Saturday, 28 February 2009

Davis Cup

Next week will be the Davis Cup competition so I decided to post something about it as I did with Fed Cup, however I don't know if the teams are finalized.

Argentina Vs. Netherlands
The first matchup I saw was Argentina Vs. Netherlands, I don't think there is a competition to be honest because Argentina will thrash the Netherlands even if they aren't sending their best team. Of course Nalbandian is yet again leading the group but his recent scalps in tournaments have been abysmal. Juan Monaco is playing better lately but I would have thought the team would capitalize on Jose Acasuso's recent good form. Juan Ignacio Chela will definitely be a risk, in my personal opinion Argentina may be cutting this tie a bit too close. The tie may not be as dominant as it could have been but I still think Argentina will win.

Czech Republic Vs. France
France are in it to win it, sending their 4 top players to the draw. They've all had their highs and lows this year so I don't know whether they'll be in form or not. The Czechs boast Radek Stepanek who has seen great form lately but I'm not sure Stepanek would be enough to halt the enslaught of top French players.

USA Vs. Switzerland
Switzerland aren't really going for the win are they, if they were attempting to beat the US they would have included Roger Federer - I can't see why Federer wouldn't play as he hasn't been active lately. Personally the USA have somewhat of their dream team with Andy Roddick and James Blake holding the singles fort and the Bryan Brothers capitalizing in the doubles, they'll definitely be a tough challenge for any country (unlike their female counterparts!) Definitely a USA win I'd say.

Croatia Vs. Chile
This draw could be tough. Marin Cilic will be leading a team who has seen success in recent years whilst veteran Fernando Gonzalez will be aiming to topple over the Croatians. However I think Croatia have the added benefit of having Mario Ancic and Ivo Karlovic (even though he hasn't been doing well of late). Both teams have a blindingly obvious weak spot as each team have a player who is out of the Top 100. On Croatia's side is Karanusic who isn't particularly strong in doubles or singles whilst Chile have an even bigger fault; Guillermo Hormazabal who hasn't won a single match on the ATP tour.

Sweden Vs. Israel
Ok Sweden looks massively weaker without either Thomas Johansson or Jonas Bjorkman, Israel have got it good! They are so desperate they've taken on board Robert Lindstedt and Simon Aspelin who I believe have both retired from the pro tour, if they could have added Robin Soderling to the team maybe they would have an edge. Israel definitely look stronger as they at least have a Top 100 player in their team as well as a top doubles player also. Overall a weak showing by Sweden.

Romania Vs. Russia
Romania have there best team out whilst Russia have sent somewhat of a veteran group of players. However I am a hyper fan of Marat Safin, Dmitry Tursunov and Mikhail Youzhny so on that side it's a good team but neither Marat Safin nor Dmitry Tursunov have had good starts this year whilst Mikhail Youzhny has done Ok. However Russia has had a great Davis Cup in recent years and the players definitely have the match experience to take Russia far.

Germany Vs. Austria
This draw looks tough, Germany may have the edge on the singles but the doubles may lean slightly towards Austria, however I think Germany should be the eventual winners here as they have undoubtedly one of the more equal and well experienced sides here with 3 players in the top 100.

Spain Vs. Serbia
When I first saw this draw I was totally shocked, this type of match shouldn't be in the first round as both teams deserve to get to the Quaterfinal stages. However Spain is most likely going to win here, not only do they have the title from last year but also a well experienced team consisting of Nadal, Ferrer, Robredo and Lopez. The Serbians boast Novak Djokovic, Victor Troicki, Janko Tipsaveric and Nenad Zimonjic - a dangerous team both in singles and doubles. However once we see what colour the court is we'll understand! Yep it's clay, Serbia you're going for a tough ride here!

So I'm expecting to see this quaterfinal line up...
Argentina Vs. France (If it does come down to this it would be an interesting match)
USA Vs. Croatia (Yep another two seeded teams)
Israel Vs. Russia (I'm going to go for a shock between Israel and Sweden!)
Germany Vs. Spain (I've gambled with Germany but personally it should be Serbia!)

Friday, 27 February 2009


Whilst I'm posting about music I thought I'd present you with a recent find of mine, in actual fact I had heard about her a year ago but only recently decided to listen to her work. Yep it's Asa the French born Nigerian. I like her album Asha quite a lot to be honest because it has a smooth soulful touch to it. Her slight accent also gives it a reggae boost in my opinion which makes her music all the more interesting. If she had the publicity I'm sure she'll eventually be a big hit across the world but it's difficult to get publicity in the music industry. Sadly I still can't upload files onto my mediafire account but if you search on youtube you should be able to find something. Fire on the Mountain is probably a good starting search for you all.

Jane Zhang

I'm dedicating my first birthday post to Jane Zhang, the beautifully talented Chinese songstress. She caught my attention in 2006 when my cousin sent me a link of her performing, I was blown away by her vocals and decided to keep an eye on this exceptional girl. I was totally shocked to find out this dazzling star only got third in the 2005 Super Girl contest, the former Chinese equivalent of American Idol/X Factor depending on where you live. In fact her two conquerors were in my opinion much less talented than this girl and only beat her because the Chinese wanted someone different rather than talented to win (though the other two may have some talent they are by far less worthy than Jane). Nonetheless I must say 4 years on she is the most successful out of the 3 with Chris Li Yu Chun possibly making a few headlines here and there and Bibi Zhou having dissapeared for more than a year. Her capabilities dazzle me, besides the stunning voice she has she can also sing in a variety of languages - Spanish, English, Cantonese as well as her mother tongue; Mandarin - she can basically sing to everyone in the world!
However I have always found Jane's out of album work more satisfying than her album work, it's sad to say that Huayi Brothers seem to lack the capabilities of developing albums for her. I love all her theme songs that she has sung, from the strong vulnerability in her voice for Return of the Condor Heroes, the beautifully mastered theme song for The Banquet to her most recent endeavor for The Painted Skin which showcases her whistle region to its extremes.
I present you with one of her classics, from the movie "The Banquet", the beginning is truly exceptional though she does seem to be at times drowned out by the music I do think this composition is fabulously stunning and sends shivers through my body.
Here's the link because I can't seem to get a music player that allows me to use my own songs and mediafire is playing up on me!

