February 3rd, 2014
Russian tennis was crumbling even before legendary captain Shamil Tarpischev bailed out last year in favor of new Russian captain Anastasia Myskina. The iron-handed Tarpischev always seemed to pull together the top Russians, as evident by Fed Cup titles in four of five years from 2004-08. But over the last few years, due to payout squabbles and changes in the Russian sports hierarchy, Russian Fed Cup has become a joke. All the top Russian players have again blown off this tie for Mother Russia, and the rookie captain Myskina now has at her disposal Victoria Kan (ranked No. 160), Irina Khromacheva (240), Valeria Solovyeva (247), and Veronika Kudermetova (689) in her first tie as captain. Good luck with that. Australia will post with their top player and former Slam winner Sam Stosur, in addition to Casey Dellacqua and Ashleigh Barty, and will ease into the semifinals. This is an “F” on the watchability report card.
January 25th, 2014
“I’m not old!” said the 31 yearold. “But yeah, at the start of the tournament everyone was talking about age. I would like to say age is nothing. You can still win a Grand Slam. I’m pretty happy about my age. I have experience.”
January 24th, 2014
Li Na will seek a second career Grand Slam title Saturday at the Australian Open against the surprising Dominika Cibulkova.
January 23rd, 2014
Li Na and Dominka Cibulkova will meet in an unlikely final for the Australian Open title.
January 22nd, 2014
“Of course, a couple seeded are out — doesn’t mean it’s going to be easier and you have a title right away,” Radwanska said. “It means that other players are playing great tennis this week. That’s why they beat the top seed players.”
September 22nd, 2013
Tough openers for (4) Simon after a bye vs. the winner of Karlovic-Tomic, and (7) Nieminen vs. the Dutch riser Sijsling…Wildcards went to three dudes whose names you can’t pronounce…Pulling from the event were Ivan Dodig, Andy Murray (back surgery), and Tommy Robredo…Gasquet beat Simon in last year’s final…Returning champs in the field are Gasquet (2012) and Simon (2009).
August 18th, 2013
Notes: Will Isner pull out after his draining run in Cincinnati? Probably…Not a lot of floating talent, and all 16 seeds receive first-round byes…Potentially tough opening-round match-ups for seeds after byes include (11) Nieminen vs. (WC) Fish, (9) Melzer vs. the rising Dutchman Sijsling, and (5) Paire vs. Blake…Other wildcards went to Berdych, Spain’s Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco, and Belgian Romain Bogaerts…Pulling from the event were Carlos Berlocq, Nikolay Davydenko, Marcel Granollers, Tommy Haas, Albert Ramos, the doping-suspended Viktor Troicki, and Horacio Zeballos…Isner is the two-time defending champion, last year beating Berdych in the final.
July 28th, 2013
Isner played seven tiebreakers over four matches during the week after receiving a first-round bye, needing three sets to beat No. 373-ranked Christian Harrison, two tiebreaks to defeat No. 91-ranked James Blake, a third-set tiebreak in the semifinal win over Lleyton Hewitt, and three tiebreaks against Anderson.
July 20th, 2013
Notes: Two-time defending champ Serena Williams obviously didn’t like the under-the-table appearance fee to appear in Stanford, passing on the event and last week playing the tiny Swedish Open in Bastad, which was willing to pony-up some major cash…Tough starts are (1) Radwanska after a bye possibly facing the former Slam champ Schiavone, (8) Rybarikova vs. the explosive Keys, and (2) Stosur after a bye likely facing the powerful Goerges….Wildcards went to American Nicole Gibbs and Croat Ajla Tomljanovic…Pulling from the event were Marion Bartoli (hamstring), Kirsten Flipkens, Sabine Lisicki (wrist), and Maria Sharapova (hip)…Since 1990, 20 of the 23 champions have been Slam winners, but this year there are no returning champions in the field.
May 3rd, 2013
Notes: Insane field with two former No. 1s and an additional Slam champ all unseeded…The Top 3 seeds are current or former No. 1s…Tough opening-round matches are (5) Na vs. Tamira Paszek then the winner of Venus and (WC) Medina Garrigues, (3) Azarenka vs. Pavlyuchenkova, (11) Petrova vs. a qualifier then likely Kuznetsova, (16) Ivanovic vs. a qualifier then likely her Serb countrywoman Jankovic, (9) Stosur vs. the clay-savvy Suarez Navarro, and (2) Sharapova vs. a qualifier then likely Peng…No blue clay this year…Former champs in the field are Serena Williams (2012) and Kvitova (2011).