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Rafael Nadal tested early at the 2011 U.S. Open

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seth-edward-oneal.jpgAnd it came from an unlikely challenge too.

The last time the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd beheld Rafael Nadal, he was facedown on the court, his body convulsing in sobs. The occasion was the 2010 United States Open final, where Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic in four sets to complete a career Grand Slam.

Nadal, 25, opened the defense of his title Tuesday against Andrey Golubev at the 2011 U.S. Open the same way he had secured the victory against Djokovic, by holding serve. That was where the comparisons ended. Armed with a big serve and a laser forehand, Golubev, the 98th-ranked player in the world, gave Nadal all the power he could handle before falling, 6-3, 7-6 (1), 7-5, in 2 hours 49 minutes.

So happy for the victory,” Nadal said, adding, “I think I didn’t play that bad. The mental part was positive tonight. The tennis for sure can improve.”

The 24-year-old Andrey Golubev did not look like a player who had recently ended a 17-match winless streak. He had seven set points, the first five on his serve in the second set, and was up a double break in the third. That Golubev could not close out either set had less to do his lack of nerve than Nadal’s abundance of it.

Nadal produced his best shots at key moments. He hit a backhand passing shot on the run to earn a break and put himself in position to serve for the first set. On match point, he hit as pretty a forehand passing shot as you will ever see.

If you don’t think about the points, it was not bad…”

Read More » Rafael Nadal tested early at the 2011 U.S. Open

Can Rafael Nadal ever claim the no.1 spot again?

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For the first time since 2002, somebody other than Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer won Wimbledon.

Fittingly, that same player is the first No. 1 player in the world since 2004 other than Nadal and Federer. That player, is Novak Djokovic. The question now for Nadal is can he reclaim the No. 1 ranking in the sport again.

The former no.1 player in the world, Rafael Nadal, leaves the All England Club having lost two of his most prized possessions in tennis – the Wimbledon title and the No.1 ranking. The man who has robbed him of both, Djokovic, beat him in the Wimbledon final 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3.

The scene at the All England Club was almost too perfect. The second he dispatched Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semifinals, Djokovic had clinched the top spot in the ATP rankings. In the final, he was set to face Nadal, the very man he would knock from the throne of men’s tennis.

Even if Nadal defeated Djokovic, the 24-year-old Serbian was still going to be the No.1 player in the world. The question was whether or not Nadal could show this relative upstart who the real top dog was.

Alas, Nadal was not up to the task, as Djokovic beat him in four sets.

The Wimbledon final was merely the latest stop on what has been a dominant…

Read More » Can Rafael Nadal ever claim the no.1 spot again?

What’s next for Maria Sharapova?

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seth-edward-oneal.jpgIt was another disappointment for our favorite Russian goddess in Wimbledon.

In case you didn’t know, Sharapova came this close from winning her first grand slam in what has been one long stretch of disappointments. She would have liked to have won the 2011 Wimbledon women’s singles title, however the Russian suffered a defeat at the hands of Petra Kvitova in the final as the Czech star claimed her first Grand Slam title.

Despite that, Maria Sharapova was still gracious in defeat, she believes the Wimbledon title can launch a glittering career for tennis’ brightest new star Petra Kvitova. The 21-year-old Czech made her grand slam breakthrough in stunning fashion with a nerveless performance to beat former champion Sharapova 6-3 6-4. Kvitova became the youngest Wimbledon champion since a 17-year-old Sharapova won the title in 2004, and the first player born in the 1990s to win a grand slam.

Sharapova expects her to stay at the top after observing the improvements she has made to her game. The Russian said, “I think she’s a much more powerful hitter, she has bigger strokes, and I would say probably a better serve. She’s a grand slam champion. She has a tremendous amount of potential to go even further and achieve many great things.”

With the frequent absence of the Williams sisters, the retirement of Justine Henin and Sharapova’s injury troubles, women’s tennis has been crying out for new names to come through and seize the moment. Kvitova did just that, but she was reluctant to herald the dawn of a new era, saying, “It can be, but we know the Williams sisters want to again be the best players in the world so I don’t know.”

The first real indication that Kvitova could join the elite came at…

Read More » What’s next for Maria Sharapova?

 

Novak Djokovic wins the 2011 Wimbledon

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Holy shit. He really did it.

In case you haven’t heard, Novak Djokovic became the no.1 ranked player in the world after beating Rafael Nadal to win the 2011 Wimbledon Championships.

Novak Djokovic said he was ecstatic after adding the Wimbledon title to his new status as world number one. Despite a third-set wobble the Serb, 24, beat Rafael Nadal 6-4 6-1 1-6 6-3 to secure his third Grand Slam title.

