kit count: australian open women’s QFs



Australian Open logo

The Women’s QF draw at the 2013 Australian Open: adidas (6), Nike (4), Lotto (2), and 1 each for Under ArmourFilaLacoste, and Qiaodan.

Breakdown: See the complete list after the cut…

that painting is brill



Upper right corner, my friends. Nole posing next to his Pacific Life Open trophy. Amazing.

(God, how we miss that whale.)

This photo was taken during the ceremony held at this week’s Serbia Open in Belgrade to hand diplomatic passports to Ana Jovanovic, Bojana Jovanovski, Janko Tipsarevic, Nenad Zimonjic, Viktor Troicki, and Novak Djokovic.

“I am honored to promote to diplomatic service people who have contributed to the popularity of Serbia in the world,” said Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic. “There is not a single country in the world which wouldn’t be honored to have you as ambassadors.”

More: See the whole story at the Serbia Open site and the full gallery here.

(img by Pedja Milosavljevic via serbiaopen.rs)

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)

green, and maybe with envy



Jelena Jankovic got booted from this week’s China Open in the second round. She lost to qualifer and fellow Serbian Bojana Jovanovski in three sets: 6-4 2-6 2-6. As the de facto third seed, Jovanovski will face Shahar Peer in the next round. Other notable third round matches: Dementieva vs. Ivanovic, Zvonareva plays Kirilenko, and Li Na squares off against the weight of the Chinese hometown crowd. (Brackets: See them all here.)

Seesaw in sea foam: Jankovic continues her sloppy second half of 2010 (after running deep into events up until Wimbledon, including a title at Indian Wells), losing to Kanepi twice, to Yakimova, Kleybanova, Benesova, and Akgul. Jelena wore a sea foam Anta dress with a flora print at the neck. It reminded us of the Maria Sharapova skyline-inspired day dress from the 2007 US Open.

Up close: See a few more pics of the dress after the cut…

fed cup 2010 – first round



That’s Bojana Jovanovski, Ana Jovanovic, captain Dejan Vranes, Jelena Jankovic, and Ana Ivanovic at the official Fed Cup dinner on the eve of the tie between Serbia and Russia. As you can see from the schedule below, the headcase Ivanovic will go up against Svetlana Kuznetsova first, and then Jelena, whose back injury could hamper her performance, will then face the hard-hitting Alisa Kleybanova.

Russian team: Captain Shamil Tarpischev, Vera Dushevina, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and Alisa Kleybanova.

If the tie was based solely on footwear, the Serbians win. What is up with Anastasia’s red bra??

Who’s playing whom + TV: Here’s the line-up for all four World Group ties (plus TC’s coverage of the US/France tie) — after the cut…