Venus Williams: Her French Open Opening Round

Venus Williams on Sunday: First round match of the French Open at Roland Garros stadium in Paris.

Venus Williams Crack Is Wack At French Open

Venus Williams on Saturday: Window shopping in Amsterdam.

Nutcase Fan Can’t Keep Federer From French Title

From the moment Rafa Nadal got knocked out last week, this French Open pretty much handed to Roger Federer. Upstart Swede Robin Soderling couldn’t stop him, and neither could one overzealous fan who came on to the court to try and give Federer an FC Barcelona hat midway through the second set.

Jimmy Jump and Roger Federer

We’re not huge tennis fans around here (huge tennis boobs are another story), so we welcome any attempts by streakers and nutjobs to liven up Roland Garros. And with one of the hardest-hitting security-on-fan tackles you’ll see, we can’t say this morning that tennis isn’t a contact sport.

Identity of the fan, and video after the jump.

Read more…

Sharapova Shellacked By Slovak In Near-Shutout

After taking 10 months off to recover from shoulder surgery, tennis titaness Maria Sharapova looked as though she was back in form, scoring win after win in the early rounds of the French Open. However, it all unraveled at Roland Garros on Tuesday, as Maria’s run was cut short by a loss in the quarterfinals.

Maria Sharapova Dominika Cibulkova

But it wasn’t just a defeat, it was a near-embarrassment. Sharapova exited the Open by almost getting shut out - Maria didn’t win a game until she was already down 5-0 in the second set. Although she did score two game victories in a row, Sharapova still succumbed 6-0, 6-2.

So who was the opponent that made mincemeat out of Maria? And will there be pictures of her after the jump?

Read more…

Nadal Stunned, Ivanovic Bounced At French Open

A few days ago, the WALL STREET JOURNAL ran an article contemplating the virtual impossibility of beating Rafael Nadal at the French Open, and you can understand why. He was chasing his record fifth-straight title at Roland Garros, where he had never lost a match. His career record on clay 150-5. At the French Open, Nadal was pretty much a one-man wrecking crew.

Rafael Nadal

But apparently, Robin Soderling doesn’t read the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Which isn’t that shocking, since he’s Swedish and all. But what the 23rd seed lacks in financial media acumen, he makes up for with a powerful serve, which was far more important today as he beat Nadal in four sets in what the NEW YORK TIMES is calling “one of the biggest upsets in the long history of tennis.”

Read more…

Serena Williams Spits Bile Twice at French Open

Serena Williams doesn’t understand why her life is so full of emotion, you know? Why so much drama?

I’m like one of those girls on a reality show that has all the drama, and everyone in the house hates them because no matter what they do, like, drama follows them. I don’t want to be that girl.

Serena Williams at the 2009 French Open

(”This… is a forearm. Do not make me smack you with it.”)

F’r'nstance, why would her French Open opponent today (Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez) totally lie about being struck by a ball stuck by Serena and be all mean and steal a point that should have belonged to Serena? Why would she do that? And why would Sanchez say it was “stupid” that Williams claimed that was “cheating”? Serena doesn’t want to call people cheaters!

Read more…

Hot Ticket At French Open Is Screaming Teenager

Have you been watching the French Open? No, of course you haven’t been watching it. But maybe you’ve been hearing it. Specifically, one match yesterday where one player’s grunts were so loud, she was warned by the umpire, felt the wrath of the crowd, and ended up in tears.

Michelle Larcher de Brito

Grunting is normal in women’s tennis, if still a little jarring. But what Portuguese 16-year-old Michelle Larcher de Brito does isn’t “grunt.” “Shriek” is closer, but still not right. There’s no word in the English language for the poodle-in-heat/strangling-a-cat ejaculations from Larcher de Brito.

Video, but more importantly, audio, after the jump.

Read more…

Speed Read: Magic Ready To Ruin Dream Finals

Somehow LeBron James ended another game against the Orlando Magic in their Eastern Conference Finals with the ball in his hand and a chance to win the game. But unlike Game 2, he couldn’t find the miracle the Cavaliers needed, as his desperation heave from 35 feet was off the mark, wrapping up the Magic’s 116-114 OT victory. Orlando now holds a commanding 3-1 series lead, as the Cavaliers are threatening to take a page from the Ohio State football team and choke at the worst possible moment.

LeBron James

And perhaps it was fitting, since the game only went to overtime on two James free throws on a questionable foul committed by Mickael Pietrus with six seconds left - with James needing a friendly roll to get the second. (And honestly, how can the best player on the planet be so average and unreliable from the free throw line? Do you ever remember feeling nervous when Michael Jordan stepped to the line at the end of a game?)

Dwight Howard

It’s hard to blame James for Game 4: after all, he did have 44 points and 12 rebounds. Even the eight turnovers in the box score are more a reflection of him trying to do everything because he had to than any faults. No, the big problem for Cleveland is that they’ve pretty much turned back into King James and His Inept Court of Jokers this series, with his supporting cast basically providing nothing (Delonte West and Mo Williams combined to go 12-for-30 in Game 4, including 0-for-6 from behind the arc.)

Meanwhile, the Magic were unconscious from three-point range, going 17-for-38, with Rafer Alston leading the way with six threes on the way to a 26 point night. And Dwight Howard played angry in overtime - perhaps over picking up his sixth technical foul of the season, or because he thought he was fouled at the end of regulation. No matter what the reason, he took it out on the Cavaliers, scored on three straight dunks en route to 10 points in the extra session. So a dominant big man plus great outside shooting is a good thing, I guess.

