June 5th, 2015

Friday Tennis Blog: Can Serena Beat the Flu and Safarova for Greatest French Win Ever?

Friday Blog


bryans vogue

The Bryans in Vogue magazine with a confused model (photo: Annie Leibovitz)

How competitive are the Bryan brothers? Mike, according to the Wall Street Journal, thought he could beat his money manager so he wrote a six-figure check and started trading. Bob thought he could beat both of them, so he did the same. Soon they were spending all their free time trading and researching stocks. “Any stock that Mike would buy, I would see bad news and I would come floating into the locker room laughing, saying, ‘Did you see what happened? The CEO just resigned!’” Bob said. The entertaining article by veteran writer Tom Perrotta also details some of their many off-court (sometimes physical) tussles, and how letting it all out makes the 37-year-old twins better teammates and the longest-lasting team on tour. “If you played with your brother every day of the year, I’m sure stuff would happen,” Mike says.


mike bryan mattek-sands

2015 French Open mixed doubles winners Mike Bryan and Bethanie Mattek-Sands

Outside of Serena Williams’ hot singles spotlight, Americans have been finding additional success at Roland Garros this week. The top-seeded Bryan brothers reached the men’s final where they will face No. 3 seeds Ivan Dodig/Marcelo Melo. And Mike Bryan on Thursday also teamed with fellow American and Florida-raised Bethanie Mattek-Sands to win the mixed title, beating Lucie Hradecka/Marcin Matkowski. In the boys’ singles, three of the four semifinalists are American. Michael Mmoh (who beat fellow American Reilly Opelka in the quarters) will face Tommy Paul in an all-American semi, and the No. 2-seeded Taylor Fritz will meet French No. 4 seed Corentin Denolly in the other semifinal. The girls’ semifinals contain one American, No. 4 seed CiCi Bellis who will face No. 16-seeded Russian Anna Kalinskaya. Coral Gables’ Katerina Stewart, the No. 3 seed, was upset in the quarterfinals by the No. 12 seed on Thursday. 


nadal watch

Three-quarters of a million? Looks like it’s worth barely over $500,000 to us.

The Wall Street Journal wants to remind you that Rafael Nadal wears a watch during matches that costs more than you will make in your lifetime…Rory McIlroy is dating a Floridian, going public for the first time with a relationship since breaking up with Caroline WozniackiDave “The Koz” Kozlowski, spotted at last weekend’s USTA Florida/USPTA Florida joint meeting in Naples, is back with a new tennis show on Florida TV…Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis gets the award for the most obscene, unsportsmanlike celebration after beating countryman Bernard Tomic at the French Open?…Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison is tennis’ savior in Indian Wells, Calif., setting a new standard for opulence.

Serena Scrapes Into French Final Against First-timer Safarova

serena itf dinner

Serena Williams at the ITF champions dinner in Paris on Tuesday in a dress borrowed from pal Caroline Wozniacki

For three matches in a row during the French fortnight, world No. 1 Serena Williams needed to win a match from a set down — so why change a winning formula?

On Thursday the younger Williams sister rallied from 4-6 down after the first set to defeat No. 23-seeded Swiss Timea Bacsinszky 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 to reach the final at Roland Garros. Bacsinszky led 6-4 and up a break 3-2 before the American stormed back with 10 games in a row to close out the match.

Williams, who says she is battling a flu bug, is now a win away from her 20th Grand Slam title, which would be the third all-time after Margaret Court (24) and Steffi Graf (22). In the final she will face Czech No. 13 seed Lucie Safarova, who earlier in the tournament upended defending champ Maria Sharapova, and in the semis defeated former Roland Garros champ Ana Ivanovic 7-5, 7-5.

“It’s slowly sinking in and it’s just amazing,” said Safarova, 0-8 career against Serena, on her first Grand Slam final appearance. “The happiness is unreal. It’s my 12th year on tour, and to reach this finally, you appreciate it much more.”

They Said It

nadal arguing

Rafael Nadal not liking what he’s hearing from chair umpire Carlos Bernardes

“This is not a good precedent to set. Having said that, if I knew that I had the option to request time away from an umpire or two in my time on tour I would have used it quite often.”
Jim Courier on Rafael Nadal successfully requesting of the French Open that chair umpire Carlos Bernardes not officiate any of his matches, speaking to the New York Times

“You kind of see, maybe, sometimes the good juniors are a little lazy. A little, kind of, like, ‘I’m talented; it’s fine; it’s no big deal.’ But he puts in the work.”
Steve Johnson on fellow American and up-and-coming pro Frances Tiafoe

“If I said the same things I say to Mike to any other individual, the partnership would be done in five minutes. It’s why we’re able to keep our level so high, because we cut through the crap.”
Bob Bryan on the power of twins playing doubles, speaking to the Wall Street Journal

Tennis on TV This Weekend

7-11am — French Open Men’s Semifinal (live), Tennis Channel
11am-2pm — French Open Men’s Semifinal (live), Tennis Channel, NBC

9am-1pm — French Open Women’s Final (live), NBC

9am-2pm — French Open Men’s Final (live), NBC