jnp’s aussie open thoughts: the williams sisters aren’t at 100%, davenport won’t go far, and paszek gets screwed

As you may already know, I leave the bracketology to the experts. So now that the Australian Open draws have been announced (see them here), I asked JNP to weigh in. Here’s what he wrote back:

“I filled out my womens bracket last night here’s what I ended up with:

Henin beats Sharapova in the quarters and Vaidisova in the semis, and she’ll face Kuznetsova in the finals…

Sveta will get there by beating Chakvetadze in the quarters and Ivanovic in the semis (so I picked the favorites for the most part, but I would not be suprised if some newcomer goes deep)…

I’m doubting the Williams sisters are 100%…

Paszek got f***ed over in the draw; she has to face Jankovic in the first round…

The most interesting match on paper is Sharapova vs. Davenport in the second round. I don’t see Davenport going far, not when she has to play Sharapova that early…

Lastly, I think Radwanska, Wheeler, and all the qualifiers have a real shot to upset some of the top players.

Oh, and I like Federer‘s chances.

YOUR predictions: Who do you think is ripe for success Down Under? Who’s ready to get upset? Which match-ups are you looking forward to? Tell us!

ten things JNP learned from the open

Now that the 2007 U.S. Open is over, I offer you a list of ten things I learned from this year’s Slam (and watching today’s final between Roger and Nole):

  1. A mentally stable Justine Henin is one step above every other woman in the sport. It’s actually not even close as we saw in the finals against Svetlana Kuznetsova.
  2. Evian water is making a shit load of money.
  3. Jim Courier is supreme compared to Dick Enberg and Tracy Austin.
  4. Aretha Franklin rules; Liza Minelli scares children.
  5. Where is Trump? I saw David Stern at the finals, but no Donald. Did I miss him?
  6. Nike needs new designers — Tinker Hatfield or adidasStella McCartney come to mind.
  7. Patrick McEnroe and John McEnroe need to stop talking about the Davis Cup, especially during the middle of the most important tennis tournament in the universe.
  8. Golf is not a sport; Roger Federer plays a sport.
  9. Davenport, Clijsters, and Mauresmo are missed.
  10. Are Maria Sharapova and Novak Djokovic an item? I wonder what Yuri thinks about this…

TSF contributor JNP is in New York reporting from the U.S. Open trenches. He’s been checking in with us everyday. Read his previous posts here.

JNP’s photos from the open: the serbs

That’s Jelena running in my direction, Baywatch-style, while her mother holds racquets a few steps back. And Nole walks to a crowd for some autographs.

Both are still in their respective main singles draws at this year’s U.S. Open.

TSF contributor JNP is in New York reporting from the U.S. Open trenches. He’s been checking in with us everyday. Read his previous posts here.

JNP's eighth day: juniors and the bondarenkos

Photo: The Bondarenko sisters on the practice court. That’s Alyona giving me a look. (She smiled at me later so we were cool for sure.) Kateryna‘s digging for water.

Pretty slow day today, but I happened to get a good look at some young talent (the U.S. Open Juniors tournament started yesterday):

Polona Hercog — this Slovenian is a big and powerful all-court player; hits the ball deep.

CoCo Vandeweghe — a highly-regarded young junior out of Southern California.

Jessica Moore — the Australian has a small build but a big game. (She took out third seed Madison Brengle in the first round of the juniors tourney; she lost to Lucie Safarova in the first round of the main draw.)

Ksenia Pervak — the fifth seed is great, but needs to learn how to finish matches (she gave up three games in the second set to a much less developed girl).

TSF contributor JNP is in New York reporting from the U.S. Open trenches. He’s been checking in with us everyday. Read his previous posts here. And our U.S. Open coverage here.

dispatches from the grounds: U.S. Open, week 1

By JNP

It’s been a great first week at the 2007 U.S Open, lots of big upsets, lots of five-set showdowns, and lots of exposure to new talent. However, lets stay away from scorelines for a post, and talk about some off-court stuff…

  1. Dick Enberg
  2. Honestly, CBS — can you really expect viewers to respond to a guy who’s 60 years older than some of the players? Dick Enberg should move to Jamaica (maybe with Bud Collins) and leave the Ana Ivanovic match-commenting to the others.

  3. Water
  4. Those who attend the Open know that the big-wig tournament directors are assholes; they’ve been charging $3.75 for the cheapest beverage on the grounds — a bottle of Evian Water. A bottle of Snapple is $4.75 on the grounds, and a small Italian Ice is $5.00. Give us some vending machines!

  5. Serbia Pride
  6. Although Ana Ivanovic lost to Venusaurus Rex, Jelena Jankovic and Novak Djokovic are keeping the dream alive for Serbians around the world. It’s funny how one country can get so much hype from two people.