Djokovic, who ensured he would displace Rafael Nadal at the top of the rankings by winning his semi-final on Friday, said. “I achieved a lifetime goal and I made my dream come true in three days.”

“It’s an amazing feeling I won’t forget and it’s the best day of my career.”

Djokovic guaranteed he would be world number one in the new rankings when he beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the last four and he followed up by outplaying defending champion Nadal on Centre Court on Sunday.

“For these kind of days, I was practising every day, being dedicated, being a tennis professional,” he said. “Any athlete in the world dreams of being number one. This is something that gives us a lot of motivation. So finally when you really do it and when you know that you’re the best, it’s just an amazing…”

Read More » Novak Djokovic wins the 2011 Wimbledon

Maria Sharapova doing just fine at the 2011 Wimbledon

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It’s so nice to see Sharapova doing great on the tennis courts again.

From being one of tennis’ brightest teen sensations, Maria Sharapova is now one of the experienced veterans at the 2011 Wimbledon Championships.

Yes, Maria Sharapova, at 24, is the oldest of the women’s semifinalists at the All England Club, and the most experienced at that. Being the veteran is new for Sharapova, who was just 17 when she won her only Wimbledon title in 2004.

The other three semifinalists; Victoria Azarenka, Petra Kvitova, and Sabine Lisicki, are all 21 and have no Grand Slam finals among them. Only Kvitova has reached a Grand Slam semifinal before, having made the last four at Wimbledon last year.

This is why people already expect Sharapova to win her first Wimbledon since 2004. But as far as Sharapova is concerned, she doesn’t see it as an advantage.

”I think a few years don’t really make that much of a difference,” the fifth-seeded Sharapova said. ”I think maybe if I achieved big things when I was a little bit older, not 17, maybe I wouldn’t be seen as more of a veteran. I’d still be considered young.”

”But I don’t regret for a second that I had a lot of success when I was young…”

Read More » Maria Sharapova doing just fine at the 2011 Wimbledon

We still love the hot and sexy Maria Sharapova

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The 2010 season has not been kind to the sexy Russian goddess.

After playing two exhibition tournaments in Asia, Maria Sharapova officially began her season at the Australian Open, where she was upset in her first round by Maria Kirilenko. The loss meant that for the first time since 2003, Sharapova had lost her opening match at a Grand Slam event. Immediately bouncing back, she competed in the Cellular South Cup, winning her 21st career WTA title and first of the year.

At the BNP Paribas Open, Sharapova lost in the third round to Zheng Jie, aggravating a bruised bone on her right elbow in the process, which resulted in her eventual withdrawal from the Sony Ericsson Open, and the Family Circle Cup.

Returning at the 2010 Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open, Sharapova lost in the first round to Lucie Šafářová. She continued her French Open preparation at the Internationaux de Strasbourg with her first title on red clay and 22nd overall title. Her brief clay season culminated with a third round loss to four-time champion Justine Henin at the French Open. It was her seventh loss to the Belgian in ten career meetings.

Sharapova began her preparations for Wimbledon by making the final of the AEGON Classic for the fourth time since 2007, losing there to Li Na. As the 16th seed at Wimbledon, she made it to the fourth round before losing to world No. 1 and eventual champion Serena Williams, despite having three set points in the opening set. The match was seen as another encouraging performance for Sharapova, with some stating their belief that she was approaching the form that would see her contending for Grand Slams once more.

Sharapova started her US Open Series campaign in Stanford…

Read More » We still love the hot and sexy Maria Sharapova

Sharapova is stroking balls perfectly in the US Open

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Yep, she’s still in there people.

Maria Sharapova knows the story all too well: An unknown American kid shows up at the 2010 U.S. Open, upsets a seeded player, gains some buzz and belief, then gets a shot at Sharapova in the third round.

In 2009, that kid was Melanie Oudin, who beat Maria Sharapova en route to the quarterfinals. In 2010, that kid was Beatrice Capra and, well, let’s just say that Sharapova fared a little better this time around.

Overwhelmed by the stage, the circumstances, the 25 mph wind that knocked the neon lime visor off her head during a point, and — most of all — a solid Sharapova, the 18-year-old Capra didn’t win a game, let alone the match. Instead, 2006 U.S. Open champion Sharapova set up a fourth-round showdown with No. 1-seeded Caroline Wozniacki by blanking the 371st-ranked Capra 6-0, 6-0 on Saturday in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“This was a new day,” said Sharapova, the first woman to win love-and-love at the U.S. Open in the third round or later since Martina Navratilova did it in the 1989 quarterfinals. “And what happened last year — I didn’t really want to go into the match thinking about it.”

