roger federer ousted from rotterdam by benneteau

Roger Federer ousted by Julien Benneteau at the ABN AMRO WTT in Rotterdam 2013

Roger Federer made waves at the ABN AMRO WTT event — one of the ATP stops this week, in Rotterdam — with a quarterfinal loss to Julien Benneteau 6-3, 7-5. This was Benneteau’s 200th career win, his first win against Federer since 2009 (Bercy), and Federer’s first loss to a player outside the Top 20 in 28 consecutive quarterfinal match-ups.

Nike: Roger’s continuing with the same Nike kit he used as the 2013 Australian Open day session ensemble (he had that grey polo with pink placket — and matching shoes with neon pink laces — for his Melbourne night session outfit). Buy: Nike Spring 1 Premier RF Polo (Neo Turq w/ White; Stadium Grey w/ Polarized Pink), $90.

Rotterdam: “Baby Roger” Grigor Dimitrov will play against second seed Juan Martin del Potro, while Benneteau will play fifth seed Gilles Simon. (Draw: ABN AMRO WTT Men’s Singles Draw)

(Photo Credit: ABN AMRO WTT Facebook)

fashion focus: novak djokovic wears audemars piguet watch in australia

Novak Djokovic wins 2013 Australian Open, wears Audemars Piguet watch

Time on his side: World No. 1 Novak Djokovic became the first man in the history of professional tennis to win three consecutive Australian Open titles when he beat Andy Murray in the final: 6-7 (2), 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-2.

It took nearly three hours for either player to break serve, and then only when Djokovic produced perhaps the best point of the match to expose a rare soft spot in Murray’s resolve. The win consolidated Djokovic’s position as the No. 1-ranked player in the world.

Commenting on his win Novak said: “I’m just trying to play every game with 100% of devotion, love, passion but also fun. I always try to embrace every moment and enjoy it as much as possible”.

Novak Djokovic wins the 2013 Australian Open
No Big Deal: Novak wears the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Arnold Schwarzenegger The Legacy Chronograph, about $45,000.

(Photo Credit: courtesy of Audemars Piguet)

victoria azarenka wants australian open title

Victoria Azarenka at the Australian Open 2013

Victoria Azarenka had a lot to endure in the past couple of days: she was overcome by nerves and blew five match points in her semifinal match against teen sensation Sloane Stephens. Criticasters booed her for that but Azarenka would like to use the Australian Open finale to shush the naysayers and gain back some of that goodwill.

That 10-minute timeout, which the World No. 1 took during the 5-4 changeover right after she lost her serve, was necessitated by an apparent rib injury. Vika denies that she took a medical timeout to get an extra break to recover from the match. (Was Azarenka right in taking the medical timeout at 5-4 for nerves? Tell us!)

Azarenka told the press that it wasn’t nice to read and hear the criticism revolving her timeout but added that there are sometimes things that we don’t have control over and that the best you can do is learn from it.  Azarenka further added that the most important thing for her is to put up a great finale versus Li Na.

Stats: Azarenka and Li have played each other 9 times so far in their careers. And head-to-head is 5-4 in Vika’s favor. Azarenka has won the last four encounters.

aussie preview: the power list

Since we’re done with our fashion coverage for the year (we only kid!), we decided to look a little bit closer at the tennis that will be played at the upcoming Australian Open, which begins Sunday night on American television.

Tomorrow: Who’s Up, Who’s Down and the Dark Horses of the AO | Follow us on Twitter @TSFtennis

The Power List – How the top men (and women) stack up

 

1. No one can come into the AO feeling better than Roger Federer. The Swiss Mister won his season-opening foray in Doha without dropping a set, beating Nicolay Davydenko in the final. Along with his win at the World Tour Finals, Federer has notched 10 straight matches. Federer played three exhibitions during the off season – all against Rafael Nadal – and looks primed to defend his title in Melbourne.

