Monday, August 29, 2011

It's Showtime

by Savannah

2011 US Open Men's Singles Draw

Novak Djokovic SRB (1) v Q CONOR NILAND
Pere Riba ESP v Carlos Berlocq ARG
Potito Starace ITA v Michael Berrer GER
Nikolay Davydenko RUS v Ivan Dodig CRO (32)

Alexandr Dolgopolov UKR (22) v Frederico Gil POR
Kei Nishikori JPN v Flavio Cipolla ITA
Ivo Karlovic CRO v Fernando Gonzalez CHI
Sergiy Stakhovsky UKR v Richard Gasquet FRA (13)

Tomas Berdych CZE (9) v Q ROMAIN JOUAN
Fabio Fognini ITA v Horacio Zeballos ARG
Philipp Petzschner GER v Albert Ramos ESP
Q AUGUSTIN GENSSE v Janko Tipsarevic SRB (20)

Marcel Granollers ESP (31) v Xavier Malisse BEL
Mikhail Kukushkin KAZ v Albert Montanes ESP
Pablo Andujar ESP v Juan Carlos Ferrero ESP
Grigor Dimitrov BUL v Gael Monfils FRA (7)


Roger Federer SUI (3) v Santiago Giraldo COL
Dudi Sela ISR v Thomaz Bellucci BRA
Q MICHAEL YANI v Bernard Tomic AUS
Ryan Harrison USA v Marin Cilic CRO (27)

Radek Stepanek CZE (23) v Philipp Kohlschreiber GER
Juan Monaco ARG v Andreas Seppi ITA
Tommy Haas GER v Q Jonathan Dasnieres De Veigy
Alejandro Falla COL v Viktor Troicki SRB (15)

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga FRA (11) v Yen-Hsun Lu TPE
Andreas Haider-Maurer AUT v Q SERGEI BUBKA
Q MARSEL ILHAN v Q FRANK DANCEVIC
Jarkko Nieminen FIN v Fernando Verdasco ESP (19)

Michael Llodra FRA (29) v Victor Hanescu ROU
Kevin Anderson RSA v Q GO SOEDA
Q MALEK JAZIRI v Thiemo de Bakker NED
Tobias Kamke GER v Mardy Fish USA (8)


Robin Soderling SWE (6) v Q LOUK SORENSEN
Alex Bogomolov Jr. USA v Steve Johnson USA
Robby Ginepri USA v Q JOAO SOUZA
Marcos Baghdatis CYP v John Isner USA (28)

Juan Martin Del Potro ARG (18) v Filippo Volandri ITA
Diego Junqueira ARG v Karol Beck SVK
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez ESP v Daniel Gimeno-Traver ESP
Ricardo Mello BRA v Gilles Simon FRA (12)

Stanislas Wawrinka SUI (14) v Maximo Gonzalez ARG
Donald Young USA vLL LUKAS LACKO
Dmitry Tursunov RUS v Steve Darcis BEL
Marinko Matosevic AUS v Juan Ignacio Chela ARG (24)

Feliciano Lopez ESP (25) v Tatsuma Ito JPN
Q VASEK POSPISIL v Lukas Rosol CZE
Rui Machado POR v Robin Haase NED
Somdev Devvarman IND v Andy Murray GBR (4)


David Ferrer ESP (5) v Igor Andreev RUS
James Blake USA v Q JESSE HUTA GALUNG
Olivier Rochus BEL v Q JEAN RENE LISNARD
Adrian Mannarino FRA v Florian Mayer GER (26)

Andy Roddick USA (21) v Michael Russell USA
Jack Sock USA v Marc Gicquel FRA
Denis Istomin UZB v Ryan Sweeting USA
Julien Benneteau FRA v Nicolas Almagro ESP (10)

Mikhail Youzhny RUS (16) v Ernests Gulbis LAT
Edouard Roger-Vasselin FRA v Gilles Muller LUX
Matthias Bachinger GER v Igor Kunitsyn RUS
Eric Prodon FRA v Jurgen Melzer AUT (17)

