Sunday, 6 June 2010

Roland Garros: Rafa Nadal, No.1

The Luniz' "I got 5 on it" is a song Rafa Nadal can now happily sing to his hearts content. In 2 hours 18 minutes, Rafa finished off spirited Robin Soderling 6-4 6-2 6-4 in the French Open Mens Final to win his 5th French Open title. This wasn't just a win, this was an 'ooohh' kind of match where Rafa reintroduced himself as simply supreme in a final on the Philippe Chatrier court.

Everything he needed to do to counter the weapons of Soderling worked well. Shots had consistent depth,  backhand slice on fire, the down the line shot worked more than not and he held a healthy first serve percentage.
Soderling made too many unforced errors to winners, his first serve was unreliable and understandably was frustrated that even when he hit his hardest, flattest shot, the damn ball kept coming back. This was Nadal Befuddlement at its greatest. The longer this continued, the more assured Nadal became and the more inevitable the result became. This was a competitive match up that lost
its teeth as Soderling was unable to take any of his break opportunities while Nadal ravished his. Small but telling differences.

The next best thing to see/hear from this match? Rafa speaking some French in his celebratory speech.

Who knew?!

Not only is Nadal the Champion at Roland Garros again, but as of Monday he jumps Roger Federer as world no. 1.

Congratulations Rafa- Bravo!

(c) images Associated Press 6.6.10

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Roland Garros: Ecco Schiavone, Ladies Champion

Francesca Schiavone was a real inspiration in the Ladies Final against Super Sam Stosur. She played an excellent match winning 6-4 7-6 (7-2), even more impressive that she fought back from 1-4 down in the second set. In short, the Stosur forehand wasn't reliable and made too many unforced errors on important moments. A fantastic tournament for the Aussie, nonetheless. 2009- Semi's, 2010- Final, 2011- third time lucky? Why not?

All plaudits fully belong to the brave Italian, who had some wicked support in the crowds.

How many records has she shattered today? Non ti preoccupati, all you need is belief.
First player outside of the top 10 to win a slam in the Open Era. 
First Italian Female player to win a slam.
First Italian (male or female) to reach a slam final in 50 years
Oldest Woman to win a slam since Ann Jones at Wimbledon, 1969.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

With Wimbledon around the corner, Andy Murray would do well to take inspiration from this result- forget the hollabaloo and hype, and just go for it.

(c) images Associated Press 5.6.10

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Elle Arrive, Roland Garros!!

Cannot. Hide. My. Excitement. Woooooooooo!!!!

Aside from the tennis, the other great cause for celebration is the return of 'Juke Box' fun! Télévision France's Tennis Club Roland Garros programme gets the players (usually in drag) to channel their inner MJ/Whitney/Abba in a booth with  a back-up band.

First up, a bouncy Jo-Wilfred Tsonga belting out Black Eye Peas' 'I Gotta Feeling' and Andy Murray lip synching 'I Want You Back' with afro. I like how Robin Soderling really went for it with his Abba tribute!

(c) Télévision France 2010

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Ugly Betty: Bring on the Movie!

What a final episode. Ugly Betty may have drawn to a close on 14 April in America, but for this fan downloading from my laptop, it was 1 May 2010. The reactions of both sets of watchers were probably very similar- laughter, crying, more laughter, more crying, finished off by smiles.

If a show running more than 3 years can produce smiles of contentment at the end of its final ever episode, then you've done well. Did anyone ever watch the final episode of the L Word? Terrible.

Even though the heartbeat of the show is upbeat and adorkable Betty Suarez, I love how UB credited its awesome ensemble cast of characters with their due attention and story development.

Here's my brief summary:

Wilhemina Slater emerges from her coma revitalised by love (hot Connor) and becomes sole Editor-in-Chief at Mode Magazine; Daniel eventually lets Betty go and leaves the mag to start something new; Amanda finds out who her real father is; Marcs' DIY dating therapy succeeds with him ready to pursue a relationship with Troy/Trey; Justin comes out (those scenes in the last three episodes- tears, I tell you); Hilda and "Barbie"/Bobbie get hitched; Ignacio gives his blessing for the girls to move out.

