sunday survey: your rome-ment



There were plenty of moments in Rome. Let us break them down for you:

Maria Kirilenko takes out French defending champ Svetlana Kuznetsova, sending Kuzzie’s clay court record this season to almost equal that of fellow ’09 champ Roger Federer in the “Dismal” category.

Ana Ivanovic marches to the semifinals with wins over Victoria Azarenka and Elena Dementieva.

Jelena Jankovic creams Venus Williams, losing just one game in their quarterfinal encounter.

JJ prevails over Serena in a dramatic three-set win, giving her back-to-back wins over the Williams sisters.

Maria Jose Sanchez Martinez beats Caroline Wozniacki, Ivanovic and Jankovic to take the Italian title as an unseeded player.

Which was your Rome-ment? Was one most surprising to you? Did you take pleasure in Ana’s run? Could you believe Sveta exited early again? What do you make of JJ’s wins over the Williams sisters? Is she a threat for the French? Are the Williams sisters a threat themselves? Let us know in the comment section.

(photo by getty images via wta web site)

short balls: (surprise!) tennis gets dramatic



As Sania’s World Turns: There’s no better soap opera on tennis tour right now than Sania Mirza. She was married on Monday to Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik in an affair that has been showered in controversy.

One Story, One Match: The One Story series, which publishes out of Brooklyn, has its latest publication singing game, set and match. The story is set in the Federer-Sampras battle of Wimbledon circa 2001, with a fictional twist involving three ball kids. After reading it, I give Cheston Knapp two thumbs up for his crafting of the epic changing-of-the-guard match and the story he entwines within Centre Court.

Second to Sania and Shoaib, there’s Todd and Novak: For some reason, the player-coach break-up between Todd Martin and Novak Djokovic seems to be the tennis story of the century. While the break-up doesn’t have quite the political ramifications that Sania and Shoaib carry into their marriage, this story has gotten an absorbent of attention. For Novak, something had to change if he wants to be considered for another Slam. For Todd, well… for Todd, any press is good press.

[Read more...]

trophy watch: estoril, serbia, and roma



One less salute: Fourth seed Tomas Berdych topped Mikhail Youzhny 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (5) in the final of the BMW Open in Munich. Tomas took home a Z4 Roadster along with two business class tickets from South African Airways and €71,700.

Blake falls down the Montanes: Spaniard Albert Montanes won the Portuguese bullfight against American James Blake 5-7, 7-6 (6), 6-0. Didn’t help that James was wearing red Fila during the week-long event in Estoril. On the women’s side, Yanina Wickmayer took the title by beating Ekaterina Makarova 7-5, 6-2.

Safina makes it real: In Rome, Dinara Safina proved to the world that her No. 1 ranking is legit by defeating former No. 1 Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-2 in the final.

He kinda had to: Over in Belgrade, Novak Djokovic‘s inaugural Serbian Open (formerly the ABN AMRO) turned out to be quite a success. Over 70,000 spectators saw him beat lucky loser Lukasz Kubot; the Polish player took out seeds Igor Andreev and Ivo Karlovic en route to the final.

when in rome…



If you’re Maria Sharapova, there is really only one way to announce your withdrawal from the Italian Open in Rome:

First, you wear a tank designed by your gal pal Camilla Belle in collaboration with Brazilian designer Carlos Miele to benefit Rainforest Foundation US. FYI, the shirt reads “The death of the forest is the end of our life,” a quote by environmental activist Sister Dorothy Stang.

You round that out by carrying a Large Muse Two from Yves Saint Laurent.

Buy: The YSL bag, with croc-embossed leather and beige canvas, is available for $1,895 at YSL.com.

You can pick up the rainforest tee here (the tank version is also available). The pieces, along with those designed by actress Scarlett Johansson and model Caroline Trentini, are also for sale at Carlos Miele boutiques.

More: Learn more about Rainforest Foundation US.

(photo by Getty Images; additional info by The Purse Blog)

Trophy Watch: the last of the pre-French clay contests



(This post is timestamped for last week, but showing up this week, so those consuming via RSS might get thrown off. I apologize for any trouble…)

Both the men and the women played out the last of their French Open warmups in Germany and Italy this week.

Rafa Nadal cemented his spot in the third Sunday of the French Open by winning the Masters Series Hamburg over Roger Federer. Rafa prevented Roger from defending his title with the 7-5, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3 win. This puts Rafa at three clay titles for 2008 — the most of anyone in the top 10.

On the women’s side, Jelena Jankovic successfully defended a title for the first time in her career, taking out Alize Cornet 6-2, 6-2 at the Italian Open in Rome.

(photos by Getty Images)