Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Roland Garros 2011 - Day 10

Only four singles matches today but they were rather entertaining matches. On the women's side a shock defeat of Svetlana Kuznetsova means the French have something to cheer about as Marion Bartoli makes the semifinals. I've never been a fan of Bartoli but if she holds her nerve she does stand a chance against Schiavone in the semis though Schiavone is still going to be the favourite I'd say. That leads me onto Schiavone who played a very topsy turvy match against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. The Russian dominated Schiavone in the first set 6-1 but then came tumbling down. After seemingly losing the passion Pavlyuchenkova came back again to time the games but then crumbled again as Schiavone improved. In the final few games Pavlyuchenkova regained her spirit again but eventually lost to Schiavone, god that was tiring. This was not dissimilar to Murray's match who looked down and out when Troicki was making headway with the final set, any Top 10 player would have absolutely decimated Murray. Murray should count himself lucky to be playing a none seed in the QFs, he really has had a devastatingly simple draw into the SFs.

Finally Federer walked through to the SFs to play Novak Djokovic. Monfils looked awful throughout, must have been a mix of nerves and lack of self belief that he could actually win because he just handed the win to Federer really. 

Monday, 30 May 2011

Roland Garros 2011 - Day 9

Match of the day in the men's draw was definitely David Ferrer against Gael Monfils with Monfils coming out victorious. He will next face Roger Federer, I wonder what the crowds will think. Nadal and Soderling both sailed easily through but Murray is tied in a deadlock with Victor Troicki with play continuing tomorrow. I only saw the first two and a bit sets so I'm not sure how Murray is playing now but he started awfully, the game is his to win or lose at the moment because in the first set he was trailing 5-0 but managed to get back to 5-4. I think Murray will win this match and he should count himself lucky to get an easy semifinal match in comparison to Nadal and Federer.

All the higher seeds in the women's draw made it through with Victoria Azarenka looking particularly dominant. She will next play Na Li in what could be a tough quarter final. Na Li beat underdog Petra Kvitova so she's gaining a lot of steam. I would much rather the Roland Garros champion come from the bottom half of the draw especially Victoria Azarenka, it would be great to see her win a Grand Slam before Caroline Wozniacki.

Roland Garros 2011 - Day 9 Quick Update

The best chance for Murray to make his first Roland Garros SF and it looks like he'll fail to capitalize it, 0-3 down two breaks and Troicki looks set for the first set and probably the next two as well looking at how Murray is playing.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Roland Garros 2011 - Day 8

Djokovic continued to plough through anyone that was in his way, that being Richard Gasquet in Round 4. Gasquet had fought admirably and played some interesting four setters for the French crowd but Djokovic was just too much for him to take. Djokovic will face Fabio Fognini in the QF, definitely his best achievement to date.  Sadly I don't think Fabio will be any competition to Djokovic, whilst he beat his opponents fair and square none of them were up to the calibre of Djokovic.

Whilst Djokovic was ploughing through Federer was also doing some ploughing of himself, beating fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka who played a great match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Federer still should be someone to look out for as he hasn't dropped a set yet.

Whilst the last match, Ferrer Vs. Monfils has been suspended for the day. Monfils is currently leading 2 sets to 1 but Ferrer is leading 2-0 in the fourth set so it could possibly be a five set match - all the better for Roger Federer who plays the winner in the QF.

Whilst in the women's draw Wozniacki conqueror lost to Kuznetsova in three sets. Bartoli on the other hand was given an easy win by Dulko because she retired in the 2nd set, if Dulko was healthy it could have possibly gone into three sets.

The shock of the day was Vera Zvonareva's loss, though Vera wasn't a favourite and hasn't been playing to her best recently I think she was the slight favourite against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Francesca Schiavone is looking more and more dangerous as she beat Jelena Jankovic in three sets. Could she retain her title?

Miss USA 2011 - First Update

So it's been a few days since most of the girls arrived for their media tour but I also spent a lot of time watching their "Vote for me" videos. These videos normally don't change much of my favourites but can change the ranking of those girls in the middle so who impressed to make my new Top 15?

