trophy watch: kuznetsova clears her head (and her mantle) for a second slam title



Pretty in pink: Svetlana Kuznetsova remained subdued on Court Philippe Chatrier after Dinara Safina double-faulted and handed her the 2009 French Open singles title. It wasn’t worth it for Sveta to rub the lopsided 6-4, 6-2 match in the face of her friend, who currently holds the world No. 1 ranking.

Apart from playing a worthy opponent — Kuznetsova gave her her only loss in 21 matches from Stuttgart through the French — Safina was also battling the pressure of the top spot and her nerves. “I was a little bit desperate on the court,” said Safina, who appeared to be fighting tears late in the 74-minute match and during the on-court trophy presentation.

During Sveta’s speech, she made sure to thank her former posse in Barcelona, who’ve since been replaced by a Moscow-based team headed by coach Larisa Savchenko. And in her post-match interview with Mary Carillo, she talked (like a seasoned veteran) about how a newfound outlook on her life has made her a better player. It has pretty much taken her five years to turn this around, and it has carried her to this, her second slam title. The biggest test of this new Kuznetsova is whether she can take this momentum into New York and win a second U.S. Open title.

Bonus round: Six-time French Open singles title winner Steffi Graf was on hand to present Sveta and Safina with their wares.

(images via Getty Images)

have you bought a lottery ticket this week?



Leave the suit at home: Our favorite tennis commentator, Mary Carillo, gets glammed up during her time in front of the camera at the Beijing Olympics. She, along with a other analysts covering the for the U.S. market (including Melissa Stark, Alex Flanagan, and Lindsay Czarniak), got outfits especially designed by label Ports 1961.

I think she looks pretty good. What do you think? Tell us!

“When I was first approached to create a capsule collection for the NBC Olympic commentators, I was honored,” said Ports 1961 creative director Tia Cibani. Cibani honed her design aesthetic in China during the nineties (while working under then-design heads Dean and Dan Caten).

This collaboration was announced last month along with the release of these sketches above.

Know your Ports: See Ports 1961′s Fall 2008 and Resort 2009 collections. (via NY)

(screengrab source: TF)

watching the men’s semis: nole + ferrer, roger + kolya



Congrats to Novak Djokovic for downing David Ferrer in three easy sets — 6-4, 6-4, 6-3; and to Roger Federer for beating Nikolay Davydenko (le sigh) after a seesaw third set that saw a million breaks of serve (7-5, 6-1, 7-5).

A few things I noticed while I watched these U.S. Open men’s semis with Chris and Matt:

  • Using the ball bounce as a beat was great sound for the opening montage of CBS‘ coverage.
  • We laughed out loud at the Tina Fey AmEx commercial. It was like a short episode of 30 Rock! “No, the other kind of german shepherd!”
  • Srdjan Djokovic takes off his shirt after his son Nole does so after his win. And the father encourages the rest of the Djokovic box to do so. Uhm, NO.
  • Apparently Justin Gimelstob was talking about Tommy Haas‘ nipples on last night’s episode of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
  • As of 3-2 in the first set, CBS had not panned to Mirka, nor had the commentators Dick Enberg, John McEnroe, and Mary Carillo made any mention of R-Fed besty Tiger Woods.
  • We were fans of Ferrer’s multiple necklace charms, as well as Davydenko’s wedding-ring-on-the-neck. Kolya’s hot wife, Irina, was there to cheer him on. As was his brother and coach, Eduard (also wearing Airness).
  • Celebs in the stands: Catherine Zeta-Jones, plus Kirk and Michael Douglas. Also Robert De Niro, Ilie Nastase, Boris Becker, and Anna Wintour.
  • Nevermind. The Mirka sighting was at 3-3 in the first set.
  • And comparison to Tiger in the eighth game.
  • Kolya, in all his matches at this year’s Open, was never scheduled for a night match. Is this what being the fourth seed affords a player?
  • As Enberg waxed nostalgic over the last two weeks, he mentions that Jankovic has recently been signed to endorse toothpaste.
  • Speaking of Dick (dick?), did he really say something — at two different occasions, even — about Roger’s back muscles? He was in awe of Federer’s “two ridges…” Whaa?

RELATED POSTS
>> TSF’s u.s. open coverage continues…

sketches of the open's humble broadcasters



Those of us neither out in Flushing, nor subscribers to extremely high-end satellite packages with live feeds, are ultimately resolved to endure CBS’ weekend coverage. As green as TTC proved to be in covering their inaugural slam at this year’s French Open, one perversely hopes that they’ll gain enough leverage to buy out CBS’ Open contract.

NBC is not without substantial guilt for its own slam (RG and Wimbledon) coverage, but the combustible pairing of a major network and its home (okay, American) slam leads to far too much spoon-feeding of emotion and drama, akin to the worst of a Hollywood movie.

We as viewers are savvy enough to bring our own sense of meaning to any given match or storyline (and, if there isn’t one, then we can always fast-forward). Serious tennis fans can really do without the amped-up graphics, schlocky promos, and sentimental broadcasters, not to mention the three-to-one ads-to-tennis ratio.

It was quite a jolt adapting from USA’s coverage to that of CBS’: what with the eye strain adjustments to deal with all the bleached out and overly sunlit footage. (Can’t they just use the same filter that USA does?)

And whoever decided to greenlight those pre-match interviews should be hung.

Hey, at least the CBS commentators are a relatively known bunch.

  • Bill Macatee — basically innocuous, with an even more sterilized persona than on USA.
  • Mary Carillo — she’s her usual effervescent and laugh-happy self, a solid and colorful voice, if at times a bit too harsh. (It’s hard to erase the memory of her referring to Davydenko, back when he was ranked #3, not only as “the most anonymous #3 player in the world ever,” but also as “a total mook”.)
  • John McEnroe — Mac has become familiar enough in the booth that he’s not too hard to tune out, or at least tune down. Mac can bring brilliant analysis to the table for any given match, which he deserves credit for, but his overall vibe gets watered down by an ego untethered and run amok. Somehow the CBS dynamic doesn’t allow him quite the forum for inevitable self-aggrandizements.
  • Patrick McEnroe — P-Mac’s commentary is overall equal to John’s, if only because he’s more consistent and doesn’t indulge in his own accomplishments (perhaps just a function of having far fewer than his brother?). His pairing with Mac for the Nadal-Tsonga match was both fun and efficient. His broadcast voice has come off as a bit thinner than it has on ESPN.
  • Ian (pronounced EYE-en) Eagle — not only a capable but even an enjoyable play-by-play guy; newest to the team. It’s a shame he’s been relegated to something of a transition host with minimal air time.
  • Dick Enberg — give this guy an opportunity to sentimentalize, and he’ll take it and run. He’s actually a fine commentator, but over the years most of us have gotten more our fill; and, within the confines of CBS (Enberg joined ESPN’s Aussie Open coverage last year), it all feels just that much more mainstream.

Up next: a look at USA Network’s coverage.

(photo by artnwine1)

Michael Shaw is currently following the Open from his couch on the West Coast.

RELATED POSTS
>> TSF’s u.s. open coverage
>> michael shaw archive

waitaminute: mary carillo



I feel 20000x better knowing that if ever something happens to Mary Carillo (heaven forbid!), we’ll know where to find her replacement: call the ATP and ask for Paul Capdeville.

The Chilean wore Lotto as he lost his second-round match 1-6, 4-6, 4-6 to R-Fed at this year’s U.S. Open.