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Entries in Francesca Schiavone (11)

9:47PM

Schiavone Looks To A Ball Boy For Comfort

Business Insider

You can't say Francesca Schiavone lacks a sense of humour! With a double bagel on the cards at 0-6 0-2, Schiavone looked for consolation from an unlikely source... the ball boy (or is that man?)! I guess when you are playing an in-form Serena Williams it's best not to get too upset about these things. The hug kind of worked for Schiavone, as she avoided the double bagel to lose 6-0 6-1. 

USA Today

6:37PM

What Your Car Says About You, WTA Style

Andrea Petkovic:  I'm smart, sporty, and fun. 

Caroline Wozniacki:  I am elegant and like to have dinner with princes and fly in private jets (as C. Note would put it a #humblebrag)

 

Serena Williams:  I'm glamourous, glittery, and STURDY, get out of my way.

Francesca Schiavone:  I don't care, leave me alone I'm playing.  Vrrrrooooommmm.... Honk Honk!

(of course none of these women said these things, except in my head)

Photos: Zimbio.com and Porsche Tennis Grand Prix

7:56PM

Dubai Update: Wozniacki En Route To Number One.....Again

The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships are in full swing, and tomorrow the final 8 will battle it out for a trip to the semi-finals.  There have been some interesting stories this week from Dubai, from Shahar Peer having to do all of her interviews from a bunker due to potential threats on her life, to Svetlana Kuznetsova getting a bit of revenge on Francesa Schiavone after their epic Australian Open match, and of course, Anna Chakvetadze passing out on court due to dehydration. 

But the biggest story is that Caroline Wozniacki will become number 1 in the world again if she reaches the semi-finals tomorrow.  Last week, Kim Clijsters dethroned Caro after making it to the finals in Paris (which she then lost to Kvitova).  The WTA has a ceremony whenever someone becomes number 1 which includes a vase and some shrubbery shaped as a 1, and unless Shahar Peer has anything to say about it, the WTA will do it all over again.   Here are the final 8:

[8] A Radwanska (POL) vs [16] S Kuznetsova (RUS)

[11] F Pennetta (ITA) vs [15] A Kleybanova (RUS)

[1] C Wozniacki (DEN) vs [9] S Peer (ISR)

[4] S Stosur (AUS) vs [6] J Jankovic (SRB)

My guess is that we'll be seeing Kuznetsova vs. Kleybanova and Wozniacki vs. Stosur in the semis.

1:22PM

Rocky VII: Schiavone and Kuznetsova Go The Distance

Photo:  Getty Images

Yesterday Francesca Schiavone and Svetlana Kuznetsova played an EPIC match on Hisense Arena in Round 4 of the Australian Open.  And after 4 hours and 44 minutes, which is now the longest Women's match in the Open Era, Schiavone defeated Kuznetsova with the scoreline reading  6-4, 1-6, 16-14, which although is impressive, fails to sum up the amazing shot making, fitness, and heart that was displayed on the court.  

The best way for me to sum it up, is by saying this:  I felt like I was watching the fight scene at the end of my favorite Rocky movie, Rocky II,  where in the first 2 rounds Rocky doesn't make much of an offensive effort, but then, when backed into a corner he fights like a caged animal, taking it all the way to the 15th and decisive round where Balboa and Apollo Creed trade face-busting blows and then both fall to the canvas, confused, bloodied and bludgeoned,  each attempting to crawl their way back up the ropes as you scream at the TV, "Get Up, Get Up, GET UP!" And in the end Franny channeled Rocky best, and was the last woman standing.  I almost expected her to yell, "Adrian!" at the net.  (Yes, I know that was the original Rocky not Rocky II)

As happy as I was for Franny, I felt equally gutted for Sveta, and you wish there was some loophole in the rule book where both players can win, and in truth it is going to take an extreme effort by battle-weary Schiavone to defeat Wozniacki in the next round, and a little 2 against 1 action wouldn't hurt......

The one drawback to this match, outside of the fact that someone had to lose, is that I'm afraid that the Women's Final next week will be anticlimactic.  But, here's to hoping that, although it is a tall order, the second week of Women's tennis at the Aussie Open can trump the first. 

