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Jan 24, 2009

Zheng Jie reaches last 16, Peng Shuai ousted from Aussie Open

Wimbledon semifinalist Zheng Jie beat Ukraine's Kateryna Bondarenko 6-2, 6-2 to continue her best-ever Australian Open.

The 22nd seed only 69 minutes to send Bondarenko packing in the third round encounter.
"I feel I play good for today, because before the match I do much homework to study my opponent. I know how to play this match," said Zheng, who never reached second round or beyond in previous Australian Open.

"It's a little surprised that I can win the match so easily, because I know she plays aggressive tennis. So at the beginning I go to the court and play more aggressive than her."
Earlier, China's Peng Shuai was dumped out of the event, losing to Serena Williams 6-1, 6-4.
"I think it's really good experience for me. It's my first time to play her," said Peng.

"The first set, I was a bit nervous, and then a little bit too tight. But after the start of the second set, I feel much better."


"I was up and I get little bit chances, but didn't take that. I learn from her and just keep going."
Serena will face rising teen star Victoria Azarenka, who ended Amelie Mauresmo's AO campaign 6-4, 6-2.
"It was definitely a lot better than my second round. But, you know, I'm still trying to work on some things and hoping they'll come together," Serena said.

"I'm feeling a little rusty, for whatever reason. I'm hoping my next round I'll be a little better."
She added that her sister's shock upset in the second round had given her extra motivation to win here.
"It obviously increases my motivation and my desire to win and hopefully do better."
Elena Dementieva, whom I predicted going to have a great run in AO together with Serena, defeated Aussie Samantha Stosur 7-6, 6-4.

The fourth round of AO will continue today.

(Via xinhuanet, Images via Yahoo! Sports, sports.sina.com.cn)

Bernard Tomic to choose the US or London over Australia

Australia's teenage sensation Bernard Tomic announced that he will move abroad, either to the US or London, in the next three months, so he can continue developing his game as he begins his life as a professional tennis player.

After gaining a wildcard entry and making it to the Australian Open second round, Tomic believes he's ready to take on the men.
"Now that I'm becoming more of a name in Australia, I've got to take the opportunity to build my game and work hard and take it to the next level," Tomic said.

"My parents are looking at moving to either England or America in the next three or four months."

"Then I have to work on my game and get a lot more opportunities."

"I can't stay on the Gold Coast forever."

"There's a lot of expectations now and I've got to find the right place where I can stay and have a home base."
Tomic said he would next head to Burnie in Tasmania, for a challenger event, and would then try to pick up a wildcard in Miami.

He said it was unrealistic to expect a huge rankings climb.
"To be honest with you, I don't think I can make top 100 this year," he said.

"I think I could get in the top 300 and that's a good goal."

"If I crack the 300 then I can play grand slam qualifying straight away and I'll never need wildcards and that's where I can build myself up."

"The next year is going to be good for me to build up, play more futures and challengers, because I've seen I can match it with these guys."

"It's just a matter of me getting stronger and playing in those big tournaments."
Today, Tomic who have just signed a two-year deal with Garnier, made a special appearance as their brand ambassador during the Australian Open week.

He might be only 16 years old but this guy qualifies to show you why chicks dig guys who take care of their beauty and health.



(Via news.com.au; Images via sports.sina.com.cn)


Ai Sugiyama, Rendy Lu Yen-Hsun bow out at Aussie Open

Now, China's Zheng Jie and Peng Shuai are Asia's last hopes after Ai Sugiyama and Rendy Lu Yen-Hsun failed to convert their 3rd round matches into victory.

Veteran Sugiyama, playing in her 60th Grand Slam (!) put up a brave fight on centre court against Jelena Jankovic before losing 4-6, 4-6.

Sugiyama said the heat affected her, but doesn't know why as she usually handles it well.
Asked if she was happy with her performance, she said: "Yes and no."

"My expectation was a little bit higher. I don't know why but I couldn't breathe properly today, somehow it was very shallow and I had cramping towards the end."
"It's strange because normally I'm good at playing in the heat. I usually like it but today I wasn't feeling great."
Sugiyama called a medical time-out in the second set, telling officials she was having trouble breathing as trainers placed bags of ice on her legs.

She said she would consult a doctor but believes it was only minor dehydration.

On the men's singles, Rendy who had his biggest win against David Nalbandian on Wednesday, was brought crashing back to earth by Tommy Robredo
6-1, 6-3, 6-2.

