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.