before the gloomy weather, some bursts of yellow at the u.s. open

Golden Girls: Both Jelena Jankovic and Elena Baltacha opted to wear shades of yellow at this year’s U.S. Open. Jankovic, who lost in the third round to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, played in a gold ANTA dress. Note the boning detail, the ruching at the bust, and all that busy-ness (which we love!) at the top: a set of straps for the dress and one for the mesh bra.

And in Elena Baltacha we have the heir to the Yonex throne once occupied by that other Elena — Dementieva. The Brit lost to 15th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova in the second round. The slit and the white stripe down the dress’ right side tones down the hard blue-collar feel of the contrasting black trim; ultimately, we’dve rather seen this in the dark blue version that Yonex printed in their catalog.

More: Pictures of Elena and Jelena’s clothes after the cut…

wta headshots: part 3 (ladies of east coast)

Matt Trollope began covering tennis in 2008, a natural extension of his childhood obsession for the game that included hitting for countless hours against his bedroom wall and self-producing and editing a fictitious tennis magazine. Based in Melbourne, he has covered four Australian Opens and one Wimbledon championship, and his tennis writing has featured in Australian Tennis Magazine, the Australian Open Official Program, and Alpha Magazine.

In this latest instalment of TSF’s WTA Headshots series, we take a look at some players who have posted solid results this past fortnight in New York. Given some of them have since been dumped from the women’s draw, they might have time to source new photographs. And remember, folks, this is just pure, unadulterated fun and fiction. We lack all seriousness in below post. Enjoy!

Sabine Lisicki | When Lisicki missed most of 2010 with a severe ankle injury, instead of lying around feeling sorry for herself, she went out and scored a role as an extra in the film Just Go With It. “I figured if Brooklyn Decker and Andy Roddick could be in it, why couldn’t I?” She explained to TSF. “I asked them to put in a good word for me, and the director said I could be involved in scenes set in Hawaii.” This photo shows that Lisicki pulled off the Pacific Island look brilliantly, and like every good extra, you don’t even notice her when you watch the film. Yet ever the ambitious young lady on court, Lisicki struggled to quash her competitive instincts in the acting arena, with an insider quoting her as saying: “Seriously, Brooklyn’s acting was such crap, as if I wouldn’t totally own that character! All she had to do was get a massage for half the movie and look pretty in front of the camera. I already do that as a professional tennis player!” After watching the film –- which copped a resounding thumbs-down from critics –- we have to agree.

Jelena Jankovic | It’s always been about the drama and the performance for Jelena. Forget the tennis –- JJ’s performances have been largely forgettable for three years anyway. Instead, Jelena’s current focus is on shoring up her post-tennis career options. We at TSF have dug up her submission –- a resume complete with a suitable headshot –- to take part in Celine Dion’s show-in-residence at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Jankovic notes parallels between herself and the Canadian diva: “My application shows that I clearly rock the wind-machine look, I’ve got my fist-pump down pat and I’m very comfortable being in the spotlight,” she says. “She’s always using back-up dancers, and with my body, I could easily fit in with them. And who cares if I can’t sing? It’s all about lip-synching these days.” Further investigation by TSF confirms that Dion’s management has yet to respond to Jankovic’s application.

TSF Vault: More WTA headshots

Vania King | Ever watched Glee and thought the Asian-American character was an unconvincing actress, a dud singer, and generally pretty annoying? Well, it seems the WTA does, and it’s propping up one of its own as a viable replacement. Proud of the fact that King can sing, but keen to strip her of her prissy choir-girl image –- certainly not aligned with the tour’s sweat-soaked, pheromone-charged Strong Is Beautiful campaign –- CEO Stacey Allaster told TSF about the inspiration behind the push to “vote Vania” for Glee. “What better way for the WTA to position one of our players than in such a sassy, sexy and culturally-relevant program? We’re taking it up a level from Xperia Hotshots. Glee is totally where it’s at now.” So far, the Vote Vania campaign features a poster –- with Vania’s coquettish pose serving as the foundation –- but no slogan as yet.

Andrea Petkovic | Petko will continue to make her presence felt on the East Coast following her deep run at the US Open, lending her face to a tourism campaign promoting The Hamptons as an idyllic year-round escape from the frenetic pace of New York City life. This photo –- a still from the television advertisement –- shows Petkovic leaning luxuriously against the wall of a rustic timber home, her amber eyes glinting as the sun sets over the Atlantic Ocean. “Maybe your body is weary from lots of dancing,” she says dreamily in the voiceover. “Perhaps you want to disconnect from technology after tweeting, Facebooking, blogging and vlogging. You might want to rest your mind after tackling the works of Goethe and Wilde, or brushing up on your four languages. Whatever your reason, you’ll find your sanctuary in The Hamptons.” Given the German is an increasingly dominant force on the women’s tour, many of her opponents may be hoping for an escape themselves.

