Agnieszka Radwanska

Stan

It was a victorious weekend in Melbourne for the long shot underdogs when 28-year-old Swiss player Stanislas Wawrinka defeated Rafael Nadal to win the Men’s Singles Championship and 32-year-old Chinese player Li Na defeated Slovak Dominika Cibulkova on Saturday to win the Women’s Singles.

It was expected to be a Nadal vs defending Aussie Open champion Djokovic in the Men’s Final and Serena vs defending champion Azarenka in the Women’s final.  However, sovaldi sale world No. 1 Nadal was the only top-seeded player to even make the semi-finals. No. 2 Djokovic lost to eight seed Wawrinka in an epic five-set quarter final 6-2 4-6 2-6 6-3 9-7.

Nadal defeated Roger Federer in straight sets to reach the Australian Open tennis final and Wawrinka defeated Tomas Berdych in 4 sets in the semi-finals.

No. 1 Serena Williams  lost to Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round and Agnieszka Radwanska upsets No. 2 Victoria Azarenka in quarterfinals.

MEN’S SINGLES CHAMPIONSHIP

Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland won his first Grand Slam title with victory over an injured Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final Sunday. Wawrinka defeated the world number one, help who was struggling with a back problem, 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3.

He becomes the second Swiss man to win a Grand Slam singles title after 17-time champion Roger Federer.

“I still think that I’m dreaming,” said Wawrinka after the match. “It’s a strange feeling. I saw so many finals. I always try to watch the finals of Grand Slams because that’s where the best players are playing. Before today, for me it wasn’t a dream. I never expected to play a final. I never expected to win a Grand Slam. And right now I just did it.”

Stanislas Wawrinka consoles Rafael Nadal after Wawrinka’s win. (Photo ABC.net)

Nadal, always the class act, revealed he felt the back problem during the warm-up. Rafa said: “It is a tournament that I really had some troubles physically in my career and is something that is painful for me. But that’s part of life. That’s part of sport. It’s not the end of the world. Is just another tough moment. The last thing that I wanted to do was retire. No, I hate to do that, especially in a final. It’s not the moment to talk about that. It’s the moment to congratulate Stan. He’s playing unbelievable. He really deserved to win that title.”

Before this Championship, Wawrinka had never won a set, let alone a match, in 12 previous attempts against Nadal, and was making his Grand Slam final debut against Nadal who was in his 19th.

Despite Nadal’s loss, he will retain his world No.1 ranking.

WOMEN’S SINGLES CHAMPIONSHIP

Li Na wins 2014 Australian Open (Getty Images)

Li Na erased memories of previous final losses in 2011 and last year to defeat 24th ranked Slovak Dominika Cibulkova 7-6, 6-0 Saturday in 97 minutes.

“This is my favorite grand slam (championship) and I’m so happy I’ve won the title here”, an exuberant Na said after the final.  However most memorable is her hilarious victory speech.

After paying respects to her opponent, Li thanked her agent Max Eisenbud for “making me rich” and her husband and former coach Jiang Shan, long the butt of his wife’s jokes, for special praise. “Now, of course, my husband … famous in China. Thanks for him for giving up everything, just travelling with me to be my hitting partner, fix the drinks and fix the racquets, so, he did a lot of jobs,” she grinned as Jiang was ribbed in the players’ box.

“So, thanks a lot, you’re a nice guy. And … also you are so lucky, you found me.”

Watch Li Na’s Australian Open victory speech here:

Have a Smashing week and the long wait until the next tennis Grand Slam – The French Open 2014 begins on Sunday, May 25  and ends on Sunday, June 8.

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Andy Murray Wins Wimbledon

For the first time in 77 years a Briton has won the Men’s Singles Champion at Wimbledon. No. 2 Andy Murray won a hard-fought victory over world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in three thrilling sets 6-4, advice 7-5, site 6-4 on Sunday. The last Brit to win at Wimbledon was Fred Perry, who won three in a row in 1936.

The final game was a nail-biting battle in itself, with Murray seeing three match points slip by from 40-0 lead and fending off three break points before Djokovic netted a backhand to end the contest.

Djokovic Congratulates Murray (Images: BBC News)

“I have played in a lot of Slam finals, all against Roger or Novak. Roger is probably the greatest player ever, Novak is one of the mentally strongest ever. I never had experience on my side, to beat him was so tough, it was such a tough match.”

