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Sep 20, 2008

Juan Martin del Potro - Zachary Quinto (a.k.a Sylar): Separated at birth?

I'm not sure if you agree with me but I think Juan Martin del Potro resembles Zachary Quinto who is better known as Sylar, the main antagonist on the hit drama series Heroes.

This is Juan Martin Del Potro.

This is Zachary Quinto.

Separated at birth?

(Images via Yahoo! Sport and zach-quinto.com)

Svetlana Kuznetsova, Dinara Safina in an all Russian affair final at Pan Pacific Open

Russians Svetlana Kuznetsova and Dinara Safina cruised into the final of the Pan Pacific Open with straight-set victories Saturday.

Fifth-seeded Kuznetsova, who upset top-seeded Serbian Jelena Jankovic in the quarterfinal round beat Slovenia's Katarina Srebotnik 7-6 (5), 6-2, while Safina routed compatriot Nadia Petrova 6-1, 6-0 in the second semifinal.

Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito was in the crowd for the match between Kuznetsova and Jankovic yesterday. After the matches, players hit balls into the stands; Kuznetsova hit
one to Naruhito, and he made an impressive catch.

"I'm enjoying myself here," Kuznetsova said.

"I'm trying to do new things and it's exciting to be on the court."
After a closely contested first set, Kuznetsova took control in the second, breaking Srebotnik three times.

Kuznetsova broke Srebotnik with a backhand down the line in the seventh game to go ahead 5-2. She raced to a 40-love lead in the next game but Srebotnik fought back to deuce before Kuznetsova won her fourth match point.

Kuznetsova, who won the U.S. Open in 2004, will be bidding for her first title of 2008. Her last Tier I singles title was in 2006 in Miami.

Last week she helped Russia to a win over Spain in the Fed Cup final Monday and said that win boosted her heading to Japan.

"Winning the Fed Cup has given me more motivation," Kuznetsova said.
It was Safina's first win in six matches against Petrova.
"There is a first time for everything in life and today was my first win over her," said Safina, who is fifth in the WTA rankings and had seven aces.

"We've had some good matches in the past," added Safina.

"I wasn't like I was thinking that I had never beaten her before, the strategy was to just go out there and hit the ball as hard as I can."
Safina wasn't thinking too much about Sunday's final being an all-Russian affair.
"It's just another match," Safina said.

"We know each other well and I hope it's going to be a good match that we both can enjoy."
The 2008 champion at this Tier I hardcourt tournament will collect $196,900.

(Via International Herald Tribune)
(Images via Yahoo! Sports, Toray PPO website, Sony Ericsson WTA website)


Davis Cup Semifinals: Green lights for Argentina and Spain?

Okay, I deliberately put the title like that to give myself a reason to put up this song (John Legend and Andre 3000 - Green Light) :P
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With both Russia and the US two points down, it's looking good for home teams Argentina and Spain.

You know what? I almost never believe Juan Martin del Potro can beat the top guys. I was wrong. JMDP totally crush Nikolay Davydenko by beating him in straight sets! With his previous 23-winning streak, perhaps JMDP has developed a habit of winning.

At homegrown, all four Argentina's players plus captain sang the national anthem at the opening ceremony, plus the attendance of two recent Davis Cup stalwarts, Guillermo Coria and Jose Acasuso. It felt like Argentina’s moment, and with just one win in the remaining three rubbers, it will be.

Nick Bollettieri said that if the US team ever made it through this semifinals, it's going to be a "Miracle in Madrid".

Anyone would tell you that the Spanish team will pull off this semifinals easily on clay at home. If that's not bad enough, the US team have to play without James Blake and one half of the world no.1 dubs Bob Bryan.

But this also means that the US arrive in Madrid as an underdog, without pressure (or is it not?) and possibly with a whole new set of strategies with players like Sam Querrey and Mardy Fish taking up the responsibilities.

But after last night, I think we almost want to believe that the Spanish Armada is way too strong. Even Andy Roddick can't save the wrecking ship now.