Sidney Crosby

Also a good thing: having your league’s best player and leading scorer on the same team. That’s exactly what the Pittsburgh Penguins have, and why they are heading back to the Stanley Cup after a 4-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes to sweep the Eastern Conference Finals. And even though they didn’t score in the series-clincher, Penguins stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin had done more than enough, proving to be way too much for a game but overmatched Carolina side. So while the NBA is wincing at losing their dream match-up, the NHL has to be thrilled with a likely Penguins vs. Red Wings rematch.

Mike Tyson

Finally, to update a tragic story we told you about earlier today, KPHO-TV in Phoenix reports that Mike Tyson’s daughter Exodus, 4, has died from injuries she sustained in a freak accident at her family home in Arizona. No matter what you think about Mike Tyson as a person, monster or character in a classic Greek tragedy, your heart has to go out to him and his family. For anyone with a child, reading about this gets your stomach all tied up in knots.

  • So after what PRO FOOTBALL TALK had reported was a tug-of-war to sign John Lynch as an NFL analyst, NEWSDAY says that the winner is Fox, snatching the former Buccaneers and Broncos standout from ESPN. Lynch will likely be replacing Brian Baldinger, which means that he’ll need to have his finger run over with a steamroller to match the “analyst with the gross digit” quota at the network.
  • Brian Baldinger and his gross finger

  • Is this a sign that the Anquan Boldin contract mess is about to come to an end?: ESPN.COM says that the disgruntled Cardinals wide receiver has fired Drew Rosenhaus as his agent. Stepping in? This guy.
  • Ready for a career switch to the exciting and fast-paced world of sports business? Fat chance, says the NEW YORK TIMES, as tough economic times have made jobs in the industry tougher to get than ever. In fact, it’s so bad that people actually want to work for the Cincinnati Bengals.
  • A new blog is asking people to vote Manny Ramirez into the 2009 All-Star Game to prove a point about how ridiculous MLB’s stance is on steroids. I say let’s really send a message and vote Jose Guillen in.
  • A STERN WARNING digs up an old Japanese tire commercial featuring Dennis Rodman, and it’s every bit as weird and indecipherable as anything you would expect involving Japanese TV and The Worm. But at least there weren’t any midgets involved:

  • As the BOSTON HERALD says, this is how bad it’s gotten for David Ortiz: last night against the Twins, he was dropped to the No. 6 spot in the line-up for the first time in more than five years. Not that it mattered; thanks to another lousy start by Jon Lester, Boston fell to Minnesota 5-2.
  • Top Orioles prospect Matt Wieters is getting his call-up to the big leagues, and is expected to make his big-league debut as a catcher on Friday against the Tigers. CAN’T STOP THE BLEEDING wonders if the Baltimore sports media is making too big of a deal about this. (i.e. could Peter Schmuck please remove his tongue from Wieters’ mouth?)
  • The NEW YORK TIMES has the latest from Roland Garros (English translation: Ron Garrett) Stadium and the French Open: Serena Williams serves a “horrendous” performance, while James Blake is bounced yet again.
  • Just how dominant has Zack Greinke been this season for the Royals? As the KANSAS CITY STAR reports, he gave up one earned run in his fifth complete game of the season, a 6-1 win over the Tigers…and his ERA actually went up slightly, “ballooning” to 0.84.
  • Probably not what Marshall wanted to hear about their prized football recruit A.J. Graham: the TALLAHASSE DEMOCRAT says that Florida’s “Mr. Football” was arrested on robbery charges - just hours before his scheduled high school graduation.

Who is the best NBA player to never win a title?

View Results

Roger Federer Isn’t Dead, Beats Nadal On Clay

If you were tasked to name every male tennis player who won a major tournament in the last three years, the list would likely have gone Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, then you’d start trying to make up Eastern European names in hopes of lucking into a right answer (sorry, but there’s nobody in the WTA named “Dverjevicbliczic“). Like it or not, that’s the scope of public knowledge about modern men’s tennis, and Nadal’s recent ownership of Federer has even pushed that rivalry to the sidelines.

Nadal Federer Dishes
(Good old tennis, where your trophies are also handy kitchenware.)

So when Federer and Nadal met today in the Madrid Open on clay, Nadal’s most dominant surface, it was pretty much assumed that Nadal would roll. Nadal is still hitting his prime, after all, while Federer seems to have been fading as of late. Not so much, however; Federer rolled, 6-4, 6-4. Read more…

Video: Jankovic Changes Underwear During Match

Jelena Jankovic is a busy woman. The Serbian tennis star not named Ana Ivanovic doesn’t have time to run to the locker room when she needs to change her underwear. And for that, we thank her:

(Video courtesy of DEADSPIN, WITH LEATHER, THE BIG LEAD, POP CRUNCH, GORILLA MASK - let us know if we’re forgetting anyone)

But by further uncovering Jelena’s mid-match panty removal, we learn that this clip is actually an oldie but goodie. Read more…

Ivanovic Wins French Open Over Fellow Hottie

That rumbling sound you hear is the avalanche of sportscasters around the world quipping in unison,”Ana Ivanovic has finally shed the comparisons to Anna Kournikova!” That’s so clever! Because they’re both pretty communists!

Ana Ivanovic Kisses Trophy

Okay, they’re not really communists. Anyway, Ivanovic trounced fellow hottie Dinara Safina to win the French Open earlier today. Viva Serbia! Or something.

Read more…