practice makes perfect: masha in miami



Here’s Maria Sharapova at the Sony Ericsson Open, hitting before her semifinal match against Andrea Petkovic. Petko was ailing (shoulder) and Maria ran away with it: 3-6, 6-0, 6-2.

(practice pic by Forty Deuce.)

jelena’s stars and stripes



Jelena Jankovic became one of Andrea Petkovic‘s scalps at this week’s Sony Ericsson Open, losing 6-2, 2-6, 4-6 to the German upstart in the quarterfinals. If it’s any consolation, Jelena’s put together a decent run so far in 2010: one final (Monterrey), two semis (Dubai and Qatar), and the fourth round at Indian Wells.

Anta: Jelena’s moved on from the pink dress she used to start the beginning of this year. Same slinky shape, but now in orange, with two blue stripes curving their way down the left side; the lines frame an odd print of fading circles and yellow stars. We saw the dress up close (while on Jankovic) but couldnt tell whether the pattern was a burnout.

Not her best (and really, we miss the ginormous white bags that came with last year’s clothes!), but props to Jelena for infusing our spring with even more neon.

In the trenches: Speaking of Petko, she’s currently playing for a spot in the SEO semis against Sharapova (as of this post, Andrea won the first set but is down a bageled set and 0-3 vs. the Russian). Maybe Maria’s getting tired of that dance.

(images via Getty Images)

how we survived in tursunov's absence



TSF was heartbroken to find out that Dmitry Tursunov wasn’t going to play at Indian Wells and Miami this year. Tournaments just aren’t the same without his pastiness hanging out in the practice courts (exhibits A and B). So as we felt the withdrawal kick in during our first days in the desert, this man saved the day.

Ridic.

Anyway, Igor Andreev made it as far as the second round at this week’s Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, where he lost to John Isner 4-6, 7-5, 6-7 (2). But that’s okay, Igor: winning isn’t why we keep you on our radar.

The tennis: Roger and Rafa play their quarterfinal matches today (vs. Simon and Berdych, respectively). The winner in that top half of the draw will play the winner of the Fish/Djokovic semi. We expect Nole to take this whole thing. Who’s your pick for the winner? (Browse: SEO Draws)

And in case you’re interested in seeing Igor clothed, some pics of his current Sergio Tacchini kit below.

(practice image by TSF; match images via Getty Images)

short balls: an ailing andy (and rafa drinks rum!)



By Benjamin Snyder

Flip flop: As the Sony Ericsson Open winds down, two very different players are working their way up in the rankings. For the men, it’s Mardy Fish, who overtook Andy Roddick as the top American man with a win over David Ferrer in the quarterfinals. A sick Roddick succumbed to Pablo Cuevas in the second round of the huge hard court Miami event and was bounced out of the top ten for the first time in some years.

Maria’s back in the habit: While the Williams sisters fall outside of the top ten with illness and injury, Maria Sharapova is rising back to the top tier with decent showings at Indian Wells and this week in Miami. Masha has Andrea Petkovic in the semis, a player who flattened her when the two met Down Under in Melbourne. (More Maria: Those earrings!)

… but no royal wedding, yet: Apparently, the 23-year-old Maria is in “no rush to get married,” according to Show Biz Spy. And why should she be? We’d like to see Maria win two or three more Majors – she’s got them in her, we think – before strolling down to take Sasha’s hand. Meanwhile: No playoffs for his Nets.

But seriously, is Maria just getting cold feet? “In the beginning I was really, really excited, and all my friends were giving me like wedding magazines and wedding books. But I was quite overwhelmed with it, and then I just put them down and said, ‘Okay, I have plenty of time.’ We’re still very young.”

TSF Exclusive: Rumors say Djokovic has strolled down the aisle

Swan song for Petko’s dance? While Petkovic even has the ever-awkward Ana Ivanovic shaking her tail feather on the tennis court, the German – who is matching her play to her popularity this week – is retiring her famous jig following this week. She told the press that it’s time to move on from the ditty, which became an underground hit in tennis realms. Is she lending her dance skills to B-Spears? We sure hope so. But notice: She said “move on.” We’re sensing another dance number folks, just something new and, well, so Petko.

Rum like Rafa: Rafael Nadal recently signed a deal with Bacardi, receiving some backlash in the process. Says Nadal, “I am not presenting alcohol party, you know. It’s a responsible campaign, a social campaign. Anyway, I think alcohol is inside our lives, so is nothing new, no?” No Rafa, it’s nothing new to us. And we appreciate your push for responsibility. More: YouTube channel | Facebook

‘Round the world: Then there are the two Missoula, Montana, teens who just broke the Guinness World Record for the longest singles tennis match, ever. Isner-Mahut looks like a Roehampton side court to this Centre Court effort. The two high school seniors clocked in nearly 61 hours of tennis over three days before collapsing, raising $7,000 for charity in the process. Snaps for those court warriors.

(Image by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

in miami, a stroll down peekaboo street



When in Florida, do as the Miamians do — show skin! The ladies playing in this week’s Sony Ericsson Open did their part, with keyholes and other cutouts showing up in kits during match play.

From left to right: Dominika Cibulkova in Lacoste; Kim Clijsters in Fila‘s Center Court Cap Sleeve Top (Buy); Ana Ivanovic in the adiZero Dress (Buy). Not pictured: the adidas Response tank, worn by the likes of Andrea Petkovic during practice; see it here.

Brackets: Kimmie is still in the running for the SEO title after that super-close three-set fourth-round match against Ivanovic (poor Ana was up 1-5 in the third and had five match points). She now faces Vika Azarenka for a spot in the semis. (Browse: SEO Draws)

(images via Getty Images)