Monday, October 01, 2012

Wk.39- Crazy Days in Tokyo

So, what's the "Conundrum of the Week" for Week 39? Well, how about figuring out which is more of a surprise: that the perpetually star-crossed Nadia Petrova has been able to steadily improve her singles results after turning 30 this season, or that the perpetually-presiding-over-a-disaster-waiting-to-happen Ricardo Sanchez is being given a great deal of credit from the Russian for it happening?

Yes, these are the times (and tough questions) that try men and women's souls.

After all, at the start of the year, Petrova was coming off a season-ending ranking of #29, her lowest since 2001. She was still a relevant doubles player, but the days of hoping for one great singles swing seemed long over. They still might be. But in these days of thirtysomething achievers on the tennis tour, who knows? With her win in Tokyo this weekend, her second singles title in 2012, she's up to #14... and, once again, Backspin's long-promised-but-still-so-far-never-delivered "What If?" about Nadia lifting a major title is put on the backburner.

Thing is, Nadia is even confident enough right now to risk tempting fate! How else can you explain that she won her previous '12 title in 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands by defeating Urszula Radwanska in the final, then turned around and defeated her sister Agnieszka in the Japan decider for her second? Oh, Nadia... you sneaky, you-want-what-you-want-and-don't-care-What-gets-got, you-don't-know-the-trouble-you-might-have-just-caused-yourself thing you. Gimme a hug! Whoa! Not TOO tight -- we wouldn't want you injuring your back or anything, now would we?

But Nadia's resurgence has nothing on that of Sanchez.

At one time, the "crazy" Spaniard was the coach of the #1-ranked player in the world. Her name, of course, was Jelena Jankovic, who brought her own brand of craziness to the party, to say the least. They should never have worked well together, but their oddball tendencies -- and in-match arguments, as the Serb is wont to get involved in with whoever's in the Players Box -- went together like red beans and rice. Well, maybe squished red beans and soggy rice. But everyone didn't particularly have to have a developed taste for their combination for it to work well for JJ and Ricardo. And that was fine, until it didn't work so well anymore and someone had to pay the price.

Bye-bye, the best bloody combo since Itchy & Scratchy.

After that coaching relationship came to an end in 2011, seemingly leaving both up the proverbial tennis creek without a paddle, Sanchez briefly hooked up with the Wozniacki clan in a doomed-from-the-start set-up with the then-#1 ranked Dane. The arrangement lasted barely a fraction of the time allotted to it in the parties' contract, with Piotr W. rattling on about something about a confused Caro having too many voices competing for attention in practice. But we all knew that was "code" for "Ricardo is a little nuts, and we think we can find someone more suitable." Sanchez seemed to drift off the radar for a while... then he latched onto one of the few players on tour with a crazier playing history than JJ. Petrova.

So far, so good. But, remember, we ARE talking about Ricardo and Nadia. So expect some major bumps in the road at some point. Even so, it's nice to see Petrova smile again... and not just because she won a big doubles match.

Hmmm, you know what? Now that I think about it, setting aside whether it's been Petrova or Sanchez's (re-)rise that has been more unexpected, maybe the most nerve-rattling thing that happened last week involved the OTHER finalist in Tokyo. I mean, if you skipped out on things early after Saturday's final you might have missed it, but Aga choked up and nearly cried while addressing the crowd in the post-match ceremony. Like the human side of a nasty alter ego should, though, she managed to hold back her emotions and put up a brave face after failing to defend her title. But, naturally, I'm a little prone to tend to try to read between the lines that the tea leaves left on the crystal ball (or something like that) when it comes to The Radwanska.

You know, I don't say this sort of thing lightly... but I'm a little worried.

Is it wrong to have an eerie feeling that because of this latest development in the career of Miss Agnieszka Radwanska... something is coming? And this time it's personal. Come on, you don't think that it's a COINCIDENCE -- wink, wink -- that right after A-Rad loses in a final in Tokyo, within a few days a typhoon is bearing down on the city, do you? Do you?! Come on!

