short balls: a ‘dead’ week in tennis

Summer sorrow? The three weeks between Wimbledon ending and the US Open Series beginning (Note: we understand that the USOS already began in Atlanta, but surely you can understand that it really feels like summer when Stanford and Los Angeles start, no?) can always be a bit awkward. Sure, there is the beautiful thing that is World TeamTennis, and yes, there are those random events in Europe and the historic after-Wimbledon beacon known as Newport. But this is the time of year that tennis usually takes a breather. Or, at least, tennis news. In 2011, however, not so much. Don’t believe us? Read your way through this week’s short balls – there’s plenty to be had!

Up in arms: Folks in Canada (and beyond) were up in arms over a Rogers Cup poster being used to advertise the women’s tournament as a lead in for a senior’s event that featured Andre Agassi and John McEnroe. The tag line? “[C]ome for the ladies, stay for the legends.” Wait, really? Yes, really. Busted Racquet has a good shot of the poster, which Chris Chase says isn’t really that big of a deal — arguing that the tag line just sort of sucks. And while we partly agree, it was a double slap in the face from the TSF POV: sexually charged (“come for the ladies”) and wait … you want folks to stick around for two retired legends? To us, it should be the other way around. But the Rogers folks changed it up after the outcry, instead using: “[M]aking history, re-living history.” Done and done.

Wozy’s new boo? Always a flirt on Twitter, Caroline Wozniacki might actually have a boy following through on all those winky faces and nudge, nudge LOLs. Who’s the new fella? That’d be Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, the 22-year old who stormed through the golf world earlier this summer to win the US Open — you know, just around the time that Caro was crashing out of Wimbledon. But Rory has a complicated (and catty?!) ex GF (Holly Sweeney — they were childhood boos!) and when trying to make an international relationship work in the 21st century, there are only so many #missubabe hash tags that will suffice. Stay tuned.

Dulko, Lena tie the knot (but (k)not to one another): Both Gisela Dulko and Elena Dementieva were married recently, Lena’s nuptials being quite the gathering of Russian tennis royalty. WomensTennisNow.com has a bevy of pictures, and Jon Scott wrote in the Daily Spin on Tennis.com that Safina, Kirilenko, Kuzentsova, Dushevina, Vesnina Zvonareva, Kudryavtseva and Igor Andreez (Kirilenko’s beau) were all in attendance. Dementieva married Maxim Afinoginov, a Russian hockey palyer, at the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow.

Johnny be good. Seems as though John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg can still bring in the big bucks — and crowd. Their well-documented encounter on the World TeamTennis court last week in NYC helped raise more than $300,000 thanks to a sell out crowd. Where does the money go? To the youth, of course! “The funds raised will benefit the Johnny Mac Tennis Project, which provides scholarships, coaching, tournament travel and introductory programs for area youth who would not otherwise have the opportunity to attend the Academy or to participate in recreational tennis programs,” a Sportimes release said. Dunlop and Nike are corporate sponsors of the academy, which starts its second school year this coming September.

Do you think she did it herself? Pakastani doubles expert Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi announced his engagement to Faha Akmal Makhdoom. The two, above, celebrated over the weekend. Quite the tattoo, right?! But seriously, Erwin, that should make our tattoo watch list, right?!

Time-lapse goodness. Before short(er) balls, a bit of other thread (ot) delight: the video below shows the NYTimes.com homepage in time-lapse from September of last year until this month. Be amazed.