2. Serena Williams. It might be strange to see Serena’s name second on this list, but the current world no. 4 will be the biggest female force in this year’s draw – absent force, that is. The defending champion hasn’t played a match since winning Wimbledon, and the ladies look lost without her. Serena beat Justine Henin in the most memorable Slam final of last year here, and the sticky courts of Australia won’t have the same female ferocity without her.

3. Rafael Nadal is appropriately third on our list – especially seeing that he has won three straight Slams. And there are three factors that play into Rafa winning an illustrious, fourth straight Major: his health (most namely his knees); his focus against lurking dark-horses (there are plenty – check back tomorrow); and his ability to rise against the Roger challenge. He failed in two of those in losing soundly to Federer in London in November, but will look to build his confidence one match at a time at the AO.

4. There is hard to find a more like-able – or more important, match-savvy – player on the WTA right now than Kim Clijsters. Clijsters captured the US Open for the second straight year in 2010, and then went on to dominate the women’s season-ending event. Her loss in Sydney’s final on Saturday to Li Na? We say that’s a good thing: A more-focused Kimmie won’t produce any 6-0, 6-1 third-round catastrophes this year.

5. Robin Soderling and Andy Roddick and Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. OK, it’s a little unfair that we bunched these four gents together, but at this point, it’s hard not to. Soderling had a hot start to 2011, winning Brisbane and once again proving that he is no flash in the pan. As for Roddick – who lost to Sod in the Brisbane final – the American is said to be in some of the best shape of his life had seems as hungry as ever. And it’s hard to believe that Murray and Djokovic have just one Slam between the two of them. How is that possible? (See Nos. 1 & 3 for answer.) Any of these fellas could walk away from Melbourne the champ, and few would be surprised…

6. Is there more of a mystery than Justine Henin on the women’s side? She is the female version of Juan Martin del Potro, hasn’t played since Wimbledon, but might be playing second fiddle to Kim’s current reign. Justine shocked us all by making the finals last year. It was in 2010 when she toughed through a straight-set win over now-retired Elena Dementieva, and again has a Russian seed (that’d be Kuzy) in the Round of 32. | Full women’s draw

7. While Tomas Berdych continues to be a mystery since his French-Wimbledon brilliance (he’s 12-13 since July), Nikolay Davydenko and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga have made their own noise to start 2011: Davydenko took out Nadal in Doha and Tsonga fell to Roger at the same tourney. Tsonga is a former finalist here (downing Fed in the semis in ’08), while Davydenko has (shockingly) still not been to the last two of a major. Any of these three could fit in with our group at No. 5, but do they have what it takes to run seven matches straight?

8. Here’s a new trio for you folks: Jelena JankovicAna Ivanovic and … Bojana Jovanovski. While we could have included Janko Tipsarevic in this line-up, but this new ladies three-some is sure to have the eyes of some WTA followers over the next two weeks. Our guess: the three gals will chalk up 7 total wins (AI 4, BJ 1 and JJ 2) over the two weeks. The ultimate question? Who will have the best year of the bunch? Jelena is a dismal 9-13 since a French open semis run and Jovanovski beat Kanepi, Pannetta and Rezai last week alone. And another new coach for Ana… | Ana just wants to have fun?

9. Venus Williams didn’t win a set in two round-robin matches last weekend in Hong Kong. She hasn’t played a WTA match since the US Open. And before that? Wimbledon. It’s anybody’s guess for Family Williams in Melbourne this year.

10. Three ladies who have a solid shot at a week-two run and a decent chance of a first-round crash out include Caroline WozniackiVera Zvonareva and Maria Sharapova. Wozniacki won just one game in an exo with Zvonareva last weekend, and both had bizarre early losses in Sydney. Sharapova’s ’11 debut? A second-round crash against Greta Arn. Just another (four) reasons that this might be Kim Clijsters’ Aussie to win.

Tomorrow: Who’s Up, Who’s Down and the Dark Horses of the AO

(federer photo future capetown; soderling photo via getty)

how many pleated plackets could a placket pleater pleat?