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Soooo.... Annoyed

Here's the story, I bought something online last Wednesday, as the parcel was from America they had to use FedEx to deliver it to me (rather than the more reliable, in my opinion, Royal Mail). The parcel got to England in two days but I wasn't at home on Friday to pick it up. I was slightly frustrated but I thought they would automatically deliver it again on Monday as the e-mail they sent me stated that they would attempt to redeliver it on the next working day. Didn't get it on Monday, nor Tuesday, nor Wednesday. So I decided to phone up to customer service. Requested delivery today at 9am-12pm so my dad could pick it up, knowing that they may not be able to deliver it to me at that time. Got home just now and the parcels not here, annoyed but knew it was possible but then I just checked the tracking service and they hadn't even attempted to deliver the parcel! I'm so annoyed with FedEx - its been a week since it was in England, if you ask me Royal Mail is much more reliable, now I either have to call again and schedule it for next Monday or pick it up at Dartford!

Sunday, 22 February 2009

ANTM 22/2/09

I was just reading on Honestly ANTM and I happened to pick up on something whenever ANTM went to Asia there was a "black" winner (being cycles 3,6,9):
Cycle 3 Eva Pigford - Tokyo
Cycle 6 Danielle Evans - Bangkok
Cycle 9 Saleisha Stowers - Shanghai/Beijing
Besides being in Asia it's slightly weird how it's every third cycle.

And every time they go to Europe a girl who is "white" (don't really like the usage of white) or looks "white" wins.
Cycle 1: Adrianne Curry (not really sure, think she's mixed heritage but looks "white") Paris
Cycle 2: Yoanna House (Mexican mother but pale complexion) Milan
Cycle 5: Nicole Linkletter - London
Cycle 7: CariDee English - Barcelona
Cycle 10: Whitney Thompson - Rome
Cycle 11: Mckey Sullivan - Amsterdam

Have you realized that Cycle 4 and 8 are missing, this is because Cycle 4 was Naima (mixed) who won in Cape Town and Cycle 8 was Jaslene (latina) who won in Sydney. If these little themes are right we should have a girl who is not exclusively of "white" or "black" background or does not look it. If we were to scan down the list we only have Fo and Jessica - though I doubt either won.

There are of course other little themes going around like every 3rd cycle produces a "black" winner which would mean Aminat, Nijah, Sandra and Teyona have a chance. But honestly every time we try to predict it becomes so difficult as you think you know who would be the winner but there is something so blatant that we miss out every time. Last year McKey won, in fact last year was one of the more unpredictable years as such actually. Not that McKey wasn't a predictable winner - by far she was totally expected, but the show kind of threw everything out of the window. For the past few cycles we would have expected a girl with more charisma to win, McKey was slightly lacking in that department which really did make me believe at one point that Analeigh was going to win simply because they'll call her the girl that improves leaps and bounds. But it was evident that the show tried to make McKey more daring and charismatic towards the end by filming the judges saying how she is more confident and blah blah blah. To be honest many of the past cycles have one thing in common and that is the runner up is always either someone the judges praise boundlessly or someone who is lacking the personality, that's why Samantha being the runner up was slightly unexpected as if old themes stuck then last years winner would have been Samantha rather than McKey. Well anyway I did say I wouldn't go into predictions but I really can't resist analyzing the little details here and there, however this cycle I'll have to at least see the first episode to form a calculated prediction on what could happen.

ATP Dubai, Acapulco and Delray Beach

Novak Djokovic will be playing in Dubai and hopefully he will make the final this time as Tsonga isn't part of the tournament. Mikhail Youzhny will be an early opponent and there will also be a possible match up against Marin Cilic; all of which should be OK for Djokovic if he plays well. A semifinal match up may bring Gilles Simon to the table as there are very few possible candidates in that section of the draw. Feliciano Lopez and Dmitry Tursunov may face each other again this week seeing that Igor Andreev has been out of form of late. Unless Andreas Seppi defeats Tursunov I think a Lopez/Tursunov match would be possible (though it will be in the 2nd round.) Marat Safin will face Richard Gasquet in the first round! Richard has dropped so low that he isn't even a seed! But besides that we have to mention Andy Murray who looks dominant in the bottom half of the draw.
Delray Beach on the other hand doesn't support a Top American player as such this year with previous years featuring Andre Agassi and James Blake as the No.1 seed. This year the tournament has been left to Mardy Fish and Sam Querrey to spice things up! However the top Americans have rarely won this tournament. Kei Nishikori who fantastically won this last year is also non-present maybe due to his dissapointment of dropping to 90th in the world! Tommy Haas has been at the top of this tournament before so maybe with this draw he'll be able to reach that. Besides Tommy there is also Lleyton Hewitt in the draw.
Acapulco hasn't released there draw yet and as the WTA will only be at Acapulco this week I'll blog about it in the same post. On the mens side David Nalbandian and Gael Monfils will be the Top two seeds. Robredo and Monaco just off from a finals appearance will be the 4th and 8th seed respectively. Jose Acasuso who has been performing well recently will also be part of the draw. Yet again the tournament sports very few Non "latin" players but I guess there are so many of them they could fit a Grand Slam draw! On the womens side we have Venus and Flavia at top. Kaia who just reached the semis of Dubai is the third seed. Gisela Dulko is also part of this draw as well as Lucie Safarova who has been making an impression on the tour lately. Hopefully Flavia will do better here as she has reached the finals of this tournament in the past 4 years! winning twice, also she has a good record against Venus Williams so if they were to play in the finals anything could be possible.

