pennetta’s peak

Two snaps to Italian Flavia Pennetta for making the record books this week: she began play at the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament as the top Italian woman — and the first one to crack the SEWTA tour’s top 10.

“I’m lucky to be [in New Haven] right now” instead of Italy, where the country has gone wild with excitement and pride over her achievement (she even got a text message from Italian tennis legend Adriano Panatta).

Flavia is still in the Pilot Pen draw, facing Caro Wozniacki in the semis and then either Mauresmo or Vesnina in the finals.

And she heads immediately to New York City, where she’s entered in the 2009 US Open as the tourney’s tenth seed. She is in the same quarter of the draw as second seed Serena Williams and the same half as Venus. “If they are fit and ready to play,” referring to the sisters, “no one can beat them.” After years on the tour, though, Flavia has learned to turn her confidence into an asset; she goes into these matches thinking that she can win. (Flavia is 0-1 against Serena — they played a three-setter — and is 4-3 against Venus, winning their most recent match in Cincinnati earlier this month.)

Even with just nine ladies higher than her in the rankings, Flavia has no plans to alter her tennis. For instance, she’ll continue to play doubles — mixed with Dusan Vemic and women’s with Fed Cup partner Sara Errani. She and Sara are trying to get as much experience together as they head to the Fed Cup finals (to be played on November 7 and 8, 2009, in Italy).

(photo by Karen Flax-Jardine/Global Village Tennis News)

CC day 4: andy and brooklyn’s puppy love, a new lacoste top, etc.

Fun times yesterday (Day 4) at the Countrywide Classic. I sat in on pressers for Carlos Moya and Amer Delic after their tough second round match, which Delic won 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5).

1) Delic had surgery in April to fix a chronic sweating problem.

2) Even John McEnroe and Jim Courier were talking about the significance of that Federer/Nadal Wimbledon final. McEnroe said that we’ll learn a lot about Federer in the coming months (will he disappear ala Borg?), and that he’ll likely get more support from fans now that he’s a little more, uhm, human.

Meanwhile, Andy Roddick notched a routine win over drop shot-obsessed Serbian Dusan Vemic in the feature night match. Andy wore a black/white version of the Super Dry Stripe Polo from Lacoste‘s latest line. Fiancee Brooklyn Decker was there to cheer him on, of course, and we learn in his post-match interview with the skinny-legged Justin Gimelstob (man, what retirement can do to muscles!) that the couple now has a puppy.

Buy: Lacoste Super Dry Stripe Polo, Steward Blue/White, $95.00.

Browse: See the other U.S. Open goods here.

(image by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)