Monday, June 25, 2012

Serena has to win again: Why not now? (Women's Wimbledon predictions)

It's been a minute for Serena Williams lifting any kind of first-place Grand Slam trophy.

Expect that streak to end here at Wimbledon. Or better yet, I expect it to end!

Here's how I see it all happening, from the round of 16 on:

Round of 16
Maria Sharapova (1) vs. Sabine Lisicki (15)
Jelena Jankovic (16) vs. Christina McHale (28)
Venus Williams vs. Nadia Petrova (20)
Li Na (11) vs. Jarmila Gajdosova
Serena Williams (6) vs. Yaroslava Shvedova
Dominika Cibulkova (13) vs. Petra Kvitova (4)
Caroline Wozniacki (7) vs. Marion Bartoli (9)
Julia Goerges (22) vs. Victoria Azarenka (2)

Quarterfinals
Sharapova vs. McHale
Venus vs. Li Na
Serena vs. Kvitova
Bartoli vs. Azarenka

Semifinals
Sharapova vs. Venus
Serena vs. Azarenka

Finals
Serena over Sharapova

Enjoy the first day of tennis!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A return to his winning ways (Men's Wimbledon predictions)



You know, I thought of breaking up the "Big 4" on my own with my Wimbledon predictions, but I couldn't do it. I have all four in the semifinals.

And one familiar favorite coming out on top. With the rankings battle in full effect, I'm picking Roger Federer to win the title.

But in true TTA? fashion/tradition, I give you picks from the round of 16 on:

Round of 16
Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Jeremy Chardy
Richard Gasquet (18) vs. Tomas Berdych (6)
Roger Federer (3) vs. Xavier Malisse
John Isner (11) vs. Janko Tipsarevic (8)
Andy Roddick (30) vs. Juan Martin del Potro (9)
Milos Raonic (21) vs. Andy Murray (4)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (5) vs. Bernard Tomic (20)
Feliciano Lopez (14) vs. Rafael Nadal (2)

Quarterfinals
Djokovic vs. Gasquet
Federer vs. Tipsarevic
Roddick vs. Murray
Tsonga vs. Nadal

Semifinals
Djokovic vs. Federer
Murray vs. Nadal

Finals
Federer over Nadal

The women's preview is coming right up!

(Photo: Getty Images)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Happy birthday to me ("me" being the blog, that is!)

Happy birthday to my baby blog, Tennis Talk, Anyone?, which turns the big 5 today!

I can't begin to describe all the things that have happened over the past five years in my life, but I know TTA? has been there every step of the way!

So, if you're going out later for drinks, raise a glass to Tennis Talk, Anyone? We plan to. (Or at least I will: Blogs can't drink!)

Friday, June 15, 2012

And don't worry, Nadal's still a beast on the grass, too

It's been a hectic week here at TTA?, but I just had to stop the craziness and post something here: Slams have ended, Slams are coming. I can't miss out on all the action!

Anyway, congrats to Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova for making history in France—and living up to the expectations of this blog. The grass-court transition didn't go as smooth for Nadal, who lost to Philipp Kohlschreiber in Halle.

No worries, though: Nadal will still be fine for Wimbledon. Champion? I don't know. But a good run is in store.

Now, if you've checked me out on Twitter, you know I'm doing a blogging sprint, so follow along to The Doubles Alley, if you'd like!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Rafael Nadal is a beast on the clay



How do you like that headline? Pretty creative, huh?

If anything, though, you can't fault its accuracy! He's through to his seventh French Open final after blasting David Ferrer off the court in the semis. I thought Ferrer would've been able to push him a little, but obviously that was not the case.

Then again, who really can?

Novak Djokovic was able to last year, but Rafa's erased that with his wins over the world number one on the dirt this year. Djoko's going to get another chance to do so as he goes for history in the finals when they face off.

I picked Nadal at the start and I'm sticking with him, but he'll have to be sure he doesn't give Djokovic any openings like he did at the Australian this year. Because if there's anything Djokovic does, it's take advantage of opportunities. Actually, that might be a little misleading: Djoko makes opportunities—probably more so than all but a few who've ever played the game.

I guess I can't be as accurate as I was with that headline!

(Photo: The Associated Press)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sharapova, Kvitova, Stosur and Errani: Worthy semifinalists all around



The semifinal field is complete on the women's side, with Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova defeating Kaia Kanepi and Yaraslava Shvedova, respectively, today. Samantha Stosur and Sara Errani booked their spots yesterday.

For all the talk about the upsets at the tournament, like Agnieszka Radwanska, Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams all losing early, you can't really find any fault with the final four lineup as it now stands. You have three Grand Slam champs and one who's on the verge of breaking out at any moment. Any kind of finals scenario you could think of would be good. Errani versus Kvitova or Sharapova would be such a contrast of styles, while Stosur taking on either of those two would be a heavyweight battle.

I think it's very hard to pick a player more likely to win the whole thing among the four, and that includes Errani. I thought she would've gotten blasted out of the tournament by one of the heavier hitters she faced early on, like Ana Ivanovic, Svetlana Kuznetsova or Angelique Kerber, but she's held tough.

I'm going to stick with my Sharapova call I made pre-tournament, though: No turning back now! The semifinals, though, is where it's at and this round here has the potential to be as good as any recent Slam.

(Photo: Getty Images)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Does Victoria Azarenka really need a break?


You know, I'm just not sure.

Granted, she has played a lot of matches this year. (Winning all those titles in a row will force one to rack up the court time.) But as dominant as she was early on, doubt is creeping into my mind about her being a longtime number one. Dominika Cibulkova is a tough out, but I thought Azarenka would have a little more in her to get through that.

And clay really isn't Azarenka's best surface, but still: The top-ranked player in the world should've maybe one a title on the dirt during the season.

I don't want it to seem like I'm bashing on top players for their losses (read previous post), but there's just something odd to me about how some of them showed up at the second Grand Slam of the season. I don't think it's a testament to the "depth" on the WTA Tour, either. For whatever reason, Paris just didn't work out.

Maybe a break until Wimbledon is the right thing for Azarenka: There's a lot of tennis left on the calendar. The grass courts at the All-England Club could be what gets her on track.

(Photo: Getty Images)

Friday, June 1, 2012

For Radwanska, at least there was Brussels


2012 Brussels Open champ Agnieszka Radwanska fell to former French Open champ Svetlana Kuznetsova in the third round today.

Forgive my sarcasm in giving Radwanska her props for being the champ in Brussels this year. You see, that's the tournament she just won last week in what has been a stellar year so far.

However, why was she even playing in that tournament, the week before a Grand Slam? With the way that field was, she would've been better off playing practice sets in Paris during that week. I think it ended up catching her against someone as dangerous as Kuznetsova in the third round. I actually thought Radwanska was going to lose to Venus a round earlier, mainly because she played in Brussels.

I'm not trying to bash the tournament; it does provide a great opportunity to get in match play the week before a Slam. But if you're a true title contender, you don't play in something like that right before a Major.

I'm still anxious to see how Tomas Berdych will make out as he played in World Team Cup last week. So did Janko Tipsarevic, but I don't see him as a major French Open threat. Berdych on the other hand, could do some big damage—if he's not too worn out coming off a week of play, then just being pushed by Kevin Anderson.

Scheduling: It makes all the difference.

(Photo: The Associated Press)