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Old 08-12-2011, 12:32 AM   #11
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lots of pictures and videos here: Sharapova, Zvonareva, Li, Ivanovic, Kvitova Upset In Third Round Of 2011 Rogers Cup, Or Were They? Fairways And Forehands

Maria Sharapova


For this post, I’m going to start by posting the third round results, including the “upset” scores.

Singles – Third Round
(13) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. (3) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 64 76(4)
(4) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. (Q) María José Martínez Sánchez (ESP) 61 62
(Q) Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) d. (5) Maria Sharapova (RUS) 63 75
(10) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. (6) Li Na (CHN) 62 64
(11) Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. (7) Petra Kvitova (CZE) 61 62
Roberta Vinci (ITA) d. Ana Ivanovic (SRB) 76(3) 62
Serena Williams (USA) d. (Q) Zheng Jie (CHN) 46 63 63

On paper, Vera Zvonareva, Maria Sharapova, Li Na, Petra Kvitova and Ana Ivanovic were upset victims. But a closer inspection would reveal that while these were upsets by strict definition, there is reason to believe some of them were not for those that follow the WTA closely.

Samantha Stosur


Stosur over Li and Radwanska over Zvonareva are not true upsets. Radwanska beat Zvonareva just a few days ago at the Mercury Insurance Open at Carlsbad and pulled the same feat here at the Rogers Cup. Agnieszka is coming into her own as a player. I wouldn’t say that I expect her to win this event, as there are still some tough players left in the draw. That said, it would not be a surprise were she to win. For Stosur and Li, you have two super streaky players who can one day look like the best player in the world (including a healthy Serena and Kim), and the next they can look like mediocre players. In fact, those vacillations often occur in the same match. I’m never surprised when either of them win…or lose. Also, and more importantly, Stosur has owned Li head to head. She has never lost a match, or even a set, in four matches. Li sometimes struggles against a big server. Li lost to big serving Sabine Lisicki at Wimbledon and now Stosur at Rogers Cup.

“She has a huge, big serve, not like the other girls. It’s tough after a break to come back for the first match. I didn’t play a tournament for six or seven weeks. So at the beginning I didn’t really know what to do. Hopefully it’ll get better and I’ll start training hard tomorrow to try to be ready for Cincinnati.” – Li Na

Andrea Petkovic


Andrea Petkovic over Petra Kvitova and Roberta Vinci over Ana Ivanovic are mild upsets. Vinci has won three events this year. Ivanovic has won none this year. Vinci is coming off an upset of Wozniacki, the biggest win of her career. She also beat Ana earlier this year at Pattaya in Thailand. Kvitova is the reigning Wimbledon champion. I predict she is a future #1, barring injury. However, Andrea Petkovic has had a meteoric rise up the rankings this year. She was a middle of the pack afterthought with a quirky, fun personality at the beginning of the year. Now she is in the top 10 of the world rankings. In January,I doubt anybody outside of her and her coach thought she would be in the top 10 in August.

Galina Voskoboeva


Galina Voskoboeva over Maria Sharapova is the real upset. Masha has not continued the hot play she showed at Roland Garros and Wimbledon this summer. Losing to Serena at Stanford is nothing to be ashamed of, but it’s the way she wasn’t competitive that raised eyebrows. Against qualifier Voskoboeva, I had no worries that Masha would advance. I guess I should have had a few. Voskoboeva was shaping her shots beautifully, bringing Masha in to net, volleying well and hitting precise passing shots. Galina has been around for several years, so I can’t say that I feel she will suddenly rise up the rankings and make a run, but getting her first two wins over top 10 players here at Rogers Cup, first Marion Bartoli and then Masha, is great to see. Of course, I root for Marion and Masha as two of my favorites, but seeing the joy a player like Galina gets when they score the biggest win of their career is often inspiring.

videos and pics at the link at the beginning of post
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Old 08-13-2011, 11:41 AM   #12
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more pics and videos at: Victoria Azarenka, Samantha Stosur Stop Cinderella Runs At 2011 Rogers Cup Fairways And Forehands

Victoria Azarenka


The 2011 Rogers Cup has featured a series of upsets on both the men’s and women’s events. On the womens side, Galina Voskoboeva and Roberta Vinci were seeking to take their Cinderella runs to the semifinals. Galina dismissed Marion Bartoli, Flavia Pennetta and Maria Sharapova. Roberta ousted Yanina Wickmayer, Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Ivanovic. It was a good run for both while it lasted. In the quarterfinals, neither Victoria Azarenka nor Samantha Stosur had any intention of being the next upset victim.

