Tag Archives: Grand Slam

US Open Preview 2012

Photo courtesy of halestormsports.com. Roger Federer (pictured left) and Serena Williams (picutred right) came out victorious at Wimbledon back in July. Expect the same result in New York.

By Josh Kramer

Starting on Monday, all eyes in the tennis world will be focused on the Big Apple for two whole weeks.  The year’s final Grand Slam is just around the corner, and as is typically the case, there are plenty of questions to be answered in Flushing.

-Will Andy Murray finally capture the elusive first Grand Slam?

-How will New York respond to a Nadal-less field?

-Will Roger Federer leave with #18?

-Will Kim Clijsters’ farewell party be one to remember?

-Does Venus have a Jimmy Connors 1991-esque run in her?

-Will Serena leave with #15? Continue reading

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Weekly Nickel 3-3-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Roger Federer (left) seems to be back to his old ways after defeating Andy Murray (right) to win his second consecutive title. It should be fun to see if the former number one player can continue his hot streak in Indian Wells.

By Josh Kramer

Hoops, hoops, and more hoops.  You thought this week was great in terms of College Basketball and the NBA?  Just wait.  This week was just an appetizer to the main course.  In addition, more scandal came out in the sporting world this for a change (bounty hunting).  Last week was fun.  But this week has the makings of being any better.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  The NHL’s Eastern Conference has turned into a three-team race.  Go figure that two of the teams are from Boston and New York.  What would professional sports be without the good old Boston/New York hate-fest?  Yesterday, was a treat as we got to witness the Rangers flex their Eastern Conference leading muscles to a 4-3 victory over the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins.  I have a feeling that there is a seven-game series in store between these teams in the near future.  As always, here is my matchup of the week.

Florida Panthers at Pittsburgh Penguins:  Two of the East’s finest go to battle at the CONSOL Energy Center.  Pittsburgh’s electric offense led by Evgeni Malkin welcomes into town a Panthers team that just flat-out knows how to win.  If you asked me why Florida has been so successful this season, I couldn’t tell you.  They just have won game at an impressive rate.  Lately though, Pittsburgh has played much better hockey than the Panthers.  I expect this to continue.  Look for the Penguins to handle business at home, where they have been very tough to beat this year. Continue reading

“French Open: The Tennis Version of March Madness?”

The 39th ranked player in the world John Isner (pictured above) pushed Clay Court King Rafael Nadal to the brink of elimination today. It would have been an upset for the ages.

Earlier today, Rafael Nadal, the uncrowned King of Roland Garros, was pushed to 5 sets in his first round match by American, John Isner.  Nadal has won the French in five of his six appearances at the Grand Slam Event.  He has turned Roland Garros into his 2nd home.   Court Philippe Chatrier has become his playground of sorts.  They may as well give Nadal a throne to sit on during changeovers.

In his quest toward tying Bjorn Borg for the most French Open titles ever at six, he was pushed to the brink in his first round match.  Surprising yes.  Shocking?  No.  The French Open, year in and year out, is the most unpredictable of the year’s 4 Grand Slam Tournaments for a reason.  Clay court tennis is grueling.  It is highly unpredictable.  And it is highly entertaining. Continue reading

“A God on Clay”

The world's current number 1 ranked player, Rafael Nadal (pictured above) was made to dominate on clay. Expect a championship in Madrid tomorrow as he preps for another run at the French Open Title.

Earlier today, in a semifinal matchup in Madrid, Rafael Nadal defeated long time nemesis Roger Federer yet again.  Rafa, as many call current the number 1 ranked player in the world, has now won 37 consecutive clay court matches.  And Nadal also sports an 11 and 2 record against the one who many have declared “the greatest player of all time” on his native clay court surface.  Continue reading

“Welcome to Flushing”

Roger Federer looks to prove the world wrong over the next two weeks, and show that he still has what it takes to capture a big time championship. Can he win the US Open for an amazing 6th time?

The tennis world will gather in Flushing today as the this year’s final Grand Slam gets under way.  There are many key storylines as play begins:

-1.  Andy Murray is looking to secure his first Grand Slam Championship.  The British phenom has been near the top of the tennis game for some time now, but has never been able to take home the big pay-day.  Will his luck change in Flushing?

-2.  Rafael Nadal looks to complete the career “Grand Slam” by capturing the one Grand Slam event that has eluded him in the past.  After two consecutive semifinal appearances in Flushing,  can Rafa demonstrate his all around toughness on the hard courts of New York?

-3.  Can Roger Federer prove to the world that his reign is not over yet and capture his first US Open title since 2008?  He was the runner-up in New York last year, losing in 5 sets to Juan Martin Del Potro (who will not be playing this year).

-4.  Can an American end the 7 year drought of Grand Slam Championships?  The last time an American male captured a prestigious Grand Slam Championship was in 2003, when Roddick took home a title at this site (the US Open).

So these are the 4 key questions to the tournament in my eyes.  Lets delve into some answers.

