Saturday, September 04, 2010

US.6- Blondes, Bagels & Big Apple Bangs



Supposedly, "gentlemen prefer blondes." Today, blondes preferred bagels. I like bagels with Nutella spread on them. Nutella originated in Italy. So, "Does mean that Francesca Schiavone is going to win the U.S. Open," you ask?

Come now. Don't be silly. Francesca isn't blonde, so of course not. (Geez, I thought I made that one clearer than that.) Well, I guess after Paris you should NEVER discount anything. But, really, Day 6 was about the final pieces being put into place for Act I in this Open's "Search for the Perfect Blonde" round robin.

Thus, the "Big (Apple) Blonde Bang" (bet you didn't think I could keep that failed "Big Bang" experiment from Paris alive ALL the way through the rest of the slam season, did you? Wrong.) takes place Labor Day Monday on Ashe Stadium. The blondes in questioned scheduled to battle in that Round of 16 match made sure of it today, winning their matches by a combined game score of 24-1.

Bagels don't come with "Made in Taiwan" stickers on them, but Caroline Wozniacki's last two opponents from that nation -- Chang Kai-Chen and Chan Yung-Jan -- seem to have cornered the market. After the Dane won 6-0/6-0 over Chang, she took out her countrywoman Chan 6-1/6-0 today. In the 1st Round, she defeated Chelsey Gullickson (an American, but she might like bagels) 6-1/6-1.

Sheesh, C-Woz. Take it easy. Too many bagels and you're waste all that work you've done over the last few months to lose those seven-plus pounds and totally change your on-court "aura."

In Part 2 of today's preliminary, Maria Sharapova (she doesn't look like she eats too many bagels, does she?) made it clear that Beatrice Capra was no second coming of Melanie Oudin. Playing against another teenaged American upstart, on the same court and in windy conditions similar to those during which she lost to Little MO a year ago (tossing in 21 double-faults in the process), the Russian's second verse was NOT the same as the first. She won 6-0/6-0 over an increasingly frustrated Capra, who never really figured out the wind or the moment.

So, the first big confrontation of this Open is officially on the schedule. Come Monday night, one name will be scratched off the "perfect blonde" list. As they arrive on Ashe, both will have played in back-to-back finals in their last two events, with Wozniacki sporting an eleven-match, two-title winning streak. The '09 Open runner-up, the Dane will face the '06 Open champion, who has one final chance this season to maintain her slam-win-in-even-years (w/ '04 Wimbledon and '08 AO) pattern.

Just how far can this blonde thing last? Well, looking at the draw, the winner could face another blonde in the QF, then another in the SF, and then yet another in the final.

Hmm, I wonder how many of them like Nutella on their bagels?



=DAY 6 NOTES=
...it was hard not to feel sympathy for all the players out there today. Playing tennis in intense heat is bad, but doing it in windy conditions is pure torture. Even playing in the rain is better, I think. It was so bad today that Jelena Jankovic's toss was taken so off course that she framed a serve into the stands -- off her racket on the fly.

Yeah... JJ. Unfortunately, her special brand of madness is gone from the '10 Open after her 6-2/7-6 loss to Kaia Kanepi today. But at least she didn't go down without a final mini-flourish. Even though Jankovic's day was error-filled, and she often looked positively miserable trying to figure out how to keep the ball in the court inside the windy stadium, she DID surge back late in the 2nd set to break the Estonian when she was serving for the match at 5-3 (she got to 30/30, two points from the win, just as Simona Halep was when serving for the match against the Serb in the 1st Round). JJ broke with a down-the-line return of a second serve, and soon found herself in position to take yet another of her slam matches to a 3rd set.

She served for the 2nd set at 6-5, but after badly missing an overhead from the baseline, off a high-bouncing Kanepi return, JJ turned a plaintive look to the sky and pleadingly questioned why it had to be so windy. She was soon broken, and then fell behind 4-1 in the tie-break. I don't about you, but I know I kept waiting for her to put together one more run, but it never happened. She lost the tie-break 7-1, and Kanepi reached her second slam 4th Round of 2010.

After reaching the final of the U.S. Open in '08, Jankovic has gone down in the 2nd and 3rd Rounds her last two trips to Flushing Meadows.

...not only did Queen Chaos make an exit today, but we didn't get another version of Andrea Petkovic's "funky chicken" victory dance, either. It wasn't because she lost, though. She just didn't have to play, as she received a walkover from her scheduled 3rd Round opponent, Peng Shuai.