Samantha Stosur


Vika brought Voskoboeva back down to earth with a dominant 6-2 6-1 victory. The win sets up a semifinal clash with combacking Serena Williams. Vika can win that match if she believes she has a chance. She has more than a chance. Her game matches up well with Serena. Likewise, Samantha Stosur was in no mood to brook any ideas of an upset from Vinci, taking her out of the tournament, 6-4 6-1. Samantha’s semi is trickier, as she gets Agnieszka Radwanska. It’s a bit odd that I’d say a match against Radwanska is trickier than a match against Serena, but it’s because Vika has played well against Serena in the past, despite a 1-4 head to head record. Obviously, Serena is a better player, an all-time great. Stosur hasn’t played Aggie since 2009. Radwanska is a different player now, full of confidence.

Galina Voskoboeva


Roberta Vinci


Singles – Quarterfinals
(4) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. (Q) Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) 61 62
(10) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. Roberta Vinci (ITA) 64 61
(13) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. (11) Andrea Petkovic (GER) 64 63
Serena Williams (USA) d. Lucie Safarova (CZE) 46 63 62
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Old 08-13-2011, 12:13 PM   #13
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BKB. After reading your post and "studying" your photos of all the tennis ladies I have three stupid questions: 1) Does the Tennis organizations reject ugly girls or it is just a coincidence that all tennis players are beautiful? 2) Gosh, I forgot my second question and will post a new third question. 3) is forgetting about question, looking at your beautiful photos, a sign of potential illness?

BKB: For my health, I believe I will put you in "ignore" specially if your are planning to posts photos of SOLO naked (I read that in another thread), just like you did with the wonderful basket ball player. I spend a few hours (days?) searching for her accomplishments and more photos. She is a great BB player and as all your favorites, beautiful.

Last edited by Elf; 08-13-2011 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 08-13-2011, 12:59 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Elf View Post
BKB. After reading your post and "studying" your photos of all the tennis ladies I have three stupid questions: 1) Does the Tennis organizations reject ugly girls or it is just a coincidence that all tennis players are beautiful? 2) Gosh, I forgot my second question and will post a new third question. 3) is forgetting about question, looking at your beautiful photos, a sign of potential illness?

BKB: For my health, I believe I will put you in "ignore" specially if your are planning to posts photos of SOLO naked (I read that in another thread), just like you did with the wonderful basket ball player. I spend a few hours (days?) searching for her accomplishments and more photos. She is a great BB player and as all your favorites, beautiful.
Here is my strategy for posting photos...unless I can't help it (that is to say I don't have the option due to a sparsity of pics) I try to post pictures that flatter players. I know the first priority is to acknowledge their athletic ability, and I do that, but I like to present images of them that make them look pretty, if I can. Usually, I try to avoid pictures with awkward face distortions.

For example...a few days ago I would choose to post these photos of Maria Sharapova...





...but try to avoid these from the same match...





...I also like photos with long lines over hunched over positions, I would prefer these shots of Morgan Pressel...





...to these, from the same round...





...but like I said, sometimes I don't have a choice if there aren't enough photos available...I just have to go with whatever is there...

...no plans on posting Hope Solo nude pics even on my blog...at least not at the moment...that might change, depending on if they are really just bathing suit pics...then I'll put that on my blog...
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Old 08-13-2011, 02:19 PM   #15
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...on the other hand, I try to avoid photos like this unless there is a purpose for posting...in this case, making a point...from left, Hee Kyung Seo, Sun Young Yoo, Hee Young Park, Sophie Gustafson (I think)...at a water park having fun...

