Thursday, July 26, 2012

Olympic Medal Picks

The draws in London are packed with big names... but, really, other than all the purple banners and non-predominantly white clothing, will the Olympics be any different than Wimbledon a few weeks ago?

With a smaller draw filled with each nation's very best players (well, every nation but France), just sixteen seeds, and only five rounds in which to butt heads, big names will be meeting each other in pretty much every round next week at the All-England Club, starting with Serena Williams and Jelena Jankovic in the 1st Round, to Novak Djokovic and Andy Roddick in the 2nd Round, and so on and so on. While the best-of-three format offers up the possibility of some surprising results (don't think Roger Federer won't know that his potential 2nd Round Olympic foe -- Julien Benneteau -- would have beaten him last month at Wimbledon if they'd been playing best-of-three), that the event is being held on grass still likely limits the circle of potential champions/medalists just like it does at SW19 every summer.

In others words, even with the absence of injured '08 Gold Medalist Rafa Nadal (and retired Beijing women's champ Elena Dementieva), don't expect any Nicolas Massu-wins-Gold moments at this Olympics, at least not in the singles. Probably the most earth-shaking potential result would be Andy Murray grabbing Gold a month after reaching the Wimbledon Gentlemen's final. Considering Federer's Olympic past, the all-time slam champ COULD lose earlier than expect, too... opening things up for the Scot. On the women's side, the question remains, "Can anyone beat Serena?" Outside of Virginie Razzano in Paris, no one has been able to do it in months. And an ultra-confident Williams comes to London riding an 11-match winning streak, and 28-1 record since the start of April.

Both Federer and Williams come to this Olympics, probably the last in which they'll be Gold Medal contenders (and maybe their last Games, period), with a shot to add the only major singles title they've never won. Only the husband and wife duo of Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf have claimed all four slams, a year-ending championship title and Olympic Gold in singles. The reigning Wimbledon champions could finish up their career "Six Packs" by carrying over their recent grass court winning ways to the top of the Medal stand next weekend. One would think that that small circle of greatness -- as of now, literally confined to one household -- will at least add one more member in London, if not double in size.

London Olympics (grass/Wimbledon)

#1 Azarenka/BLR d. #16 Petrova/RUS
#7 Kerber/GER d. V.Williams/USA
#4 S.Williams/USA d. Schiavone/ITA
Paszek/AUT d. #8 Wozniacki/DEN
Clijsters/BEL d. #11 Ivanovic/SRB
#3 Sharapova/RUS d. #15 Lisicki/GER
#6 Kvitova/CZE d. Pironkova/BUL
#2 A.Radwanska/POL d. Watson/GBR

#1 Azarenka/BLR d. #7 Kerber/GER
#4 S.Williams/USA d. Paszek/AUT
#3 Sharapova/RUS d. Clijsters/BEL
#6 Kvitova/CZE d. #2 A.Radwanska

#4 S.Williams/USA d. #1 Azarenka/BLR
#3 Sharapova/RUS d. #6 Kvitova/CZE

#6 Kvitova/CZE d. #1 Azarenka/BLR

#4 S.Williams/USA d. #3 Sharapova/RUS

#1 Federer/SUI d. Muller/LUX
#10 Isner/USA d. #7 Tipsarevic/SRB
#4 Ferrer/ESP d. Stepanek/CZE
#8 del Potro/ARG d. Dimitrov/BUL
#6 Berdych/CZE d. Troicki/SRB
#3 Murray/GBR d. #16 Gasquet/FRA
#5 Tsonga/FRA d. Tursunov/RUS
#2 Djokovic/SRB d. #13 Cilic/CRO

#1 Federer/SUI d. #10 Isner/USA
#8 del Potro/ARG d. #4 Ferrer/ESP
#3 Murray/GBR d. #6 Berdych/CZE
#2 Djokovic/SRB d. #5 Tsonga/FRA

#1 Federer/SUI d. #8 del Potro/ARG
#2 Djokovic/SRB d. #3 Murray/GBR

#3 Murray/GBR d. #8 del Potro/ARG

#1 Federer/SUI d. #2 Djokovic/SRB

GOLD: Williams/Williams (USA)
SILVER: Huber/Raymond (USA)
BRONZE: Kirilenko/Petrova (RUS)
4th Place: Hlavackova/Hradecka (CZE)

GOLD: Isner/Roddick (USA)
SILVER: Federer/Wawrinka (SUI)
BRONZE: Murray/Murray (GBR)
4th Place: Tipsarevic/Zimonjic (SRB)

All for now.


Blogger Zidane said...

I've just been thinking. Now that she won RG, Sharapova joins Federer and Serena as players who could have won all 6 greatest titles available at the end of these games.

Fri Jul 27, 06:00:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Yeah, I think I've mentioned that somewhere (the quiz maybe?), but I didn't say anything here. But that IS the case... making it even more likely that SOMEONE is going to join that list next week.

Fri Jul 27, 03:49:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Zidane said...

Oh, right!

I hadn't done the old quiz as I had done it the first time around.

Sat Jul 28, 01:04:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Hmmm... Paszek loses in the 1st Round on grass to Cornet. The Olympics are unpredictable.

Sat Jul 28, 10:33:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

I think you mean: Paszek is unpredictable. What we do know: She will always go for her shots.

