vika, ‘encouraged’ by serena, celebrates cincy with champers



Moet & Chandon Celebrates The 2013 Western & Southern Open

World No. 2 Victoria Azarenka added another chapter to her rivalry with Serena Williams when they faced off at the 2013 Western & Southern Open this past Sunday. Azarenka edged Serena 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (8-6) to increase her head-to-head against the 16-time Grand Slam champion to… 3-12. Azarenka can take comfort in that stat, though, with 2 of those 3 wins against Serena coming in matches played this year.

In their trophy ceremony, Azarenka was awarded a Jeroboam of Moët & Chandon Imperial, which she asked Serena if she should open. “I was encouraging her,” said Serena in the post-match conference, being careful to point out that it was Azarenka’s idea to spray the champagne on the court.

“She did [encourage],” Vika said. “She said, ‘yeah, you should pop it.’ I was like, I know, I want to, but I need to get more practice because I felt like I’m not directing it too well.” Seems like you did just fine, Vika!

Further Reading: More on the friendly rivalry between the top two ladies.

(Photo courtesy of Moet)

adding a hall of fame layer to world tennis day



Tennis Hall of Fame logo

Packing It In: Since all eyes (in theory) will be on tennis on March 4 — that’s World Tennis Day — it couldn’t hurt to highlight just one more facet of our sport. At the BNP Paribas Showdown in New York City, the 2013 inductees to the International Tennis Hall of Fame will be honored in a Center Celebration on the night of the exhibition. This year’s nominees: Martina Hingis, Michael Stich, Helena Sukova, Thelma Coyne Long, Cliff Drysdale, Charlie Pasarell, and Ion Tiriac.

WTD at MSG? BNP. And apart from the parade of vets will be a two-match line-up that will pit Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka (they’ve now played two three-setters in a row!) and Juan Martin del Potro against Rafael Nadal. This will be Nadal’s first American appearance since returning from his 8-month absence dating back from last year’s Wimbledon. Info: Tickets and other info on the BNP Paribas Showdown available at their website.

HOF: The Hall of Fame Class of 2013 will be inducted on July 13, 2013.

the female HOATs of all time: a fine list of tennis girls to ogle



In case you are wondering why there is only a list of male of HOATs here on TSF, it’s because none of the writers had ever thought about writing up the women in that way. And so here I am with the tall task of balancing out our HOAT list with the WTAers that are catching my eyes:
  1. Victoria Azarenka
  2. Maria Kirilenko
  3. Ana Ivanovic
  4. Maria Sharapova
  5. Mandy Minella

What do you think? Who did I miss? I ask you readers to complement my list! (Well, to be fair, I just want to see who I am missing from my small list that I can include on the next update!)

And yes, this article is really worthless without pics, so happy ogling!

trophy watch: hello to rafa, goodbye to san jose, and the ladies switch it up



Juan Martin del Potro defeats Julien Benneteau in 2013 Rotterdam tennis event

ABN AMRO: Juan Martin del Potro was last man standing at the ABN AMRO WTT, the stacked ATP 500-series event in Rotterdam led by tournament director Richard Krajicek which saw Roger Federer ousted by finalist Julien Benneteau and had semifinal runs by Gilles Simon and Grigor Dimitrov. Delpo earned his 14th career title by downing Benneteau 7-6(2), 6-3.

Qatar Total Open 2013 trophies: Serena Williams vs. Victoria Azarenka

Vika wins two: The plot thickens in the battle at the top of the women’s game between Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams. At this past week’s Qatar Total Open, contested in Doha, Serena regained the No. 1 ranking but Azarenka notched her second career win over Williams (in 13 tries) and defended her Doha title. The scoreline: 7-6(6) 2-6, 6-3. Azarenka is taking the week off to heal a foot injury, while Serena is playing in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Serena praised Victoria for her work in the final:

“I always respect Victoria. I think she’s a really good player. Obviously she’s so consistent and she plays well. She’s such a solid player. It’s nice to always play someone and go home and you’re like, ‘Okay, I didn’t do great, but let me work harder.’ I think that she inspires a lot of people to work harder, and definitely me.”

2013 SAP Open - San Jose - Trophy - Milos Raonic defeats Tommy Haas

Bon voyage: The final edition of the 125-year-old SAP Open, held in San Jose, Calif., featured a three-peat for top seed, and two-time defending champ Milos Raonic. He defeated fourth seed Tommy Haas 6-4, 6-3. Raonic won all three titles without dropping a set.

Raonic, from Canada, wore a New Balance tee with a black-and-green print. “Today, I’m more of a complete player,” he said after winning the title. “I was able to put pressure on [Haas] in most of his service games. I was able to hold quite handily, which I’ve shown I can do in the past. I was able to create pressure every game. It wasn’t just one game. I was getting to a lot of deuce games.”

Rafael Nadal wins the 2013 Brasil Open

Chippin’ off the old block: The story of Rafael Nadal has finally come full circle. After disappearing from the circuit for about eight months after losing to Lukas Rosol in the early rounds of Wimbledon 2012, the Spaniard took home the Brasil Open (Sao Paolo) title last week. The 6-2, 6-3 victory over David Nalbandian was Nadal’s first since beating Novak Djokovic in the final of the 2012 French Open.

It’s all about the titles: “It’s very nice and important because at the end of your career what’s left are the titles,” Rafa reflected after his win, “and depending on certain moments there are some titles that you appreciate very much. This one I appreciate it the most because of all the struggles I went through during the week, with some problems with my knee some days.”

(Photo Credit: Rotterdam photo via ABN AMRO WTT Facebook; Nadal photo via Brasil Open; San Jose photo via SAP Open website; Vika/Serena photo via Qatar Tennis Federation)

victoria azarenka wins the Qatar Total Open, gets serenaded by boyfriend



Victoria Azarenka has lost her top spot on the WTA Tour despite a hard fought tournament victory at the Qatar Total Open over Serena Williams. She lost the top spot to none other than: Serena Williams.

Serena had the advantage of having no points to defend during this stop in the Middle East, while Azarenka was defending points from last year’s tournament victory. And Azarenka managed to hold her own but was ultimately not able to keep that top spot; the Belarusian succesfully defended her Dubai title beating Williams with a 7-6 (6), 2-6, 6-3 victory.

Now lots of things have been happening to Victoria Azarenka. Most notably the entourage that travels with her has now expanded with a plus one: LMFAO frontman Redfoo and Azarenka are reportedly dating and on Valentines day Redfoo even made Azarenka a Valentines video. He wouldn’t just set it to private but really shared the whole thing with the world.



And it’s not just that, Redfoo also dedicated a song to Victoria Azarenka after her win over Serena Williams called “I’ll Award You With My Body.”



As cute as the song is, I’d rather take home that $426,000 check of the Qatar Total Open.