injuries and bouts of illness with a box of salt. A very large box. Jelena really did her acting coach proud yesterday pulling out the dizzyness thing causing a long delay in the second set. In the third set she realized her toe or something was hurting and Oudin, returning from a bathroom break asked "What's wrong with her now?" I'm sure JJ thought that she'd throw the young woman off and ease her way into the second week but Melanie was having none of it. She held her focus and sent the Serbian nominee for Best Actress home. Mary Carillo was only one of many who called Jelena's presser tasteless, classless and tacky. She gave her opponent no credit for outwitting her and instead blamed her monthly cycle for her poor play. Have it your way JJ and thanks for that glimpse into your world.

The other big match on the women's side saw French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova flummoxed by Sabine Lisicki. Sabine has been on tennishead's radar for awhile now and while her making it to the second week of a Slam is a surprise it's really Sabine showing that what everyone saw in her was not an illusion.

What was my biggest surprise result on the women's side? Was it Li Na losing to Aggie Radwanska? Was it Peng Shuai's inability to close out her match against Aggie? The fact that none of the Chinese women made it to week two this year? Surprise, yes. Shock no.
What surprised me the most was Samantha Stosur rolling over and playing dead against Ana Ivanovic. It's not that I'm a big fan of Stosur but that she's been playing very well of late while Ana's play has been lackluster at best. I have to say I was stunned to see Stosur allow Ivanovic to stand in the middle of the court and dictate play a la Daniela Hantuchova. Instead of making Ana run Stosur subjected us all to the Bubble and Squeak show of Ana who pirouetted, strangled a few gerbils, and would've done the squeaky sneakers thing if she could have on her way to a straight set victory.

Of course the pundits are all scratching their heads at Maria Sharapova's loss since she was supposed to cakewalk her way into the second week. One can forgive Gisela Dulko for not following up on that win. Well I can anyway. In case you're interested I have stopped doing Debbie Reynolds "told you so" dance from "Will and Grace". Find it on YouTube. Hi-larious.

Day 7 Orders of Play



1. Robin Soderling (SWE) [13] 113 vs Roger Federer (SUI) [2] 128
2. Dinara Safina (RUS) [1] 1 vs Amelie Mauresmo (FRA) [17] 9
3. Andy Murray (GBR) [3] 33 vs Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) [19] 41


1. Venus Williams (USA) [3] 33 vs Ana Ivanovic (SRB) [13] 48
2. Fernando Verdasco (ESP) [7] 97 vs Ivo Karlovic (CRO) [22] 105
3. Tomas Berdych (CZE) [20] 24 vs Andy Roddick (USA) [6] 32


1. Elena Vesnina (RUS) 86 vs Elena Dementieva (RUS) [4] 96
2. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 115 vs Serena Williams (USA) [2] 128
3. Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) 3 vs Radek Stepanek (CZE) [23] 9


1. Victoria Azarenka (BLR) [8] 97 vs Nadia Petrova (RUS) [10] 112
2. Dudi Sela (ISR) 85 vs Novak Djokovic (SRB) [4] 96
3. Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP) 53 vs Gilles Simon (FRA) [8] 64


1. Igor Andreev (RUS) [29] 72 vs Tommy Haas (GER) [24] 73
2. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) [9] 17 vs Sabine Lisicki (GER) 26


1. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) [11] 49 vs Melanie Oudin (USA) 58
2. Virginie Razzano (FRA) [26] 72 vs Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 74



3. Wesley Moodie (RSA) and Dick Norman (BEL) [9] 25 vs Igor Andreev (RUS) and Evgeny Korolev (RUS) 28
4. Mike Bryan (USA) and Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) [6] 33 vs
Philipp Petzschner (GER) and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) 35


1. Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS) and Monica Niculescu (ROU) 60 vs
Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) and Virginia Ruano Pascual (ESP) [2] 64
2. Cara Black (ZIM) and Liezel Huber (USA) [1] 1 vs
Iveta Benesova (CZE) and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) 5
3. Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) and Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 51 vs
Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) and Nadia Petrova (RUS) [10] 56
4. Max Mirnyi (BLR) and Andy Ram (ISR) [7] 33 vs Simon Aspelin (SWE) and Paul Hanley (AUS) 37


1. Lukasz Kubot (POL) and Oliver Marach (AUT) [8] 49 vs Christopher Kas (GER) and Viktor Troicki (SRB) 54
2. Rogier Wassen (NED) and Igor Zelenay (SVK) 11 vs Bruno Soares (BRA) and Kevin Ullyett (ZIM) [5] 16


