And….He’s Gone!

Well, Federer’s return was a short one! Today, he faced Nikolos Basilashvili, and he just couldn’t make it happen.

Now here’s a mini-confession. Any time I get to see Basilashvili play, it’s always a special treat (not as special as the Greenies my mom just brought home) and I will most likely root for him. There is just something about his brooding eyes that I get lost in. Wouldn’t you agree?

Image: commons.wikimedia.org

Now, don’t be sad for Roger! It was great to see him back! And he felt good about his return. From ESPN.com:

“I would have loved to play tomorrow, don’t get me wrong. But at the same time, I’m also happy to get a rest,” he said. “I’m happy how I played today. I’m happy how I did yesterday. I’m happy I am back on the Tour. I’m pleased I came here to Doha. So it’s really, really a positive return for me.”

I’m sure we will see him soon…maybe playing some clay court tournaments, getting ready for Roland Garros? Who knows?

Another player who was here yesterday and now he’s gone…Dominic Thiem! My hopes for him is that he didn’t peak at the US Open last year. I would be terribly disappoint. Please Domi, my tender kitty heart couldn’t take it.

I do want to give a quick meow-out to Taylor Fritz! He had a great match today against Denis Shapovalov. Go Taylor!

Battle of the Mullets

My human and I finally had a chance to sit down and watch some tennis yesterday, and what is the first match we see? A battle of the mullets! To which I meowed, “Bring It On.”

You know the mullet…made famous by Billy Ray Cyrus in the 90’s. Don’t break my heart, my achy, breaky heart! (You’re welcome for that lovely earworm!)

Image: menshairstyleclub.com

The mullet…the hairstyle that purrs business in the front, party in the back!  Prrrr……

And apparently the mullet is ageless style…Denis is a Next-Gen 19 year old and Tomas is a seasoned 32 year old veteran.

Image result for denis shapovalovDenis Shapovalov

VS

Tomas Berdych

For these two players, the business is obviously tennis, and both players came to play!

It was a disjointed match to watch. I took one short catnap and Tomas won the first set 6-1. Then Denis came alive in the second set and won 6-3. By that time, they were both in the groove and the third set was tight, coming down to a tiebreak, with Denis winning the third set 7-6.

The Next Gen guys are shaking things up on the ATP tour and I like it!!

So, how do you feel about the mullet? Who wore it best? Denis or Tomas? OR Billy Ray? These are the questions that keep me up at night!

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Bienvenidos a Miami

Well furry friends, we went from the deserts of California to the Sunshine State, Florida this week. Tennis is in full forehand swing in Miami on the Barney-esque purple courts at the Miami Open.

Image result for miami open 2018

Let’s re-cat what has happened so far:

Last week, we saw two of the big names OUT in the early rounds.

  • Serena Williams is trying to make a comeback after being on maternity leave, but unfortunately for her, she draw Naomi Osaka, winner in the Indian Wells desert last week, for her first match. Serena…OUT.
  • After losing the final in the desert last week, Roger Federer, lost in his first match to qualifier, Thanasi Kokkinakis, in a claw biting three set match under the Miami sun. Roger…OUT.

This week is definitely the business end of this tournament and yesterday saw so many three set close matches between “veterans” and this “next gen” of tennis stars. And not all of this was nice and pretty. Matter of fact, the handshakes at the net were more ice cold than beach warm. Here is how it all shook down:

  • Sascha Zverev defeats David Ferrer 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.
  • Denis Shapovalov defeats Sam Querrey 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.
  • Borna Coric defeats Jack Sock 5-7, 7-6, 6-3.
  • Pablo Carreno Busta defeats Steve Johnson 6-3, 6-3

Here’s a fun video showing just how Denis Shapovalov took down the veteran, Sam Querrey.

 

And then there was the Thanasi Kokkinakis vs Fernando Verdasco match that went down in flames! Oh boys, can’t you just play nice? The answer is NO. In a bizarre exchange of accusations, curse words and arguing with each other on the change overs, Verdasco was the one who kept his cool and finally won that final set. It is unfortunate that Kokkinakis couldn’t hold it together because he has a nice game. I meow, he beat Roger last week, for goodness sake! But at 21 years old, he still has some learning about controlling one’s emotions.

The rest of this tournament should be a good one. I, for one, am excited to finally spy some young talent showing up to play! Stay tuned, furriends, and I’ll let you know how it goes.

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The Young Guns – Under Pressure at the US Open

With five out of the top 11 ranked players not playing in the US Open this year due to injuries (Milos Raonic (11), Kei Nishikori (10), Novak Djokovic (5), Stan Wawrinka (4), and Andy Murray (2), this leaves the window wide open for one of the young guns, “next gen” players, to make their move. In week one, we have seen some pretty impressive play, but as we sneak into week two, will they be able to hang with the big boys? Only time will tell. On this middle Sunday, there are only two “next gen” players left, Andrey Rublev (currently ranked 53) and Denis Shapovalov (currently ranked 69).

This morning on Arthur Ashe Stadium, Denis Shapovalov gave it his best effort. His opponent was Pablo Carreno Busta. You may be thinking “Who?” But, if you followed any of my clay court coverage, you will remember that he is a formidable clay court player and knows how to win.

Before we even get into Denis and his match, I just want to say that Cliff Drysdale and John McEnroe covering the main match on Arthur Ashe Stadium in the morning is a perfect combination! John is a little more subdued in the morning and Cliff is a good counterpoint to John’s commentary. They don’t talk too much during points, they didn’t favor one player over the other, and all in all, it was a very pleasant experience.

Now onto the match. Denis Shapovalov made a splash earlier this year and not in a good way. You may recall reading in the news of a young kid getting frustrated during a Davis Cup match and hitting a ball into the stands out of frustration. But instead of it going into the stands, it hit the chair umpire smack in the eye. It was hit so hard, the man had to have surgery. Well, that was Denis. Since then he has matured and improved and has been climbing up the rankings.

Denis has style and some are comparing him to a young Andre Agassi. I see him more as a Leyton Hewitt throwback. His “signature style” is his long blonde hair and his oversized cap wore backwards. He’s a lefty with a flexible and powerful one-handed backhand, and a pretty solid 1-2-punch (serve, volley).

The match went three sets, each set ending in a tiebreak. Pablo Carreno Busta won every set 7-6, 7-6, 7-6. If I was Denis’s coach, I would work on the following:

  • Patience. Don’t try to rush the point (too many sloppy errors at the net).
  • Focus. You have got to stay in it from first ball to last.
  • Overhead shots at the net. Too many got dumped straight into the net. (see Patience, above)

I was not surprised Pablo Carreno Busta won this match. I was hoping for it to go to at least four sets, but it didn’t. Even though Denis Shapovalov didn’t win, I see great things for him in the future, so I guess I’m going to have to practice saying his name! Shapo-valov. That’s how he’s told us to pronounce it! The future of tennis continues to shine brightly!