Saturday, December 28, 2013

Kinda excited for '14: You?

I promise I didn't give up on '13 because Federer didn't win the US Open as inaccurately predicted in my last post!

I dug what happened throughout the rest of the season: I mean, what can you say about the play of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams post-Open? Amazing, that's what I'll say!

And I think the sport's in an exciting place for the year ahead. For one, these coaching announcements the past few days are bonkers! Becker? Edberg? Chang? Wow. Players are fired up and I am, too.

That being said, I'm going to do everything I can to write everywhere I can: here, The Doubles Alley, various websites--if you'll have me, I'm there for you! : )

So it's onward and upward for the year ahead!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sticking with tradition: U.S. Open predictions from the round of 16 on

It's that time of the year again, where all the stars descend upon the Big Apple—where I happen to be—for the year's final Slam, the U.S. Open.

And I'm going to do what I do here Slam time, give you my picks from the fourth round on.

First, the men:

Fourth round
Djokovic (1) vs. Granollers
Haas (12) vs. Melzer (29)
Murray (3) vs. Seppi (20)
Anderson (17) vs. Berdych (6)
Tursunov (32) vs. Raonic (10)
Janowicz (14) vs. Ferrer (4)
Federer (7) vs. Nishikori (11)
Isner (13) vs. Nadal (2)

Djokovic vs. Melzer; Murray vs. Berdych; Tursunov vs. Ferrer; Federer vs. Nadal

Djokovic over Berdych; Federer over Nadal

Federer over Djokovic

For the women:

Fourth round
Williams (1) vs. Hampton (23)
Williams vs. Kerber (8)
A. Radwanska (3) vs. Makarova (24)
Jankovic (9) vs. Li (5)
Wozniacki (6) vs. Vesnina (22)
Kirilenko (14) vs. Kuznetsova (27)
Petkovic vs. Stosur (11)
Cibulkova (17) vs. Azarenka (2)

S. Williams vs. Kerber; Radwanska vs. Li; Vesnina vs. Kuznetsova; Stosur vs. Azarenka

Williams over Li; Azarenka over Kuznetsova

Williams over Azarenka

There you go! Enjoy the tournament!

(Photo: Getty Images)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Wimbledon for the ages

Quick post here: just wanted to say how I really loved this past Wimbledon.

Funny thing, though: I only got to watch about two hours of it all total!

Working full-time the past few months has seriously cut into my TV viewing, especially in the mornings. Trying to get a 4-year-old off to camp doesn't exactly help the sitch either.

But I did enjoy finals weekend: that Marion Bartoli win was amazing, and as a dad to a young daughter, I hope to experience that kind of moment her dad did watching his kid's dream come true.

As for Andy Murray's win, what can you say that hasn't been said already. Amazing, historic, phenomenal, wow. I've long been high on what he could do (I was retweeting old stories of mine all weekend). Glad he made me look good!

Friday, May 24, 2013

What the week before the French Open has revealed

So I've never been a big fan of legit contenders playing in those tiny warm-up events the week before Grand Slams. 

Maybe it's a deep-rooted thing from way back in '95, when Andre Agassi played and won nearly every week before the U.S. Open then ran out of steam in the finals. I just think when you have a shot at going for your first or 14th Major, don't play the Aucklands and Strasbourgs of the world.

All of that said, I think this can be one of the most intriguing French Opens in years because of the above train of thought. The very top tier of players on the ATP and WTA tours took the week off from competition. There are three, in particular, to me that really stand out by standing down: David Ferrer, Agnieszka Radwanska and Nicolas Almagro.

Those three have been consistent top-10 threats for years, racking up titles. But they only have one Grand Slam final between them. Granted, they do compete in a pretty tough era, but what if they set their sights higher in regard to scheduling? It looks like that might be the case this year at Roland Garros.

And maybe a Slam breakthrough is in the cards

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Mobile blogging? What will they think of next?

Next thing you know, there'll be telephones that let you know the weather and keep up with sports scores around the world!

So as you've noticed, I haven't posted here in a minute. I've still been writing elsewhere, like on Tennis View's website. I plan on being here more, though, with the blogger app. This is my first of many (I hope!) posts using my iPhone. A busy man needs tech for busy times!

