Friday, 9 March 2012

I still love you.

Fanatic Omes:

Ok I've been M.I.A for so long that Bucky Dun Gun keeps coming up on my ipod. 

Truth is I found it really hard to recover from what Tennis did to me at the Australian Open final. Tennis broke my heart, stomped on the pieces then fed them to a lion. And so I needed my space. But I'm willing to give Tennis a second chance. 

I'll be waiting at Indian Wells; don't let me down.

Emo out.


Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Why Rafa's fans should smile

Fanatic Omes:

7-5 for the first set,
0-40 down in the fourth set - 2 winners, 2 un-returnable serves and an ace,
7-6 for the fourth set having been down 3-5 in the tiebreak,
In the fifth, break point saved at 4-4 and 5-5,
Break point when Djokovic served for the title,
67% first serves, 10 aces, 5 sets, 5 hours 53 minutes.
Longest Slam final in history.

Novak Djokovic is out of Rafael Nadal's head.


(Pic: AP)

Monday, 30 January 2012

Vika takes it all

Neutral Omes:

It was an unsurprisingly nervy start from Vika, broken in her first service game by Maria. For those few minutes it looked like a case of "well done for making it to the final, Vika, but the stage is too big for you". Besides, in this particular case the last person you want to see opposite you is Maria. But when Vika finally did get on the board, the nerves disappeared and I don't think anyone was prepared for the way she was going to take it to Maria. From then on the Belarussian, never looked back. 

Both women have similar game styles, looking to be the aggressor all the time – all shots were attempted winners, but Vika's landed in more often than Maria's. And with a 71% break point conversion, she clearly took every opportunity.

Vika has been the form player throughout the tournament, blitzing everything and everyone in her path early on, and when adversity was thrown at her - in the form of Radwanska, she held her cool. Her semi-final against Clijsters was another turning point - after a roller-coaster of a match, she took control of her nerves to serve out the win - it was here that she showed she had what it takes mentally.

That mental temperament was there for the final– the occasion didn’t phase her. And when your mind shows up your body follows. It was almost surprising just how sharp she was (her off-court work clearly paid off) – moving Maria around, playing with variety and dictating everything. Like it wasn't her maiden Slam final and it wasn't Maria Sharapova at the other side of the net.  It must be said it wasn’t Maria's day, but Vika took advantage of that and played her into submission and failure. She took Maria's game away, and in that 2nd set, she took Maria's games away.

When Maria netted that final ball, Vika sank to her knees in disbelief, coming to the realization that she actually has what it takes to win a Slam. And with her first major title and being crowned the new number 1, she’s taken it all. 

(Pic: AP)

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Quick semifinal thoughts

Fanatic Omes:

I'm going to make this quick as I am quivering at the thought of the final, I can hardly keep my food down, much less type.

Fedal Fireworks

What can I say? Rafa DEF has his swagger back. He was unpredictable changed direction of the ball nicely - something he was majorly lacking at then end of last year, no? His mind was there in the clutch moments. And hello passing shots! (See video above.) Roger was always there but his ball found the net far too often at far too important moments. He did everything right, but when your guy hits a frankly ridonkadonk MISS-HIT lob and it lands on the baseline, break point down, only for you to smash it into the doubles alley, it's just not your day.

There was naturally some exceptional tennis from the pair of them – this wasn’t a Fedal that was over-hyped. It was thrilling, riveting and truly lived up to expectations. 

Novandy...wait no I prefer Andak

The match started so slow, I actually aged. There seemed to be 4 players and 3 matches out there. Nole vs Nole, Andy vs Andy and Nole vs Andy. At times the match turned cray (for lack of a better word), with questionable shot selections all over the shop - we litch didn’t know what was happening – whether one or both was suffering physically and mentally or d) all of the above.

But the dreadful start was blitzed by the titanic end – there was so much tension, heart and guts. And there was no clear winner till that last game.

Andy has definitely grown - it's safe to say he's arrived mentally. What let him down was that he didn’t take his chances earlier, but he did take some and that's a step up. He is proud and so are we. 

And damn you Nole. You're brilliant.

Closing remarks

It's rare and a privilege to have titanic back to back semis between the world’s best players. It was fun. Now excuse me while I check into Vomitville.
(Vid: ESPN on YouTube)

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Aussie Open quarter-final musings

Fanatic Omes:

Lopsided quarters

With important seeds being booted out in Petra, Masha and Andy's draws, there were three cases of heavyweight/lightweight match-ups.The great thing about this? It allowed for some much coveted sleep time. Sleep is for the me.

