Archive for August, 2009

Babies And Breadsticks

Posted by Brodie under: Kimmy

31 Aug 2009

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61 61.

Watch out kiddies, Mom’s a rollin’.

(Women’s draw look ahead will be up tonight. Preview: I like it.)

The Week Ahead: US Open – Men

Posted by Brodie under: USO

31 Aug 2009

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Its that time again folks! The final slam of the year. Many people often quote it as their least favourite slam (maybe its the American media bias, maybe its the tiring long hard court run, maybe its just bad timing at the end of the summer) but apparently the USTA is providing live streaming of 150 matches over the course of the two weeks (something I still can barely believe) which may help give some mad bonus points to the tourney. Anyway, people have already seen the draw and know what’s up, but here’s a quick peek ahead from my point of view.

Men – Top Half

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In reality, I could probably get away with posting this picture and say “moving on…” but that would be a bit quick. If you’re a Fed fan, you have to be thrilled. The dude has a cake walk to the semis, more or less. He could face the Rusty Lawnmower in the third round, and Sammy Q, Koyla, or Sodomy in the quarters, but all of those are huge stretches to actually dethrone Fed. The other quarter holds some extremely interesting matchups though, the most obvious being a Nole/Dick quarter, but both have some work to do before they get there. Dick could face Tree Isner in the third round and Fergasm in the fourth (if he’s not too tired) or even Old Man Haas. Nole’s path isn’t too tough, the most notable possible test being Steps in the fourth round. Lets be honest though, this half is a bit of a write off, you’ve likely got Fed vs. Dick, Nole, or Fergasm, and in my opinion, in that order of most likely. Once again, if you’re a Fed fan, you have to be thrilled, you can hope Dick gets upset along the way, Nole headcases out, and Fer is likely too worn out from New Haven anyway. He’s sitting pretty. Also, all the dudes who can beat him are all in the…

Men – Bottom Half

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This half of the draw is notably much stronger than the other half, and contains four of the five guys I honestly believe have a realistic shot of beating Fed (excluding Dick in the other half) in Rafa, Elf, Muzz and Jo. And guess what the predicted quarter finals are for this half? Jo/Rafa, Elf/Muzz. Fitness is the biggest question of this half. Jo is the injury king, no one knows exactly how well Rafa can play right now, and Elf’s total collapse in the third set of the Montreal final (against Muzz of course) was down right disappointing and sad. That being said, it was two long weeks of playing every day, and of course the two weeks of a slam are a bit more spaced out, but they’re also five sets. That being said, he nearly outlasted Fed in five at the French, but its hard to like his chances in the final against Fed, if that were to happen.

So where does this lead us? There’s not much point speculating about Rafa, he becomes one of the most focused human beings ever during a slam, regardless of condition, and while I like his chances to make the semis, both Elf or Muzz can and have beaten him. I think we should just all take the time to realize reality, Fed is the favourite coming into this, and with his cupcake draw, is the overwhelming favourite, as he’s likely only going to have a winnable semi and then a tough final. That being said, if you’re pulling a WTA and looking for a hero to defeat Fed, you likely have to go with Muzz. Yes, he lost in straights last year, but he’s even more fit, mentally tough, and experienced than he was at this time last year, and as we know, he can and has beaten Fed. Being a realist that I am, its probably safe to pencil Fed in the final, but on the optimistic side 1) we’re in for some hella good matches in the other half, especially the quarters and semi, barring any insane upsets, and 2) if Fed is somehow upset along the way, or is even beaten by Nole or Dick, its pretty well anyone’s ball game. Who is the next favourite? Dick? He could beat Muzz, but if Rafa makes the final, who knows. On that note, its pretty exciting. If you’re not a big Fed fan, the draw is pretty crappy, but at the same time, we should be in for a couple weeks of great tennis.

