short balls: ladies in wanting

Aussie Open contributor Benjamin Snyder is back for more. Taking on the longest of tasks: short balls.

Back in the habit: Vera – circa USO 2009 – got the meltdown bug again last week in Thailand. (Getty Images)

Well, it looks like we’re back to some shaky form for the top women — and, man, you girls were all looking so sharp in Australia, according to Tennis.com’s Tom Perrotta. Check out how world no. 3 Vera Zvonareva allowed a line call and a swearing violation get the best of her big game. She lost it versus Daniela Hantuchova in the Pattaya Open semis, prompting this charged statement: “There is a big difference between being mentally tough and being emotional. It’s a huge difference. I will always be emotional. As long as I use those emotions to my advantage, that’s only a plus to me. If I need to break the racquet to pump myself up, then I will break the racquet. I don’t care.” | Watch the drama

At least Vera stayed on her feet. This week in Dubai, Anna Chakvetadze collapsed due to a stomach bug against Caroline Wozniacki. Déja vu? Good thing she chopped her pony or she really could have hurt herself.

Before you call Petra Kvitova the next big thing, waiting for her to win everything, Federer-style, get this: she choked in her first-round match in Dubai.

Speaking out. Former world no. 1 Amelie Mauresmo isn’t scared to voice her opinion, especially when it relates to her home Slam at Roland Garros. She recently lowered the boom on French officials who bid to keep the clay-court major in Paris. “We are the smallest of the four grand slams and I think it is important to have the chance to grow, and for the public to have more room,” she said.

Ana Ivanovic split with coach Antonio van Grichen (just what we were thinking… who?!) last week, saying she plans to keep the solo mojo going for longer. Maybe that’s not working too well, Ana. The ’08 FO champ lost to veteran Patty Schnyder in the first round of Dubai, just three short months after snacking on her in the final of Linz.

trophy watch: there’s a hole in my trophy, dear liza!

Petra Kvitova slayed the biggest giant of all this weekend in Paris: new world no. 1 and Aussie Open winner Kim Clijsters, 6-4 6-3 in the final. Isn’t there something missing from her trophy though? Like… a big chunk of it??

Meanwhile, over in San Jose, Milos Raonic became the first Canadian man to win an ATP title in 16 years. His prize(s)? A Sharks jersey and bottle of maple syrup. I mean, jeez, don’t paint him as Canadian or anything…

Check out Daniela in Thailand, Soderling in Rotterdam and more of the isn’t-there-something-missing trophy of Kvitova’s.

[Read more…]

amelie, the holy and glowing one

Yes, we know Amelie Mauresmo is glowing in this picture. And no, it’s not the lighting. Or make up. Or video editing. It’s her natural glow. Her new, natural glow.

I caught a glimpse – well, a thousand glimpses – of Amelie at the US Open this week, and the gal hasn’t looked this good since she exorcized her demons at the 2006 Wimbledon and bowed to the tennis gods in thanks.

Here’s what we think Amelie’s secret is, now that she’s working for Eurosport and living the life of the rich and famous, with no pressure on her goddess-like shoulders:

Amelie doesn’t sleep at night, instead, she does yoga for two hour periods, only taking breaks to smell sunflowers that she grows on her windowsill, that – oddly enough, don’t get any sun – and she waters with red wine, exclusively. Each morning she wakes up and reads Eat, Pray, Love and then goes out and has gelato for lunch – usually pineapple berry with chocolate sorbetto – before returning to her lodge (yes, she lives in a lodge) and watches Eat, Pray, Love the movie, which she got boot-legged by Julia Roberts herself. As a favor for Amelie. In the afternoons she usually does gymnastic routines in a leotard onesie, something that Reebok would never let her wear. She has 17 such leotards. She’s sworn off coffee so she only drinks grapefruit juice, straining the pulp first and drinking it from a hollowed out coconut. Before bed… er, we mean her 8 hours of yoga… Amelie high-fives the poster she has hung over her loft bed. It looks like this:

That, folks, has produced such glowing. It’s a simple recipe. Try it.

