The Reuters global sports blog
The Williams sisters found the going tough and their so far impressive comebacks hit the buffers, while women’s number one Caroline Wozniacki’s route to a first grand slam title also came unstuck, but in the men’s draw there were no real dramas as the top four all hit their straps and made the quarters.
All eyes will be on team Nadal on Tuesday, after the world number one injured his foot during his epic win over Juan Martin Del Potro, especially British ones as the Spaniard could face home hope Andy Murray in the last four.
First up on Tuesday however are the women’s quarter-finals, and 2004 winner Maria Sharapova is the favourite to clinch her fourth grand slam crown, though among the other seven women in contention lurks German Sabine Lisicki, seeking to become the first wildcard to win the women’s title.
from India Insight:
Australian umpire Daryl Harper might have done what months of persuasion could not -- to make the Indian cricket board see logic in the Decision Review System (DRS).
The elite cricket committee of the International Cricket Council (ICC), which includes the team's former World Cup winning coach Gary Kirsten and former captain Ravi Shastri, recommended mandatory use of the technology in all three formats, a suggestion that seems to have the backing of most boards.
from India Insight:
Newly appointed India cricket coach Duncan Fletcher's recent prediction -- that the team would rule the sport in the next five years -- has been well received in a country that seems to take the team's global domination for granted.
While the European Tour celebrated its fifth successive major champion after Rory McIlroy’s astonishing eight-shot victory at the U.S. Open, American golf grappled with an unprecedented title drought.
For the first time since the Masters was launched in 1934, U.S. players have failed to triumph in five consecutive majors. Not since 1994 has a year gone by without an American holding at least one of the four grand slam crowns.
With Wimbledon starting on Monday, all eyes turned to the event in Eastbourne. It became very interesting because of Serena and Venus Williams participation. Serena has not played since winning Wimbledon last year because of a freak accident in Munich, were she stepped on broken glass while walking to her hotel room after a night out. She was walking bare foot and cut ligaments in her feet as well as cutting her feet up badly. It took her nearly a full year to recover.
On the other hand her sister Venus hasn’t played much due to a hip injury this year. I believe this is only her third event of the year. Serena played really well considering her lay off and beat Pirokova in the first round in 3 sets after starting very poorly. Pirokova was a tough match because she has made the semi-finals at Wimbledon and plays well on grass. Due to the long layoff Serena was not seeded at Eastbourne, because she has lost all her ranking points from last year. The ranking works on a 52 week calendar and if you don’t defend your points, your ranking disappears.
The grass court season is finally underway. I love this time of year. We finally get to see some attacking tennis, but still not as much as during my era because the courts and balls are a lot slower.
The Queen’s Club Championships started with one of its best fields in the tournaments history with 15 of the top 20 in the world entered. The only big withdrawal was that of Novak Djokovic, sighting a knee problem, but I am sure he will be fine for Wimbledon. Nadal, the six time French open champion, arrived Monday evening after all his sponsor commitments at Disneyland Paris. He is such a professional; he had a 1 hour 45min intense practice session and entered the doubles event as well to get match practice before his first round match in singles on Wednesday.
This year’s French Open was the best in years. Part of the reason was the new, quicker tennis balls which allowed players to play more aggressively. The women’s event was wide open. There were about 8 possible winners on the women’s side, while on the men’s side it was all about Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. Everybody thought they would be in the finals, but don’t write off Roger Federer just yet.
From a British perspective it was all about Andy Murray and he had a dream draw to the semi-finals. He didn’t make it easy by hurting his ankle in the 3rd round but came through to the semi-finals against Nadal.
For most players the idea of returning from a year out with injury and illness a week before Wimbledon and then defending your title would be impossible.
But, then again, Serena Williams in not any old player.
The 29-year-old American, the dominant force in women’s tennis for a decade, has taken a wildcard for next week’s Eastbourne grasscourt tournament and then will head to the All England Club, not just for appearances, but to win a fifth title there and draw level with older sister Venus who is also returning from a six-month lay-off.
If there was any doubt before, there is now no question that Rafa Nadal can and most probably will better Roger Federer’s record of 16 grand slam titles following the Spaniard’s French Open success over the Swiss.
Sunday’s 7-5 7-6 5-7 6-1 victory for his record-equalling sixth Roland Garros crown and his 10th grand slam title overall underlined why Nadal just will not lie down even when the crowd and his own initial form are against him.
My first visit to the French Open has so far been an eye-opener and not just because of Rafa Nadal’s first round struggles.
I’ve been to Wimbledon and all I remember is vast queues and too many people in a small area. I expected Roland Garros to be similar given it is the smallest grand slam venue but so far there have been no problems in that regard.