The talk of the day is of course Ana Ivanovic‘ win over Serena Williams.
According to her coach, Serena blocked her back and neck before her match against Daniela Hantuchova in the third round.
The Serbian reaches the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam for the fisrt time since the 2012 US Open.

A sad end to a terrific tournament for a Casey Dellacqua: she lost the last 8 games of her match against Eugenie Bouchard 6-0. Joining Ivanovic and Bouchard in the quarterfinals are Li Na and Flavia Pennetta.

Australian Open 2014 champion?

  • Serena Williams (49%, 70 Votes)
  • Victoria Azarenka (15%, 21 Votes)
  • Maria Sharapova (12%, 17 Votes)
  • Na Li (9%, 13 Votes)
  • Other (5%, 7 Votes)
  • Caroline Wozniacki (4%, 6 Votes)
  • Jelena Jankovic (3%, 4 Votes)
  • Agniezska Radwanska (2%, 3 Votes)
  • Angelique Kerber (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Petra Kvitova (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Sara Errani (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 144

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No surprise in the men’s draw: Novak Djokovic, Stanislas Wawrinka, David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych progress to the quarterfinals.

Who will be the 2014 Australian Open champion?

  • Rafael Nadal (33%, 92 Votes)
  • Novak Djokovic (28%, 80 Votes)
  • Roger Federer (27%, 76 Votes)
  • Juan Martin Del Potro (4%, 11 Votes)
  • Andy Murray (4%, 10 Votes)
  • Stanislas Wawrinka (2%, 5 Votes)
  • Tomas Berdych (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Other (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Richard Gasquet (0%, 1 Votes)
  • David Ferrer (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 283

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Video highlights:

Tweet of the day: Gisela Dulko

Really happy about her friend’s Flavia Pennetta qualification for the quarterfinals

Video of the day: Henri Leconte and Mansour Bahrami


Matches to follow on Day 8:

Dominika Cibulkova (20) – Maria Sharapova (3)
Sloane Stephens (13) – Victoria Azarenka (2)
Rafael Nadal (1) – Kei Nishikori (16)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (10) – Roger Federer (6)
Agnieszka Radwanska (5) – Garbine Muguruza
Jelena Jankovic (8) – Simona Halep (11)
Andy Murray (4) – Stephane Robert
Grigor Dimitrov (22) – Roberto Bautista Agut

This is a guest post by Andreas Plastiras

When Britain’s Andy Murray reached the pinnacle of his sport by recording his first Wimbledon victory – becoming Britain’s first male champion since the great Fred Perry some 77 years ago – the feel good factor around tennis in the UK soared to new heights. One could argue, therefore, that classic Belgian beer brand Stella Artois selected an ideal time to re-associate itself with the sport by sponsoring the BNP Paribas Tennis Classic – an upmarket tournament that took place at the Hurlingham club, London between June 17-21st. Indeed, this represented the first foray into tennis for Stella in the UK, since it gave up its title sponsorship of the Queens Club in 2008. Further more, the brand launched its Connoisseur Series – “a collection of exclusive video portraits, each providing an intimate look into the world of renowned quality craftsmen” – to be shown on its newly launched UK-specific YouTube channel. And two weeks prior to Murray’s historical victory at SW19, Stella Artois published a video to the channel – as part of its digital campaign launched in early June – concentrating on the former world number five, charismatic Frenchman Henri Leconte; and it is this uniquely shot video that I wish to focus this article on.

Leconte’s video is the fourth in a series of published videos that sees Stella Artois capture an insight into the minds of renowned directors such as Wim Wenders and stars of the sporting world such as Polo player Jamie Morrison. Each video in the series is preceded by a short 20 second trailer (of which Leconte’s trailer has received the highest number of views of any video published to the channel) and directs fans to the Stella Artois UK Facebook page where more related content, including further Tennis activations revolving around the serve and the chalice glass can be found.

In his video, Henri Leconte provides his compelling views on his own journey to the professional game, and the passion and dedication required to reach such heights. The former French Open Doubles winner also casts an interesting assessment into the more “pressured” and “results” based state the game is currently in, which Leconte suggests raises the importance of individual personality and character to shine through and assist players in thriving in such an environment. Of course, this is neatly related to the unique and steady “pouring ritual” required to perfect the skill of providing the perfect pint of Stella – a distinctive appeal of the brand.

The videos encapsulate the classic essence of the Stella Artois brand and subtly links the key advertising focus of the “chalice glass” with a high quality, well-shot film that has enabled Stella to effectively begin the process of re establishing its tennis association in the UK; there has never been a better time do so.

Court Philippe Chatrier

The european clay court season has just begun this week but Roland Garros is already around the corner: the qualifications start in exactly one month.
I’ll be onsite the first week, covering the tournament for Tennis Buzz but also guest posting for Grand Slam Gal. Crossing my fingers for good weather!

Finalists at Monte Carlo, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will be once again the two big favorites at Roland Garros: Rafa will look to secure a 8th French Open and Novak will try to complete a career Grand Slam.

Roland Garros 2013 men's winner?