Watch your back, Nadia. That's all I'm sayin'. And now comes Beijing, which Aga ALSO won last year. Trust me... this is not the week to sleep with the lights out.

Of course, I could be the crazy one. But you know I'm not.

TOKYO, JAPAN (Premier $2.168m/HCO)
S: Nadia Petrova/RUS def. Agnieszka Radwanska/POL 6-0/1-6/6-3
D: Kops-Jones/Spears (USA/USA) d. Groenefeld/Peschke (GER/CZE)

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Nadia Petrova/RUS fitting lockstep with the general craziness of Tokyo, Petrova, so often star-crossed when it's come to injuries through the years, won the biggest title of her career one week after having to pull out of the event in Seoul with a back injury. Not only that, but the Russian had to fight just to reach the final, surviving a three-hour 3rd Round match with Petra Martic after earlier wins over Peng Shuai and Simona Halep, then coming back from a set and 4-1 down against Sara Errani in the QF. Wins over Sam Stosur and defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska gave Petrova three Top 10 wins on the week. Career title #12 is her second this season, and this is the first time she's won multiple titles in a year since 2008. So, there you have it. Proof that lightning can strike the same place twice. Ummm... sorry about that, Nadia. I didn't mean to give The Radwanska any ideas.
RISER: Agnieszka Radwanska/POL
...all right, all right. So Aga nearly let her emotions overwhelm her during the post-match ceremony after failing to defend her 2011 Tokyo title in the three-set final against Petrova. But, still, after a late summer that saw her sister Ula outperform her on the WTA circuit since A-Rad's run to the Wimbledon final, the older Radwanska sibling has now set herself up for a nice '12 follow-up to her career-redefining autumn in Asia last season. Tokyo wins over Jelena Jankovic, Jamie Hampton, Caroline Wozniacki and Angelique Kerber, the latter in a match in which Aga put up one her best A-Rad 2.0 stats -- 20 winners vs. 4 unforced errors -- more than puts her name back into the mix in the 4Q's closing weeks, no matter what the level of her shoulder soreness and/or late-season fatigue might be.
SURPRISES: Raquel Kops-Jones & Abigail Spears, USA/USA
...the OTHER all-American doubles pair -- or OTHER other, if you count the Sisters -- continues to rack up the back-half-of-the-season's hard court titles. After smaller wins in Carlsbad and, last week, Seoul, Kops-Jones & Spears took their biggest title yet in Tokyo, their third of the year and fifth overall as a duo. Incidentally, while the fortunes of this pair have improved as that of Liezel Huber & Lisa Raymond have dipped, it was sort of interesting that RKJ & Spears actually defeated the team of Raymond and Sabine Lisicki in the semifinals in Tokyo. While the pairing opened the door for some questions about the future of Raymond & Huber, the latter of which has been a lightning rod for all sorts of personality conflicts with other players over the years (unlike the well-liked Raymond), nothing huge seems to be able to be read into the Raymond/Lisicki teaming, as LH/LR (the '11 Tokyo champs, by the way) have already qualified for the WTA Championships and Huber has been nursing an injury in recent months (and went so far as to hint about it showing her age and making her think about having children soon). This week in Beijing, Raymond plays a role in a "blast from the past" doubles teaming with Samantha Stosur, who teamed with the American for 20 titles -- including two slams and two WTA Championships crowns -- from 2005-07 before the two personally parted ways, and Stosur began to focus more on her singles career.
VETERAN: Samantha Stosur/AUS
...speaking of the Aussie, Stosur is still looking for her first singles title since winning last year's U.S. Open, but she's hanging in there as the three-year anniversary of her very first career tour singles title (Osaka '09) is nearly upon us. In Tokyo, she got wins over Francesca Schiavone, Dominika Cibulkova and Maria Sharapova before falling to eventual champion Petrova in the semifinals. This was Stosur's fourth SF-or-better result in '12, and the third time she's lost to the eventual champion.
COMEBACK: Petra Martic/CRO
...Martic ended 2011 with her first Top 50 (#49) finish on the heels of her first two career tour SF appearances last season. Earlier this year, she reached her first career tour final in Kuala Lumpur, and her first slam Round of 16 in Paris. But she hasn't been able to carry over her momentum, losing much time of late due to a foot injury which cost her pretty much the entire North American hard court season, forcing her out of Stanford, Carlsbad and the Olympics (ouch). She finally returned at the U.S. Open, but wasn't really ready to make any sort of dent in anyone's game. Heading into last week's action in Tokyo, Martic had won just one match since June. She won two last week, though, defeating Andrea Petkovic and world-#5 (at least for one week, taking the "other Petra" role) Kvitova, the latter of which gave the Croat her highest-ranked career victory.
FRESH FACE: Jamie Hampton/USA
...the American notched qualifying run wins in Tokyo over Magdalena Rybarikova and Virginie Razzano, then main draw victories over Caroline Garcia and Week 38's Seoul finalist Kaia Kanepi before ultimately going out at the hands of Radwanska in the 3rd Round. It was the best result by any of the Tokyo qualifiers last week.
DOWN: Petra Kvitova/CZE
...Kvitova righted herself in time to win the U.S. Open Series, but inconsistency is still bedeviling her '12 campaign. In Tokyo, she lost her opening match to the player often referred to as the WTA's "other Petra" -- Martic. She rebounded in Beijing this weekend with a 1st Round victory over Daniela Hantuchova, but then lost 3 & 2 to Carla Suarez-Navarro today.
ITF PLAYER: Lauren Davis/USA
...a week ago, the 18-year old American lost to fellow Bannerette Maria Sanchez in a challenger final in Albuquerque. Last week in a $50K event in Las Vegas, Davis first got some revenge on Sanchez in the 1st Round, then rode the high all the way to the title, defeating 19-year old American Shelby Rogers in the final by a score of 6-7/6-2/6-2 after "leaving a little bit of herself" on the court on Sunday afternoon. In other words, at one point, she lost her lunch.
JUNIOR STARS: USA Junior Fed Cup team & Belinda Bencic/SUI