Week In Review (15/2/09)

Well it has been an interesting week with shocks occurring in basically every tournament. The WTA Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships was won by Venus Williams, a well deserved victory. She had to face many tough opponents namely Elena Dementieva and Serena Williams and others before getting the title however besides the match against Serena she beat everyone else in straight sets and relatively easy matches. Of course the shock of the top draw was Agnieszka Radwanska losing to her younger sister besides that Serena Williams showed her dominance even though she retired injured last week.
However once we looked at the bottom draw everything went haywire. Svetlana Kuznetsova lost to Elena Vesnina who also beat Na Li and Dominika Cibulkova. Svetlana losing was a slight shock to the system but then Jelena Jankovic lost to Kaia Kanepi who eventually reached the semifinals. Virginia Razzano was probably the talk of the tournament as she managed to reach the finals even with the best players in the tour participating in this event. To name a few she beat Safina, Hantuchova and Zvonareva to eventually reached the finals where she lost in straight sets to Venus. But honestly if she had won Dubai I would be in a state of disbelief!
Dubai was in a way a mess for the top seeds but at least it wasn't the case at Memphis with my tip for the title Victoria Azarenka winning the tournament. Other players of note were Michaella Krajicek's somewhat comeback to the bigger tournaments and only being denied by Caroline Wozniacki, Anne Keothavong who reached the semifinals but was then destroyed by Wozniacki yet again 6-1,6-0 and of course Victoria Azarenka's win who I've always thought as the best teen currently in the Top 20.
Things are still unfinished at Bogota but the shock was definitely Flavia Pennetta losing in the first round leaving Gisela Dulko to finish the goods off and Carla Suarez Navarro's retirement halfway into the match. This left the tournament with Gisela Dulko as the highest seed ranked 44th. But hopefully Gisela will grind out a win against Marta Jose Martinez Sanchez.

The mens side was also interesting. Memphis will now see Roddick Vs. the in form Stepanek (I hate to say!) Sadly beforehand favourites of mine Kei Nishikori and Tommy Haas had lost in the first round. Lleyton Hewitt also showed some sign of form as he beat James Blake and managed to push Roddick to 3 sets. Del Potro is also rapidly losing the form that got him to the Top 10 in my opinion but we'll see when he plays in his next tournament.
Yeah Juan Monaco is in the final! I've waited so long for that! He also defeated the top seed David Nalbandian en route and will face Tommy Robredo in the final.
Finally at Marseille my worst nightmare occured! Djokovic lost to Tsonga - for the 4th time straight! Marat Safin also lost in the first round. The only consolation was Feliciano Lopez making it to the quaterfinals and pushing Tsonga to 3 sets and Youzhny also making the quaters. Hopefully Djokovic will find form again because at the moment he is looking more like a 5th seed than a 1st seed.

Friday, 20 February 2009


Oops haven't posted for a few days so I thought I'd just add this. Recently I've been so into Kpop, I'm basically scrounging around for any good sites. I have to say "" is currently one of my favourite sites because they upload like everything! Saves the hassle for me to look around. Still a SNSD fan but I've been interested in Tae Goon and a few others and May Doni just today. Of course I'm so excited about BoA and Se7en's US debut and of course shifting on to Jpop we have Utada Hikaru! Need to shift back to english music soon or I may start speaking Korean - but it's so difficult to follow Japanese and American music as there is so many releases and I can hardly find any good websites that keep track of all these releases so I know when things are coming out.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Juan Monaco

So happy that Juan thrashed Sergio Roitman 6-0,6-0. He's been playing better lately - could he make a comeback? On the other hand Dinara Safina lost early - to think that I spent so much on her on my fantasy tennis team and then she loses in the 2nd round, lol.
Oh nearly forgot, I was so shocked that Urzula beat Agnieszka, I was expecting a tough match with Agnieszka for the win but for Urzula to win, the world has gone haywire!

Sunday, 15 February 2009


I've recently become a fan of SNSD (Girls Generation), yeah I know I'm a bit late but better late than never! I was at first reluctant to try SNSD due to many reasons, firstly because I was relatively dissapointed with Wonder Girl; I liked them and "Nobody" and "So Hot" were generally good but I'm not a huge fan and I didn't like their older stuff. The second reason was because they seemed to be getting less exposure than Wonder Girls across the world and therefore I linked that with their quality. Thirdly they were such a large group that I compared them to Cookies (Hong Kong) that have disbanded and in general produced only OK music. But I was sooooo wrong. I've only listened to "Gee" but I'm hooked already. It's just so catchy and upbeat that it works! To all the SNSD fans out there I've joined your cause but to the Wonder Girl fans, sorry I've jumped ship!
I'm sure a fan of any group would at one point compare the members and that's what I've done. Besides pictures and a few GIF's I also heard an interview on KBS World or something with Tiffany and Jessica (the two Korean Americans in the group). Overall I like most of the girls but Jessica, Tae Yeon and Tiffany stand out the most for me (maybe because I'm biased towards girls that can speak english!)
The Korean Wave has really only hit me now because a year ago I only really listened to Rain, Se7en and BoA but now I also listen to DBSK/TVXQ, a bit of Big Bang + their solos (especially Tae Yang), Lee Hyori, Byul and a few newcomers - I'm sure this list will expand in the years to come.

