what do the ladies do in new york?

When in New York… The WTA asked some of its top ladies about their “musts” while in New York City. And it basically came down to shopping (Fifth Avenue!), eating, or in Vika‘s case, being weird.

The rundown: Caro loves the Meatpacking District; Maria recommends the Halumi sandwich at Aroma (in Soho); Bartoli ends up in Shoe Heaven at Sak’s; and Schiavone enjoys a burger, fries, and a jukebox — from a location that will remain nameless.

(video courtesy of WTA)

bracketology: it’s all about serena (plus more predictions)

By Christopher Phillips

Venus and Serena: potential final showdown? Or just posing for the red carpets? At the Hamptons magazine cover party last week. (Getty)

More: See Christopher’s breakdown of the men’s side of things here.

Caroline Wozniacki — Quarterfinals | Maybe the world’s no. 1 will play better now that her relationship with Rory McIlroy (someone who has actually won a US Open) is out and she’s back to her winning ways in New Haven. Her draws not the easiest of the top eight. She opens against no. 127 Nuria Llagostera Vives, then would likely play no. 43 Elena Vesnina in the 2nd round. 29th seed Jarmila Gajdosova could be trouble in the third round, but her summer’s been as underwhelming as the Dane’s. Wozniacki’s first challenge is in the 4th against Daniela Hantuchova, the 21st seed. Can the Slovak knock Wozniacki out of a slam for the second time this year?

Vera Zvonareva –- 4th round | The Russian opens against a qualifier and meets either hard-serving Lucie Hradecka or Kateryna Bondarenko in the second round. 30th seed Anabel Medina Garrigues is the first seed Zvonareva will face and shouldn’t pose any difficulties. With all the attention on the slamless Wozniacki, the Williamses, and Maria Sharapova, maybe this is Vera’s year to sneak back into the finals. We can’t completely imagine it, though.

Sharapova –- Finals | The serve seems to be less of a question for Maria coming into this year’s US Open than it has been in recent memory. Maybe because her return game has improved? She beaten four of the top 15 players in the world to win her last tournament in Cincinnati and, given her draw, it’s difficult to see her meeting any real challenges until 5th seed Petra Kvitova or 12th seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarterfinals.

Victoria Azarenka –- 3rd round | Were it not for one woman –- 28th seed (?!???!?) Serena Williams –- Azarenka would be a bonafide lock to the semifinals. Unfortunately, Serena stands in her way. Don’t be surprised if some of Azarenka’s nerves about her upcoming match with Serena start showing during her second round battle against Rebecca Marino or Gisela Dulko.

Petra Kvitova –- Quarterfinals | If anyone can get in Sharapova’s way to the finals, it’ll be Wimbledon champ Kvitova. The Czech got the better of the Russian in England –- can she make it two for two this year? She could have a tricky first round against Alexandra Dulgheru and 27the seed Lucie Safarova could prove problems (if not an upset) in the third round.

Li Na –- 4th round | Li is capable of winning this thing or flaming out to Simona Halep in the first round. How about middle of the road? We see her losing to the ever-improving 10th seed, Andrea Petkovic, who has become the belle of the media’s ball this year and will do so even more with a run here.

Francesca Schiavone –- Quarterfinals | She’s got a relatively easy draw until a potential match-up with Cincinnati finalist Jelena Jankovic, the 11th seed, in the 4th round. Winner of that match loses to Serena in the quarters.

Marion Bartoli –- Quarterfinals | Bartoli’s strong statements in Toronto and Cincinnati? They didn’t happen. Marion made the semifinals in Brisbane and Doha earlier this year, finals at Indian Wells and Strasbourg, semis at the French, wins Eastbourne and takes out Serena at Wimbledon in route to the quarterfinals then follows it up with a trip to the Stanford finals. Hopefully early losses in Canada and Cincy — as well as a lackluster performance in New Haven — leaves Marion even more hungry for a run at Flushing.

Serena Williams –- Winner | Somehow she manages to look almost more relaxed and hungrier at the same time than ever before. Her play this summer only reinforces the fact that the rest of the field is just playing for second place. But can she stay injury-free?

Dark Horses | Potential winners? Probably not. But these gals could pull a few upsets and find themselves in week two at Flushing.

Petkovic | Sadly she’s made more news this summer for running off the court mid-match, but she’s got two wins over Kvitova since the Czech’s Wimbledon title, plus hard court wins over Wozniacki, Sharapova, Bartoli, Jankovic and Venus from earlier this season.

Can JJ find her 2008 form at Flushing this year? (Getty)

Jankovic | If anyone has enough gumption and attitude to upset Serena, it’s Jelena. A potential quarterfinal match-up between the two looms.

Hantuchova | With wins this year over Wozniacki, Zvonareva, Azarenka, Li, Bartoli and Venus, she’s capable of beating any given player on any day. Oh, Dani!