30 Aug 2009

I’m back! Woooooeeee! I spent a week teaching at a music camp up in northern Ontario, and it was a great experience. I basically went into huge internet withdrawl the first couple of days, which was sad, but I got over it. I kept up with Twitter and my Google Reader on my phone so for the most part I know what is going on in the universe, tennis and otherwise. Super happy for Caro, New Haven champ two years in a row! Sad I missed all of it.

I’m really happy to return to tennis watching and blog posting as well, as I’m sure you can all guess (hard to go cold turkey when you spent part of the week before at the Rogers Cup) but sadly I’ve spent basically all day moving music equipment and 4 hours in a car and haven’t showered since Friday morning. Joy. So I’ll post my draw look ahead tomorrow morning, when I am rested, clean and well fed. And I’m excited to do it, because blog, I have missed you.

I’d also like to take the time to welcome some of the readers, or people who have been poking around here during my coverage of the Rogers Cup. I post just about every day, and focus mainly on the on-court happenings (can’t be bothered to keep up to date on off-court stuff, and other blogs do it better anyway) in a semi-serious, mostly humourous, always ridiculous matter. Feel free to comment! Especially if there’s things you like or would like to see more of, or even if there’s things you’d like less of. Thanks for reading, see you all tomorrow morning!

Hit The Road, Jack

Posted by Brodie under: Uncategorized

22 Aug 2009

It just didn’t feel right having a normal post as my last one for a week. For those who haven’t read, I’m going to be gone for a week with minimal to no tweeting, and zero tennis watching or blogging (a sad, cruel fate). I will return next Sunday, however, with a US Open look ahead and a return to regular blogging at that time. Thanks again for reading, and see you then!

On The Outside Lookin' In

Posted by Brodie under: Uncategorized

21 Aug 2009

On Wednesday, my good friend Ruby made the trip to Toronto for a day of tennis on centre court, with her mom. The one thing that did surprise me a bit while I was there, even when on the outer courts, was how many people were there with a limited knowledge of tennis and the general flow of the game. Especially in the stadium, where people would have to explain to others that no, it wasn’t 61 to 31, it was 6-3, and 1-1 in the second set. Or a dude explaining to his girlfriend how deuce and second serves works. Not to say that these aren’t smart people, but its sometimes interesting (and yes, funny) to hear comments from the non-tennis nerds of the world.

That being said, Ruby has made a pretty entertaining post on her day at the Rexall Centre, mainly with a focus as to “what in the hell are they wearing?”. Her blog is about… well, pretty much nothing in specific, which is why I think blogs were created in the first place. Check out the post here. Enjoy the post from an outsiders point of view. Also loved this bit of hilarity:

“Shit, I should be leaving that to the professionals who write real tennis blogs.”

The Ana Of My Eye

Posted by Brodie under: Ana, Caro

21 Aug 2009

I know some people were curious as to where I was during the Ana/Caro event in downtown Toronto, and since you can’t see me in the video (I don’t think), and there’s pictures up, I thought I’d post one just to give you an idea.

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That’s me on the left in the red, my dad on the right. We had to get out of the way cause all the press and media people had that spot, but we could see pretty well from right behind them.

Sweet, yo.

Death Of A Gypsy

Posted by Brodie under: Gypsy, Lena, Superhero, Toronto

20 Aug 2009

Today wasn’t as exciting as the past two days, but was fun. Two full days of non-stop tennis, plus Monday night, my dad and I were pretty tired and the sun had fried our souls into nothingness. I still got to see quite a bit regardless though, and I don’t think the matches I missed were that exciting anyway.

First up on the day, Sam/Gypsy:

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Sam came out absolutely firing. It was a whole lot of wow. Gypsy was playing well though, she was coming forward a decent amount and hitting some really solid volleys, would be curious to see her play doubles to be honest. Sam was equalling her in that category, and hitting insane forehand winners left and centre. Possibly insane blasphemy, but at points, especially with the way Sam hits the ball, it was Rafa-like.