...on the red clay in Barcelona, the U.S. Junior Fed Cup team claimed this year's title, shutting out the Russians 3-0 in the final. Taylor Townsend, Gabby Andrews and -- another newcomer -- 16-year old Louisa Chirico went a combined 14-0 in singles & doubles matches over the past week. Chirico won all five of her singles matches without dropping a set. Said Townsend of Chirico, "I have a new best friend. Louisa was great to have on the team." Meanwhile, a week ago, 15-year old (New) Swiss Miss Bencic claimed her first career ITF singles crown in a $10K challenger in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. She stayed over for another event there this past week, and she won again. The first time around, she took out Barbara Haas in the semifinals before defeating Fatma Al Nabhani in the final. This time, it was Al Nabhani who was bounced in the semis, then Haas in the final.

1. Tokyo 3rd Rd - Wozniacki d. Li
Wozniacki started slowly, allowing Li to gain control, taking the opening set with a 16-1 edge in winners. Wozniacki turned things around -- or maybe Li allowed it to happen? -- and won in 2:30, saving a pair of break points when serving for the match at 5-4 in the 3rd. Ultimately, the Dane didn't FULLY carry over her Seoul momentum to Tokyo, as she went out -- HARD -- against Radwanska in the QF, but her win over Li WAS her first Top 10 win this season (her '12 win over Serena came when Williams was ranked #11), and ended a 0-7 run vs. Top 10ers that stretched back to last year's WTA Championships.
2. Tokyo QF - Petrova d. Errani

