Procrastination (But I Digress)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Chasing Gold

Yes, it is Olympic Tennis time! NBC has gratiously put all of the tennis on Bravo, a station that I get, but I am not home to see my dvr (drats). However, after killing a bunch of trees, I was able to print out some semblence of a draw to figure out where we stood as far as chasing that gold.

Venus and Serena are both still in singles and doubles. Their next doubles match is against the Italians Errani and Vinci. Errani was in the finals at the French and the Italian team is seeded number two. This will be a big test for the Williams. Also on their side of the draw, should they defeat the Italians are either the Russians Petrova (my favorite "doesn't win very much" player) and Kirilenko (no slouch) OR the Chinese, Peng and Zheng--not the best Chinese tennis players, but again, no slouches (especially Zheng--I am surprised that she is not seeded higher--she is very good).

On the other side of the doubles draw at the top and seeded number one is the American team of Huber and Raymond. They are seasoned and awesome doubles players and if the Williams make it through, we could have an all American finals match to decide gold and silver.

Mixed doubles hasn't started yet, but Huber and Raymond are pairing off with the Bryan brothers, so USA has a good shot at some medals in mixed doubles as well. They have the most experience at mixed doubles. The other teams include the team to watch Robson/Murray, from Great Britian. They will be big favorites. And my personal favorite, Stosur/Hewitt from Australia. I'm a big fan of theirs.

Men's doubles (except for the Bryans and Switzerland Federer/Wawrinka) most teams haven't played as a doubles team before (that I've seen which probably isn't saying much--oh well). Anyhow, I'm liking the Spaniards Ferrer and Lopez, but otherwise, I'm for the Mike and Bob (Bryan) all the way to Gold.

We are in the Third Round for the Women and my favorite player who hardly ever wins, Nadia Petrova for Russia is still in it, but she plays the number one seed, Azarenka--I'm not getting my hopes up. Venus has a tough match up against the German, Kerber who has been playing very well lately. I am pretty sure that if Serena's serve stays tough, she will have no problem against her third round opponent, Zvonareva (Russian). Carolyn Wozniacki (Denmark) or Cinderella as I like to call her should be able to take Hantuchova, but she never gets to go to the finals, because then she'll have to play Serena. If Serena and Venus win, then we'll have the sisters in the Semi-finals.

On the other side of the Women's draw, Kim Clijsters is in her last olympics and she has a great shot against Ivonovic, but Maria Sharapova is her next match and this is Maria's year. Maria Sharapova is in her first olympics--that is astounding. She is playing for Russia (even though she lives in the USA) and she got to carry their flag. Russia goes way up in my esteem for giving such a great athlete with a questionable residency that honor. She's probably going to face Kvitova (although Goerges has been playing really well for Germany). So I forsee a Russia (Maria) v. USA (Serena) finals and I'm liking Serena's chances to tie her sister in all time number of gold metals (they each have two for doubles, but Venus also has one for singles).

And then there is the men's. If Nadal was playing in these olympics it would be the same final four that we see over and over in all of the tournaments: Federer, Djokovic and Murray. Well Federer, Djokovic and Murray look to have fairly easy draws through (except Djokovic is going to have a rematch with Tsonga who beat him a few weeks ago) The new fourth will either be Ferrer who is fierce or Del Potro who has not played as well after recovering from injuries last year, but is still a big man with big power. I think we might have a Murray/Federer Final and I'm liking Murray's chances finally. It would be awesome for him to win Gold in Great Britian.

So USA still has some excellent changes for gold and I will have a lot of tennis to watch on my dvr when I get back to it this weekend--Yea!

Monday, July 02, 2012

The Greatest Day in Tennis

Everyone plays (unless it rains).  Well it did rain, but not before we got most of the Women's matches played.  Azaranka was the last woman's match against Ivanovic--no problem under the roof.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Here's a pop quiz:  What is Middle Sunday? (MS for short)?  What is a Golden Set?  Serena had no idea what it was.  What is the roof?  (That's a trick question, because of course a roof is a roof).  Who's getting a bald spot?  (or who else--I only really noticed one guy's hair because I was noticing the other guy's hair grew out).  Answers will be in the comments--so all you get are personal honorary bragging rights.

