Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Day 4: Is THAT What You're Wearing?

Sometimes you just need someone to ask, "Is THAT what you're wearing?" Clearly, the people who were supposed to do that for Maria Sharapova and Ashley Harkleroad before they walked onto the court on Day 4 were out picking up a croissant or something.

I mean, how else do you explain their decision to play in those spandex leotards-under-tennis-skirt outfits today in any way that would make it seem to be an intelligent fashion choice by two players who aren't babes in the woods when it comes to being the focus of courtside photographers? Surely, Wimbledon is tightening its on-court apparel rules for the All England Club as we speak.

Sure, they were likely functional (I mean, they weren't something like, say, Bethanie Mattek might wear) on an overcast, damp day where the danger of pulling muscles could be an issue (hence, Andre Agassi's introduction of the bicycle shorts under denim look twenty years ago), but was there any way for the outfits to NOT look incredibly tacky?

No, I didn't think so. But at least Maria had the sense to match the color of her leggings to that of her skirt, unlike Ashley.

Ah, the Supernova... always one step ahead of the pack.

Love-Love...just to tie up one loose end from Day 3. It arrived late last night. A message from Tennisrulz Head Honcho Pierre Cantin concerning Nadia Petrova's loss on Day 3:

From: Pierre Cantin
Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2007 11:19 PM
To: Todd Spiker
Subject: The email you were waiting for:)

Well what can I say...if I truly did not like Nadia, I would be thrilled, now I'm just thrilled because I'm becoming more and more right:)

Finally, closure. Now, Nadia, don't let this have to happen again at Wimbledon... and by that I DON'T mean don't play SW19 at all, either.
Love-15...of course, hours after sending that message, Pierre learned that Anastasia Myskina had returned to action for the first time since January... and lost to Meghann Shaughnessy 6-1/6-0. Ouch. Does anyone know a good grief counselor? I've got a feeling both Pierre and the Czarina might be needing one right about now.
Love-30...oh, just to touch on what actually happened to Sharapova and Harkleroad on the court on Day 4, it should be noted that the Supernova defeated Emilie Loit 6-3/7-6 in a better performance against a potentially dangerous 1st Round opponent than anyone had the right to expect considering her mediocre career results on clay and lack of match play coming into Paris.

Meanwhile, Harkleroad saw her brief '07 Roland Garros participation about to end when she was down 6-1/5-1 to Venus Williams on Wednesday. But then she stared down four match points, raised the level of her game, and suddenly found herself leading 6-5. She failed to close out the set, but soon led 6-3 in the 2nd set tie-break. But after seizing survival from the jaws of defeat, Ashley then re-seized defeat from the jaws of survival. Venus won the tie-break by a 10-8 score.

I guess that's another one in Sharapova's column, huh? Of course, she's not going to win Roland Garros, either.
Love-40...speaking of falling on your sword and spilling your guts all over the red clay, Robby Ginepri's Day 4 loss to Diego Hartfield wiped out the entire field of American men in men's singles. Nine players. Nine losses. Ah, perfection.

