serena williams wins 6th U.S. Open and 18th grand slam; kei nishikori makes tennis history with finals appearance

Long-time Wilson player Serena Williams won her 6th U.S. Open and 18th Grand Slam title this past Sunday, tying Wilson’s Chris Evert for third most Grand Slam titles of all-time. Meanwhile, Wilson’s Kei Nishikori made tennis history of his own by becoming the first Asian-born male to compete in a Grand Slam final.

Williams relied heavily on her signature attack style of play (Wilson Blade Racket) en route to defeating Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-3 in the final. She dominated the field throughout the tournament with her hard-hitting serve and baseline game, never dropping a set. Her six U.S. Open singles titles also ties Evert for the most all-time – Williams’ first Open title came at age 17 while using the Wilson Hyper Hammer.

“Serena is one of the greatest tennis players ever, and we’re thrilled to have her as a member of the Wilson Advisory Staff,” said Hans-Martin Reh, General Manager of Racquet Sports at Wilson Sporting Goods Co. “The fact that Wilson has played a role in her success leaves us overflowing with pride. On behalf of everyone at Wilson, we want to congratulate her on winning the U.S. Open and adding another chapter to her remarkable story.”

Nishikori’s historic run to the finals wasn’t as smooth as Serena’s, yet his powerful and precise groundstrokes (Wilson Steam Racket) helped him dictate points as he won back-to-back four-hour matches in the 4th round and quarterfinals against the No. 5 and No. 3 seeds respectively. Two days later, he came back to take down the current world No. 1 seed to reach the finals.

“Kei has played inspirational tennis the past two weeks,” said Reh. “We at Wilson are proud to equip Kei and feel lucky to partner with someone whose talent on the court is only exceeded by his humility off of it. A big congratulations goes to him as well.”

Earlier this year, Kei also made history when he became the first Asian-born player to be ranked top-ten in ATP’s world rankings.

IMG signs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

IMG announced  the signing of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France to a worldwide marketing and management representation. Tsonga, currently ranked World No.15 (as of Week of July 28, 2014), has a career high ranking of World No.5, achieved week of February 27, 2012.

The Le Mans native finished 2013 in the Top 10 for the third year in a row. Tsonga has 10 career ATP titles and has been the finalist at the 2008 Australian Open and the 2011 ATP World Tour Finals in London. He has reached the semifinals of the 2013 Roland Garros and the 2011 and 2012 Wimbledon.

‘’We are thrilled that Jo-Wilfried chose IMG to represent him. He is a terrific player and a great person, and we look forward to strengthening and growing his global brand on and off the tennis court,’’ said Fernando Soler, Managing Director of IMG Tennis.

Tsonga will be managed by Carlos Fleming whose athlete management portfolio includes seven-time Grand Slam Champion Venus Williams, NFL stars Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers), Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco 49ers) and Victor Cruz (New York Giants), and reigning US Open Women’s Golf Champion, Michelle Wie.

Tsonga joins IMG Tennis’s roster of stars which includes Novak Djokovic, Maria Sharapova, Li Na, David Ferrer, Kei Nishikori, and John McEnroe, among many others.

spotted in the city: uniqlo goes uptown

Not one, two: We first noticed that Japanese brand Uniqlo was moving uptown in New York while riding a crosstown train back home from the US Open a couple of weeks ago. Forbes reported in late August that the store will open it’s second and third New York City stores — the only in the States — come October. The first is to be 5th Avenue’s biggest retails space (89,000 square feet) and the second is set for tourist-happy 34th St. Uniqlo currently  has just one store in NYC in SoHo on the ever-busy retail strip of Broadway between Houston and Canal Streets.

The company eventually plans to open 200 US stores, generating some $10 billion in sales.

TSF Vault: Uniqlo in SoHo | Kei Nishikori in Uniqlo


(tsf photos)

nishikori watches what he wears

Of course! The 2011 switch from adidas to the whites and reds of Uniqlo meant that Kei Nishikori needed to re-accessorize; the blue candy just wasn’t going to cut it. Instead, he’s been wearing an orange/red Baby-G.

The top Japanese ATPer got bounced out of the third round by Feli Lopez this week’s Barcelona Open. Lopez plays Dodig in the quarters and is in the same half as Rafa. (Draw: Barcelona Open singles [pdf])

Buy: Casio Baby-G BG 2000-4, $79, casio.com.

(image via Getty Images)

trophy watch: how sweet-ing it is

Sweet success: American Ryan Sweeting won his first-ever ATP title yesterday, capping a great week in Houston by beating Kei Nishikori in the final of the U.S. Men’s Claycourt Championships, 6-4, 7-6 (3). After his victory, Sweet took a little celebratory swim.

Moving up: Sweeting’s win vaults him from no. 93 in the world to no. 67, the biggest leap of any top 100 player this week.

Chasing Charleston: While defending champ Samantha Stosur continued to sputter, world no. 1 Caroline Wozniacki had a solid week, including a this-should-be-the-final win over former world no. 1 Jelena Jankovic in the semis. Woz actually took out Russian Elena Vesnina in the title match, winning 6-2, 6-3 for the green clay vcitory.