Short(er) balls: Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish have signed up to play an exhibition match in Oklahoma City — near where Andy’s bro John Roddick is the University of Oklahoma coach — on Steptember 25. John will join the gents for a doubles exo, as well. Ticket info here. | Things are shaping up well in Cincy. The Mason, Ohio-based stops gets the men and women at the same time this year (Aug. 13-21) and has six new courts, including a 4,000-seat show court. | Remember Robby Ginepri? The oft-injured American is on somewhat of a mini-comeback. The 2005 USO semifinalist beat former world no. 2 Tommy Haas in Atlanta this week and remains in the draw. Oh, and he’s engaged, too. | Ice cream sandwiches are all the rage in NYC right now. And for good reason. | The Museum at FIT in New York is currently showing a fashion exhibit that focuses on sports wear and its (huge) influence on the rest of the fashion and clothing industry. | A 17-year-old Lexington, Ky., tennis stand out is the new face of Hollister. The teen — Chad Buchanan — has no relation to American upstart Chase. Though, his mom was runner-up in the Miss America pageant in 1984.

(Serena-Hingis image via the AP; Elena image via Sports.ru; and Qureshi image via Getty)

trophy watch: where 'yee-haw' meets 'ole!'

There was a story on msnbc.com last week about U.S. cities and their slogans. You know, like New York is the “City that Never Sleeps” and “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas.” Our fave? That would be Eagle Pass, Texas: “Where ‘Yee haw!’ Meets ‘Ole!'” We’re feeling as though David Ferrer is channeling such a slogan, donning a sombrero after his win in Acapulco over Nicolas Almagro, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (2), 6-2.

Is this a sign of the future? Oh, we were talking about the trophies. You meant the scoreline? It was 3 and 3 to Novak Djokovic over Roger Federer.

And is this growing into a rivalry? It certainly could. Vera Zvonareva won a competitive bout with Caroline Wozniacki in Doha, taking out the world no. 1, 6-4, 6-4.

[Read more…]

gisela the hottie

Any of our Italian fans up for a bit of translation? Gisela Dulko is featured in the latest issue of SportWeek, Italy’s sports magazine. The article (as far as we can tell), focuses on Gisela and her partnership with Italian Flavia Pennetta and their victory at the Australian Open in doubles this year. Ladies look goooooooood! Above and below: Dulko.

UPDATE: Reader Palbi weighed in, giving us a synopsis: “[Gisela] says that Flavia and her are best buddies and speaks about her boyfriend Fernando Gago, from Real Madrid. He saw her on TV and asked someone to get him her number. Apparently that’s how soccer player rolls these days. In other news, she’s a Federer fan and she thinks that winning a Grand Slam in double is the same as winning one in singles.” Thanks Palbi!

(via @PennettaWebsite on Twitter)

fashion focus: ivanovic stung by dulko

One of the more anticipated dress debuts at the 2010 Australian Open, that of 20th seed Ana Ivanovic, is now a distant memory after she was upset by Gisela Dulko 7-6 (6), 5-7, 4-6 in the second round. Unfortunately, even Dulko (cute in her orange Lacoste dress) is knocked out, falling — rightfully so — to ninth seed Vera Zvonareva in the round after. (Draw: Vera will face Azarenka for a spot in the quarters.)

As one of the main faces of adidas‘ adilibria line, Ivanovic did well to show the collection’s spring 2010 dress. Free from crazy ruffles and asymetrical tops, the piece instead focuses on marrying an athletic aesthetic — that intense yellow and black colorway — with the feminine detailing of lace, cutaways, and subtle pleating.

Buy: adilibria Spring 2010 Dress, in Core Yellow, $75; Jacket, in Phantom (black), $85.

More: Photos of Ana’s dress after the cut…

fashion focus: maria’s 2009 wimby earrings

zellige-paloma-picasso

Note: We had reported that Masha’s earrings were available for sale. Only the sterling silver version is available. We apologize for the error.

Sign of the times: Even Tiffany & Co. is tightening the purse strings by showcasing an (ahem) affordable pair of earrings on Maria Sharapova — to match the white and tan Nike Wimbledon dress (complete with Sgt. Pepper jacket!).

Or should we say an affordable pair for us, but special for her (isn’t that always the case?). Maria’s version of the Paloma Picasso Zellige drop earrings are custom-made, with 18 karat yellow gold, based on centuries-old mosaic patterns that surround the fountain at Paloma’s home in Morocco. For the rest of us, earrings similar to Masha’s gold custom drops are available on the Tiffany website — in sterling silver form.

