Sunday, May 28, 2006

Roland Garros 2006

Men's Singles
Defending Champion: Rafael Nadal

Q1: Believe it or not, after three years of leading the tour, Roger Federer is actually the underdog in this Slam. Trailing Nadal 1-4 (4 of which were on clay, and 3 of those were just this year), it seems that there is someone better than Federer in the red courts of Roland Garros. Don't worry, the top seed has probably done his homework, but should not worry about Nadal until he reaches the finals.

A lot of work needs to be done, with an improving Ancic, and recent AMS Hamburg winner Tommy Robredo hanging around in his quarter of the draw. Should be elementary for the game's top dog until the quarters, where things should get interesting.

QF Match: Federer vs Robredo

Q2: Nalbandian for the upper half, but tight choices for the lower portion of this quarter.

Three previous champions are littered below, but which one will make it to the quarter finals? 1998 Winner Carlos Moya? His prime has long passed. 2003 Champion Juan Carlos Ferrero? The road to recovery for him seems to be leading nowhere. Or will Gaston Gaudio, successful in 2004, still contend for the final eight? Logic would say neither of them 3 would make it, Davydenko played in Austria last year and won, and still made it to the semis, if he can do that before, I don't see why not again this year, he's already won Austria again anyway.

QF Match: Nalbandian vs Davydenko

Q3: Andy Roddick still seems to be teasing the media with his sore foot, but the bottom line of it is "Who cares, you're going to win 2 matches at most, anyway." So forget about that. I'm not entirely sure as to how well Ljubicic performs on clay, but I would like to think that hardcourts would be his favorite. Expect the surprise/debutant quarter/semi/finalist from this draw.

QF Match: Rochus vs Ferrer

Q4: James Blake is the last US hope in the men's championships, and don't expect it to last very long. There's Haas, Safin and maybe Monfils in his side of the quarters. I'd choose Monfils over Blake, and Haas over Safin, assuming the Russian gets past Gonzalez in the opening round. And yes, Nadal too.

QF Match: Haas vs Nadal


Women's Championship
Defending Champion: Justine Henin-Hardenne

Q1: Ever since Amelie won her maiden Slam in Melbourne earlier this year, all of a sudden, she gets a tremendous amount of respect. Hopefully, that for her, it translates into self-confidence that she can win, especially in front of her fickle countrymen. Expect easy wins, even over Nicole Vaidisova, but not against Patty or Venus in the quarters.

QF Match: Amelie vs Venus

Q2: Same question as the men's draw, but replace "past champions" with "Russian teenager." Let's see. Maria - is she in top physical condition? Svetlana - has her coach Arantxa given her good training for clay? Dinara? Aah, nice showing in Rome. This one please.

Francesca over Svetlana, judging on previous performance.

QF Match: Dinara vs Francesca

Q3: This season's top claycourt players are in this draw, so expect a good workout from this quarter. Justine against Ana and Makiri versus Nadia in R16 before the main battle begins.

QF Match: Justine vs Nadia

Q4: All eyes are on Martina Hingis as she tries to reclaim the only Slam she hasn't won. She's already proven that she can still play on clay, with her win in Rome. She reached the QF in Melbourne fresh from retirement, why not in clay, where she should outplay most of her opponents. I'm just wondering how her resistance would hold up. No problems for Kim, but depending on the mood, Elena might outhit Martina in 4R.

QF Match: Martina vs Kim
Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Plans, plans, plans

There is one thing sure right now - I will be on vacation, outside of the country, in July. Exactly where, that is the problem. I'm trying to fit in as many holidays into this trip, but the plan is still vague. Let's just say, it's an Amazing Race challenge - tight budget, lots of cities, and all modes of transport.

Not to sound cliche, but the Peninsular Malaysia coupled with Thailand, with a dash of Cambodia sounds nice. Hey, it's inexpensive, safe (those bird flu outbreaks were relatively isolated cases), and well-traveled by tourists.

Here's the general plan, fly to Singapore, meet friends in both KL and SG, then I'm off on my own. Melaka and Penang in Malaysia, Koh Samui, Krabi and Phuket in Southern Thailand (ah basta, beach!), partying in Bangkok, and ruin-hunting in Cambodia.

Planning the trip is just about as fun as traveling, so I'm enjoying the moment as it is. I'm currently looking at train schedules, and hordes of travel guides (2 for Thailand, 2 for Bangkok, 1 for KL, 1 for Malaysia and a bunch of brochures for Singapore). Other than that, I'm doing a packing list that should fit in one bag. And picking about a hundred songs to squish in my Wlakman phone for the ride.

Now, any ideas on any of those?
Saturday, May 20, 2006

It's Been A Long Day I Tell You

There's this Scrubs episode that says "Every 4.8 seconds a man says something stupid." Great. Not offering an excuse here, I'm running on 3 hours of sleep, legs in pain that I feel paralysed from the hip down, and an amazing-race like itinerary that will drive you nuts. Gaaah. There, there.
Monday, May 08, 2006

I Can See Clearly Now

With every birthday comes a challenge - yeah, it's kind of too late for a birthday epiphany, but I meant to write this one earlier. As I was saying, with every birthday comes a challenge, and I've made a resolution that I will do something scary for my birthday. Don't worry, it won't be against moral dictum, and mostly within legal bounds. I said mostly.

How about driving up Baguio City in my car, at night. Mission accomplished. Too easy! So, I reverted to my original plan - how about wearing contact lenses? I had initially wanted to wear contact lenses at around November of last year, so I can wear sunglasses while preserving my perfect-albeit-corrected 20/20 vision (ah, vanity, my favorite sin). The moment the optometrist demonstrated the how-to's of contact lenses maintenance I got freaked out. It looked like she was going to take out her eyeballs. Ugh.

Last weekend, I mustered enough bravado (haha) and EQ (including enough not to go homicidal on that idiot who stole my parking space after waiting for 15 minutes-the nerve!) to try on contact lenses. Thanks to J for coming along and bringing the pity, apart from standing the optometrist's sungit and my almost forever squinting.

I can see clearly now. In more ways than I had intentionally wanted to.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Search Is On!

Interesting to note, that last week's after-hours spree was consumed by Word Factory. Now, before you go all nerd-pointing at me and my friends, WF has been a long standing competition between my high school friends, now known as people I've known half my lifetime.

It's absolutely amazing, you don't see each other for about 5 years or so, but the memories, stories, and more importantly, tirade of jokes and insults fit to a tee. Take note, I was mostly not with the people I graduated with, nor the ones I did my research paper with, but the first handful of people I met in my first days of school.

Short of calling this the Kathie Jamasali Memorial Cup (I do hear wild objections in my sleep), we'd like to thank Jam for suggesting the game while looking for an appropriate activity to match our booze-chugging in Baguio. We plan on making this a regular meet-up, with theme nights and such.

Not even the embarrassment of WF-ing in the middle of GB3 can stop us.

Here's what the sample board looks like.

Come join us!

Did you see the word 'reraises'? If you did, come join the club. There is a link for Word Factory at the sideboard of this blog.

Now you can start nerd-pointing.