Nadia comes back from a set and 4-1 down. But, really, I'm mostly including this just so that I can use the WTA tour website's rather striking photo of Errani's eyes from last week in Tokyo.
3. Tokyo Final - Petrova d. A.Radwanska
The only active players with more career singles match wins than Nadia? Serena, Venus & Tamarine Tanasugarn.
4. Tokyo QF - Kerber walkover Azarenka (dizziness)
Vika is still picking and choosing her spots... to become the latest Backspin Pick to leave a tournament without actually losing a match point. In case you're counting, she makes three in the last two weeks. I guess I should go ahead and apologize to my Beijing "pick." Gulp. (See below why.)
5. Tokyo 2nd Rd - Stosur d. Schiavone
I hate to think it, but as her ranking has slipped as 2012 has gone along, should we be starting to contemplate the reality of a WTA tour without Francesca in the very near future? Maybe even frightening near?
6. Tokyo Doubles Final - Kops-Jones/Spears d. Groenefeld/Peschke
Is the race on to see who'll be teaming with Peschke in a Srebotnik-less tour in 2013? Will it be ALG, or will her still-going (on a lower level, for the most part) singles career make her a less-available option over the course of a full season?
7. Beijing 1st Rd. - Jankovic d. Petkovic
A nice start in China for Jankovic. But, JJ being JJ, should we really be "surprised" that she's ALSO playing doubles with Petkovic this week in Beijing? Little oddities are just par for the course with QC. Meanwhile, the FC final gets closer and closer... and we could get a JJ/Kvitova FC preview early this coming week in Beijing, too.
8. $10K Amelia Island Final - Jamie Loeb/USA d. Mari Osaka/JPN
The 17-year old Bannerette grabs her second ITF title of the season.

1. Tokyo QF - A.Radwanska d. Wozniacki
Before 2012, Wozniacki was 5-1 head-to-head against A-Rad, with five straight wins. This year, Aga is 2-0.
2. Tokyo 2nd Rd - A.Radwanska d. Jankovic
Aga just won't allow anything weird to happen when these two meet. Backspin mourns this development.
3. $50K Las Vegas 2nd Rd. - Anastasia Rodionova d. Arina Rodionova 5-2 ret.
$50K Las Vegas Doubles Final - Rodionova/Rodionova d. Bovina/Gallovits-Hall 6-2/2-6/10-6
the week didn't begin very well for the Rodionova sisters (well, at least it didn't for Arina), but it ended on a very high note for both.

**2012 Premier $2m+ WINNERS**
Doha - Victoria Azarenka, BLR
Indian Wells - Victoria Azarenka, BLR
Miami - Agnieszka Radwanska, POL
Madrid - Serena Williams, USA
Rome - Maria Sharapova, RUS
Montrea - Petra Kvitova, CZE
Cincinnati - Li Na, CHN
Tokyo - Nadia Petrova, RUS
Beijing - x
Dona - Liezel Huber/Lisa Raymond, USA/USA
Indian Wells - Liezel Huber/Lisa Raymond, USA/USA
Miami - Maria Kirilenko/Nadia Petrova, RUS/RUS
Madrid - Sara Errani/Roberta Vinci, ITA/ITA
Rome - Sara Errani/Roberta Vinci, ITA/ITA
Montreal - Klaudia Jans-Ignacik/Kristina Mladenovic, POL/FRA
Cincinnati - Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka, CZE/CZE
Tokyo - Raquel Kops-Jones/Abigail Spears, USA/USA
Beijing - x

45...Serena Williams (6 in '12)
43...Venus Williams (2010)
27...Maria Sharapova (3 in '12)
19...Caroline Wozniacki (1 in '12)
13...Svetlana Kuznetsova (2010)
12...Victoria Azarenka (4 in '12)
12...NADIA PETROVA (2 in '12)
12...Vera Zvonareva (2011)
12...Jelena Jankovic (2010)
ALSO: 12-Dinara Safina (2009)

31 - Francesca Schiavone
30 - Serena Williams (6)
30 - Li Na
29 - Roberta Vinci
28 - Daniela Hantuchova
28 - Zheng Jie
28 - Sofia Arvidsson

Sydney - Victoria Azarenka (def. Li in Final)
Hobart - Mona Barthel (def. Gajdosova in QF)
Copenhagen - Angelique Kerber (def. Wozniacki in Final)
Eastbourne - Tamira Paszek (def. Bartoli in SF)
Tokyo - NADIA PETROVA (def. A.Radwanska in Final)