“Winning Wimbledon is the pinnacle of tennis,” Murray said afterwards. “I worked so hard in that last game. It’s the hardest few points I’ve had to play in my life. I don’t know how it will change my life. I hope not. I hope not too much. But the atmosphere today was different to what I’ve experienced in the past.”

Don’t Forget Mom

Andy Murray Hugging his Mom (Image: Telegraph.co.uk)

During the celebrations after winning the title, Andy Murray forgot to kiss his mom. Murray made the traditional climb into his player’s box to celebrate winning Wimbledon with his team. He hugged coach Ivan Lendl, kissed his girlfriend, and hugged trainers and hitting partners and high-fived anyone who extended an arm. Murray began his descent from the stands, but fortunately reversed course and realized he had forgotten to hug and kiss his mom, Judy.

Marion Bartoli Wins First Major Title

Marion Bartoli def Sabine Lisicki (Photo: dailyfinance.co.uk)

In an error-filled, one-sided final that was far from a match destined for the highlight reel, Marion Bartoli, the 15th-seeded Frenchwoman won her first Grand Slam title by beating 23rd-seeded Sabine Lisicki of Germany 6-1, 6-4 Saturday.

At the outset, Bartoli looked jittery and double-faulted twice in a row to drop the opening game. But then on Lisicki’s first chance to serve, she double-faulted on break point, to tie the first set 1-1. They combined for 39 unforced errors and 11 double-faults .  But Bartoli prevailed, winning 11 of 12 games.

Bartoli became the first woman in the Open era to win Wimbledon without facing anyone seeded in the top 10 – her highest-rated opponent was No. 17 Sloane Stephens of the United States in the quarterfinals. That was due to of all of the injuries and surprises, including exits for No. 2 Victoria Azarenka, No. 3 Maria Sharapova, No. 5 Sara Errani, No. 7 Angelique Kerber, No. 9 Caroline Wozniacki and No. 10 Maria Kirilenko by the end of the second round.

Lisicki, meanwhile, had to face and defeat defending champion and top-seeded Serena Williams – ending her 34-match winning streak in the fourth round. Lisicki also defeated major champions Francesca Schiavone and Sam Stosur, along with No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska, last year’s runner-up.

“Just hearing `Wimbledon champion,’ that kind of sounds good to me,” Bartoli said afterwards. “I wanted that so badly. … It was like: Dare to dream. I kept dreaming. I kept my head up. I kept working hard. And it just happened.”

BBC Apologizes for Comments

Marion Bartoli (Photo: Huffington Post)

The BBC faced mounting pressure on Sunday when John Inverdale, one of their high profile announcers criticized the appearance of Marion Bartoli.  Inverdale provoked listeners when he asked the audience if they thought Bartoli’s father told Bartoli when she was little that she would never be “a looker” like Maria Sharapova so she would have to fight harder for success.

The BBC did apologize for the comments after a storm of protests on Twitter, admitting the remark was “insensitive”.

Men’s Doubles – The “Golden Bryan Slam”

2013 Wimbledon Men’s Doubles (USA Today)

Bob and Mike Bryan beat Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 to capture their third Wimbledon title and fourth Grand Slam championship in a row.

The Bryan brothers are the first men’s team in the Open era to hold all four majors at once, plus an Olympic gold medal from last year’s London Games – the so-called “Golden Slam.” If they win the U.S. Open in September, they’ll join Ken McGregor and Frank Sedgman as the second men’s team to complete a calendar Grand Slam.

 

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Wimbledon, medicine the third of the four grand slams of the tennis calendar year, there begins today in London. Tennis’ brightest stars and biggest names from around the world will be competing for the Wimbledon trophy that is awarded to the winners of the oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament.

Wimbledon is the only grand slam which is played on grass; the French Open is played on clay and the US and Australian Opens are played on hard court. Wimbledon is played at the All England Cub in Wimbledon, London where it has been held since 1877 and lasts  two weeks.

Let’s take a look at which players are the early favorites heading into the tennis season’s most coveted and conservative event.

Men’s Singles Championship

Federer Def Murray 2012 (Photo: Telegraph.co.uk)

Until this year, no man had won eight titles at the same Grand Slam. Rafael Nadal just won No. 8 at the French Open. Now, Roger Federer can try to match him at Wimbledon.

Federer is the defending champion and he’s still as good as it gets on grass. He finally ended a 10-month title drought by winning a tuneup tournament on grass at Halle, Germany. Wimbledon is the major tournament he’s most likely to win if he’s going to add to his record total of 17 Grand Slam titles.

