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Oct 11, 2008

Davis Cup final to be held in Mar del Plata instead

Islas Malvinas Stadium in Mar del Plata, Argentina.

Early this month, the Argentine tennis association nominated Cordoba's Estadio Orfeo as its first choice for the Davis Cup final.

And today, it is confirmed that the final between Argentina and Spain will be held at the Islas Malvinas Stadium in Mar del Plata.

“This was one of the most challenging decisions we have made during my more than a decade-long tenure on the Davis Cup Committee,” said Juan Margets, chairman of the International Tennis Federation panel.
The Argentine team hoped to play on a fast indoor court in Cordoba to bolster the strengths of David Nalbandian and Juan Martin del Potro.

Both venues don’t meet the ITF’s requirement of 12,000 seats.

Margets said it was more feasible to increase the seating in Mar del Plata’s venue.

The Davis Cup final will be held in Nov. 21-23.

(Via AP, Image by AP Photo/Vicente Robles)

Oct 10, 2008

Showdown of Champions KL: Have you bought your tickets?

You are definitely not going to get any seats at the Venetian Macao Tennis Showdown by now.

The showdown in November will features Roger Federer, James Blake, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe going head-to-head in a one-night exhibition match in Macao and also another in Kuala Lumpur.

You might want to drop by in Kuala Lumpur instead as tickets are still available here but I doubt you'll get any good front seats either.

My tickets are on the L6 section (silver category) and 6th row from the front. To get your tickets, you can purchase online from the Axcess website.


For local fans, if possible, buy your tickets from the Axcess outlet instead (offline purchasing) so that you don't have to waste time queuing up for ticket collection on event day
(Ticket collection for online purchase is at venue only on the event day, 2 hours before the show time).

Here's a bit of the itinerary on that day:
  • Live musical entertainment (I hope not some stupid boy band performance like last year! We need some class in a tennis event)
  • Bjorn Borg vs John McEnroe - 1 Set
  • Roger Federer vs James Blake - Best-of-3 Sets (Yahooooo!)
  • Roger Federer and Bjorn Borg vs John McEnroe and James Blake. - A Ten Point Doubles Tie Breaker
For a diehard fan like me, this event is way beyond my dream. Honestly, this is better than meeting Rafael Nadal in person! How often can you get to meet tennis legends like Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe?

Recently I have been reading Blake's autobigraphy, Breaking Back: How I Lost Everything and Won Back My Life. Blake who overcame a broken neck and shingles, which paralysed half his face, is one of the greatest comeback stories ever. If you are an Oprah fan, you'll probably catch the episode where Oprah interviewed Blake about what he had gone through. So for me, the urge to meet James Blake is huge!

I'll come up with more post on this event in the next few days providing info like places to stay and go in KL, how you can get there at the Putra Stadium, etc.

In the meanwhile, you might want to drop by Showdown KL official site and participate in the auction and do a bit of charity.

Have a good weekend!

Fernando Gonzalez Visits Vienna's Spanish Riding School

While Gael Monfils took a trip to the zoo, Fernando Gonzalez took time out from the Bank Austria-Tennis Trophy in Vienna yesterday to visit the Spanish Riding School, which is home to 73 Lipizzan stallions.

The 28-year-old visited the stables to meet a 15-year-old Lipizzan stallion called Conversano Tiberia. Afterwards he watched the morning practice show at Vienna's Imperial Hofburg Palace.
Gonzalez said: “It was very nice. The horses are really taken care of perfectly. I’ve never seen this many white horses at once!”

“My sister loves horses and has taught me a lot about them. I’ve been riding a few times and it’s really fun. I have to be careful though because it can be dangerous for my career but in the future I’m going to ride more for sure.”

“The buildings here are unbelievable. There is a lot of tradition here dating back to the 16th century.”
The Spanish Riding School is the only institution in the world that continues to cultivate classical equitation in the Renaissance tradition of the haute école.

The Lipizzans are Europe's oldest breed of horses, with their origins dating back to the 16th century.

Gonzalez is scheduled to meet Gael Monfils in the quarterfinals today.