Ivan Ljubicic CRO (30) v Blaz Kavcic SLO
Bobby Reynolds USA v David Nalbandian ARG
Nicolas Mahut FRA v Q ROBERT FARAH
Andrey Golubev KAZ v Rafael Nadal ESP (2)

2011 US Open Women's Singles Main Draw

Caroline Wozniacki DEN (1) v Nuria Llagostera Vives ESP
Arantxa Rus NED v Elena Vesnina RUS
Vania King USA v Greta Arn HUN
Iveta Benesova CZE v Jarmila Gajdosova AUS (29)

Daniela Hantuchova SVK (21) v Pauline Parmentier FRA
Akgul Amanmuradova UZB v Tamira Paszek AUT
Jamie Hampton USA v Elena Baltacha GBR
Sara Errani ITA v Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS (15)

Andrea Petkovic GER (10) v (Q) Ekaterina Bychkova RUS
(Q) Vitalia Diatchenko RUS v Jie Zheng CHN
Casey Dellacqua AUS v Alize Cornet FRA
Irina-Camelia Begu ROU v Roberta Vinci ITA (18)

Kaia Kanepi EST (31) v Tamarine Tanasugarn THA
Kimiko Date-Krumm JPN v (Q) Silvia Soler-Espinosa ESP
Mathilde Johansson FRA v Carla Suarez Navarro ESP
Simona Halep ROU v Na Li CHN (6)


Victoria Azarenka BLR (4) v Johanna Larsson SWE
Rebecca Marino CAN v Gisela Dulko ARG
(Q) Michaella Krajicek NED v Eleni Daniilidou GRE
Bojana Jovanovski SRB v Serena Williams USA (28)

Shahar Peer ISR (23) v Sania Mirza IND
(Q) Reka-Luka Jani HUN v Sloane Stephens USA
Evgeniya Rodina RUS v Petra Cetkovska CZE
Ksenia Pervak RUS v Ana Ivanovic SRB (16)

Jelena Jankovic SRB (11) v Alison Riske USA
Jelena Dokic AUS v Olga Govortsova BLR
Petra Martic CRO v Barbora Zahlavova Strycova CZE
Anna Tatishvili GEO v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova RUS (17)

Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez ESP (32) v Mona Barthel GER
Chanelle Scheepers RSA v Anne Keothavong GBR
Mirjana Lucic CRO v (Q) Marina Erakovic NZL
(Q) Galina Voskoboeva KAZ v Francesca Schiavone ITA (7)

Petra Kvitova CZE (5) v Alexandra Dulgheru ROU
Patricia Mayr-Achleitner AUT v Monica Niculescu ROU
Jill Craybas USA v Madison Keys USA
Magdalena Rybarikova SVK v Lucie Safarova CZE (27)

Yanina Wickmayer BEL (20) v Sorana Cirstea ROU
Alla Kudryavtseva RUS v Anastasia Rodionova AUS
Lauren Davis USA v Angelique Kerber GER
(Q) Urszula Radwandska POL v Agnieszka Radwanska POL (12)

Shuai Peng CHN (13) v Varvara Lepchenko USA
Virginie Razzano FRA v Tsvetana Pironkova BUL
Misaki Doi JPN v Laura Pous-Tio ESP
Kristina Barrois GER v Julia Goerges GER (19)

Flavia Pennetta ITA (26) v Aravane Rezai FRA
Melanie Oudin USA v (Q) Romina Oprandi ITA
Anastasiya Yakimova BLR v (Q) Noppawan Lertcheewakarn THA
Heather Watson GBR v Maria Sharapova RUS (3)


Marion Bartoli FRA (8) v (Q) Alexandra Panova RUS
Christina McHale USA v (Q) Aleksandra Wozniak CAN
Vera Dushevina RUS v Anastasija Sevastova LAT
Ekaterina Makarova RUS v Maria Kirilenko RUS (25)