Elsewhere, with Vera Zvonareva and Alexandra Dulgheru's match still to finish as I write this, we DO know that one of the four semifinalists will come from the group of Zvonareva/Dulgheru, Petkovic, Wickmayer and Kanepi. Zvonareva was a semifinalist at Wimbledon, and Wickmayer reached the semis in NYC in '09. If it's not either of those two who emerge, though, it'll be a first-timer. It's possible that of the eight QF matches in the draw, the only two not sporting either a former slam champ or runner-up will BOTH be in this quarter. Obviously, this might turn out to be the section of the draw that produces an "oddity" in the final four. Naturally, this was #4-seed Jankovic's stomping ground up until today.

...Capra's loss means that Venus Williams in the "Last American Standing," while Mandy Minella and Lourdes Dominguez-Lino will share the "Last Qualifier Standing" honors. Meanwhile, Capra and Virginie Razzano were the final wild cards to exit the draw.

Speaking of awards, here are a few updated nominees:


*IT GIRL*
Beatrice Capra, USA (especially if she plays in the juniors, and wins a few matches)
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS

...Capra will get either the "It" or "Junior Breakout" honor, it just depends on how things shake out.

*COMEBACK PLAYER*
Ana Ivanovic, SRB
Maria Sharapova, RUS

...win or no vs. Clijsters, AnaIvo is the favorite.

*ZOMBIE QUEEN*
Samantha Stosur, AUS (down a set and a break vs. Vesnina in 1st Round)
Andrea Petkovic, GER (down 3 MP vs. Mattek-Sands in 2nd Round)

...JJ is eliminated, Sammy is bumped up, Petkovic stays seated. Rinse. Repeat.

*LADY OF THE EVENING*
Venus Williams, USA

...she's the only woman to go 2-0 so far.

*BROADWAY-BOUND*
Andrea Petkovic, GER (the "Dancing Queen" of Queens, even though she's not Swedish )
Francesca Schiavone, ITA (for her show-stopping through-the-legs shot -- encore, encore!!)
Venus Williams, USA (for her dance moves, and costume design)

...still feeling my away around this new award, but this is what I've got so far.

...and, finally, JJ may be gone, but on CBS today, Mary Carillo left us with some info about her and her future that made me pause. Carillo said that Jankovic is building a large home in California and will soon take up residence there. Uh, oh. With Chaos moving in, doesn't this pretty much guarantee that "The Big One" that people have been waiting for generations to strike the state will most assuredly be coming soon? I can see it now... California breaks off from the rest of North America, then floats off into the Ocean, one day ending up on the shores of Hawaii.

Look at it this way, though -- JJ will soon be the proud owner of a home on a newly-discovered island in the Pacific, and her future family will one day be able to put it on the market as an "Hawaiian mansion."

Not a bad deal.




*WOMEN'S ROUND OF 16*
#1 Caroline Wozniacki/DEN vs. #14 Maria Sharapova/RUS
#11 S.Kuznetsova/RUS or #23 M.Kirilenko/RUS vs. Dominika Cibulkova/SVK
#31 Kaia Kanepi/EST vs. #15 Yanina Wickmayer/BEL
Andrea Petkovic/GER vs. #25 A.Dulgheru/ROU or #7 V.Zvonareva/RUS
#6 Francesca Schiavone/ITA vs. #20 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/RUS
#16 Shahar Peer/ISR vs. #3 Venus Williams/USA
#5 Samantha Stosur/AUS vs. #12 Elena Dementieva/RUS
Ana Ivanovic/SRB vs. #2 Kim Clijsters/BEL


*MEN'S ROUND OF 16*
TBD vs. TBD
TBD vs. TBD
TBD vs. TBD
TBD vs. TBD
#17 Gael Monfils/FRA vs. Richard Gasquet/FRA
#19 Mardy Fish/USA vs. (WC)J.Blake/USA or #3 N.Djokovic/SRB
#5 Robin Soderling/SWE vs. #21 Albert Montanes/ESP
#13 Jurgen Melzer vs. #2 Roger Federer/SUI





*2010 SLAM ROUND OF 16 RESULTS*
4...VENUS WILLIAMS, USA
4...CAROLINE WOZNIACKI, DEN
3...Justine Henin, BEL
3...FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE, ITA
3...SAMANTHA STOSUR, AUS
3...Serena Williams, USA
2...KIM CLIJSTERS, BEL
2...ELENA DEMENTIEVA, RUS
2...Jarmila Groth, AUS
2...Jelena Jankovic, SRB
2...KAIA KANEPI, EST
2...Maria Kirilenko, RUS (to play 3rd Rd. vs. Kuznetsova)
2...Li Na, CHN
2...Nadia Petrova, RUS
2...MARIA SHARAPOVA, RUS
2...YANINA WICKMAYER, BEL
2...Vera Zvonareva, RUS (to play 3rd Rd. vs. Dulgheru)
--
ALSO: 1-S.Kuznetsova/RUS (to play 3rd Rd. vs. Kirilenko)

*SLAM "LAST HOME PLAYERS STANDING"*
[2010]
AO: Samantha Stosur/AUS (to 4th Rd.)
RG: Marion Bartoli/FRA, Aravane Rezai/FRA (both to 3rd Rd.)
WI: Heather Watson/GBR (last of 6 to lose 1st Rd.)
US: Venus Williams/USA (in 4th Rd.)