And tomorrow, Mardy Fish and Mike Bryan will take on a very tough and talented doubles team of Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez and without the complete Bryan Brothers, it looks almost impossible for the US to make a come back.

For the other World Group playoffs results, go to the Davis Cup official website.

(Images via Yahoo! Sport)

Sep 19, 2008

Jelena Jankovic found her love at the Beijing Olympics


Novak Djokovic denied romance with Paraguayan Olympian Leryn Franco.

But look who's the one hooked up with another Olympian instead at the recent Beijing Olympics?

Serbian tennis player Jelena Jankovic met Mladjan Janovic, the water polo player from Montenegro at the sports event. And very soon their friendship turned into love.


In an exclusive interview for the magazine Hello!, Jelena talks about her new boyfriend, her successes on tennis courts all around the world, ambitions related to acting career, a forthcoming premiere of the documentary “Jelena’s World” dedicated to her, and how she feels about playing in dresses which she designed herself.

Answering the question about that someone special in her life now, she confirmed:
“Yes, there is a guy from Montenegro… Before I met Mladjan in Beijing, I was single for a couple of months. He plays water polo for the Montenegrin representation, he is 24 years old and his name is Mladjan Janovic."
(Via Blic Online, tennisforum.com)

Sep 18, 2008

Pan Pacific Open: Marion Bartoli, Nadia Petrova and Chuang Chia-Jung attended sushi demonstration

Marion Bartoli, Nadia Petrova and Chuang Chia-Jung attended a sushi demonstration and tasting in Tokyo.

Here are the photos of the event.

Chuang Chia-Jung, Marion Bartoli and Nadia Petrova learn how to make sushi from a Japanese sushi chef.

Nadia Petrova tastes her self-made sushi.

Chuang Chia-Jung and Marion Bartoli still haven't get their sushi into their mouths.

Chuang Chia-Jung is not even biting her sushi.

By the way, based on the Toray Pan Pacific Open Tennis tournament results today, Petrova won the second round after beating Ana Ivanovic 6-1, 1-6, 6-2.

Bartoli lost to Agnieszka Radwanska 2-6, 3-6.

In the women's doubles, Chuang and partner Su-Wei Shieh made it through to the semifinals in a walkover win against Maria Kirilenko and Flavia Penneta.

(Images via Toray PPO official website)

Argentines feel Davis Cup within grasp; Football legend, Diego Maradona at the practice

Argentina believes winning its first Davis Cup is within its grasp on the eve of hosting its first semifinal at its Parque Roca Stadium fortress.

If the team beats Russia this weekend, the Argentines will also host its first final against either Spain or the trophy-holding United States.

The chance to make history has the Argentine team highly motivated, and even drew football great Diego Maradona to practice on Wednesday.

"The boys are really dedicated to this tournament," Argentina captain Alberto Mancini told TyC Sports television on Wednesday.

"They're pumped up by the opportunity to play another final — and at home. They have a lot of motivation, you can see it on the court."
Argentina hasn't lost at home in 10 years, winning 12 straight ties. That record made Argentina favored to win this week, said the country's greatest player, Guillermo Vilas.
"Argentina has a very good record at home," Vilas told the Davis Cup Web site. "The people are very warm and passionate when the matches start, and the Argentines always seem to play at their best."
To ease the pressure on his team, Mancini on Tuesday named David Nalbandian and Juan Martin del Potro for Friday's opening singles at the sold-out, 14,000-seat, clay-court stadium.

Diego Maradona wishing David Nalbandian success.

Guillermo Canas gets some love from the football legend.

Same goes to Juan Martin del Potro. Alberto Mancini is waiting for his turn.


(Via GMANews.TV, Images via Yahoo! Sport)

Leryn Franco a treat for Brisbane tennis fans?

BRISBANE tennis fans may glimpse Novak Djokovic's glamour girlfriend Leryn Franco when the Serb takes to the court at the Brisbane International.

