Monday, November 24, 2008

Spain (Sans Nadal) Defeat Argentina to Win Davis Cup

Spain has a new hero and his name is Fernando Verdasco!!! The world number 16 captured the winning point for the Spaniards on Sunday when he defeated Argentina's Jose Acasuso 6-3,6-7, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, to give his squad an unassailable 3-1 lead over Argentina, and clinch a third Davis Cup title for Spain.

The Argentines did all they possibly could to win the Cup. They fussed about the surface ahead of the tie and picked an indoor fast court instead of clay, hoping it would neutralize Rafael Nadal's threat. After some arguing for weeks about the venue, Nadal ended up withdrawing from the final because of a knee injury and the surface choice suddenly became questionable, especially with someone like Feliciano Lopez on the opposing side, who has a strong serve and plays well on fast turfs.

Still, Argentina were confident because they had an incredible winning streak at home in Davis Cup ties, and on paper, had a stronger and higher-ranked team.

Argentina however, did not count on Del Potro's far from perfect performance in the second rubber against Lopez, and they didn't expect to lose the doubles tie either. And on day 3, when Del Potro failed to recover from a thigh strain, Alberto Mancini elected to play Acasuso against Verdasco, who has had a far better season than his Argentine opponent.

The crowd, who were supposed to play a pivotal role in the tie, ended up just being plain annoying for the umpires. In fact Verdasco said after the doubles rubber that he was actually more motivated by the cheering than being bothered by it.

Spain's bench proved to be the main factor behind this incredible victory. The team had harmony and the players refused to lose momentum despite their Nadal blow.

“When Ferrer found out he was not playing, he took it well," said Spain captain Emilio Sanchez. "He immediately offered his support to Fernando which helped him come out on court."

When Verdasco sealed the deal for Spain he said:

"I have to remember Rafael Nadal because we played the Davis Cup final thanks to him. This is one of the happiest days in my life."

"It's a dream. I've wanted this chance since I was a boy, few get it and even fewer take it."

"I tried my best all year to win the Davis Cup and I am happy for everyone in Spain."

Come to think of it, this year has definitely been kind to the Spaniards. Rafael Nadal became the most successful Spanish tennis player in history when he won Roland Garros followed by Wimbledon, to increase his Grand Slam tally to 5 slams. He then rose to the summit of the tennis world rankings on August 18th after chasing that spot for the past 3 years. The Spanish football team ended a horrible run in European championships and won the Euro 2008 during the summer. Even the Tour de France this year was won by Spain's very own Carlos Sastre. All this was topped with a third Davis Cup triumph for the Spaniards...

Congratz to all the Spanish people out there... Viva Espana!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Davis Cup Finals: Spain Edge into the Lead

Left-handed duo, Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez, grabbed a point for Spain on Saturday, after a hard-fought doubles match against David Nalbandian and Agustin Calleri, to take a 2-1 lead in the Davis Cup final tie.

The Argentines, supported by a wild crowd, captured the first set, before a pumped-up Spanish pair hit back to seal a 5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 6-3 victory, and silence the thousands of Argentinean fans, who were out of control.

The highlight of the match was the third set when Argentina pulled back from a 1-5 deficit to force a tie-break. Nalbandian and Calleri then raced to a 5-1 lead in the tie-break but the Spaniards miraculously turned it around and won 6 straight points to win the third set.

Spain are now in a good position to pull off what could be considered an upset, particularly because of the absence of Rafael Nadal, and the fact that they're playing Argentina at home on a fast indoor court.

The Spaniards are just one point away from claiming a third Davis Cup title to their 2000 and 2004 triumphs.

Who said what after the match


"They began to help each other less and less... I was physically down in the third set and Fernando helped me. They did not do that, maybe it's because we know each other better."

"It was unforgettable to play with the crowd singing like this. Even though they were supporting Argentina, it was very enjoyable to play in."