*SLAM "LAST QUALIFIERS STANDING"*
[2010]
AO: (4r) Yanina Wickmayer/BEL
RG: (4r) Chanelle Scheepers/RSA
WI: (QF) Kaia Kanepi/EST
US: (3r) Lourdes Dominguez-Lino/ESP, Mandy Minella/LUX
[US Open]
2006 (2r) E.Birnerova/CZE, Y.Fedossova/FRA, K.Flipkens/BEL, V.Lepchenko/UZB, A.Radwanska/POL
2007 (3r) Alize Cornet/FRA, Ekaterina Makarova/RUS
2008 (4r) Anna-Lena Groenefeld/GER
2009 (3r) Anastasia Rodionova/AUS
2010 (3r) Lourdes Dominguez-Lino/ESP, Mandy Minella/LUX

*SLAM "LAST WILD CARD STANDING"*
[2010]
AO: (RU) Justine Henin/BEL
RG: (4r) Jarmila Groth/AUS
WI: (no WC's to 2nd Rd.)
US: (3r) Beatrice Capra/USA, Virginie Razzano/FRA
[US Open]
2007 (3r) Ahsha Rolle/USA
2008 (4r) Severine Bremond/FRA
2009 (W) Kim Clijsters/BEL
2010 (3r) Beatrice Capra/USA, Virginie Razzano/FRA




TOP QUALIFIER: Michelle Larcher de Brito/POR
TOP EARLY ROUND (1r-2r): #1 Caroline Wozniacki/DEN
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): xxx
TOP LATE ROUND (SF-F): xxx
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q1: Laura Robson/GBR d. #2q Jelena Dokic/AUS 6-1/6-4
TOP EARLY RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 1st Rd. - #4 Jelena Jankovic/SRB def. Simona Halep/ROU 6-4/4-6/7-5
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): xxx
TOP LATE RD. MATCH (SF-F/Jr.): xxx
TOP NIGHT MATCH: xxx
=============================
FIRST WINNER: #6 Francesca Schiavone/ITA (def. Ayumi Morita/JPN)
FIRST SEED OUT: #8 Li Na/CHN (lost to Kateryna Bondarenko/UKR)
UPSET QUEENS: The Taiwanese
REVELATION LADIES: The North Americans
LAST QUALIFIERS STANDING: Mandy Minella/LUX & Lourdes Dominguez-Lino/ESP (3rd Rd.)
IT GIRL: [Nominee: B.Capra/USA]
MS. OPPORTUNITY: xxx
COMEBACK PLAYER: [Nominees: A.Ivanovic/SRB, Maria Sharapova/RUS]
CRASH & BURN: #10 Victoria Azarenka/BLR (retired after collapsing in 2nd Rd. vs. Gisela Dulko/ARG)
ZOMBIE QUEEN: [Nominees: Stosur/AUS - 1st Rd. - down set and a break vs. Vesnina/RUS; Petkovic/GER - 2nd Rd. - down 3 MP vs. Mattek-Sands]
LAST AMERICAN STANDING: #3 Venus Williams/USA (in 4th Rd.)
LADY OF THE EVENING: [Nominee: V.Williams/USA]
BROADWAY-BOUND: [Nominees: V.Williams/USA for her fashion & dancing; F.Schiavone for her between-the-legs shot; A.Petkovic for dancing & win from 3 MP down]
DOUBLES STAR xxx
JUNIOR BREAKOUT: xxx




All for Day 6. More tomorrow.

4 Comments:

Blogger Hoergren said...

;-) like your blonde story - hadn't thought abaut that. What about a round of ways to describe 6-0, 6-0? Here are a couple:

Two fried eggs with Sunshine on top.
Two fried eggs with windy toppings

and the last one:

Double stick, followed by double bagel ;-)

Sun Sep 05, 01:10:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Hoergren said...

In our Danish blog we have a little discusssion about Caro's nail polish:

1.round - Blue
2.round - yellow
3.round - yellow
4.round - ?? Wineread

Sun Sep 05, 01:13:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Hoergren said...

And one more for the road - and then I promise to stop. Both blondes prefer a lot of eggs (6-0 games) what can you call a match where they both take part:

Time for an omelet?

Their rackets might be renamed to:

Egg beaters

I rest my case - you can go on ;-)

Sun Sep 05, 01:22:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Hmmm, last year C-Woz said her favorite food was "steak and potatoes." Those zeroes do sort of look like spuds. :)

Sun Sep 05, 09:49:00 PM EDT  

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