Sam broke half way through the set and looked poised to hold on, but she faced a break point at ad Gypsy on her serve 54, and of course dinged a huge forehand winner, and that was the only break point she faced the entire match. In fact, I think it might have been the only time it went to deuce on Sam’s serve.

The second set turned into a blowout, as Gypsy started getting frustrated, and the shit hit the fan after a call that looked pretty blown that gave Sam 2 BPs. The next game one of the funniest things that I saw all week happeneed and Gypsy dinged a volley into the net, picked up the ball, yelled an entire long sentence in French, then went to tap the ball over the net back to Sam’s side, but she hit it so softly that it just hit the net, and screamed “SHIIIIIT!”, at the top of her lungs. She was so frustrated. And EVERYONE laughed, cause it was hilarious as hell. Especially cause it was over her not hitting a ball over the net WHILE PLAY WAS STOPPED. I love you Gypsy, you’re insane.

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And then I saw this. I didn’t plan on watching Lena at all while I was there, I find her incredibly frustrating to watch, I don’t dislike her as a huan being or something, but her game drives me bonkers (and the Wimbley fail against Serena didn’t help) but since Sam was done so early, we headed to centre court to see this. Got there at the beginning of the second set, and Shahar was absolutely lighting it up. I’m not entirely sure why she doesn’t upset more top ranked players to be honest, she’s got mad game. Anyway, second set over with a breadstick, and Lena’s second set stats were beyond horrible. She didn’t hold serve once, served at 44% and won a whopping FIVE points on her first serve. Five. How is that even possible?

The weird thing about the third was that it was more of the same thing, but with just a bit more consistency from Lena, and it made the difference, as Shahar couldn’t keep bashing and getting winners, cause Lena was getting there and counter punching rather well. It wasn’t pretty though, don’t get me wrong. Lena got an early break, saved some break points, traded some breaks, and needed, again, FIVE match points to put it away on her serve. That’s apparently the magic number, cause she had four against JJ in Cincy and couldn’t win the match. Even the person in front of me, who didn’t know a whole lot of what was going on, noticed Lena refused to mix it up, and was content with just bashing the ball from the baseline, with VERY limited results.

After that, my dad and I were both super tired, and burned out from the sun, and decided we were out to get some off site food and head home. And to be honest, the OOP wasn’t that exciting since basically ALL my fave players lost yesterday.

At this point, I’d like to thank all of those who have promoed my blog and coverage whether it be through a blog, twitter, on forums, or whatever. I’ve gained a bunch of new followers (who I look forward to hearing from!) and readership has been WAY up this week, as I’m sure you can guess. I’m really hoping that people like the blog and will be interested in reading despite the fact that, no, I’m not going to be at another tournament until next year.

Unfortunately, life is totally getting in the way and killing my momentum. I might have some coverage of stuff tomorrow (yes, I’m at home now), but I am leaving Saturday morning to teach at a music camp for a week until Sunday afterwards, so I’ll be gone for a week or so, and missing all of New Haven, and yes, the Cincy and Toronto semis and final. I will catch up on all of it when I get back, and post a huge USO preview post, and should be catching a ton of the USO, especially on the second week. Once again, thanks for reading, and see you in a weeks time!

Here I Am To Save The Day!

Posted by Brodie under: Caro, Dina, Kimmy, Toronto

20 Aug 2009

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This is going to be short, in part cause I’m tired, in part cause the internet here makes me want to stick a knife in my eye. A plastic knife of course, cause this is a hotel.

First on the list for the day was Dina. She won the first set after going down an early break, and was looking pretty solid. Was chilling with the FD DinaKAD extrodinaires and there was plenty of ridiculous and pointless commentary to be had by all. One specific thing… Z just randomly left at a couple points and then came back during changeovers. It was weird, and slightly hilarious.