"It was tough to go 5-1 up and then go to a tiebreak, it was tough mentally but that was the key... After that we played better and much looser."

"They actually motivated me and allowed me to play better and their strategy totally backfired," on the crowd who seemed to be a bit hostile towards him (my guess is, they're jealous cuz he's dating Ivanovic).

Argentina captain, Alberto Mancini:

"The team is logically down but we have to go through that... We have to wait and stay quiet and plan. Maybe the immensity of the event was too much for my players. We still have to fight, there are two more points tomorrow and we know it will be hard."

Spain captain, Emilio Sanchez Vicario:

“The crowd didn’t behave well today, they were using bad words and insulting us... I’m disappointed in the way they behaved but we know now and we’ll be ready for tomorrow."

Davis Cup Finals: Smart Call From Sanchez Vicario

I gotta say hats off to Spain Captain, Emilio Sanchez Vicario, for going with his gut and picking Feliciano Lopez over Fernando Verdasco for the second singles rubber of day 1 of the Davis Cup finals, despite Verdasco's higher ranking (16).

Lopez, ranked 31, stunned world number 9, Juan Martin Del Potro, 4-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-3, in front of a crazy home crowd in Mar Del Plata, to level the tie at 1 point apiece for Spain and Argentina.

Argentine hero, David Nalbandian, had clinched a point for his side earlier on Friday, when he easily beat Spain's David Ferrer, 3, 2 and 3.

Spain are playing in the finals without their mean machine, Rafael Nadal, who is suffering from tendinitis, and are looking to end Argentina's unbeaten run at home which dates back to 1998.

Saturday will feature the doubles rubber where left-handed duo, Verdasco and Lopez, are expected to face Argentina's Agustin Calleri and Jose Acasuso.

* UPDATE: Nalbandian has been chosen to partner Calleri for the doubles rubber instead of Acasuso.

"It was a relatively short (singles) match. I'll be ready (for the doubles). I feel good," said Nalbandian.

TV TALK: Mid-season finales comin’ up… What do you think of your favorite shows so far?

Okay most shows will be having their mid-season finales pretty soon and I just wanted to make a few comments about what has been going on lately…

For starters… Just to get this out of the way early… What the hell is up with Izzie on Grey’s??!?! Is it just me, or isn’t sleeping with a ghost sooo 1990?!?!? Yes, I am referring to Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore in Ghost, in which they actually only kissed while he was a ghost, AND he was inside a human body… not that that makes any sense but anyways, the whole Denny/Izzie situation is morbid/creepy/annoying! It seems like Shonda Rhimes can’t find a storyline for Izzie without making her act all nutty.

I just found out that ABC have canceled Dirty Sexy Money, which I personally don’t get. They’re gonna air the 13 episodes already produced for season 2, but then it’s game over for the Darlings and their fans. Pushing Daisies also got the axe but Private Practice survived and is getting a full second season.

One quick thing I wanna say about Lucy Lui. Is she capable of playing any character other than the bitchy, over-confident, hardcore badass?!?! I mean off the top of my head, check out her roles in Ally McBeal, Cashmere Mafia, Dirty Sexy Money… Kill Bill… That woman is just terrifying!

Moving to NBC… Does anyone else think the Heroes creators are on crack?! You know what I think is funny?!? During last Monday’s episode (309), they kept showing up those subtitles saying “One year ago” and “Present Day” and crap like that when no one has a freakin’ clue when the hell is today and when the hell was one year ago. The timeline is soooo messed up that am starting to think Peter Petrelli will start saving New York all over again like season 1.

