wilson: on their way to a finnished product

Wilson needs to hustle in order to bring their men’s line up to par with the terrific women’s Fall 2010 collection. At this week’s Rakuten Japan Open, Jarkko Nieminen wears a blue/white/grew crew, the same shirt he wore for the year’s final major. Note the dotted line that gives more definition to the Finn’s back.

Draw: In Tokyo, Jarkko faces Radek Stepanek in the final eight. He shares the same half of the draw as Gael Monfils and Andy Roddick. Meanwhile, Nadal, Gigi Lopez, and Melzer are still alive in the top half. (More: See all the stats here.)

trophy watch: in asia, the week of three-setters

Malaysian Open: Fourth seed Mikhail Youzhny bagged his second title of the year by taking out Andrey Golubev 6-7 (7), 6-2, 7-6 (3) in Kuala Lumpur. “I cannot say I showed by best tennis here,” shared Youzhny, “but, although it’s good when you show your best tennis and win the tournament, it’s probably better sometimes when you don’t show your really best game but you have a really good result.” The Russian also won the BMW Open, on clay, back in May.

PTT Thailand Open: All the big players bit the dust — including Rafael Nadal and the rusty Juan Martin Del Potro, Verdasco, Melzer — leaving Guillermo Garcia-Lopez to square off against Jarkko Nieminen in the finals. The scoreline, in Gigi’s favor: 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. This was the Spaniard’s second final of 2010 and the first title. “It has been an unbelievable week for me, from the first round to the final. Every match is different. I think I played relaxed, enjoyed my game and everything was perfect. It’s hard to express what it means, I’m really happy inside.”

Toray Pan-Pacific Open: Over in Tokyo, top seed Caroline Wozniacki fended off an upset by Elena Dementieva with a 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory.

Exo: And Nole won an exo over Andy Roddick in Seoul. The blooper reel’s here.

(images via Getty Images)

strawberries and cream

While there are crazier things going on across la Manche, the ATPers are doing their part to hold up Wimbledon’s end of the fashion bargain. It’s not quite like the noisemakers of years’ past — with Federer et al embroiled in more serious tennis matters (like premature five-setters and faulty knees) — the military jackets and the dress pants were all left at home. Still, others are stepping up to play with the event’s strict, all-white dress code.

Left to right: Gilles Simon in adidas Barricade Collection; Florent Serra in Wilson; Jarkko Nieminen in Asics.

(images via Getty Images)

tattoo watch: jarkko nieminen

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Finn de siècle: Is Novak Djokovic‘s 6-4, 7-6 loss to Jarkko Nieminen in the semis of the Medibank International in Sydney a sign that the Serb won’t defend his maiden major title? It must be sophomore slump time!

In case you’re curious, per wikipedia: “Sisu is a Finnish term that could be roughly translated into English as strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity.”

Further reading: Here’s Wertheim‘s Aussie Open seed report for SI.

(photo from Getty Images)

taking a break: youzhny and nieminen as australian tourists

Jarkko Nieminen and Mikhail Youzhny, two of the men’s quarterfinalists at the Australian Open, took time off Monday to enjoy the sights of Melbourne.

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Mikhail and his girlfriend, Julia Thomas, enjoy a water taxi ride. Youzhny will play against Jo-Wilfred Tsonga for a place in the final four.

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And the Asics-sponsored Nieminen visits the Melbourne Aquarium. [Insert pun about Finns here.] He’ll need all the distractions he can get before facing second seed Rafael Nadal.

One more photo of Jarkko after the cut…

trophy: michael llodra in a wet, white t-shirt

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Frenchman Michael Llodra replaces Nole Djokovic as the singles champion of the Adelaide International on Sunday. Clad in Lacoste, Llodra defeated Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 6-4 to take his second career ATP title.

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Llodra celebrated by jumping into the Torrens River. Much like Nole, this guy tends to take off his shirt when celebrating. So everyone wins when he does.

Doubles: Results after the cut…

'merry christmas!' from the atp, part deux

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The ATP got a bunch of the guys to sing ‘Jingle Bells’ on camera. They’re such good sports… Many of them didn’t even know the lyrics to the American Christmas song, but they played along anyway.

