tsf podcast: miami wraps, the andys falter and players kick from their heart

TSF Podcast April 2011 | Nick McCarvel with David Thorpe | For a quick, easly download in iTunes, just click link

He said, He said: David and Nick’s take on Miami: TSF Podcast April 2011

With the quick passing of Indian Wells and Miami there will be no big-time hardcourt tennis in the U.S. until July. David and I discuss what went right (and wrong) in Key Biscayne this past week, as we predict what the downswing means for a pair of Andys and look to a clay season dusted in question marks for Novak Djokovic. Was soccer the right choice for the men’s Japan fundraiser? And will the women’s tour have a flourish of its top talent rising from the doldrums to compete in a Willliams-sister-less tour? Click on the link above to find out.

(Image by AFP)

trophy watch: two-time charmers in nole & vika

Miami rising: Victoria Azarenka and Novak Djokovic are four-of-five on the Miami front, winning their respective title matches over the weekend and capturing their second title, each. Nole took down Rafael Nadal in what many were calling the best match of the year so far, the Serb winning 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4). Vika had an easier time in the final, winning a shriek-fest against a resurgent Maria Sharapova, 6-1, 6-4.

TSF Vault: Nole kissing the cup in 2007

Four and one: Novak won this title way back in 2007, beating (remember this guy?!) Guillermo Canas. Djoko would lose in the ’08 final to Andy Murray. Oh, and BTW: Nole is now 24-0 on the year. As for Azarenka, the Belarussian scrapped together a title just in time, so it seems. After starting the year a precocious 9-5 she won six straight matches in Key Biscayne, including victories over Kim Clijsters and Vera Zvonareva in the run up to the title. Azarenka won this tournament in 2009, beating Serena Williams in an odd final. Comebined, Djokovic and she are 4-1 in Miami title matches.

(Images via Getty Images)

sunday survey: who wore it best?

It’s been a week (ten days) of fashion fun in Miami. This is always the part of the season where players try out a little something new on the court after their Aussie kits have been worn and they gear up for the clay and grass court swings. Color? Obvi! It’s Miami. There’s one thing that never changes in Key Biscayne: the overhang on the suite boxes. We love the sea green, evergreen and ligh pink/peach hue of the pattern that has been a part of this tourney as long as we can remember. It screams Miami.

Here’s a review of what we saw this week in Miami. Vote for your fave in the poll below.

Glam gals: Vika and Caro rock the Player Party with help from Oriflame.

Seriously Novak: Djoko and Tacchini have no more love for dragons or snakes.

Gold gets gutsy: From Maria to Dinara and Radek, players were sporting the gold (trim).

Is that a hole? Or are you… : Our self-styled “Peekaboo Street” was quite busy in Key Biscayne.

Fashion for a cause: Kim lends her hand(writing) to Japan.

Gnarly in neon: He’s a bright boy, that Rafa.

(Image by Getty Images)

fashion focus: novak and tacchini get serious

Serious business: Gone are the wings and the dragon motifs that started Novak Djokovic‘s partnership with Sergio Tacchini. They’re instead relying on a combination of piping, color blocking, and textures (with matching shoes) to create a more sophisticated look for the current world No. 2.

Buy: Tacchini Santese Polo, white/blue/red or black/orange/gray, $80. Shoes: adidas Barricade 6.0, $125; customizable version, $150, miadidas.com.

Miami: After defeating Mardy Fish 6-3, 6-1 in the semis of the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Nole awaits the winner of the match between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. In head-to-head stats, Nole’s up 3-0 against Roger (with wins in Melbourne, Dubai, and Indian Wells) and 1-0 against Rafa (Indian Wells). As we’d said before, we’re banking on Djokovic remaining undefeated at least through the rest of this tournament. (SEO Draw: See how the event has unfolded.)

(images via Getty Images)

ferrer's manic miami moment

Don’t cry for me: The pronunciation of David Ferrer‘s name is being butchered by newscasters across America as news stations run footage of him belting a ball up into the crowd on Wednesday out of frustration that a baby was crying. Well, that wasn’t the only reason, but Ferrer’s dismal, straight-set loss to Mardy Fish was just that: frustrating.

eureka: gold in miami

No Aravanes were hurt in the making of these clothes: Even with Aravane Rezai out early at the Sony Ericsson Open — the 20th seed got upset by Peng Shuai in her opener — golden fashion lived on via Maria (Nike); in that flattering Sergio Tacchini dress on Dinara Safina; in the simple details of Radek Stepanek‘s normally eccentric clothes from Alea; and on Marcel Granollers‘ crew, by Joma.

(images via Getty Images)

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)