She dropped the second set, and Rezai was looking particularily solid and mashing the ball all over the place. Still, I figured Dina would pull it out in the end ok. I was clearly way wrong. Because A-Rad destroyed Agi with two breadsticks, Caro and JZ were on court 1 early, so I left for that, and missed the final set of Dina’s epic collapse.

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Caro was up 2-0 when I got there and actually knotched a double break going to 4-1 in the first. The real highlight of this match was sitting with Caro’s team. A row in front and a seat to the right was Sven, directly in front of me was the trainer dude who’s name escapes me, and then to my left was some other guy part of the Adidas team. Two rows in front of me was Caro’s dad (who I later literally and accidentally walked into on the grounds) and two of his friends/family members who were equally as loud as him, and the three of them only spoke Polish. They were super entertaining.

After 4-1, things got ridiculous. Caro failed to serve it out on her serve, and lost a total of 9 games in a row, I believe I counted, going down 0-4 in the second set. It was two things. First off, JZ’s game was so consistent it was insanity. She was just hitting the ball side to side with such precision and getting SO many first serves in, Caro was just moving way too much and couldn’t generate any offence and was constantly on the defence. From here, she got a couple bad calls, and then started getting pissy and totally unravelled. She actually just tossed her racket at one point, swiped at the ground some other times, it was bad. Piotr started saying tons of crap in between points during the second, and the chair said something to Caro, she swatted the air, gave a cautious look over to him, and he stopped. Afterwards, I saw Caro sitting on her golf cart crying, with her dad talking to her.

I can honestly say I’ve never seen her so frusrtrated on court, and despite offering up too little too late at the end, her youth and inexperience shone through a bit, and she just wasn’t able to come up with a plan B against super solid and aggressive JZ (who deserves mad credit. Seriously, she was way on). Caro didn’t bother much with even trying. Tough loss, but JZ is a tough opponent, and it wasn’t a sure win by any stretch. Super tough day in the office for Sven, to say the least.

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This match ruled, and Mom pretty well saved the day for me. Kim was pretty well on fire for the first set and driving Vika nuts, coming down from a double break. As I tweeted, Vika never sounded so annoying, Kader never sounded so delish.

Vika beasted and chipped away with some powerful groundies in the second, and took it, but Kim came out guns a blazin’ in the third and took the match. Really entertaining match, some great rallies, and just great to see Kim out there kicking ass, to be honest. I also saw some of this:

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Seeing Kuz and Momes grin at each other after losing a point brought a tiny tear of tennis glory to my eye. They pretty well got their asses kicked, we saw them not long after we left the match (in which my dad exclaimed “looks like the two big wigs didn’t last long” …. what?) and they were having a bit of a laugh, and clearly just like going on court and having fun. Momesnetsova ftw, y’all.

Since basically all of my favourites are out, didn’t show up, didn’t qualify, or are in the night session, the afternoon OOP is a gigantic heap of fail. Planning on catching Gypsy/Superhero hilarity, rooting against ReRe, and then cheering on A-Rad. Hopefully I can sit with Ula or something there. Coverage will finish there sadly, and I’ll be missing out on Bepa/Masha and Kim/JJ (other than possibly at home), but that’s ok. Had a super awesome time here, thank you all for reading, and I look forward to more ridiculous coverage next year! I’ll have a final wrap up post tomorrow.

Heartbreak In Analand

Posted by Brodie under: Ana, Toronto

20 Aug 2009

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I best be getting this post out of the way. I won’t go on. But it wasn’t pretty.

Lately, I’ve taken wins from Ana as they’ve come, no expectations, and if she loses, then fine. Nothing is an upset, or in turn, upsetting. But I was at the match, and against a qualifier, well, I was sure as hell hoping she was gonna take this home.