How Rafa got his groove back

It took Tomas Berdych, a bad call from Carlos Bernardes and a lucky break in the second set to ignite el pasion in Rafa. He acknowledged he started nervous and that at times he stood "20m behind the baseline" and for a while it looked as though Tomas was going to pull off the upset. Tomas played excellently, he was so solid, error free and tactically sound for most of the match, I wanted to punch him in the face. But when Rafa's gets as animated as he did, it's tough to get past him.

Having been robbed of the 1st set (shhh, I'm a fan) but catching a break in the 2nd - it was like he was battling his 2011 demons in that moment and managed to break free of the mental prison that Novak threw him in last year. He then when on to play how he should for the next two sets- stepping up on the baseline; hitting flatter and harder. Credit to Tomas who by no means disappeared for the rest of the match, but listen to what Rafa said:

"The most important thing I had the calm".

You guys.

No. 1 no more

Kim (who's ankle thankfully held up enough) showed Caro how it's done. The defending champ just had too much game for Caro, who even Hingis, urged to "step forward". Caro remained optimistic afterwards though, remarking that time was on her side. Whether that was a dig at Kimmie or not, we'll never know. Caro's now Slamless and no. 1-less. Who knows, maybe the loss of her beloved no.1 will spark the necessary change in her game.

Ferrer's disbelief

Daveeed had us going there for a minute. With his unrelenting brand of tennis he was able to make Nole look human for the first 2 sets. He could and should have made Djokovic play at least 4 sets, but when it came to the crunch - i.e. 4-2 up in the second set tiebreak, he just didn't believe in himself nearly enough. Ferrer, please don't believe those who underestimate you.

Nole should take solace in how he played in the 3rd set - he can't afford to go for anything less when he plays Andy. (I should probably win an Obvious award for that statement).

(Pic: Getty)

Monday, 23 January 2012

Aussie Open 4th round blatherings

Fanatic Omes:

Comeback Kim

Coming back from 4 match points down in a second set tiebreak with a rolled ankle to win a match - that's boss. Kim C managed to pull that off much to her surprise. And no doubt Li Na's as well, who was just in shear disbelief that she could throw away a match that was on her racquet. 4 times. Poor Na was unsurprisingly in hysterics in her post match presser. It's a shame - she was finally finding her form after her maiden Slam slump, only to throw such a crucial match on the stage where her career year begun. Let's hope she bounces back nicely and can once again be a force for the rest of the season. 

Kimbo will go on to play Caro and I'm praying her ankle is ok, because THIS, I want to see. I'm always up for student v master scenarios. Yes I believe compared to an "on" Kim, Caro's still a student.

Rafa report

Rafa's doing good - he's still serving B52s. He's playing Mr Baby (Berdych) next which will be a step up in terms of competition/quality but I expect him to come through nicely - provided I stay up to watch the match and only take my eyes off the screen to blink and tweet. Experience tells me that you shouldn't leave Rafa unsupervised.

Tourney faves

Andy is comfortable y'all. He said so. I mean I'd be comfy if I knew I had a spot the semi-final. Not to take anything away from Nishikori - who is a fine, fine player and has pulled off a mighty fine win (more below), but we all know he's not going to trouble comfAndy. Jo Willy on the other hand could've if he didn't decide to leave his form in Doha.

Novak is still looking great. I'm not going to say much about Hewitt as I'm bitter I missed the end of what I thought would be a routine match to take a Power Pump class at the gym (bad decisions). So read this for sentimental Hewittness. 

Am I seeing things, or does Nole look a little bit less impervious than his usual 2011 self - he's got to be feeling the pressure from the weight of expectation that last year gave birth to - and I think its manifesting in his game. Or is it just wishful thinking? (Rafa fan, remember). Only time will tell - I still have him as a firm favourite for this tournie though.

The student and the master

Roger showed Tomic how it was done. Tomic got a lesson in how to do it and hopefully has learned a lesson in humility. Nah, who are we kidding. Of Federer, Tomic stated:
"It's tough. I can't use my shots the I way I need them against him ... because he knows, he's a little bit smarter and he understands where I'm going to go." 
See I kind of feel that as time goes by this will be the case with everyone else. Yes the beauty of thing about Tomic is that you never know what you're going to get next, but did you know that the shuffle feature on your ipod actually has a formula? Once the other players figure out Tomic's formula, he'll be just like everybody else. He's welcome to prove me wrong though. (By the way I still think he's a great player and the future of men's tennis).

