Well, at least you can't say that American James Blake gives rotten gifts. What is a more gift for a professional tennis player friend than a ticket to the fourth round of a grand slam tournament...not much.
American Mardy Fish beat Blake 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) in the Arthur Ashe Stadium at the U.S. Open on Saturday. The good friends played until nearly midnight.
Post match Blake said, ``it's a tough feeling out there when you're the favorite, and you're expected, and you're not playing your best tennis, and can't summon your best tennis. There are some days you go out there and you feel like you can't quite string the points together that you need to, and can't make enough first serves and things don't seem to be going your way.''
Blake didn't try to cop out with the fact that he had just played in the Beijing Olympics. ``It wasn't Beijing, I don't think. It was Mardy playing some of his best tennis.''
Whatever the reason for his loss, he'll get to eat a good meal at the expense of Fish. Prior to the match Blake said that the winner had to buy the loser dinner, I don't think that Fish will mind forking up the cost of this meal.
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Saturday, August 30, 2008
Frenchman Gael Monfils brought the pain to Spaniard David Nalbandian at the U.S. Open today, defeating him 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. Monfils was quite the athlete out there today running down pretty much anything that Nalbandian could send back across the net.
Alternatively, Nalbandian was open to taking a swipe at anything within three feet of him, but he wasn't the least bit interested in running much of anything else down.
To celebrate his victory Monfils did a very happy, happy dance. It must be in the French water, because Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was doing a victorious happy dance yesterday.
The best part of the happy dance was sportscaster Ian Eagle's remarks at the end of the broadcast. He said "...Gael Monfils, bringing the 'funkadelic'..." What the hell does that mean? Either he knows something that I don't, or he is woefully un-hip. Perhaps this is one of those cultural differences, whatever it is it's funny. For all of you unenlightened cats and kittens, Funkadelic was a group, not a dance or style (even though they definitely had their own). Remember Parliament/Funkadelic "Tear The Roof Off The Sucka?" That's my knowledge of Funkadelic. I don't know what he was talking about. He probably heard that word somewhere and has just been dying to use it.
Monfils awaits the American winner of the Pre-Wedding Buddy Match that will be played tonight, i.e. James Blake or Mardy Fish.
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A blur of winners and aces coming across the net from American Venus Williams was all that Ukrainian Alona Bondarenko saw in the Arthur Ashe Stadium at the U.S. Open today. Venus knocked Bondarenko out to the tune of 6-2, 6-1.
Poor Bondarenko looked so disheartened as the second set came to a close. She managed to get in a couple of winners, but her effort was a moot point. Unless the Ukrainian received some celestial assistance, she was going down in a very few minutes. And she did.
Post match Venus was asked about her next opponent Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, who has previously defeated her. Venus smiled and said, "I'm looking forward to 'even-ing' the score. She played well that time. I am looking forward to serving well and moving well and enjoying myself out here in front of everybody."
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Next month American James Blake will be part of the wedding party for good friend Mardy Fish's nuptials. But before that happens, the two must attempt to eliminate each other from the third round of the U. S. Open today in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Blake said, "It's going to be fine, it's great. We're close enough friends that, no matter what happens, we're going to be friends afterwards."
The good thing about this meeting, "there's a good chance we'll be out to dinner together...the winner pays" Blake said.
The bad thing about this meeting, one of them will be going home.
Fish sums it up pretty well in saying, "you know, for a place in the fourth round of the biggest tournament of the year, I think we'll probably put our friendship aside for a couple of hours."
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Up next for Tsonga, Spaniard Tommy Robredo.
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Friday, August 29, 2008
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Of Sugiyma, Serena said, "She is relentless, so I better be ready. That girl is a tough cookie."
"It's going to be fine, it's great. We're close enough friends that, no matter what happens, we're going to be friends afterwards."
With regard to Democratic Presidential Nominee Barack Obama Blake said, "I'm proud of that Harvard man. Harvard graduate school, but we'll claim him."
American Venus Williams advanced to the third round and in doing so treated Rossana de los Rios of Paraguay to a good old fashioned beat down defeating her 6-0, 6-3.
"Whichever way the draw goes, whichever way the matches go, as long as hopefully it's a win for me, I'm pretty happy about it."
Monfils will celebrate his 22nd birthday this weekend.
