venus covers up, and then some



This is Dubai, after all: We are pretty sure that the “skin baring” dress that Venus Williams would’ve kept her out of defending her singles title at the Barclay’s Dubai Tennis Championships (hey, what’s this event if not without controversy?), so it was probably a smart move that she went back to the EleVen dress that she wore at the 2009 U.S. Open.

And speaking of, she again got some henna tattooing done (like how she did at this tourney last year), this time adding some ink on her left thigh.

Draw: Venus looks good for a repeat; she’ll be up against the story of the tourney, Shahar Peer, in the semis. Teenagers Victoria Azarenka and Agnieszka Radwanska will vie for the other spot in the final. ([pdf]).

More: A few images (including the tattoos) -after the cut…

it must be lonely at the top 400



Caroline Wozniacki leads the field at this week’s Barclay’s Dubai Tennis Championships as the event’s top seed. She’s off to a decent start so far, beating Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 7-6 (2) in the opening round. And in what could be a duplication of what happened last month in Melbourne, Caro next faces Dubai newbie Shahar Peer, whom the Dane beat at the Australian, and then faces Li Na in the round after, who Caro lost to. (Draw: Women’s Singles.)

And two snaps to the Woz for reaching a career-high No. 3 in the SEWTA rankings; she’s currently the only Dane in the top 400.

In the flesh: This live version of the tennis performance dress from adidas by Stella McCartney‘s spring/summer 2010 collection is more fun than we anticipated. The preview pics we saw didn’t show off the mesh on the upper back of the performance dress (it adds an extra layer of sexiness, no?). FYI, Caroline wore the bloomers-esque shorts for Fed Cup play last week.

Buy: Shop for the adidas by Stella McCartney goods here.

More: A few detail shots from Wozniacki’s outfit — including her Delibuta gym bag and pom-pom socks in those Lucrari shoes (with a Barricade V skeleton) — all after the cut…

on valentine’s day weekend, some love for shahar peer



We’re glad that the folks behind the Dubai Tennis Championships made sure to get a visa for Shahar Peer for this year’s tournament. You may remember all the flack they received after carelessly letting her papers for entry into the United Arab Emirates slip, causing the top Israeli player to sit out the event.

Peer pressure: But thanks to those who rallied around Shahar last year — the Wall Street Journal withdrew its sponsorship, Tennis Channel canceled its coverage, the SEWTA slapped the event with a $300k fine, Andy Roddick backed out of the men’s tourney in Dubai, and defending champ Venus Williams made her 2010 contingent on whether Shahar would be able to play — Shahar’s facing Yanina Wickmayer in the first round.

FYI, she’s getting no special security detail for her time in Dubai. Here’s hoping it all ends well.

Draw: Shahar’s half of the draw includes top seed (and world No. 3) Caroline Wozniacki, Venus, Na Li, and Elena Dementieva. The rest of the top eight — Jankovic, Azarenka, Aggie Radwanska, and second seed Sveta Kuznetsova — are in the other half. (Draw: Women’s singles.)

trophy watch: surf, sand, and sun



In Acapulco, both Nicolas Almagro and Flavia Pennetta made it to the finals — like they did last year, but only one of them defended their title.

Almagro upset Gael Monfils 6-4, 6-4 — revenge from their heated third-round Australian Open match, perhaps? And Pennetta bowed out to Venus Williams in just over an hour. The 6-1, 6-2 win gives Venus her second title in as many weeks.

Fish schools Korolev: The tennis pedigree (he’s Anna Kournikova‘s cousin) didn’t quite help Evgeny Korolev maintain trend at the Delray Beach ITC: up until Mardy Fish‘s 7-5, 6-3 win on Sunday, the tournament’s top seeds had never taken the title.

Last man standing? If Nole didn’t end up bringing home this boat from Dubai, it would’ve been pretty sad. The other top guys — Roger, Rafa, Andys Murray and Roddick — all dropped out for various reasons. Thankfully, he lived up to the challenge and beat David Ferrer 7-5, 6-3.

all quiet on the eastern front



There’s enough to deal with: In light of all this Shahar Peer and Sweden vs. Israel Davis Cup madness, you better believe we’re glad that we’ve heard nary a peep about Marin Cilic and Janko Tipsarevic‘s first-round match in Dubai. (Tensions ran high at Serbia-Croatia matches at the Australian Open…)

Scoreline: The Fila-clad Slavs needed to go three sets to decide a winner; Cilic took it 2-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4 to reach the second round, where he’ll face Julien Benneteau. They’re all in the top half of the draw along with top seed Nole Djokovic.

(photos via Getty Images)