2:37AM

Australian Open Day 5: Oh Yes It's Ladies Night

Since my site has been a little ATP heavy recently, I decided to dedicate this post to the Ladies who kicked ass and took names today so please feel free to listen to the music as you read.

First off, I've got to hand it to Caroline Wozniacki, who got a little feisty today in her post-match presser after defeating Dominika Cibulkova.  She said she heard through the grapevine that the media thought she was BORING because she always gives the same answers to questions.  (In her defense they always ask her the same silly questions like........."Do you think you deserve to be number one?" What the hell is she supposed to say?  No?)  So she took it upon herself to change that, and she spent the 1st 1/2 of the presser addressing the criticism, and then when she was done, her press conference took an odd turn and morphed into a episode of The Bachelorette/Millionare Matchmaker:

Q. When are you going to get married and how many kids are you going to have?

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: First I have to find a guy.

Q. What do you expect in a guy?

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: What do I expect? Honesty. Understanding what I'm doing. Maybe a sports person himself.

Q. You're not going to find it in here.

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: You know, sometimes the media is too good looking here, so I can't really focus on what I'm supposed to say (laughter).

You can get the full transcript here.

Francesca Schivone who is a little ball of Italian flair, and my favorite WTA player to watch, clawed her way back in the 2nd set to defeat Monica Niculescu and advance to the round of 16.  I mean really, how can you not love a face like this:

Maria Sharapova and Julia Goerges put on a forehand clinic during their 3 set match, with vintage Masha coming out on top.  But outside all the impressive shot making, the thing that caught my attention most? 

Julia is HOT.

A slimmed down Svetlana Kuznetsova battled some serious nerves today trying to serve out the match against Justine Henin who has had her number more times than not.  But, Sveta hung in their and closed it out in 2 sets.  Up next........Franny, and that should be a Doozie.

Photo:  Getty Images

And last but definitely not least Venus Williams.  At press time, she hasn't begun playing her 3rd round match, but I anticipate it will be good.  However, there are only 2 reasons I really want to watch:

1.  Will Venus be too injured to play her best tennis? (because I think that's the only way Andrea Petkovic is going to win)

and

2.  If Petkovic does win, will she have the balls to do her Petko Dance in front of Venus? (Because I'd be scared) 

I'll keep you updated.

Oh yeah, and Li Na and Victoria Azarenka advanced too.

9:01AM

Australian Open Day 1 Round-Up: Doozies and D'ohs

Day 1 of the Australian Open was a long one, for the players and for my neck.  My office is apparently not ergonomically set up for someone to watch ESPN2 from 6:30 pm to 3:00 am while simultaneously watching 3 live streams on the computer, and tracking scores on the AO website, but, I do it out of love.

Enough about me, lets talk tennis Doozies and D'ohs (you know, like Homer Simpson?)

Doozies (Matches that went the distance):  

Monfils vs de Bakker:  Gael Monfils, the number 12 seed, looked as though he was going to make hasty exit from the AO, down 2 sets to love against 22 year-old up-and-comer Thiemo de Bakker.  However, De Bakker turned into De Bacle (thanks Brad Gilbert) when he seemed to choke as he tried serve out the match at 5-3.  Gael ultimately took the match 6-7 (5-7), 2-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-1 in 3.5 hours.

In his presser, Gael basically said that de Bakker tanked:

But I know Thiemo a bit. I know sometimes he snaps in the head … It's a weakness for him, so you play with that.

De Bakker would disagree:

At 4-1 in the third, when I went for a ball, came a little bit in my groin, like a traction, so from that moment I had problems to play rallies and to serve.

And when he broke me back, I knew it was pretty much going to be tough.

I want to get a fight there, but if it's not possible - the body says no - there's not much I can do.

Mental or physical?  Probably a bit of both, but, we'll never know.

Mardy Fish vs Victor Hanescu:  Fish, who had blood work done this week due to fatigue, was also down 2 sets to love against Hanescu, but the Number 16 seed dug deep and won in 5, 2-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, 7-3. Apparently the 19th time is a charm (he had been 0-18 in coming back two sets down in his career.)

Other interesting men's 5-setters:  Albert Montanes over Dustin Brown,  Ivan Dodig over Ivo Karlovic, and Phillip Kohlschreiber over Tobias Kamke

*And really ladies......there were just too many 3 setters to even count, and that is that.