V. Williams/James Blake - Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Monfils - AP/Charles Krupa
S. Williams - Elsa/Getty Images
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Thursday, August 28, 2008
Grammar Photo Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images
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Yesterday at the U.S. Open Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga returned to the courts after an extensive layoff because of surgery to his knee. After Tsonga enthralled the tennis world with his beautiful play at the Australian open this year, he was greatly missed while out with his injury.
Although Tsonga was not in the form that we saw him in when he was a grand slam tournament finalist, he still managed to defeat his opponent Spainard Santiago Ventura 7-6(7/3), 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.
“I didn't play really good tennis...I was a bit worried about my knee"
"Of course it is different than before. But I feel good."
Tsonga will have a brief period to rest his knee before he hits the courts again against Carlos Moya.
“It is difficult,” Tsonga said of coming back from his injury. “That’s life. Sometimes you are happy and sometimes you are not. I am happy to be back on the court.”
Posted by Shelia at 2:46 AM Links to this post Email this post
Here's a nice bit of information that is new to me. I heard this song prior to Venus' match on Tuesday, but I wasn't aware of its origin. HCFoo of HCFoo's Tennis Blog - The Asian Tennis Blogger stopped by yesterday, and when I paid her a visit in return she had written the following post.
Thanks for sharing HCFoo, I'm loving this song already!
Wyclef Jean has recorded a track for Venus Williams that will serve as theme music for the tennis player throughout her appearance at the U.S Open tennis tournament.
The track, entitled 'Venus (I’m Ready)’was recorded as a tribute to Williams who recently won a gold medal with her sister Serena in the women’s doubles at the Olympic Games in Beijing.
The recording came about after the pair met during the taping of a fourth season episode of 'Iconoclasts'.
Williams said "I was so happy to meet Wyclef and work with him on our 'Iconoclasts' episode but not even in my wildest imagination, did I expect that such a beautiful song would be one of the outcomes from meeting Wyclef.”
"He is an amazing human being and it is truly an honour for me to be recognized in such a wonderful way by such a gifted musician and exceptional person."
Click here to go to Wyclef's website and listen or download the song.
(Via wyclef.com, mtv.co.uk)
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Wednesday, August 27, 2008
At the U.S. Open on Tuesday, American sisters Venus and Serena Williams both won their first round matches with relative ease. Each of their opponents experienced a couple of surge games, but insufficient to topple the dynamic duo.
During the day session, Serena defeated Ukrainian Kateryna Bondarenko 6-1, 6-4.
Post match Serena responded to the current discussion about Serbians Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic dominating the game. "I can't sit here and say someone is going to dominate when I'm still playing tennis."
Serena was then asked about being nervous during matches and how she finds the way to win. "I'm definitely mortal," Williams said. "And, yeah, I do struggle with self doubt.
"Sometimes when I'm in a match I do get tight and I get nervous.
"I always try to think of like, you know, current players that can work through that, like (Rafael) Nadal and (Roger) Federer.
"If they can do it I can do it too. So it takes me out of that moment."
On making a run at this year's event she said, "I don't know because I keep losing matches I shouldn't lose."
Regarding the win Venus said, “I thought it was just really straightforward tonight, nothing super special...I didn’t try anything too crazy.”
After a bit of a dust up in the first set, Stosur briefly got it together in the second set and took a 3-1 lead after breaking Venus' serve. It was short lived though, Venus came right back and leveled the set.
“That’s when I play my best, when I’m down,” Williams said.
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Tuesday, August 26, 2008
If you did not have the opportunity to see Michelle Obama address the Democratic National Convention last night, you missed something real. She was beautiful, heartfelt, articulate and all woman. I am so very proud of the wife, daughter, mother and sister that comprises this Black woman. Look out D.C.!
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Based upon American Donald Young's recent tournament history, it was my expectation that fellow American James Blake was going to come out and blow this kid off the court. By the time the first set was over and Blake had beaten Young 6-1, I knew that this match would be wrapping up quick fast and in a hurry. By no stretch of the imagination did I figure this would be a five setter. Talk about being wrong.
Over the course of five sets both Blake and Young gave one another as good as they got. One minute Blake was up and taking it to the Young one, then after a commercial break Young would be playing as if his life depended on it. After the third set you could tell that Olympic fatigue was creeping up on Blake. As with most champions though, he dug deep and found the strength somewhere.
When it was all said and done, the elder Blake sent the Young one packing to the tune of 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.
Earlier in the day, the very muscular Frenchman Gael Monfils advanced to the second round after defeating Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 6-4, 6-4, 6-1.