Some observations from today:

Li Na...her leg definition is not as good as before...I think she needs to decide what she wants from the rest of her tennis career, because she is just going through the motions right now...which is understandable...I've seen some of her interviews in Chinese and her goal has always been to win a grand slam. And since achieving that and getting financial stability (for a couple lifetimes), her perspective must be changing...which is natural...but still, she's too good to let matches go like she did today...

and I can only imagine that a husband/wife relationship can only take so much stress... The husband's going to capitulate to the wife she needs a coach who can push her because she is not playing with discipline at the moment. She could have won today's match...Hantuchova was getting lucky with some of her returns but Li didn't handle the mid-court balls well...which during 2010 and early 2011 she was doing...Hantuchova was dealing with Li Na's power extremely well. Good timing. Compact swings. I haven't watched Hantuchova play in a long time. Lateral movement wasn't as big of a weakness as I've seen in the past...I think bc of the grass. Her attacking game is effective on grass. She didn't have to move as much. (And good outfit.)

(If Sharapova wasn't a great champion, she'd get major competition in clothing deals from people like Kirilenko, Hantuchova, and Dulko...the latter two are very fashion forward.)

Improvements in JJ's serve today too.

McHale played well today...just a bit slow to start. She's always improving.

I hadn't realized that Szavay was entered. I didn't think she was playing anymore...

Didn't see Kvitova play today...was she nervous? or was K.Bond playing well?

Sat Jul 28, 02:25:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

Oh, I also thought it was ironic that while the draw tries to separate doubles teams from teh same country in different halves...they put Brazil vs. US in both halves...

Sat Jul 28, 02:28:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

Also, does anyone know why Huber/Raymond get a bye in teh first round? The Bryans didn' I'm assuming they couldn't find another team...but that's really's teh Olympics, so I imagine there'd be a lot of people interested in the spot and/or the Tennis Federations are so generous with their wild cards and is that spot open????

Sat Jul 28, 02:32:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

I saw a little of Kvitova, but not the 2nd set. I saw her serving for the match in the 3rd (the first time) and not be able to close it out. Sort of typical Kvitova for this season. But she got through.

I was surprised to see Szavay in there. She's only played a few matches this season, I think, because of injury. Of course, she didn't last long.

Weird about Huber/Raymond. I was wondering that, too... at first, I thought maybe there was a problem with the draw I was looking at. :)

Sat Jul 28, 04:11:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

Notice how she leaves out one of the slams... hahaha

But her statements really give fodder to those who say tennis shouldn't be in the Olys

Sat Jul 28, 04:58:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

Surprises come running, but I'm happy that it wasn't Woz that was the surprise this time. Yes she played shaky, but she won. Yes I saw the match and she played a lousy first set, but as she told afterwards some petite nerves played a role. And yes she said one game at a time. Yes third set was an almost solid set by Woz. Yes she's on her way back and this first match took a lot of nerves and insecurity away from her shoulders. Caro let them come - you can do it. And she looked fine in her red and white dress - like that :-)

Sat Jul 28, 05:04:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

And yes it's Hoergren - I'm just using my first and last name - just so you're not confused ;-) - well ofcourse you're not.

Sat Jul 28, 05:06:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Leif/Hoergren/Leif?/Hoergren? (so confusing)- :D

Wozniacki got a break w/ Paszek losing, so a second Wimbledon meeting with her won't be in order. It's too bad she's not in another section of the draw, since Serena is likely going to be there in the QF with the thought to keep Caro from at least getting a shot to play for a medal by reaching the semis.

Sat Jul 28, 06:27:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

If anything is confusing then it's Google and the way they are protecting themselves. I had to go back to factory standard on my smartphone to get rid of a Google account which contented something I wanted to get rid of. You can't contact them by mail - at least I can't find an address - to have things deleted. So i had to make a new Google account without the unwanted items and delete the other with the consequense to reset the phone - no way to delete the Google account there. So all you folks - Google is great but beware of Big Brother. Yeah well I thought you might want to know - or not - now you know - ain't it great :-)

Sat Jul 28, 07:17:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

Leif, what I say is--whether it's Mother Apple, Mother Google or Mother Microsoft, you're letting them have their way with you. All three have their way with me.

Eric, Dulko's outfits are always on my "favorites" list. Hantuchova, when she's "on," is such a clean hitter, she can be quite dangerous. I really like to watch her play.

Sat Jul 28, 10:37:00 PM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

It's weird to see federer and kvitova failing to serve out to unnessarily prolong the matches.

Todd, will you do a more regular review during Olympics?

Sun Jul 29, 12:19:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

Yeah Diane guess you are right but one can get pretty frustrated specially when you can't "talk" to them mothers :-( Enough - back to the jungle - the tennis jungle. Pretty dificult to see who is coming through - three big upsets yesterday - who will fall down from the trees today? Rather exciting I think. How about it was it the same way in Beijing?

Sun Jul 29, 12:41:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...


I considered doing something along the way I do things for the slams, but I got a little slammed for time and decided against it. I'll be including whatever gets done of the 1st Round in London in the Week 30 post, and then count the rest -- as far as awards are concerned -- for Week 31.

I'll be posting an Olympic Time Capsule sometime this week, though, and I'll likely be posting things far more often in the comments as things might happen of note each day.

For example:

What we learned on Day 2 in London: The Radwanska's powers might be great... but they're apparently no match for the power of The Games. Well, either that, or all the visitors to London bought up all the melons and Goerges' Olympic life was spared. ;)

Seriously, though. A-Rad had 21 errors today. That's just not how she plays if she's playing well.

Sun Jul 29, 02:17:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

From what I've seen in the past, indoor conditions helped Goerges a lot. The elements can wreak havoc on her game...which then gets her, no distractions and she can go for a lot more comfortably.

Sun Jul 29, 05:04:00 PM EDT  

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