March 21st, 2014
Friday Tennis Blog: Win Wimbledon Tix; Coo Coo for Cuoco
Standing in line for Wimbledon tickets? That’s for chumps. How about winning a three-day visit to London including a pair of Centre Court tickets for Saturday, June 28, 2014 with flights, hotel and accommodations, and a tour of Wimbledon courtesy of ESPN? All you have to do is design the winning poster for 2014 Wimbledon. The official Wimbledon poster has been a commemorative part of Wimbledon history since 1894, and now you, an American with no appreciation for the exquisite blandness of British food, can say “I designed that!” as you bask in the sunshine (or more likely overcast-ness) of Centre Court, confused as to why the “r” and the “e” are reversed in “Centre.” The competition closes on March 25, so break out your box of Crayolas and head here for full contest details.
Former University of Florida standout and former US Open junior winner Ryan Sweeting is making a comeback from injury, and as a bonus, where the 26-year-old goes, so goes his new bride, “Big Bang Theory” actress Kaley Cuoco. Sweeting received a wildcard this week at the USTA Pro Circuit event in Calabasas, Calif. The event will also host a “Kaley Cuoco & Friends Exhibition” with celebrities and pro players taking part. Cuoco is a formerly-ranked junior player, and the two, introduced by Mike Bryan, have been married now approximately three months. The LA Times reported the couple just bought Khloe Kardashian’s old Tarzana home for $5.5 million. In other Florida-pro-player news, 16-year-old Stefan Kozlov is in the main draw of the same Calabasas event, as is former UF player Sekou Bangoura.
As long as the Bryan brothers are playing pro tennis, the debate surrounding doubles specialists vs. top singles players will keep firing. It was lit again over the weekend as the Bryans won the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, coming out on top of a doubles field that contained a number of the top singles players, among them Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. En route to the title they beat their fellow American team of John Isner and Sam Querrey. Along with touting the Bryans, one must point out that Rafael Nadal won the Indian Wells doubles title in 2010 and 2012 with Marc Lopez, and Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish won the doubles title in 2009 on the top-singles-player side. Wawrinka, who won Olympic gold with Federer in doubles, says people will always love to speculate on doubles-only vs. top-singles-playing-doubles player supremacy. “I think it’s a question that we can always ask and always talk about because we don’t even know the answer,” said the Swiss. He then added, “I really feel that — and it seems maybe a little bit terrible — but I really think when I’m playing with Roger and we play good we have the chance to beat everybody.” “Fed-rinka” aren’t playing doubles together this week in Miami. For the record, Federer-Wawrinka beat the Bryans in their only meeting, 7-6(6), 6-4 en route to the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
AMERICANS IN MIAMI
The Sony Open in Miami is underway and Americans, especially the women, have made a strong start.
Eight out the 10 women who have played thus far won their first round matches, and eight American women remain alive is play continues Friday in the second and third rounds. The best effort thus far belongs to qualifier Coco Vandeweghe who has won two rounds, downing No. 21 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. She will next meet No. 16 seed and former US Open champ Sam Stosur.
World No. 1 Serena Williams made a winning start to her title effort on Thursday, but had anything but an easy time subduing Yaroslava Shvedova 7-6(7), 6-2, coming back from a break down late in the first set.
“She was playing really, really well,” Williams said. “When she was up a break I really tried to fight to make the shots. And when she was serving for the first set, I just tried to be more Serena-like. She was doing a little bit of everything today — she was hitting hard, she was hitting soft, she was doing a little bit of everything. I was making a few more errors than what I should have made, and that really kind of threw me for a loop during the match as well.”
Five of the seven American men remain alive as they play into the second round, with No. 10 seed John Isner facing fellow American Donald Young.
For what has to be a Sony Open first, no American men are in the bottom half of the 96-player draw — all Americans were drawn in the top half.
Here are the American results entering Friday play:
(10) John Isner vs. Donald Young
Donald Young d. Carlos Berlocq (ARG), next vs. (10) John Isner
Sam Querrey d. Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR), next vs. (18) Nicolas Almagro (ESP)
Bradley Klahn lost to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP)
(Q) Steve Johnson lost to Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP)
(Q) Jack Sock d. Guido Pella (ARG), next vs. (12) Milos Raonic (CAN)
(WC) Ryan Harrison d. Federico Delbonis (ARG), next vs. (LL) Benjamin Becker (GER)
(1) Serena Williams d. Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ), next vs. Caroline Garcia (FRA)
(17) Sloane Stephens vs. Zarina Diyas (KAZ)
(29) Venus Williams vs. Anna Schmiedlova (SVK)
Christina McHale d. Jie Zheng (CHN), next vs. (24) Kaia Kanepi (EST)
Madison Keys d. (WC) Anett Kontaveit (EST), next vs. (31) Daniela Hantuchova (SVK)
Vania King d. Estrella Cabeza Candella (ESP), lost to (26) Lucie Safarova (CZE)
Lauren Davis d. Shuai Zhang, lost to (12) Ana Ivanovic (SRB)
Bethanie Mattek-Sands lost to Elina Svitolina (UKR)
Alison Riske d. Nadiya Kichenok (UKR), next vs. (32) Elena Vesnina (RUS)
Varvara Lepchenko d. Yanina Wickmayer (BEL), next vs. (7) Jelena Jankovic (SRB)
(Q) Coco Vandeweghe d. Marina Erakovic (NZL), d. (21) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS), next vs. (16) Sam Stosur (AUS)
(WC) Vicky Duval lost to (Q) Kiki Bertens (NED)
THEY SAID IT
“What the men have created is one of a kind. It really is so unique to anything the sport has experienced in so many years, and that’s what everyone has to realize. This might never be replicated, or it might take a really long time. The level of tennis they created, the rivalries, the expectations from the fans is amazing.”
— Maria Sharapova on the “Big Four” — Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray — who have collectively won 34 of the last 36 Grand Slam titles since 2005.
“It was a time in my life I felt very over-matched by big cities and cultures and add on top of that playing on a surface that was very foreign to me, I felt like an intruder in the very event I was playing in. The way it worked as far as court times, not to mention being dispatched by [Henri] Leconte in 47 minutes didn’t add to my experience on Court Two. Really I just felt like I was playing in an overgrown doll’s house.”
— Andre Agassi on playing Wimbledon for the first time in 1987, speaking to Tennis.com. He skipped the event for the following three years.
TENNIS ON TV THIS WEEKEND
11am-11pm — ATP/WTA Miami (live), Tennis Channel
Sunday, March 23
11am-11pm — ATP/WTA Miami (live), Tennis Channel