french fashion focus: sharapova looks to steel and diamonds

Paris, Je t’aime: The French Open dress on Maria Sharapova was inspired by the City of Lights, marrying Masha’s ideal for unrestricted movement with the theory behind the Eiffel Tower’s construction: the structure is lighter that it seems.

And so they created this lightweight yellow Line 9 dress (referring to the Paris Metro, we assume). Note the top mesh layer on the skirt, which adds to the visible flowiness as Maria moves around the court, and the diamond cut-out on the back. All the lines along the body harken to old methods of corsetry now applied with modern techniques. She keeps going back to corsets, that one.

For the curious, she’s wearing a Nike Luna Speed 3 shoe.

Buy: Nike Line 9 Knit Tennis Dress, $120, tennisexpress.com.

Girl’s best friend: The Tiffany & Co. drop earrings that she’s wearing this week have rose-cut diamonds set in platinum. Buy: Tiffany cobblestone earrings with rose-cut diamonds in platinum; $3,200; tiffany.com.

Brackets: At the French, seventh-seeded Maria took out Mirjana Lucic 6-3, 6-0 in the first round and next faces Caroline Garcia. How far do you think she’ll go? Remember, she took a title in Rome. You can see the rest of her section of the draw here.

Photos: See more pics of of her Nike dress and shoes after the cut…

shirtless: maxime teixeira

Frenchman Maxime Teixeira won the battle of local wildcards at Roland Garros, beating Vincent Millot 6-2, 5-7, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-1 in the first round. Unfortunately, he now faces third seed Roger Federer. (Read: How TSF sees the ATP draw playing out.)

(b)Asics: See all the pieces from this Spring’s Asics line — a crew, a polo, shorts — at Tennis Express. Note: the colors are “Real White” and “Diving Blue.”

(A cause des Garçons via Down the Line!)

dunlop bounces back: "all balls aren't created equal"

Odd man out: The new Babolat balls being used at this year’s French Open has gathered some buzz in the interview room, with players griping about their speed (faster) and heaviness (“harder”), and with Babolat responding that they haven’t noticed a difference. The issue’s more apparent since this is now the only major red clay tournament that doesn’t use Dunlop for balls (the FFT chose to end its relationship with Dunlop, instead choosing Babolat).

Now Dunlop’s chimed in to negate claims by the FFT that the ball specifications are exactly the same. “It is impossible to replicate our balls and we felt it was important to clarify this fact given the statement from the FFT and media interest in the matter,” said Barry Leach, Managing Director of Dunlop. Should the FFT decide they would like to provide the ball consistency that the players desire then we would welcome the opportunity to make it happen”.

Meanwhile, 117 people are dead after a tornado hit the city of Joplin, Missouri…

short balls: paris around the bend

See the win, be the win. Rafa will go four his sixth French starting on Sunday. | Official RG website

Espresso and pastries. The French Open is around the corner? You don’t say. While qualifying is underway (Draws: Men’s | Women’s), we haven’t been much focused on the tennis court this week. The men’s tour is making a before-Roland Garros stop in Nice, while the ladies are at their usual spot in Strasbourg and the newly-added Brussels. In Brussels? That’d be Caroline Wozniacki, Vera Zvonareva and defending champ Francesca Schiavone. Seriously, do these girls take any time off? Marion Bartoli and Andrea Petkovic are both semifinalists in Strasbourg. Tomas Berdych remains in Nice, where the once-hot David Ferrer was cooled off by Alexandr Dolgolpolov in the quarters (French dark horse? We think so!) 4-6 6-1 5-7.

Now to the good stuff. We know, sometimes the tennis gets to be too much. But just in time for players to descend upon the city of love American-based Abercrombie & Fitch is opening their first Parisian store on the famed Champs-Elysees. How did they celebrate? By bringing out a hundred shirtless models in their why-are-there-holes-in-these jeans. But seriously, we can complain that much.

Straight shooters. How cool are Hudson Taylor and Ben Cohen? The former all-American wrestler and English rugby player, respectively, are arguably the two highest-profile athletes on the planet campaigning for gay rights — as straight dudes. The New York Times paid them both their due diligence with a feature late last week. Cohen surprisingly announced his retirement from ruby to focus on his work with the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation, an anti-bullying effort. We’ve written about Taylor on this blog before, his AthleteAlly.org gaining national attention over the last few months. Here’s the Columbia wrestling coach on MSNBC.

