Dinara vs Sabine

Let's call this a match of surprises. A fragile Dinara surprised everyone by getting the the quarters on her least favorite surface. Sabine makes good on her potential and surprises tournament favorite (at least behind the Williams sisters), Caroline. I'll play this one safe and go for the top seed in 3 sets.

Agnieszka vs Venus

Venus has been moving immaculately on beloved grass. There is no denying her a stroll to the final. Straight sets of course.

Francesca vs Elena

Well, call me fickle, and now root for Elena. She's cleaned up her act, and as a defending semifinalist, she should be able to follow that up with another final 4 appearance. Depends on which Dementieva shows up, but I'm hoping it's the same one that crushed Vesnina yesterday. Straight sets.

Vika vs Serena

I know I shouldn't - Serena hasn't been tested this fortnight at all - bet Victoria. But. Vika has a winning streak against the younger Williams (I'll consider Vika's retirment in Melbs as a win, hehehe) and even if Wimbledon is a favored surface for the Williams, I'm going to go all out and pick Vika. Two tight sets. If it lasts to a deciding one, Serena should prevail.

Semis and Final

There will be no stopping of Venus for a hat trick of her beloved Rosewater dish, but Vika will put up a fight in the semis before folding in her Grand Slam final debut. Expect more of her this coming hardcourt season.

Vika! Slamming debut.

We all know who's running away with the trophy...
Gentlemen's Singles
Defending Champion: Rafael Nadal

Such disheartening news that a repeat of last year's monumental match will not happen with defending champion Nadal saying 'pass' due to his knees. I hope that this is not the start of the end for the promising Nadal, a GOAT contender himself, but can't say that nobody saw this coming.

Quarter I

Replacing Nadal in his Q1 position is Del Potro, who's been showing pretty decent results over the Slams. A semifinal over at Roland Garros actually came as a surprise since he's more attuned to faster surfaces. Expect him to flourish here, and though he's been bumped up to avoid a Murray/Djokovic/Federer in the semis, his path getting there is very difficult. An opener with the clever Clement, ex-champ Hewitt, recent grass court titlist Tursunov, before the quarters.

The renaissance of Andy Roddick has been one of this season's underrated stories. Even his career-best 4R placing in Paris is a testament that he's willing to grind it out for the long haul. Save for that retirement in Queen's, mark your betting sheets for a shoutout to the American. If the injury isn't as bothersome, a run to the final may not be too far off.

QF Match: Tursunov vs Roddick

Quarter II

A soft draw for homecouurt favorite Murray - and the Brit press will be holding their breath for two, intense weeks. The local favorite has a chance to walk away with the title here (having taken home the trophy at Queen's Club last week), and pole position. The tabloids will be working over-overtime as the nation goes into a frenzy. Except for a swan song test from Safin, anything less than a final 2 showdown with Federer will be considered as a disappointing heartbreak. Can you just imagine the euphoria when Murray wins?

QF Match: Murray vs Simon

Quarter III

It's been an up-and-down 8 months for Novak Djokovic, with a win in the year-ender in Shanghai, a failed defense in Melbs, a sensation claycourt season, only to end in an early exit in Paris. A good placing, together with a reasonable draw in London should do the trick. After an upset loss last year, expect a rebound to form here on grass.

Over Blake and Cilic, I hope that the lanky Croat pulls through, paging Ivanesevic and Ancic.

QF Match: Cilic vs Djokovic

Quarter IV

A relaxed Federer (wouldn't he be?) was also gifted an easy draw. Expect an upset of Verdasco though.

QF Match: Tsonga vs Federer
Ladies Singles
Defending Champion: Venus Williams

It's a mad scramble in London as the ladies try the quick turnaround from clay to grass. With the field blown wide open, and after a much ballyhooed upset season last year, don't expect thing to change just yet: The Williams sisters are headed for a collision course on the last Saturday of the tournament

Quarter I

After the meltdown in Paris, and one of the ugliest finals I've seen in quite a while, Dinara comes in as the top seed, yet with very little expectation. Her draw has not been friendly either, she faces Nicole, Agnes, Alona and/or Amelie. And that's before the quarters. Me thinks that she won't survive all of that.

