trophy watch, aussie open juniors

Madness going on in Melbourne, I know. But madness is also going on in my world. Good madness. One of my siblings is getting married tomorrow, so all eyes are on that for now.

I’ll check in with all the Aussie Open finals either Sunday night or Monday. But one last one before I head out — the juniors (with some help from contributor JNP)…

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Girls: Arantxa Rus from the Netherlands has started off 2008 with some huge leaps in her career; she reached the finals of a tune-up to the Aussie Open Junior Championships, defeating hot prospect Simona Halep in a classic 3-set battle. Unfortunately Halep lost her semi-final in the juniors draw to local Jessica Moore, erasing her chance to get Rus back. Rus, clad in adidas Edge separates, beat Moore with ease 6-3, 6-4 in the Championship match.

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Boys: For those tennis fans who don’t know about Bernard Tomic, he’s 15 and he just won the Aussie Opena Jr Boys championship — yup, only 15. After this notable result, expect him to start getting some Freddy Adu/LeBron-esque phenom buzz soon; the U.S. Open juniors is surely one of the most important dates on his calendar this summer. Oh, and if you were wondering, IMG has already signed him to a multi-year deal.

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Scoreline: Tomic beat Yang Tsung-Hua of Taiwan 4-6, 7-6, 6-0. Does anyone else think Tomic looks like the lovechild of Andy Roddick and Juan Carlos Ferrero?

things in life that are certain:

(Editor Update: Another thing that is certain: we are still alive and kicking as an editor at Tennis Now as of July 2012. Check us out there.)

1) Fred Phelps is a douchebag. The pastor’s evil ways live on at the Westboro Baptist Church. Members of his congregation want to attend Heath Ledger‘s funeral, just to make sure everyone knows that his death was caused by playing one of the gay roles in Brokeback Mountain.

2) When Nole wins big, Nole takes off shirt. I’m pretty sure you can predict the future if you look closely at those swirls on his chest. See the photos after the cut…

roger federer: “i’ve created a monster”

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Serbian Nole Djokovic improved to 2-5 against the World No. 1 Roger Federer after notching a 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (5) win in the Australian Open semifinals. Nole destroyed any possibility of Roger achieving a Golden Slam (all four Grand Slam titles + Beijing gold). Congrats, Nole.

In the press room after the (almost) three-hour match, Roger — teary-eyed, I read — explained away the shocking results.

“I’ve created a monster that I need to win every tournament — still the semifinals isn’t bad.”

Perhaps the monster came out of his ginormous Nike tennis bag. The delicious white duffel (with blue and grey accents) finally got its 15 minutes with the camera as Roger left the court. What do you think of the bag? Tell us!

Photos: See the bag after the cut…

le sad: butter’s bubble pops

The demands of the real world has led one of our favorite Marat Safin blogs, Butter’s Bubble, to hang up its keyboard after a good run in 2007.

Who’s going to keep watch over the Russian’s necklaces now?!

You did a great job, Butter. If ever you feel an itch to post something, you’re always welcome to do so on TSF…

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By the way, this is how Marat’s neck looked at this week’s Australian Open. He lost 4-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 2-6 in the second round to fellow adidas-wearer Marcos Baghdatis.

(photo via Getty Images)

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short balls: safin’s sex face, virtual fashion mess, night tennis hangs on, etc.

Sex face: Apparently, Marat Safin‘s sex face is satisfying, and Roddick‘s is intense. (Jezebel)

Player blogs: Nothing worthwhile in Marcos BaghdatisATP blog from this week. We were hoping for insight, perhaps, into that whole mess with Turkey?

Russian ritual: The Age hosted a column for Ana Ivanovic. On Svetlana Kuznetsova — “you always know she’s in [the locker room] when you hear loud dance music.” On her current life — it’s not that glam. On court coaching — do it all the time or don’t do it at all.

Props: ESPN’s Bonnie D. Ford sums up the off-court scandals clouding the game of Sania Mirza. And of the folks who took the Dostoevsky angle when writing up that epic Federer-Tipsarevic match, she wrote it up best.

Second-life DOA: IBM decided to promote its sponsorship of the Australian Open with a quickie virtual fashion contest. The winner of “Couture on the Court” wins the SL equivalent of $927. I can only hope many of the entries were better than this Bethanie Mattek knock-off.

Consider our hearts broken: One of the better folks to rock the Nike standard issue, Feliciano Lopez, has jumped ship to Spanish sportswear company Joma Sport. See their website here. (DTL)

Night tennis of the living dead: This event just. won’t. die. (HS)

rafa = this week’s best dressed?

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Rafa’s consolation: Oh, Rafa. I know you’re sad about failing on the hardcourts yet again — this time losing to an on-fire Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 in the men’s semifinals at the Australian Open.

Hey, at least you can take solace in the Herald Sun thinking you were this fortnight’s best dressed.

Buy: The Nike Spring Global Power Sleeveless Top, $55; Global Power 3/4 pants, $55.

Nadal joins fellow Tsonga scalps Richard Gasquet, shotmaker Andy Murray and the slice-happy Mikhail Youzhny in the sidelines while Tsonga awaits the winner of the Federer-Nole semi.

I guess the new court surface didn’t buckle the trend of unpredictability Down Under.

(photo by Getty Images)

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partners, in repels, closer to a title

At the risk of becoming hyper-homoerotic

Michael Llodra and Arnaud Clement, the reigning Wimbledon champs, can beef up their trophy case with an Australian Open title this year. They’ll face the Israeli team of Andy Ram and Jonathan Ehrlich in the finals after beating Jeff Coetzee and Wesley Moodie 6-3, 7-6 (9).

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Aww, look at them celebrating their semifinal win. FYI, they’re both wearing Lacoste Repels. I was weary of the honeycombs at first… but it’s a cool design pattern. (By the way, I know I said the shoes would drop in the Spring, but I haven’t seen them for sale stateside yet.)

open court: a bethanie mattek sighting

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If it wasn’t for Stephanie MylesOpen Court, we wouldn’t have known about Bethanie Mattek‘s tennis-appropriate (!!!) Bebe Sport outfit as the American went through the doubles draw in Melbourne.

Mattek paired with Jelena Jankovic to upset the fifth-seeded team of Nathalie Dechy and Dinara Safina in the first round, and fell two rounds later to the tenth seeds, Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual.

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know your tennis mothers: dragana ivanovic

While it might not have been an upset, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one banking on Venus Williams making it past her quarterfinal match against Ana Ivanovic. Instead, the seedings held, with the Serbian and fourth seed dispatching Venus, the eighth seed, 7-6 (3), 6-4.

(Presumptuous of me, perhaps, but I was waiting until later this week to document Venus’ EleVen outfits for the fortnight!)

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Know her mother: That’s Ana’s mother, Dragana Ivanovic, watching today’s match. She looks fierce. “I wouldn’t want to mess with her,” said Mary Carillo. I agree.

Ana’s website did a three-part interview with Dragana a while back. Find out more about this customs lawyer and devoted mother of two (Milos is the other Ivanovic) as she talks to journalist Gavin Versi (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).

(screencap via ESPN360)

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