Nadal second-round defeat at Wimbledon last year (Photo: telegraph.co.uk)

However, he may be going home early, as Federer could face Nadal in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon due to Friday’s draw that placed the third-seeded Federer and No.5 Nadal in the same half.  The winner of the Federer vs Nadal match will most likely go on to meet home favorite Brit, Andy Murray, who is seeded No.2 in the semifinals – all three wound up on the same side of the draw.

Djokovic, meanwhile, is on the other half and at most would need to beat only one of that other trio to earn the championship.

Brit Andy Murray trying to win at home (Photo ITV.com)

Murray once again will try to give Britain its first male champion at Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936. Last year, Murray became the first British man to even reach the final since 1938, then lost to Federer in four sets. However, Murray did go onto win the Olympic singles gold medal at the All England Club, beating Federer in the final.

In September at the U.S. Open, Murray became the first British man in 76 years to win any Grand Slam singles title. He pulled out of the French Open with a back issue, but won the grass title at Queen’s Club June 16th, so all appears fine with his back.

Nadal and No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic together have won 11 of the most recent 13 Grand Slam titles. Those two, plus Federer, have collected 31 of the past 33 titles. Add Murray to the mix , and these four seem a good bet to win the championship this year.

My Pick for the Men’s Title

Novak Djokovic winning 2011 Wimbledon title (Photo: dailymail.co.uk)

Coming off of his French Open victory, I would normally pick Nadal.  But because of the seeding at Wimbledon, Nadal will be in line to face Roger Federer, Andy Murray or Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals, and he might have to beat all three to win – hard for someone even as hot at Nadal.  So while Nadal may be my personal favorite to win the championship, due to the easier draw, I’m going put my money on Novak Djokovic for the title.  But I think anything can happen here – so you won’t want to miss any of the action.

Who Can Beat Serena?

Serena 2012 Wimbledon (Photo: NYTimes.com)

It’s hard to imagine anyone ever being a bigger favorite to win a Grand Slam title than No. 1 ranked Serena Williams is at Wimbledon this year. She comes in as the defending champion; she’s on a 31-match winning streak – the longest single-season run in women’s tennis since her older sister won 35 in a row in 2000.

Serena is 74-3 since last year’s Wimbledon. Williams has claimed three of the last four major titles to raise her career total to 16 — two less than Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova.

Williams vs Sharapova in the Final (Photo: Guardian.co.uk)

There are other women capable of winning the title, especially Maria Sharapova, who won the title in 2004 by beating Williams in the final.

[However] “I don’t see a weakness,” three-time Wimbledon champion John McEnroe said. “She’s playing the best tennis of her career. She’s not only in the best place I’ve ever seen, I think she’s the best player that’s ever lived. I said that a while ago, but she’s cementing it in everyone’s mind. She’s just a level above anyone. There’s no doubt about it.”

Serena Williams will need to keep her emotions and her wardrobe in check over the next two weeks. Wimbledon has a strict dress code that will limit Williams from her normal ‘colorful’ outfits that she is known to wear during the grand slams.  Furthermore, Williams has had a bad dose of press lately, first publicly commenting on a controversial Ohio rape case of a 16-year old girl and just recently, taking shots at Sharapova who is allegedly dating one of Serena’s exes.  More details on this story HERE.

My Pick for the Women’s Title

Kvitova def Sharapova 2011 (Image: bettor.com)

Although Sharapova put up a fight in this year’s French Open final against Williams, she wasn’t really much of a hurdle and has lost the last 13 times they’ve played.

Petra Kvitova, the 2011 champion, seems to have the grass game figured out. No. 2-ranked Victoria Azarenka is a two-time semifinalist; Agnieszka Radwanska and Marion Bartoli have each also been the runner-up.

Still, it’s hard to imagine any of them beating five-time champion Williams if she’s healthy. Considering Serena’s game is even better on grass, it’s difficult to pick anyone to defeat her at Wimbledon.

The only place Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams can meet at Wimbledon is in the final. It’s my prediction that they will meet again. There’s no doubt that Serena will win her 6th Wimbledon championship in 2013.

Wimbledon TV Coverage

ESPN, the sole television home of the live Wimbledon tennis tournament, has 140 hours of coverage scheduled over the two-week period beginning Monday, June 24. (Note: ABC will air encore Wimbledon coverage on June 30, July 6 and July 7 – The July 6 and July 7 telecasts will be encore presentations of the singles finals.)