(-) 1st - Alyssa Campanella, California
(-) 2nd - Angela Byrd, Hawaii
(-) 3rd - Alida D'Angona, Massachusetts
(up) 4th - Ana Christina Rodriguez, Texas
(down) 5th - Channing Pierce, Michigan

(up) 6th - Jamie Lynn Crandall, Utah
(down) 7th - Allyn Rose, Maryland
(-) 8th - Kia Ben-et Hampton, Kentucky
(down) 9th - Regina Turner, Connecticut
(up) 10th - Angelina Kayyalaynen, Washington

(down) 11th - Brittany Dawn Brannon, Arizona
(down) 12th - Courtney Hope Turner, South Carolina
(down) 13th - Amber Marie Collins, New York
(-) 14th - Jaymie Stokes, Kansas
(down) 15th, Jillian Wunderlich, Indiana

11th. Alaska - Jessica Chuckran
15th. Tennessee - Ashley Elizabeth Durham

4th. Texas - Ana Christina Rodriguez
10th. Washington - Angelina Kayyalaynen

So quite a few changes within the Top 15 but not many changes to the actual Top 15.

Alyssa (California) is still my No.1 girl and I honestly don't see that changing unless she fails drastically. However Angela (Hawaii) is really pushing up there at the moment, whilst many have forgotten her I'm still sure she is going to make an impact. Alida (Massachusetts) is also another hot contender.

What was the cause of Ana's (Texas) cataclysmic climb to 4th? Well it was simply her video, it was one of the best videos of the girls where she showed beauty, charisma, intelligence and a winner's aura. At first I was unsure but Ana was gorgeous in her video and with her Texas background she'll be ready to take this competition by storm - look out Alyssa you have another contender.

Channing (Michigan), on the other hand, is showing signs of fatigue, she really needs to show the energy and likeability that the girls at the top have if not she faces stiff competition from Utah and Kentucky who can easily usurp her Top 5 spot.

Jamie (Utah) has been the star of the media tour, with no Alyssa and Angela, Alida and Channing having very few photos Jamie is really the stand out. Allyn (Maryland) is still a hot contender but she is suffering from severe burnout, she needs to solidify her position as a favourite because at the moment she is relying on her gorgeous video presence and photo shoots, she needs to stand out in candids as well. Kia (Kentucky) is looking like a very strong dark horse, I can see her making the Top 5 of my list if any of the above fall short in any of the other segments.

Out of my Top 10 Regina (Connecticut) is the only one surviving on potential alone. I know Regina has it but she hasn't done anything since. If she doesn't perform by the next time I update she will be waving her Top 10 position goodbye.

Besides Ana, Angelina (Washington) also showed a huge climb, yet again because of her video which was one of the best. I loved how she spoke of her racial ambiguity, I honestly thought she had some latina in her but maybe her father was European. Besides showcasing her charisma and intelligence she also came off as a beautiful contender which wasn't really evident in her pre show photos.

The competition is getting tougher and Brittany (Arizona) is starting to lose steam, the girls that have been over-hyped before the competition haven't shown up yet. For me she needs to be more flexible as her feline features can make or break her chances.

Courtney (South Carolina) is impressing everyone but I still don't see it enough to put her in my Top 5. She is just too all-american I think and in all honesty I'm thinking more for Miss Universe than just winning Miss USA. I think to be so "All-American" you need to be on the level of Shandi Finnessey because Kristen, Tara and Chelsea all didn't stand a chance.

Amber (New York) is starting to lose those qualities that made her a sudden favourite, I fear next time she'll have dropped off this list. Jaymie (Kansas) has looked gorgeous on candids but I'm worried for her long face which can register awkwardly on camera, she needs to learn her angles so that she doesn't exaggerate this fact. Finally Jillian (Indiana) completes my list. Original Jillian was more of a filler for my Top 15 but she has earned her spot with a very classy, confident and cool video.

At the moment I have a Top 16, Hope Driskill (Missouri) was the unlucky girl to have been eliminated from this list but besides her I have another 10 girls vying to make my Top 15.

Bubbling Under
Ashley Elizabeth Durham (Tennessee)
Heather Danelle Swann (District of Columbia)
Angela Sparrow (Illinois)
Keeley Patterson (Mississippi)
Brittany Wiser (Montana)
Julianna White (New Jersey)
Ashley Nicole Caldwell (Ohio)
Anna Prosser (Oregon)
Kate McCaughey (Rhode Island)
Kaitlyn Davis (Wyoming)

Honestly at this stage I like most of the girls, there are about 40 of them I could easily see making my Top 15 or near it in the coming days.