Buy: Paloma Zellige Drop earrings; sterling silver, for pierced ears; $250; tiffany.com.

Scoreline: The 2004 champ slipped and slid her way to a 7-5 6-4 win over Ukrainian qualifier Viktoriya Kutuzova in the first round of Wimbledon 2009. The Russian observed that the grass on Centre Court was damp and longer than when she won the title five years ago, making the conditions like that of a clay court. Up next for her is Gisela Dulko, who beat Stephanie Foretz 6-3, 7-5.

(image courtesy of Tiffany)

a quiet tank crushes the draw

This mellow racerback dress from Lacoste‘s spring line has gotten a lion’s share of airtime in the ten days of French Open play thus far. Jelena Dokic wore it as she fell apart with a back injury in her second round match while ahead against Elena Dementieva. “Obviously it’s not my time at the grand slams,” said Dokic, who suffered a similar fate with an injured ankle in the fourth round of the 2009 Australian. “I’m not 15 anymore, so it’s time probably to take more care now and I just really, really hope it’s nothing serious.”

The dress, with its contrasting white tank and blue skirt, took matters into its own hands with the fourth-seeded Dementieva, using Sam Stosur as the vehicle to avenge Dokic’s defeat. Stosur is still in the draw, defeating Virginie Razzano in the quarters and will face Svetlana Kuznetsova in the semis.

BTW, Kuznetsova won the big-babe battle between her and Serena Williams that took three sets: 7-6 (3), 5-7, 7-5. The American, as expected, gave no credit to her opponent. “I pretty much gave it to her. It was like, Here, do you want to go to the semis? Because I don’t. She was like, Okay.” Hey — I guess that’s what you can do when you’re BBM buddies, right?

Meanwhile, Dominika Cibulkova‘s been swatting down her fellow blondes all week, eager to be the prettiest one hosting the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen by fortnight’s end. She fended off unseeded Argentine Gisela Dulko in the third, Agi Szavay (bye!) in the fourth, and upset couture queen Maria Sharapova in the quarters. Sharapova almost notched a double bagel loss if not for Cibulkova’s nerves; the Russian managed to win two games down 0-5 in the second set. Sadly, we’re unsure of how Dominika will hold up against her semifinal date with Dinara Safina. (At the very least, she can comfort herself knowing that Safina needed to go the distance to defeat Victoria Azarenka.)

Buy: Lacoste Sleeveless Racerback Dress; white/eclipse blue; orig. $145 now, $99.

(images via Getty Images)

lacoste standard issue: the women pull ahead

We’re always eagerly anticipating the standard issues that Lacoste doles out for each Grand Slam, and the ones for Roland Garros turned out just fine — at least for the ladies.

Gisela Dulko wore the halter from the Fine Stripe line in her loss to Alize Cornet in the second round. Cornet, the 19th seed, also wore the tank but spaghetti-strap style; she lost to Agnieszka Radwanska in the round after.

Buy: Fine Striped Tennis Halter, $68.

Mathilde Johansson faced Serena Williams in the second round. She wore the Racerback Tennis Dress with detachable flower, $145. Meanwhile, Petra Cetkovska (middle and right) put on a layer when it got a little chilly.

And Mike Frey over at Tennishead continues to help out TSF with this photo of this player (can anyone help me out with a name?) wearing the polo.

Unlike the 2007 French Open, which saw Lacoste give their male sponsors the cutest orange and white polos, 2008 was way bland. Michael Llodra and Jeremy Chardy — as delicious as they are — couldn’t quite bring this Heritage Check Print Polo to life. (If you want to grab the jacket, it’s still available at lacoste.com.)

As usual, Arnaud Clement and Fabrice Santoro are off doing their own things.

(photo by Getty Images and Tennishead)