sa watch 2009: off to a good start in melbourne



melo-sa-aussie09

Doubles partners Marcelo Melo and Andre Sa are vying for their first title in 2009 as the eighth seeds at the Australian Open. They’re off to a good start, taking out the local team of Brydan Klein and Matthew Ebden 6-2, 7-6 (5) in the first round.

Behind their backs are three titles from their successful 2008: Costa do Sauipe, Portschach, and New Haven immediately before the U.S. Open (where they reached the third round). The duo also made the semis in Memphis and Metz; and the quarters of Vegas, Stockholm, and the Paris Masters.

Kit: Sa joins Melo in wearing Centauro. One less person wearing Diadora?

(photo by Getty Images)

serbia’s greatest export



Who knew that Victor Troicki could be as animated as his fellow Serbian, Novak Djokovic?

It’s hard to contain his excitement, perhaps, of finally making some noise in these past few weeks; he’s reached back-to-back quarterfinals, first losing to Andy Roddick at the Japan Open 6-3, 6-4 and then to German Mischa Zverev 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.

Now that he’s shown us a full range of facial expressions, we can’t wait to see him battle Nole in the striptease competition.

Rest o’ the draw: The semis — Santoro‘s through after Mathieu retired, and will face either Kunitysn or the gorgeous Chardy. Meanwhile, Kolya and Marat (de facto final?) are duking it out to see who’ll take on Zverev.

More: See more of Troicki’s fun faces after the cut…

davis cup: the boys in red win for serbia



All four guys on the Serbian Davis Cup team — Nole, Nenad Zimonjic, Viktor Troicki, and Janko Tipsarevic — did their part to win their World Group playoff tie against Slovakia this weekend. (And everyone managed to keep their clothes on, unlike last year’s peep show!)

Djokovic wore a red adidas polo while taking out Dominik Hrbaty 6-2, 6-4, 6-3.

And blue-spectacled Janko, in Fila, had to work for his five-setter against Lukas Lacko. The score: 6-7 (3), 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5), 8-6. That win must feel good, especially in light of how Janko’s ankle has sidelined him in some late summer tournaments.

For the clincher, Zimonjic (Nike) and Troicki (Diadora) beat Filip Polasek and Michal Mertinak in four tough sets: 7-6 (8), 6-4, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (5).

More Janko pics: Just because we can never get enough…

davis cup: dudi sela isn’t feeling blue



Dudi Sela must feel good doing his part for Israel by winning a singles rubber against Peruvia team captain Ivan Miranda 6-2, 6-1, 3-6, 6-4.

Like how only Diadora can (see: Kuerten, Guga), Sela put on blue socks and blue shoes to take full advantage of the Israeli flag palette. He pulled it off.

The gold contrast detail on his front shorts pockets are blah, but excusable. They can’t all be winners, right?

More: See the rest of his ensemble, including practice tees and warmup suits, after the cut…

Trophy Watch: Guga’s final splash on Court Philippe Chatrier



Trophy watch: Three-time French Open champion (and TSF fave) Guga Kuerten bid adieu to the red clay of Roland Garros for the final time, accepting a wild card that his body couldn’t back up. He lost to Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. And when it was all over, they awarded Guga with a cross-section of the court that propelled him to the upper echelons of tennis.

As a good luck charm, Guga wore the same Diadora kit as when he won his first French Open title in 1997. That title was the first of 20 that he would eventually rack up in his 13-year career.

Take that, Roger Federer!

Here are a few more pictures, plus a link to Chris Clarey‘s NYT write-up of the match — all after the cut…