  • Rafael Nadal (49%, 91 Votes)
  • Novak Djokovic (26%, 48 Votes)
  • Roger Federer (17%, 31 Votes)
  • Juan Martin Del Potro (3%, 5 Votes)
  • Other (2%, 3 Votes)
  • David Ferrer (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Tomas Berdych (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Andy Murray (1%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 185

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The women’s draw is more open: Victoria Azarenka, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Li Na and Sam Stosur are the main contenders.

Roland Garros 2013 women's winner?

  • Serena Williams (41%, 66 Votes)
  • Maria Sharapova (35%, 56 Votes)
  • Victoria Azarenka (9%, 15 Votes)
  • Other (4%, 7 Votes)
  • Li Na (3%, 5 Votes)
  • Sam Stosur (3%, 5 Votes)
  • Agniezska Radwanska (2%, 3 Votes)
  • Angelique Kerber (2%, 3 Votes)
  • Petra Kvitova (1%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 162

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This 2013 edition will also mark the 30th anniversary of Yannick Noah victory. Since 1983 only one French player reached the men’s singles final: Henri Leconte in 1988.

Which French player has the best chance to win RG 2013?

  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (66%, 56 Votes)
  • Richard Gasquet (21%, 18 Votes)
  • Benoit Paire (6%, 5 Votes)
  • Other (5%, 4 Votes)
  • Gilles Simon (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Paul Henri Mathieu (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Jérémy Chardy (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Julien Benneteau (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Michael Llodra (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 85

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Enjoy Mauro’s view on the EdbergMcEnroe final at Stockholm’s Kings of Tennis:

Who didn’t think that the worst was going to happen again? When Stefan Edberg was one set and a break up in the Kings of Tennis final against John McEnroe and started to walk with a limp, repeatedly touching his left thigh and asking for the physio, we all went back to the 2012 Zurich final against Carlos Moya, when the same kind of injury prevented him from winning the title with the match that seemed already over.

The fact that this time he went all the way in front of his home crowd, against an opponent 6 years his senior (that had struggled himself with a neck injury in the match before against Henri Leconte) can’t make us forget that almost twenty years have gone by since Stefan’s professional days and, inevitably, playing serve & volley tennis for entire matches in consecutive days on fast surfaces (stressing out articulations and muscles) is getting increasingly demanding for his body.

Yet it remains a show! Watching the final, all the lovers of vintage tennis can’t help noticing and appreciating the variety that Stefan can give his shots. When you see him use three different spins on three consecutive serves, you immediately think that, even though racquets and strings have developed becoming a technological weapon today, an alternative to exclusively power tennis would still be possible if the player’s arm and hand are educated and know the game’s history and secrets.

When you see two monsters like Stefan Edberg and John McEnroe apply today the same kind of strategies they played twenty years and more ago, you think that, it’s true, surfaces have been slowed down, but no way this is a factor to completely erase net play from the game.

At every interview Stefan keeps repeating that, had he played tennis today, he wouldn’t have served and volleyed at 90 per cent, but only half of the times. Still, when he enters the court, it’s so evident that the net remains an irresistible attraction for him. His touch is unchanged and the decreased speed makes it even more enjoyable to watch. His right side seems even improved and lower speeds this time can’t be the reason, because Stefan’s forehand has always been a counterpunching shot that gave him more troubles right when it was him who had to generate the power.

In the Stockholm final, instead, he looked unusually sharp on this shot, while he unexpectedly missed several backhand crosscourt passings.

For a good hour the final was top-level tennis. Since Stefan’s injury, I would say from the fourth game of the second set on, it went down. The two thousand spectators of the Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre didn’t notice it. They were delighted, because the loss of quality was balanced by an enthralling fight in the second half of the match.

At the end the audience were all on their feet. But the real question is: how can an Edberg vs McEnroe final, even today, be watched by just two thousand spectators? An event that, I’m sure, would have filled the Royal Albert Hall in London (5.500 seats) or the Stade de Coubertin in Paris (5.000)… And, remember, last June there were 10.000 persons in Halle (which is not a capital city) to watch four tennis glories, right in the Sunday of the French Open final…

The Waterfront Congress Centre may surely be the tennis facility that Stockholm was waiting for. It is central, modern and multifunctional. But at the same time, it is the clear evidence of the downsizing of tennis in Sweden. In the ’80s and early ’90s the Stockholm Open was played at the Globe Arena (14.000), then, from 1996, it moved to the Kungliga Tennishallen (5.000). Now, a senior event that puts together two former Swedish world number ones (and Borg was in the stands) plus two more Swedish top ten players and a world sports star like John McEnroe is hosted in a much smaller stadium. And it’s not sold-out…

The news of the winner has barely found some space on the Swedish most important online media, where the sport pages are now almost completely filled with ice hockey. It looks like the Kings of Tennis, more than revitalizing tennis in Sweden, reminds the Vikings of a past that can no longer be.

Visit Mauro’s website: STE…fans

Photo by Tim Edwards

Read part 1 of my recap here.

A few pics of John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg, more coming soon.

John McEnroe

John McEnroe

John McEnroe

Bjorn Borg

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