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Old 08-14-2011, 08:59 AM   #16
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Videos and pics on my blog: Novak Djokovic Runs Record To 52-1 With Victory Over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga In Semifinals Of 2011 Rogers Cup Fairways And Forehands

Novak Djokovic


Some people say tennis player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga resembles a young Muhammad Ali. On Saturday at the Rogers Cup, Novak Djokovic delivered a relentless attack that wore down Tsonga, at the end reducing him to an old Ali, leaning against the ropes being pounded into submission by Larry Holmes. Tsonga managed to stay on serve up to 4-5 in the first set, but it was a case of Djokovic cruising on serve and Jo-Wilfried having to overcome quick leads against his serve by Nole. The return of serve might not be a glamorous shot, but Djokovic used it to keep pushing and punishing Tsonga. That was no more evident that on set point against Jo-Wilfried. Facing a break point, Tsonga fired a serve that would have been a winner against nearly everybody else. It was that big serve, and follow-up huge forehand, that undid Roger Federer at Wimbledon and earlier at Rogers Cup against Tsonga. But even the great Roger doesn’t return serve like Novak. Twisting and lunging, Nole reached Tsonga’s scorching bullet and not just chipped it back like some others might have, resulting in a short ball Tsonga could have pounced on, but rather hit an offensive return that landed an inch inside the baseline, forcing Tsonga to retreat and giving Nole control and eventually the point and set.



Seeing a 6-4 first set score doesn’t tell the story of what players face against Nole. In that 6-4 score you don’t see how he makes impossible returns, how he runs opponents from side to side wearing them down and opening up the court. He makes opponents play 3 or 4 extra shots. Win or lose, he grinds players down and wears them out. The first point of second set was a perfect example. Tsonga won it on a beautiful leaping overhead smash, but after Nole extended him several extra shots. Tsonga was visibly worn out by the beginning of the second set. Some of it was the emotion of the previous matches. A lot of it was all the effort Nole was forcing. After Nole won the first three games of the second set, Tsonga called a trainer and claimed an arm injury, retiring down 4-6 0-3. I am not in the practice of doubting a player’s injury. But in the game previous to the retirement, Tsonga was hitting big forehands. But Nole was hitting them back. An MRI showed no tears in any muscles. I honestly think he was worn out physically and emotionally. I never like to say this, especially since I like Tsonga, but he quit. He claims he had the injury for several days with the pain worsening.

“It was difficult for me to hit the ball well and hard. That’s why I took this decision. I don’t have the pretension to beat Novak without my arm.” – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Beating Novak is not the point. At 0-3 down in the second set, even if you get smoked 0-6 and have to hit lollipop shots over the net, unless you have a serious injury you finish the match. You honor the game and the fans. I respect injury retirements. Kim Clijsters retired in a match she was winning at Rogers Cup against Zheng Jie. But an MRI showed an actual injury. Additionally, watching Tsonga in this match, he seemed deflated after fighting and scrapping in the first set…and still losing. Unlike Clijsters, I don’t believe that if Tsonga were winning 6-4 3-0 that he would have retired on the verge of beating Novak. I simply question whether he could have continued, as Brad Gilbert and other commentators also did.

Mardy Fish


Waiting for Novak in the final is American Mardy Fish. Fish defeated Janko Tipsarevic 6-3 6-4. Fish, like everybody else this year, will have his hands full with Djokovic. Fish is 0-6 lifetime against Nole. But don’t count the American out. He has no pressure coming into this match to meet any expectations. Everybody thinks he will lose. So he should relax and go out and try to put the pressure on Nole. Mardy has a great serve and volley game, one of the few left among the men. If he can get Nole a little frustrated early missing some passing shots, he has a chance.
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Old 08-14-2011, 08:17 PM   #17
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Video and pics on my blog: Novak Djokovic Wins 9th Title Of 2011 At Rogers Cup, Improves Season Record To 53-1; Serena Williams Wins Women’s Title Fairways And Forehands

