Monday, 11 October 2010

Commonwealth success, and Asian leg tennis

Two lots of tennis at once, like those buses I've heard about but never actually expereinced- I think they only turn up in London?  But there's the China Open (for the boys and girls, but theyve only been showing the women's matches on Eurosport), as well as the Commonwealth games in Delhi which wrapped up its tennis in a week (take that grand slams).  I'm afraid Ive missed much of the China Open, our TV remote broke and while we waited for the replacement (which arrived looking entirely black, sleek, and sexy) I found flicking from Commonwealth games on channel 101 (BBC one) to China Open on 521 (Eurosport) manually somewhat time consuming, thus defeating its purposes as quick flicking.  So I opted the the games- seeing lots of swimming, athletics, and all those other sports that no one really cares about but then England wins a bunch of medals so we kinda do, like archery.

Tennis from Delhi wasn't shown much but I did get to see lovely Jamie Murray (sigh, soon to be married :( ) win his first round singles match to a largely empty crowd (literally about 8 Scottish team mates), but alas he lost his second round match and all his doubles.  I'm sure I had a screen capture of him playing, but I can't find- it's ok though because he wasn't smiling at all, even after he won.  Hope he isn't getting a touch of the Andys?  Scotland did have success in the mixed doubles- Colin Fleming (AKA the cute one) and Joss Rae (started off as 'some girl' ended up as 'really good player who held it together') won the gold. Woo, and England won silver in the men's doubles- Skupsi and Hutchins.  Sania Mirza won in the women's doubles but only took Silver in the women's singles.  The stadium that had been almost entirely empty in previous rounds was packed full and super noisey as Mira played. 

She's the Indian superstar you see, young, pretty, and talented she represents India almost single handedly.  She's also a Muslim who wears sexy dresses, and says that sex before marriage is ok as long as its safe, and married a divorced Pakistani cricketer.  Erm you remember that story right? She was engaged to someone else, that ended and a few months later she was engaged to Shoaib Malik.  He, it turned out, was already married to a woman he had never met and had married over the phone.  He claimed she had lied to him and he had married another woman over the phone.  Well that's ok then Shoaib.  Anyway, one quickie divorce later, he and Sania were married.
Men go a little more casual it seems.
As well as the intensity of the crowd, the heat, and the opposition (Australian Rodionova) there were bugs.
Lots of bugs.  Yuck.
This is the surface of the court, as the bugs fall out of the sky.         
 Back to China (in our hearts, we never left), and really like to make stuff shaped like stuff huh? The bird's nest staduim for athletics, and bubble cube thing for swimming, and the lotus flower National Tennis Centre.  I think the Bird's Nest is best, but still its a nice thought imo.  And Wozniaki (who becomes world nu,ber one today) is up against Zvoarava (this year's Wimbledon and US Open finalist).  The rain stopped play yesterday, after the Bryan brothers had won their doubles final.  So Djockovic had to wait until today to beat Ferrer in straight sets- goodo Djocko- and Woz and Zvon are in a third set even as wel speak.  Its a good little match from two players who have played so well this year they both have something to prove, if that makes sense.  For Wozniaki it would look bad to lose a match the same day she becomes number one, and for Zvonarava it would help her confidence muchly to actually win in a final.  Also there's the small matter of $750,000 for the winner.   It's currently a set all, but 3-0 to Woz in the third.  Not a true reflection on the match imo as Wozniaki, despite being a grown woman, and world number one, doesn't seem to be able to complete a set without calling for her daddy.  Yes, he is also her coach, and yes players on the WTA are allowed to call their coaches on during matches for advice, but still.  She was down a break in the first set until he talked some sense into her and she won the set, simalr story in the second only his advice obviously wasn't as helpful as she lost that set.  I think figuring out strategy,  adapting to changing circumstances in matches, and making split-second decisions is an important part of being a professional tennis player- of course your coach helps to prepare you before the match but you wouldn't expect him to come on court and play your backhands for you if they were giving you a bit of bother that day.  Would you?
If you're the one that's gonna walk home with a $750,000 cheque in your back pocket, then you should be the one that actually plays the match.  The commentators disagree of course, its a wonderful addition to the game, mainly because it made Wozniaki play better (hmm so might performance enhancing drugs or a three hour mid match kip, doesn't mean it's a good idea).  Oh jeepers- she's 4-1 up and he's still coming on.  tbh, I'm not sure she asks for him as much as he justs walks on, which is what you get if your dad coaches you I guess.  Also, shes got a new ugly dress which is almost the same as the last one but with sheer arms.  Just odd.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Asian leg

