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Australian Open Goes Back in Time 1

Posted on January 27, 2017 by Dean Hybl
Much has happened since Rafael Nadal defeated a tearful Roger Federer in the 2009 Australian Open Final.

Much has happened since Rafael Nadal defeated a tearful Roger Federer in the 2009 Australian Open Final.

If you didn’t know better, you might think the Australian Open being shown these days on ESPN was a replay from 2007, not the 2017 version. With Venus and Serena Williams set to meet in the women’s final and  Roger Federer facing Rafael Nadal in the men’s final, the tournament definitely feels like Old-Timers Day.

It is hard to say which performance is the most surprising.

Given her constant physical battle with Sjögrens Syndrome, you can perhaps give the nod for most impressive performance to Venus Williams. Though she did not have to face any of the top women’s players in the draw during her run to the finals, it is still impressive that the 36-year-old Venus is back in a Grand Slam final for the first time since 2009 and the first at a tournament other than Wimbledon since reaching the Australian Open final in 2003.

The only performance so far during the Australian Open that isn’t much of a surprise is that of second seed Serena Williams. Shooting for her 23rd Grand Slam title and seventh Australian Open crown, Serena has again been dominant and will be facing her older sister in a grand slam final for the ninth time.

Serena has claimed six of the previous eight finals matchups, including a three-set victory in the 2003 Australian Open. The last time the two met in a Grand Slam Final was the 2009 Wimbledon final when Serena won in straight sets. Read the rest of this entry →

Triumphs in Tennis: What is Expected in the U.S. Open This Year 0

Posted on August 06, 2015 by Brooke Chaplan
All eyes will be on Serena Williams and her attempt at the grand slam.

All eyes will be on Serena Williams and her attempt at the calendar year grand slam.

One of the great locations to watch Grand Slam tennis is Flushing Meadows, especially when the match is close and the atmosphere becomes electric in a distinctly New York kind of way. The best seat in the house is in the elevated bleachers high above the baseline inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, as you get up-close and personal with some of the best players in the world.

Tennis is a sport with a long season full of ups and downs for players. Studying for an online masters in coaching shows how professional athletes like these must survive the mentally and physically grueling pace of the games. The U.S. Open begins August 31st and is scheduled through September 13th of this year. A lot is expected from the players, and here are a few determined to do well.

Serena Is the Talk of Broadway
One of the themes that has emerged on the WTA Tour this year is that Serena Williams is capable of blasting the competition off the tennis court. Her play has become increasingly aggressive with each passing Grand Slam, and it is pretty clear that a triumphant win at the U.S. Open would be a great achievement for Williams. She has made a career of surpassing expectations and frustrating opponents and is capable of doing it again in Flushing Meadows. The tennis world is longing for this type of a compelling story, and there’s no one more qualified to pull this off than Williams herself.
Read the rest of this entry →

The Most Dramatic Wimbledon Upsets of the Modern Era 7

Posted on June 30, 2012 by JA Allen

Kukas Rosol upset Rafael Nadal in the 2nd Round of Wimbledon

As a society, we love upsets—when the decided underdog comes up big to knock off the reportedly sure winner. It levels the playing field for that brief moment and we all feel empowered.

So, when Lukas Rosol sent Rafael Nadal home during their second round match at the All-England Club on Thursday, it marked a true upset. One of the most startling exits at Wimbledon in recent years.

As Rosol remarked in his post-match interview, Nadal is only human.

As such, even the great Nadal has some moments when he does not play his best for whatever reason pundits can determine.

For his part, Nadal had not looked comfortable at all during his early round matches at Wimbledon in 2012; but no one suspected that the world No. 2 could be defeated at this point of the Wimbledon fortnight.

As we look back surveying previous Wimbledon tournaments, determining upsets is a matter of degrees. Whenever the unexpected happens, we call that an upset.

We will use that criteria for discussing some of the greatest Wimbledon upsets in the history of the Modern Era in tennis.

The matches discussed here are listed in chronological order.

The debate about which upset is the most shocking will be saved for a later day.

Certainly this upset of Nadal on Centre Court in 2012 ranks right up there as one of the most shocking.

Read the rest of this entry →

2012 French Open: Who Will Shine, Maria Sharapova or Serena Williams? 38

Posted on May 25, 2012 by JA Allen

The French Open gets underway on Sunday with Sharapova one of the favorites.

