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: golubev propelled, chakvetadze returns, goerges’s first, fish extends streak

Andrey Golubev has made history by being the first player from Kazakhstan to win a title. He upset the 15th-ranked (and 2010 Roland Garros semifinalist) Jurgen Melzer 6-3, 7-5 in the final of the German Open in Hamburg.

The thirty pounds Mardy Fish lost in the last year certainly came in handy in winning the Atlanta Tennis Championships final against marathon man John Isner. The score: 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4). Props to him for upsetting top seed Andy Roddick in the semis and overcoming local fave Robby Ginepri in the second round. Fish also won last week’s HoF tourney in Newport — he’s looking good for the Open!

Chakky’s baaack! Former top-fiver Anna Chakvetadze bagged her first title since 2008 by taking out Sweden’s Johanna Larsson 6-1, 6-2 in the final of the Slovenia Open.

Julia Goerges beat Timea Bacsinszky 6-1, 6-4 to win her first career singles title at the Gastein Ladies in Austria. Goerges has had a good couple of weeks; she also made it to the semis of the Palermo tournament before losing to top seed Pennetta.

(ATP images via Getty; Chakvetadze photo by Ales Fevzer; Goerges photo by Matthias Hauer/GEPA Pictures)

the eye(let)s are the window into fila’s world

Fila chose to go with “zig zag mesh” as their theme for this year’s Wimbledon, putting the ladies in pieces from the Collezione line. They’ve got all the basics in simple silhouettes — cami, tank, polo, double layer tank, skort, dress — with eyelets, ruffling, and ric rac trim (on the skort) to add some flare. And props to Fila for coming up with a warm-up jacket that’s appropriate for covering up the ladies walk onto the court. (Nike didn’t fare so well with trying to dress Azarenka.)

Buy: Fila Collezione Dress, $65; Long Jacket, $75; Skort, $45; all at shop.fila.com.

Fila Draw: Clijsters, the eighth seed, is through to the third round after easy wins over Camerin and Sprem. Up next is Kirilenko before a fourth round match against Henin. The other ladies haven’t fared so well: Szavay lost in the first round to Makarova; Kuzie was upset in the second round by Rodionova. Browse: Ladies’ Singles Draw.

Bonus round: Sveta got her stylized monogram sewn onto the sides of her shoes. <3 Last pic in the gallery above.

(images via Getty Images)

petrova: first comes dress, then comes game

Nadia Petrova‘s been trying to change a lot of things about her tennis life. First, she very recently started working with a coach — an arrangement she made with ITA. She expressed that the relationship was still young (they’ve only been working for a week or so), but comes at a very crucial time (it’s a week before The Open!).

At least Nadia can focus her energy solely on perfecting her technique, especially since it looks like she has found a good clothing sponsor in Ellesse after parting ways with Airness and flirting with EleVen.

She and the Italian company have settled down since the circus left town back in January, putting her in a variety decent separates throughout the year (that navy blue French Open outfit comes to mind).

And at this week’s Pilot Pen Tennis tournament, which saw her ride into the sunset after a seesaw first-round match against compatriot Anna Chakvetadze, Nadia wore a loose, low-waisted periwinkle dress (complete with a bow on the waist) that flatters her body shape. It moved well while Anna moved her around the court.

On to New York: Nadia can reflect on being a victim of PPT’s no-bye draw as she heads to New York early to settle into her Long Island rental — with a jacuzzi, of course — and acclimate to the courts and conditions of the USTABJKNTC. Good luck with the last major of the year, Nadia!

Scoreline: Meanwhile, Chakvetadze faces Sybille Bammer in the second round today.

Up close: Some detail shots of Petrova’s PPT outfit after the cut…

fashion focus: fila’s last stand

jelena-dokic-aussie09ear

Stopping on a quarter: The dream run of Jelena Dokic at the 2009 Australian Open ended in the quarterfinals at the hands of No. 3 Dinara Safina. (By the way, TSF is picking Marat‘s younger sister to face Serena Williams in Saturday’s final.)