As for the heroine, Betty realises her work at Mode is done and takes up a new job as Editor at a new start up in London. Predictable as the manicurication of Betty from red poncho wearing mess to the sleekly tailored and spectacled woman is, its well done and mighty satisfying to see. Bubba has grown up and the London scenes (contrast to Hilda's stag hol featuring every Britain-for-American TV cliché out there) were surprisingly realistic.

What I liked most, and the reason for posting, was that I loved the ambiguous feel of the ending. Betty bumps into Daniel around Trafalgar Square, where they have a chat. Mother Meade Claire's suspicion that Daniel harbours hidden feelings for Betty has been a running theme through the last last few episodes. When Daniel says he wants to stay in London for 'a while' and asks Betty out to dinner that evening, it hints at the possibility that a romance could blossom between the two on a new, level footing, without conclusively shoe horning us into the fact. For all the storylines, there is enough suggestion about what comes next once we leave them that it leaves a distinct window for a...MOVIE! Sex and the City did a similar trick on their closing episode, but failed to capitalise on the fans goodwill by taking so long to bring the first film out. SATC II, nearly 10 years after the series end, has the distinct feel of a pimped and tired pony taking another lap of honour, not realising its heyday has gone. Not even the accompaniment of a catchy mainstream hip hop ditty on a promo can mask that.

I know audience numbers were dwindling which forced the hasty end of the show, but I would so love to see What Betty Does Next at the cinema. With its technicolour hyper stylised feel, Ugly Betty has the resolution to handle transfer onto the Big Screen. Its roots in telenovella, creative licence and escapist nature are perfect movie fodder.

C'mon, people. DO IT DO IT DO IT. Just don't wait forever...

Monday, 5 April 2010

Tiger Woods: Allow Me to Re-Introduce Myself...

US Masters, Augusta: I happily avoided blogging about the Tiger Woods debarcle, until recent comments forced my hand.

Tiger, I have only two words for you: GET 'EM

I'm tired of all these bitter Golf journo's still bent out of shape because they've been denied their chance to grill Tiger on details of his affairs. The guy was wrong, he got caught and he's been shamed. His public reputation as a perfect sponsorship vehicle is down the toilet; the rest is a family matter.

Now the dust has settled, Tiger is back doing what Tiger does. He is the biggest sports icon to hit the world since Michael Jordan. Sports fans admired Tiger for his immense focus, talent and ability to deliver under intense pressure like no other. Honestly, what else made him such a prize? Tiger long stood behind a well-guarded veil, so much so that the revelations struck most people as...well, ordinary. Extraordinarily ordinary. Cocktail waitresses and porn stars- that's a first! Sports men are busy people, usually married to beautiful women. Any surprise that when they 'act out' it's with ease and convenience in mind?

So when I hear journalists of the sport like GB's Rupert Bell spout pure bile on Talk Sport (a UK sports radio station) that he "hopes Tiger doesn't win" and that the attendant press for today's press conference should have grilled him. Enough is enough. Why so angry, Bell? This resentment seems more than a little personal, and entirely unprofessional.

Therefore, now Woods is back, I hope he wins a 15th Masters championship. The best PR exercise isn't a press conference or truncated 60 Minutes/Barbara Walters special. Tiger's prodigy is Golf, and it's about time he reminded everyone of that.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Miami Open: Good Friday, Bad Friday

Kim Clijsters of Belgium celebrates after winning her tennis match against Samantha Stosur of Australia at the Sony Ericsson Open tennis tournament in Key Biscayne - 0

Key Biscayne: Clijsters triumphed in the Battle of the Belgiums aka Womens semi match against Henin. 6-2 6-7 7-6. Tantalising final with Venus Williams awaits.

Andy Roddick of the U.S salutes the crowd after he defeated Spain's Rafael Nadal at the Sony Ericsson Open tennis tournament in Key Biscayne

The 'shock' result was Andy Roddick downing Lemon Drop, Rafa Nadal in the first Mens semi. Such a cute, zesty outfit deserved its time to shine in a final. But alas, Roddick continues to show good form with this 4-6 6-3 6-3 result under his belt.

Photos: Getty Images, Eurosport

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