Tag Archives: Victoria Azarenka

Weekly Nickel 8-13-2012

Photo courtesty of zimbio.com. Dwight Howard (pictured above) is the latest great big man to suit up for the Los Angeles Lakers.

By Josh Kramer

Happy Monday to you all.  It wasn’t easy, but Team USA went all the way and handled Spain late in the fourthAbby Wambach and Co. handled business.  Tiger Woods, well you know the drill (at least Rory was good).  And Andrew Luck demonstrated that it wasn’t “luck” that he was drafted number one in his professional debut.  Last week was a great one, but this week should be fun in its own right.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  Marcos Ambrose came out victorious in a wild race at the Glen.  The countdown to the Chase is down to four.  There are just four more races before the big boys battle it out for the Cup.  This Sunday, the gang heads to Michigan International Speedway as Kyle Busch looks to defend his crown at the Pure Michigan 400.

4.  The history is well-documented:  George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Shaquille O’Neal.  Add Dwight Howard to the list.  I am not sure how the Lake Show pulled this blockbuster deal off, but Kobe Bryant’s chances at number six improved immensely when Superman signed with Jack Nicholson’s favorite team.  Watching Team USA bring home gold at the Olympics was exciting, but the prospects of a LeBron/Kobe finals matchup has me even more excited.  It may only be August, but the 2012/2013 NBA seasons is shaping up to be a memorable.  Plus, the “Dwight Howard Soap Opera” has finally come to a close. Continue reading

Wimbledon 2012 Preview

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Novak Djokovic (left) and Maria Sharapova (right) are the favorites to take home the third Grand Slam of the year.

By Josh Kramer

We are less than a day away from the best tournament in all of tennis.  London is the place to be in sports these days.  First there is Wimbledon.  Then there is the Olympics.  Out of the four major tennis tournaments, Wimbledon holds the most historical significance and is widelyy considered the most prestigious tournament of them all.

Men:

The last nine Grand Slams have been won by one of two men.  They also happen to be the current number one and number two ranked players in the world.  Ironically, the last player not named Nadal or Djokovic to take home a Grand Slam championship has won at the All England Club on six different occasions (Federer).  Lastly, 28 of the last 29 Grand Slam titles have been captured by Djokovic, Nadal, or Federer.

Champion:  Novak Djokovic Continue reading

Food for Thought 6-5-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. The two best bench players in the NBA put on quite a show last night. James Harden (left) hit the big shot in the end though to help the Thunder go up 3 to 2 in the Western Conference Finals

By Josh Kramer

We could quite possibly be watching history in the making in regards to NBA Playoff basketball.  94% of teams that have gone up 2 to 0 in best-of-seven NBA series have gone on to take the series.  Only 14 teams in NBA history have ever climbed out of a 2 to 0 hole to win a best-of-seven game series.  Both conference finals series began with the higher seed taking a 2 to 0 lead.  Things appeared to be over.  Then both lower seeded teams miraculously defended their home floors (and OKC won one on the road last night).

Can Boston and/or Oklahoma City pull off the unthinkable?  Oklahoma City can.  Yes, I am going to keep doubting San Antonio.  I wouldn’t count on it from Boston.  The Thunder have been the team to watch out West all year.  Despite a very slow start in the conference finals, their bigs (Ibaka namely) awoke in Game 4 and James Harden hit the shot of the year in Game 5.  Remember, Westbrook and Harden combined for a mere 18 points on Saturday.  OKC still won.  Last night, the OKC bigs, Ibaka and Perkins combined for just 13 points.  OKC still won.  The Thunder will knock off the Spurs and become team number 15 to climb out of a 2 to 0 hole. Continue reading

Weekly Nickel 6-4-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Curtis Granderson (left) and Derek Jeter (right) are two of the main reasons why the New York Yankees are right in the thick of things in the AL East as usual.

By Josh Kramer

Can you say playoffs?  The past month and a half has been defined by playoff action.  Last week though, Grand Slam tennis in Paris was added to the slate.  Not to mention Tiger Woods tied Jack Nicklaus with PGA victory number 73.  I thoroughly enjoyed last week, but this week will be even better as we delve deeper into the playoffs and action at Roland Garros.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  A 20-minute long red flag at Dover on Sunday.  12 cars were involved in the massive collision that occurred on the exit of Turn 2.  Hopefully next Sunday will be a little less eventful at Pocono Raceway as Jimmie Johnson looks to jump Greg Biffle atop the Sprint Cup Series.

4.  It took 8,020 and games and 134 pitches from Johan Santana.  But the Mets finally have a no-hitter.  Both Roy Oswalt and Dustin Pedroia are making two very different types of comebacks.  And after a stellar career in which he posted a career .309 batting average, Magglio Ordonez is officially hanging up the spikes.  Also what is the deal in the East?  All teams are within striking distance in both the AL and NL East, with no team trailing first place by more than 3.5 games.  The matchup of the week will take place in the Bronx.