D'ohs (Upsets):

Sam Querry vs. Lukasz Kubot:  Kubot sent the number 18th seed packing in a tight 5 set match, 5-7, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6. I know I shouldn't be surprised considering his frequent 1st round loses at Slams, but I am, but I'm not, but really....... I AM.   The only good part of the match?  Kubot's jig after winning.

Photo: Getty Images

Nikolay Davydenko vs Florian Myer:  Davydenko who was a quarterfinalist last year, was taken out in 4 sets,  6-3, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4.  After his recent win over Rafael Nadal in Doha, I had expected him to do well in the AO.  Well, thanks for nothing Kolya....... for the record, because of your loss, my bracket is SCREWED! (Because it's all about me right?)

Top Seeds:  Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick, Fernando Verdasco, Caroline Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka, Venus Williams, and Francesca Schiavone all advanced. 

For Today's Order of Play, click here.  

10:24PM

Women's Australian Open Draw and Predictions

Photo:  Ben Solomon 

I admit that recently I have not been following the women's game as closely as the men's, and because there has been lack of consistency in the women's game, it is hard for me to make predictions, so this will be short and sweet.  

Top Half of the Draw:

First let's talk Caroline Wozniacki.   She just changed her racquet this year going from a Babolat to a Yonex, which is actually a fairly big deal.  I think if she can make it past her first round match against Gisela Dulko, she should be able cruise to the 4th round where she'll get another test against Marion Bartoli.  If she gets past this (which she should) then she has to face either Justine HeninSveltana Kuznetsova, or Francesca Schiavone in the quarter-finals, and I think her AO bid will end here.   If she gets to the semi-finals, she will face a match-up with either Venus Williams, Victoria Azarenka or Li Na (probably Williams). I realize that there are a lot of "ifs" here.  It's a tough draw, what can I say.

I think Justine Henin has a great chance of getting to the semi-finals.  Along the way she'll have to defeat Kuznetsova in the 3rd round, and Schiavone in the 4th round, then face Wozniacki in the quarter-finals. I think all matches are going to be tough but doable for the Belgium. 

Venus Williams will be smooth sailing until the 4th round where she'll potentially battle Maria Sharapova. (Can't wait) After that she'll face either Victoria Azarenka or Li Na in the quarter-finals. Her potential semi-finals match-ups could be Wozniacki, Henin, Kuznetsova or Schiavone.

While we are talking about Schiavone.......she will cruise until the 4th round where she'll meet the winner of the Henin/Kuznetsova match.  I'd be shocked if she moved forward from there.

All in all,  this is a pretty tough 1/2 of the draw.  I'll put myself out there and say that we'll see Wozniacki vs Henin and Williams vs Azarenka in the quarter-finals, Williams vs Henin in the semi-finals with Henin making it to the finals.  

Bottom half of the draw:

Vera Zvonareva should easily get to the quarter-finals where she'll likely play Samantha Stosur, and if Stosur brings her A-game here, I think Stosur will have the edge.  If she makes it to the semi-finals she'll likely have a repeat of the US Open finals and face Kim Clijsters and we know how that ended......

In order for Kim Clijsters to get to the quarter-finals, she'll have to get past Ana Ivanovic in the 4th round. Recently Ana has been playing extremely well, but unfortunately in Hopman Cup she suffered an abdominal tear, therefore she won't be in top form and Kim should be able to pull this one out.  In the quarter-finals she'll have a repeat of her recent Sydney semi-final match-up against Alisa Kleybanova.  They both played some amazing tennis in that match, with Kim taking it in 3 sets.  In the semi-finals she would face either Stosur or Zvonereva.  

Sam Stosur should cruise to quarter-finals, where she will likely face Zvonareva.  For her semi-final match she'll face either Clijsters or Kleybanova.

And last we have Jelena Jankovic who I don't think will make it past the 4th round where she will play Kleybanova.  The end.

So, I think in this 1/2 of the draw we'll see Kleybanova vs Clijsters and Stosur vs Zvonareva in the quarter-finals, Clijsters vs Stosur in the semi-finals, and Stosur going all the way.

That was neither short nor sweet, but there it is: Stosur vs Henin in the finals and the hometown girl getting her first slam, hence the above picture.  I think I might be pretty off in this one, but here's to hoping!