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Aug 16, 2008

Rafael Nadal and Fernando Gonzalez set up men's singles final at the Olympic tennis

It wasn't a dream final between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. But it's okay as long as Nadal goes into the final on Sunday.

Last night's semifinal was a nail-biting match between the soon-to-be world no. 1 and world no. 3 Novak Djokovic that ended with the result 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 and I'm glad that it is Nadal who won in the end.

Let me tell you, last night's match was a torture, seeing how agressive Djokovic was and how biased the commentator was who clearly sided Djokovic (and wanted Nadal to lose).

Nadal who will be crowned the world no. 1 on Monday and world number 15 Fernando Gonzalez will meet in the men's singles final in the Beiing Olympic tennis event after two blockbuster semifinals yesterday.


Djokovic, the world number three hit a smash long to give the 22-year-old the first win on hard surface this season after battling for two hours and 10 minutes. And yes, Djokovic cried and only have himself to blame for his own mistake.


With the victory, Nadal now leads 10-4 over Djokovic in career.

American James Blake and Chilean Gonzalez joined to produce a thrilling yet controversial game where a point in the third set apparently distracted the American's mind.
I missed this match but still managed to check out the live score on ITF website.
Blake lost his concentration towards the end of the match when the umpire missed that Gonzalez's racquet touched a Blake backhand that went long and should have put the American 15-0 up on Gonzelez's serve in the 18th game of the third set.

And in the post-match press conference, the eighth seed hit hard at Gonzalez's sportsmanship.
"Yeah, hit a shot that hit Fernando's racquet and then went out. The umpire didn't see that it hit his racquet," said Blake.

"Playing in the Olympics, in what's supposed to be considered a gentleman's sport, that's a time to call it on yourself.
"

"Fernando looked me square in the eye and didn't call it," said a disappointed Blake.
After the incident, Gonzalez positioned himself to win the match when he broke the American's serve on a second break point in the 19th game, when the American hit a forehand approach long.

Blake fought hard to prevent his demise by saving four match points in the final game but made two forehand errors to lose the match from deuce.
"I've spoken all week about how much I've enjoyed the Olympic experience, how much I love the spirit of it, how much I love the other athletes, what they've sacrificed, and you appreciate that. And the guys go out and compete their hardest, win fair and square, lose fair and square," said the 28-year-old Blake.

"That's a disappointing way to exit the tournament when you not only lose the match, but you lose a little faith in your fellow competitor.
"

"I know him very well. I've played him many times on tour. He does everything in his power to win. Usually it's in the rules, sometimes it's bordering on gamesmanship. Whatever, that happens out there all the time.
"

"But he's too good of a player to do something like that and to act like that. That's why it's disappointing, because he is a great player. I can't take away anything from the fact he won the match. Came from back from three match points down, served really well, hung in the whole time. I'm not going to take anything away from the kind of tennis he can play, but there's still a level of disappointment in him."
It's okay, Blake. Nadal will beat Gonzalez for you.

(Images via AP Photo/Charles Krupa/Elise Amendola)
(Some text via xinhuanet)


Aug 15, 2008

What do Josiah Ng and Maria Sharapova have in common?

Maria Sharapova is still in Arizona rehabilitating due to her shoulder injury which deter her from participating in the Beijing Olympics 2008 and most probably the US Open as well.

While away from tennis tournaments, she will never forget to keep her fans updated with the news and photos.

So this is what "rehabilitation" means. Seems like she's having a good time taking pictures with her "Powershot camera".

Sharapova's obsession of taking pictures (especially with these kind of poses) reminds me of our own Malaysian cyclist, Josiah Ng. You can check out his blog or his fianceé's blog and you'll know what I mean.

Josiah and Rizal, Malaysian cyclists at Beijing Olympics.

By the way, Josiah mentioned in his Facebook that he had a chance to chat with James Blake during lunch at the Olympic Village.

(Images via mariasharapova.com, josiah's blog)

Boris Becker to marry 24-year-old girlfriend, Tommy Haas' ex-girlfriend that is

Former Wimbledon champion Boris Becker plans to marry his late manager’s daughter, who is 16 years younger than the German tennis icon, a newspaper reported Monday.

