shoes: the next frontier + novak’s nike switch

Venus Williams and her less-than-$20 shoes have a place in the finals tomorrow. The four-time (and defending champ) took out the grumpy (and possibly misinterpreted) Elena Dementieva in the semis.

No chances for a mix-up over at Fila, who marked Sveta Kuznetsova and Dmitry Tursunov‘s shoes this week.

And here’s a look at those Alfas designed by Fila especially for Wimbledon court staff.

While Nike gets top honors for its design of Roger Federer‘s shoes, we have to point out these Lotto kicks customized for Simone Bolelli. Notice the “Bole” (his nickname) incorporated into the shoe. The designers at Fila need to go in this direction…

Shahar Peer and Reebok bring back the Israeli flag, seen here in her match against Dinara Safina.

Andy Murray playing in Nike against Ricky Gasquet of France.

Much ado about Nike: Our buddy Darren Rovell at CNBC wrote about Novak Djokovic‘s silent switch in tennis shoes from adidas to Nike Air Max Breathe Cage IIs at this year’s Championships. Nole did a fine job white out the swooshes on his shoe.

Here’s a photo of the grass court shoe he wore the week prior at The Artois Championships in London (he lost to Rafa Nadal in the finals). He apparently slipped and slid too much and decided to give Nike a try…

Finally!

Butter’s Bubble

Marat Safin found his game while playing on his most despised surface — grass! This morning, the big Russian battled Feliciano Lopez, brushing aside his 1-4 record against the Spaniard to win one of his most important matches ever.

During the first set, Safin seemed to be really uneasy playing against Lopez. He (Safin) got frustrated and he was not trying to hide it. He banged his racket on the court a couple of times and hit the ball up high towards the stands. Well, he’s been well-behaved since the first round, so it was about time he showed emotions.

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Thank goodness for that rain delay, which turned things around for Marat. He eventually won 3-6, 7-5, 7-6, 6-3.

This is the Russian’s first appearance in a semifinal at Wimbledon. And it wouldn’t be a great semifinal without facing the guy who’s trying to win his sixth consecutive Wimbledon title: Roger Federer. Are we going to see a sequel as good as the 2005 Australian Open semi? I’m really excited for this match-up, whether or not Marat wins. I’m very happy that his mentality towards the game seems to be improving, including his fitness. I hope to see a five or four setter match.

BTW, these two have played a final before, at the Gerry Weber Open in 2005.

Good Luck Marat! (Sorry, Roger, but I’m for RAFA ALL THE WAY!)

Browse: The Joma Sport Feliciano collection here. adidas Competition 7 Crew in white, rave blue, navy, and yellow, $37.99.

(images by Getty Images)