And does anyone have any idea who is good and who is evil anymore?!?! I mean I let the whole “Sylar is a good guy fighting his uncontrollable urge to kill others and take their powers” thing slide, but Angela Petrelli is now suddenly a victim of her husband’s fiendish plans and is not so bad herself?!?! Come ooon!! Or is it just a matter of relativity? Someone is just more evil than someone else. And basically the Petrelli father is the root of all evil!! Well he sure is fertile. He’s up to 3 sons now and counting…

All I can say about Heroes season 3 is: basically everyone you thought was bad is actually good (Sylar, Elle, Angela Petrelli…etc…), and people you thought were good guys are turning bad like Suresh, Claire (she does kill Peter in the future), Peter from the future (the one with the scar, he seemed pretty bad) and the manufactured Tracy, who looks exactly like Nikki, who I have no idea where she is right now.

More to come… Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Quote of the Day - It's All About Number ONE!!!

After crashing out of the round robin stage in the Masters Cup last week, world number 2, Roger Federer, is a mere 10 points ahead of third-ranked Novak Djokovic, who ended up winning the Cup in Shanghai. Does Federer really care about the Serb breathing down his neck?!?!

"I'm going to sleep well for a month. He (Djokovic) is not going to pass me anytime soon," said Federer.

"For me, honestly, ranking two, three, four, five, 25, it doesn't really matter a whole lot, you know. For me it is either number one or being in the main draw."

Apparently NOT! The Swiss phenomenon obviously cares for nothing but the view from the very top. Talk about high standards...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Stepanek in Shanghai... Why?!?!

Okay the reason I stopped posting updates about the Masters Cup is because I have officially lost interest the second I saw Radek Stepanek instead of Andy Roddick on my plasma, playing against Roger Federer. I truly hate it when someone pulls out after the Cup kicks off because it simply ruins the whole round robin concept. I mean Roddick had already lost to Andy Murray, then all of a sudden, someone else is there to play his second match?

And what’s up with bringing in Stepanek? Is that the best alternate they could come up with?!?! Were the Cup organizers that desperate? There is nothing lamer than someone who is not a top 10 player squeezing himself into playing at the Masters Cup, except someone who is not even a top 20 player just sticking around in case anybody gets injured. Stepanek is number 26 in the race and number 27 in the ATP rankings. What the hell is he doing in Shanghai?!

Am sure Stepanek fans (if there are any) will not be very happy with my post but am not saying he's a bad player (he did beat Federer this year), I just don't like the fact that he's at the Cup, where 8 players busted their qualifying asses for it. I think that when someone pulls out halfway through the Cup, the organizers shouldn't replace that person. The players who haven't played that contestant yet, should get some sort of automatic points and move on.

I should have known the Cup this year would be a disappointment to me, I mean first Rafa’s tendonitis, then Tsonga crashes out, and now Stepanek is playing understudy for Roddick?!?!

Okay that being said, I’d like to show you guys what Roddick said after he pulled out of Shanghai. He joined many other players in slamming the tour’s schedule especially with some new changes taking effect next year and he even stuck up for Rafa and singled him out as being the most player who would ever want to show up on court. Check this out:

"I think too much is asked of us as far as playing 11 months of the year, and now they're imposing more mandatory tournaments.”

"It doesn't make a whole lot of sense. It's unfortunate for someone like Rafa that goes out there and does things the right way. No one is ever going to question how much effort he gives every time he's on the court.

"I don't think anybody wants to be on the court more than he does, so at a certain point you would hope they start respecting our opinions a little bit more."

"This particular injury had nothing to do with it being a long season. It was an accident and it was unlucky it happened... That being said, I think I've been pretty forthright in my opinions regarding the schedule and it being too long."

Monday, November 10, 2008

Shanghai Update: Simon Stuns Federer Again

Gilles Simon, who only made it to the Masters Cup because Rafael Nadal got tendinitis, stunned the defending champion and current world number 2, Roger Federer, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, in the opening round robin match of the Red Group on Monday.

The sizzling Frenchman stepped up his game after dropping the first set, and turned around the match to claim his second win over Federer this year (he beat him in the Masters Series Canada in the summer).