For those who didn’t see, Ana took the first set handily and was serving for the match at 54 in the second. She had a totally different ball toss, not the actual toss, but the execution. Very Caro like, keeping the racquet close while tossing it up. The serve was about 505%, but it was effective. Ana was really just on fire the first two sets, Safarova was playing well, but she had a clear idea of what she wanted to do, and what I noticed specifically, was really doing a great job of realizing when a ball was a little out of reach, and playing a defensive shot, instead of blindly whacking it into the net. Her forehand was doing excellent, and she was hitting some pretty huge winners, one specifically down the line on the run that was insane.

And all the while I was thinking things up to right, I was thinking “just because she’s won, doesn’t mean we should cry wolf all over again, but she looked damn good on court”. Figures, she gets broken at 54, broken again at 56, and then early in the third set and drops the match. If only she could have had about 2 more points.

Mad credit has to go to Lucie though, she was hitting some insane inside out forehands in the third set and dictating play, it wasn’t by accident. The fact is that Ana lost her chance in the second and her body language was so bad in the third, there was no recovering. If you want to really try to be positive, Ana might finally be getting her serve together, and if she can find consistency with how she was playing in the first set, things might finally be starting to look up. Still, an incredibly frustrating and painful loss to watch first hand. As far as I could see, Ana was crying while she walked off the court and was dabbing at her face with the towel, and Sven ran from his seat to go in the other way to chase after her, with a look of real concern on his face. Do not want. But there ya go.

19 Aug 2009

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First off, the match started with me meeting up with sodapop and Carrie from Forty Deuce! Courtney quickly noted that the time/blogsphere space continuum had been broken, that must have been close. The ridiculousness was well under way before the match even started, as Flavs’ coach was beside the court having a smoke before the match started…

Then things REALLY got underway. The match was surprisingly close at the beginning, Kiri was really spanking the ball around rather nicely. One game went to like, seven deuces, it was insane. One point, Flavs knocked a ball wide and started yelling at her self “whyyyy Flavia whyyy”.

The two most hilarious things were both on Kiri’s serve, if I remember right. First, Kiri went to serve, and there was a huge erruption of aplause from a nearby court, and Kiri got totally surprised, and then had a look of fear on her face as she realized her ball toss was coming back down at her, but she was luckily out of the way. I kind of had a fit, it was so awkward and hilarious.

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And then not long after, a line judge was stung by a bee, on his bald head none the less, and was forced to leave the cort, or “take care of it” as the chair said. Lastly, in true Batman fashion, Flavs won the set in a total badass fashion, chasing down a Kiri lob that had beat her, and off the bounce, whacked a blind two handed backhand that somehow caught a piece of the line and went as a winner. Kiri was not impressed and tossed her racquet once she got back to her chair.

I missed the second set, because my dad and I needed to move and get some food, and we later caught the entire CanWoz/Fichman vs. Two Random Poles dubs match, which the Canadians unfortunately lost despite being up a set and a double break. Ugh.

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I won’t go on about the night matches, but I caught the second set of the Kim match, and it was a pretty routine win for her really. Can’t wait to see her play Vika tomorrow, her forehand is a crackin’.

Kuz/Sam was quite the match. Kuz really wasn’t playing that badly, but dear lord, Superhero was firing on all cylanders. I was rooting for Kuz, but by the end I had just given up and was prepared to give mad props to Sam. She was serving and volleying, coming in, drop shotting, hitting crazy angles and lines all over the place. It just really looks like she’s used some of the skills from her doubles playing and worked them into hard court singles playing so that she can really mix up her game and throw the kitchen sink at her opponent. It doesn’t hurt that her consistency and lack of errors was totally deadly.

Tomorrow on the bill, looking like Dina/Rezai on centre, Caro/JZ on court 1, Vika/Kim, possibly Caro/A-Rad dubs match, likely ReRe/SafarovaShvedova, and definitely Ana after that (last two are the night matches). Plenty of other fun matches going on too, mind you, but those will be the ones I’ll be checking out likely, definitely Caro and Ana of course. Hope you’re all enjoying the blog posts and tweeting!

The Changeover Podcast:

Episode #56 – Indian Wells Wrap