WTA Dubai, Memphis and Bogota

The WTA is looking FIERCE! Most of the Top players are out fighting for a title whilst all Top 8 in the world are fighting in Dubai - that's the reason why I think Pennetta made the right decision in playing at Bogota because there is no point in fighting in such a tough tournament - build your ranking first and then make your move!
Serena who retired this week will be the Top seed. Jie Zheng who if you can remember made her mark at Wimbledon and then donated all her prize money to the Sichuan Earthquake will be on her tail. Not to mention a dangerous Sara Errani considering Serena Williams retired this week. However I'm expecting news that she'll most likely withdraw from the tournament.
How cruel to make Agniezka face Urzula in the first round (yes the Radwanska twins) but lets hope Urzula slaps Agnieszka back into shape. Ana Ivanovic is on that side of the draw and if you discount Serena Williams she should be a really happy lady unless Jie Zheng could take her down again.
The two finalists in France will be in the same section of the draw in Dubai. Besides those two Alona Bondarenko could be a threat. Whilst Venus has a score of interesting players on her side. Alize Cornet; the youngster who needs a break, Anna Lena Groenefeld; the comeback star, Petra Kvitova; the youngster making a mark, Maria Kirilenko; the girl who I like! and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova; the girl whose name I can't type! But I think Venus should be Ok here.
However the other side isn't lacking with players. Svetlana will have early threats of Na Li, Sorana Cirstea or Dominika Cibulkova to worry about. Kaia Kanepi who recently did something amazing (sadly don't remember what it was) will be on Jankovic's side with Shuai Peng and Sania Mirza on her tail. Vera Zvonareva who won in Pattaya this week will have a much more relaxing first section of the draw with a possible Marion Bartoli to compete with. But afterwards Dinara Safina will be their to catch her out. This draw is definitely looking good.
Caroline Wozniacki will be first seed at Memphis but she has Jelena Dokic to compete with. And how long has it been since Michaella Krajicek graced the scenes - hope she will make a good return. Anne Keothavong is 4th seed! One day maybe she could be a first seed - or am I dreaming! I'm definitely going to put her in my fantasy tennis team no matter what!
Melanie South is also in the draw but she has Lucie Safarova as her first round opponent. Whilst one of my favourite youngsters Victoria Azarenka will be the second seed.
As I said Flavia Pennetta will be the first seed at Bogota. Gisela Dulko - her once doubles partner, will also be in the draw. Besides that the only other possible contender for the title is Carla Suarez Navarro - basically the first three seeds.

ATP Marseille, Buenos Aires and Memphis

This week looks like it will be HOT! We'll see a welcomed return by Novak Djokovic who will contest in Marseille. He will face Jeremy Chardy in the first round which should be a good first match. Marat Safin will also be on his section of the draw. Tsonga will possibly dominate his side of the draw unless Turusnov has a word in that as I don't see Feliciano Lopez making an impact. Berdych Vs. Youhzny in the first round! but anyway that seems interesting. Gael Monfils is in that section whilst Richard Gasquet is a seed again! lol. oh and let's not forget Gilles Simon - how many French are there! Actually to be precise there are 11 French players in the draw excluding any possible French Qualifiers!
In Buenos Aires we yet again have a South American/Spanish contingent dominating the field. In fact only 3 players (excluding qualifiers) are not of either background. Not really sure who will be the eventual winner.
Whilst the American's are in full force at Memphis. The players are basically the same as San Jose but the draw is different. Roddick, Nishikori, Ginepri and Haas are all bunched into the same section. Then we have Blake Vs. Hewitt in the first round - bye bye Hewitt. Mardy Fish this weeks San Jose finalist will be in the draw. Stepanek is also lurking beneath with Del Potro on his side.

Week in Review (8/2/09)

Generally I was extremely pleased with how events turned out in Rotterdam with most of my favourite players doing better than expected, the only exception was Richard Gasquet but let's not dwell on that. Youzhny finally showed some form which made him a contender for the Top 10 a few years ago whilst Ancic also made a mark even if he was to be dumped out by Murray in the semis. But anyway the final will be contested between Murray and Nadal.
Robredo won in Brazil whilst Fish and Stepanek will compete for the SAP Open title. To think that these two are in the final is slightly unbelievable to me considering there was Roddick, Haas, Blake, Hewitt (OK a much weaker Hewitt), Del Potro and I have to add Nishikori, but I hope Fish will be triumphant as Stepanek gets on my nerves these days; maybe because since he started dating Nicole Vaidisova she became bad, lol.
On the WTA side I was totally dissapointed that Serena withdrew, I hope it doesn't effect her next week whilst I have to congratulate Amelie Mauresmo for beating Jelena Jankovic. She has been so strong this week losing only 7 games in her first three matches that she purely deserves her win. Dementieva Vs. Mauresmo should be interesting then. On the other hand it does look like Jankovic is starting to fall backwards - maybe a World No.4 is on the horizon.
And as expected Vera Zvonareva won the Pattaya Open, though I would have loved to see how Cibulkova fared. Sania Mirza also showed signs of a comeback though I reserve judgment on that.

Friday, 13 February 2009

ANTM 12 13/2/09

I didn't even realize that it is exactly one week since my last ANTM post. Anyway I've seen some videos of ANTM 12 and I'm so amazed how some of these girls can't even name 5 models in the industry and they want to be models! it happens every cycle you'd thought those girls would research beforehand. I hate when girls say they are from a small town, therefore they don't get to see much therefore blah di blah di blah! sorry Kathryn (wannabe contestant of Cycle 12) I actually do like you!
Back to the actual girls. I'm loving Fo's look on the videos that I've seen. LOVE HER hope she'll do better than Brittany last year considering she is a native American. The rumours of Sandra's early exit don't look as impossible as before because I can truly see how sometimes Sandra flops 110% whilst other times she would work it like any top model. Hopefully she'll survive enough for Tyra to at least see a fantastic shot. But I'm so loving this years cycle as the contestants look great and supposedly there's more drama - people say it should only be a model competition but there needs to be a degree of drama I think or everything will be the same. Maybe the old rules of ANTM positions will also be back in play e.g. the seemingly favourite of the judges only makes the runner up whilst the girl with the personality issue (whatever it may be) gets third.