Rendy missed the chance to play against Andy Roddick in the fourth round.

Asian hopes now rest with Zheng and Peng.

They play their third round matches today with Zheng Jie having the easier task up against Kateryna Bondarenko.

Peng Shuai will face world no. 2 Serena Williams in a match that I hope will be an upset.


(Via AFP; Images by Franck Robichon/Greg Wood/AFP/Getty Images)

Jan 23, 2009

Nadia Petrova babysits for a day, advances to the fourth round

Looks like Nadia Petrova had lots of fun playing with the kids and walking along the Brighton Beach on day five of the 2009 Australian Open.

In the third-round match yesterday, Petrova advanced when Galina Voskoboeva was forced to retire with a back injury after losing the first set 6-1.

She will face seventh-seeded fellow Russian Vera Zvonareva, who beat Italian Sara Errani 6-4, 6-1. Petrova holds a 5-1 record against her countrywoman.

Petrova's shortened match could be a boon for her, who has been struggling to recover from the meningitis that forced her to withdraw from a tournament in Auckland early this month.
"It is very nice and it is very unexpected because I got ready for a battle out there," Petrova said.
"I really wanted (to win) this match not only because I made the fourth round last year but for proving to myself that after such a hard time that I can still come back and perform at the top level."

"I'm good, quite happy actually. I had a difficult week in Sydney (she lost in the first round). I wasn't strong enough and I really didn't trust my body up there, so I just wanted to test the waters.

"But I'm very happy with my general feeling right now. I feel like every day I'm getting stronger and it's really helping me in my matches."

(Via theage.com.au; Images by Scott Barbour/Clive Brunskill/Getty Images AsiaPac via zimbio.com)

You'll only get this in Australian Open (WARNING: NUDITY)

We all know that tennis is not a classy, gentlemen's sport in Australia.

But come on, tennis is no football.

Please stop the hooliganism and thuggery acts in big tennis event like this.

(Image via Forty Deuce)

And if that's not controversial enough, here's another one today.

A streaker runs across Court 3 during the second round doubles match between Venus Williams and Serena Williams and Ayumi Morita and Martina Muller!

WTF!

Stop giggling and run for your life!

The unidentified man sprinted across the sidelines and made several dance moves before heading toward an exit. And only from there, he was met by security guards who later arrested and banned him from the event.

Australian Open officials said the streaker was on the court for 14 seconds.

So why did they take so long to react? Here are their explanations.
“The focus of the on-court security team is always on player protection,” a statement from tournament officials said.

“They are instructed not to chase offenders as their focus at all times must remain on the players."

"The on-court actions of the security personnel reflected this focus on player protection.”
Now seriously, Australia, please buck up the securities at Melbourne Park!

What if these fanatic fans really jump into the court and hurt the players? We don't want to see a repeat of that Monica Seles stabbing incident.

If you can't step up to all these challenges then bring this Grand Slam event somewhere else in the Asia Pacific.

(Images via Getty Images)

Fernando Verdasco's new companion

After their breakup, Ana Ivanovic wouldn't want to be seen in photos together with Fernando Verdasco anymore.

So for the Australian Open off court photo shooting, the best partner that they could find for Nando is a little penguin at Melbourne Aquarium.

At least its as adorable as Ana and Nando seems contented and happy with his new found companion.

But I doubt this going to last too.


(Images Fiona Hamilton/AFP/Getty Images)

Jan 22, 2009

Rendy, you can't be serious right?

Many tennis fans were shocked by David Nalbandian's defeat to Rendy Lu Yen-Hsun yesterday.

So will giant killer Rendy going to create another upset tomorrow when he play Tommy Robredo in the third round?

Well, I do believe there’s a high possibility but at the same time I’ll pray hard so that Rendy won’t mess this opportunity with a head case.

But thankfully, Rendy knows how to handle the pressure by having a caricature therapy.

But, can you see that something is not right about the caricature?

(Images by Fiona Hamilton/AFP/Getty Images)

Alize Cornet celebrates her 19th birthday

It was a piece of cake when Alize Cornet defeated Andrea Petkovic 6-1, 6-0 in the second round yesterday at the Australian Open.

She's scheduled to meet Daniela Hantucova tomorrow in the third round.

But that, she wants to celebrate her birthday today with a real cake.

Can't believe she just turned 19, huh?