So now the next major hurdle will be preliminaries, that will be the next most important challenge for the girls and the place where my favourites might change again.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Roland Garros 2011 - Day 7

So no shocks today besides the mini shock of Fernando Verdasco losing to Ivan Ljubicic. Nadal played his best match at Roland Garros this year beating Antonio Veic whilst Djokovic dominated Del Potro after drawing one set each yesterday. The woman's favourites also flowed safely through with Kaia Kanepi being the only seed who lost, losing to Ekaterina Makarova who also made the 4th Round of the Australian Open.

Koya, Frith Street

I haven't blogged about a restaurant in a month! Sadly I just didn't have the time to fill my stomach, today was definitely a ceremonious day, my return to restaurant hunting. Before my hiatus I had a few restaurants I really wanted to try one of which was Koya on Frith Street. Knowing it was going to be busy we arrived just after 6, even at that time it was nearly full. After spending quite some time looking through the menu, well actually my friend took quite some time not me, I chose the Buta Miso (pork and miso udon). Having read reviews I did want to try the tempura but I stuck with the udon I know and love rather than cold udon + hot broth. I realised the only thing different was that it was served quicker and on a different plate, obviously it was for those that wanted the udon to be extra chewy. We also shared the Kakuni (braised belly pork with cider).

The Kakuni was very tasty, I loved the sauce and the caramelised onions fitted perfectly with the overall taste. The belly pork was a little chewy though but the good thing was that the fat was separate from the meat so you could chose to be healthy or to pig out (we all chose to be healthy!) The portion was also very decent even for three to share.

The Buta Udon was lovely, but I did regret not choosing the Ten Hiya Atsu. The udon had a great texture; very large and chewy but also slid right in your mouth. I loved the soup but I wouldn't know how to separate a good soup with a great one however I did wish there was more pork. I think what makes Koya stand out is definitely the "bouncy" udon, I can't think of the right word in English because it's a rarely used description in British dining but commonly used in Chinese. I'm not well versed in differentiating whether a soup has been made for 20 hours or 20 minutes so I can't really judge on that.

My bill came to around £13, the total was about £40 for 3 so it's a reasonable price. I would definitely come here again. Next time I'll try the tempura.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Yes Sir, Sorry Sir

Yes Sir Sorry Sir was a disappointment, for one it was 10 episodes too long and secondly it shamelessly tried to mash up loads of genres together; comedy, detective, school life, romance, they tried to do everything but succeeded in nothing. I really wanted to watch this series because I loved the cast but the story was crap and the acting pretty average because very few of the characters had much depth.

I didn't actually watch every episode of this series but still I only missed three episodes and the whole drama felt disconnected. Whilst I thought it was good how they didn't rush things towards the end I think the story didn't have enough interest to bring it to 30 episodes. I also hated how it shamelessly plugged for a second series with new characters like Kenneth, Skye and Stephen Wong and left the obvious "happy ending" romance plot of Tavia/Moses wide open in the final episode. There was also too much of a change in tone towards the last three episodes where any sort of comedic element was scraped once Moses had captured Savio, it all became a bit too serious for a light hearted drama talking about "student life". On that note was it even a student drama? I honestly feel the drama had minimal relevance to student life and instead was more about Moses/Tavia and Linda, the school part felt like a gimmick, a mere add on to promote a "comedy/detective" series. I don't even remember the stories of "K4", Cilla was an escort or something but where did the story develop? One of the guys did Ketamine, I think another had some family issues and the last I have no idea what happened to him. also I always find it annoying how "school dramas" always only have one class, I understand the problem of hiring a lot of "ker ler fer" to act as students but it just seems odd to me. 

Another thing that irked me, would a sister (Queenie Chu) ask a man that had no feelings for her sister to woo her? I am dumbfounded by how that could possibly happen. All in all I thought the series could have easily cut out the school section, it didn't create any impact and wasn't the main focus of the series for more than half of the show. 

Best Actor
Moses Chan

I say this tentatively but as I've nominated worse before I'll just put him in the running. Moses did ok but there were too many areas where I found him to be pretty bland. There were actually a lot of lines where I felt he was very forced in where it felt like he was reading a script and I still think he doesn't have that comedic instinct to make a bland scene become instantly funny. Dak Dak Dei from Heart of Greed was definitely his defining comedic role but besides hard work from Moses his success also had a lot to do with the script.