Caroline has been on a roll this year, but still coming up short in the big ones. Her title run last week should provide her a good footing on the lawns, but she will face sentimental favorite Kimiko Date twice her age). The great Dane won this tournament as a junior, and expect her to make a breakthrough here.

Side note for Roland Garros Champion Svetlana, she's got a great game to succeed on the grass, but why are the results not there? Let's see on where this one goes though.

QF Match: Amelie vs Caroline

Quarter II

As mentioned in the intro, Venus stands out from an inconsistent field, she may have spotty results through the year, but doesn't she just stroll along the courts of Wimbledon, and take the title, which is her namesake?

The Serbian slump is fully represented yet, but expect one of them to put up a fight, Jelena, you've been quiet all year.

QF Match: Venus vs Jelena

Quarter III

Any news on Vera's ankle? Hopefully it holds up, she's got a pretty draw, and has the game to go deep. However, the lack of match play, might impair her. On the upside, her draw is relatively easy, with no real contenders. Sorry Elena D, that star seems to have fizzled out, as it was a stellar run indeed for the first quarter of the year. An upset from Alisa Kleybanova might be in the works.

QF Match: Vera vs Dominika

Quarter IV

Previously, on the last Grand Slam ... contenders were filled on the last quarter of the draw, and Serena Williams to come out blasting full force. Expect a continuation here, Maria, despite a recovering shoulder, still willed herself to the quarters, and my pick for the quarter, Victoria Azarenka, looking forward to a making an impression.

It's a such a temptation to put my money on Vika - her aggressive game, and feisty play suits the lawns of SW19, but her path to the semis is to have back-to-back wins over Serena and Maria. That's a lot to ask, but just in case she does surprise us all (including herself), she's the favorite to win the title. I'm going to go safe though, and count on Serena to bring home the whole thing - it's been a while, since she took home the title here.

QF Match: Victoria vs Serena
Saturday, June 13, 2009

Greatest Of All Time

Best ever!

So I've been a bit delinquent in updating this blog - so much that I missed my QF predictions for Roland Garros (never missed one, even when I was backpacking). I blame my busy sched, combined with the stringent internet filters in the office (BOO!).

Anyway, I popped the bubbly (Coca Cola) after Roger Federer's historic, record-match 14th Grand Slam win. It finally happened, too bad that Nadal wasn't across the net when that happened. Many will label Roger as the best ever, but I feel a bit irked for those who immediately labelled his win in Paris as an empty victory.

Retorts such as "he has a losing record against Nadal", "I don't wanna call him best ever until Nadal calls it a career" right Roger winning match point resounded with nothing but sourgraping. Nothing wrong with the statements mentioned - they are all valid, and definitely make a point,Rafael Nadal is definitely GOAT candidate. What annoys me is the immediacy of it. Federer finally won the title missing in his resume, after being stopped by Nadal for 4 straight years, and that is the congratulations he gets. I give the man props for being consistent, and being a beauty to watch the sport. Fed has made tennis look elegant and rhythmic, and perhaps that's his strongest case yet.
Just before the summer ends, and exactly just before the rains come pouring in, CS Manila had its first Summer Scramble. I've always wanted to be in the Amazing Race, but this time, I had to step back and organise one for my beloved travel group.

Since I was a TAR fan, and had a pretty good idea of sights in the city, druming up ideas for the race was not as difficult as most people would thin it would be. Plus having the experience of running a virtual The Amazing Race isn't so bad in creating challenging tasks.

I'm sure people have blogged about the event, and it's really great hearing it from the racer's point of view. We've got
AJ, whose narrative was the most comprehensive I've seen yet; Greg, whose photos were just gorgeous; and Ryan, whose video blog was just hilarious.

So let's give it a different outlook - let's take it from the organiser's perspective. I must say, my photos are the worst ones, good thing my friend tagged along to be the semi-official photographer.


Creating the challenges were easy, took me about 3 hours to write them all up in an Excel file after Lilliane mentioned the idea to me. The difficult part was testing it. Though we tested the race in parts, a full dry run never managed to be squeezed into my schedule.

* to be continued *