Nadia Petrova RUS (24) v (Q) Yung-Jan Chan TPE
Bethanie Mattek-Sands USA v Polona Hercog SLO
Coco Vandeweghe USA v Alberta Brianti ITA
Sofia Arvidsson SWE v Samantha Stosur AUS (9)

Dominika Cibulkova SVK (14) v Shuai Zhang CHN
Klara Zakopalova CZE v Irina Falconi USA
Vesna Dolonts RUS v Venus Williams USA
Alona Bondarenko UKR v Sabine Lisicki GER (22)

Anabel Medina Garrigues ESP (30) v (Q) Karin Knapp ITA
(Q) Laura Robson GBR v Ayumi Morita JPN
Lucie Hradecka CZE v Kateryna Bondarenko UKR
(Q) Stephanie Foretz Gacon FRA v Vera Zvonareva RUS (2)

I was debating whether to do a write up on the draws this year. I always end up writing the same things and frankly it's boring. I mean how many times can you write that Maria Sharapova is being kept away from anyone who on paper should be able to disrupt her march to the "business end" of the tournament to steal a phrase. This year they've outdone themselves.

Shuai Peng CHN (13) v Varvara Lepchenko USA
Virginie Razzano FRA v Tsvetana Pironkova BUL
Misaki Doi JPN v Laura Pous-Tio ESP
Kristina Barrois GER v Julia Goerges GER (19)

Flavia Pennetta ITA (26) v Aravane Rezai FRA
Melanie Oudin USA v (Q) Romina Oprandi ITA
Anastasiya Yakimova BLR v (Q) Noppawan Lertcheewakarn THA
Heather Watson GBR v Maria Sharapova RUS (3)

Heather Watson is a promising British junior. So is Noppawan Lertcheewakarn. Yakimova has been kicking around the ITF circuit. Aravane and Flavia have not had good years. Oprandi just fought her way through qualifying. I'm leaving Melanie alone.

Peng Shuai has a nagging hip injury. Lepchenko is, you got it, a junior. Goerges has not done well on hardcourts this year. Misaki Doi has played well this summer but she's going to have to do really well to do any damage. Barrois and Pous-Tio shouldn't be able to do any damage either. Razzano is grieving. As for Tsvetana Pironkova will she get out of her section and threaten Sharapova? She can if she wants to but unless you put Venus Williams in front of her she can't be bothered.

Sharapova is also in the bottom half of the draw far, far away from someone named Serena Williams. Don't kid yourself. All that screaming and yelling about seeding Serena #8 was to try and make sure that she didn't face Sharapova early. Apparently Victoria Azarenka drew the short straw and is seeded to face Serena. Wonder who she pissed off?

The worriers could've saved themselves some drama. Why ask the USTA to break with tradition and seed Serena so high when they have their own way of doing things that they've gotten away with for a long time. If Kim Clijsters had played she'd have been the recipient of an even kinder section than Sharapova.

Anyway draws are hypothetical portrayals of what will happen once the tournament is underway. It's always nice to have the original draw as a reference once the second week is underway.

Who are the favorites? The pundits say Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. What do I say? I find it amusing that the top two seeds are on no one's list of finalists.

Miscellany

Mention weird egg shaped devices and most of us who keep up with popular culture will think of Lady Gaga's entrance into an award show writhing around inside of an egg shaped something or another.

I'd like you to turn your attention to the thingy featured in this Wall Street Journal article and how it relates to men's tennis. Some highlights from the article.

Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic hasn't earned his No. 1 ranking by taking the conventional road. There's his odd ritual of excessive ball bouncing before serves, which can break an opponent's concentration. There's his new gluten-free diet, which he's said has helped him feel stronger on the court.

But now there's something truly weird: the CVAC Pod.

Ever since last year's U.S. Open, Djokovic has been trying to improve his fitness by climbing into a rare $75,000 egg-shaped, bobsled-sized pressure chamber.