Roll it, map it. How cool is this map? The work — from Alienlovespredator.com — depicts Manhattan and 91 movie references. Gotta dig the illustrated genius.
Short(er) balls: Djokovic-loving Anna Wintour joins the fight for gay marriage. | Everyone’s favorite ‘RHONYC’ Bethenny Frankel is making it big — and we mean at the bank. | And Robyn is slowly taking over the world. With her music.

(rafa photo via getty images; movie illustration by alienlovespredator.com)

more moving and shaking: carillo joins tennis channel

As if we needed one more reason to restart our Tennis Channel subscription (since we got rid of our cable sports package during a “break” from blogging over the winter): first we had to twiddle our thumbs while that Nole/Nadal Madrid final was bowling everyone over (including Rafa!) and now it’s going to be the only place to hear the wacky commentary of Mary Carillo.

After ending her run with ESPN in 2010, she’s signed on with TC for both the French and U.S. Opens to work the tourney desk, conduct interviews, offer analysis, and occasionally handle play-by-play commentary during select matches. She’ll also get to do the human interest segments we’ve come to know her for. (What antics will she get into when they let her loose in Paris?)

For Roland Garros, Carillo’ll join a roster of on-air talent including John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Lindsay Davenport, Justin Gimelstob, and Corina Morariu. Mary will also work with Bill Macatee on “French Open Tonight.”

(screengrab by Nick via NBC)

live blogging the FO (men’s) final

5:39 PM 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 Game, set, match, Nadal I’m pretty happy for Rafa and that win. He definitely deserved it. Congrats, big guy.

5:24 PM 6-4, 6-2, 5-3 Nadal Time for the Robin Soderling to pull out the gladiator armor. He’s neeeeeeeeding it.

5:07 PM 6-4, 6-2, 3-1 Nadal No, we have no idea who the junior champions are, either. And so much for Bode Miller‘s U.S. Open bid. Kind of rough for the USTA‘s number one story line to flame out in the first round. McEnroe is really doing his best to verbally route for Sod to take this to four or five.

[Read more...]

photoblog: the trophy ceremony

We understand the photos might be low-quality, but we loved NBC‘s coverage of the trophy ceremony (the whole thing) and took advantage with some cell-phone camera action… let the comic commentary begin.

In case you missed it, Franny grabbed the mike a second time to make sure that she gave props to Mary, the Queen Mother of All Tennis.

Alicia Molik was in Stosur‘s box for the match. She displayed the sort of emotion that Sam had on court during the ceremony: sad and near-tears. Chin up, Mollie.

Remember that suggestion from the live blog about a spin-off Jersey Shore reality show starring Franny and The Fanatics?! Here’s your perfect promo poster…

Kiss that clay, Francesca. It’s all yours.

One more awkward group shot. Oh, how graceful Mother Mary is.

(crappy photos by tsf)

live blogging the FO finals

4:56 PM, Game, set and match, Schiavone 6-4, 7-6 (2) Well big props to Schiavone for closing out the match like she did. We really dig the whole kissing-the-clay thing. Upping Guga‘s classic heart by making love to the clay with your mouth, not your racket.

4:41 PM, Schiavone leads 6-4, 6-all There is now the potential for this thing to turn into a high-quality, dramatic three-set affair. Could the WTA actually see its saviors in the games of these two relative unknowns? It’s been dang fun to watch such good tennis for two sets and 90 minutes thus far. I’m also digging the extra-cheesy Geico and Billie Jean King commercial.

4:29 PM, Schiavone leads 6-4, 4-all Stosur is tightening up here as the Italian has won the last three games to even up the second set. Can we see the first three-set women’s final since 2001?

4:07 PM, Schiavone leads 6-4, 1-2 Loving the NBC editors for their choice of exit-out music for commercials, so far including the SATC2 theme song, Beyonce and Britney. Diva music for two non-divas.

Meanwhile, we’re thinking that the Franny Faithful would make a great Jersey Shore spin-off. The hair! The muscles! The sunglasses! Stosur has nothing on these boys.

3:57 PM, Schiavone wins first set 6-4 (Good news!) Schiavone is playing with heart and (bad news!) Stosur is playing with the weight of the world on her shoulders. Let’s see if a clean court can give Sammy a clean conscience. (BEST news!) Mary Pierce sighting in the first row of the far side of the court. Like a summer bride, she’s wearing all white.

[Read more...]