1.  Andy Murray is more than capable of  bringing home the first Grand Slam title of his career here.  Murray possesses an outstanding all around game that fits perfectly for the hard courts of Flushing.  He has proven that he can beat the big dogs lately, by knocking off both Federer and Nadal in straight sets in Toronto.  So definitely do not overlook Murray, who is ranked 4th heading into this event.  I will state though, both Nadal and Federer’s hunger to prove the naysayers wrong will not help Murray’s chances though.  Look for Andy to go deep as usual, but to come up short, in either the Semifinals or the Finals.  I would expect a Semifinal exit though.

2.  Nadal is more than ready to take home the one Grand Slam that has eluded him during the course of his stellar career.  He currently holds the number 1 ranking.  He has won 5 titles this year.  Has a combined 52 and 7 match record.  Plus he is hungry.  Expect this guy to roll into the Finals for a date with his old nemesis Mr. Federer.  Rafa plays every point like it is his last and will cruise his ways into the Finals.  Counterpunchers can be quite dangerous on the hard courts of New York.  Sure he will have challenges such as a possible date with Andy Murray, but it is very hard to stop this guy when he is motivated.  I expect Rafa to come up just short though and lose in the Finals due to the fact that another man is even more motivated, Roger Federer.

3.  Roger Federer will shock the world over the next two weeks and take home an astounding 17th Grand Slam title.  I am not sure what it is about this guy.  All directions are pointing against him capturing a 6th US Open title.  But I for some reason feel like this guy has one more big time tourney left in him.  And this is the one.  Sure Wimbledon has always been his playground, but he has not exactly been a slouch in Flushing over the years.  Look for Roger to upset his old nemesis, Rafa, and prove to the world that even at the age of 29, he is still capable of playing like the best player in the world.

4.  This will not be the tournament that an American will end the 7 year drought.  Guys like Nadal, Federer, and Murray are just too good to all go down here.  But I will state, guys like Roddick and Fish could both go deep.  They have both played outstanding this summer and have each enjoyed success in the past in Flushing.  All 4 of the top Americans, have had their best Grand Slam finishes in Flushing during their careers. Coincidence, I think not.  Roddick captured his only Grand Slam title here in 03.  Fish, made the quarterfinals in 2008. John Isner made the 4th round in 2009.  And Sam “the man” Querrey made the 4th round in 08.  I definitely would not be surprised to see at least one of these four guys, maybe two of them if we are lucky, sneak into the Quarterfinals.  But do not expect one of them to take home the hardware.  It would be one of the most improbable runs in history.

So there you have it.  The biggest tennis tournament that America has to offer gets under way today.  As the pro tour loves to say, “We will be seeing you in New York.”

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“An Untraditional Wimbledon”

The beautiful grass court sanctuary that is Wimbledon.

Wimbledon is the sanctuary of tennis.  The complex is the tennis version of heaven.  It is the most prestigious tournament in the world with the most history.  This tournament defines tennis greatness.  It is the only Grand Slam played on a beautiful grass court surface.  The players all are decked out in all whites.  Everything is done in an extremely proper fashion.  Even the fans are typically more polite and behaved than at the other tournaments.

This year though, many odd occurences have occurred.  First of all, American John Isner and the Frenchman Nicolas Mahut, played an unforgettable first round match that spanned over 3 days.  A match that was nearly 5 hours longer than any other match in tennis history.  A match where the 5th set by itself lasted longer than any other full match in tennis history.  A match for the ages.  And it was just the first round between a wild card and a guy ranked right around 23rd in the world.  This was just the beginning of the insanity.

 Andy Roddick, a 3 time finalist on the grass court haven was upset by the 82nd ranked player in the world, Yen-Hsun Lu.  A day later, another American, Venus Williams, who had made 8 of the previous 10 finals here was upset by the 82nd ranked women’s player in the world (Tsvetana Pironkova).  Then perhaps the most surprising result of the tournament and probably the entire year occurred in the men’s quarterfinals.

Mr. Wimbledon himself, Roger Federer, the 6 time champion, and the man who had made 7 consecutive finals here, was defeated handily in 4 sets.  Tomas Berdych, the 12th ranked player in the world, and a man with endless talent, handled the great champion with ease.  Roger Federer after making 23 consecutive Grand Slam semifinals, has now exited 2 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments in the quarterfinals.  It was getting to the point where Wimbledon should have been considering naming Centre Court, Federer Court.  Similar to how Roland Garros should look into naming their Centre Court, Nadal Court.  But Goliath went down.

The only sanity going on in this tournament is the continued dominance of Serena Williams solely.  She heads into the finals against the 21st ranked Vera Zvonareva as a heavy favorite.  Zvonareva has never been past the 4th round at Wimbledon and has never played in a Grand Slam final.  She is the 2nd lowest ranked female player ever to make the finals of this most prestigious of tournaments.  It is shocking to think that she will be taking on the mighty Serena Williams on the big stage.  But at this year’s version of Wimbledon, there is no holds bar.  Anything can happen and the little known Zvonareva could slay the mighty titan, Serena.

The men’s side still has 3 of the top 4 seeds, which seems ordinary.  But a Federerless semifinal is way out of the ordinary.  I guess to cap off this untraditional tourney, Andy Murray, the British native, would need to capture the crown.  It would be the first time since 1936 (Fred Perry), that a Britishman captured the Wimbledon crown. 

In this year’s version of Grass Court Mayhem, anything could happen.

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.

-Kraze