So girl by girl...
Loving Allison, she's unique and has a funny personality. It looks like she'll also be a fantastic model and I loved the promo video about her fascination of nosebleeds!
I'm just going to forget about most of Aminat's pre show shots, instead I'll focus the on show stuff I've seen because Allison had a good portfolio in Cycle 10 but she flopped on the show! Also I learnt that her name is pronounced A-mee-ner rather than Ah-mi-nart.
I don't know what to think of Celia to be honest because on one side I like her whilst on the other I don't.
As I have said I'm loving Fo on the video's and on show stuff I have seen - she looks so exotic as well - Asian, African, American, European you name it!
Just not seeing it, Isabella is probably a sweet girl but just not seeing the model in her though I'm seeing a little bit more of Kahlen in her as some suggested, though I was never a huge fan of Kahlen.
Liking Jessica much more after seeing her on the videos - kind of like a less diverse looking Fo e.g. South American, Asian thing going on.
Kortnie seems so down to earth she kind of reminds me of Brittany Cycle 4 - love her (both of them!).
London's video edits seem to show a side of her that I like which I wasn't really expecting; I thought she would be slightly bitchy Allison Cycle 10 type girl.
I'm continuing to trust in Natalie due to her pre show photos but she hasn't really received that much in show attention e.g. no videos and no spoilers saying "she'll win" or something like that.
My opinion of Nijah hasn't changed much - still like her a lot.
As I said above I am so worried about Sandra because her promo pic was possibly one of the worst promo shots I have seen on ANTM - she's kind of hit or miss.
In video Tahlia looks better but I think this year the girls will be going through more revealing shoots so I doubt Tahlia will be able to make it too far as nobody wants to retouch so much of every shot they use of a model.
I'm liking Teyona but I really do have to see more of her to get a better judgment.

I'm not going to rank the girls this time as it would be too difficult and slightly unfair because I've seen more of some girls. Honestly this cycle is looking really good, there are at least 9 girls who I could currently place in my Top 6, though I need to see more of 3 other girls! So sorry to the only girl I haven't mentioned! Just CAN'T wait until March! If I see enough by next week I'll post on the 20th also.

Friday 13th

In part Friday 13th's I always heard some commotion about it but this year it was just non existent, I didn't even realize myself until someone else told me the date. Is society bored with myths already? Don't know myself to be honest. But anyway just a silly side thing; why do we say Friday THE 13th whilst we write it Friday 13th?

Is French Tennis Back?

It wasn't all that long ago when Amelie Mauresmo was at the top spot fighting desperately to keep it that way against Justine Henin, but a year or so on Henin has retired and Mauresmo is out of the Top 20! Though you wouldn't say that period was the best of French tennis, at least it provided a French No.1. Since then French tennis looked on a downturn with Richard Gasquet continuing to under perform and Tatiana Golovin's injury woes it looked like France was on the back foot. Tsonga brought a lease of live to French tennis in January 2008 but that eventually dwindled until later in the season.
A year on it looks like French tennis is regaining its momentum; though I wouldn't suggest a No.1 will emerge from the current crop I do think French tennis is beginning to pick up. On the mens side Gilles Simon leads the feisty 4 of Gael Monfils, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, Richard Gasquet and Simon himself. Gilles has the quiet confidence about him; though nothing like Federer he does seem to exude the same aura about him. If Simon was Federer, Gael Monfils would be Nadal simply due to his muscular physique; I've cheered him on since his early days and finally he is showing his prowess. Jo-Wilfred Tsonga will therefore have to fill in the Djokovic role, though I don't know much about Tsonga he seems to me to be slightly cheeky but determined and feisty. Richard Gasquet will be the Andy Roddick; someone that is constantly trying to break away from the pressure by their home nations. Note: non of the above comparisons are linked to the players tennis styles!
The reason why I posted this was because I read that 4 French players made the QF's of Paris, though I'd never say any would make the No.1 spot in their careers, the female players seem to be on the rise. Amazingly Alize Cornet is leading this bunch of french players whilst Marion Bartoli is close behind with Amelie Mauresmo lagging slightly behind. Though to be honest I doubt any of the French players would make the semis in Paris besides maybe Amelie Mauresmo because they are simply against players in a different league to them. Serena and Elena are likely to thrash their opponents whilst Jelena will probably have to fight harder than she would like to. However Amelie may beat Agnieszka I put a 60-70% chance on that, the only problem is that Amelie seems to lose momentum against Top 10 players nowadays.
Whilst I'm on the topic I think the WTA tour is gaining strength slowly after the shock exit of Justine Henin, 2008 was an awful year with nobody really making a claim to the throne, Serena was still playing minimal tennis, Maria Sharapova had gone, Ana Ivanovic is (as I read on a website) scared of her own shadow leaving Jelena to pull through, though I do have to say it gave room for some of the most unexpected players to rise to the top echelons of the game - Elena Dementieva fighting stronger despite her age and Dinara Safina finally breaking away from her brother's shadow. The only memory I have of 2008 is really the downturns or rises in many players careers, if you look at the changes in the rankings it looks like the tour has done away with the cover girls of tennis and instead brought in the stronger built machines (no offense intended). I miss Sharapova, 2 years ago you would have heard me giving negative opinions about her but now without Sharapova or Henin or even Vaidisova I'm left to pray that Serena and Flavia's careers will be long and fruitful.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Selena Li

Photo taken from her TVB artiste blog

Happy Birthday Selena, even if in Hong Kong it is past your birthday!
If you don't know Selena is a TVB actress in Hong Kong, and one of my favourite TVB actresses.
She is such a talent and has improved sooooo much since her first few series, it's an outrage how she doesn't get the recognition she deserves.
Selena also participated in Miss Hong Kong 2003 where she only made the semi-finals, possibly the biggest upset in HK pageant history (for me anyway). She was articulate, talented and photogenic what else do you need!
Hopefully TVB will recognize her talents now, give her a great role and catapult her to stardom because she deserves it much more than some other girls who are promoted in TVB. Maybe she should go on Strictly Come Dancing (in China) because that got Nancy Wu promoted.
Recently she started composing I think so maybe she'll try to move into the music industry.

Zettai Kareshi

I'm so happy because I just heard news that Zettai Kareshi will be back with a special! Zettai Kareshi is the series that made me interested in J dramas again and I haven't looked back since then. Hopefully the special will be fantastic and leave me feeling warm inside.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Lost and losing it

Today is possibly one of the most depressing days of my life, my future (if there is one) is shrouded with uncertainties and I feel worthless and useless. The little confidence that I have built up has been totally knocked and I'm not liking the feeling. I want so desperately to please everyone and myself that I think I've lost myself; I have too many worries and doubts and I'm just not living to the full. My art is failing and my other work is following it. I'm just deflated and lost all the motivation to work. I don't want it to be like this, I have so much emotion that I need to express, hopefully this blog will help me release a bit more of myself, if not I don't know what I could do...