Giant killers

56th ranked giant killer Ekaterina Makarova has gone ahead and slayed three fire-breathers - all in straight sets - in her run to the quarters: Kanepi, Zvonareva and fiery-est of all Serena. 

Serena played in that same sluggish manner she employed at the US Open final last year. She divulged that her ankle still wasn't 100 % (said if it wasn't a Slam, she wouldn't have played; exact sentiments were: "no way"), but made no excuses for losing, acknowledging that Makarova just played better. Well done Mak, that is some feat. I'm kind of mad at you for not letting me see a Masha/Serena quarter though.

Nishikori also pulled off a stunner, beating Jo Wills in a five set thriller to make his first Slam quarter-final ever. Jo Wills was up and down, but when he was up, Kei just hit everything back. Simples. Wells done Kei. Try not to run out of steam Jo, you've been doing so well recently.

Closing remarks

I still resent Power Pump.

(Vid: tennisclipsonline on Youtube)

Saturday, 21 January 2012

In the thick of it.

Fanatic Omes:

16 people left in each draw. 1 for every hour I slept last week.

Ladies' match of the day: Lisicki vs Sharapova; 1st night match on Laver

Men's match of the day: Djokovic vs Hewitt; last night match on Laver

(Pic: Getty)

Aussie Open 3rd round thoughts

Fanatic Omes:

Tournament faves

Andy Murray was on another level somewhere in space against his EXO against Llodra. The shotmaking from both was CRAY but literally everything Llodra, - who had to serve so many hotdogs, you'd think he had his own stand - everything Llodra hit at Muzz came back with, as Serena would say, aplomb. There were outrageous volleys, lobs, passes and even a backwards roll from Muzzard to claim the 2nd set. Guys Andy was enjoying himself out there. Uh oh.

Nole is still crushing it. Keep the line moving, nothing to see here. Ditto for all my women faves.

Rafa Report

Rafa's serve is giving me happies. 81 % first serves in, during the match against Lacko? Yes please, I'll have fries and a coke zero with mine. And he still hasn't dropped a set. All is well.

The Future of Men's Tennis

If you were ever wondering what the outcome of two of the most idiosyncratic characters on the tour playing each other was like, you got your answer in the 3rd round Dolgo/Tomic clash. And that answer was probably the most thrilling match of the tournament so far. 

I know I'm probably in the minority but I'm down with the current men's game. It's strong, it's fast, it's powerful - that's how I like my sports. I like muscle (both figuratively and physically.) Don't get me wrong variety is just as important, but are you saying Roger, Rafa, Nole, Andy Tsonga - I could go on - don't have variety in their game? Exactly. 

I do prefer Dolgo's game to Tomic's - there are more "out-of-nowhere" shots and there's a lot more creativity. Tomic on the other hand doesn't hide the fact that he plays junk tennis. It may be skilled, but it's messy, sleepy and not as pretty. Don't get me wrong - he's going to grow up to be fantastic (lest he stops the cheating), but if he's the future of men's tennis, count me out. Junk tennis belongs in the trash. 

Regardless, I'm looking forward to his showdown with Roger.


Nico Almagro is in the 4th round guys, and according to caropaquin80, has made it this far at the AO for the past 3 years! I know. He defeated Stan in straights, the sneaky mofo. Another character trundling along nicely is Berdych who no one seems to be talking about. They play each other next so one of them will be sneaking their way out.

Chicas in pain

Anabel Medina Garrigues after the long wait for Dolpo/Tomic retired in tears during her match against Li Na, after taking a step wrong and twisting her ankle. Eurosport of course didn't fail to replay the moment over and over - thanks guys. Kiri after a highly anticipated 3rd rounder with Kvitty also had to bow out with a groin injury. Both ladies showed courage and tried to play on for a bit but their bodies just didn't let them. Get well soon girls.

Aussie glory

Bet you didn't think there'd be two Aussie heroes flying the flag this far, or at least you didn't think one of them wouldn't be Samantha. Hewitt showed a somewhat flat Milos how it was done in 4 sets, and I'm sure is really pleased that he's making this comeback on home soil. 


Go ahead and watch the video above if you haven't yet - oh, it's worth it. At least from 2:46 minutes in.

(Vid: WilsonRacquet on YouTube)

Friday, 20 January 2012

Onwards and upwards and all around.