Anyway, stay tuned!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Miami will always be the "Fifth Slam" to me

Those were some interesting finals over the weekend, huh?

Andy Murray knocked off David Ferrer today to win his second career Sony Tennis Open and Serena Williams added to her Miami haul with her sixth title there, rallying to knock off Maria Sharapova.

Three of those four are future Hall of Famers, while Ferrer has been one of the most consistent performers in the men's game over the past few years. In other words, the finals featured some marquee names--as it has throughout the tournament's history.

Why, though, did this year feel so different?

I don't know if it was the fact Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were absent or what, but it seemed like there was a little less prestige attached to the tournament. Maybe it was coming off the heels of Indian Wells, which has been referred to as the "Fifth Slam" of late.

But whoa, when did that happen?

Indian Wells has always been a nice event as the first Masters 1000 tournament of the year. But since it's kicked up the prize money, revamped the facility and become a coed tournament, Indian Wells has become a highlight on the calendar.

I'm old school enough to remember the "Lipton" being the top non-Slam for both the men and women, and Indian Wells, nice though it was, being considered a warm-up for Miami.

Now, though, players are skipping it for whatever reason where once that never would've been the case. And Indian Wells has completely won over the players--particularly when it comes to comparing the venues.

But I hope Miami can turn the tide on where it stands, or at least find itself on equal footing again.

There's too much history behind the tournament.

(Photo: The Associated Press)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I'm intrigued by Andy Murray in the desert

That's like the weirdest headline I think I've ever wrote, but it kind of says it all—or at least segues into this post!

Murray hadn't played since the Australian Open before showing up at the first ATP World Tour 1000 event of the season. He's made it to the quarterfinals where he has a beast of a match next up in Juan Martin del Potro. An in-form Murray should be in decent shape against the Argentine, but how well is he playing?

He's had some interesting results this week, getting tested—and testy—in a couple of matches, but he's gotten through without too much fuss.

If anything, his results in Indian Wells in '13 are way better than they had been the past two years, when he was knocked out in the first round.

Maybe the reduced schedule so far this year will pay some dividends. By that same regard, though, he could be rusty against a player who's already won a title this year.

It's intriguing, to say the least (which I guess I kinda did!)

Photo: The Associated Press

Monday, February 25, 2013

David Ferrer and Kei Nishikori: the throwbacks

David Ferrer and Kei Nishikori captured their 20th and third career singles titles, respectively, this weekend in Buenos Aires and Memphis. Ferrer was just doing what he's been doing the past few years, winning tournaments, while Nishikori's victory solidified his up-and-coming status.

Their games are pretty different, to say the least, from that of the ATP's other weekend winner, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. David and Kei would never be confused with Jo-Willy, with their games being built on picture-perfect groundstrokes, great returns, superior court movement and a great court sense.

I refer to them as "the throwbacks" because the way they play has always been, and always will be, a part of the pro game. The equipment might get more technologically advanced and the game might get even faster, but it seems there will be room for guys like Ferrer and Nishikori to threaten the top players. They probably won't be Slam winners anytime soon, but titles will be won.

And it looks like these two will be leading the way for a time to come.

(Photo: The Associated Press)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The ball has not been dropped

There's plenty of Van Sias-written material out there in the ether!

So I missed the Australian Open on TTA?, but it was for an OK cause: I wrote something for the website and I've also been writing more for Tennis View Magazine's website. I am kind of kicking myself for not doing my usual, exclusive, guaranteed-on-point, always-entertaining predictions from the Round of 16 on, where I've been batting .750 on my men's picks as of late. (The women, about .500 or—gulp—worse.)

But I'll 'fess up and say that my winner picks that were bandying about in my head didn't exactly pan out: I had Andy Murray and Serena Williams all the way, without a doubt. Obviously, the world number ones, Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka had other plans.

Anyway, all of them aside, let's talk about Tennis Talk, Anyone?: I've missed it—and you, too! I'm going to announce an ambitious plan where between the other sites I write for, and my other blog (The Doubles Alley), I intend to do something on at least one a night, on a rotational basis. I have to hit the Alley tomorrow, then something else the next day and maybe something else after that before I return to TTA?, if not sooner.

I could never let things get too lax: This is the grandfather of them all (and my baby, too!)