22nd seed Sabine Lisicki | The Dallas champ and Xperia Hot Shots winner is on her way back to the top after injury –- nowhere to go but up! But Venus looms in the second round…

TSF Vault: US Open | Bracketology

First Round Matches to Watch

13th seed Shuai Peng vs. Varvara Lepchenko | The Chinese no. 2 pulled out of this week’s tournament in Dallas and withdrew from Toronto and Cincinnati mid-tournament. If she’s not fully healthy, the American Lepchenko could end up with the biggest win of her career.

15th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Sara Errani | The world no. 38 Italian narrowly missed out being seeded and lost a three setter to the 2004 Open champ earlier this season.

26th seed Flavia Pennetta vs. Aravane Rezai | The former top 10 Italian has been slumping the past couple years. Has Rezai shaken off her Aussie Open family drama?

Gajdosova vs. Iveta Benesova The big-serving Aussie has lost in the first round at six of her last seven tournaments.

Jill Craybas vs. Madison Keys | Battle of the Americans –- the old guard versus the new guard.

Bethanie Mattek-Sands vs. Polona Hercog | It’s the no. 2 American’s first match back since Wimbledon. If she looks good here, you’ve got to believe she can upset 24th seed Nadia Petrova in the second round and give 10th seed Samantha Stosur a run for her money in the 3rd round.

See the full women’s draw here | Qualies

Predictions | 4th round
Wozniacki d Hantuchova
Petkovic d Li
Serena d Peer
Schiavone d Jankovic
Kvitova d A. Radwanska
Sharapova d Peng
Bartoli d Stosur
Lisicki d Zvonareva

QFs:
Petkovic d Wozniacki
Serena d Schiavone
Sharapova d Kvitova
Lisicki d Bartoli

SFs:
Serena d Petkovic
Sharapova d Lisicki

Finals:
Serena d Sharapova – 2 (relatively easy) sets

trophy watch: watching the trophies

Back to the basics: It took this week on TSF for us to remember that Trophy Watch is just that: watching the trophies. The tour trots the globe and the globe is a creative, eccentric place. And where better does it come out than the trophies we get to see every weekend?! Sure, the clothes are great. The tournament sites are entertaining. But these trophies? There is nothing better.

Mountain mayhem: Spanish man Marcel Granollers climbed a big one this weekend, downing Fernando Verdasco in the Swiss Open at Gstaad, 6-4 3-6 6-3 to win his second career title and first since 2008.

Include us next time, please. On the creative process to come up with this gem. Alexandr Dolgopolov (and his head band) ruined the chances of hometown hero Marin Cilic in Umag, Croatia. Dolgopolov won 6-4 3-6 6-3.

Smile, Mr. Bear. Serena Williams and Marion Bartoli were smiling just fine for the camera, though that brown bear on the right looks rather bummed out that he, too, wasn’t awarded a crystal bowl. Next time, fuzzy buddy! Serena tore through the field at Stanford, beating Bartoli 7-5, 6-1 in the final.

Earnestly Ernests: He ernested that one, right? OK, we’ll stop. But is there a more fun name to say than Ernests Gulbis on the tour right now? The hard-hitting Latvian upstaged hometown boy Mardy Fish in the final, winning the Farmers Classic with a 5-7 6-4 6-4 win on Sunday at UCLA. | More: TSF’s LA coverage
[Read more...]

fo flashback: yannick and mary


Merci beaucoup. While hope has been dashed on the men’s side with Gael Monfils and a host of other players (Gilles Simon, Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to name a few) bowing out of the Roland Garros draw, tomorrow Marion Bartoli will take the court in a semifinal against Francesca Schiavone carrying her nation’s flag and the hope of a long-suffering people. Mary Pierce was the last homegrown hero to take this title back in 2000 (before her it was Francoise Durr in 1967), and Pierce — who had an even more topsy-turvy relationship with the French crowd (and stranger dad) than Bartoli — wasn’t necessary the apple of Paris’ eye. Pierce also reached the final in 1994 and 2005. TSF Vault: Mary Pierce

That title might belong to Yannick Noah, the Frenchman who was a one-Slam wonder with his stunning win at RG in 1983. He would reach just one other Slam semi in his career — at the 1990 Aussie Open. But as noted back in 2008, he’s beloved in France.

Checking in: Men’s draw | Women’s draw

PS from the GS. The French youngster that had potential champ Maria Sharapova 1-6 1-4 down in the second round, Caroline Garcia, survived a doozy in her second round match in the girls singles draw, beating Catalina Pella of Argentina 4-6 6-2 9-7. | More: Girl’s draw

(Images via the AP)

goerges keeps it classy

No better way to dress up your Nike clothes than with some pearl studs and painted nails. Too bad Julia Goerges couldn’t run away with a first set win over Marion Bartoli, eventually losing 6-3, 2-6, 4-6 to the 11th seed.

