fed cup 2010 – first round

That’s Bojana Jovanovski, Ana Jovanovic, captain Dejan Vranes, Jelena Jankovic, and Ana Ivanovic at the official Fed Cup dinner on the eve of the tie between Serbia and Russia. As you can see from the schedule below, the headcase Ivanovic will go up against Svetlana Kuznetsova first, and then Jelena, whose back injury could hamper her performance, will then face the hard-hitting Alisa Kleybanova.

Russian team: Captain Shamil Tarpischev, Vera Dushevina, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and Alisa Kleybanova.

If the tie was based solely on footwear, the Serbians win. What is up with Anastasia’s red bra??

Who’s playing whom + TV: Here’s the line-up for all four World Group ties (plus TC’s coverage of the US/France tie) — after the cut…

eight men, five rubbers, one weekend…

Bulging biceps, tag teams, marathon sessions, tattoos, bears, Eastern Europeans, Brazilians…

Yes, my friends, it must be Davis Cup!

World Group 2008 – Semifinal
Argentina v Russia, 3 – 2
Tarpischev’s doubles trick couldn’t shake off del Potro.

Spain v USA, 4 – 1
America’s rich Davis Cup history gets blown to bits when a tie is contested on clay. Against Spain.

World Group, Play-offs 2008
Chile v Australia, 3 – 2
Gonzo distracted the Aussies with his chest.

Great Britain v Austria, 2-3
For British newbie Bogdanovic, playing in front of the home crowd at AELTC caused some performance anxiety against Peya.

Switzerland v Belgium, 4 – 1
The dream team of R-Fed and S-Waw cleaned up.

Croatia v Brazil, 4 – 1
Save for a clutch doubles match by Melo and Sa, Croatia takes all the matches.

Israel v Peru, 4 – 1
Harel Levy, Andy Ram, Noam Okun, and the Smurf-esque Dudi Sela all did the home crowd proud.

Netherlands v South Korea, 3 – 2
Hyung-Taik Lee swept his singles matches, but it wasn’t enough.

Romania v India, 4 – 1
As expected, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi win their doubles match.

Slovak Republic v Serbia, 1 – 4
Novak Djokovic kept his clothes on.

davis cup: don’t let kolya’s pink scarf fool you — the russians play dirty

The Russian doubles pair of Dmitry Tursunov and Igor Kunitsyn hacked their way into a 6-2, 6-1, 6-7(9), 3-6, 8-6 win over Guillermo Canas and David Nalbandian using some unusual tactics:

For the first two sets, Tursunov and Kunitsyn bamboozled their opponents with very little pace. In fact at times it was almost as if they were playing pat ball. With Kunitsyn staying back after most of his serves, and eschewing the chance to come to the net even when it presented itself, the visitors were playing almost a badminton formation of front-court back-court, Tursunov looking for the interceptions, Kunitsyn rallying from the baseline and covering when Cañas and Nalbandián tried to wrongfoot Tursunov. It was fascinating, if unusual.

And Tursunov said that it was Shamil Tarpischev‘s plan all along to make David stay on the court as long as possible, thus making fatigue a factor during tomorrow’s reverse singles. (audio)

Nikolay Davydenko next to wife, Irina, snug as a bug in a pink scarf.

Sunday: The Argentines are up 2-1 going into Sunday, and the sched posted on the DC website lists Kolya playing David (though Dmitry might sub…) and del Potro against Andreev.

(photos by Getty Images)

davis cup final: russia vs. usa

Davis Cup quickies:

The Oregonian‘s Davis Cup blog gave TSF a shout-out yesterday. We laughed out loud when our blogging was described as an “SI swimsuit-issue fantasy.” Le sigh. If only their swimsuit issue looked like this.

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– Hitting partners for the American team of Andy Roddick, Mike Bryan, James Blake, and Bob Bryan include an excited John Isner, Donald Young, Mardy Fish, and Robby Ginepri.

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– The much more evenly-built Russian team consists of Nikolay Davydenko, Mikhail Youzhny, Igor Andreev, and Dmitry Tursunov.

– The draw is now set, with notable absence of Kolya in the singles rubbers. (He’s still dealing with the match-fixing investigation, this week turning over phone records.) This obviously quiets all the speculation that Marat Safin would be a late replacement by coach Shamil Tarpischev. But the Americans won’t be surprised if the Russian line-up changes after the opening day.

– Tarpischev, on the likelihood of his team defending their title: “So I rate our chances 40-60 in favour of the U.S. but you never know.” And Patrick McEnroe dubbed him a “tennis genius” at a press conference earlier this week. (Reuters)

– The event starts at 1pm with live coverage on Versus.

– When asked about the cultural similarities (and differences) between his home country and the U.S., Tursunov responds: “Both owned Alaska at one point. [...] We don’t have bears running in the streets, you don’t have Indians camping by the fire in the streets either.” (AFP)

(Thanks to Patricia for helping with this post.)

americans in l.a. + coaching updates…

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(Kendrick — left, middle; Fleishman — right)

An All-American match-up: Z. Fleishman d. R. Kendrick 7-6 (4), 6-3 at the Countrywide Classic. Zack is cleaning up on his home court, and will face Radek Stepanek in the quarters.

Shamil drops a bomb: Russian Fed Cup captain Shamil Tarpishchev didn’t invite Maria Sharapova to play in the finals against Italy because she’s been unreliable in the past.

Roche Coach: Hyuk. (Sorry, had to do it.) Lleyton Hewitt announced that he’s hooking up with Australian tennis legend and former Federer coach Tony Roche in time for the U.S. Open. Roche says he wouldn’t have signed on if he didn’t think Hewitt could still win a slam. (via The Age)

Safin smartens up, too: Another former U.S. Open winner, Marat Safin, signs up a new coach, Hernan Gumy. Argentinian David Nalbandian goes with Martin Jaite. (via BBC)