Monday, June 24
6 a.m.-4 p.m.: First round, ESPN
Tuesday, June 25
6 a.m.-4 p.m.: First round, ESPN
Wednesday, June 26
6 a.m.-4 p.m.: Second round, ESPN2
Thursday, June 27
6 a.m.-2 p.m.: Second round, ESPN2
Friday, June 28
6 a.m.-4 p.m.: Third round, ESPN
Saturday, June 29
7 a.m.-3 p.m.: Third round, ESPN

 

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Tsonga def. Federer (Photo: www.rolandgarros.com)

The French Open is heating up as Roger Federer is eliminated, stuff Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova advance and the matchup everyone has been waiting for, Nadal and Djokovic, gets underway on Friday. All this and more below.

Men’s Quarterfinal Results

Federer Falls to Frenchman Tsonga

Former world No. 1 Roger Federer lost Tuesday in the quarterfinals of the French Open, falling to No.6 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 7-5, 6-3, 6-3.

Federer, the 17-time Grand Slam champion, showed all of his 31 years and simply couldn’t get his game going and Tsonga took advantage in a big way, winning in straight sets.  Federer dismissed any suggestion that he was suffering from a revival of his back problems of late.

“I thought he played great today,” said Federer. “He was in all areas better than me today, that’s why the result was pretty clean.  No doubt about it. I was impressed by the way he played today.”

There are already questions whether Federer, widely acknowledged greatest tennis player of all-time, should retire. Though the legendary tennis star has struggled thus far in 2013, he is far from finished as a major force in men’s tennis, and I for one look forward to watching him next month at Wimbledon to defend his title there.

Ferrer Crushes Robredo (Photo: Reuters)

Tsongo will go on to play 4th seed David Ferrer of Spain in the semi-finals Friday.  Ferrer easily defeated fellow Spaniard Tommy Robredo 6-2, 6-1, 6-1. Many feel Ferrer will have the edge in Friday’s semifinal considering he took out Tsonga in straight sets in their only clay-court meeting in Rome three years ago.

Nadal vs. Djokovic Meet in Semifinals

Djokovic vs Nadal Semi must see this Friday (Getty Images)

Due to the seeding and the being in the tougher bracket, the best match of the Men’s Singles at the French Open may well be the Nadal vs. Djokovic meeting in the Semifinals. The winner of this semifinal will be the heavy favorite to win the title against the winner of the Tsonga vs. Ferrer match earlier in the day

Seven-time champion Nadal defeated Stanislas Wawrinka in straight sets 6-2 6-3 6-1, while world number one Djokovic beat Tommy Haas 6-3 7-6 (7-5) 7-5.

Nadal wants nothing more than winning the French Open for an eighth time. But he first needs to conquer his fiercest rival and the No. 1 player in the world, Novak Djokovic on Friday. This must watch match will be the 35th meeting between the two with Nadal holding a 12-3 lead on clay, who is arguably the best clay-court player of all time.

Women’s Quarterfinal Results

Serena Williams Rallies to Semis

Serena def Kuznetsova (Photo: news.yahoo.com)

Serena Williams came from behind in the third set to defeat Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 Tuesday and advanced to Roland Garros’ final four for the first time since 2003.

“I’m very happy to have won this quarterfinal because the whole night I was afraid of my quarterfinal match,” Williams said in French. “It was a very tough match today…. I am exhausted.”

Williams is the first American woman to reach the French Open semifinals since Jennifer Capriati in 2004. Her opponent Thursday will be 2012 runner-up Sara Errani, who advanced by beating No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 7-6. Williams is 5-0 against Errani.

Sharapova Overcomes Quarterfinal Scare

Sharapova advances to Semi’s. (Getty Images)

Maria Sharapova had an early scare losing the first set 0-6 against childhood rival Jelena Jankovic.  But defending French Open champion Sharapova rallied the next two sets to defeat Jankovic and winning 0-6, 6-4, 6-3, to advance to the French Open semifinals.

Sharapova will face third-seeded Victoria Azarenka Thursday, who had an easier time dismissing Maria Kirilenko, 7-6, 6-2, to advance to her first semifinal at Roland Garros.

Semifinal Schedule of Play

Thursday, June 6

8:00AM  Maria Sharapova vs. Victoria Azarenka on ESPN2

10:00AM Serena Williams vs. Sara Errani on NBC

Friday, June 7

4:00AM David Ferrer vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on ESPN2

7:00AM Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal on NBC

 

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