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Flavia Pennetta

Sorry about my rant on my last post but it is really frustrating. Anyway at least Flavia Pennetta is at her all time high - No.11, so nearly in the Top 10! I always had faith in her even when she dropped to below the Top 40, hopefully I can use this to motivate me to stick with Nicole as now they've basically changed positions, except Nicole is performing worse than Flavia's all time low.


Nicole lost in the 1st Round again, I know being a fan means staying with her at anytime of her career but she is waring that little patience I have thin. The thing is I know she can do better - much better in fact because someone that is not injured and has got to the semis of grand slams before can definitely get past the 1st round in most tournaments - I'm still unsure what is really affecting her at the moment. However I'm still going to stick with her cause I'm unwilling to accept that she is a burnt star.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

WTA Pattaya City and Paris

The 17eme Open GDF SUEZ looks hot with so many top players in the draw. Serena Williams will headline this tournament but she is by no means alone there at the top. Joining her will be fellow top 10's Jelena Jankovic, Elena Dementieva and Agnieszka Radwanska as well as many other players just off from their Fed Cup expeditions.
Serena will play Iveta Benesova in the first round. Though Iveta is Czech Republics No.1 girl right now I doubt she would cause the necessary shock but after her recent exploits I have come to be interested in her again. I'm looking forward to seeing Nicole even though I know she will eventually lose out I still want to see if she could make it to at least the QF's. Elena Dementieva will have Ai Sugiyama to contend with. I'm not sure Ai would be to happy (even though she is the happiest person in the tour) after beaing bashed by the Serbians in the Fed Cup. Patty Schnyder and Alona Bondarenko who also led their countries in the Fed Cup (though not necessarily to victory) will face each other. The interesting match will be Mauresmo Vs. Errani - a rematch of the Fed Cup 4th Rubber. Though it was a dead rubber I still think this will be a close match.
Daniela showed a good performance in the Fed Cup so maybe there is a gilmmer of hope there. Compared to Alize, Daniela was ten times better this week so it could happen for Daniela Hantuchova. I'll also be interested in Na Li's exploits as she has the fallen teen Agnes Szavay to contend with. Overall this should be an interesting tournament even if the winner of the tournament seems to be restricted to 3 players.
In Pattaya thing will be less hot (not literally) but should still prove to be a tough tournament. Zvonareva is the top seed here. Her own section of the draw looks quite comprehensive to me but maybe Shuai Peng could cause a stir; doubt it though. Urszula Radwanska will be hoping to emulate her sisters exploits in order to make it 3 pairs of sisters in the top echelons of singles or doubles tennis. Nice to see Noppawan Lertcheewakarn (they have such long names nowadays!) in the draw; always refreshing to see junior players in main draws - even if they do lose early in the tournament. Shahar Peer however could be too tough an opponent for her because this weeks Fed Cup seems to have shown glimmers of hope for the Israeli. Other players of note will be Dominika Cibulkova; who should be a title contender, Kimiko Date Drumm and Ksenia Pervak; another junior tennis player who has just come off from a title at the Junior Australian Open. Well of course there is also Caroline Wozniacki!

Now onto the Fed Cup...
The Fed Cup dream was well and truly over for some teams with easy victories posted left, right and centre. France dismally lost to Italy 0-5; I had high hopes for this one. Now Italy will face Russia who equally thrashed their Chinese opponents 5-0. Unless the US send in the Williams sisters I doubt the winner won't be either Russia or Italy. I was putting to much hope on Spains team spirit because in the end Spain lost 1-4. Whilst Argentina Vs. Spain is still waiting to be completed.
In World Group II Serbia beat Japan easily and will contest for a World Group place. I'm hoping their opponents will be Spain because I'd love to see Spain in World Group II for a change; given their amazing record as I doubt Jankovic and Ivanovic wouldn't be able to destroy the Spanish team. Ukraine left it late but I always knew that the Bondarenko sisters would level the tie off anyway. I'd like to see them play China because China will probably send their best players in that situation. Germany is through but I doubt they will be able to advance into the World Group, the only hope I would expect is to play Argentina or the US actually because I doubt the Williams' will play if the US dropped to World Group II. Slovak Republic made it through 4-1 against Belgium; as expected. So therefore with only France left from the teams that have lost I would like to see Slovak Republic Vs. France in the World Group I playoffs as I think they are about equal - both have 1 potentially devastating player (Amelie and Daniela) both are led by a feisty teen (Dominika and Alize) and both have an Ok doubles squad.

Fed Cup Day 1

Well Italy Vs. France was a tight draw but in the end Italy forces through with a 2-0 lead. Just reading about the Mauresmo/Pennetta match got me excited but Cornet/Francesca seemed to be much more the battle of experience. I just hope Cornet doesn't end up in the long line of failed teenage superstars.
It's amazing that Czech Republic could have gone 2-0 up against the Spanish Team considering Spain's amazing record even with no Top 10 players in their teams so often. But anyway the battle of the rising starlets Petra Kvitova/Carla Suarez Navarro was an interesting one because I was expecting Carla to win - similarly I was expecting Iveta to win against Nuria.
To me Russia Vs. China was always going to be a Russian win; even though I don't know the reason for the change in team I can only put it down to the Chinese team feeling that it would be useless to send out their best players because they're going to lose anyway - not much else to say as it is obviously going to be a Russian win. Hopefully Russia Vs. Italy would be more interesting.
USA Vs. Argentina was never really a matchup I was interested in, it seems that Gisela Dulko is the only reason I am even posting about this but anyway I think the US still have the edge unless my gut feeling becomes true - which is USA losing their next two rubber, then again I could be utterly wrong.
It looks like the two stronger teams; Italy and Russia will KO each other whilst the US and Spain or Czech Republic will play in the other semi. However if the US do reach the final I'm sure they'll reel in the Williams sisters somehow, now if only they played in all matches then the Russian team wouldn't look so utterly undefeatable.