Tampa Bay Rays vs New York Yankees:  Every team in the AL East is very much in contention at the moment.  Amazingly, all five teams have a positive run differential.  The AL Central currently only has one team with a positive run differential (Cleveland).  But let’s be entirely honest.  Does anyone truly think the Orioles or Blue Jays will be in contention come October?  The AL East has been a three-team race for years now and will continue to stay that way into the foreseeable future.  The Yankees and Rays happen to be two of those three teams in contention each and every year.

As is typically the case in New York, the Bronx Bombers have been dropping bombs all year long, leading the American League in home runs.  Tampa Bay on the other hand has won in a much different fashion, relying heavily on their very talented pitching staff.  David Price and Jeremy Hellickson have both been stifling the opposition since the beginning of April.  For the Yankees, the Captain (Derek Jeter), who actually just celebrated the ten-year anniversary of becoming the Yankees captain yesterday, has turned into a modern-day version of Ponce de Leon, discovering the baseball fountain of youth.  Also, Curtis Granderson’s insane power has been another key to New York’s success.  The Rays swept the Yankees to open the season back in early April.  New York returned the favor by taking two of three at the beginning of May.  Look for Tampa to turn the tables yet again taking two of three, with Hellickson and Price starting two of the games. Continue reading

French Open 2012 Preview

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Rafael Nadal (pictured above) is looking to make history in Roland Garros with a seventh French Open title.

By Josh Kramer

Paris.  Roland Garros.  Philippe Chatrier.  It is time for the year’s second Grand Slam.  Though this is not typically a favorite tournament for Americans (last Men’s winner was Andre Agassi in 1999, Women’s winner was Serena Williams in 2002), people love parity in sports.  This is the closest thing that the tennis world has to March Madness.  Before Rafael Nadal came along as the “Clay Court King,” the French Open had nine different men’s champions in a ten-year period.  Despite Rafa’s dominance, this tournament is always scintillating as the clay court specialist come out in full force and enjoy their time in the sun. On the Women’s side, there have been four different winners the past four years.  Strap in, and get ready for a little taste of Paris.

ChampionRafael Nadal

How could you pick against this guy in Paris?  He is the “Clay-Court King” for a reason.  This will be the year that the one they call “Rafa” surpasses Bjorn Borg as the greatest clay court player of all time with his seventh title at Roland Garros.  Coming off of a huge victory against Novak Djokovic in Rome, not even the world number one holds a mental edge on the star from Majorca.  If I were Bjorn Borg, I would give Djokovic and Federer some serious advice on how to thwart Nadal on the clay. Continue reading

Weekly Nickel 3-26-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Led by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Anthony Davis (pictured above), there is little doubt that UK will be cutting down the nets next Monday night.

By Josh Kramer

A Final Four finally emerged.  Tiger Woods did his best Mariano Rivera impression.  Tim Tebow took his talents to Broadway. And South Beach brought the heat in terms of tennis.  Last week was a great one that will not soon be forgotten, but this one is poised to be pretty epic in its own right.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  Canada’s favorite pastime is still going strong as the regular season nears a close.  There are eight or fewer games remaining for every team in the NHL.  And we all remember last year’s insanely unpredictable playoffs that made Game 7’s seem like a given.  Both Boston and Vancouver are once again heavy contenders to hoist Lord Stanley come June, but New York and St. Louis appear to be in pretty good shape in their own right.  My eyes will be focused on a colossal showdown in the nation’s capital on Tuesday. Continue reading

2012 Sony Ericsson Open – Miami, FL

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Our tennis expert Toni Headley expects Rafael Nadal (pictured above) to flex his muscles in Miami as he takes home the Sony Ericsson Open title.

By Toni Headley

Toni Headley is a tennis expert who worked at ESPN for 10 years and has been a freelance writer there for the past 2 years.  She also previously worked at CBS Sports and has covered every major tennis tournament in the world multiple times.

Tournament Preview:

From the California desert to the beaches of Miami, tennis continues to dominate North America for two more weeks. As the players try to deal with the Indian Wells – Miami double, which is one of the toughest stretches in the tennis season, I am reminded how hard it is to win both. Victoria Azarenka, a two-time champion and the current champion is trying to do just that. She won her first title in 2009 when she defeated Serena Williams. After a dominating win at Indian Wells, Azarenka is the favorite to win here in Miami. She is perfect on the year at 23-0 and has won four titles.  She has become the convincing number one player on the women’s tour.

Roger Federer has won two titles in Miami, defeating Rafael Nadal in 2005 and Ivan Ljubicic in 2006. Federer is the definite favorite to win here after his red-hot start to the year.  He is currently on a 16-match win streak, winning three titles in Rotterdam, Doha, and last week in Indian Wells.  This was his 19th Master Series 1000 title tying Rafael Nadal for the most all time. Since a semifinals lost to Novak Djokovic at the US Open last year, Federer has won 39 of his past 41 matches. Could Roger Federer become the number one ranked player again this year? If he can continue his hot play at the Grand Slam, he very well could. Continue reading