The machine, which is made by a California-based company called CVAC Systems and hasn't been banned by any sports governing bodies, is one of only 20 in the world. Unlike the increasingly trendy $5,000 hyperbaric chambers many professional athletes use to saturate the blood with oxygen and stimulate healing, the CVAC is a considerably more-ambitious contraption. It uses a computer-controlled valve and a vacuum pump to simulate high altitude and compress the muscles at rhythmic intervals.
(...)
Djokovic has never mentioned the pod publicly before. He acknowledged using it for the first time last week during a sponsor event in New York after he was asked about it for this article.
(...)
While pod users don't do much beyond sitting while they are inside (cellphone use is permitted), CVAC Systems chief executive Allen Ruszkowski says the treatment seems to have many of the same effects on the body as intense exercise. He claims that the technology may be twice as effective at helping the body absorb oxygen as blood doping—a banned form of performance enhancement.

I assume a certain level of reading comprehension from my readers so I'm going to leave you to draw your own conclusions about this device. I also want to single out this section including a quote from Patrick McEnroe.

In 2006 the World Anti-Doping Agency ruled that such oxygen tents enhance performance and violate "the spirit of sport," but did not add them to the list of banned substances and methods, saying they would wait until further studies were conducted.

Patrick McEnroe, the USTA's general manager of player development, says he's skeptical that any such contraption could have much impact on tennis performance. "I don't really take this stuff particularly seriously," says McEnroe, noting that Djokovic has not only improved his fitness this year but has also fixed key problems in his game, revamping his serve and developing a newly devastating forehand. "Maybe there are a few things that have helped (Djokovic) mentally, but let's remember that before he tried his gluten-free diet or went into a hyperbaric chamber he had already won a Grand Slam and beat Roger Federer."

Lou Lamoriello, the general manager of the NHL's New Jersey Devils, says he attended a presentation last year with his coaching staff in which Uehling cited Djokovic's defeat of Roger Federer in the 2010 U.S. Open semifinal as evidence of the CVAC unit's effectiveness.

End Notes

I made it out to the Qualifying Tournament for the first time ever. If you live in the New York City area and can get a few days off it's worth your while to make it out to the BJK National Tennis Center and take advantage of the free admission to see some of the up and coming players as well as the stars who can be seen wandering the grounds without phalanxes of security. Of course the first day I was there an earthquake hit the NYC area. I was almost thrown from the bench I was sitting on while watching Galina Voskoboeva play. She doesn't look so much like Pironkova in person but she is someone to keep your eye on. She was playing a young woman from Bolivia Maria Fernanda Alvarez Teran, who can hit the snot out of the ball and move but needs to work on her fitness. She had a good run at a tournament earlier this year but when there's more jiggle in your thighs than mine it's time to get to work.

I left earthquake day for fear of aftershocks but went back out on Friday. Unfortunately the humidity generated by the approaching storm did me in and I couldn't stay too long.

Still it was fun and did I mention the word "FREE"? Ironically when I was there I didn't get to see who I wanted on the practice courts. I got to see Stan Wawrinka and Alex Bogomolov Jr. as well as Viktor Troicki. Troicki is much bigger than he appears on television. The guy next to me kept telling people it was Janko Tipsarevic although there wasn't a tattoo in sight. I almost got to see Roger Federer but the crush of people with little kids running into your legs was too much for me.



9 comments:

TennisAce said...

LOL - A CVAC Pod. I mean you just cannot make this stuff up and then they pretend as if tennis is a clean sport. Everyone will do whatever it takes to win. I don't care what anyone says this sport needs to be cleaned up and cleaned up quickly. A CVAC Pod. What will they ever think of next? I bet you any money if Richard Williams had said that his daughters use these pods, all of a sudden you would hear how it is doping. Whatever.

vw said...

I caught some health show this morning with a Marc Siegel MD.talking about the pod. It's interesting and short

http://video.foxnews.com/?playlist_id=86897

Savannah said...

There is a very short list of players who if found to have used this contraption would be suspended until a decision was made about the legality of the thing.

Instead we got silence from the USTA and it's mouthpieces.

The manufacturer says that the device is more effective than blood doping. I don't think there's anything else that needs to be said.