So to the last bit of the year- actually important tournaments, only for the super high rankers, but also no one quite cares because the last Grand Slam of the year (the US Open) has been and gone and everyones getting a bit tired of this tennis malarky.  Its all gone Asian though, which is nice cos the main tour doesn't seem to swing by this neck of the woods during the rest of the year, although shame to see that not many people in Tokyo seem to care as the large staduim is left mainly empty.  I know its hard to get people on a weekday daytime to come to tennis, and I do think its good for tournaments to be in Asia, but it should be the responsibility of the tournament to ensure a good crowd. 

It must be awfully demoralising for the players to play in front of so few people, especially as these tournaments are dominated by top players, it creates a lame ass atmosphere and looks pretty rubbish on the ole TV.  I feel this is more of a problem on the womens tour, I don't get to see the mens much so I may be wrong, but I don't trust tournament organisers to advertise 'women's tennis' (some different creature from regular tennis) as well as mens.  And if you're gonna have a tier one event (the biggest apart from grand slams) which top players are often required to play, then you should show you deserve it.

Woz after winning. Nice Plate imo.
Anyway, Wozniaki (blonde, Danish, millionaire, talented, and annoyingly pleasant, although she did say that her short US Open dress was good as it got her male fans which is obviously a dumb thing to say, not least because she was wearing what looked like a dress made out of a scuba suit, or perhaps rubber tubing) just won her 11th title by beating Dementiava in Tokyo.  Date Krumh excited home fans as the 40year old beat defending champ Sharapova and Hanuchova before falling to Schiavone.  And British child Laura Robson managed to qualify (winning three matches) before losing to Greta Arn (dunno).  So that's sort of a good result.  I was disappointed for Zvonerava who lost to Dementiava in the semis, after losing the US Open it was pleasing to see her play so well but after losing the first set 7-5 her form slipped and she started to look tired.  Another reason why no one likes this part of the year.

If Wozniaki gets to the quarter finals in Beijing next week shell be world number one.  Which will probably bring forth much talk of you-shouldn't-be-world-number-one-unless-won-major which is dumb.  Jankovic and Safina also both number ones without winning a major and Safina in particular had to deal with a lot of bollocks about it.  Safina btw went out in the first round of Tokyo, still plugging away trying to get back to the top following her back injury, shes about 49 now.  But welcome to the new breed of world number ones, they are not like Serena Williams (who is the current world number one) who wins majors and little else and is a tennis star rather than a tennis player, but they are extremely consistent at a very high level which, one assumes, is not that easy.  Wozniaki has won 5 titles this year, which aint bad.


 On the mens side current world number one (and worry not fans, no one can catch up with him right now) Nadal just lost in the semi-final of the Thailand Open beaten by world number 53 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, I didn't see it so I don't know what went down but apparently Lopez (who has one career title to Nadals 42) played great ground shots in the second set and Nadal failed to take his chances in the third (only winning 2 of 26 break points).  He'll play Jarkko Nieminen in the final, and I struggle to care.  (See first para) Not sure what the rest of the men are up to, last years US Open winner Juan Del Potro lost in the first round but he hasn't played since February due to a bad wrist. 

Meanwhile various athletes are getting ready fot the Commonwealth games which start tomorrow, reports were flooding in about substandard accomodation including pictures of unsanitary rooms.  In fact Elena Baltacha (and others) has pulled out of the tournament due to health fears.  She has a liver condition and has been side lined with it in the past, and didn't want to risk anything when she's doing so well (got into the top 50 for the first time recently).  But here's a nice picture of Jamie Murray in a kilt to cheer us all up.
He needs to smile more in pictures imo, lights up his whole face. The games are being held in Delhi if you were wondering about the shirt Indian men next to him, although I can not explain the hats.
Until next time...