After the cut: Vika wins in Spain and a Spaniard takes Casablanca. [Read more...]

kei, uniquely, in uniqlo

While it warms our cockles that Japanese brand Uniqlo is tapping into tennis as it takes over the world — their SoHo store was the site of our last buying spree — we’re still waiting to see where they take Kei Nishikori‘s on-court kits. Right now it’s pretty basic, with Uniqlo’s texty square logo punctuating the solid colors on his tees and shorts.

Long haul: As you may already know, Kei signed a five-year deal with the company starting this year. More deets to come (from Uniqlo) about the extent of his involvement with the brand.

Desert Sander: By the way, +J, Uniqlo’s playground for designer Jil Sander, began selling its Spring ’11 goods this week. Check out the lookbook for this desert-inspired collection. (Top marks go to outerwear). TSF can only hope she’ll take a page of out of the Stella McCartney book and start fitting Kei. Can you imagine??

Brackets: Kei — still with a ribbon on his tee to keep awareness of the earthquake/tsunami recovery in Japan — won his first-round match against Jeremy Chardy at the Sony Ericsson Open, being contested in Key Biscayne. His next opponent is top seed Rafa Nadal.

(images via Getty Images)

kei’s candy

Let’s all take a break from that epic Wimbledon 2010 first round match between John Isner and Nicholas Mahut (it’s at 38-37 in the fifth set as a I type this) and take a look at Kei Nishikori. Kei had the luck of drawing Rafael Nadal in the first round. He lost the match 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

Speaking of colorful accessories, adidas slapped a bright blue watch onto Kei’s otherwise white outfit. We love that extra bit of pop.

Buy: adidas Originals Candy Watch, Neon Blue, $60, adidas.com. Fall Edge Crew, $50, TW.

short balls: endorsement edition

Don’t forget to print out your bingo cards for tonight! She’s a piece of work, isn’t she?

Now, for some endorsement short balls…

Consider us tickled: In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October), Canon spokesperson Maria Sharapova announced that the company would donate $150,000 to the American Cancer Society. They’re also releasing a special “pink bundle” — a PowerShot SD1100 IS Digital ELPH, a photo printer, a ribbon charm and a mammogram reminder magnet — available for $279.99 here.

Bottle it up: Fans of Rafael Nadal will be happy to know that he’s signed a deal with Inter Parfums to develop a fragrance line called Lanvin L’Homme Sport. He’s already wearing Lanvin anyway, so he might as well get paid for doing so. (tennis.com via DTL)

He’s top ramen: According to Tennis Week, Kei Nishikori has signed an endorsement deal with Cup noodles — the instant meal that got TSF through much of its childhood. (TW)

(image via Canon)

trophy watch: i call him “melo yellow”; a japanese phenom; mama murray must be happy, etc.

brazil-open-doubles-08.jpg

This one’s for you, Mikey: Our Sa Watch 2008 begins with the duo of Marcelo Melo and Andre Sa — locals — winning the Brazil Open doubles trophy over Albert Montanez and Santiago Ventura. Leave it to Andre to wear yellow socks on the court. Cute.

andy-murray-marseille08.jpg

Meanwhile, it was a battle of the lankies as British fourth seed Andy Murray took out Croatian Mario Ancic 6-3, 6-4, at the ATP Open 13 in Marseille, France.

In Delray Beach, Kei Nishikori surprised everyone (including finalist James Blake) with this impressive 6-3, 1-6 and 4-6 upset. Our buddy Ichizo took this video of Kei while playing against Zack Fleishman in Japan last October.

By the way, look out for Ichizo to launch his japanese language tennis blog sometime soon. This is one of the few times I’m sad that I don’t know Japanese. That, and everytime I can’t read anything in Men’s Non-No aka the best magazine in the world.

And we are sure that Mama Murray is proud of her other son, Jamie, who teamed with Max Mirnyi to upset the top seeded Bryan Brothers. (Watch: See Jamie use finger code to communicate with Max.)

justine-henin-antwerp-08.jpg

trophy-antwerp-08.jpg

A beaut! The Proximus Diamond Games tops itself with a racquet encrusted with 2008 diamonds (get it?) totalling more than $1.5 million. 1,611 of those diamonds are on the ball itself. Unfortunately for Justine Henin, who beat Italy’s Karin Knapp, 6-3, 6-3 in the final match, she has to win the tournament three times in five years before she takes home that puppy. It’s not an impossible feat, though; Amelie Mauresmo did the same last year and took home the first diamond trophy.

brazil-open-08.jpg

Singles: Sorry, guys. I was too crushed by the early loss of Guga Kuerten in singles (and doubles, actually) at the Brasil Open to care about who won. Props to Nicolas Almagro for besting mainstay Carlos Moya 7-6 (4), 3-6, 7-5.

pennetta-vinadelmar-08.jpg

Lastly, Flavia Pennetta wore her multi-collared Sergio Tacchini all the way to a title at the Vina del Mar tourney in Vina del Mar, Chile. Her opponent: Klara Zakopalova.

(Mirnyi/Murray video via ATP; photos by Getty Images)

RELATED POSTS
>> TSF’s trophy watch

Add to Google Subscribe in a reader or by e-mail StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It