The couple got engaged Sunday “in the closest family circle,” according to the online edition of Bild, Germany’s mass-circulation newspaper.


Becker, 40, divorced Barbara Becker, with whom he has two children, seven years ago. He also has a daughter with London-based model Angela Ermakova.


Sandy Meyer-Woelden, 24, is the daughter of former Becker manager Axel Meyer-Woelden, who died in 1997. A jewelry designer, Meyer-Woelden dated German tennis star Tommy Haas for several years.

Perhaps Becker should advise Roger Federer to push everything negative aside and settle down like him too. When a top player like Federer is suffering the worst time of his career, the best thing to do is try to take a break and accomplish some other things in life (read: getting married to Mirka!)

(Via Telegraph, Yahoo! Sports)

Aug 14, 2008

Roger Federer upsets by James Blake in Olympic tennis

Oh my, Swiss Roger Federer's bid to win his first Olympics medal ended when he lost to American James Blake 6-4, 7-6 (2) in the quarterfinal match tonight.

The rain seems like trying to delay Federer's bitter defeat.

After the match was postponed for 3 hours, 35 minutes due to heavy rain, Federer seemed off his game right from the start. His forehand which is once the sport’s most feared was unreliable, and he repeatedly struggled to hold serve.

Could this be the end of the once most unbeatable player? Could his lackluster performance force him an early retirement?

Only time will tell. But the things is Federer is running out of time. He still have a chance though to prove himself again at the US Open right after the Olympics.

(Images by AP Photo/Elise Amendola/BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images/AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Aug 12, 2008

What to wear to win at the Beijing Olympics?

Red is thought to bring good luck for Chinese and is the color of items ranging from packets of lucky money (ang pow) handed out at Lunar New Year to lanterns and wedding dresses.

In sports, Tiger Woods famously wears red on the last day of a golf tournament for luck.

And what do Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal's Beijing Olympic gears tell you? Gold medals in the making?

Perhaps Nadal has an extra edge over Federer. Check out the tribal markings at the back of Nadal's red shirt. Isn't that warrior motif already send out a strong message to his competitors? Could he be the luckier one?

Newlycrowned world no.1 Jelena Jankovic is wearing red too but I don't think she'll be the lucky one in the women's singles. Nah, it's not the threats from the Williams sisters nor Dinara Safina, but it's her awful 'milkmaid' red dress. That sends a bad chi, isn't it?

But you know what? Sometimes you don't have to wear red to be a
winner. Janko Tipsarevic is one example. He might have lost in the second round to Olivier Rochus, but he's still a winner here (read: sexy and drives thousands of traffic to my blog). But having the combination of both like Federer would be the best.


(Images by Clive Brunskill/Julian Finney/Getty Images, mentennisforum.com
)

Aug 11, 2008

Andy Murray suffers early Olympic embarrassment, crashing out to Lu Yen-Hsun

Andy Murray (Great Britain), who is fresh from winning the Cincinnati Masters, could have go far in the men's singles at the Beijing Olympics.

However it turns out to be the biggest upset today, after Murray losing in the first round to Rendy Lu Yen-Hsun (
盧彥勳) of Taiwan in straight sets 7-6 (5), 6-4.

Murray, the world no. 6, only had himself to blame for his early embarrassing departure after failing to take advantage of the chances that came his way and allowing Lu, world no. 77 to score one of his career-best wins.

Murray's only hope of securing an Olympic medal now rests with the doubles event, in which he was still set to start alongside brother Jamie because of the delayed schedule.

Other top favourite players in the men's and women's singles such as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and Dinara Safina survived the first round. Click here to find out the complete list of men and women players who made it through the next round.

(Images via AFP/AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Roger Federer celebrates his birthday with Swiss team

Wonder how Roger Federer celebrate his birthday this year? Here are a few photos for the fans out there. Esther, thank you for the tips.

The entire Swiss team gathered and celebrated Roger Federer's 27th birthday before the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony, which he was the flag bearer for the Swiss team. Everything was perfect for the Swiss team except their shoes.