This victory surely gives Simon a lot of confidence in his group but Federer is far from beaten. The Swiss suffered a similar fate last year in Shanghai when he lost his opening round robin match to Fernando Gonzalez, however Federer went on to win the title. The 4-time Masters Cup champion has the class and resilience, to take this defeat and use it to his own benefit.

Simon, who is now at a career high number 9 in the rankings, next faces Britain's hot shot, Andy Murray, who defeated Andy Roddick in the second singles match of the day. Murray overcame a bad second set to beat the American, 6-4, 1-6, 6-1.

Federer on Simon:

"The better you play, the better he plays, he's quite an unusual player and he makes you work hard and runs very well."

Federer on his loss:

"Definitely today I missed shots I normally don't miss. I think that's just lack of practice.

"It's the only tournament where I really have a chance after losing the first match so I'm happy it happened here."

Simon's reaction to his victory:

"It's always hard to win against Federer. I know that I have to play my best tennis... But in another way, it's easier for me because I have no question in any head. I just want to give everything, every point to my best tennis to win. It's easier to play in that way."

"I defeated him once in Toronto, so it was easier to finish the match. I had no complex when I served in the last game. And, for sure, it was one of the best victory of my career."

FOOTBALL: What you shouldn't have missed last weekend...

's 4 in 44 !!

The Cameroon sensation scored a super hat-trick during Barca's 6-0 drubbing of Valladollid.

Nasri's Brace Against United!

Samir Nasri hit home twice to help Arsenal down United 2-1 in a thrilling Saturday match. The second goal was a textbook Arsenal masterpiece involving some sweet passing sealed with a confident Nasri strike.

"When he is in front of goal he can finish with his right foot or left foot," Arsene Wenger said on Nasri after the match. "He is a tremendous finisher."

Nasri's second goal:

Anelka and Keane Weekend Braces

Anelka went two goals clear of Amr Zaki to take the summit of the top scorers list when he struck twice during Chelsea's 3-0 win at Blackburn. The Anelka's first goal was just lucky but the second showed some real quick response from him.

As much as it hurts me to praise the arrogant Frenchman, he surely is on a roll scoring a hat-trick a week earlier against Sunderland followed by his 2 goals last Sunday against Blackburn.

Anelka's second goal:

Robbie Keane finally scored for Liverpool in the Premier League and he did it twice on Saturday against WBA. Liverpool are now tied with Chelsea at the top of the table however the London side have a goal difference advantage.

Keane's goals:

Shanghai Update: Djoko Ends Shanghai Losing Streak, Davydenko Edges Tsonga

The Masters Cup kicked off on Sunday in Shanghai, as world number 3, Novak Djokovic, managed to notch his first ever Masters Cup win, by defeating Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro 7-5, 6-3, in the first round robin match of the Gold Group.

This is Djokovic's second straight Masters Cup appearance, however his first one was a true disappointment as the Serb lost all 3 round robin matches last year.

Shanghai's youngest contestant, Del Potro, who was ranked 65 in the world last July before racing up to his current number 8 position, is making his Masters Cup debut as the tournament's 7th seed.

Other Gold Group action on Sunday saw Nikolay Davydenko overcome a resilient Jo-Wilfried Tsonga with a tight 6-7(6), 6-4, 7-6(0) win.

Tsonga, who started this season with a bang by ousting Rafael Nadal from the Aussie Open semis and reaching his maiden Grand Slam final, looks like he wants to end his season in the same fashion, especially after he narrowly grabbed himself a ticket to Shanghai by winning his first ATP Masters title in Paris last week.

Nonetheless, Davydenko, denied the Frenchman his first Shanghai win and now lies second in the Gold Group.

Sunday Highlights

The action in the Red Group starts on Monday with World number 2, Roger Federer, facing new top 10 star, Gilles Simon, followed by Andy Roddick vs. Andy Murray (and I refuse to call it the battle of the Andy's like everybody else... seriously it's overused).

If both Andy's are in good form, we should expect one hell of a serving fest from either side.