1. Martin Damm (CZE) and Robert Lindstedt (SWE) [15] 41 vs James Blake (USA) and Mardy Fish (USA) 47
2. Mariya Koryttseva (UKR) and Tatiana Poutchek (BLR) 36 vs Kristina Barrois (GER) and Tathiana Garbin (ITA) 38
3. Andrei Pavel (ROU) and Monica Niculescu (ROU) 13 vs Robert Lindstedt (SWE) and Rennae Stubbs (AUS) [7] 16


1. Bob Bryan (USA) and Mike Bryan (USA) [1] 1 vs Leos Friedl (CZE) and David Skoch (CZE) 7
2. Mahesh Bhupathi (IND) and Mark Knowles (BAH) [4] 17 vs
Prakash Amritraj (IND) and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi (PAK) 23
3. Lucas Arnold Ker (ARG) and Gisela Dulko (ARG) 62 vs Bob Bryan (USA) and Samantha Stosur (AUS) [2] 64


3. Nuria Llagostera Vives (ESP) and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (ESP) [11] 9 vs Victoria Azarenka (BLR) and Elena Vesnina (RUS) [7] 16
4. Serena Williams (USA) and Venus Williams (USA) [4] 17 vs Zi Yan (CHN) and Jie Zheng (CHN) [13] 24


Not before 4.00 pm
Jamie Delgado (GBR) and Jonathan Marray (GBR) 59 vs Daniel Nestor (CAN) and Nenad Zimonjic (SRB) [2] 64

Not before 5.00 pm
Leander Paes (IND) and Cara Black (ZIM) [1] 1 vs Mahesh Bhupathi (IND) and Sania Mirza (IND) [13] 8
Lukas Dlouhy (CZE) and Iveta Benesova (CZE) [15] 41 vs Marcin Matkowski (POL) and Lisa Raymond (USA) [3] 48


COURT 6 - 11.00 AM START

1. Jana Cepelova (SVK) 5 vs Akiko Omae (JPN) 6 GS
2. Tamara Curovic (SRB) 31 vs Ajla Tomljanovic (CRO) [8] 32 GS
3. Jennifer Ren (GBR) 45 vs Nastja Kolar (SLO) 46 GS
4. Harry Fowler (USA) 61 vs Emanuele Molina (ITA) 62 BS


3. Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) [1] 1 vs Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) 2 GS
4. Facundo Arguello (ARG) [14] 57 vs Dino Marcan (CRO) 58 BS

COURT 8 - 11.00 AM START

1. Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) 37 vs Richard Gabb (GBR) 38 BS
2. Beatrice Capra (USA) 29 vs An-Sophie Mestach (BEL) 30 GS
3. Ana Bogdan (ROU) [3] 17 vs Magda Linette (POL) 18 GS
4. Timea Babos (HUN) [6] 49 vs Tara Moore (GBR) 50 GS
5. Gianni Mina (FRA) [6] 49 vs Oliver Golding (GBR) 50 BS

COURT 9 - 11.00 AM START

1. Dominik Wirlend (AUT) 3 vs David Thomson (GBR) 4 BS
2. Khunpak Issara (THA) 11 vs Alexandra Walker (GBR) 12 GS
3. Kevin Krawietz (GER) 53 vs Guilherme Clezar (BRA) 54 BS
4. Olivia Rogowska (AUS) [5] 33 vs Lesley Kerkhove (NED) 34 GS
5. Johannes Robert Van Overbeek (USA) 7 vs Cheng Peng Hsieh (TPE) [13] 8 BS

COURT 11 - 11.00 AM START

1. Alessandro Bega (ITA) 43 vs Tom Farquharson (GBR) 44 BS
2. Tiago Fernandes (BRA) 11 vs Sandro Ehrat (SUI) 12 BS
3. Chantal Skamlova (SVK) 43 vs Ilinca Stoica (ROU) 44 GS
4. Andrei Vasilevski (BLR) 29 vs Marin Draganja (CRO) 30 BS


4. Katarena Paliivets (CAN) 63 vs Laura Robson (GBR) [2] 64 GS

COURT 15 - 11.00 AM START

1. Miyabi Inoue (JPN) 27 vs Fatma Al Nabhani (OMA) 28 GS
2. Julien Obry (FRA) [10] 9 vs Pablo Carreno-Busta (ESP) 10 BS
3. Jocelyn Rae (GBR) 15 vs Sloane Stephens (USA) [7] 16 GS
4. Alexander Domijan (USA) 5 vs Liam Broady (GBR) 6 BS