(Images via menstennisforum.com)

Juan Martin del Potro defeats Andy Roddick at Los Angeles final

Andy Roddick thought he can save his sorry career by snatching a couple of titles while most of the top players are fighting for medals at Beijing Olympics.

He wouldn't have thought that Juan Marton Del Potro will beat him in straight sets with a 6-1, 7-6(2) victory at the Countrywide Classic final.

This is Del Potro's third title in less than a month.
“I think it’s my biggest victory,” Del Potro said.
This title was Del Potro's first on hardcourt, which is Roddick’s best surface.

Roddick was his usual old self, throwing his racquet to the court when he had a bad shot.

Well Roddick, I still don't think skipping Beijing Olympics will help you in preparing yourself for the US Open. It doesn't really make a difference. Unless you can defend your title at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic or win the Pilot Pen title for the next two weeks.

(Image by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)

Aug 10, 2008

Rafael Nadal and Nicolas Almagro attend Spain vs. Greece basketball game

Spain's tennis players Rafael Nadal and Nicolas Almagro were spotted at the men's preliminary round group B basketball match between Spain and Greece at the Olympic basketball gymnasium during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games today.


Nadal was also seen talking to Spain's Prince Felipe.

Tomorrow, Nadal will start his campaign against Potito Starace of Italy while Almagro will face Gael Monfils in the first round.

For details of the latest 1st round
men's singles results, click here.

(Images by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

Ana Ivanovic withdraws from Beijing Olympic tennis

You know what, I feel devastated with the rain delays and all the last minute withdrawals.

The latest updates said that no. 1 seed
Ana Ivanovic withdrew from the Beijing Olympic tennis because of inflammation in her right hand that has bothered her for several weeks.

Why now, Ana?

Ivanovic said she hasn’t been able to practice (Ana, we saw you practicing) because of the injury, which began to bother her last month. She was expected to play her first-round match for Serbia on Monday, but after consulting with a doctor, she said she needs more rest.
“It’s one of the hardest moments in my career,” Ivanovic said. “I’m very, very disappointed.”
Ivanovic said the injury may take two weeks to heal, and she still hopes to play in the U.S. Open, which begins Aug. 25, right after the Olympics.

Yesterday, Tatiana Golovin of France withdrew from singles and doubles shortly before the scheduled start of the Olympic tennis tournament.

She was already assured of losing the top spot in the women’s rankings Monday to No. 2 Jelena Jankovic.

Now I believe the gold medal is totally in Dinara Safina hands, looking at the injury complained by soon-to-be world no. 1 Jelena Jankovic, although she hasn't pull out yet.

By the way, for details of the latest 1st round women's singles results, click here.

(Images by PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images, anaivanovic.com)

Sania Mirza in dress code controversy, again

There's only one world to describe Sania Mirza. Nope, it's not the word TALENTED. It's CONTROVERSY. Here she goes making headlines for the wrong reason, again.

While all the male members of the Indian team were dressed in off-white sherwanis at the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, the tennis duo of Sania Mirza and Sunitha Rao were attired in black trousers and practice jackets. Not only did the two not follow the dress code, the contrast was even more jarring to the eyes when they walked with Delhi paddler Neha Aggarwal who chose a greenish saree for the occasion.

Most of the Indian atheletes also did not march smartly, Rathore, tennis ace Leander Paes and shooter Gagan Narang being the exceptions.


According to the President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), Suresh Kalmadi, Everybody had been given their dress. The two had returned from their practice and there was no time. The Chef de Mission (K. Murugan) was caught in a dilemma and could not leave out Sania as questions would have been raised about her absence,” said Kalmadi, who added that sarees of different colours had been given to the athletes to make the group look, er, colourful.

(Image via AP Photo)

Heavy rain delays first round match at the Beijing Olympics

James Blake (USA) and Chris Guccione (Australia) supposed to start their first round match at the Centrecourt at 10.30 this morning. However due to the heavy rain in Beijing, it seems that all matches has to be delayed.

(Image by PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

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