Updates:
While Monfils and Gonzalez were doing something educational, Feliciano Lopez (look at those electrifying eyes!) and Juan Martin del Potro were partying
at the players party at Passage that features DJ Manfredo & DJ Mosaken.


(Images via Bank Austria-Tennis Trophy official website)

Oct 9, 2008

Rendy Lu Yen-Hsun (盧彥勳) official website makeover

Finally Rendy Lu has given his website a face uplift.

However, the newly relaunched website is still experiencing bugs as I'm not able to click on a few links i.e. gallery.

Rendy's website however is only available in Chinese language. If you want to read, I suggest you to use Google Translator to do so.

The world no. 69, recently retired in the first round at the Kremlin Cup this week due to right ankle injury. However, he's expected to be back in tournament at the Tashkent Challenger.

Max Mirnyi receives an International Law degree


Congratulation! Max Mirnyi has completed his degree at Belarus State University, majoring in International Law with his diploma work on the international protection of children's rights.

The former No. 1 doubles player sacrificed some weeks on the ATP circuit over the summer to complete the degree, which he has been working towards for the past five years.
The 31-year-old Minsk native said, “By being a UNICEF Goodwill ambassador to Belarus and taking part in the various national and international children's programs over the years in the framework of the ATP, I witnessed the necessity to continue to act to provide children around the world with extra care and attention to ensure a better and safer future for humanity."
“I want to thank my family for supporting me during the long five years of my study and also a wonderful crew of BSU professors from whom I had pleasure gathering required knowledge.”
Mirnyi is back on court playing with Andy Ram at the Bank Austria-Tennis Trophy in Vienna. Last month, Mirnyi splitted with doubles partner Jamie Murray, who is now paired up with Ross Hutchins.


(Via ATP website, Images via maxmirnyi.com)

Oct 8, 2008

Bryan Brothers jam out with Counting Crows


Dubs no. 1 Bob and Mike Bryan have played to some big crowds during their careers.

But nothing quite prepared them for the buzz of rocking with Counting Crows in front of 25,000 fans at Tampa, Florida last Friday.

The 30-year-old California twins joined the band on stage for the song 'Hanging Around'.

Bob played keyboards, including a solo midway through the song. Mike played a rhythm acoustics guitar, including a brief solo.
"It's been a childhood dream of ours to be rock stars and I've had dreams of playing in front of that many people," Bob said.

"So it was great to finally become a rock star - even if it was just for six minutes."
The Bryans are friends with band member Jim Bogios, hooking up the drummer with Centre Court tickets to the Nadal-Federer final at Wimbledon this year and tickets during the US Open.
"Jim mentioned to us that he'd like to get us on stage with the band. We didn't think he was serious but everyone in the band was on the same page," Mike said.
But a two-hour flight delay from the West Coast Friday almost cost the Bryans their dream. After landing late in Tampa they rushed to the Ford Amphitheater.
"When we landed we were worried about the time but we got a text from Jim saying 'You can't get out of this now. You're going to be sitting in with us for Hanging Around.' That's when we started getting really nervous," Mike said.

"Bob has had extra time to practice (keyboards) in recent weeks because of his shoulder injury, and in the car to the concert he brushed up on a mini keyboard on his iPhone. He really got it tight and played brilliantly."
Midway through 'Hanging Around' lead singer Adam Duritz introduced Bob and Mike to the crowd, who roared their approval.

The Bryans are practicing at Saddlebrook this week and with Bob's left shoulder steadily improving, they expect to play the ATP Masters Series event in Madrid, which begins Sunday.

Bob has been sidelined since winning a second US Open title with Mike in early September. Mike's only appearance since then was a five-set Davis Cup win with Mardy Fish against Spain in Madrid almost three weeks ago.

Click here to download the audio (via ATP site). (Note: Counting Crows have granted permission for the track to appear on that ATP site)
*Listen to the brothers playing in Hanging Around. Bob's keyboards solo starts at 2:26 into the clip, with Mike's guitar solo starting around 3:30.

(Via ATP site)

Mario Ancic over-excited about his return to the court


Second seed Mario Ancic overcame a stiff challenge from Olivier Rochus by showing that he is the better man.

The Croatian won the first round match 7-6, 6-2 at the Stockholm Open.