(Photos via the WTA; Humor via TSF)

trophy watch: two wrongs don't make a trophy

Clay is meant for playing on. Well, we could be wrong… that might not be clay. But does that much matter? Whatever the trophies that Maria Sharapova and Andy Murray hoisted yesterday are made of whatever material has been sacrificed to the gods of Midwest art (read: too much Sears’ sale collection, not enough Ikea faux trendiness). But, we understand: trophies don’t have to be trendy. But could they at least illicit some sort of excitement from the winners? We’re guessing Sharapova was told: “Don’t worry, Maria! This one doesn’t have a lid! But it’s full of some guy from Toledo’s ashes! CONGRATS!”

Now Maria and Andy can add their names (more confidently) to the list of US Open hopefuls as the year’s final major is set to start in just one week’s time. Maria’s conquering of Jelena Jankovic in Cincinnati is rather significant in the sense that Sharapova double faulted to finish out the first set. Game, set and match? Not quite. Nice to see Maria fight back to win 4-6 7-6 (3) 6-3. And — nice to see Jelena fight back herself. Just a week ago, 37% of TSF readers voted that JJ would “settle into the top 20 to 40″ with the way she’s performed in the recent past. Is she herself a valid candidate for the title in Flushing? 2008 calls.

And the boys, too. For Murray it was a great end to a rather underwhelming summer. The Scot showed us flashes of his post-Australian Open slump, including a 6-3 6-1 loss to Kevin Anderson in Montreal last week. But this week he was the man who didn’t succumb to the heat, an injury, himself or just plain, bad tennis. A recipe for success in New York City? Certainly could be. A 6-4 3-0 win over an injured Novak Djokovic (shoulder) puts Murray with Roger Federer as one of two gents to beat Djoko this year. More importantly? The top four all have legit shots to win a seventh match inside Arthur Ashe.

TSF Vault: Trophy Watch | US Open

(Photos by Getty Images)

sunday survey: is this the end of jelena?

All finished? We’ve all watched the slow, painful sinking of the ship known as Jelena Jankovic. The former world no. 1 is a poor 28-15 in 2011 after posting a 38-23 campaign last year. So is she done? This week in Toronto, Jankovic fell to up-and-coming German Julia Goerges 6-1 6-3, a loss described by Ben Rothenberg on SBNation.com: “A shockingly uncompetitive effort from Jelena Jankovic, who was the No. 1 seed at this tournament only a year ago. Her year has been extremely disappointing, to say the least, with back-to-back first round losses at Wimbledon and now Toronto.”

TSF Vault: Jelena Jankovic | Sunday Survey

So will the losses just become less shocking and more run-of-the-mill for JJ? Or can she see through a semi revitalization of her career a la countrywoman Ana Ivanovic? Your votes below.

(Getty Images photo)

wta pre-wimbledon party: hot explosion of vivid brights

Springtime in London: A crop of last night’s WTAers attending the pre-Wimbledon party at The Roof Gardens stepped out in bright shades of red, pink, and orange — and everyone looked pretty darn good. Top marks go to Sabine Lisicki, Elena Vesnina, Maria Sharapova, and the tight-bunned Ana Ivanovic. We could’ve lived without the pink wrap attached to Jelena Jankovic‘s dress, but she gets brownie points for not falling to the dark side); same goes for the too-shiny fabrics on Vania King and Sania Mirza.

Images: See the pics from the WTA pre-Wimbledon party after the cut…

jelena jankovic goes back to pink

Jelena Jankovic continues on her bright-hued fashion path with a bright pink stop at this year’s French Open. (She wore pale pink to start out the year in Australia.) The floral pattern on her Anta dress is the same as the one she’s worn this spring (but in green). We might have opted for something other than the purple shoes — perhaps some yellow, to tease out that accent color from her dress? — but we’re loving how it looks against the clay.

Tennis: Jelena’s through to the third round after beating Alona Bondarenko and Vera Dushevina in straight sets. Her opponent will be the currently on-fire Bethanie Mattek-Sands. (Draw: Women’s Singles)

More: Two more pics after the cut…

roland garros bracketology: the ladies

By Christopher Phillips

[Ed note: Chris Phillips, part of TSF West, files his thoughts on who's hot, who's not and who might just make a run at this year's Roland Garros. -NEM]

Franny was feeling it last year. But can she re-capture her Parisian glory?

