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Daily Bagel: Best women’s rivalry

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The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.

• Video: Highlights from Jamie Hampton’s hard-fought win over Caroline Wozniacki in the semifinals of Eastbourne on Friday. The American, who will break into the top 25 on Monday, came back to win 6-7 (8), 7-5, 6-3 in 2 hours and 44 minutes.

• The best rivalry in women’s tennis? Maria Sharapova vs. Victoria Azarenka, as ESPN.com’s Howard Bryant writes. The two could meet in the Wimbledon semifinals.

The entire personality of the WTA is often encapsulated in their matchups. First, Azarenka is clearly the second-best player on tour. Her movement and consistency of shots and defense explain why she is generally a favorite versus anyone but Serena (or Sharapova on clay). Secondly, Sharapova’s ability to refocus and fight through her disadvantages and prevent Azarenka from dominating their rivalry speaks to her considerable fighting mentality, and it explains why she buzzes through tournaments generally unchallenged until the later rounds. Excluding the year-end championships, only once in the past year has Sharapova even lost a set before the quarterfinals of a tournament. It was in Stuttgart earlier this year. Before that, she lost the first set to Heather Watson in Tokyo in 2012.

• The New York Times dedicates some much-deserved ink to Tommy Haas, the ageless wonder.

So, at age 35, while so many of his former rivals and peers have moved on, Haas is still putting his ballcap on backward and competing with the best. This will be his 14th Wimbledon, and he comes into it seeded No.13, which he has long considered his lucky number.

“I’ve had a lot of great moments in my career, a lot of great matches I look back to that I’m really proud of playing,” Haas said. “I guess right now, in this moment, I’m just really proud of playing tennis at this level. I’m not just sort of hanging around and playing a few tournaments here and there and winning a few matches here and there. I’m playing tennis at a pretty high level, which, I’ll be honest, sometimes surprises me. And I’m really just proud of myself for that, that I got back to that level really not thinking a year and a half or even a year and a couple of months ago that this was possible again.”

Wozniacki got into it with an umpire. Again.

• A video from ESPN.com: Ranking Roger Federer’s 17 Slams.

• Attention, attention: Ana Ivanovic is single.

• Ross Hutchins talks about the support he’s received from Andy Murray after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

• British reporter Stuart Fraser hit with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at Queen’s and lived to tell the tale.

Things are going well as I find a bit of rhythm. The rallies get longer and, clearly aware of this, the two-time Wimbledon semi-finalist steps up the pace. All of a sudden I am scrambling around the back of the court from side to side.

‘Time for the backhand,’ he says. ‘Oh no,’ I respond. It’s my worst shot. I get tight. The ball approaches and I chicken out and hit a slice which actually turns out to be pretty decent, deep with a bit of backspin.

‘Ooh,’ he says, in admiration I think. He picks up the pace again. I watch the ball whizz past me.

• Non-tennis: Remembering James Gandolfini.

  • Published On Jun 21, 2013
  • 3 comments
    tensf@n1
    tensf@n1

    "It is, at this late date, unclear whether there is anything more futile in women's tennis than trying to create a rivalry between Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. The repetition of statistics never seem to dull the sharpness of Williams' scalpel piercing the fading aura of Sharapova. Against Serena, Sharapova has lost 14 of 16 career matches, including 13 in a row. Since 2005, Williams and Sharapova have played 29 sets. Serena has won 26 of them. With Wimbledon less than a week away, the last time the two met on grass was at the All England Club. No, not at Wimbledon but in the gold-medal final at last year's London Olympics. Serena demolished Sharapova 6-0, 6-1.

    Sharapova has a 2-14 record against Serena, yet a tone-deaf hype machine nevertheless continues to try to sell a rivalry between two players in which one has traditionally been the hammer and the other the nail. Williams is so obviously peerless that the real rivalry in the women's game isn't a battle for No. 1 but rather is between No. 2 Victoria Azarenka and No. 3 Sharapova."

    http://espn.go.com/tennis/wimbledon13/story/_/id/9402909/wimbledon-maria-sharapova-victoria-azarenka-best-rivalry

    Curtos07
    Curtos07

    I never warmed to the Mark Stillitano dude.

    I would like to see Ana get back with Adam. Maybe the third time is the charm. No, check that. I want my chance.