Posting is going to be a bit sporadic over the next week….things are pretty busy right now.
Congrats to Dallas, Baltimore, NY Jets, and Arizona for advancing in the NFL playoffs and props to Tennessee for knocking off #1 ranked Kansas in NCAAB.
“I understand you can’t have two goals on one play, but why not? Why can’t you?”
–Toronto Maple Leafs’ coach Ron Wilson following a play in which the Penguins’ Sergei Gonchar scored an undetected goal and just seconds later tripped the Leafs’ Alexei Ponikarovsky, which resulted in refs awarding the Leafs with a penalty shot. However, following a video review, Gonchar was awarded the goal and the penalty shot that had been awarded was retracted, because two goals cannot be scored on the same play.
Vladamir Guerrero has agreed to a $6 million one-year deal with the Texas Rangers. Vlad definitely isn’t who he once was, but what’s up with the Angels getting rid of several key players and not getting anyone back in return? I realize they had several players that were free agents following the 2009 season, but those players need to be replaced and I haven’t seen that happening. It seems like I hear about the Angels in the running for different people off-and-on, but it never pans out. You have to get somebody, sometime…
The Battle of the Belgians turned out to be one of the ugliest matches that I have seen in a long time. Sure, Clijsters won 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(6), but at times both players looked shaky. Clijsters blitzed Henin in the first set; in the second set, however, she crumbled in the second set. After being up two breaks in the second set, Clijsters choked and subsequently allowed Henin to win the set. Sure, the third set was close, but that was only because neither player could hold serve if their life had depended on it. At times, they both had flashes of brilliance, but inconsistency plagued both of their games. This match is being touted as a thriller and it definitely had drama; however, if either of them want to defeat Serena or even Safina for that matter, they need to improve their games, particularly their serves.
In Doha, third seeded Nikolay Davydenko defeated second seeded Rafael Nadal 0-6, 7-6(8), 6-4. Davydenko, who also defeated top ranked Roger Federer in Doha, simply upped his game in the second set, after Nadal had looked unbeatable during the first set. During the first set, Nadal played aggressively and was able to easily take control of the rallies, but when Davydenko was able to pressure him in the second, Nadal’s lack of confidence became quite apparent. The Spaniard, who hasn’t won an ATP tournament in roughly eight months, played defensively and he reverted back to his classic clay court style of play when Davydenko began to play at a higher level. Davydenko is arguably playing the best of anyone on tour, but with the Australian Open quickly approaching, the Russian downplayed his chances. He told the AFP “For three sets it’s really interesting. There it will be five sets. It’s different conditions – here it’s 18 degrees, cold and there it can be 30 degrees. It ought to be the same but when you get there it always feels different. But I have confidence, so we will see.”
In other news, Spain (who seem to be the champions of team tennis competitions) defeated Great Britain in the Hopman Cup final. Playing for Spain was Tommy Robredo and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez and it was Robredo that came up with the vital point when he upset Britain’s Andy Murray 1-6, 6-4, 6-3. Britain’s Laura Robson, however, had an upset of her own when she defeated the 26th ranked Sanchez 6-1, 7-6(6). The championship, therefore, went to the final match, in which Robredo and Sanchez were able to team up to defeat Murray and Robson 7-6(6), 6-5.
Clijsters v. Henin
Nadal v. Davydenko
Former USC head coach Pete Carroll has agreed to become the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks.
Also, Peyton Manning won the MVP award with over 39.5 percent of the vote. Manning ran away with his 4th MVP award.
More to come…
In Brisbane, the final that we had so eagerly anticipated has become reality. Belgians Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters will face each other after Henin ousted Ana Ivanovic and Clijsters defeated Andrea Petkovic in the semifinals. Henin told the Brisbane International that “it’s a great feeling” to be in the final of her first event since coming back from retirement. After her semifinal match, Clijsters spoke about her long-time rivalry with Henin, saying that “We grew up playing juniors together and I think we always made each other better players.” Henin leads their head-to-head record 12-10.
In Doha, there was a big upset, as third seeded Nikolay Davydenko defeated top seed Roger Federer 6-4, 6-4. Davydenko winning the match was not as surprising as was the way he did it. He had previously beaten Federer just months ago at the ATP World Finals, but in this match, he took a 3-0 double break lead right from the start. For much of the match, the Russian played beautifully and Federer could only watch, as he was unable to match his play. Davydenko told the ATP World Tour “I have a different type of confidence [against Federer] now than before when I lost every match to him. After beating him once it makes it mentally different. If I beat him once, I say I can beat him twice. Now I come ready, fighting, with a chance to win. Not just a chance, but I really can win.” Davydenko’s opponent will be second seeded Rafael Nadal, who defeated Viktor Troicki in the semifinals 6-1, 6-3. Nadal has looked strong throughout this tournament, but he has yet to play any of the top players, as the highest ranked player he faced was Troicki who is ranked 29th in the world. Overall, Davydenko and Nadal have a 4-4 head-to-head record.
Highlights of Nadal v. Troicki and Federer v. Davydenko, as well as a preview of the final:
All times in EST:
4:00am: ATP/WTA Brisbane Men’s Quarterfinals (1) Andy Roddick v. Richard Gasquet
8:00am: ATP Doha Semifinals (1) Roger Federer v. (3) Nikolay Davydenko
(following Federer match is (2) Rafael Nadal v. Viktor Troicki)
7:00pm: NCAAB (24) Butler (1st Horizon) @ Wright State (T3 Horizon)
8:00pm: NBA Boston Celtics (1st in Atlantic) @ Atlanta Hawks (2nd in Southeast)
10:00pm: NBA Dallas Mavericks (1st in Southwest) @ San Antonio Spurs (2nd in Southwest)
10:00pm: NBA Los Angeles Lakers (1st in Pacific) @ Portland Trail Blazers (2nd in Northwest)
10:30pm: NBA Cleveland Cavaliers (1st in Central) @ Denver Nuggets (1st in Northwest)