Jarkko Nieminen has trouble with the word “dashing”, Marcos Baghdatis discovers a discrepancy in the song’s rhyming scheme; and Mardy Fish feels a little lost singing a version of it without the word “Batmobile”.

But they all work through it. Ivo Karlovic carries a lot of the song, as do the Bryans and Tommy Robredo (can he visit me on Christmas morning?). Andy Murray and his shag make a brief appearance, too.

And of course what ATP bit would be complete without prom queen Roger Federer, who swoops in all suave at the end, greeting the viewers “a merry Christmas and a happy new year.”

Hmmmmm, where was Nole during all this? He would’ve given us a shirtless carol, no doubt.

Watch it: ‘Jingle Bells’, by the ATP Tour.

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trophy watch: basel, linz, lyon, st. petersburg

This past week the men played in three tournaments (Basel, Lyon, St. Petersburg) while the women made a showing in Linz, Austria. Lots of shiny things were handed out, save for a purple oddity in Lyon…

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At the Grand Prix de Tennis de Lyon, Sebastien Grosjean defeated fellow Frenchman Marc Gicquel 7-6 (5), 6-4 to capture his fourth career title (and first since Nottingham 2002). His trophy looks like it’s stuffed with tennis balls. What do you think?

In St. Petersburg, Andy Murray hoists a cup after winning his second title of the year. The runner-up in this 6-2, 6-3 match was Spaniard Fernando Verdasco. This title will keep Murray in the running for the final two spots in this year’s Masters Cup (Shanghai). FYI, St. Pete top seed Nikolay Davydenko got fined $2,000 for allegedly tanking in his 1-6, 7-5, 6-1 loss to Marin Cilic. Poor guy can’t catch a break! On the bright side, the Russian has already qualified for the Masters Cup. But on the other hand (call me a pessmist?), he likely won’t be able to defend his title at this week’s Paris Masters.

In Linz, Slovak Dani Hantuchova (still in Nike black) came out the winner in the final against Patty Schnyder at the Generali Ladies Open. The 6-4, 6-2 victory gave Hantuchova a spot at the WTA Championships in Madrid (starting Nov. 6). This is her second title of the year in four finals. Her other title this year is from Indian Wells.

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And in Basel, Roger Federer took out Jarkko Nieminen at the Davidoff Swiss Indoors, thus defending his title (this one’s No. 52) and securing the year-end No. 1 spot for the fourth year in a row. By the way, the runner-ups were awarded with watches. Classy.

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trophy watch: more asian fun

The Hansol Korea Open had two tennis fashionistas duking it out in the final: on one side was the EleVen-clad Venus Williams. On the other, Maria Kirilenko and her adidas by Stella McCartney outfits.

After it was over, both 2007 winner Venus and runner-up Kirilenko changed into hanboks (the country’s traditional dress) for the awards ceremony. Venus’ hanbok is worth approximately $3,200. The ladies received bouquets and these great vases — yet another welcome change to ho-hum silver cups and glass prisms we’re so used to seeing.

Other photos of Venus and Maria. The American beat the Russian 6-3, 1-6, 6-4, ending her eight-match winning streak. Good to see both of these women doing well. (FYI, this is Venus’ third title of the year out of 11 tournaments entered.)

The final in Luxembourg also went to three sets, with Ana Ivanovic taking her third title after her 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 win over Daniela Hantuchova. The Slovak has lost no earlier than the semis of her last three tourneys; she’s found her form after a disappointing hardcourt summer.

Photoless: Virginie Razzano beat Tzipora Obziler 6-0, 6-3 to become the 2007 Guangzhou International Women’s Open Champion.

In Mumbai, Richard Gasquet redeems his disappointing summer (the highlight: getting flack for withdrawing from the U.S. Open because of a sore throat) with his 6-3, 6-4 defeat of Belgian Olivier Rochus. This is his first title of the year.

In doubles, Robert Lindstedt and Jarkko Nieminen are the champions.

Dmitry Tursunov took out Benjamin Becker in an easy, breezy, 6-2, 6-1 match at the Thailand Open. He makes a cute face for Josh! (Giving him the trophy is Thailand Tennis Association prez Suwat Liptapallop.)

As usual, Tursunov was wearing Fila and Becker was wearing clothes from his sponsor, Boris Becker.

(photos by AP and Getty Images)

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