a puppet’s ode to lynn welch

For any big-time tennis fans, the name Lynn Welch rings a bell at first mention. She’s the ever-present WTA chair umpire who has been around the game for years, calling major matches and small ones week in and week out. Welch’s accent is decidedly American, so there is no British or French inflection to add to the drama of the score calling. But her syntax (can chair umpires have syntax?!) is decidedly slow after points (“Fif-teen. Aaahll.”) and she’s always looking good in khaki pants, sunglasses and her mom-doesn’t-need-to-be-fashionable haircut.

We loved this video posted by YouTube user pawubu who seems to have a knack for puppetry and knowledge of the good words of Lynn Welch. Click the picture to get to the video page. Enjoy!

(screen grab via youtube)

fashion focus: maria sharapova’s wimbledon dress, in color

Maria Sharapova, fifth seed at this week’s Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, Calif., is safely through to the second round after taking out Zheng Jie 6-4, 7-5. As you may remember, Zheng beat Masha in the first week of the 2010 Indian Wells tourney.

Draw: Up next for her in that bottom half of the draw is Olga Govortsova then a quarterfinal meet-up against the winner of Date-Krumm vs. Dementieva. (Draw: Singles)

Wimbledon whites in color: Sharapova’s Wimbledon whites turned into pale shades of green (“filament”) and blue (“armory”) for this summer hardcourt swing. Buy: Nike Sharapova Lawn Women’s Tennis Tank and , $60 each, nike.com.

(botw shot via Getty Images; screengrabs via nike.com)

jersey ruffles make west coast debut

That headless body belongs to Christina McHale. The American lost in the second round of the Bank of the West Classic this afternoon to Sam Stosur 6-1, 7-5.

McHale is a Jersey girl herself, so the ruffles you see on the shoulders and the skirt shouldn’t be too surprising. Snooki approves. The WTA has been missing some Jersey grit in its bloodstream lately, don’t you think? Without the Brooklyn bluntness of Jennifer Capriati, things have been a bit too Florifornia for us. We welcome Christina and her ruffles with open, orange-tanned arms.

To note: McHale scored two big exhibition wins a few weeks ago in New York, beating Melanie Oudin and Victoria Azarenka in New City. Another shot of McHale – head included – after the cut. [Read more...]

sightings in the stands: who needs samurai when you’ve got dudies?

Last night’s eye-candy-filled doubles match between Tipsarevic/Lopez and Blake/Querrey (will I get a cavity in my cornea??) had no visible Sam-urai contingent, possibly contributing to the Americans’ 6-3, 6-3 loss in the opening round.

Meanwhile, Dudi Sela, now clad in Lacoste, took out shotmaker Xavier Malisse 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 in their first round singles match. He’ll next face the fourth-seeded Lopez.

Draw: See who’s left playing singles and doubles at the Farmers Classic in Los Angeles.

(image via Getty Images)

new footwear, same social calendar

The boot that was strapped on Serena Williams‘s foot recently (see above) might have the world’s top-ranked player out of the US Open Series and in doubt for the US Open, but it certainly hasn’t slowed down the social part of her life. Serena was spotted yesterday in LA, hanging out at the Farmers Classic while taking in James Blake‘s first round match.

The social engagements don’t end at tennis for ReRe. Last weekend she lunched with Olympic gold medal figure skater Evan Lysacek and the two have remained in touch via Twitter, Evan asking her about her injured foot and suggesting that they train together sometime (when Serena is better, of course).

She even added a girls’ night into her socializing repertoire, hanging out with pop star (can we say that if she hasn’t had a hit since 2004?!) Christina Milian. According to the UK Daily Mail, the two were out at “the swanky Madeo restaurant in Beverly Hills” over the weekend.

Spotted by the paps: We’re wondering about that stain on Christina’s dress… And why, oh why, is Serena sporting a single heel with her boot at the Farmers Classic?! The girl’s a trooper. (Or an idiot.)

And if socializing with those who she actually likes seems to get old, we’re told that Shino Tsurubuchi, the line judge that made the call heard around the world at last year’s US Open, was calling Blake’s match that Serena was in attendance for. A source said the lines people were “teasing Shino” in the tunnel as she exited. Maybe they went to Peet’s together afterward to catch up?

(la photo by TSF; millian photo via the daily mail)

los angeles: wednesday oop

FARMERS CLASSIC, LOS ANGELES, CALIF.