Now don't you guys wish you were the cake :P


(Images by Fiona Hamilton/AFP/Getty Images)

Thumbs up for Rafael Nadal, a big yawn for 2008 Davis Cup

Seriously, I'm kinda get used to Rafael Nadal's new outfit already. I can't believe I can get over his signature sleeveless/pirate pants this fast!

Here he is looking classier than ever.

Together with Nicolas Almagro, they attended the presentation for the Spanish Davis Cup team for winning the 2008 Davis Cup during Day 3 of the 2009 Australian Open at Melbourne Park yesterday.

They received their individual mini Davis Cup presented by ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti.

I hope there's no more last year's Davis Cup celebration or stories again after this. Let's move on!

(Images by Scott Barbour/Getty Images AsiaPac)

Sania Mirza crashes out; Ai Sugiyama to meet Jelena Jankovic

India's Sania Mirza crashed out of the Australian Open on Wednesday after losing to Russia's Nadia Petrova 6-3, 6-2.

However she expressed that she was just happy to be back after recovering from a serious wrist injury.


The 22-year-old vowed to bounce back as she works to once again to match her career-high of 27.
"I'm just happy to be back and doing what I love doing, playing tennis and competing," Sania said.

"There was a big crowd out there and I haven't played like that for six months.

"Of course I'm disappointed at losing but I will try and take positives from this.

"I will try and get into the top 30, of course, but the last five or six months have taught me to live for the moment so I don't want to get ahead of myself."
On her game against Petrova, she conceded she was simply outclassed by a better player.
"When you're playing the world number 10 you expect her to raise her game under pressure and that is exactly what she did," she said of her opponent.

"I was a break up and I played a decent match but I still have a lot to work on.


"There are no excuses. I could blame it on a lack of match practice time, or on playing the world number 10. I had a sore stomach as well," she added.


"But at the end of the day I have to give her credit."
Japanese 26th seed Ai Sugiyama secured a tough match-up in the third round against world no. 1 Jelena Jankovic after defeated Nathalie Dechy 1-6, 6-1, 6-3.

(Via AFP; Images via Yahoo! Sports)

Jan 21, 2009

Rendy Lu Yen-Hsun (盧彥勳) dumps David Nalbandian out in second round, pulls off biggest upset

I can't describe to you how happy I am when Rendy Lu Yen-Hsun (盧彥勳) shocked 10th seed David Nalbandian in the Australian Open second round today for the biggest win of his career.

Rendy thumped Nalby 6-4, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 6-2 in three hours 55 minutes.

Currently at a career-high no. 61 in the world rankings, Rendy will next meet no. 21 seed Tommy Robredo of Spain in the third round.

Robredo defeated Viktor Troicki 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 in just 82 minutes.

Here's Rendy's interview after the win from AO official website.

Q. How does it feel to make the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time?

YEN‑HSUN LU: For sure now I really happy. I was pick up the phone all the times and my friends was congratulations to me all times. Really, for me, it's big step to be the third round in a Grand Slam, because before I always only in the second round.

Today, I just step one big step to go to third round. For me it's very happy. Really I could tell my friend is really happy for me.

Q. How did you make that big step? Why were you better than Nalbandian?

YEN‑HSUN LU: Today is not ‑‑ I mean, I just nothing to lose today, because he's top 10 player. For me, I'm 61 in the world and I have no pressure. I just going on the court and play my game and it's not about who is better.

But today for sure I'm better performance than him. I think I serve also more consistent than him. After the fourth set and final set I was play more aggressive than him. So that's the key point I can take in this match today. Yes.

Q. Could they do something about the game in your country generally speaking? And how you began to play? It's very popular there where you live?

YEN‑HSUN LU: You mean the tennis?

Q. Yes.

YEN‑HSUN LU: It's very popular now. It's not the first sport in my country. It's probably three or four. The baseball is my country's sport. I'm happy because I did a match that they show in Taiwan, and I really happy I can tell them the tennis is going on in Taiwan. I hope they can more support the Taiwan players.

Q. You said your friends. Were they watching you back in Taiwan?

YEN‑HSUN LU: Yes, I think they show sports on ESPN.

Q. Is this win better than the win over Andy Murray at the Olympics?

YEN‑HSUN LU: I think it's different meanings for me, because Olympic is play for my country. But here is, I mean, it's different than Olympic because it's Grand Slam. I think for me it's most biggest of the tennis events. So it's two different events. I couldn't compete which one is better.

