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Old 06-18-2011, 10:28 PM   #11
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Li Na


116 million people in China watched the final...yikes...not sure that even takes into account bars and restaurants that had the match on or large families congregating around one television...I guess this should really go in the Roland Garros thread...but I do think Li Na is a legitimate threat to win Wimbledon...or lose in the 2nd round...she's made two straight Major finals, but if her unforced error bugaboo resurfaces or she is not completely focused following the attention and hoopla after her Paris win, it can be over very quickly on grass...

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Old 06-19-2011, 10:32 AM   #12
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Maria Sharapova Practicing At Wimbledon


If there is one player who could, and should, make at least a semifinal run, and possibly win the whole thing, at Wimbledon it’s Maria Sharapova. The 2004 Wimbledon champion is playing well after a lackluster start to the year. She won Rome, was runner-up in Miami and a semifinalist at Roland Garros and Indian Wells. In that Roland Garros semi against eventual champion Li Na, Sharapova double faulted her chances away. And that’s the key to her Wimbledon success. If she serves well, there are few players that can match her. If she doesn’t, she’s vulnerable. Of course, the serve is important to every player. But in Sharapova’s case, an effective serve is the difference between a 3rd round loss and a Major title. Had she served better against Li Na at Roland Garros, Masha might already have won a Major this year. As it is, she will try to achieve her greatest triumph yet at Wimbledon 2011.







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Old 06-19-2011, 11:10 AM   #13
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Caroline Wozniacki Posing During Boxercise Training


Currently, Caroline Wozniacki holds the dubious title of being the longest running world #1 in WTA history without a Major (Slam). Others have come before her, like Dinara Safina and Jelena Jankovic, but none have had the reign at #1 for as many weeks as Caroline. So will that Major drought end at Wimbledon 2011? It’s going to be difficult. Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Petra Kvitova are serious threats. Maybe even Marion Bartoli, who just won Eastbourne and is a former Wimbledon finalist, could make a run. But Caroline won Wimbledon as a junior, so she can certainly play on grass. I would very much like to see Caroline win her first Major to get over that obstacle and constant question. However, if I have to be completely honest, I can’t say she’s my first pick to win Wimbledon this year. If the draw can break her way, she can do it. But if she has to go through several natural grass court players to get there such as the ones I previously named, I think she could get tripped up.



Caroline is a lot of fun. Here she is “interviewing” ATP star and buddy Novak Djokovic. Novak started the year with a 41 match win streak (43 overall dating back to Davis Cup of 2010). Caroline has fun needling Nole on his 1 match “losing streak.”







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Old 06-19-2011, 12:16 PM   #14
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Vera Zvonareva


With all the talk swirling around the return of Serena and Venus, the withdrawal and continued injury plight of Kim Clijsters, Caroline Wozniacki seeking her first Major title and possible runs to the title by Maria Sharapova and Li Na, it’s not hard to see how a player ranked #3 in the world and a finalist at Wimbledon 2010 could be seen as a darkhorse. But there wasn’t much talk about Vera Zvonareva until she defeated Serena Williams at Eastbourne in a rematch of their Wimbledon 2010 final, won by Serena. I can’t say that Vera has had a poor year. After all, she did win Doha, defeating Caroline Wozniacki in the final, and has a few semifinal appearances, including a loss to Clijsters at the first Major of the year, the Australian Open. But after Vera’s final finishes at Wimbledon 2010 and the US Open 2010, I thought there would be a bit more from Vera in 2011. Obviously, I am talking about extremely high expectations given what she has already accomplished so far this year. Still, I don’t see anything that tells me she will reach the final again this year.



After beating Serena at Eastbourne, she let Samantha Stosur off the hook in the next match, losing in three tough sets. I think Vera has #1 in the world talent, but something keeps her from making that step from being Top 5 to being the best. Of course, the argument can be made that the “something” that prevents Vera from rising to the top is Caroline Wozniacki (and when healthy, Kim Clijsters). But she can beat both of them and has done so in impressive fashion. But when the brightest lights are on, like in the US Open final, Clijsters can raise her game to another level. Can Vera do the same under the toughest conditions? She had better, if she wants to win Wimbledon 2011.

2011 Eastbourne Zvonareva d. S. Williams




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Old 06-19-2011, 02:46 PM   #15
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Andy Murray


For years, I watched Tim Henman carry the burden of trying to win Wimbledon for Great Britain but never advancing past the semifinals. Now the albatross of bearing Great Britain’s Wimbledon hopes rests on the shoulders of Andy Murray of Scotland. I’m not sure why Murray is so criticized, even by his fans at times. Maybe a few more smiles or just demonstrating more emotion in big matches would help. Of course, he is giving his best effort, but maybe his body language doesn’t always communicate that to fans who await his first Major (Slam) title. He has reached the final of the hardcourt Majors three times, twice at the Australian Open and once at the US Open.



He comes into Wimbledon 2011 off back to back semifinal finishes the past two years at the All England Club and a quarterfinal finish three years ago. His problem winning Wimbledon this year is the same problem as every year. It’s not his game. He’s fantastic. But so are Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. That is why he hasn’t won Wimbledon and will need a superb effort this year to change that fact. Add a streaking Novak Djokovic into the mix and the path gets even harder. Andy Roddick knocked Murray out of Wimbledon two years ago and although erractic lately is always a threat on grass. Some might mention that Djokovic and Juan Martin Del Potro have won Majors in recent years. But not Wimbledon. Not at a place where Roger and Rafa rule. Would I be surprised at a Murray title at Wimbledon? Not at all. I simply know that for Murray to emerge as the last man standing, either a few of those players need to be upset or, barring that, Murray will need to bring his A game from the quarters to the final with no lapses. If he can do that, he can keep the Wimbledon crown in the United Kingdom.
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Old 06-19-2011, 04:53 PM   #16
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Vika shows Nole and Andrea how it's done!