Novak Djokovic


Even when Novak Djokovic brings his C game this year, he’s tough to beat. Mardy Fish had many chances to stop the Djokovic juggernaut, but in the end Nole played just well enough when he had to, prevailing 6-2 3-6 6-4 to win the 2011 Rogers Cup at Montreal. Despite winning the first set 6-2, Nole looked lethargic and sluggish from the outset. In contrast to the energy and adrenaline he rode in his match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, he seemed tired. Nevertheless, he did what champions do, find a way to win even when they are not at their best. And the numbers keep piling up. He is 53-1 for the season. He is the first ATP player since 1993 (Pete Sampras) to win their first event after becoming world #1. Contrast that with Yevgeny Kafelnikov, who lost 7 straight first round matches after becoming #1. Nole is 29-0 on hardcourts this season. He is the first player to win 5 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events in one season. On top of that, he has won all 5 that he’s entered (DNP Monte Carlo) with 3 more to go.

Serena Williams


That sound you hear coming from the locker room at WTA events is a lot knees knocking together. They know Serena is back and in form. Although winning at Stanford last week was a triumphant return, what she did in the semifinals and final at Toronto (the Rogers Cup is played in two cities at the same time) sent a message to every player on tour. Victoria Azarenka and Samantha Stosur have the game to challenge Serena. Well, human Serena. But super Serena showed up the last two matches and blew Vika and Samantha off the court. If Serena keeps this level of play going the next 4 or 5 weeks, the only thing that could possibly stand in her way to another US Open crown would be a 100% healthy and in-form Kim Clijsters. But will Clijsters be healthy and in-form? Honestly, I doubt it. Healthy? Maybe. In form? No. Not coming off an injury with little match play. Other than that, it will take Serena coming out and having an awful day, or maybe Caroline Wozniacki playing the match of her life to stop Serena at Flushing Meadow. It’s sports. You really never know what could happen. Maybe Petra Kvitova or Vera Zvonareva gets hot at Flushing Meadow. Maybe Li Na steps up. Somebody better, if they want to stop Serena.

And speaking of the US Open, here are the top 5 standings for the US Open Series following Rogers Cup.

Women

1 Serena Williams (USA) 170
2 Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 130
3 Samantha Stosur (AUS) 70
4 Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 60
5 Andrea Petkovic (GER) 50

Men

1 Mardy Fish (USA) 185
2 Novak Djokovic (SRB) 100
3 Ernests Gulbis (LAT) 85
T-4 John Isner (USA) 70
Gael Monfils (FRA) 70
Radek Stepanek (CZE) 70





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Old 08-15-2011, 11:12 PM   #18
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Rankings list and video on my blog: Peng Shuai Joins Li Na To Mark First Time Two Chinese Players Rank In The Top 15 On The WTA Rankings Fairways And Forehands

PENG Shuai


For the first time in WTA history, two players from China are ranked in the top 15 singles players in the world. It’s no surprise that 2011 Roland Garros champion Li Na is in the top 15 of the rankings published August 15, 2011. Li Na is ranked #5. Joining her in the top 15, at #15, is countrywoman Peng Shuai. While Li Na’s has ascended to stardom in 2011, now ranking among the 10 best paid female athletes in the world, Peng Shuai (family name, Peng) started the year ranked #72 and has had quite the brisk ascendancy herself.



Peng has yet to win a WTA singles title (she has 7 doubles titles), but she did make the final at Brussels 2011 and pushed world #1 Caroline Wozniacki to 3 sets. She has also scored victories in 2011 over top players Vera Zvonareva, Svetlana Kuznetsova (twice), Jelena Jankovic, Francesca Schiavone, and Li Na. Although only 25, Peng has been around for some time, so I don’t know if she’s just having a good year and will slip back to the pack or if this marks the beginning of a stay among the top players for her. However, tennis is growing in popularity in China. With Li Na in the twilight of her career perhaps, to keep the flame going 3 or 4 years down the line, allowing young players to develop in China, other players besides Li need to step up.
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Old 08-16-2011, 12:09 AM   #19
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Video and more pics on my blog: Ana Ivanovic Advances Easily, Andrea Petkovic Survives A Scare In First Round Of 2011 Western & Southern Open At Cincinnati Fairways And Forehands

Ana Ivanovic


Ana Ivanovic had no problems dismissing qualifier Alexa Glatch in the first round of the 2011 Western & Southern Open, 6-0 6-2. Ana nearly doubled her opponent’s point total, 61-31 while never facing a break point, much less being broken. Ivanovic broke Glatch 5 times in the qualifier’s 7 total service games. Some might say so what, she beat a qualifier. But I’ve seen Ana lose matches in which she has no good reason to even be pushed, where her talent and ability far surpassed her foe. So I take no wins for granted. It’s a great sign not only that she won, but that she also took care of business quickly, rather than allow herself to get needlessly drawn into a tough match.