(screengrab via facebook.com; getty images photo)

short balls: wimby’s week 2

Week two at The Championships, Wimbledon is coming to a close. It’s most certainly been a wild ride, and TSF is pretty sure that this is one of our more favorite slams from the last few years. Can the final weekend produce the high-quality tennis (and drama!) that would put the cream on top of the strawberries?? We hope so. For now, let’s get to those short balls that haven’t quite been bouncing on the court but have been getting plenty action off of it…

Thumbs up to the folks over at Flavorwire for coming up with the seven films that are longer than the Isner-Mahut match. Didn’t know they existed? Neither did we. At first we didn’t think there could be anything more boring than watching two men serve bomb after bomb at one another for 11 hours, but The Longest Most Meaningless Movie in the World (48 hours) sounds absolutely torturous. But don’t worry, that’s just a third the length of Cinematon, which is almost a week long (150 hours). Hand over the popcorn and the triple shot cappuccino, y’all, we’re gunna need it!

The city of San Diego is double fist-pumping after it was announced earlier this week that it will host the Fed Cup final between the US and Italy. San Diego lost its beloved WTA Tour stop two years ago during a restructuring by the tour, but it was announced earlier this year that the Mercury Insurance Open would return to the tennis hotbed, and with the announcement of the Fed Cup final San Diego is swagging like Birmingham, Ala., did a few months ago.

The days of teen domination of the WTA Tour? Probably over. At least that’s what Doug Robson wrote this week in USA Today, siting the success of veterans Francesca Schiavone, Sam Stosur and Vera Zvonareva at recent slams. Want other evidence that the teens are going the way of the dinosaur on tour? Robson notes just one teen is in the top 10 (can you name her?!) and six are in the top 100. Speaking of the youngsters: Brit Laura Robson (no relation to Doug) has advanced to the semifinals of the juniors draw at Wimbledon.

Want some French fashion to make your Wimbledon feel complete? Yeah, we understand that doesn’t make complete sense, but if Serena can don her nails in diamonds and strawberries, then we can help reveal the secrets of a French woman’s style. What’s stylish for a former Wimbledon champ from France who’s now retired? See above. She couldn’t look better, even as a coach.

And yes, we heard about Jennifer Capriati this week. Who didn’t? But, what to write? It’s impossible to know whether the claims of a suicide attempt are true, or if Capriati was indeed taking prescription medications or if it was another type of overdose. In any case, this might have been the kind of incident that will turn Capriati’s life for the better. As far as we knew here at TSF, she was still mulling a comeback to the tour, but it might be safe now to officially write “Retired” next to her name and see her blossoming in new and different ways. We can only hope.

(photo by getty images)

once you’re toast, you get toasted

Guga was awarded with the Cruz do Mérito Desportivo (Cross of Sporting Merit) yesterday in Brasilia. This is the the Brazil’s highest honor awarded to athletes.

And at this week’s Open GDF SUEZ tournament in Paris, the women celebrated the recent retirement of two-time Grand Slam champ Amelie Mauresmo, whose post-pro life will be devoted to everything (including running the NYC Marathon) — but coaching. Read an account of this tribute (including a video clip!) over at DtL.

(via WTB)

fashion focus: reebok cuts away the fat

Amelie Mauresmo might not be doing so well — she got beat by Dominika Cibulkova back-to-back: 6-0, 1-6, 6-7 (8) at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo and 6-3, 4-6, 3-6 at the China Open this week — but she can take solace in looking awesome wearing Reebok‘s fall KFS line. They’ve hit the mark with these flattering greys, pinks, and blues, and with those slimming side panels (which shows off Mauresmo’s awesome stomach).

Shahar Peer continues with the cutout separates (that square hole on the back of her tank) while mixing up her wristband choices: blue at the U.S. Open, black and pink at the Korea Open this week.

But of course the toast of the fall was Jelena Jankovic‘s limited edition U.S. Open dress, also designed by Reebok. The yellow layered dress’ first incarnation involved an asian-inspired bat sleeve capelet — this would have made for a better choice for the Beijing Olympics, no? — and a silver sash.

Jelena pared it down to the basics at last week’s tourney in Japan, where she lost 6-2, 5-7, 5-7 in the quarterfinals to eventual finalist Svetlana Kuznetsova.

On the left, her shoes from the Open; she switched to a busier pair during this current Asian WTA swing.

Buy: Jelena US Open dress, $75, sold out; Fall Cutout Dress, $49.99; Fall Shimmer Dress, $49.99; Fall Cutout Tank and Shimmer Tank, $36.99; Fall Skort, $32.99. Colorways: Endurance Blue/Caspian Sea Blue, Soft Black Grey/Cool Shadow, Sassy Pink/Pompous Pink, White/Endurance Blue.

