davydenko, out! + airness drops nadia?

Battle of the No. 3s: Poor Nikolay Davydenko got pushed to five sets by Ivan Ljubicic, the man who used to occupy Kolya’s spot as No. 3 in the world behind Rafa and Roger. The score, in Ivan’s favor: 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.

The Russian’s clothing sponsor, Airness, kept up its end of the bargain by giving him no less than three variations of their Spring ’08 shirt. That mock collar, which we also saw on Lotto this season, is a little too much with all the color blocks and stripes. Oh well, at least we won’t have to see it for a week.

Meanwhile, Nadia Petrova got dropped by Airness, it looks like. She showed up at Roland Garros wearing this drop shot top from Nike.

(photos by Getty Images)

fila stripes take a break in the desert

janko-tipsarevic-iw08-1.jpg

The boys of Fila shed their stripes for their two-week party in the California desert. All are wearing color block shirts from the Heritage Group:

Janko Tipsarevic - Indian Wells

Janko Tipsarevic crashed out of the first round. He took the first set tiebreak 7-1 but lost the next two 6-7 (6), 4-6. Both he and Marat Safin are still on my “must-see” list.

Marin Cilic - Indian Wells

In one of the later day matches from Sunday, gigantor Marin Cilic lost to compatriot Ivan Ljubicic. The winning scoreline for the 23rd seed (my, how the mighty have fallen!): 7-6(7) 7-5.

Dmitry Tursunov - Indian Wells

And the bearded Dima lost to Juan Ignacio Chela 7-6 (7-1), 6-7 (6-8), 4-6 in the second round. I saw Dmitry hit for a little bit at one of the practice courts.

Buy: Fila Heritage colorblock crewneck, $45. The rest of their current tennis gear here.

Bonus round: More pictures from Janko’s first round match after the cut…

fashion: li ning and ljubicic

In case you haven’t noticed, (ex-) Croatian sensation Ivan Ljubicic is no longer being sponsored by Diadora.

On September 24, it was announced that Ivan would begin wearing clothes from Chinese sportswear giant Li Ning — the same company endorsed by Shaquille O’Neal and a few other NBA players.

FYI: Eyebrows have been raised about Li Ning’s logo (if you squint enough, you might see a similarity to the Nike Swoosh) and how it piggybacked on that to a third place share of the Chinese market (behind Nike and adidas). It continues its charge with an agressive Beijing Olympics campaign: along with sponsoring some Chinese teams, Li-Ning has also landed the contract to outfit the Spanish delegation.

While it’s nothing mind-blowing, we love what they’ve put on Ljubicic so far… that fine checkered pattern on the left (last seen in Vienna earlier this month) is a breath of fresh air compared to the color blocks that have become Diadora’s complacent signature as of late.

What do you think of this partnership? Tell us!

federer to fish: a trickle-down theory

Nick: in your update about the current happenings in the life of Mardy Fish, you can add that he’s adopted the style of the great Darth Federer (but with adidas gear instead of R-Fed’s Nike).

This photo was taken during his second-round match against Ivan Ljubicic at the BA-CA Tennis Trophy in Vienna. The Croat won the match 6-7 (4), 6-2, 7-6 (4).

And speaking of “where are they now?”, Ljubicic should be on that list. He’s now been replaced by Nikolay Davydenko as the guy keeping the hotshots company in the top 5 and he’s slipped into a No. 13 ranking. On the bright side, we love the kit provided by his new clothing sponsor, Li-Ning. Goodbye, Diadora.

(photo by Getty Images)

trophy watch: croatians and little men

Croatian wins title, gets little man: The ATP Ordina Open (Rosmalen, the Netherlands) pitted Ivan Ljubicic against Dutchman Peter Wessels. Ljubicic won 7-6, 4-6, 7-6. Russia’s Anna Chakvetadze beat Jelena Jankovic 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-3 in the women’s tourney.

Croatian beats little man, gets trophy: Croatian Ivo Karlovic downed the diminutive Arnaud Clement 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 at the Nottingham Open. The Frenchman, up a set, caved due to exhaustion; he played two matches the day prior (on an indoor court, due to rain), defeating Richard Gasquet and Jonas Bjorkman to get to the final. Rest up, Arnie! Wimbledon awaits. (Eric Butorac and Jamie Murray won the doubles title, and received vases similar to Clement’s.)

Grass rematch: At the Eastbourne International, the usual grass suspects duked it out in the final, with Justine Henin emerging the winner over Amelie Mauresmo after a tight 3-set match. The scoreline: 7-5, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (2).