These two victories for me is really good memory and really good experience for me. So, yeah, I really happy about these two wins.

Q. The last game of the match was very long. How important was it for you to win that even though you had the extra break? Did you feel you had to win then?

YEN‑HSUN LU: I didn't think I have to win, but I just worry about my body. Because I really struggling with my body, and my legs start to have some problem. I really tell myself I need to close this game, because I don't want to like have problem to serving to 5‑4.

So really, even he has a breakpoint, I tried to get a point back and get a point back. So I'm happy I done for this. I just go for it these last games, yes.

Q. You served very well with the breakpoints down in the last game. You served very well then.

YEN‑HSUN LU: I mean, because everybody thinks Nalbandian is the best backhand players. Because I just guess he's ready for his forehand returns, so I just change my mind and say, Okay, then I go his backhand all the time.

So I was serving six times in his backhand in the breakpoint and I win all the points. I really betting I win this game. I betting to win this game, yeah.

Q. Are you the best player ever in Taiwan, or are there some others stronger than you as far as you know? What's the history of tennis in Taiwan? Why did you start playing tennis instead of another sport?

YEN‑HSUN LU: Right now I'm the first one in the top 100 players. Before they have other one to go in be top 100, but now he's out.

We are the first two in top 100 in our country.

Q. What was his name?

YEN‑HSUN LU: Mr. Wang, W‑a‑n‑g. How I choose tennis is my father loved to watch tennis match in Taiwan. My father just think if I have one day to play in Grand Slam then he is happy.

I have a chance and my school wants to make a new team. So I just join the team and start to play. I really enjoy to build on my tennis. Until the juniors I have some sponsor, and I deal with my father and my family until then.

I really want to try the professional tennis, so we started to...

Q. Is your father playing tennis, too?

YEN‑HSUN LU: No.

Q. And your family is rich? Could he afford to pay your expenses?

YEN‑HSUN LU: No. Because we not rich, but we just average. I'm lucky, because in the juniors I was traveling with ITF teams and they was paying all the cost so I save a lot money.

The reason is I got a sponsor after the juniors, so we start to decide to play the professional.

Otherwise if we have no sponsor then maybe we will not try to play the professional tennis. Yeah.

Q. Taipei had has some really excellent little league baseball teams. Anybody try to recruit you for those little league teams?

YEN‑HSUN LU: I don't think so. I don't know. I'm not sure. But I just know our national team will come to Australia to make a preparation for the World Cup in the States. So they're going to play some friendly matches against Australia teams.

But I don't know. I love to watch the baseball, but we have no really contact. Yeah, the players, but my trainers come from the baseball, so I know many story from them. Yeah.

Q. Were your teachers all from Taipei? Did you learn to play tennis with some international coach? How many coaches were in Taipei where you were playing?

YEN‑HSUN LU: Right now I was practice in Germany with Rainier Schuettler's coach, Dirk Hordorff. He also help me a lot when I was playing professional tennis in 2003. I always practice with him, and if he has time he coach me and teach me how I improve.

Today in the match he also was sitting outside and watch I play. We discuss after the match. And yeah, he's help me a lot right now. Yes.

Q. Was there a player you liked watching growing up?

YEN‑HSUN LU: I follow a lot. I follow Stefan Edberg, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier and Michael Chang. These guys really famous in Taiwan when they play.

But I don't know if I want to become them, but I really want to become myself, to go in a Grand Slam to play the match. Yeah.

Q. Was Chang more popular than anybody else in Taipei?

YEN‑HSUN LU: He's the one Chinese player to make top 5 and win a Grand Slam, so everybody know him. I know his first sponsor also is from some newspaper company from Taiwan, so many people was looking for him, or follow him many times.

Q. Have you met him? Did you ever talk to him?

YEN‑HSUN LU: Actually, I meet him one time in the challengers, yeah. We just have one, two conversations. But I was talking to his father. Yeah, his father is nice.

So we're just talking how we going to play, how we should do the practice. Yeah, he give me some ideas.

Q. Do you have any relation with the girl tennis player, Chinese of the other China who won the Olympics?

YEN‑HSUN LU: Yeah, we know each other. We always have like Taiwan, the girls, we have the dinner sometimes. If we meet each other, like we talk natural like friends.

So it's not ‑‑ we don't have a distance, so it's not a problem. Yeah.