Well in World Group II Slovakia won their first 2 rubbers - as expected, Serbia won both also - as expected, whilst Ukraine didn't get off to as good a start as they hoped for with Kateryna losing to Peer. But if worse comes to worse the Ukrainians still have the Bondarenko's for doubles even if they would be playing 3 matches. In World Group II Germany Vs Switzerland seems to be the only face up that I may get wrong. Patty Schnyder obviously still has something in the tank for Fed Cup draws but I'd still lean towards Germany even though I'm ebbing towards Switzerland little by little.

Further news - Sadly Great Britain lost their tie against Poland even though they had a fantastic run in the round robin matches; well I guess Agnieszka Radwanska was always going to be tough to beat.

ATP Rotterdam, Costa do Saulpe and San Jose

Ok next week the big guns will be back with Rotterdam being the main attraction. Nadal and Murray are the obvious attractions here but there is also a slur of the best French players; Tsonga, Monfils, Simon, Gasquet etc. Besides the many french players there are also a few of my favourites like Tursunov, Berdych, Lopez, Youzhny and Ancic. The draw seems to be filled with many interesting players but I just can't seem to deviate from either Nadal or Murray winning - hope there will be an absolute shock in the finals. Personally however I doubt Tsonga will prove a problem for Nadal nor do I think Tomas Berdych could topple him over after his Aussie win - I would however like to see him against Gael Monfils because it would be the battle of the muscles! I just wonder if my favourites Mikhail Youzhny and Feliciano Lopez could do any better here with such a strong cast of players. I'm also interested to see how Mario Ancic fares because he's in the finals this week in a relatively weaker draw.
I'm not as interested in the Brasil Open as predictably it is full of South American and Spanish players - actually besides the unamed qualifiers there are only 3 non S.American, Spanish or Portuguese players.
Andy Roddick is the top seed at San Jose. Ernest Gulbis the guy that everyone is talking about will likely be playing Roddick in the second round. I like both of them but I think Roddick will win. Haas will also be around that area of the draw, he just seems ever present nowadays. The next two quarters of the draw are less interesting to me with only Ginepri and Blake standing out for me. Then we have Hewitt, Nishikori and Del Potro stuffed into one section of the draw which should be interesting. Looking forward to see how Isner fares here because it seems so long since I have seen him in a draw - unless I have totally forgotten about him.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

What Happened!

I thought I'd dedicate this post to an actor who I used to love but with every new series I see him in now I just cringe. Those of you who watch Hong Kong series, remember Wong Hei. I think most of you'll remember him in Burning Flame, his character was cool, righteous, slightly stubborn but an overall lovable guy; I remember he was one of my favourite actors and I always wanted him to be as famous as he was in his heyday but the past few years have been one disaster after another. I wouldn't comment of CIB files as I never watched the whole of it but Fathers and Sons (one of the most overrated series of 2007) was a disaster for him. His role was so annoying and the character was just overly weird. Then it was the 2008 calendar - oh my gosh I can't even type without cringing with the thought, sadly it is too cringeworthy to post here! Finally the Gem of Life, why does he play these types of characters nowadays; where was that fiery personality that he used to portray and why has he continued to change his hairstyle from ugly to disturbing. I hope this former king will return in full form in 2009 - after the Gem of Life, that's why I'm anticipating Burning Flame 3 which will hopefully revitalize the old Wong Hei.

Friday, 6 February 2009

ANTM 12 6/2/09

Hey just thought I'd add a few personal opinion on the contestants - only 3 weeks or so!
So I'm going rank the girls in my opinion currently, girls at the top don't necessarily mean I think they are the best but contestants who I think I would like and are seemingly good models from what I've seen.

so lets begin from the bottom...!
Sorry but...
Isabella you're last. She just doesn't seem to stand out compared to the other girls and her pre show work is probably one of the weakest out of the group. I don't see the resemblance to Kahlen Cycle 4 some netizens are talking about either.

Celia is 12th. Her pre show work leaves a lot to be desired and her ANTM shot just looked old and unattractive, from what've seen of her and heard about she really could have replaced Isabella at the bottom, but I like her a little for some reason.

Tahlia is 11th. She seems nice and all but I'm just not seeing any potential in her portrait shot. A makeover will help her but with her supposed scars I doubt she would be able to perform as well as other girls in swimsuit or revealing photoshoots.

Jessica comes 10th - unexpected to some probably. Having a latina is great and I thin her portrait shot is good but two things placed her down. Firstly I'm not really loving her pre show shots, secondly she just doesn't stand out to me.

Teyona at 9th. Sadly she doesn't have any previous photoshoots or test shots which I could see, if her portrait shot was strong enough I may have placed her higher, but at the moment I'm just going on instinct that I'll like her/like her photos - if not she may have placed lower.

Aminat is at 8th. Personally I really want to like her (remember my previous comment on how she reminds me of Danielle Cycle 6) and I love her afro and her portrait pic, but I'm not too keen on most of her pre show work; hopefully it won't be like that on the actual show but with Sandra and Nijah already placing higher in my current rankings I'm not sure there is enough room for 3 black girls.

London calling at 7th! I hated her promo pic but I liked a lot of her pre show stuff - Ok she maybe bitchy and Allison Cycle 10 like but I'm willing to place her at least mid pack to see what happens to her.

Fo only at 6th! I really liked the look of her from her promo, but with every other girl having at least one pre show pic that I've seen, she stands on a back foot compared to them, kind of worried she'll be a early evictee because I sense that vibe from her, lol!

Natalie (I know) at 5th! I wasn't too keen on her when I saw her promo but the pre show work has instilled enough hope in me that she'll be good. I really hope she'll prove me right.

Allison is at an awesome 4th. Her preshow photos may not look as modellesque as Natalie or London but I love the personality she portrays. I also think Tyra will label her as the girl who has the look for modelling even though the public may think she looks weird. And from spoilers she does seem to get far.