As what Down the Line! suggested, Ancic is all excited about coming back to tournament after a bout with mononucleosis.


Guys, if you don't want to be caught in an embarrassing moment like this, don't wear a yellow shorts when hitting a fuzzy yellow ball.


(Via downthelinetennis.com, Image via OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Gael Monfils visits the Schönbrunn Zoo

While in Vienna for the Bank Austria-Tennis Trophy, Gael Monfils visited the Schönbrunn Zoo which is the world’s oldest zoo, founded in 1752.
“The animals were amazing here at the Vienna Zoo, it was fun visiting them," said the Frenchman.
Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure.


Gael Monfils admiring the view at the zoo.

Monfils, who bravely petted a ring-tailed lemur, said "I like animals but I'm a little scared of touching them."

Gael Monfils gets up close and personal with a baby donkey.

(Via Austrian Open official website)

Oct 7, 2008

Dinara Safina and Amelie Mauresmo can cook

Dinara Safina and Amelie Mauresmo attended the Whirlpool culinary lesson at the Whirlpool booth at the VIP area during the Kremlin Cup 2008 today in Moscow, Russia.

Guided by an experienced chef the two players cooked two very tasty fish meals using state-of -the art processors manufactured by the world famous producer of kitchen and home electronics.

The numerous tournament guests who attended the culinary clinic tasted the meals and highly appreciated the work of the two players and Whirlpool equipment.

Good job, girls!


(Via Kremlin Cup official website, Images by Dima Korotayev/Epsilon/Getty Images)

Oct 6, 2008

What do you think of Svetlana Kuznetsova new look?

Don't you think Svetlana Kuznetsova's getting prettier these days?

In the photo above, during last night's Kremlin Cup Players Party, I thought she looked rather gorgeous.


She's getting slimmer and even know how to put on some make-up. She dressed well too.

However, when she's taking a close-up photo, I'm kinda surprised. Well, a little bit shock.

Are you seeing what I'm seeing???


Gosh, I could be mistaken her for a she-male!

Well, Kuzy, whatever it is, I still love you as a tennis player. Hope you kick some butts out there in the court and win a title!

(Via zimbio.com)

2008 Kremlin Cup Players Party

Here are some great photos at the Kremlin Cup players party at the Europe Club, Moscow, Russia last night. Enjoy!

There are a few performances from boy bands and all-girl bands including this group called "Blondies". I thought I saw Maria Sharapova in this picture.

Jamie Murray (with the lame 'peace' sign) and Ross Hutchins.

Anastasia Myskina and the cute looking Dinara Safina.

Starace Potito and Flavia Pennetta.

The forever-hot-looking Marat Safin.

Victor Hanescu

Gosh, Robby Ginepri, you seriously need to get a haircut!

The adorable Elena Vesnina.

Elena 'hot-looking blond in leather' Dementieva.

Nicole Vaidisova in a 'Wilma Flintstone' dress.

Vera Dushevina, Anna Chakvetadze , Elena Dementieva, Elena Vesnina

Dinara Safina's pretty good in PR.

Don't you think Svetlana Kuznetsova's getting slimmer and prettier these days?

(Images via zimbio.com, kremlin cup official site)

Hugo Boss celebrates its 10-year anniversary of partnership with Kremlin Cup

Hugo Boss, an international group for fashion and style, will celebrate its 10-year anniversary of partnership as an official sponsor, which provides clothing for Kremlin Cup.

This year Kremlin Cup will be held in Moscow on October 4-12.


While celebrating this big event, a rout of special VIP-guests, players and media will be held on weekend in Boss hall. The hall with modern design and sport history data is an exclusive place to organize meetings for different political, economic, sport, media and public figures.

Successful cooperation with “Kremlin Cup” since 1999 appears to be an important component of this traditional tennis tournament.

As before Hugo Boss will provide clothing from special Boss Green collection for ball boys, while the official representatives will be in Boss Black.

Linesmen will also appear in Boss Black on important matches.


By the way, the draw ceremony of the “Kremlin Cup-2008 was held last weekend at the “Olympisky” stadium.

Igor Andreev surrounded by the press.

Maria Kirilenko at the draw ceremony.