Finally, grand slam No. 2 gets underway Sunday, May 27, 2012 in Paris.

Thankfully, it marks the end of the ever-increasingly dull, dusty and predictable clay court season for the men.

While watching men play tennis on clay is second only to watching the grass grow, the women have presented far more entertainment on the clay in terms of survivors—overlooking the shrieking, sliding and assault of injuries.

Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova enter this year’s French Open as the early favorites according to the latest news centered on the ladies draw for the second grand slam of the season.

Of the two, most look to Serena Williams to conquer the clay this season. The fact remains, however, that Serena Williams has not done so for a decade. The last time the younger Williams sister won the French Open title was in 2002. It turned out to be her only trip to the final, falling short in each of her other nine attempts.

Sharapova, on the other hand, has never yet made a final on the grounds of Stade Roland Garros.

The reason pundits and fans find Williams the most probable champion is because there is no viable clear-cut favorite on clay. Roland Garros has crowned highly improbable champions every season since Belgian Justine Henin first retired for in 2008.

In 2008 Serbian beauty Ana Ivanovic stepped up large to claim the French Open crown and the No. 1 spot for the ladies. She quickly faded after leaving Paris when her game fell apart and her ranking slowly sank of sight.

Next up, Svetlana Kuznetsova skyrocketed from the field in 2009 to steal the championship away from fellow Russian Dinara Safina who also lost the final in 2008. But like Ivanovic before her, Kuznetsova could find no more magic after leaving the grounds of Roland Garros in 2009. Since winning in Paris, Kuznetsova has disappeared, her ranking slowly receding.

The feisty Italian Francesca Schiavone refused to lose in 2010 as she wrestled the championship away from a revitalized Samantha Stosur. The Aussie, after defeating the former French Open winner Justine Henin, followed by Serena Williams and Jelena Jankovic, could not quell the determination of Schiavone to seize the championship—her first at age 29.

But in 2011, Schiavone was the one who suffered defeat from an improbable source—Li Na of China who was also winning her first major. Like the three champions preceding her, however, Li Na suffered from post-French Open syndrome. Her game suffered and her ranking fell.

Read the rest of this entry →

Forecasting the Fortunes of the Top Seeds at the 2012 French Open 13

Posted on May 04, 2012 by JA Allen

The 2012 French Open gets underway on May 27, 2012

The clay-court season has offered few surprises so far for the men on tour.

Rafael Nadal has re-established his iron foothold on the red clay, offering his opponents a healthy dose of lethal backspin and Majorcan aggression. There is something about breathing red dust that instills Nadal with an air of invincibility few can overcome.

For the ladies, Queen Victoria Azarenka has bowed to few, trying to cement her grasp on the No. 1 ranking.

Losing only to Marion Bartoli at Indian Wells, Azarenka demonstrated no nervous tics or signs of relenting her perch at the top of the women’s game. That is, until she was buried under a siege of Russian ground strokes thrown at her by world No. 2  Marian Sharapova at Stuttgart.

Sharapova pulled the proverbial rug out from under Azarenka in Germany during the finals on Sunday, winning 6-1, 6-4.

The women’s top four players—Azarenka, Sharapova, Petra Kvitova and Agnieszka Radwanska appear to have established some sort of stability for the ladies, although certainly not on a par with the men’s top four—Novak Djokovic, Nadal, Roger Federer and  Andy Murray.

In a few weeks, both the men and the women will roll into Roland Garros for the second Grand Slam of the season.

Those at the top will continue to be favored to win, but there may be some surprises on the terre battue in Paris.

Read the rest of this entry →

Potential 4th Round Blockbusters at the 2012 Australian Open 5

Posted on January 20, 2012 by JA Allen

Victoria Azarenka is favored to win her first major down under.

As week one at the Australian Open in Melbourne draws to a close, there are some mouth-watering matches we earnestly pray will happen. They involve top-ranked players as well as aspiring new-comers hoping to reach the summit by upsetting those at the top.

We have already seen some heart-breakers like No. 6 seed Aussie Samantha Stosur stumbling out of the blocks as well as the top-ranked American Mardy Fish going out in the second round.

But when a door closes, a window opens. These upsets might unveil a new talent preparing his or her first full-fledged assault on a major.

As we head into round four, also called the round of 16, there are some challenging matches on tap—if only all the promised ones make it through the third round staging ground.

Following are the matches we sincerely hope will happen.

Read the rest of this entry →

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