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I purposely left the photos of the legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band Earth, Wind and Fire out of the first set of U.S. Open Opening Ceremony photos because they are always in a class by themselves.
If you have a musical bone in your body I know that you were rocking, dancing, tapping or something when they dedicated "Shining Star" to all of the champions last night. I know that I was! Earth, Wind and Fire has always brought the house down whenever and wherever they were playing, and they did no less last night. The only thing missing was Maurice White doing that lil' dance he used to do. I am so glad to see them around, still in good musical form, still relevant and appearing at events like this.
I halfway expected Phillip Bailey to hit one of those sound-barrier-breaking notes of his and clear the stadium. He didn't do that, but he did deliver a beautiful rendition of "God Bless America."
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“On behalf of the city of New York, welcome to the one and only U.S. Open,” said Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg.
This year’s Open celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the tournament and the first tournament of the Open Era. From 1881 until 1968, the U.S. National Championship was limited to amateurs. In 1968 the modern era of tennis was born when the US Open replaced the U.S. National Championship and opened its doors to all who qualified to compete.
Since 1968, Bloomberg said that the US Open is “the best attended annual sporting event in the world.”
The host of the evening's festivities was Oscar winning actor Forrest Whitaker, who spoke about the history of the tournament and the tumultuous year of 1968.
In 1968, the U.S. became even more embroiled in the Vietnam War, protests and social unrest erupted throughout the country, Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed, and the highly politicized summer Olympic games took place in Mexico City. And in 1968 Arthur Ashe became the first ever men’s champion and the first ever African American Champion of the U.S. Open, which was held at West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, New York, for the first time, becoming one of the only bright spots during a difficult year for the country.
In honor of that special moment in tennis history, Whitaker introduced a procession of 25 past champions of the tournament including Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe and her daughter Camera Ashe as well as Virginia Wade, the first women’s singles US Open champion.
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Monday, August 25, 2008
American Ahsha Rolle was defeated in round one of the U.S. Open by Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark to the tune of 2-6, 1-6. Sheeeesh.
The match was not televised, but the stats say it all. Ahsha had seven double faults and 36 unforced errors in an hour match. She had one attempt at a break point but could not convert.
I'm actually glad that I didn't see this match, it was obviously very ugly. Now we know that this young woman has the goods, why can't she turn them into something useful on the court?
I'll keep watching, supporting and hoping that at some point she will be able to deliver on those skills.
Posted by Shelia at 11:56 PM Links to this post Email this post
I must say that I am truly sorry not to see American Asia Muhammad progress in singles at the U.S. Open. Earlier today Asia became one of the first round casualties, falling to Frenchwoman Aravane Rezai 2-6, 4-6. It wasn't a total beat down, so I take solace in the fact that she put forth an effort. Asia is playing doubles, perhaps she can make a few inroads there.
I became very fond of watching her play at the end of 2007 and was hoping that she could parlay her upswing into something major this year. Fortunately Asia is very young and has plenty of time to improve her game.
Keep your head up Asia!
Posted by Shelia at 4:40 PM Links to this post Email this post
Asia Muhammad will be sporting a big of bling at the U.S. Open this year.
Las Vegas tennis sensation Asia Muhammad is making her professional debut this week at the U.S. Open as a wild card. She is a product of Andre Agassi's Las Vegas Academy and has been consistently ranked in the top 10 throughout her junior career.
But it is a famous Las Vegas jeweler that is making this debut extra special, as he adorned Asia's signature pink racquet with grand Diamond initials before her father took it to New York to present it to his daughter before she plays in the tennis tournament of her life and begin her professional career.
"I've known and watched Asia develop for several years now," said Michael E. Minden, owner of Michael E. Minden Diamond Jewelers in Las Vegas. "We are all so proud that she is representing Vegas and wanted to mark this very special occasion with something that has never been done before; so, as a special gift, we custom fitted her racquet with 1.00ctw of VS quality pave set Diamonds in 2 letter A's above her grip."
"This is the first time I've actually put Diamonds on a piece of athletic equipment," notes Minden. "However, we came up with a special process to affix it to the racquet, with a special technology to transfer the letters to a new racquet, when Asia wears out the first one. The same Diamonds can be added to a golf club, and makes a very exclusive gift for any exceptional athlete in most any sport."Each letter retails for $1,750 and includes installation. For further information, please contact Michael E. Minden at (702) 595-8900, http://www.TennisDiamonds.com.
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