practice makes perfect: from russia, with love

Svetlana Kuznetsova lost in her opening round of the BNP Paribas Open to American (and wildcard) Christina McHale, who took her out 7-6 (4), 7-6 (7). While Sveta looked good — like, dropped-pounds-in-the-double-digits good — she was simply outplayed from the baseline by the more consistent McHale. McHale lost a three-setter to Nadia Petrova in the subsequent round. (Draw: Women’s Singles.)

For the curious: that Fila shirt on Sveta’s only for practice, alas, and is not for sale to the public. Sometimes a girl has to have something that’s just hers, yknow?

(image by TSF)

WANT: from ruffles to duffles

Fine, fine. The cheese stands alone. No one’s into that Caro dress except for me (and hopefully Woz herself). You should see it up close, though, if you can. I think that’s how I got sold on it. But that then raises the question: who are you selling for — the person wearing it or those who have to look at it from afar?

Anyway, while snooping through the stores on the grounds of the BNP Paribas Open, we ran across this duffle from Fila, part of their 100-year collection. It’s in a quilted navy blue nylon with tan leather trim and gold hardware. These were flying off the shelves, so we think the public agrees with us loving this piece.

Sadly, we didn’t take one home with us; no more bag purchases until we thin out the stock in the TSF West accesories closet!

Buy: Fila 100-year duffle bag; peacoat (navy blue); $120; fila.com.

(screengrab via fila.com)

short balls: from melbourne and beyond

Melbourne movie makers: While the Australian Open has always been known as the “fun” Major, it can also be tapped for the way it approaches things differently than the other three in the Western Hemisphere. This year, one aspect setting the AO apart is its tennis film festival, called Changing Ends Take Two. The festival describes itself as “an independent short film event for budding filmmakers to submit a film with the theme ‘Take Two’ as part of the Tennis Film Festival to be shown during Australian Open 2011.”

There are certainly plenty of entries to sift through. If you want to take a glance, start off in the 2010 tab to take a look at what was popular in 2010, including the most-viewed vid, “When You Have Tennis:”

And we kind of agree: who needs girls? | TSF Vault: More of the off-court tennis world in video

Admirable action: Remember Hudson Taylor? We do. He’s the former Division I all-star wrestler that is straight and is taking it upon himself to be one of the loudest non-gay voices for gay rights. Someone fighting for the well being of others?! Go figure. Recently Taylor launched AthleteAlly.com, in which visitors are asked to sign a pledge to support an accepting community in their own athletic worlds. So far, Hudson has 1,000+ signatures. All hail (and visit) a good cause.

Me, too: While hubby Andy Roddick gets plenty of ink about his form at the Aussie, Brooklyn Decker is sure to get some press on her own. The model/ actress (yes, actress) reportedly told Self that Papa Decker had to have an intervention with the youngster when she began her career so as not to “wreck her body.” Guess the talk worked.

Picture this: While everyone is clad in bursts of pastels and bright colors, we’re digging Sophie Ferguson in red, white and blue Fila. | More Fila on TSF

(“changing ends” screen shot via ao.com; ferguson via getty)

on the 8th day of giftmas: excess baggage

‘Tis the season of choices, no? We give you five (count ‘em, 5!) bags to pick from this holiday season. From the super-chic and trendy Soho choice to a bag that couldn’t be more Apple Pie America to another selection (after the cut) that you might want to buy alongside a pair of sunglasses. No, really… at least for the kids. Batter up: LAYERxlayer is catching our eye this year with their trendy, made-to-order approach of bags that you can really take anywhere. The Wayfarer pack, seen below, is $189 online and couldn’t be better for a city dweller that wants a good, sturdy bag that can withstand a daily commute on the 6 Train. 100% denim body.

Say what you will about the simplicity of the Fila (or Ralph Lauren) color palette, sometime tennis (with it’s bright yellow balls, purple courts and god-forsaken plaid shorts) needs a little grounding. That’s why this year, we’re digging this three-racquet bag from Fila, which is the perfect gift for any regular club or competitive player in your life. And serse, for $39.99, there just isn’t anything better than red, white and blue. (Available on Tennis Warehouse.)

And while after the cut we have two somethings for the ladies, we figured we’d throw a bone for our dudes on this next choice. While we were drooling over Roger’s RF bag earlier this fall, Nike has the next best thing in the small, classic duffel bag in black. The bag, just $60 on their web site, is the perfect carry-on, carry-to-the-court or carry-my-stuff-around-all-day selection for a sporty fella in your life.

After the cut: a look at a tennis bag that is (still) on our radar (and a nice surprise).

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shirtless: andreas seppi

A few more US Open pics before we close out the year…

TGIF: We spotted Italian Andreas Seppi hitting out in the outer practice courts at the USTABJKNTC on the eve of the 2010 US Open.

At this week’s Shanghai Rolex Masters, Seppi upset 14th seed Marin Cilic in the opening round (2 and 2) and lost in the third round to Roger Federer. (Draw: The men’s semis are set. Check out the quartet.)

(photos by TSF)

tattoo watch: svetlana kuznetsova gets another

Svetlana Kuznetsova gave us a little peep show before her early exit at this week’s China Open in Beijing. The Russian, seeded tenth at the event, lost to qualifier Roberta Vinci in three sets.

Can’t wait to see the site (or possibly another tattoo)!

China Open: The final four on the women’s side of this combined event: Caro vs. Peer and Li Na vs. Zvonareva. (Draw: here.)

More: Pic of the tattoo up close (but blurry, le sigh) after the cut…

trophy watch: simon’s egg, kleybanova’s unveiling, etc.

It doesn’t really matter to us who ends up winning that trophy from the Open de Moselle in Metz, as long as it gets a photograph taken once a year. Of course it doesn’t hurt that daddy Gilles Simon, who took out Mischa Zverev 6-3, 6-2, is the one in the picture.

More: Winners in Bucharest, Seoul, and Tashkent — all after the cut…

fila rises to davis cup challenge

Kudos to Fila for stepping up to the challenge of dressing their athletes in some festive clothing as they compete in this weekend’s Davis Cup ties. Janko Tipsarevic, currently embroiled in a close match against Tomas Berdych (the Serb is up in the match two sets to one; they’re on serve in the fourth), wears a crew with the country crest on the chest. In the tie’s first rubber, Radek Stepanek took out Troicki in four. (Follow: Tie info and live scores available here.)

In Sweden, Italian Fabio Fognini had a bright blue canvas on which to showcase his country’s red/white/green flag. He lost his singles rubber to Robin Soderling, putting them at 1-1 against the Swedes (Potito Starace won the other match against Vinciguerra).

No word yet from Fila about whether Janko’s Davis Cup crew is for sale (much like how they did it for Marin Cilic‘s Croatia shirt).

Update: Checked with the Fila folks and they said Janko’s shirt will be eventually on sale at TW.

(images via Getty Images)