With Dokic’s amazing performance came a chance for Fila to showcase their spring women’s collection. We’re not going to lie — it’s taking us some time to warm up to it. The season’s loud print worked best as trim and accents on solid-colored pieces — this is no Cavalli runway show, after all — worn by Dokic and Anna Chakvetadze in their second-round match. Dokic won 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-3.

Up close: See pics of Fila girls Anna, Jelena, and Svetlana Kuznetsova after the cut…

fila’s annatomy: the baseline collection

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Fila sent out its official announcement earlier this week about signing Russian Anna Chakvetadze onto its roster. Anna was previously with adidas.

The 21-year-old is having a slow start to her 2009 so far, losing her matches at the JB Group Classic in Hong Kong, and her first round match in Hobart (to Carla Suarez Navarro).

Fila Spring 2009 Baseline Women's Collection

Country club chic: Anna will wear pieces from the company’s Baseline collection (along with Alfa shoes) at next week’s Australian Open, where she is seeded 17th.

The sea-inpsired collection takes colorful prints from the country club to the pro courts. We weren’t quite ready for the return of this ladies-who-lunch aesthetic; I suspect it’ll take some time for our eyes to adjust. (We eventually did it for Steffi Graf, didn’t we?)

Buy: Skirt, $48; Cap Sleeve Top, $45; Jacket, $68, all at fila.com. Dress, cami tank, racerback tank, sleeveless tank, polo, and pants also available. Items will drop later this month.

(images courtesy of Fila)

it’s a wrap: adidas’ women’s competition line, s/s ’09

adidas-competitionw-winter09

Not a surprise, but the spring/summer 2009 adidas women’s competition line keeps low-key, staying with that bumblebee shade that we’ve been trying to expunge from the tennis palette for two years (Yonex is keeping adidas company during this sit-in).

The bright yellow is broken up by black lines around the back of both the tank and the cap sleeve top, while the standard three-stripe detail makes an appearance on the sleeve of the latter.

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There’s a diamond in the rough, though: continuing with the Asian-inspired Australian Open top, adidas has produced this red mock wrap cap sleeve tee to kick of its players’ 2009 campaign. (With Anna Chakvetadze defecting to Fila, Dinara Safina and Patty Schnyder will be the highest-ranked women playing in these pieces.)

Buy: adidas Competition Tank and Cap Sleeve Top, neon yellow/black, starting at $45; Competition Skort, white, $45; all items available at shopadidas.com in January 2009.

trophy watch: winners at Pilot Pen

Caroline Wozniacki defeated Anna Chakvetadze in the women’s singles final at Pilot Pen. The 18-year-old is currently the only Dane in the Top 400 of the SEWTA Tour.

Meanwhile, Brazilians Andre Sa and Marcelo Melo won their doubles final over Mahesh Bhupathi and Mark Knowles 7-5, 6-2.

And Croat Marin Cilic downed Mardy Fish 6–4, 4–6, 6–2 to win his first ever ATP singles title. Congrats to him.

(photos by Getty Images)

trophy watch: keeping up with the agneses

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Looks like Anna Chakvetadze has finally shaken off the jitters (and physical toll) of that home invasion robbery during the off-season. She defeated defeated the strped Agnes Szavay 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 at the Open Gaz de France on Sunday.

<3: Anna is looking good in the adidas Competition series. You can pick up this Competition 4 Jacket for $54.99.

agnieszka-radwanska-pattaya-2008.jpg

And Agnieszka Radwanska eked out a win at the Pattaya Open over American Jill Craybas with a scoreline of 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (4). The Pole revived a Nike skirt (vintage!!!) from last spring’s Sphere line. Perhaps she just wasn’t into the skorts from the current season?

FYI, she had both knees taped white during the match.

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On the Challenger level, Matilde Johansson (left) defeated Canadian Ekaterina Shulaeva 3-6, 6-0, 6-1, at the Bionaire Tennis Cup Challenger in Colombia.

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