(photos by Getty Images)

reebok makes good use of peekaboo blue

Unlike last year’s discordant showing at Wimbledon (gold on Jelena Jankovic and Nicole Vaidisova, and Amelie Mauresmo with her own line), Reebok decided to rein it in with a white and teal combo on all its ladies.

Jelena’s dress had teal detail on the bust and a wraparound hem. She hobbled with this all the way to her fourth round loss to grass court perrenial Tamarine Tanasugarn 3-6, 2-6. It didn’t help Jelena (but no less credit to Tamarine) that she’d hyperextended her knee in her previous match against 31st seed Caroline Wozniacki.

Amelie wore separates in her match against Serena Williams in the third round. Mauresmo fell 6-7 (5), 1-6.

And Nikki Vaidisova wore the cutaway version. The 18th seed upset the 8th seed Anna Chakvetadze 4-6, 7-6 (0), 6-3, booking her a berth in the quarters for the second year in a row. Last year, the Czech lost in the finaleight to Ana Ivanovic.

Speaking of, did you get a chance to see Nicole’s pre-Wimby outfits?

A black Reebok dress contrasted the red clay of the French Open. Notice the bifurcating straps on the back of her dress…

…and the frilly hem! The way it was cut made it look like grandma’s nightgown.

She wore the white version (and the separates) at Birmingham.

(images by Getty Images)

k-swiss: bondarenkos at indian wells + kournikova at the pop-up store party

The Bondarenko sisters — that’s Alona (the blond) and Katerina (the brunette) — have taken the momentum from their 2008 Australian Open doubles title to make good runs at the Pacific Life Open.

Alona and Katerina Bondarenko - Indian Wells 2008

Alona, who’s featured on the K-Swiss website along with fellow tennis players Tommy Haas, Michaella Krajicek, Black/Huber, and Mardy Fish, wore the Empire Seam Top during her three-set loss to Maria Sharapova in the fourth round.

Katerina lost early in singles and wore this dress with an asymmetrical racerback (how very Ukranian of her).

Alona and Katerina Bondarenko - Indian Wells 2008

The sisters wore the black version during their doubles win over Svetlana Kuznetsova and Amelie Mauresmo. The duo will face Vesnina and Safina in the quarters.

Buy: Empire Seam Top, purple w/ gold hardware, $48; Racerback Dress, black and white, $90.

Browse: Look through the rest of this season’s collection.

Jackie Warner - Anna Kournikova - K-Swiss pop-up store party

Party pics: The K-Swiss pop-up store had its opening party on Thursday, March 13. The celebs on hand: Anna Kournikova, Workout‘s Jackie Warner, and Fred Durst. More photos here.

(singles photo by Getty Images, doubles photos by Antonio Bernal, party photos via omg!)

brr! the desert cold brings out the long sleeves and leggings

The cold weather in Doha (in the 60s) got the ladies layering during their matches at last week’s Qatar Total Open.

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Leggings: Maria Sharapova in Nike‘s Tight Capris (available in New Blue and Logan Berry, $50); Venus Williams in EleVen. Venus lost to Dominika Cibulkova 3-6, 3-6. Masha took home her second title of the year.

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Jelena wears the Reebok Pro Tradition Jacket. The third seed lost to the tattooed Li Na 3-6, 4-6 in the quarterfinals.

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Still sans sponsor: Polish teenager Agnieszka Radwanska, now in the Top 20, fell to Sharapova in the semis 4-6, 3-6 (the Russian got to avenge that shocking second round loss at the 2007 U.S. Open). And yes — you should not adjust your TV set; she wore those three different outfits on the court this week. A sponsorship deal has GOT to be in the works. Anyone out there with tips? E-mail me.

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Dominika Cibulkova wore purple stripes from Lacoste, and lost in the quarters to Radwanska.

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Reebok: The troubled Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo wears the Pro Vision Seamless Jacket, $59.95. She lost in the first round to Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-7 (7), 5-7.

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Shahar Peer wore a white track jacket from Reebok (likely the BOBO Full Zip, $64.99) during her historic week. She lost 1-6, 3-6 to Na in the third round.

(photos by Getty Images)