Sydney - Li Na (lost to Azarenka)
Pattaya - Daniela Hantuchova (def. Kirilenko)
Copenhagen - Caroline Wozniacki (lost to Kerber)
Rome - Maria Sharapova (def. Li)
Stanford - Serena Williams (def. Vandeweghe)
Bastad - Polona Hercog (def. Johansson)
Tokyo - AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA (lost to Petrova)
ALSO: Czech Republic in Fed Cup Final

4 - Serena Williams, USA = Green Clay,Blue Clay,Grass,Hard
2 - Agnieszka Radwanska, POL = Hard,Red Clay
2 - Kaia Kanepi, EST = Hard,Red Clay
2 - NADIA PETROVA, RUS = Grass,Hard

7...Maria Sharapova (3-4)
2...Maria Kirilenko (0-2)
1...Alexandra Panova (0-1)
1...Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (0-1)
1...Elena Vesnina (0-1)

26...Maria Sharapova (2003-12)
16...Elena Dementieva (2003-10)
13...Svetlana Kuznetsova (2002-10)
12...NADIA PETROVA (2005-12)
12...Vera Zvonareva (2003-11)
12...Dinara Safina (2002-09)
10...Anastasia Myskina (1999-05)

**2012 WTA SF**
9...Victoria Azarenka (7-2)
8...Maria Sharapova (7-1)
8...Sara Errani (5-3)
7...Serena Williams (6-0 +L)
7...Petra Kvitova (2-5)

8...Sara Errani (8/0)
8...Roberta Vinci (8/0)
6...Lisa Raymond (5/1)
5...Liezel Huber (5/0)
3...Andrea Hlavackova (3/0)
3...Lucie Hradecka (3/0)
3...Sania Mirza (2/1)

BEIJING, CHINA (Premier $4.828m/hard outdoor)
11 Final: A.Radwanska d. Petkovic
11 Doubles Champions: Peschke/Srebotnik
12 Top Seeds: Azarenka/Sharapova

#6 Stosur d. #1 Azarenka (just playing the odds that Vika might pull out/retire early on again)
#3 A.Radwanska d. #10 Wozniacki
#3 A.Radwanska d. #6 Stosur an interview back in January, Aga said that "the athlete who needs a psychologist is not suitable for sport." So what does she think about a Backspinner who is obviously a glutton for punishment?

Probably nothing much. So, according to the "natural" order of things, last week's Azarenka/Sharapova pick, just like my Petrova-wins-a-title one from the week before, will probably end up coming true a week late.

All for now.


Blogger jo shum said...

The picture of errani is unreal , look at those blue eyes!!
Beijing is a biggie, so I suspect vika will try to play if her health holds up. But then you never know... Petrova might be on high, and she might relish a revenge against sharapova as she was so close in beating her in US open. Plus Maria doesn't seem to play too well last week.
What is wrong with kvitova?
Li Na should be very motivated to gets wins to get into year end championship . Can't wait to see the second round.

Mon Oct 01, 08:15:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

I'm just trying to avoid being The Radwanska's target. :D

Mon Oct 01, 10:48:00 AM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

Just to substantiate my thought, I think vika likes china. See in the YouTube, the fans sang for her! Incredible. :o

Mon Oct 01, 01:07:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

That was nice, Jo. Thank for sharing the link!

(Of course, I'm sure if certain TV commentators were to watch it, they'd skip over the music and heartwarming fan reactions and say, "Hey, she wasn't grunting when she was practicing!") ;)

Mon Oct 01, 02:51:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

The front gutter of my house collapsed yesterday; I don't think avoidance is possible.

Tue Oct 02, 01:00:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

It. Has. Begun.

Tue Oct 02, 12:24:00 PM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

todd, one more link, the highlights of vika's second round, in between the games, the camera shows the fans holding up her photos and all dress in red. i have never seen organized fans of vika...

Tue Oct 02, 10:06:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Haha! That's great! It's like the winning board in a game of Tic-Tac-Vika!