NIJAH is at 3rd. I'm going so much on instinct here but I have a gut feeling she'll be one of my favourites when they reach the house. Her promo shot is average but her pre show work is generally good. I hope she gets far as I need to be sure that I've picked the right girls as my favourites! Don't really see the Dionne Cycle 9 resemblance though.

Kortnie comes so close but yet so far at 2nd. Yep I've fallen for that type of girl again, it's just me! I hope she photos well unlike some other girls that I've liked in the past cycles because of similar characteristics.

and so at No.1 is....
SANDRA!!!!! She is just fieeeeerce! Her pre show work is one of the strongest and her promo pic is one of the best. She reminds me of many of the best black antm contestants e.g. Eva, Nnenna (She had african heritage) Danielle etc etc. Heard rumours that she'll leave in the 1st episode, if that does happen it would be the biggest shock for me - never had my absolute favourite go out first.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Happy Days

Three days without School! I love snow!

Monday, 2 February 2009

ATP Johannesburg, Vina Del Mar and Zagreb

Well back to normality. This week there will be three tournaments in the ATP with the WTA focusing on the Fed Cup. Very very few of the top players have assembled in Johannesburg; only Tsonga and Ferrer are in the Top 20 whilst the other players are all ranked below the Top 50. Besides those two and possibly Marcos Baghdatis I don't see anyone else taking the trophy. It is slightly better in Vina Del Mar, Chile but only because of the flurry of Argentinians and Spanish players. Gonzalez and Robredo are the two top seeds with a few unpredictables here and there, hopefully with this type of draw Juan Monaco can cause a shock. Though lacking in Top 20 players Zagreb is probably going to be the most hotly contested this week. Igor Andreev headlines the seeds whilst many trciky opponents are also in line, Marin Cilic, Mario Ancic, Paul Henri Mathieu, Simone Bolelli, Ivo Karlovic, Jurgen Melzer to name a few! Sorry didn't mention Andreas Seppi; the only seed I didn't mention! There are also a few unseeded perils like Ernests Gulbis, Victor Hanescu and Victor Troicki. If you're still wanting more then Mikhail Youzhny, Ivan Ljubicic, Guillermo Canas and Arnaud Clement should keep you going also. All in all the PBZ Zagreb indoors should be a hot event - though lacking in the Top players it has many up and coming stars playing for the title - it should be fun!

Whilst I'm here I just wanted to say how interesting the rankings for womens tennis are. If you look at it the Top female players are basically seperated into two bands; the Top 4 and the Top 8. It's interesting how their are such large gaps and then a cluster of players who have similar ranking points. Anyway is it good that Maria Sharapova is ranked 17, yeah she has been out for a while but I think all of us know if she was in form she would be a No.1 contender - waiting for her comeback so there will be 4 or 5 No.1 hopefuls. Also Jie Zheng is in the Top 20! YEAH! But Nicole Vaidisova is at 72 eek! Please return to form Nicole! Anyway anybody happy that Great Britain finally have two women in the Top 100!!!!! Melanie South and Anne Keothavong! But Anne and Melanie sure play a lot of tournaments don't they; each with 32 tournaments - I think the most out of any of the Top 100.

Oops nearly forgot about the fed cup;
Russia Vs. China - I'm sorry China but Dementieva and Kuznetsova seems to be too tough a task even for you to handle - Just think if the Russian Top 4 made a team!
France Vs. Italy - this will be an interesting one. Italy has beaten France in their last two encounters, both of the teams have a great Fed Cup portfolio and the players seem to be quite well matched in doubles or singles. The singles will be tight; it really depends on the form and most likely what Amelie Mauresmo could produce whilst the doubles may lean towards Italy because they have Flavia Pennetta and Francesca Schiavone - however I don't know the draws.
USA Vs. Argentina sounds good on paper but when you go and look at the teams you kind of think "Why are they in the World Group!" Anyway it looks like USA has a slight edge on this one.
Czech Republic Vs. Spain leaves me in two views, first of which is Spain has a great record at the Fed Cup and secondly is without Nicole Vaidisova the Czech team are slightly on the back side. However Lucie Safarova could pull off a shock in her best form and Iveta Benesova has been playing well recently, on top of that Kveta Peschke should hold the doubles well whilst Petra Kvitova is a young starlet waiting to be born. Even though the Spanish team look decidedly weaker without Anabel Medina Garrigues you still have to watch out for the feisty Spanish team who seem to perform in the fed cup year on year; of course Carla Suarez Navarro and Nuria Llagostera Vives are threats also.
I really can't give you 4 teams who will progress but I think the USA and Russia should have their matches in the bag.

World Group II
Slovak Republic Vs. Belgium - I don't fancy the chances of Belgium to be honest, besides Yanina Wickmayer's good run at fed cups I think Cibulkova and even a weaker Hantuchova should be enough to topple the Belgian contingent. I've never really believed that Belgium could cause a threat without their two former greats; Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters.
Switzerland Vs. Germany - I personally am on the German side. Recently Patty Schnyder's age seems to have caught up with her whilst Timea Bacsinszky is still way too inexperienced to lead a World Group II team, on the other hand Sabine Lisicki and Anna Lena Groenefeld should be a formidable duo in World Group II especially with Tatjana Malek on their side also.
Serbia Vs. Japan - It looks like Serbia really wants this with all their best players on the team. Even with Ivanovic being much weaker than before I think she's enough to at least win 1 of her matches. Ai Sugiyama will have to pull off a magnificent trick to pull her girls through.
Ukraine Vs Israel - I personally think Ukraine has the edge here simply because most of their players are on their best form whilst most of the Israeli players are at their worst.

I do have a better prediction of World Group II - I think it would be Slovak Republic, Germany, Serbia and Ukraine in the next round.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Nadal wins!

Wasn't able to post earlier because I had so much to do and couldn't watch the whole match because I had to go out and look for a car with my dad, but anyway I'm so happy that Nadal won because now Federer is officially never going to be No.1 again and hopefully some of the die hard Federer fans will see that he's past his sell by date - don't get me wrong he's still a great tennis player but will he be able to pass Sampras' record, I'm not sure he can really!