fuzzy muzzy has lots of hair

Hey, Andy: Ernests wants his hair back. (Take him up on it, please. We don’t want a repeat of Aussie Open ’08!)

Andy Murray, vying for a title at this week’s China Open — along with top seed Nole Djokovic, Soderling, and Kolya — is wearing a polo and shorts from adidas‘ Barricade line. This was the same outfit he wore at the 2010 US Open, where, as the tournament’s fourth seed, he got upset by Stan Wawrinka in the third round. In Beijing, Muzz beat qualifier Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-2, 6-3. Draw: The China Open men’s second round schedule’s been set. See the match-ups here.

Buy: adidas Fall Barricade Polo, in white/Blue Beauty, $39; Competition 9″ Short, $32; TW.

(image via Getty Images)

trophy watch: kerchiefs, gang signs, pearl studs, and gold crosses

Moscow, represent: Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova bagged her first title since tearing it up on the clay courts in early 2009 (with titles in Stuttgart and Roland Garros) by defeating Agnieszka Radwanska in the final of the China Open. Not sure if it’s this new positive aura of hers, but she was lookin’ damn good in the cap-sleeve top from Fila‘s fall Heritage collection. (Buy: $38.99 at TW)

Nole, unveiled: Were we really surprised that there was a Serbian striptease after Novak Djokovic won the men’s singles title at the China Open? He took out Marin Cilic 6-2, 7-6 (4) in a rain-addled final. Nole now has three titles (Dubai and Serbia Open); he heads Shanghai to take part in the Shanghai Masters tourney (this week).

If you know what’s going on with the bandana wrapped around their wrists, hit me up.

Stud, studded: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and his pearl studs were no match for Mikhail Youzhny in the Japan Open. The Frenchman won 6-3, 6-3. Props to Youzhny, though, who beat Gilles Simon, Tomas Berdych, and Lleyton Hewitt on his way to the final. That one-handed backhand was smokin’!

Seal of approval: That chinese name stamp the China Open tourney organizers gave to Marat Safin after his swan song in Beijing was a cool concept.

gettin’ glassy-eyed: marat bows out of beijing

Marat Safin lost to Rafa Nadal 6-3, 6-1 in the quarterfinals of this week’s Beijing Open.

Rafa on Marat: “I am happy for him to have the end the China Open for him like this. So, for the rest, it is important for tennis. Marat is a very important player for tennis, for the fans, so we are going to miss him a lot”

Up next for Safin is a wildcard entry into the Shanghai Masters.

Trophy watch: As a “thank you” for his years of service, the tourney organizers gave Marat a chinese seal carving with his name on it.

(images via Getty Images)

marat safin: no more pressure

World No. 52 Marat Safin is ambling his way to retirement (we’ll be Marat-less after 2009) but don’t let the impending racquet-hanging fool you — the Russian’s game still packs a punch.

The former World No. 1 showed glimpses of his former tennis life by upsetting Fernando Gonzalez in the second round of this week’s China Open. Too bad this good streak is part of his post-retirement outlook.

“It’s easy to play when you have nothing to lose, no points to defend, so you have no pressure at all so you can just play, just go for it.”

And this carefree style was enough to beat Gonzalez.

“I was expecting to win but I’m not surprised that I lost because Marat is a great player and didn’t do too much wrong,” shared the Chilean after the match.

Up next for Marat is Rafa Nadal, who needed three sets to overcome James Blake. Perhaps Rafa’s rustiness coupled with Safin’s worry-free tennis will get him through to the semis?

The duds: adidas did well paying homage to the North American hardcourt season with the light print on this competition crew. We see a blurry image of the NYC skyline. Buy: Men’s Summer Competition Theme Crew, in black, red, and white colorways for $39.99 at TW.

(image via Getty)

going stag

ChinaOpen-Group09

This picture reminds us of painful high school dances when, as freshmen and sophomores, your band of friends would “couple up” with a group of the opposite sex and everyone would move as a massive clump. No one had “dates”; none of that “he’s with her and she’s dancing with him.” Just a buncha awkward adolescents doing the cool thing and dancing solo.

And the theme of this China Open dance? “An Evening of Stars”. Dress is semi-casual, of course, and no doubt these crazies will be out on the dance floor rockin’ to Miley in no time.