So today was the greatest day in tennis, because at Wimbledon, the first monday of the second week, everyone in the round of 16 plays a match.  It is kind of tough on some of them, because one side of the draw also plays tomorrow, while the other side of the draw gets a break, but that's how the ball bounces. 

Today I had plans of waking at 4 a.m. so that I wouldn't miss any of the action.  However, when I turned off my alarm for the sixth time (hurring so that they couldn't give me the breaking tennis news before I had a chance to play it on the dvr) it was 8 before I got up.  I don't even get up that late to go to work--talk about choking under pressure, but I digress.

I had to stop the dvr so that I could check out the eight screens that direct tv gives me.  There were lots of great matches going on, but I decided that Serena was the most important match and went back to the dvr, foregoing eight screens of live tennis.  It was a bold, agressive move that paid off for me, since Serena's match was all the more exciting since I did not know who won and the rain stopped all of the other matches.  Score!

Serena looked to have the match well contained in the first set, hardly breaking a sweat.  The second set, she got, well, it really looked like she actually got nervous and Shvedova won the second set.  Serena worked hard to keep it close in the third set.  There were some long games that Shvedova did not convert and Serena held on to her serve.  Finally, she got a break on Shvendova and took the final set.  It should have been easy for the future gold metalist.  It was not.

Over to Kvitova versus Schiavone.  I don't like Schiavone--I don't know why.  She's scrappy and fast, but she grunts really ugly (so does Sharapova and I don't hold it against her--so this dislike is a mystery).  Kvitova on the other hand has a really engaging smile.  She is a very good player and somewhat consistant--very rare in the women's game these days.  I also think that she is Azarenka's twin.  Everytime I see Kvitova, I think it is Azarenka and vise versa.  When I turned on the Azarenka match, I immediatly thought, why is Kvitova playing again today.  So silly, but I digress.  I didn't get to see the end of Kvitova's match, but I was glad she won.  She is going to be a very tough challenge for Serena--Pam, Mary Jo and I are all looking forward to it.  (Pam Schriver and Mary Jo Fernandez are the commentators that I like).

So Lisikci looks pretty solid and Sharapova lost in the 4th round.  She's been playing so well, Maria, it was bound to catch up to her.  And this is a repeat match up of last years semi finals, in which Maria beat her.  That looks like Lisikci's best result in her career, that semi final, so that is a bad break for Maria to get her on a day she's playing so well.  She's made the fourth round at the Australian and US Open, and I predict that Kerber will hand her a quarter round exit next. 

Kerber wiped the floor with Kimmy Clijsters.  I was very worried that Kim would not take a single game in that second set.  I didn't get to see Paszek play, but hopefully I will catch her next match with Azarenka--should be a good match.  If Serena survives Kvitova, she'll play her twin Azarenka and if she survives the number two in the world, then Serena is sure to win the whole thing, because the other side of the draw is wide open.  I don't think any of the four on that side has gone to a finals--maybe Radwanska.  Shouldn't be any problem for Serena, Victoria or Petra--whoever comes out of the bottem half of the draw.  Too bad Maria or Kim couldn't get past this round.

On the men's side, I almost don't care.  My Nadal is out.  One of the commentators said that it is too much to go from clay to grass in only two weeks and whoever makes the finals, has the least amount of time to make the adjustment.  I'm familiar with the concept no excuses, but it's a nice warm blanket on a chilly night.

Well it was nice to see Youzhny get through to the fourth round.  It has been a long time coming and he's a very good player who never wins.  (Kind of like James Blake).  Federer got though Malisse (no surprise), but he needed an injury time out for which he apoligized.  That is a surprise.  I don't think he will have a problem against Youzhney, but if he retires and Youzhney gets through, that will be a big boost for Djokovic who can easily handle his next round and Youzhney.  Federer is the only real challenge on the top of the draw.  The bottem half of the draw was delayed for rain.  I'm so glad.  I would have taken the whole day off work to see Del Potro v. Ferrer.  And Fish is up a set on Tsonga--how awesome would it be for Fish to get though to the next round.  Cilic could use the rain break, but I'm not sure it will be enough to help him against Murray.  And I am very much looking forward to seeing Baker v. Kohlschreber.  Kohl is ranked much higher, but Baker is surprising everyone, so I am looking forward to seeing them play.  The men's matches that are shaping up look really, really interesting.  I'm am hopeful that I will get to see it all bright and early tomorrow morning 4 a.m., no excuses.