April 11th, 2014

Friday Tennis Blog: U.S. Rolling, But Self-Described ‘Pathetic’ Isner Out

Friday Blog

Venus-Williams-jamba-img18933_668Venus Williams has the juice. The Jamba Juice. The Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., resident has opened yet another Jamba Juice franchise. “It is extremely exciting to open my fourth Jamba Juice location and continue expanding the brand’s presence in the DC metro area,” said the elder Williams sister. “I am pleased to know this location will have a positive impact on the local community through not only our products, but also through various programs and fundraisers.” Venus has a vested interest in the area as a member of the Washington Kastles World TeamTennis squad. Its all part of the growing empire for the former world No. 1, who owns her interior design firm V Starr Interiors. Written off by many after being hindered by Sjogren’s syndrome, Venus earlier this year won the Dubai title, and says she is still shooting for the 2016 Rio Olympics (and doubles title with Serena) and then a possible curtain call on the world of professional tennis. But does she get access to the Jamba Juice secret menu? Not to be outdone, Maria Sharapova is buying Supergoop.

James Blake thinks he is looking in a mirror with Will Ferrell at the 2009 Arthur Ashe Kid's Day

James Blake thinks he is looking in a mirror with Will Ferrell at the 2009 Arthur Ashe Kid’s Day

Last year’s fascinating ESPN “Outside the Lines” story “The Match Maker: Bobby Riggs, The Mafia and The Battle of the Sexes,” is being made into a movie, with funnyman Will Ferrell pegged to play the hustler Riggs. The movie will portray Riggs around the time of his “Battle of the Sexes” match with Billie Jean King which drew 50 million viewers in 1973. Riggs lost the match, but did he? Allegations that he bet against himself, had betting ties to the mafia who he was greatly in debt to, and was actually a booster of women’s rights all come into question. And why did Riggs not train for the match, and seemingly played to King’s strengths during it? According to Variety, “Ferrell is well known for being a major sports fan and is regularly seen on the sidelines of a USC football game or courtside for a Los Angeles Lakers basketball game. According to insiders, it was his passion for tennis that gave Chernin [production company] the idea to pursue him for the role of Riggs.”

Play DaysMarch is the USTA’s push for Plays Days and Play Events across the U.S., and now the world in the form of World Tennis Day celebrations. This year Florida nearly tripled the number of events held across the state in March, with all 17 USTA sections collectively reporting a 53 percent increase over last year. “A collaborative effort across our social media channels resulted in unified messaging and creative with all sections and industry partners posting with #WorldTennisDay,” said USTA national staff. “The USTA joined and added value to a trending conversation by using World Tennis Day as a catalyst to drive traffic to YouthTennis.com resulting in a six-fold increase in daily site visits on March 3rd.” Thanks to all Florida tennis providers, more than 100, who put on Play Days or Play Events and got kids and families active in March.

Isner Out but 3 Americans in Houston Quarterfinals

Americans have left their collective footprint all over the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship in Houston this week.Top-seeded and defending champion John Isner lost in his first match after a bye to Germany’s Dustin Brown, but three Americans are into today’s quarterfinals.

The dreadlocked Brown, originally from Jamaica, topped Isner 6-4, 6-7(7), 7-6, a loss that will knock the American out of the Top 10 when next week’s ranking are released. “I wasn’t feeling it tonight,” said Isner before apologizing to a tournament official for “my pathetic performance — I’m sorry you had to watch that.”

Leaving the biggest footprint on the Houston clay has been unseeded Donald Young, who blitzed American qualifier Ryan Harrison 6-0, 6-1 in the first round, and on Thursday ousted No. 6 seed Juan Monaco 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-3.

“I’ve never won two matches in a row [on clay]. Definitely not over a former Top 10 guy who wins most his matches on clay,” Young said. “It’s a big win for me and I’m just happy to move through.”

Young in the quarterfinals on Friday will meet No. 4 seed Fernando Verdasco, who on Thursday beat American wildcard Steve Johnson in a topsy-turvy meeting 6-0, 4-6, 6-3.

Another unseeded American, Jack Sock, moved into the quarters Thursday by defeating German Benjamin Becker 6-4, 6-3. On Friday he will face No. 3 seed Nicolas Almagro, who on Thursday beat American Mike Russell 6-2, 6-3.

Unseeded Sam Querrey is the third American in the quarters after Wednesday upsetting former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt. He will face Isner’s conqueror Brown in the quarters.

The top-seeded Bryan brothers, Bob and Mike, are into the doubles semifinals where on Friday they will face off against the unseeded Aussie team of Hewitt and Chris Guccione.

Also American Vania King remains alive at the WTA Copa Open Colsanitas in Bogota, Colombia. In the Friday quarterfinals the No. 6-seeded King will meet unseeded Columbian Mariana Duque-Marino for a spot in the semifinals against either No. 5 seed Caroline Garcia or unseeded Swiss Romina Oprandi.

They Said It

Jankovic3“Here, I want to look like a beast. I just want to look as scary as possible. I don’t want to look pretty and all nice and dolled up. For what? I’m going to get dirty and sweaty.”
— A laughing Jelena Jankovic last week at the WTA event in Charleston on why she no longer wears as much make-up on court

“I’m going to have Champagne, and I don’t even drink Champagne. But I’m just going to have it for the heck of it on the airplane…I’m going to walk around and dance with the cabin attendants.”
— German Andrea Petkovic after winning the Family Circle Cup title in Charleston

“I grew up with the Bryans (Mike and Bob) and we have been in each other’s lives forever. I remember Wayne saying my sons are going to be the No. 1 doubles players in the world when they were only 10, and that’s exactly what they did.”
Kaley Cuoco, star of “The Big Bang Theory” TV show, who played at the same tennis club at the Bryans growing up, speaking to The Examiner


Tennis on TV This Weekend

TV multi colorFriday
3pm — WTA Katowice (delay), Tennis Channel
7pm — ATP Houston (live), Tennis Channel
11pm — WTA Katowice (delay), Tennis Channel

2pm — ATP Houston (live), Tennis Channel
7pm — ATP Houston (live), Tennis Channel
8:30pm — WTA Katowice (delay), Tennis Channel

3pm — ATP Houston (live), Tennis Channel
5pm — WTA Katowice (delay), Tennis Channel