Wonder which player’s parents are hosting the after-dance movie night?!

(image via Bryan Bros. Twitter)

phoenix returns to the nest, leaves with the queen

We’ve just finished Day 3 of play and already Caro‘s out (grumpily), Venus is gone, and Jelena‘s title defense fizzled. Maybe a lesson should be gleaned from women who get their on-court kits custom-made?

Not convinced? Then we present Exhibit D in the form of Zheng Jie, who had her “Z” monogram adapted by ANTA to reflect her participation in this week’s China Open in Beijing.

The design’s named “Phoenix Returns to Nest” — symbolic of Zheng’s return to her home SEWTA tourney after months of playing all over the world. “I especially like this apparel as the design is simple yet it contains a lot of Chinese elements,” said Zheng of the apparel.

Sadly, Zheng lost in the first round to sixth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova; the Russian’s slated to face Venus-killer Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the quarters.

Bracketology: Serena is lurking in the same half as Kuzie, and will probably go up against Peng, who’s through to the quarters after beating Sharapova. Meanwhile, in the other half, Chinese No. 1 Li Na is out, losing to Dementieva in the third round. In the other quarter, Shuai Zhang will go up against Marion Bartoli for a spot in the final eight. Draw here (pdf).

Pleats, at least: See Zheng’s kit up close after cut…

rafael nadal: green light, green shirt

After the doctors gave Rafa Nadal the green light to continue with his grueling style of professional tennis play for the rest of 2009, the Spaniard has decided to vie for the China Open title this week. He’s also slated Shanghai, Bercy, London, and the Davis Cup final (vs. the Czechs) for this year.

In Beijing, Rafa is through to the second round after taking out Marcos Baghdatis 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. He next faces James Blake. In his quarter of the draw is Fernando Gonzalez; in his half, Nikolay Davydenko. See the draw here.

The post-US Open version of his Nike polo is a green with navy blue and grey; it’s also available in a white with grey/green colorway. We’re totally wanting that polo, but the color contrast in those checkered shorts are a bit much. What do you think think? Tell us!

Buy: Nike Winter Woven Long Short, $55; Bold Master Polo, $60; both from TW.

More: More images after the cut…

“pearl crown” dress can’t save the china open queen

The Shuai-caused upsets continue at the China Open, with Shuai Zhang‘s defeat of Dinara Safina preceding the fizzling of Jelena Jankovic‘s tourney run. The defending champion lost 6-4, 5-7, 2-6 to local Shuai Peng. Jankovic was still being bothered by the wrist injury that forced her to retire from the Toray Pan Pacific Open final last week; she “couldn’t hit the ball hard enough” to keep the match competitive in the third set.

ANTA, Jelena’s sponsor, created a special dress just for their hometown event (Zheng Jie got the same treatment). They created a “pearl crown” pattern on the layered purple dress, which made references to Jelena’s title reign for this past year.

“I love this design very much,” Jelena said about the design. “I am very touched.” Not touched enough to defend! (Jay kay! xo – tsf)

We really do love this dress, and think that Jelena and ANTA have created a great collaboration that we expect to see more of in the coming weeks — if Jelena is fit enough to play. What do you think of the dress? Tell us!

Bracketology: Meanwhile, Serena won her third-round match and will be back at the No. 1 spot once the rankings are published on Monday. We expect Ms. Williams to survive her half of the draw (taking out Russians Petrova, Sharapova, and Kuznetsova along the way) and then face Dementieva in the finals. See the draw here (pdf).

(images via Getty)

communist chic

World No. 1 Dinara Safina cemented her place atop a rank list — that of “Worst No. 1 Ever” — with her second-round, 7-5, 7-6 (5), loss to the 226th-ranked Shuai Zhang at this week’s China Open. The previous record was held by Ana Ivanovic, who, as the world no. 1, lost to the 188th-ranked Julie Coin in the second round of the 2008 U.S. Open.

Two snaps to Zhang, who received a wildcard into this tournament. Not bad for her first SEWTA Tour win, right?

And we love those patriotic Nike wristbands.

BTW: If Serena bests Dinara’s performance this week (and she could do so by winning against Ekaterina Makarova in the third round tomorrow), she’ll be back at No. 1. The flip flop continues!

(images via Getty)