pennetta’s peak



Two snaps to Italian Flavia Pennetta for making the record books this week: she began play at the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament as the top Italian woman — and the first one to crack the SEWTA tour’s top 10.

“I’m lucky to be [in New Haven] right now” instead of Italy, where the country has gone wild with excitement and pride over her achievement (she even got a text message from Italian tennis legend Adriano Panatta).

Flavia is still in the Pilot Pen draw, facing Caro Wozniacki in the semis and then either Mauresmo or Vesnina in the finals.

And she heads immediately to New York City, where she’s entered in the 2009 US Open as the tourney’s tenth seed. She is in the same quarter of the draw as second seed Serena Williams and the same half as Venus. “If they are fit and ready to play,” referring to the sisters, “no one can beat them.” After years on the tour, though, Flavia has learned to turn her confidence into an asset; she goes into these matches thinking that she can win. (Flavia is 0-1 against Serena — they played a three-setter — and is 4-3 against Venus, winning their most recent match in Cincinnati earlier this month.)

Even with just nine ladies higher than her in the rankings, Flavia has no plans to alter her tennis. For instance, she’ll continue to play doubles — mixed with Dusan Vemic and women’s with Fed Cup partner Sara Errani. She and Sara are trying to get as much experience together as they head to the Fed Cup finals (to be played on November 7 and 8, 2009, in Italy).

(photo by Karen Flax-Jardine/Global Village Tennis News)

are you there, anne? it’s me, erwin



Hey, Anne — we know you’ll take us up on that tip to switch this graphic to a unisex tee for the 2010 tournament, so while you’re at it, take a glance at these two posters hanging on that hallway into the press room at the Yale Tennis Center.

Slap the retro designs on some American Apparel tees and get them on some online store. You’re guaranteed to sell a bunch!

‘nother: Second poster here…

sa watch: pilot pen



andre-sa-pilotpen09a

In the latest installment of TSF’s Sa Watch, we drop in on our favorite (active) Brazilian tennis player, who’s doubles partners with Marcelo Melo, as he works on pre-2009 U.S. Open kinks at the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament in New Haven, Conn.

Sa and Melo took care of Brits Stephen Huss and Ross Hutchins 7-5, 6-3 in the first round. They’ll next face the third-seeded team of Czech Frantisek Cermak and Slovak Michal Mertinak, who beat Wesley Moodie/Horia Tecau 7-6 (4), 4-6, 10-7.

Cute headband, no?

(photo by TSF)

petrova: first comes dress, then comes game



Nadia Petrova‘s been trying to change a lot of things about her tennis life. First, she very recently started working with a coach — an arrangement she made with ITA. She expressed that the relationship was still young (they’ve only been working for a week or so), but comes at a very crucial time (it’s a week before The Open!).

At least Nadia can focus her energy solely on perfecting her technique, especially since it looks like she has found a good clothing sponsor in Ellesse after parting ways with Airness and flirting with EleVen.

She and the Italian company have settled down since the circus left town back in January, putting her in a variety decent separates throughout the year (that navy blue French Open outfit comes to mind).

And at this week’s Pilot Pen Tennis tournament, which saw her ride into the sunset after a seesaw first-round match against compatriot Anna Chakvetadze, Nadia wore a loose, low-waisted periwinkle dress (complete with a bow on the waist) that flatters her body shape. It moved well while Anna moved her around the court.

On to New York: Nadia can reflect on being a victim of PPT’s no-bye draw as she heads to New York early to settle into her Long Island rental — with a jacuzzi, of course — and acclimate to the courts and conditions of the USTABJKNTC. Good luck with the last major of the year, Nadia!

Scoreline: Meanwhile, Chakvetadze faces Sybille Bammer in the second round today.

Up close: Some detail shots of Petrova’s PPT outfit after the cut…

taylor makes a comeback



Two snaps for Taylor Dent, who’s still searching for his groove after a long-term absence from the ATP Tour to address a serious back injury (it left him in a body cast for nine months). He is also a wild card in the main draw of this year’s U.S. Open, which starts next week. In the meantime, he’s trying to get match-tough by working his way through the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament this week.

And two snaps for Nick, who got Dent’s story in the NYT‘s Straight Sets blog. Read it here.