Just of note, I have not nominated Ron not because of bad acting necessarily but I just don't remember much of him, his character was boring and pretty unnecessary which could also be pinned down to bad acting.

Best Actress
Tavia Yeung

Yet again I hate to say it but I've put her on the list more because of her rather than her acting, she wasn't bad but I found her character bland and very un-engaging, she was totally overshadowed by Linda, not acting wise but by how intriguing her character was and actually how much screen time she got. Maybe it's just me but I felt that I saw very little of Tavia, or maybe it was because her screen time was generally pretty uninteresting to me.

Linda Chung

Personally I think Linda did the best in this series, she was on the whole natural and very convincing as Miss "Cool". Her character was more interesting than most of the others but it was also rather poorly written at times. I also think her character changed too quickly and too drastically but that may have been her appeal. I think Linda is starting to pave her way as one of the better actresses of TVB.

Best Supporting Actor
No Nominations

Best Supporting Actress
Queenie Chu

She wasn't great but I saw enough redeeming qualities to give her a nod but also because I have so few nominees for this award this year, which is pretty weird because it has always been the toughest to chose for me.

Anyway Queenie still strikes me as too stiff and she still lacks expression when she tries to move away from certain emotions. I think she excels at portraying the stronger woman rather than this role but with more series under her belt I'm sure she'll improve.

Sorry no nominations for K4 because I don't remember much of any of them besides one looking mixed and one looking like someone I know.

Most Annoying Character
Moses Chan

His character was annoying whichever way you looked at it. I don't care if he was a detective but getting close to Linda to find evidence to infiltrate "Jun Hing" was plain despicable and unforgivable in my terms and how he loved Tavia - for what reason? There's too many annoying things about his character I just can't write them all down because I just can't be bothered on him.

Recognition Award
Mandy Lam


Roland Garros 2011 - Day 6

What I love about this years Roland Garros is that there has been a steady rate of shock defeats. Berdych Day 2, Almagro Day 3, Clijsters Day 5 and now Wozniacki Day 6. You don't want all the best players out but it's always nice to have a shock or two in the early rounds - however harsh that might be to the seeded players. Today was particularly bad for the women's draw as Wozniacki and Stosur failed to make the 4th Round. Whilst I do like Wozniacki she really needs to step up her game in slams. I think to be No.1 in the world you really have to be consistently up there in the slams but Wozniacki has only made it to the SFs or further three times in her career, I just don't think that's good enough. I honestly wonder where she'll be at come Wimbledon because she's never made it to the QFs. Hantuchova deserved her win but she'll arguably face stiffer competition against Svetlana Kuznetsova in the next round. At the moment the top half of the draw looks dominated with more experienced players whilst the bottom half fresher faces, personally I prefer the bottom half. I just wonder who'll step up in the top half of the women's draw because I can see 6 of the 8 players listed there making the finals but all of them have been rather unpredictable this year. I think at this stage it looks like it'll be Kuznetsova Vs Bartoli and Zvonareva Vs Schiavone - 4 players I don't particularly prefer to watch in all honesty.

However Roland Garros made a huge error of judgement to put the Djokovic/DelPo match 4th on the Chatrier court which meant that the match had to be finished tomorrow, quite stupid really to have put such an important match last on the list. I can't even watch it tomorrow, which is a huge shame because it was one set apiece before they packed up for the day. I can't imagine how those on the Chatrier court felt when the match had to be moved to the Lenglen court.

I honestly hope Djokovic can prevail against Del Potro because it would be such a shame to see him lose before the finals and not make the record of most consecutive wins ever. I did however get to see the Wawrinka/Tsonga 4 hour madness. Wawrinka played amazingly towards the end of the match but Tsonga really should have got it when he was 2 sets 4-1 up, he possibly lost it because of pressure but I have no idea.  The dark horse of the tournament is definitely Ferrer at the moment but with Federer to look forward to and Monfils beforehand I'm not sure he's going to make it to the finals considering he is 11-0 against Federer (4-0 on clay). 

Tomorrow will probably be the most interesting day in terms of reviewing who will win the titles because most of the favourites are playing such as Djokovic, Nadal, Azarenka and Sharapova as well as a few outside favourites like Kvitova, Soderling and even Murray. Hopefully it'll be good news all round when I come back tomorrow evening to review the day to you all.