  7. Richard Williams
  8. Papa Williams got some publicity after he said Venus was going to win Wimbledon and she did. He has yet to make any predictions for his daughters for the Open. I’m sure this bodes well for Justine Henin and the other serious contenders (no one else, really).

  9. Nike
  10. I know it happends all the time, but can’t Nike give a few variant colorways of their shirts to players? Yesterday James Blake and Stefan Koubek were wearing basically the exact same thing. Nike was saved by the fact that James Blake is sorta black and the other guy was really white.

TSF contributor JNP is in New York reporting from the U.S. Open trenches. He’s been checking in with us everyday. Read his previous posts here.

JNP's day five wrap

Well Day Five at the U.S. Open was an awesome day for Novak Djokovic. The Serbian outplayed Radek Stepanek in an ESPN Classic-style 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (2) battle.

On the women’s side, Venus, Dinara Safina, Ana Ivanovic, Serena, and Henin all won their matches, Jankovic defeated Alize Cornet in three sets.

Tommorow John Isner and Donald Young both play, so that should be interesting. By the way, in case you’re wondering: it’s Donald Oliver Young, Yes, his middle name is Oliver; I asked him today.

P.S. On my way home I got a small Cherry Berry float from Burger King… kinda awesome.

JNP's day four wrizzap

Donald Young, way to get lucky! Don’s opponent Richard Gasquet withdrew from the tournament, leading me to believe will have a leg up in his next match. Although we did not get to see that possible five-set battle (and we predicted the Frenchman would win), we did see a lot of good matches: Svetlana Kuznetsova ran off an upset by beating Camille Pin 6-3, 4-6, 6-0. Also Masha won her match 6-1, 6-0.

Tommorow on the women’s side look out for some upsets, *cough* *cough* *French* *cough* *qualifier*.

On the men’s side, Tomas Berdych, Tommy Haas, and Andy Roddick all won in convincing fashion. Lastly, Fabrice Santoro should be inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame!!!

Who’s hot:

  • Tamira Paszek
  • Anabel Medina Garriques
  • Maria Kirilenko
  • Roger Federer
  • Nicole Vaidisova
  • Mikhail Youzhny

TSF contributor JNP is in the trenches and checking in with us everyday.

JNP’s day three wrap

Lots of good tennis on Day Three. Notable straight set winners include Elena Dementieva, Serena Williams, and Alize Cornet. On the men’s side Rafael Nadal had some trouble against Alun Jones but pulled through in four sets. Americans John Isner and Ahsha Rolle both had big upset wins; Dinara Safina prevented an upset fairly loosely by beating Kateryna Bondarenko 6-2, 6-1. However, Kateryna’s sister had better luck: Alona Bondarenko beat Eleni Daniilidou 6-4, 6-7, 6-3. Lastly, Philipp Kohlschreiber won his match with ease. He will play Mikhail Youzhny, the eleventh seed, in his next match… I smell a showdown.

TSF contributor JNP is in the trenches and checking in with us everyday.

JNP's day two wrap

No big upsets today at the U.S. Open, but we did see some good tennis. James Blake won sweating a bit 7-6 6-3 7-6, and David Nalbandian won his match 7-5, 7-6, 7-6. Andy Roddick won his night match against Justin Gimelstob. It was a little awkward having Justin interview Andy right after his loss, but it shows that Justin is grace under pressure as a commentator.

On the women’s side Dani Hantuchova was upset by veteran Julia Vakulenko. Julia took the match in the third set (winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-1).

Who’s hot:

  • Maria Sharapova
  • Martina Hingis
  • Shahar Peer
  • Ivan Ljubicic
  • Donald Young
  • Ahsha Rolle

Big Upset Call: I say Aravane Rezai over Ana Ivanovic.

TSF contributor JNP is in the trenches and checking in with us everyday.

around the u.s. open grounds: dominik hrbaty

Dominik Hrbaty serves it up FRESH at the Open

2007 U.S. Open: We’ve been watching the qualies, practice sessions, talking to coaches, photographers, and everyone else out here… Not that many big upsets on Day 1, but some good matches took place on Monday. Americans Donald Young and John Isner won their first round matches, leading me to think at least one of them will make a run to the quarters. Tommy Haas also won.

On the women’s side Henin and Jankovic won their matches in straight sets. Caroline Wozniacki (who played in the juniors last year) won her first round showdown with Tzipora Obziler in three sets. Also Ahsha Rolle upset Tatiana Golovin under the Louis Armstrong stadium lights.

Look for the Day 2 wrap tonight and stay tuned for more pics.

TSF contributor JNP is in trenches and checking in with us everyday.

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