"A lot of these guys do travel with their girlfriends through to the Australian Open, so I guess there is every chance she could be here," said the tournament's director, Steve Ayles. "But I couldn't say for sure."
I can't believe this 'cheap' claims comes from the Brisbane tournament director. I mean Djokovic himself already denied the rumour at the recent U.S Open.

Another event's big drawcard, Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will be attending the Brisbane International too.

Ayles also confirmed that Tsonga, is desperate to check out Queensland's deep-sea fishing.
"He does love to fish so we're trying to organise a trip for him."
In the meanwhile here are some latest pictures of Djokovic at a welcoming evening at Bratislava, before the start of the Davis Cup match between Serbia and Slovakia. He was seen dancing with Slovakian singer Sisa Sklovska.


Updated: And here are more photos of Djokovic and his Serbian teammates and the Slovakian team.

Novak Djokovic leads the Serbian team.

Serbian tennis player Janko Tipsarevic is pictured at the press conference at the end of
the draw for of the Davis Cup World Group.


The Serbian tennis team (Left to right) Novak Djokovic, Bogdan Obradovic,
Janko Tipsarevic, and Viktor Troicki.


(Left to right) Slovakia tennis team members Dominik Hrbaty, Lukas Lacko, and Milos Mecir, and Serbian tennis team players Bogdan Obradovic, Novak Djokovic, Janko Tipsarevic, Viktor Troicki, and Nenad Zimonjic.

Tennis players Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia and Novak Djokovic of Serbia.

(Via couriermail.com.au, Images via Yahoo! Sport)

Who will be Roger Federer's new coach?


Roger Federer’s part-time coach, Jose Higueras, was hired by the U.S. Tennis Association earlier this week as director of coaching for elite player development, a program that aims to identify future champions.
“Jose is one of the greatest minds in coaching today,” said Patrick McEnroe, the U.S. Davis Cup captain and general manager of the development program.

“His understanding of the sport is unrivaled, and his familiarity with American tennis makes him an invaluable asset and important addition to our staff as we continue to develop the skills of the brightest young talents in tennis.”
Higueras will work at USTA training centres in California and Florida. As a coach, he helped Michael Chang and Jim Courier win Grand Slam titles, and he also worked with Pete Sampras, Jennifer Capriati, Todd Martin and Robby Ginepri.

Higueras began working off-and-on with Federer this season and was at the U.S. Open this month when the Swiss star won his 13th major singles championship.

The question now is, who is Federer's new coach?

(Via Yahoo! Sport)

Sep 17, 2008

Rendy Lu Yen-Hsun, the coverboy in "Next Man Magazine"

Thanks, Esther for this tips.

Rendy Lu Yen-Hsun (盧彥勳) is best remembered for beating Andy Murray in the first round at the Beijing Olympics 2008.

Right after the Olympics, Rendy accepted an interview and photo shooting from the Next Man Magazine.

Rendy resembles Rain in this cover, isn't he?

Titled '無名英雄 Rendy' (which supposed to mean 'Rendy the Unknown Warrior'), this lifestyle magazine which features Rendy on the cover will be available from September 18 onwards.

In the magazine, Rendy talks about his experience at the Beijing Olympics and various aspects of his life.

Hopefully I'll be able to grab two copies (one for you, Esther!) here in KL.

By the way, here's the article in Chinese from his website.
不一樣的盧彥勳,將出現在9月18日382期的「壹週刊」 2008/9/16 下午 03:09:21 盧彥勳北京奧運結束後,接受「壹週刊」的專訪。「壹週刊」除了幫盧彥勳拍攝網球揮拍動作外,還特地幫盧彥勳拍了幾套時裝的照片,都會出現在9月18日382期的壹週?。盧彥勳會出現在該期「壹週刊」的封面。訪問內容也包含盧彥勳奧運的心路歷程,各位喜歡盧彥勳的朋友,想要多瞭解盧彥勳的朋友,想要看看不同面貌盧彥勳的朋友,可以鎖定這星期發行(382 期)的「壹週刊」

(Via Rendy's website)

Pan Pacific Open: Yaroslava Shedova, Vladimira Uhlirova and Agnieszka Radwanska attended sumo match

Before the start of the Toray Pan Pacific Open Tennis tournament, Yaroslava Shedova, Vladimira Uhlirova and Agnieszka Radwanska spend some time attending a sumo wrestling match.