Fanatic Omes:

Between Nalbandian's challenge controversy/alleged water throwing, Baghdatis' racquet demolition, Vika's line judge tantrum and Tomic's cheating, there's been so much drama at this Aussie Open, that I really didn't need to watch that episode of Revenge.

Ladies' match of the day: Kirilenko vs Kvitova; 1st on Laver

Men's match of the day: Raonic vs Hewit; last on Laver

(Pic: Getty)

Aussie Open 2nd Round Report

Fanatic Omes:

Rafa Report

The hypercritical fan in me still wants him to hit the ball harder. I guess it's good that he's been stretched well enough early. (Taking what I can get here.)

Tournament faves

Nole and Andy and are doing really well - nothing to see here, keep moving. Kvitty had her first scare coming from a break down in the 2nd set against Suarez-Navarro but good thing is that she can win when she's playing ugly. She's gonna need that skill if she wants to play with the cool kids.

Crusing ladies

There's obviously a massive gap between the leading ladies and the rest of the field. With just 28 games lost between the lot of them after the 2nd round, Kimmie, Na, Vika, and Serena are just steamrolling ahead. This makes me very excite.

Angry men

Fish has been exhibiting some unpleasant behaviour of late and he brought along the bad attitude to the Ausso. Apparently dear Mardy was so irate at one point during his match against Alenjandro Falla (which he lost in straights) that he actually spat at fans! It's such a shame - it's like his 2011 season never happened. What's going on witchu Mardy?

We've all seen that video of Baghdatis breaking 4 racquets in a row after his 4 set loss to Stan (hey, 1 for each set!). But was it all a dig the racquet manufacturers? Probably not. But a good effort from Forbes on that story.

Then there was the whole Nalbandian challenge controversy where... oh do I really need to explain it again? Just click here to watch the video. Anywhoo it was most unfair. The call didn't lose Nalby the match though - it just robbed him of an opportunity to win it. But before we crucify Kader Nouni let's remember that he just made a mistake at work. If we had to be investigated every time we made mistakes at work... well we'd just be being investigated a lot. Yeah.

Closing remarks

Peace out.

(Vid: CardCollections on YouTube)

Let's keep it moving.

Fanatic Omes:

Competition heats up with seeds sprouting up to play each other. It's still really weird that someone is definitely going to win this thing. Sorry that didn't make much sense, I'm a wee bit sleep deprived. But you get it.


Ladies' match of the day: Clijsters vs Hantuchova; 4th on Hisense

Men's match of the day: Dolgopolov vs Tomic; 4th on Laver


Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Aussie Open First Round Blather

Fanatic Omes:

My favourites

Nole is looking good enough to defend his title. His outfit however is not. Too many colours and patterns bro. My favourite part was when he got broken in the 3rd game and my twitter timeline started talking about his demise.

Andy also came through nicely enough. I didn't watch the match but no eyebrow raising from me - Harrison ain't an easy first round opponent.

Kvitty and Vika killed it. Dead. They be looking goooood, but we'll know more when they encounter more difficult opponents. (Obvious statement of the year.) Oh and I'm not a fan of Vika's shorts, she looks like she's in practice. Bring back the baby doll dress Viks.


Can Rafa please give his fans some peace of mind just once? Busted shoulders; crack-y knees. Jeez Louise. Please Rafa, do it for us. He totes rocked out his match though; and apparently was moving well in practice so you know, yay.


If it was noticeably darker in Melbourne Park it's because Verdasco, who proceeded to wear the Sun, went out to Tomic in 5 sets. Well we knew it would be interesting. Where he goes from here, I don't know but homie needs to make some changes fast - the demise is unnecessary. 

Ay nooo Samantha! Maybe Sam should see a sports psychologist because it's been downhill since the USO and frankly, she's better than this.

Other important observations

What's up with the Brits? Five out at once in the 1st round, with no sets for any of them. Come on Britannia. Rule Britannia.

What are those gargantic bugs that keep landing on court? They're making me shudddder.

Having shielded my eyes from Jo Willy's shoes, Masha's straps and Verdasco, I can safely say the theme for this Aussie Open is: BRIGHT.

(Vid: carlpcurran on YouTube)

Monday, 16 January 2012

Oi Oi Oi

Fanatic Omes

Hands up who feels like the blood has been drained from their body? And it's only day 2. Oh the life of a fan.