Igor Andreev and Maria Kirilenko were there at the ceremony.

Go to Kremlin Cup official website to find out the complete draws
.


(Via Kremlin Cup official website)

Sorana Cirstea defeats Sabine Lisicki for first career title


Two of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour's brightest young stars went to battle in the Tashkent Open final on Sunday.

It was Sorana Cirstea who rose to the top on this occasion, coming back from the brink in the third set and edging Sabine Lisicki in a third set tie-break to capture her first title at the Tier IV event.
"I'll cherish the title in Tashkent forever as it is my first title; I was desperate to take my first title!" Cirstea added.

"I've been improving a lot since my first final, and I'm looking for many more titles. I'm also extremely happy to wear the traditional Uzbek dress, which has become the trademark of this event."
Cirstea was a runner-up in her first career final, losing to Gisela Dulko in three sets on the clay courts of Budapest last spring.

But it was second time lucky in Tashkent this year, as the 18-year-old came back from the brink to emphatically beat her 19-year-old opponent, who was playing in her first career final.
"I made some mistakes and missed too many easy shots; it was my first final and I'm happy to have come so far, but I'm sad to lose," Lisicki said.

"Although I might have missed a lot of shots today, in the future these shots will be my weapons. My goal is to be a Top 10 player and I'm going to work even harder."


With Cirstea, Lisicki and Peng all reaching the semifinals, the only Top 4 seed not reaching the semifinals was No.2 seed Olga Govortsova.

In her stead it was No.5 seed Magdalena Rybarikova who reached the final four before retiring against Cirstea due to illness after dropping the first set, 6-3.

Also making noise in Tashkent was Portuguese phenom Michelle Larcher de Brito, who reached a Tour quarterfinal for the first time in her very green career.

The doubles final took the court on Saturday as well, with Ioana Raluca Olaru and Olga Savchuk beating Nina Bratchikova and Kathrin Woerle in a match tie-break, 5-7, 7-5, 10-7.

Both Olaru and Savchuk picked up their first Tour titles of any kind; and while Olaru had reached one Tour doubles final - at Budapest earlier this year, finishing runner-up - Savchuk was playing her first Tour final of any kind.


(Via sonyericssonwtatour.com, Image via Yahoo! Sport)

Dmitry Tursunov beats Paul-Henri Mathieu for title in Metz

Dmitry Tursunov captured the Open de Moselle title on Sunday with a three-set victory over French crowd favorite Paul-Henri Mathieu.

The fifth-seeded Tursunov notched a 7-6 (8-6), 1-6, 6-4 triumph for his fifth career title and second of 2008.

He also won in Sydney at the start of the season, and Sunday's win improved his career finals record to 5-2. One of those losses came in July at Indianapolis.


Mathieu, seeded fourth, was playing in his first final of the year and the seventh of his career. He fell to 4-3 in title matches, last winning a tournament last year in Gstaad.


The victory was worth $82,000 for Tursunov, who was born in Moscow and resides in California.

He improved to 2-0 lifetime against Mathieu, also winning a three-set match at the Queen's Club in 2007.

Frenchmen Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra retained their Open de Moselle title after defeating top seeded Poles Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski 5-7, 6-3, 10-8 in a repeat of the 2007 final.

(Via sportsnetwork.com, Image by Yahoo! Sport)

Jelena Jankovic celebrates no.1 rank with a win at the Porsche Grand Prix

New No. 1 Jelena Jankovic won her second title in two weeks, defeating Nadia Petrova of Russia 6-4, 6-3 Sunday in the final of the Porsche Grand Prix.

The 23-year-old Serb also won the China Open last week and the Italian Open earlier this year.
“I am really proud of myself,” she said.

“I am playing with a lot of confidence and I played some good tennis this week.”
Jankovic was assured of taking the top ranking Monday from Serena Williams regardless of the outcome of the final.

She already held the No. 1 spot for one week in August.
“I feel that every day I am getting better and better. I am really working on my game, I want to reach my full potential,” Jankovic said.
Williams became the No. 1 after defeating Jankovic at the U.S. Open final, but the American will drop in the rankings after losing her opening match in Stuttgart.