Savannah said...

Steve Tignor at tennis.com has commented on the DVAC pod saying WADA has to declare them legal or illegal. Here's his quote.

"The question today is whether the pod should be legal. If it does what CVAC says its does—boost red blood cells—then it’s akin to blood doping, and if you can get the benefit of hard-core exercise while sitting and talking on your cell phone, it’s a competitive advantage. Five years ago, WADA addressed oxygen contraptions like this by labeling them against “the spirit of sport,” but didn’t ban them. The next question, of course, is: If you do ban them, can you detect their use? There’s obviously no substance to test for. Either way, now that an athlete of Djokovic’s stature has said he’s been in one, WADA should make a definitive statement on the egg’s legality.
"

He then goes on to say that this isn't some kind of secret weapon and that no one knows what it does.

It's manufacturer says it's better than blood doping. I think it's safe to say that's what it does.

Savannah said...

vw I watched the Fox video. Didn't the guy dance around the issue of whether it works as advertised or not? One tennis player's name was all over the report too.

They seem to conclude that it's a harmless piece of $75,000 junk. Legal at this time junk.

TennisAce said...

Junk but just look at what this piece of junk has done. It has allowed a very good player to play tennis that no one has seen in a long time. When you run as hard and as fast as Novak has been running and still can be ready for the next point as if nothing had happened it is doping.

You look on other players who have to be stopping and catching their collective breaths and you look at him and you wonder, dang he must be so fit.

If it is better than blood doping then it is blood doping

Savannah said...

That is what is cracking me up. People are doing all kinds of mental gymnastics to avoid stating the obvious and that something needs to be done about it.

That piece of "journalism" from Faux News will give the people who want to hide from the truth some cover for awhile.

"If it is better than blood doping then it is blood doping".

And that's a wrap.

readyplay said...

According to the comment to Article 4.3.2 of Version 3.0 of the World Anti-Doping Code (p 32-33),
“A substance shall be considered for inclusion on the Prohibited List if the substance is a masking agent or meets two of the following three criteria: (1) it has the potential to enhance or enhances sport performance; (2) it represents a potential or actual health risk; or (3) it is contrary to the spirit of sport. None of the three criteria alone is a sufficient basis for adding a substance to the Prohibited List. Using the potential to enhance performance as the sole criteria would include, for example, physical and mental training, red meat, carbohydrate loading and training at altitude. Risk of harm would include smoking.”

The CVAC pod meets two of the three criteria for inclusion on the Prohibited List (since WADA has already stated that the device is against the spirit of the sport). So they seem to make a distinction between altitude training and the CVAC pod device, given that they've only deemed the latter to be against the spirit of the sport.

While homologous blood doping (transfusing one’s own stored blood) is undetectable, the percentage of red blood cells in a rider (hematocrit level) is monitored by the anti-doping authorities. The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) set the upper level at 50% (anything above is illegal).

The UCI currently permits altitude training, either by going to the mountains or staying in oxygen tents, as long as the rider doesn’t increase his hematocrit above 50%. Whether or not the CVAC pod device can increase hematocrit level above 50% should play an important role in determining its legality. From my understanding, the CVAC device is different from a basic oxygen tent because the pod increases barometric pressure on the person to provide oxygen to the blood.

Savannah said...

Thanks readyplay for laying it out for those who think this is much ado about nothing.

I think we have an answer as to why the American commentators and "journalists" are being so quiet about the CVAC pod.

The first reveal was that John Isner has used it. No mention as to when he used it but I can take a wild guess. It would explain why the other man who played that ridiculous tiebreak is just now coming back physically while Isner seems to never have broken stride.

The second reveal is that Christina McHale has also spent time in it. I like McHale but that doesn't mean I'm okay with what this machine does or her use of it.

The third thing to keep in mind is the very close relationship between the McEnroe brothers and the current ATP #1.

I can't see WADA or the ITF letting this go but then again Agassi was using crystal meth back in the day and tested positive but nothing was done about it so who knows?