Here are some pictures of them posing with the wrestlers.

At the entrance of the sumo stadium.

Posed in the stands during a visit to a sumo match.

With Ozeki-Kotomitsuki

With Komusubi-Baruto

With Yokozuna-Hakuho

(Images via www.toray-ppo.co.jp)

Argentina name David Nalbandian, Juan Martin Del Potro for singles; Marat Safin chooses Bangkok Open instead

Could Juan Martin del Potro and David Nalbandian be the perfect combination to win against the Russian team?

Argentina named David Nalbandian and Juan Martin del Potro to play in the singles in their Davis Cup world group semi-final against Russia at the weekend.
"David and Juan Martin will be the singles players," team captain Alberto Mancini told a news conference.
Argentina's team captain Alberto Mancini gives instructions to players Juan Martin Del Potro and David Nalbandian during a training session.

"We haven't decided on the doubles, it depends on what happens in Friday's opening two rubbers."

"Naming them now is a lift for team morale as they don't have to live with any uncertainty about who's going to play. Everyone knows their role and that is very positive."
David Nalbandian, his coach Martin Jaite and team's captain Alberto Mancini watch a flaw in the court's floor during a training session in Buenos Aires.

More complaints from David Nalbandian about the clay court.

Juan Martin del Potro looks relax and have no problem with the unpopular court surface.

Agustin Calleri and Guillermo Canas complete the Argentina team for the Sept 19-21 tie.

Nalbandian warned that Russia would not struggle as much on the clay surface at the Parque Roca as other visiting teams.
"Playing on clay makes a big difference for Argentina against a lot of countries, but I don't think it will be like that against Russia," he said.
"They have players who are very strong on this surface and it's going to be tough."
As for the Russian team, Nikolay Davydenko has started his practice along with Igor Andreev and Dmitry Tursunov.

Russian Davis Cup team captain Shamil Tarpischev and player Nikolay Davydenko
prepare for a training session.


Dmitry Tursunov looking cute.

Earlier on Marat Safin has decided to take part in the Thailand Open instead of helping his country in the Davis Cup.


The world number 39 has pulled out of the competition because of the distance between Argentina and Thailand.


This time Marat Safin is not wearing that Russian shirt.

Safin said on his website that he needed points to improve his world ranking so he decided to participate in the Thailand Open which is scheduled from September 21-28.
''I decided to pull out from the Russian Davis Cup team because I want to concentrate on the Thailand Open,'' said the former top-ranked player in the world.
He felt the trip from Buenos Aires to Bangkok would be very long and tiring and could make it difficult for him to play well in Bangkok in order to get points.

He asked Russia's captain Shamil Tarpischev to release him from the Davis Cup squad and Tarpischev agreed.

''My aim by the end of this season is to be in the top 20 again,'' he said.
Safin will fly to Bangkok on Sept 21. The tournament will also feature a number of world-class players including number three Novak Djokovic.

(Via Reuters UK, Bangkok Post, Images via Yahoo! Sport)

Toray Pan Pacific Open Tennis begins this week

The women tennis players were at the main draw and did a press conference for the Toray Pan Pacific Open Tennis 2008 held at Hotel Grand Pacific Le Daiba on September 15, 2008 in Tokyo, Japan.


The main draw of the tournament is to be held at Ariake Colosseum from September 16 to September 21.

Here are some pretty pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Left to right: Amelie Mauresmo, Daniela Hantuchova, Ai Sugiyama and Ana Ivanovic.

Ana Ivanovic, Dinara Safina and Elena Dementieva.

Jelena Jankovic and Dominika Cibulkova

Alize Cornet works her locks.

Elena Dementieva can work it better and sexier.

But Daniela Hantucova is the most natural among the girls.


(Images via www.toray-ppo.co.jp, zimbio.com)

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