Archive for the ‘tennis’ Category

A co-worker labeled me as “our resident tennis expert” and I am still deciphering those words.

Guess I won’t be able to shed that label after pounding out a U.S. Open preview in 40 minutes.

The stellar tennis preview marks the return of Weekly Links — just one in this case: https://www.upi.com/Sports_News/Tennis/2017/08/27/2017-US-Open-preview-seedings-Rafael-Nadal-Roger-Federer-the-main-attractions/4621503877092/

Still trying to digest this “tennis expert” tag and whether I should view it as a compliment.

I mean, I didn’t even know what Stan Wawrinka looked like until a few weeks before he won the 2016 U.S. Open. And Agnieszka Radwanska was the No. 1 seed at a women’s tournament last week and I wouldn’t know who she was if she knocked on my door.

Oh yeah, I have never written the name of Novak Djokovic on this website. Well, until now.

I did attend the women’s tennis tournament at La Costa a few times before that event disappeared from the San Diego sports scene. But I wasn’t there covering people serving aces and delivering pinpoint backhands.

Oh yeah, I never paid admission either.

But click on the link and you will find the enticing angle of legends Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer possibly meeting for the first time at the U.S. Open should both reach the semifinals.

Let that sink in, those two guys have played 37 times and none of those meetings occurred at Arthur Ashe Stadium. And they have combined to win seven U.S. Open titles – five by Federer.

The women’s draw is far less compelling with Serena Williams away due to pregnancy. Neither of the top two seeds – No. 1 Karolina Pliskova and No. 2 Simona Halep – have won a Grand Slam event and both have developed a reputation for wilting under the pressure of the big-time events.

Oh wait, that bordered on something a tennis aficionado would know.

Hmmm, going to be hard to shake this label.

It makes me think about covering the Crew Classic rowing regatta in San Diego five or six times. Heck, spending a Sunday on Crown Shores Point wasn’t the worst spring-time gig but now I wonder if the former co-workers were calling me “our resident rowing expert” behind my back.

Yeah, certainly, the saying things behind my back part probably rings true. But please leave rowing expert out of the sentence.

Back to tennis — did you know if you Google Caroline Wozniacki, you find about 40 pictures of her in a bikini for each one in a tennis outfit?

She happens to be the No. 5 seed at the U.S. Open. And she’s 0-6 in finals this season.

There you go, the top-flight info that only a tennis expert can provide.

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Are you familiar with Petra Kvitova? No?

Perhaps you should get familiar. She is one of the best sports stories of the year.

The two-time Wimbledon champion probably won’t win an ESPY because ESPN doesn’t know there are other athletes not named LeBron or Gronk.

But wow, the left-handed Kvitova is quite an inspiration after returning to tennis just five months after her left hand and forearm were severely damaged in a knife attack at her home in the Czech Republic.

Kvitova fought off the attacker in the Dec. 20 incident and underwent nearly four hours of surgery. Her tennis future was in severe doubt and she still doesn’t have full use of the hand.

Full details of the injury, the attack and the path of her return are detailed in this stellar story — http://www.sportsxchange.com/tsxfiles/?page_id=211&max_colums=20&story_id=167504

But there she was Sunday playing in the French Open, well ahead of schedule, and turning Roland Garros into a highly emotional tennis wonderland. And Kvitova not only played, she won her match 6-3, 6-2 over American Julia Boserup in her first time on a court since November.

“This match is special to me. I won for the second time, if I can say,” Kvitova said after her match. “I think I played well after six months off. I’m happy with the game, of course, but I mean, it wasn’t really about the game today.”

Kvitova’s attacker hasn’t been found so she treads carefully when discussing the attack. But her courageous return and first-round performance speak volumes.

She is highly popular on the women’s tennis tour and has received a ton of support. One of the social media congratulations on Sunday came from Boserup — the player Kvitova cruised past.