Roland Garros 2011 - Day 6 quick update

The women's draw is getting more and more exciting with most of the favourites looking like they're in a lot of danger. Clijsters and Stosur are both out but Sharapova, Zvonareva and now Wozniacki are looking very wobbly. The best at the moment have been Kuznetsova, Jankovic, Schiavone, Kvitova and Azarenka, I'd say all five of them have a shot at making the title. It's very very open this year.

NOTE: At 1-6,0-3 (two breaks) down Wozniacki looks like she'll be the next Top 8 seed to be waving goodbye to Roland Garros.

13:07 - And Wozniacki is out!

Eurovision 2011 Jury Voting

I'm back with Eurovision madness, it seems ages since Azerbaijan won Eurovision. Yesterday the EBU released the jury/televoting results. Last year I was fine with the jury votes cause they pulled up some decent performances such as Tom Dice from Belgium and Harel Skaat from Israel but this year I've got a few negatives (but also positives) to say about it.

For semifinal 1 I was rather shocked to see Greece leading the televoting, thank god the jury did not see eye to eye placing them ninth. But I realised the jury were the reason why Norway's Haba Haba didn't go through - boo to the jury! Because without the jury she would have placed ninth. Turkey and Armenia were taken out by the jury as well in favour of Lithuania, Serbia and Switzerland - good job there jury. But the weirdest thing is that the jury put Malta sixth! What were they thinking? How can a camp acting Michael Jackson wannabe score so highly with "professional" judges?

Semifinal 2 wasn't as interesting in terms of voting but the televote did put "I Love Belarus" into the Top 10, however the jury threw them out and put a song about Manhattan through (Estonia).

Finals voting was much more varied. So did some of you find Italy's second place placement a bit too high, well it was obviously the juries doing and I was definitely right, the jury put Italy first with 251 points, Azerbaijan came 2nd with only 182!

And naughty Jury for scoring the UK so lowly, yes there were a lot of pitch problems but the song doesn't deserve 22nd place! We would have made the Top 5 without you! Russia suffered a similar fate, though I thought their song was rubbish I was scratching my head upon their low placement. And WTF with Slovenia and Austria scoring so highly with the jury, they were talented but they made pretty average performances. Also I was shocked that Denmark's high placement was because of the jury, they only placed 18th after televoting. And sorry I can't understand why Anna Rossinelli only scored two points after televoting - it makes no sense at all. Well hopefully I'll see you all in 2012 where the UK will finally get back into the Top 3!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Roland Garros 2011 - Day 5

The story of the day has got to be Kim Clijsters shock loss to Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands, no more fairytales for Kim like the US Open in 2009. Clijsters managed to make 65 unforced errors! I'm so ashamed I didn't get to watch this catastrophe. Sharapova nearly followed suit at 6-3,4-1 I think most would have written off Sharapova but then she won the next 11 games to get to the third round - yet again I wish I could have seen Caroline Garcia blow Sharapova out of the water for the first half of the match.

So what happens now on the women's draw? With Sharapova scraping through I think her favourite status isn't assured anymore Azarenka and Wozniacki are probably the main favourites now. Whilst British fans won't have a home girl to cheer for anymore as both got beaten today.

The men's draw hasn't suffered as badly but 8th seed Jurgen Melzer is out making Murray's job even easier as he won't even need to play a seed in the quarter-finals. Troicki/Dolgopolov could be a threat but realistically they shouldn't be a problem to a top 4 player.

More interestingly qualifier Antonio Veic beat Nikolay Davydenko, I thought he could be a danger, had no idea why but now we'll see what happens when he plays Nadal.

Roland Garros 2011 - Day 4

Why am I always so late with these posts?

Well no shocks today but Djokovic is showing his form and Federer isn't doing badly either. Ferrer is also playing well, could be a tough time for Federer. But today has set up the third round match up of Djokovic Vs. Del Potro - I'll definitely be watching that on Friday.

Samantha Stosur thrashed Simona Halep on the women's side 6-0,6-2 so she could very well pull off another good run at Roland Garros whilst Zvonareva looked sloppy against Sabine Lisicki which will definitely benefit Schiavone with her title defence.