ORDER OF PLAY – WEDNESDAY, JULY 28, 2010
STRAUS STADIUM start 12:00 noon
Rainer Schuettler (GER) vs Robby Ginepri (USA)
Not Before 2:00 PM
[6] Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) vs [Q] Somdev Devvarman (IND)
Not Before 4:00 PM
[WC] Ryan Sweeting (USA) vs [3] Marcos Baghdatis (CYP)

Evening Session – Not Before 7:00 PM
[1] Bob Bryan (USA) / Mike Bryan (USA) vs Mardy Fish (USA) / Mark Knowles (BAH)
Kevin Anderson (RSA) vs [2] Sam Querrey (USA)

GRANDSTAND start 12:00 noon
Andre Sa (BRA) / Horacio Zeballos (ARG) vs [2] Robert Lindstedt (SWE) / Horia Tecau (ROU)
Ernests Gulbis (LAT) / Dmitry Tursunov (RUS) vs Santiago Gonzalez (MEX) / Travis Rettenmaier (USA)
Not Before 3:00 PM
[WC] Carsten Ball (AUS) / Chris Guccione (AUS) vs Eric Butorac (USA) / Jean-Julien Rojer (AHO)
[4] Rohan Bopanna (IND) / Aisam Qureshi (PAK) vs Colin Fleming (GBR) / Ken Skupski (GBR)

sa watch 2010: andre in los angeles

Andre Sa, in town for this week’s ATP tour stop on the courts of UCLA (aka the Farmers Classic), is in the doubles draw with teammate Horacio Zeballos.

He was on hand on Tuesday afternoon to help tourney top seed Andy Murray warm up. Lovin’ those gold Diadora shoes!

He even made a guest appearance at the Bryan Brothers concert last night at Molly Malone’s. (Thanks to Strawberries and Scream for the pic!)

short balls: california girls (and boys)

TSF takes over the West Coast this week as I made the drive from Cottonwood, Idaho, (yeah, it exists) to San Francisco yesterday for a little R&R and a day at the Bank of the West Classic tomorrow in Palo Alto, at Stanford. Meanwhile, Erwin is holding court in LA for the Farmers Classic, making sure that the boys adhere to the warm weather shining on SoCal and going shirtless on the practice courts.

This week’s version of short balls comes on Tuesday, a little earlier than usual. Enjoy!

I’ll make the drive down to Palo Alto tomorrow for a day at the 40th annual Bank of the West Classic, now the longest-running women’s event on tour. Bank of the West has been the title sponsor since 1992 at this event, something that is unheard of in the days of fast-moving money. (Remember the Lipton Championships? Or the Kraft WTA Tour? Seems like centuries ago… ) The Bank of the West has been at Stanford’s Taube Tennis Pavilion since 1997, and just this year announced partnership with Rebounces, a green company that runs a tennis-ball recycling program nationwide. Balls brought in by members of the public (and those used in the tournament) will be collected and recycled by Rebounces, with the help of FedEx to get them shipped and donated to a local youth tennis program. Thumbs up to that!

There’s always plenty of tennis action on the pages of Twitter, and this week a few more tennis names added themselves to the never-ending world of Tweets. Janko Tipsarevic asked his followers to “bare” with his bad English (gladly, Janko, gladly). WTAers Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Alisa Kleybanova have also joined the Twitter ranks. Anastasia is playing in Istanbul this week, whiles Kleybs was already dismissed from Stanford by a studious Ana Ivanovic. Before she was bounced outta the Bay Area, Kleybs sat down with Chris Oddo for an interview featured on On The Baseline.

The USTA announced yesterday that it is partnering with longtime supporter American Express for a program called Fresh Courts. The program will invest money in 17 different tennis courts in three urban centers, including Los Angeles, DC and New York. In NYC, the benefactors will be our friends over at McCarren Park in Brooklyn. The USTA will head up the fixing up of the courts themselves, as it oversees around 700 refurbishing projects each year.

For a little bit of a fashion fix, I’m digging this Lacoste v-neck (and the model!) I ran across yesterday. $40 online. Meanwhile, Serena might be questionable for the US Open itself, but that’s not keeping Nike from prepping itself for her outfit at said tourney. The Control Court dress (seen here via TennisConnected) is $85 and might – just might – be made famous by ReRe if she’s able to show at Flushing Meadows come late August. This is the black version of her Wimbledon get up, which helped her to her 13th slam title.

short(er) balls are happening after the cut. [Read more...]

los angeles: tuesday oop

Good call on showcasing that doubles match. It’ll be packed!

FARMERS CLASSIC, LOS ANGELES, CALIF.

ORDER OF PLAY – TUESDAY, JULY 27, 2010
STRAUS STADIUM start 12:00 noon
Kristof Vliegen (BEL) vs [WC] Ryan Sweeting (USA)
[Q] Ilija Bozoljac vs Robby Ginepri (USA)
Not Before 4:00 PM
Leonardo Mayer (ARG) vs [WC] James Blake (USA)

Evening Session – Not Before 7:30 PM
[WC] James Blake (USA) / Sam Querrey (USA) vs Feliciano Lopez (ESP) / Janko Tipsarevic (SRB)
Benjamin Becker (GER) vs [LL] Lucky Loser (TBA)

GRANDSTAND start 12:00 noon
[SE] Kevin Anderson (RSA) vs Illya Marchenko (UKR)
[Q] Steve Johnson (USA) vs [Q] Somdev Devvarman (IND)
Karol Beck (SVK) vs Alejandro Falla (COL)
[Q] Tim Smyczek (USA) vs T Gabashvili (RUS)
Ross Hutchins (GBR) / Jordan Kerr (AUS) vs [3] Martin Damm (CZE) / Michael Kohlmann (GER)