On her very first serve of the afternoon, Capra nearly sailed the ball all the way to the opposite baseline. That might have been a result of nerves and the ever-swirling wind, which made the U.S. flag above the stadium flap loudly and caused four midpoint stoppages in play when debris rolled onto the court. Plenty of brown, concession-stand napkins and one plastic sandwich bag floated out of the stands; even two white towels made like tumbleweed.

“This is probably the toughest conditions we’re going to get…”

Read More » Sharapova is stroking balls perfectly in the US Open

Can Maria Sharapova go deep for us at the US Open?

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The seeds are in and just like every other Grand Slam tournament, we’re rooting for Maria Sharapova to avoid yet another early round exit.

That’s right, the seeds for the 2010 U.S. Open are in and Caroline Wozniacki will quickly get to prove whether she’s a deserving top seed or whether she’s Dinara Safina 2.0.

You see, the 20-year-old had the misfortune of seeing the name of a certain Maria Sharapova drawn to the top half of her quarter, setting up a possible fourth-round matchup and she knows that the entire male population, except maybe for her dad, will be rooting against her.

On the bottom, Li Na and 2004 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova are scheduled for a fourth-rounder of their own.

The bottom half of the left side is wide open for Jelena Jankovic. For what is anyone’s guess. No. 15-seed Yanina Wickmayer has been mired in a slump this summer, but a return to the semis at Flushing Meadows isn’t out of the question.

Wimbledon finalist Vera Zvonareva is perched at the bottom of the quarter and a potential crying jag in the form of young American Coco Vandeweghe sits in round two.

Melanie Oudin couldn’t have asked for a better draw. The struggling teen gets a qualifier in round one and then another winnable match against either a qualifier or No. 117 Sophie Ferguson in the second.

This is the most wide open of the quarters, which has to…

Read More » Can Maria Sharapova go deep for us at the US Open?

Can Rafael Nadal come out of the 2010 US Open No.1?

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seth-edward-oneal.jpgMany are calling for Rafael Nadal to complete his career year as the top ranked player ins the world.

You read it, Nadal and his nemesis Roger Federer are the co-favorites for the 2010 US Open. I would be great if Rafa wins the US Open and end up on top of the food chain again, the problem is, he hasn’t even made it to the Grand Slam’s finals yet.

Even so with Rafael Nadal being such a dominant player over the last few months, him and Federer are considered to be equally capable of winning the 2010 US Open, at least in terms of betting odds.

Still, I can’t blame you if you would probably put Nadal as the actual favorite as Roger Federer did not win last year and has only played worse since the 2009 US Open with the exception of the late rounds of the Australian Open.

With Federer, his odds are based on results from years gone by but he has clearly lost his edge since winning the 2010 Australian Open. Instead of being looked at as a key contender, Federer should be considered an outside threat and in order to make a confident value bet on him, you need odds of about (12/1), maybe longer.

Tomas Berdych was looking good in the futures market prior to Wimbledon but that was when he was coming in at (66/1) or so in the outright winner’s market. Due to his finals appearance at the All England Club, his betting prices have shortened in the futures markets and with that his value has diminished. He’s an outside threat as well but (14/1) is too short on this player as his true odds might be more like (25/1).

Keep in mind that he doesn’t close out tournaments, even when…

Read More » Can Rafael Nadal come out of the 2010 US Open No.1?

This bitch is ready for the 2010 US Open

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seth-edward-oneal.jpgThe 2010 US Open starts in late August and Serena Williams is considered one the favorites.

The 2010 US Open is still over a month away however betting lines are open in the women’s futures market already. Serena Williams is the clear favorite as the top ranked player in the world and holder of two current Grand Slam titles.

Kim Clijsters is the second favorite as the defending champion and a player who has won at Flushing Meadows in her last two visits to the tournament.

Venus Williams is 30 and her best tennis is behind her. Her best Slam has always been Wimbledon so her quarterfinal exit in that tournament this year should shatter the confidence of her punters. She hasn’t won the US Open since 2001 and she’s very unlikely to win it again so you might put her way out at about +2500 in terms of true odds.

Victoria Azarenka had a good showing at the other hard court Slam, the Australian Open, and she showed some life just prior to Wimbledon. But it’s possible that her loss to Serena Williams in the Aussie quarters was disturbing as she, Azarenka, appeared to have the match at hand up a set and two breaks before losing. She has descended down the rankings significantly since the end of the Aussie. She’s only made the 4th round once at Flushing Meadows and her results from 2010 have dipped compared to her 2009 results.

Regarding Samantha Stosur there is no reason to believe that she is anything except for a clay courter when it comes to Slams. Her best singles result outside of the French Open is a couple of 4th round Aussie appearances but at the US Open she has NEVER…

Read More » This bitch is ready for the 2010 US Open



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