The Apprentice UK Season 7 Episode 4

Four episodes in and my episode 1 predictions are falling one by one. To be honest once I watched episode 2 I regretted my initial predictions but those were my first thoughts. Now from them I have Natasha and Glenn left, Glenn has a chance but Natasha? No way.

How does the British Museum relate to beauty treatments? They're just pushing in the biggest venues to look like their big business.

It was interesting that one group chose city centre whilst another chose out of town, I think both could have been winners but it did seem rather weird when Logic's treatment room was far away from their stall.

Ok I'm putting it out their, I think men with a little make up, e.g. looks natural, is fine but there's such a stigma around it. I honestly can't believe why Leon was so against it.

Out of the two teams four products I think all of them bar the hair curling thingys were good. I don't understand how Felicity's team spent so much on hair accessories though, imo they looked awful! For £30 as well! If I saw those I would be thinking a fiver. I do think Tom had a lot to speak for in this task but all of them had a part to do in the failure of this task which eventually bodes badly for the PM, Felicity, because she didn't handle the task or the people very well.

Sadly there weren't that many quotable quotes this week so here's a rather lame one in comparison to the classic "is that an orange?"

Leon (to a girl with, I presume, her boyfriend next to her) - "We can get you naked and spray you"
Works better on TV I must admit.

Runner up I'd say was when Jim suddenly appeared in the treatment room when Ellie was about to massage two guys and said something like "Four hands are better than two so I'll do one of the guys as well." His face looked rather creepy throughout as well. Now that I think of it Vincent also contributed to his rather stupid lines with "You've got nice hair, why not get a free massage" I am lost for words.

I really want Vincent and Tom's team to lose next week, I just think it'd be far more interesting if they lost 5 in a row and Lord Sugar saying - are you born losers?

Another thing was why are they all indecisive in the boardroom, first Leon now Felicity and why do they always argue back when they get chosen to go into the boardroom now, I don't remember that happening much in the previous seasons.

It's pretty difficult at this stage to see who's going to win because nobody really stands out. Jim is the obvious Top 5 candidate I think with Glenn another stand out I think. The girls are really starting to fall to pieces, I can't envisage Natasha or Ellie getting very far whilst I have no doubt that Susan and Melody will not win. Helen hasn't been getting much air time, could be good or bad because Lord Sugar doesn't seem fussed with her. The scary thought is Zoe, she seems to be at the start of a rise - the dark horse - but I really don't like her. Does she have any other facial expressions? Wait the Apprentice website has given me that answer. Whilst Edna, we'll see what happens with her. Leon seems to be doing well also so I think this years Top 5 will be skewed towards the boys - be prepared to see a lot of girls leaving. 

This series hasn't really given me a top favourite yet. Susan will always be my sentimental favourite because she is a representative to young East Asians who are so under-represented on TV but she is showing a rather immature side towards business. Glenn, for some reason, is also a favourite of mine simply because he hasn't done anything to annoy me. I think after them Leon, Melody, Edna, Helen, Jim and Tom are all amongst those I like so I'll stand by what I said from the first week which is my least favourites are Ellie, Vincent and Zoe and I think Ellie will be going quite soon tbh.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Roland Garros 2011 - Day 3

So the story of the day must be Nadal being pushed to 5 sets by John Isner, I think it's the first time he's been pushed to 5 and by an American as well! Honestly at one point when Isner was just about to win his second set to go 2-1 up I thought Nadal was done because his whole body language wasn't there but then he managed to hold on and then bring it all back - boo - I wanted a huge shock like that!

In comparison Nicolas Almagro's 1st Round loss was a minor fissure but to be honest I thought he would contend for the QFs, I was shocked when he lost to Kubot. Murray now has absolutely no excuse not to make the SFs imo.

Whilst on the women's side Ana Ivanovic and Dominika Cibulkova were the two seeds who lost. It's pretty amusing how the "greats" of two to three years ago have all basically crumbled; Ivanovic, Jankovic, Safina, Kuznetsova.

Is Rafael Nadal going to lose in Round 1 of Roland Garros?

EDIT: And Rafa escapes.

Miss USA 2011 - Pre Pageant

Miss USA fever is back! I've followed the national pageants of two of the world's most pageant crazy countries this year, Philippines and Venezuela and now it's down to the USA. Sadly I won't be able to watch this live, like I did with Binibining Pilipinas and Miss Venezuela but I will definitely catch up when I get back from Australia!