Andrea Petkovic, Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka show what tennis players do when the rain keeps them off the court at Wimbledon. Andrea and Nole try their skill, but it is Vika that shows them how it’s done. That tandem try by Nole and Andrea at the beginning looked a bit…freaky.

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Old 06-19-2011, 05:27 PM   #17
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more pics here: Li Na Named Global Ambassador For Mercedes-Benz, Relaxed Ahead Of Wimbledon Fairways And Forehands



Roland Garros champion Li Na is already reaping the rewards of her historic win in Paris. She has signed a three year deal with Mercedes-Benz to be a global ambassador. This was an important deal for Mercedes-Benz, looking to increase its market in China. Currently, China has become the largest automobile market in the world. It is Mercedes-Benz’s third biggest market, behind the U.S. and Germany, but the growing upper class in China makes the allure of that market very enticing to automobile manufacturers. Li Na’s deal is said to be worth $1.5 million dollars per year. Her sponsorship money has now grown to $10 million dollars per year, independent of prize money. Despite all the fame and fortune spilling in, and the greater expectations going into Wimbledon, Li Na remains relaxed.





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Old 06-21-2011, 12:24 AM   #18
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more pics here: Vera Zvonareva Survives Scare In First Round Of Wimbledon 2011; Venus Williams Rolls Fairways And Forehands

Vera Zvonareva


2010 Wimbledon finalist Vera Zvonareva of Russia flirted with a first round exit before righting the ship and defeating American Alison Riske, 6-0 3-6 6-3. Seeded second in the absence of world #2 Kim Clijsters, Zvonareva came out and blew Riske away in the first set, dropping the dreaded bagel on her. But Riske starting to, well take some risks, with her game. She actually at times hit harder than Zvonareva and mixed in some variety, taking the second set. But Alison could not maintain that level on the big points in the third set. This was really about Vera, though. She can at times let players off the hook. At Eastbourne, she was a set and a break up on Samantha Stosur and let her back into the match, ultimately losing. Luckily, she was not playing an opponent of Stosur’s caliber in the first round of Wimbledon or Vera might have been left to focus only on doubles the next two weeks.

Venus Williams


Having no problems at all was Venus Williams, who cruised past Akgul Amanmuradova, 6-3 6-1. Not that they secretly planned it this way but 6-3 and 6-1 also describe Amanmuradova and Williams height respectively. This might have been the tallest combined height between women at a Wimbledon match. I’d have to check to see if Amanmuradova (6’3″) has ever played Maria Sharapova (6’2″) or Lindsay Davenport (6’2 1/2″) at Wimbledon. Of course, Venus played Lindsay in one of the most thrilling finals in recent history in 2005. Today’s match was not thrilling, save for the sight of Venus using her big serve down the tee and slice serve to the corner to keep Amanmuradova from threatening her. Amanmuradova actually hit a few brilliant shots, whipping sharp angled forehands and nice volleys. But she also had some brain freeze shots, like on a break point against her in the first set where she hit a shot that was 50% baseline drop shot, 50% slice, 100% lousy as it dropped like a stone a foot in front of her. Venus, on the other hand, looked tremendous, with only 5 unforced errors. If her slice serve continues to work, she will be tough for anybody to handle. Still, it’s a big difference facing Amanmuradova and facing some players who can push Venus.



Alison Riske


Christina McHale


Victoria Azarenka


Singles - First Round
(2) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) d. Alison Riske (USA) 60 36 63
(6) Francesca Schiavone (ITA) d. Jelena Dokic (AUS) 64 16 63
(12) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) d. Zhang Shuai (CHN) 36 63 64
Sara Errani (ITA) d. (17) Kaia Kanepi (EST) 61 64
(19) Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) d. Varvara Lepchenko (USA) 75 63
Ksenia Pervak (RUS) d. (22) Shahar Peer (ISR) 57 64 64
(23) Venus Williams (USA) d. Akgul Amanmuradova (UZB) 63 61
Christina McHale (USA) d. (28) Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 26 61 86
Elena Vesnina (RUS) d. Laura Pous-Tio (ESP) 64 63
Alexandra Dulgheru (ROU) d. Jill Craybas (USA) 62 64
Monica Niculescu (ROU) d. Sybille Bammer (AUT) 61 61
Kimiko Date-Krumm (JPN) d. (WC) Katie O'Brien (GBR) 60 75
Pauline Parmentier (FRA) d. Sorana Cirstea (ROU) 61 63
Anna Tatishvili (GEO) d. Anastasia Pivovarova (RUS) 36 62 63

Suspended due to rain
(4) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) leads Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) 64 32
Tamira Paszek (AUT) leads Ayumi Morita (JPN) 57 63 20
Sandra Zahlavova (CZE) leads Iveta Benesova (CZE) 21
Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) leads Alizé Cornet (FRA) 75
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Old 06-21-2011, 12:46 AM   #19
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Li Na is the toast of tennis. Here she sits down with Time Magazine for 10 Questions. Wow. I knew her win was historic, but to be considered important enough to do a Time Magazine profile is impressive.


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Old 06-21-2011, 01:07 AM   #20
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more pics here: Monica Seles & Jim Courier On Today Show (6-20-11) Fairways And Forehands

Monica Seles


My all-time favorite women’s player, Monica Seles was on the Today Show. She looks to be in terrific shape and in great spirits.





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