mischa zverev: before the fall, another erke peek

German Mischa Zverev had to retire from his first-round match against tenth seed Fernando Gonzalez at the Shanghai Masters Tennis Tournament this week. A right wrist injury, sustained during a fall early in the third set, left the score at 7-5, 6-7 (0), 2-2 — which sucks, since Zverev won that tiebreaker against Gonzo.

But before his departure, we got another peek into the wonderful world of Erke; Zverev’s the tennis face of this Chinese brand, which also calls Yanina Wickmayer one of its athletes.

Bracket: Roger Federer and Andy Murray pulled out of the tourney due to exhaustion and a wrist injury, respectively. Roddick and Nadal are grumbling about how long the tennis season is (with reason: have anyone play grueling tennis for 11 months a year and their body will surely fall apart).

Okay, I tried to find the bracket on that user-unfriendly tourney website. I will love you forever if you can help me track it down.

Deets: Note the color gradation detail down the sleeves of Mischa’s polo. Cute monochromatic wristbands, too. See more pics after the cut…

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)

the french open is scot-free

fullerton: I have decided that Murray is going to win the French Open.
fullerton:and take his shirt off
fullerton:and it is going to be lovely

The newly minted World No. 3 Andy Murray didn’t get to this upper crust of tennis society by playing on clay, and it showed during his fourth round match against Fernando Gonzalez. Feña blew the Scot out of the water with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-0, 6-4 upset.

“I’ve got to give a lot of credit to him,” said Murray after the match. “I’d played against him before and he hits the ball hard, but today he was hitting it huge. If that happens, sometimes you’ve got to say ‘Too good’. It’s quite easy sitting on the side to look and think ‘you could’ve have done this, you could have done that’ but the guy is hitting ball so hard — no one hits the ball that big.”

Looking ahead: Gonzo is set to play Robin Soderling, who solidified his victory over Nadal with a straight-set drubbing of Kolya Davydenko.

Kudos to Andy and his Fred Perry kit, btw. He mixed things up by alternating his v-neck crew between an all-black colorway (with a green laurel) and a navy/blue version. Buy: Fred Perry French Open Tennis Shirt, navy/scottish blue, £35.00.

More pictures: Shots of Andy during his 2009 French Open run after the cut…

sometimes, sports don’t keep kids out of trouble

Efficent kid, this one. While he wasn’t using his Sharpie to amass players’ autographs, he used it for some good, old-fashioned huffing.

Meanwhile, his dad sat in front of him totally engrossed in the competitive first set of the second-round match between Lleyton Hewitt and Fernando Gonzalez.

Scoreline: Hewitt lost that match; Gonzalez has since lost — to Federer in the fourth round.

More: Two more pics after the cut…

fashion focus: roger + nike mourning his oz loss

As if the folks at Nike knew what would go down in Australia, Roger Federer‘s kit for the North American spring swing is tail-’tween-legs muted. He wears a navy blue ribbed v-neck with white trim at the sleeves. He pairs this with herringbone shorts (the white “tux stripes” are back).

Key accessories are his classy and classic Rolex and a white belt. A monogrammed white warm-up jacket and his Australian Open duffel round out the look.

Tag-teamed by Fernandos: With weight off Roger’s shoulders both on the court (now shared with colleagues Nole, Rafa, and A. Murray) and off (he’s distracted by preggers Mirka, I’m sure), he can now swing that one-handed backhand with abandon and get back to his winning ways. At this week’s BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., Roger beat Fernando Gonzalez 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 in the fourth round and will face Fernando Verdasco in the quarters.

Buy: Nike Spring V-Neck Top, charcoal/obsidian/concord/white, $60; Woven Tennis Shorts, charcoal/obsidian/white, $45.

(image via Getty Images)

trophy watch: tsonga rams chardy and cilic goes back for seconds

The inaugural South African Open in Johannesburg saw an all-French final between hitting partners Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Jeremy Chardy. Tsonga, who did not drop a set all week, earned $79,000 for his 6-4, 7-6 (5) performance. This is his third career title and first of 2009.

Props to the tourney organizers for coming up with a one-of-a-kind memento of Tsonga’s achievement, however Lord of the Flies it may be. I’m just going to think that those aren’t real horns; I’ll sleep better at night.

And in Croatia, two lanky locals — Marin Cilic and Mario Ancic — played in the finals of the PBZ Zagreb Indoors. Cilic’s 6-3, 6-4 win gives him his second title in five weeks and his third overall. He also now has a 13-1 match record for 2009, an ATP-best.

In Vina Del Mar, Chile, Fernando Gonzalez took home his fourth Movistar Open title by beating Jose Acasuso 6-1, 6-3.

(photos via Getty Images)

a matador in the stands

matador-aussie09

No matter what you think about chair-throwing, face-painting, flag-waving, appendage-swinging Australian Open tennis fans, you gotta hand it to ‘em. Where else would you see a matador in the stands? A MATADOR.

It’s going to be a long time before this sighting in the stands can be toppled as the best ever.

Scoreline: Rafael Nadal continues to bulldoze through the draw, taking out Tommy Haas-been 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 in the third round. The top seed will next face the hard-hitting Fernando Gonzalez. Unfortunately for Gonzo, he had to play 22 games in that fifth set before defeating Richard Gasquet. Alas, he won’t be facing Rafa with a full tank o’ gas.

(image by Getty Images)

eight men, five rubbers, one weekend…

Bulging biceps, tag teams, marathon sessions, tattoos, bears, Eastern Europeans, Brazilians…

Yes, my friends, it must be Davis Cup!

World Group 2008 – Semifinal
Argentina v Russia, 3 – 2
Tarpischev’s doubles trick couldn’t shake off del Potro.

Spain v USA, 4 – 1
America’s rich Davis Cup history gets blown to bits when a tie is contested on clay. Against Spain.

World Group, Play-offs 2008
Chile v Australia, 3 – 2
Gonzo distracted the Aussies with his chest.

Great Britain v Austria, 2-3
For British newbie Bogdanovic, playing in front of the home crowd at AELTC caused some performance anxiety against Peya.

Switzerland v Belgium, 4 – 1
The dream team of R-Fed and S-Waw cleaned up.

Croatia v Brazil, 4 – 1
Save for a clutch doubles match by Melo and Sa, Croatia takes all the matches.

Israel v Peru, 4 – 1
Harel Levy, Andy Ram, Noam Okun, and the Smurf-esque Dudi Sela all did the home crowd proud.

Netherlands v South Korea, 3 – 2
Hyung-Taik Lee swept his singles matches, but it wasn’t enough.

Romania v India, 4 – 1
As expected, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi win their doubles match.

Slovak Republic v Serbia, 1 – 4
Novak Djokovic kept his clothes on.

where the t-shirt ends…

There is a place where the t-shirt ends and before Gonzo‘s hair begins…

…but I haven’t quite figured out where that is.

Davis Cup: Fernando Gonzalez and there rest of the Chileans — Nicolas Massu, Carillo lookalike Paul Capdeville, and Guillermo Hormazabal — play in Antofagasta (their home turf) against the Aussies: Guccione, Peter Luczak, the cute Carsten Bell, and Robert Smeets. More info on the tie here.

This tie is a World Group playoff, which means that they are vying for a spot in the 2009 draw. The Davis Cup 2008 semifinal ties are Spain vs. USA and Russia vs. Argentina. I don’t want to hear anymore op-ed pieces on how confusing this tournament is, okay?

(photo via Getty Images)