Maiello's Book-Almost Hits the Metaphorical Stands
Miami Fans Mistakenly Chant "Let's Go Eat" During Playoff Game
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga -his father was Congolese but no one questions his French citizenship.
This morning, I assumed that all four top seeds, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray would advance, and that the real question was who would be pushed the hardest. Except for Bernard Tomic, I thought the underdogs might take a set. There was at least a possibility that Tomic might be a new Becker, but I didn't see Fish, Tsonga or Lopez winning more than a set each. [Read more]
Looks like Peter Bodo was right:
Partly because of the Williamses' absence, the tour has developed a whole new set of players who are comfortable swinging freely and taking big cuts. ... there's a string of comparable opponents out there for what has to be the most dangerous brace of "floaters" (unseeded players) the WTA has produced in a long time.
Bartoli - Look at those strings deflect. [Read more]
The New York Times has an article, Rackets Provide Window Into Tennis’s Top Three Men, discussing the tennis racquets used by Nadal, Djokovic and Federer. I haven't paid much attention to racquets since 2001, but I used to obsess over them.
There is much to be said for vanishing. Short escapes from the frenzied tumult of modern life help to calibrate the soul and maintain perspective.
I've learned that proper escape requires more than disconnecting electronic devices and traveling to faraway lands. Though people may not follow you on your journey, your thoughts are more tenacious. Anxieties, memories, hopes, and fears stow away in your crowded cranium, accompanying you across the globe like irritating travel companions.
But not under the water.
At Eastbourne, a grass court warmup before Wimbledon, and in her first match back on the WTA tour in ages, Venus Williams defeated world #11 Andrea Petkovic 7-5 5-7 6-3 - not a bad score against a healthy Venus on grass, but not a win, either. Nevertheless, in WTA World Changed in Williams Sisters' Absence, Peter Bodo tried to make a case that the current crop of players will be more troublesome for Venus and Serena than the ones that they were playing just last year.
As the clock struck zero and the NBA Finals ended, the national sports media found itself forced to focus solely on the Dallas Mavericks. The time for analyzing and re-analyzing Lebron James and the star-studded Miami Heat had come to an end. There was a new champion in town, and the time had come to praise the victors. [Read more]
Ok, I’ve had about enough of this. Let me be succinct in my opinion here: Lebron James is the best basketball player on the planet. His combination of size, strength, talent and basketball IQ are completely off the charts. He plays defense like his hair is on fire. It is literally a joy to watch him play the game of basketball.
And you people just aren’t appreciating him at all.
For basketball fans, this postseason has been an embarrassment of riches. The Mavericks have become a brilliantly cohesive team around the great Dirk Nowitzki, and rolled to these NBA Finals after completely humiliating the defending champion Lakers. The Heat have had intense series against the likes of Boston and Chicago, and have emerged at the top of their game.
As Brazil readies itself for the ultimate one-two punch of international sporting events - the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics - one thing has become increasingly clear - Brazil isn't even close to ready to host these two events. [Read more]
Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer
Rafa has owned Roger at the French in the past, but there were three reasons to think today might be different:
1 - Federer looked sharp in dismissing Djokovic, who had been undefeated this year.
2 - The Babolat balls are very light this year. So Roger's serve will be more of a weapon.
3 - The Terre Battue red clay is very dry and playing much faster than years past. So Roger's serve will be more of a weapon. [Read more]
Li Na vs Francesca Schiavone
The match looks even in the first few games as both players hold serve twice. Francesca is relying on the serve to get ahead in rallies. If Schiavone doesn't keep her opponent moving or hits anything short, Li puts it away with a powerful, flat forehand to a corner. In case we were wondering, McEnroe observes that Li has more power.
2-2 15-40 - break points for Li. Schiavone saves one with a big serve that Li returns long. But Li converts with a deep return and a big, flat forehand to the corner.
3-2 Li holds easily.
4-2 30-0 - Li hits sharp angle that is called out. Even Schiavone thought it was in, but Chair Ump confirms out call. Schiavone holds at love. [Read more]
Andy Murray never gave up, but Rafael Nadal beat him in three competitive sets. That was not a surprise.
Djokovic wasn't as sharp as at Rome, but seemed to be on track. He led in the first set 5-4 and 6-5, but let Roger Federer get to a tiebreak. He was ahead 5-4 in the tiebreak, but Federer won the next three points and led 7-6. Djokovic looked terrible losing the second set 3-6. Novak was not handling Roger's serve on clay as well as he had on hardcourts. Also, Roger was frequently pulling ahead on Novak's service games. The man who had been undefeated this year was one set from defeat. That was a surprise. [Read more]
Not too long ago, tennis folk complained that there was no depth in the women's game. While a top male player could be upset by a journeyman having a good day of serving, the women's finals of most big tournaments usually featured Chris Evert vs Martina Navratilova, and later, Steffi Graf vs Monica Seles or Gabriela Sabatini or Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, and later, the Williams sisters.
So, last summer LeBron James decided to leave Cleveland, leading to a massive outburst of Clevesentment and a widespread belief that Cleveland had burned down among my friends and family who don't live there (and not just among them, judging from the search terms that old post collected). A year later, he's gotten himself to the NBA Finals for the first time in his career. So, I would say his career decision is going much the way he planned.
Wozzes pose at the Toray Pan Pacific Open
At Roland Garros, the big match of the day (for me) was world #1 Caroline Wozniacki vs world #192 Aleksandra Wozniak. No word on whether Steve Wozniak was watching from the stands (and I don't think they are closely related).
Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, aka the Italian Open, stretching his unbeaten streak to 39 matches and seven titles, but more importantly, beating Nadal in consecutive red clay court matches. It was a tough, high quality match, well-played by both men.  [Read more]
Last year, the San Francisco Giants won the World Series in 5 games. They beat the Texas Rangers, who may have had the American League's most potent offense because the Giants have the best pitching staff in baseball. Before embarrassing the Rangers, the Giants convincingly outpitched the Philadelphia Phillies, who had and have the second best staff in baseball, and who were also supported by the most powerful lineup in the National League.  [Read more]
When the stories of Michael Vick's abuse of dogs came to light, there was understandable outrage from both the public and the media. But the case also seemed to serve as a wake-up call for some sports journalists, who seemed to realize that something was amiss with their own lack of outrage over athletes who commit domestic violence against women.