Tathiana Garbin is the main mascot for Sergio Tacchini now that Flavia Pennetta has switched over to adidas.

Say that ten times fast: At the 2010 Australian Open, Garbin wore both a tank top and a polo for competitive play; the pieces both have some bold detailing (a pleated placket for the polo; pleated vents for the tank).

And at this week’s Open GDF Suez in Paris, Garbin’s switched to a white polo with more classic construction (but also with a brighter — teal — color). She lost in the quarterfinals to former STer Pennetta 6-1, 6-3 in the quarterfinals. Flavia will be facing Lucie Safarova (wha??) in the semis.

More: A few looks at Garbin’s Sergio Tacchini after the cut…

sightings in the stands: prince william

Most folks know that we’re with Team Ginger, but we have to give a little love to Prince William for doing his part to promote the sport.

The British royal made an appearance at Melbourne Park yesterday, watching second-round matches by Roger Federer (d. Victor Hanescu) and Casey Dellacqua (d. Karolina Sprem).

Here’s hoping that someone from the Obama camp will make it out to Flushing Meadows this fall. (It probably won’t be the President Obama, though. We can’t have him supporting tennis… it’ll be interpreted as “un-American”!)

(Image via Getty Images)

asian tennis: nino gets hometown love, indians in australia, and noppawan the number one.

francis-alcantara-aussie09a

We do want to send some love to Filipino Francis Casey “Nino” Alcantara for winning the Australian Open junior doubles title with Taiwanese partner Cheng-Peng Hsieh. This is the first time in a very long while that the Philippines has actively participated in tennis not as fans (anyone else aside from Maricris Fernandez)?

The Philippine Senate even adopted a resolution to express their pride for the teenager’s accomplishment.

In that pic above, Nino is the one on the right (reminds me a little bit of Fernando Verdasco).

Speaking of the Asian Slam, the Indians did their fair share of title-takin’, with Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupathi winning mixed doubles and Yuki Bhambri nabbing the junior boy’s title. Congrats.

I wasn’t being Rick-rolled after all… So it turns out that Nick wasn’t punking me, and Noppawan Lertcheewakarn is a real person. With results, even.

The junior world no. 1’s hometown paper, The Nation gives her a little love. Read it here or (in case the link goes dead) after the cut…

uhm, you said it was a “show” court, right?

From the AP: The Williams sisters were en route to a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Japan’s Ayumi Morita and Germany’s Martina Muller when the man, wearing only a shirt, sprinted across the sidelines and made several dance moves before heading toward an exit.

Day 5 was also marked by Ana Ivanovic‘s loss in women’s singles and an all-out brawl (involving flying chairs, apparently) amongst spectators at the Nole/Amer Delic match.

Yawn: The watermark is covering his ding dong, but still, NSFW.

(image by Getty Images)

photo feed: checking in with juan monaco

…and by “checking in with” we mean “showing many pictures of”.

Calendar boy Juan Monaco lost early at this year’s Australian Open, falling to fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 6-4, 6-0.

But of course he won the adidas fashion war that day, besting Tsonga’s yellow top from the Competition line with his white Edge crewneck. Props to the neat look of the black/white contrast and the novelty six-pack print — not required since Juan has his own washboard.

We also like the tee’s olive/yellow version (we’d like a break from lime, thanks). And in the Edge Warm-up Hoodie, the graphic simply moves higher up on the chest. Look for a blue version of these items to drop in the Spring. (It’s the same blue that Nike is using right now.)

And in light of all the coif makeovers happening Down Under (see: Roger Federer, Marcos Baghdatis), I’m glad that Juan’s kept his the same — even though I’m sure he’d look good with any hairstyle. And I hope he starts posting good results soon, because I’m slowly being won over by the locks of Jeremy Chardy!

The goods: adidas Edge line (which includes Djokovic‘s Falcon apparel): Edge Tee, olive/yellow and white/phantom, $45; Edge Warm-up Hoodie, $65; Bermuda Shorts, olive/white/phantom, $50; tie headband, $15.