Caroline Wozniacki | I know Caro’s spring hasn’t been the best, but she’s 15-3 on the dirt, winning in Charleston in April. Yes, she lost to upstart German Julia Goerges twice and went out to Maria Sharapova in Rome, but with her earliest loss being the round of 16 in Madrid, I still think she has to be the favorite going in — just not as big of one as she was a few weeks ago. Result: Runner-up (to Kvitova in three-set loss)

Maria Sharapova | I’ve always been a bigger fan of Maria on clay than she has been herself.  She won Rome beating four of its top ten seeds (Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka, Samantha Stosur and Shahar Peer) without too much difficulty and went out the week before that to former FO semifinalist Dominika Cibulkova in Madrid in the round of 16. A semifinalist back in 2007 and three-time quarterfinalist, Maria pushed Justine Henin to three sets last year before bowing out.  She’s got nothing to lose. Result: Semifinal

Francesca Schiavone | I think I was the only one who wasn’t surprised — okay, completely surprised — by her victory last year. Even though her results on clay this year have been sub-par, I think Franny will have more confidence and desire going into Roland Garros than she did last year. But will it all come together? Result: Quarterfinal

Vera Zvonareva | She’s only played two clay court tournaments all season losing to Stosur and Petra Kvitova but Vera is as unpredictable as her emotions — you can’t count her out. Result: Semifinal

Victoria Azarenka | She’s 12-3 on clay this year but was forced to retire against Sharapova in her last match. Azarenka’s best victory on the dirt this season has been over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. And here’s something that might surprise you: Of the five times she’s played the French, she’s lost in the first round three out of five tries — including last year to Gisela Dulko. Result: Quarterfinal

Petra Kvitova | The Madrid champion (and Prague challenger finalist … what?!) has wins over Zvonareva, Li Na and Azarenka on the dirt. But can she make a deep run here? Result: Champion

Kim Clijsters | She’s decided to play Roland Garros, her first clay court tournament of the season after injuring her foot in April. A two-time finalist and semifinalist last year, she’ll be a contender but I don’t know if she’ll be a threat. It all depends which Kimmie shows up, and the two months of not playing could help or hurt — depending on how you look at it. Result: Fourth round

Sam Stosur | Since Roland Garros last year, where Stosur reached the final, she was yet to make it to the finals of another tournament until this past week in Rome. Granted, her loss to Sharapova wasn’t pretty, Stosur has beaten Zvonareva, Schiavone and Li Na in the past few weeks on red clay. She was a semifinalist in 2009 and came into the French last year on a hot streak but can she repeat her success? As we’ve learned with Sam, it’s up to her head more than anything else if that forehand can swing freely — and controlled. Result: Fourth round

Jelena Jankovic | Jankovic has underperformed as well this year but she’s reached the semis in Paris three times before. If she equals that mark again, I don’t think many would consider it a surprise. More trouble: Janky upset in Brusells Result: Fourth round

Li Na | Li started 2011 on a hot streak Down Under, but has fizzled since. The last two weeks she’s shown signs of life again with semifinal appearances in both Madrid and Rome. Granted Li had no real significantly mentionable wins in those two tournaments, maybe that’ll be the kick she needs to get back on track for the year in Paris where she’s never lost before the third round. Result: Fourth round

Who are the dark horses in the women’s field? Find out after the cut.

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fed cup: jankovic is one step ahead of the law

Can you convict her of a fashion crime if she’s already in prison stripes? Sneaky, Jelena!

We’ve already pointed out a few highlights from this past weekend’s Fed Cup ties, including Yanina Wickmayer‘s parade and the ladies with their patriotic manicures. Below’s what’s left, including Jankovic in Anta, Sabine Lisicki in geometric Under Armour, and Aravane Rezai toning down but spicing up where it counts: there’s a flirty lace hem on her black skirt!

Photos: after the cut…

jankovic blooms in the charleston dirt

Jelena Jankovic left the orange in Miami, opting for green floral print to start off her spring clay campaign.

Draw: At this week’s Family Circle Cup in Charleston, Jelena — as the third seed — beat Paszek and Scheepers and is now playing the quarterfinals against McHale. The winner gets to play top seed Wozniacki in the semis. On the other side of the draw, Peng plays the winner of Goerges/Vesnina. See how all the ladies are faring here.

(image by Chris Smith via FamilyCircleCup.com)

jelena’s stars and stripes

Jelena Jankovic became one of Andrea Petkovic‘s scalps at this week’s Sony Ericsson Open, losing 6-2, 2-6, 4-6 to the German upstart in the quarterfinals. If it’s any consolation, Jelena’s put together a decent run so far in 2010: one final (Monterrey), two semis (Dubai and Qatar), and the fourth round at Indian Wells.

Anta: Jelena’s moved on from the pink dress she used to start the beginning of this year. Same slinky shape, but now in orange, with two blue stripes curving their way down the left side; the lines frame an odd print of fading circles and yellow stars. We saw the dress up close (while on Jankovic) but couldnt tell whether the pattern was a burnout.

Not her best (and really, we miss the ginormous white bags that came with last year’s clothes!), but props to Jelena for infusing our spring with even more neon.

In the trenches: Speaking of Petko, she’s currently playing for a spot in the SEO semis against Sharapova (as of this post, Andrea won the first set but is down a bageled set and 0-3 vs. the Russian). Maybe Maria’s getting tired of that dance.

(images via Getty Images)