Andrea Petkovic


One top player who did find herself working more than expected was Andrea Petkovic. She was down 5-7 0-2 to Jarmila Gajdosova before rallying to send the send set into a tiebreak. Petkorazzi then fell behind 1-4 in the breaker before coming back to take it at 5. Once she had the match at a set a piece, she was able to cruise in the final set, winning the match 5-7 7-6 (5) 6-2.

“I was tired. I just felt so terrible the whole time. I don’t know how I pulled it out, but I’m thrilled that I did. On days like today I feel I suck, really. I feel like I have so many more things to improve, like 156 or more, and as long as I have that feeling it gives me the motivation to practice and get even better.” – Andrea Petkovic

Ana Ivanovic


Caroline Wozniacki (press conference)


Maria Sharapova (press conference)


Ayumi Morita


Singles – First Round

(9) Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS) 57 76(5) 62
(14) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) d. (Q) Jill Craybas (USA) 63 64
(15) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) d. (Q) Alexa Glatch (USA) 60 62

Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) d. Lourdes Domínguez Lino (ESP) 63 41 ret. (right foot injury)
Shahar Peer (ISR) d. Sabine Lisicki (GER) 64 76(4)
Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. Klara Zakopalova (CZE) 62 62
Sara Errani (ITA) d. (WC) Sloane Stephens (USA) 61 75
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. (LL) María José Martínez Sánchez (ESP) 75 63
Alona Bondarenko (UKR) d. Ayumi Morita (JPN) 62 46 62

(Q) Petra Cetkovska (CZE) d. Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) 26 62 62
(Q) Zheng Jie (CHN) d. Julia Goerges (GER) 62 16 64
(Q) Petra Martic (CRO) d. Elena Vesnina (RUS) 36 76(5) 60
(Q) Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) d. Rebecca Marino (CAN) 75 62
(Q) Anastasia Rodionova (AUS) d. (WC) Polona Hercog (SLO) 60 60
(LL) Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) d. (Q) Monica Niculescu (ROU) 06 76(4) 63
(WC) Christina McHale (USA) d. Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) 75 46 61
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Old 08-17-2011, 12:59 AM   #20
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Video and pics on my blog: Maria Sharapova, Li Na Advance Easily In Second Round Of 2011 Western & Southern Open At Cincinnati Fairways And Forehands

Maria Sharapova


Looking to win a tournament that slipped away last year, Maria Sharapova made quick work of second round opponent Anastasia Rodionova 6-1 6-3. Masha had Kim Clijsters on the ropes in 2010 at Cincinnati before a weather delay helped Kimmie regroup and come back to win. I am still a bit concerned about Masha’s double faults. Against better players, she cannot afford to give away points.

Li Na


Li Na also moved through in straight sets over Lucie Safarova, 6-3 6-4. But watching that match, I didn’t get the feel that Li Na is in a good rhythm right now. It was a match of quick sloppy points and errors mixed in with the occasional rally. I didn’t see the Li Na I saw at the 2011 Australian Open and Roland Garros. That Li Na has been MIA the last few months. I hope she finds her game soon. She has the tools to win the US Open, but she must raise her game from where it is now. We will see if she can do so in the next round, as she will face the winner of the Serena Williams-Sam Stosur match. Either player presents a challenge for Li Na. Stosur beat Li Na last week in Toronto and Serena is…well, Serena. As a sidenote, Li Na and the other Chinese players at this event have a special group of Chinese juniors visiting them this week, the Mountain Flower Girls.

Maria Sharapova


Li Na


Zheng Jie w/Mountain Flower Girls


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