At least Mardy Fish had the intelligence to injure his foot trying to kick a field goal at a Rhein Fire football game last week and pulled out of Roland Garros. No suffering of indignities for him, no sir... and that that statement could be made while only PARTIALLY having my tongue planted firmly in my cheek says all you need to know about American men and clay court tennis.
15-40...rarely have the women's qualifiers been more successful in the 1st Round. Wins by Dominika Cibulkova, Alla Kudryavtseva, Ioana-Raluca Olaru and Agnes Szavay means that nine of the twelve qualifiers won their opening matches. In 2nd Round action, the list of nine qualifiers standing was reduced to five thanks to losses by Timea Bacsinszky, Kveta Peschke, Andrea Petkovic and Olga Savchuk.
30-40...the early round "Upset Queens" have yet to be crowned, but the ladies from France and Romania (with the Russians, as usual, a contender, as well) appear to have the best shot at emerging with this particular Backspin award.
Deuce...while the qualifiers are playing well, so are the top seeds. With the 1st Round complete along with nearly half of the 2nd (Serena must still play Sequera), only one (#11 Petrova) of the Top 29 women's seeds has lost.
Ad...seriously, did 16-year old Tamira Paszek look like a future star in her 2nd Round match against Justine Henin or what? Sure, she fell behind 5-0 in the 1st, and lost the 2nd set 6-1. But during the period where the Austrian (a 2005 Wimbledon and 2006 U.S. Open Girls RU, then tour champion in Portoroz last year -- the seventh youngest and third-lowest ranked ever in WTA history) battled back to knot the first set at 5-5 and get to within a point of a tie-break, she gave every indication of being an exciting, excitable crowd-pleaser to keep an eye on.
Deuce...unless your name is Williams or Bondarenko, it's not wise to plan family reunions in Paris. Marat Safin nose-dived out of the draw on Day 4, but both Bondarenko sisters -- Alona and Kateryna -- joined Venus and Serena as the only pair of siblings remaining in the draw. Alona next plays Karin Knapp, while Kateryna faces Patty Schnyder. If they both win their matches, they'll face each other in the 3rd Round.
Ad...Nicole Vaidisova is 6-feet tall, but she had to look up to her opponent today, 6-foot-3 Akgul Amanmuradova, a qualifer from Uzbekistan and the tallest woman on tour. The Dynamova won... pushing her ever-closer to a potential QF matchup with the winner of the Jelena Jankovic/Venus Williams battle in the 3rd Round. Well, unless Punch-Sober continues her resurrection and SHE makes it that far, of course.
MATCH, "Boy, that Roger was something today, wasn't he?", not THAT Roger. Though Mr. Federer did indeed win today over Thierry Ascione. I'm talking about 23-year old Frenchman Eduoard Roger-Vasselin. He came back from two sets to one down to knock out Radek Stepanak in the 2nd Round, possibly showing that the Martina Curse DOES still linger around Radek. Hmmm, Martina is Swiss. Federer is Swiss. Her fiance Stepanek lost to a guy named Roger. Coincidence? I think not.

All for Day 4.


Blogger Eric said...

isn't sharapova like 6'4"?? the says that she's 6'2" but a lot of people think that this isn't her real height...

Thu May 31, 03:21:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Sharapova might be taller than the listing. It wouldn't be a surprise.

"Officially," though, Amanmuradova is listed as the tallest at 6'3", for what it's worth. :)

Thu May 31, 04:51:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

yeah...btw, i read your blog religiously every tuesday when you update...and live and die by your daily updates during slam times...i just never commented before because i don't have a blogger's nice that they accept gmail acounts now.

seriously though, could you find a different name for the serbian girls...i've sounded Rakijas out several times and tried to get used to it, but everytime i read it, it takes me a while to make the connection...i'm always like, "who??"

all your other nicknames have much better linkages (i.e. Hordettes...i mean how could anyone *not* call the russian girls hordettes?) :)

i mean serbians are kind of exotic i suppose...but it's more because of the novelty of a blooming tennis nation...the word "rakijas" is a whole other level of exotic :p

(i hope this doesn't offend you...i really am a big fan!)

Thu May 31, 05:43:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Thanks for the kind words, Eric. And it's nice to have your contributions, as well. Keep it up! :)

As far as the Serbs, I'm up for another nickname for them. Any suggestions? I'm not really wedded to the "Rakija Girls" yet (I've used in a few times, but felt like I was forcing the issue when I did), but nothing has naturally come up to replace it to this point. Sometimes it just happens that way (see "Scarlett" for Petrova and, to some extent, "The Cookies" for the Chinese players)... and bad nicknames just fade away into obscurity.

I could go for "Brandys," but I really don't like that one, either. When I was regularly contributing to (or shoud I say when she was regularly contributing to the sport?), I called her "The Fair One." She was Serbian at the time, so maybe... but I have a hard time separating the now/currently-Australian from that one.

See, this is what happens when you try to create a shorthand name to call people rather than having it develop out of circumstance (ala "Le Petit Taureau" or "Punch-Drunk/Punch-Sober").

Thu May 31, 06:31:00 PM EDT  
Blogger said...

Clearly you don't get it Pierre. It wasn't about fasion it was about the tempature, you know Global Warming and all, it was too hot to go without spandex....... Damn you idiots wake up. There is no such thing as Global Warming and Maria and Ashley prove it. It was too damn cold to be fashionable..

Thu May 31, 09:05:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Seriously, where do I even start?

First, Pierre isn't here. Second, it was clearly mentioned in the column that the decision to wear the outfits was made because of the temperature... which doesn't make the look any less horrendous, though.

Thu May 31, 09:57:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

All right, Eric... I actually think something came up while the Jankovic/Venus match was going on that provides a better nickname for the Serb players, and allows for Novak Djokovic to be incorporated into the mix with Jelena and Ana, too. :)

Fri Jun 01, 08:05:00 AM EDT  

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