On a side note... none of that frilly stuff for her! She's dressed in all black. Well, almost all black. Very warrior-like. No wonder The Radwanska shivers in her presence.

Tue Oct 02, 11:22:00 PM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

tic-tac-vika! what a description. haha. really, i couldn't have imagined, of all places, vika gathers most fans in china! now i have to search carefully for next match of li na to watch the fans reaction.

on grunting issue, i can't stop smiling at the responses of maria and vika. maria is kind of saying politely, do whatever you want as long as you don't bother me. vika is just blunt in really saying i don't care, period.

Sharapova commented, “I started grunting since whenever I can remember. The information going towards coaches and academies that are developing talent from a young age is teaching them a certain breathing technique. Because when you start something from a young age and continue it, it’s a habit—whether you do grunt or don't grunt. The WTA created a plan. That’s the smart way to go about it, rather than like taking someone’s forehand and grip in the middle of their career and telling them to change it.”

On the otehr hand, Azarenka did not seem too impressed with the plan. “Good luck with that. I don’t know what’s going to happen, they are trying they are not trying; until they decide something there’s nothing to talk about.”

on the other note of AO raising 10M more prize money in response to ATP, does it mean it will raise both for ATP and WTA?

Tue Oct 02, 11:34:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Hoergren said...

WTA tour site had a funny (I think) way to describe Carolines latest win:

"Caroline Wozniacki nearly followed Stosur to the sidelines but pulled off a Houdini-like victory against Chinese Taipei's Hsieh Su-Wei". "Houdini-like" never seen that before!

Wed Oct 03, 09:06:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...


Actually, that's a pretty common phrase in the American media for sports "escapes with a victory." I'm sure even I've probably used it a couple of times -- though I would likely have said "Houdini-esque" -- over the years, but don't ask me for an example! :D


Well, since the AO's money has been distributed evenly in the past, I'm guessing the increase will be split between the men and women. If it wasn't the case, I'm sure that would have been a point of emphasis in the news stories about the increase, complete with "instant responses" from the usual WTA spokespeople/ex-players/current players, considering the tournament's history.

Maria knows what's important to HER, even if she isn't TOTALLY open about it. :)

Vika is just a Blunt Betty. I like it!

Wed Oct 03, 09:50:00 AM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

i am loving aga's game more and more. even with her leg injured, it's still very crafty and entertaining. i now declare that she is my second favorite player on tour. 'wink, wink'.

caro is improving her aggression. what changed her mind? out of top 10 may have spurred the determination. and no more moon balls too! just going for her shots even making a few unforced errors on the way.

i am watching kerber and caro playing and both players have very similar style. fascinating, like playing with a mirror. 1 set a piece, 2 all.. mmm. but kerber mentality is not as strong as caro. she loses her temper, she is quite bad in regaining control over her shots.

Thu Oct 04, 06:29:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Right now, I think you're off The Rad's radar, Jo. Good for you!

Although, next time you might want to put it THIS way (just to be safe... I'm lookin' out for ya, you know):

"i now declare that she is my (edited out) favorite player."


Thu Oct 04, 11:29:00 AM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

redfoo shouting for vika during his own show?!

Fri Oct 05, 02:32:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Hoergren said...

Caroline was playing well against a good player. Kerber made it difficult for herself using so much effort - going down in the quarters and even retiring. Don't know why Caroline gets the fight up in everybody she plays so they play the best they can, but we've seen a lot of matches like that during 2012. I think there is a turning point with Caro getting her play stabilished and agressive (yes it's there). Looking forward to 2013 where I think we'll see a "reborn" Caroline.

Fri Oct 05, 02:41:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

See, like I "predicted," the Vika/Maria final becomes reality the week AFTER I picked it. :\

Sat Oct 06, 10:09:00 AM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

yes todd, you predicted well, as you said according to the natural order of thing. :o and how good is this: top 2 seeds in the last mandatory premier, both playing extremely well (i personally think they both play better than earlier in the season) that i don't actually want either one to lose.