COURT 16 - 11.00 AM START

1. Karim-Mohamed Maamoun (EGY) 45 vs Sudarwa Sitaram (IND) 46 BS
2. Alexandros-Ferdinandos Georgoudas (GER) 27 vs Jordan Cox (USA) 28 BS
3. Alejandra Granillo (MEX) 47 vs Noppawan Lertcheewakarn (THA) [4] 48 GS
4. Malou Ejdesgaard (DEN) 61 vs Sally Peers (AUS) 62 GS

COURT 19 - 11.00 AM START

1. Heather Watson (GBR) [12] 25 vs Valeria Solovieva (RUS) 26 GS
2. Devin Britton (USA) 15 vs Shuichi Sekiguchi (JPN) [7] 16 BS
3. Sachia Vickery (USA) 3 vs Luksika Kumkhum (THA) 4 GS
4. Filip Horansky (SVK) 21 vs James Marsalek (GBR) 22 BS
5. Riki McLachlan (NZL) 59 vs Stanislav Poplavskyy (UKR) 60 BS

The Monogram is going to meet Robin Soderling. Excuse the yawn. If Soderling wins I won't snark about the Monogram for two posts. It occurred to me yesterday that while some are screaming GOAT from the rooftops the only great matches he's played have been when he's faced some upstart from Mallorca. Otherwise it's been the bum of the month club and expected wins. Again I'm just saying.

Dinara Safina vs Amelie Mauresmo is interesting on paper. Both women have a lot to prove. Dinara is anxious to show that she can make it to a Slam Final and win. Amelie wants to prove her best days aren't behind her. Both are tenacious on court and if they both bring their "A" game this should be a good one.

Andy Murray vs Stan Wawrinka is another "should be" match. Murray will use his rope-a-dope style of play against Stan who runs hot and cold. If he's cold it'll be a good match to snooze on.

As for Bubble and Squeak vs the Grass Court Queen let's just hope Venus Williams doesn't go on walkabout during this match.

Andy Roddick vs Tomas Berdych can be a very good match. Or not. If Andy starts checking to make sure the family jewels are still there you'll know he's in panic mode. Off course there's always the chance that Berdych will go out like a bitch.

Actually there are a lot of potentially good match ups on the woman's side.
Victoria Azarenka vs Nadia Petrova is one of them. The match I'm most looking forward to though is Caroline Wozniacki against Sabine Lisicki. This is a big test for both women. The same goes for Aggie Radwanska vs Melanie Oudin. Huge test for Oudin against the crafty Radwanska.

End Notes

Dare I say it? With the exception of the two ATP matches I mentioned above as being the best of the week the WTA has been the tour with swagger. The new jacks are announcing their arrival at a major in a big way while the old guard is looking to hold on to their dominance for another year. Will one of the new jacks make it into the semi finals? Will one, or more of the old guard fall victim to the new jacks? It's hard to come up with a catch phrase to sum up week two of Wimbledon. All one can say is that it's time to put your money where your mouth is boys and girls. It's on.


kraa said...

Your memory is very short indeed if you don't remember any great matches by Roger. He has had probably more than any other player in recent memory. 2004 W final, 2004 USO QF, 2005 AO SF, 2009 RG SF just to mention a few.

Go Roger!!!

Savannah said...

Don't make me have to find the list that includes Roma 2005, Roma 2006, Monte Carlo a couple of years back, and French Opens not to mention Wimbledon 2008 and two matches at Australia 2009.

You have your list and I have mine. I'm just sayin' that mine may be longer.

oddman said...

Right on, Savannah. There's a huge list to draw from - Chennai 08, MC 07 and 08, IW quarter 09, on and on....

What's this 'recent memory' thing, kraa? You got 4 there from 4+ yrs ago.. only one recent. ??

Christina said...

Great recap!

You don't even want to get me started on NBC. It still stuns me that they show tape delayed matches in the internet age. Hello?! Especially when you have a dozen live matches to pick from! Embargoing live matches is laughable at best. Frankly, it's all embarrassing and it makes tennis look ridiculous.

JCF/Gonzalez was indeed a very fun match, and I'm glad I could at least watch it online. Thank goodness for free livestreams!

BTW, ESPN2 did show the end of Haas/Cilic. I was mildly surprised until I remembered the reason they probably showed it was because NBC embargoed the Roddick match!

Like I said, you don't want me to get started. :)

Savannah said...

Without livestreams we'd all be up the creek without a paddle. I now speak tennis Spanish, Russian and German. :)

Welcome aboard!