“Congratulations to @Petra_Kvitova for so much more than winning a tennis match today,” Boserup said on her Twitter account.

Hey, can you imagine LeBron congratulating somebody on the Warriors when the Cavaliers lose a game in the NBA Finals?

Neither can I.

LeBron can have all the ESPN love but it’s no contest when it comes to which athlete packs a more inspirational story.

It is Petra Kvitova in a landslide.

John Isner finally completed an 11-hour, five-minute first-round victory over three days that represents his first-ever Wimbledon victory.

His reward?

A second-round match on Friday.

Good luck.

Actually, it doesn’t matter how Isner fares in the second-round against Thiemo De Bakker. He and Nicolas Mahut have already made the 2010 version of Wimbledon a tournament to remember.

About the only thing that could top their five-set marathon – Isner won the final set, 70-68 – would be another classic title match like last year’s 30-game final set between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick.

I don’t want to jinx Isner and cause another marathon match but I did notice that De Bakker also was involved in a pretty lengthy first-round match. He defeated Santiago Giraldo 16-14 in the final set of a match featuring 74 games.

Of course, that falls far short of the record 183 games it took Isner to edge Mahut. The previous record for games played was 112. The match lasted 4 1/2 hours longer than the previous record long match of six hours, 33 minutes.

The more I think about it, Isner and De Bakker could be playing for a long time if neither one is out of gas.

Here are some of the “vital statistics” provided by http://www.wimbledon.org

Match duration: 11 hours, five minutes
Fifth set duration: Eight hours, 11 minutes
Total number of games: 183
Fifth set number of games: 138
Total number of points: 980
Isner aces: 112
Mahut aces: 103
Combined aces: 215
Isner winners: 246
Mahut winners: 244

Here’s Wednesday’s MrSportsBlog report that chronicled the first 10 hours of the match: https://mrsportsblog.wordpress.com/2010/06/23/historic-wimbledon-match-may-never-end/

John Isner and Nicolas Mahut will finish off their epic Wimbledon first-round singles match on Thursday.

Maybe.

The two men’s tennis players were supposed to complete their match on Wednesday after it was suspended on Tuesday night due to darkness.

Didn’t happen.

Oh, they played on Wednesday. And played … and played … and played … and played some more.

Nothing was decided even though they hit volleys and served aces and made dramatic shots for seven hours and six minutes.

The two players are tied 59-59 in the fifth set in one of the most unbelievable tennis matches ever played.

They have played 10 hours of tennis over two days, easily breaking the previous record of six minutes, 33 seconds for a match set at the 2004 French Open when Fabrice Santoro defeated Arnaud Clement.

Think about that, the fifth set has gone on longer than the previous record for an entire match.

The festivities began Tuesday like a typical tennis match. Isner won the first set 6-4 before Mahut notched 6-3 and 7-6(7) victories. Isner that won the fourth set 7-6(3) to even the match at 2-2.

They took the court Wednesday to play the decisive final set. Only it kept going … and going … and going.

Got to love those kind Wimbledon officials – Isner was scheduled to play doubles on Wednesday but the match was postponed as the singles’ match stretched on and on. And on and on and on.

Isner and Mahut played 118 games of tennis during a single set on Wednesday – the previous record for an entire match was 112 games – in an unbelievable display of endurance and mental strength.

It’s hard to believe either player having anything left for a second-round match … oh wait, they still have this first-round marathon to finish.

Perhaps it’s better to label this match an Ironman competition than a marathon.

You may remember the terrific Wimbledon final last year where Roger Federer outlasted Andy Roddick in a marathon fifth set. That seemingly never-ending final set concluded at 30 games – 16-14 in Federer’s favor.

Isner and Mahut played 88 more games than that on Wednesday alone.

Remarkable. Incredible. Amazing. Epic.                                    

Whatever word you pick, nothing fully describes what is transpiring between these two players.

The historic match will continue Thursday, we know that much.

But the real question is this: Will it end on Thursday?