Draw: Things are all kinds of crazy in that top section of the draw, with both Caro out (upset by Dani Hantuchova) and Stosur going down to Dulko. See how it’s all playing out.

Clothes: Julia wore the Nike Maria Sharapova separates from this season.

(photo by Alexander Klein/Getty Images)

she’s killing me, larry!

I don’t even know what to say about that layering job. Whatever gets the job done, I guess? Marion Bartoli, 11th seed at this week’s Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, made quick work of Ana Ivanovic, beating the Serb 6-2, 6-1. Up next is Vika Azarenka. (Draw: Singles)

Buy: Nike Fall Challenge Glow Tank, Voltage Cherry, $50, TW.

(image via Getty Images)

long lost siblings?

A little Friday fun for you who are still stuck at work on this beautiful – well, at least in NYC – late-summer afternoon.

We’re simply wondering: Is San Francisco pitcher Tim Lincecum, seen below, Marion Bartoli‘s long-lost brother?!

Bartoli-Lookalike

Click the jump to decide for yourself. And let us know who you think. What other pro tennis star has a doppelganger lurking out there?? [Read more...]

janked out: bartoli defeats top seed

Marion Bartoli and her sweet teeth gnawed at the inconsistent game of top-seed Jelena Jankovic in their fourth round match at the Australian Open. The sixteenth-seed used her piercing two-handed groundstrokes and powerful returns of serve to put the Serb on the defensive throughout the 6-1, 6-4 match.

No more Reebok: Ms. Jankovic and Reebok didn’t renew their contract (which expired at the end of 2008), and instead she signed an agreement with ANTA Sports, a company based in Fujian, China with a logo surprisingly similar to Diadora‘s. (What is it with Chinese companies aping this stuff?) They’ll team up to develop a range of products under the “JJ” brand.

Their first outing wasn’t so bad — an homage to Australian sports in the form of a green empire waist baby doll dress printed with a yellow logo. She accessorized with white shoes and a three-color wristband.

(images via Getty Images)

blacks, metallics, and leopard print (!!) at the yec party

(My thoughts go out to those affected by the earthquake that hit Chile today…)

The SEWTA Tour hosted their Year-End Championships Players’ party in Madrid on Sunday night (after the longest three-set final which saw Justine Henin defend her title).

Black was the evening’s shade, found on LBDs, floor-length skirts, and a sexy halter bubble dress on Serena Williams. Metallics showed up on Ana Ivanovic and Sharapova (in Thakoon). There were lots of gold accessories, too: a belt on Ana, a brooch on Anna Chakvetadze, and chains adorning Serena’s Louis Vuitton bag. And Jelena Jankovic separated herself from the pack with a body-hugging leopard print dress that puts Bethanie Mattek to shame.

Here are some photos from the shindig. Make sure to check out the entire gallery on the WTA website.

chakvetadze-yec-2007.jpg

Anna punctuated her black half turtleneck knit top with a gold brooch at the bust and toted classic quilted leather purse. Meanwhile, her oft-braided hair got some air.

ana ivanovic and jelena jankovic

Ana went Victorian with her lacy silk top, gold belt, and floor-length skirt (is that a key around her neck?); and Jelena pulled off a leopard print ensemble.

daniela hantuchova - YEC 2007

Momma long-legs Daniela Hantuchova let her hair down and wore a fur caplet over her little black mini dress.

See Serena, Sveta, Justine, and Marion after the cut…

champions dinner + venus rosewater dish

savoy-hotel-london.jpg

With their Tbags (that’s “tennis boyfriends and girlfriends”) in tow, Roger Federer and Venus Williams were among those toasted at the Wimbledon Champions Dinner held in London’s Savoy Hotel. Also in attendance were runner-up Marion Bartoli and lovebirds mixed doubles champions Jelena Jankovic and Jamie Murray.

About the Savoy: See pictures of this Art Deco hotel (which opened in 1889) here.

Trophy watch: From Off the Baseline’s Wimbledon Fact File — “The Ladies’ Singles Trophy is a silver salver, 18 ¾-inches (sic) in diameter, referred to as the ‘Rosewater Dish’ or ‘Venus Rosewater Dish’. It was first won by the Champion when the challenge round was introduced in 1886.” The dish is a replica of an electrotype by German artist Caspar Enderlein of a pewter piece called The Temperantia by Frenchman Fracois Briot (did you catch all that?).

Photos from the party: Bartoli, Jankovic, Jankovic with Murray, Roger with girlfriend Mirka Vavrinec, Venus with boyfriend Hank Kuehne, Roger and Venus with their trophies.

wimbledon-savoy-bartoli.jpg wimbledon-savoy-jankovic.jpg wimbledon-savoy-jankovicmurray.jpg

wimbledon-savoy-roger-mirka.jpg wimbledon-savoy-roger-mirka2.jpg wimbledon-savoy-venus.jpg roger-venus-trophies.jpg