Jankovic won her eighth career title after overcoming a brief lapse in the second set against the 18th-ranked Russian, who won the Stuttgart tournament in 2006.


After the win, Jankovic took a spin in the red Porsche 911 convertible given to the winner and appeared to have more trouble controlling the powerful car than the match.

She broke serve in the opening game and it was enough to give her the set against an error-prone Petrova.
“I really wanted to win this trophy, and when you want too much, sometimes it doesn’t work in tennis,” Petrova said.

“I gave it my best.”
Petrova had not dropped a set this week until the final.

Jankovic has been playing with a painful left foot after tearing off a toe nail. She needed painkiller shots before her semifinal win over Venus Williams and got two more before the final.


Asked about her foot at the post-match news conference, Jankovic misunderstood the question and replied, “The food is great.”

Realizing the mistake, Jankovic burst out laughing and then added:
“It’s numb during the match and I don’t feel anything, but after a couple of hours it hurts a lot,” she said.

“The doctor told me to wear flip-flops but I am flying to Serbia tonight, I can’t go in flip-flops like I am going to the beach.”
Jankovic is scheduled to play the Kremlin Cup next week. Although she left open whether she would actually show up in Moscow for the tournament, which Williams is skipping.
“I feel tired now, but mentally I am not tired, I am hungry to do well. I want to finish the year as No. 1,” she said.
The doubles final, which followed the singles final, saw top seeds Kveta Peschke and Rennae Stubbs taking on the wildcard pairing of Patty Schnyder and Anna-Lena Groenefeld.

And it was the underdogs who came out on top, as Groenefeld and Schnyder won their first title together with a 62 64 upset victory.

Groenefeld won her seventh career Tour doubles title, and first since the beginning of 2007; Schnyder picked up her fifth Tour doubles title, her first since early 2004.


(Via AP, Images via Yahoo! Sport, zimbio.com)


Oct 5, 2008

Tomas Berdych, Caroline Wozniacki win Japan Open titles

Ninth seed Tomas Berdych powered past Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro in straight sets to win the Japan Open, his first ATP title of the season.

In the women's competition, top seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark battled to a 6-2 3-6 6-1 win over Kaia Kanepi of Estonia to claim her third WTA title of the year.

Berdych, who shocked American second seed Andy Roddick and third seed Fernando Gonzalez on his way to the final, surprisingly had a one-sided 6-1, 6-4 victory over the fifth-seeded Del Potro.
"In this condition and at this level of tennis, I think the most important thing is to... just be 100 percent on the court - then the results can come," said the 23-year-old Czech.

"I think it happened to me this week and I'm very happy for that. I'm really happy to win here, especially here in Tokyo, I hope I will be here next year."
Berdych, currently ranked 27th in the world, said his goal was to finish 2008 in or near the top 10.

Del Potro - ranked 12th after a blistering summer during which he won four titles - appeared to be off form, taking an injury time out during the first set and another before the start of the second set.


Del Potro said he had taken some medication, but did not blame the loss on his illness, saying:
"He played much better than me. I was feeling confused (by his play), but he did a great match."
"After the first set I started to play a little better, but it was too late."
It was Berdych's first title since winning at Halle in June last year, and his fourth overall, after victories at Palermo in 2004 and Paris in 2005.

On the women's side, the 18-year-old Wozniacki added to her 2008 success, after winning in Stockholm and New Haven in August.
"I feel amazing. I just won another tournament. It's been an incredible year. This is my first title here in Japan and I'm very happy," said a jubilant Wozniacki, ranked 16th against Kanepi's 33rd.

"I think I improved a lot last year."
Leander Paes and Lukas Dlouhy's bid for a second successive ATP title ended in disappointment after the top seeds were stunned by the Russian-German pair of Mikhail Youzhny and Mischa Zverev in the finals of AIG Japan Open in Tokyo today.

The unseeded Youzhny and Zverev beat the Indo-Czech pair 6-3, 6-4 to capture their second ATP title together.

It is the second time this year that Youzhny and Zverev have combined to deny Paes and Dlouhy a title win, having also done so when they claimed their maiden ATP title at Halle in June.


(Via news.theage.com.au, Images via Yahoo! Sport, zimbio.com)


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