Ladies' match of the day: Stosur vs Cirstea; 3rd on Laver

Men's match of the day: Murray vs Harrison; 3rd on Hisense

(Pic: Getty)

Friday, 13 January 2012

Australian Open 2012 Preview

Fanatic Omes:

The Men

I agree with Uncle Toni's assessment: the two favourites for the Aussie Open are Nole - for obvious reasons and Murray because he's hungry to win his first Slam. You could argue that Nole has only had tournament practice in the form of a lowly exo some eons ago yadda yadda but that's only because you'd be a Rafa fan.

As for Murray there's the perpetual argument that he's hungry for his first Slam, but add to that the fact that he's acquired the Brisbane title, Ivan Lendl and another year of finals experience under his belt and he's looking stronger than he ever has. *Insert something witty and related about his shaggy mane here*.

Now I would've considered King Rog to be a heavy heavy favourite coming in if he hadn't messed up his back. At the end of last year he was looking sensationnelle but we know what happened last time he played with a slight back injury - let's just hope Alejandro Falla isn't anywhere in sight. I guess I'm going to have to cap off Roger's progress at the quarters, but I could be wrong. And probably will be.

And now for our Bacardi champion. The good new is that the shoulder is in perfect conditions. The illusion is there; the passion is there. Things are looking good. I mean, Rafael Nadal is alwaysandforever going to be a contender and he seems to be practising well, but it's a matter of wait and see.

Someone that should definitely command your attention is the small matter of Jo-Willy Tsonga who has not put a foot wrong since the end of last year. You know how everyone keeps asking if there is anyone that could spoil the top 4 party? Yeah. This guy.

The last male player that springs to mind is the bombastic Milos who captured his 2nd title ever in Chennai. Expect him to go far. Well as far as Nole in the fourth round. Sorry Milos.

The Women

Kim's hip and Serena's ankle are making it hard for me to place them - it really just depends on how they're holding up - there's a credible army of contenders these days. I am NAAT optimistic about MaSha at all though. Zero match practice since forever is just not going to cut it. You never know though. Although, you do. Why are all our veteran champs hobbling?

Vika's made her way nicely to the Sydney title and is definitely a top pick for me to get far. Her draw should certainly allow it up to the quarters. Petra's obviously a front-runner as well and I'm sure she won't allow her loss to Na in Sydney to phase her. Na on the other hand should definitely allow the win to phase her. Knowing she can take on someone like Kvittygoat will be a big consolation; and stepping back on the court where she'd made the finals last year as we all know, will be a huge boost. Na says "[she's] back" and I believe her.

As for Caro and her wrist - I'm not so sure. I don't think she's in the best shape ever to do some serious damage (well not after she gets to the fourth round anyway; have a look at her section of the draw - it ain't bad). There are far too many challengers in the mix for a full fledged Caro show.

So there's my take. Thank you and goodnight. I'm off to sleep for a full 48 hours.

Click here for the draws.

(Pic: Scott Barbour/Getty)

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Zheng Jie is totally ballin.

Fanatic Omes:

Consider the dirt on Zheng Jie's

(Vid: ASBClassicvideo on YouTube)

A letter to 2012.

Fanatic Omes:

Hi 2012, it's nice to finally meet you. As a Rafa fan, I've been willing you to arrive for some time. You signal so much for me - hope, dreams, wonder. You erase the ugliness of the past and allow for a clean slate. Because of you we can say "what 6 finals?" and "Novak who?". Indeed you let us dream of that 11th or 12th or even 13th piece of Slam silverware. It's you who can alter the path of our favourite Scottish GOATNTWAS (and encourage him to get back on Twitter).

You bring forth hope of varied court speeds and minimal injuries. You allow the excitement of fresh faces, underdogs and up-and-comers to bubble under. And stories of heroes and heroines overcoming their obstacles to taste glory once again. It's you who could say to Kvitova - "new young one - go and reign" and you who can draw out the magic from Milos, Sabine and Anastacia. You allow us to dream of a time were Monfils plays like he has a brain.

You're even throwing in the challenge of the Olympics for good measure. Mixing things up like the cheeky chappy you are. The answer to whether Roger can retire a happy man with that gold medal under his belt lies in you.

It's in you that tennis on Twitter could have its biggest and baddest year yet. With humblebraggers, oversharerers, controversy kings and the like. And no doubt more and more phenomenal superfans.

Yes, you've got so much promise, 2012. But don't kill your players; don't be that guy. Spare Roger, Kim, Serena, Marin, Sabine and Julia G. Fulfil your destiny and shine. 

Shine, 2012, SHINE.