Q. You talked about your coach. Do you work only on private, or do you work also with the Federation?

YEN‑HSUN LU: I work private. Yeah, because the first point is Taiwan ‑‑ I tell you like I tell you before, we are the first one to be top 100, so they have really no experience, like how we should do in the professional tennis.

So then we always looking for coach with more experience and can bring us up. I'm not saying Taiwan coach is bad, but they need sometime to get experience and start to travel with juniors or lower players and get more experience.

So you, I working with private coach.

Q. If you had to play doubles with the Chinese players, the Chinese would allow that?

YEN‑HSUN LU: It's not a big deal. You think it's a...

Q. I'm asking if there is a political issue why they can or cannot play together?

YEN‑HSUN LU: No. This time, like many girls' teams mixed, like Taiwan and China. I think it's no problem, like because you play yourself. It's not a Grand Slam.

But if you are play for country then it's different. But in a Grand Slam and professional tennis...

Q. I mean, in doubles you can play together?

YEN‑HSUN LU: Yeah, no problem.

Q. Why do they call you Randy? You were baptized at a second name as Randy?

YEN‑HSUN LU: Because same problem with you cannot pronounce my first name. Then I choose because I have ‑‑ I been English class, and the teacher say we need to make some English name, so I choose this time name, and I use, use.

Also my coach, he think Randy is easier. So now is more people call me Randy.

Q. So they call you Randy?

YEN‑HSUN LU: Yes.

Hey AO, his name should be spelled as R-E-N-D-Y :P

And here are more photos exclusively taken by Zahirah (Photo credit should read and link back to Zahirah). Click on the photos to enlarge. You may also want to read Rendy's pre-AO interview last week done by Zahirah.





Chinese stars Zheng Jie & Peng Shuai shine at Australian Open

Chinese tennis stars Zheng Jie and Peng Shuai shine for Asia on the second day of the Australian Open, but regional hopes were dented as Japan’s Kei Nishikori and Thailand’s Tamarine Tanasugarn bowed out.

Perhaps Zheng is Asia’s best hopes after her fellow countryman Li Na bowed out of the tournament due to injury.

“It was tough out there, hot and windy, so it wasn’t comfortable but it was a good win,” Zheng said after defeated Camille Pin 6-3, 6-3.
Along with Peng, she joins Japan’s Ai Sugiyama, India’s Sania Mirza and Taiwan’s Rendy Lu Yen-Hsun in the next round.

Also through is Chan Yung-jan, who won an all-Taiwanese battle against Hsieh Su-Wei 6-3, 6-3.

Japan’s Ayumi Morita was a first-round casualty, losing to Germany’s Tatjana Malek 7-6 (4), 6-2 as she joined Nishikori and Tamarine on an early departure.

Peng battled past Italian Francesca Schiavone 7-6 (4), 6-1 but fellow Chinese Meng Yuan failed to repeat her success last year against Serena Williams who revenged with the score 6-3, 6-2.

There were high expectations for Nishikori but he was unable to overcome Austria’s Jurgen Melzer which resulted him to lost 5-7, 2-6, 1-6.

There were also similar hopes for the experienced Tamarine after her successful at the Wimbledon last year where she reached the quarterfinal. But she lost focus against Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, losing in straight sets 7-5, 6-3.

(Via jakartaglobe.com; Images via sports.sina.com, nikkansports.com)

Jan 20, 2009

Rafael Nadal in a ruthless mood, demolishes Christophe Rochus

Top-ranked Rafael Nadal conclude the first round of the Australian Open tournament by dominating Christophe Rochus 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 at the Rod Laver Arena.

He showed no sign of the knee problems that sidelined him at the end of last year.

Nadal said he just wanted to get off to a good start and wasn’t trying to send a message.


Nadal, who reached the semifinals last year and is seeking his sixth Grand Slam title, finished with 47 winners to seven for Rochus and also blasted 10 aces.

The 75th-ranked Belgian, managed to laugh several times because basically there was little he could do.

The match only took 77 minutes . Rochus joked that he might need to consider a change in professions.

Nadal said it’s too dangerous to show any mercy.
“Sport is like this,” Nadal said.

“If I had some mistakes … anything can happen.”


"I'm just trying to improve and to be humble because every match is different and every match is tough."


"I'm very happy because I'm over the injury and at one of the greatest tournaments in the world."
Even my puppy loves this match!

(Via AP, ABC News; Images by Torsten Blackwood/AFP/Getty Images)

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