Sat Oct 06, 10:38:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Hoergren said...

Just saw the final from Beijing. A steamrollin Vika composed by efficiency, lineshots, great serves and mixed with a great Wozniacki defense - sorry i bring her up, but she's the biggest defense game of them all, but here Vika was as good. Congrats with an impressive win.

Sun Oct 07, 09:15:00 AM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

i don't think vika played great. though she played an excellent match against bartoli and got her revenge, that was something!

today, it only showed so blatantly that sharapova just doesn't have a plan B on a bad serving day. vika was mentally composed (except a bit wobbly in the last game.. and that's why she lost the US open too), she fended off multiple breakpoints in her games while relentlessly pursuing breakpoints of sharapova putting so much pressure that forced the 30+ unforced errors. i am so happy for vika! finally won again, to finish the season as she started it. coming to the final, i did think it was dependent on vika's mental state more than maria's. she must have remembered how slow she started in US open and would not want to repeat any of those comeback performances again, and there she had to start agressively, which worked like magic.

so todd, and congrats you did pick your winner a week ago. see, vika just picked and chose where she played, plus i am not sure she wants to play linz now next week. :o

by the way, this new 'tennis ball' background of the blog is a bit fancy... having a hard time reading the words...

Sun Oct 07, 09:48:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Boy Interrupted said...

I absolutely love this blog and read it very avidly, but i have bad eyes and the black background is like torture for them :-(
I used to copy/paste and read it on a text editor but now when I paste it I get the exact background as well
Help :-)

Sun Oct 07, 12:19:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...


Just the words in the posts? I can try to make it a solid color behind the posts, if that might work.

Michel -

The problem is, because I use so much colored text, if I changed it to a light background, some of the text in the old posts -- when I'd used gold and yellow text -- would totally disappear into the white. I've been considering turning this URL into an "archive" and starting fresh on a new one, where I could address that issue anew, though, and have everything afterward be a better fit. But, at the moment, I'm having some issues with setting up the template there the way I'd like.

What if I could make the text here a bit of a bigger, bolder font against the dark background. Do you think that might solve any of that?

Sun Oct 07, 01:42:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Zidane said...

I agree with jo - the new background is not easy to read. Too much jumping back and forth from black to grey, the eyes don't like it.

It seems it has two parts: one for the text zones, one for the rest. Maybe you could change it for the main text zones?

Sun Oct 07, 02:13:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

I'll make it all black behind the posts. It doesn't look that difficult on my screen, but I think my settings are a bit darker than "normal."

I did something similar on ATP Backspin, too. How's IT look as far as "readability?"

Sun Oct 07, 02:20:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

I made a few of the changes: black text area background, increased text size.

I might try another font, too, amongst other things. I've been trying to fiddle, and will continue from now until the start of '13 to try to change the appearance of things a little.

Michel -
I don't know why your copy-and-paste appearance changed. I'm not sure what I did, but I probably did it yesterday. Maybe I put the tennis ball background in a place I shouldn't have. Hopefully, the larger text will, for now, at least help a little. I'll see what else I can do this week.

I'll post a comment when I try to do something, then see if you or anyone else thinks it helped.

I'm trying... I don't want The Radwanska to get It's hooks into YOU, too!

Sun Oct 07, 04:04:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Zidane said...

Perfect! Thank you!

Sun Oct 07, 04:47:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

One problem down! Numerous others to go!


Sun Oct 07, 04:58:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Zidane said...

Well, the next problem to face is probably: how can Sharapova learn to become a threat to Azarenka or Serena? That is a real "Houston, we have a problem" case.

The way she handles these moments is becoming a farce.

Sun Oct 07, 05:47:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

She has had something of a feast-or-famine season, hasn't she?

Sun Oct 07, 05:52:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Boy Interrupted said...

Todd, I understand what you say about the lighter font/color clash, but a regular html version would be great but anyway, I will still read your blog no matter what :-)

Tue Oct 09, 01:07:00 PM EDT  

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