I haven't followed the pre pageant going ons that much but I've had a look at all the contestants and read a few blog posts here and there to make my Top 15 list. Tbh I found it pretty difficult filling a list of 15 at this stage because there are always girls that are better than what their pictures and interviews make them out to be. Anyway without further ado my Pre Pageant Top 15.

1st. California - Alyssa Campanella
2nd - Hawaii - Angela Byrd
3rd - Massachusetts - Alida D'Angona
4th - Michigan - Channing Pierce
5th - Maryland - Allyn Rose
6th - Connecticut- Regina Turner
7th - Arizona - Brittany Brannon
8th - Kentucky - Kia Hampton
9th - New York - Amber Collins
10th - South Carolina - Courtney Turner
11th - Alaska - Jessica Chuckran
12th - Indiana - Jillian Wunderlich
13th - Utah - Jamie Crandall
14th - Kansas - Jaymie Stokes
15th - Tennessee - Ashley Durham

Since the very first image of Alyssa surfaced there was no question she was a front runner for the crown and since winning Miss California she has lead this pre pageant process from start to finish. To be brutally honest no girl in the pageant has a chance of winning Miss Universe besides Alyssa. Please Miss USA don't do a mistake, crown her now!

Miss Hawaii is my No.2, she fought off all the competition from a decent bunch because I love her exotic looks and her styling compliments her well. Hawaii's, Aureana Tseu, was robbed in 2009 don't let Angela follow.

Miss Massachusetts strikes a close 3rd, I really like Alida, she's very fresh and unique on pageantry terms. I think she has a chance of making a shock.

From what I've seen on people's lists is if Alyssa isn't No.1 then it's Channing. She is undeniably beautiful and the best blonde of the pageant.

I've seen a lot of "beauty experts" rate her badly because of her candids, to be honest I didn't like her when I saw her crowning photos but her professional shots look amazing and she looked beautiful in a video I saw of her. What she needs to learn are her angles and how to look fresh every minute of the day!

From 6-10 we have the underdog, Connecticut; Arizona, everybody's favourite; Kentucky, the best black candidate; New York, I wasn't keen at the start but her cosmopolitan style won me over; and South Carolina the Kristen Dalton dead-ringer. I do think South Carolina resembles Kristen but a more beautiful younger sister of Kristen. I'd like to see more candids of her.

11-15 were harder to pick because I haven't got that many favourites at the moment but I think those 5 are my dark horses up till now.

I'll update you on my Miss USA favourites when they arrive in Las Vegas.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Roland Garros 2011 - Day 1 and 2

So the shock of the first two days is definitely Tomas Berdych losing in Round 1, to an unknown French player as well, honestly did not expect that. Now section 7 looks all for Youzhny or Garcia-Lopez' taking with Marin Cilic having lost as well.

On the women's side Flavia Pennetta also lost in Round 1 continuing Flavia's pattern of 1st Round - 4th Round - 1st Round - 4th Round finishes at Roland Garros.

Good news for Britain, Heather Watson is in the 2nd Round, she'll face much stiffer competition in Round 2 though against Kaia Kanepi.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Roland Garros 2011: Draws

The draws are out so the usual questions, who's hard done by and who should be jumping for joy? 

Rafael Nadal has the pleasure of being No.1 seed but will have to face John Isner first. John Isner? Has he already dropped from the Top 32 in the world? A quick check on ATP will show you that Isner is now ranked 39th! What happened to him? Anyway I feel more sorry for Isner to be playing Nadal in round 1 than Nadal for playing a former Top 20 player.

Next up for Nadal is probably Pablo Andujar. Despite having a rather awful two months Andujar does have a clay title under his belt this year and unlike his opponent, Santiago Giraldo, he has made Round 2 of Roland Garros before and consistently.

Danger lurks in the 3rd Round where Nikolay Davydenko awaits. Davydenko has had a very topsy turvy year so it's a question mark whether he'd even make the 3rd Round but if he does he'll be a relatively difficult opponent for so early in the draw. However recent losses to Victor Troicki, Marcel Granollers and Robin Haase on clay don't bode well for this former Roland Garros semifinalist. However Davydenko shouldn't have anything to worry about because those around his draw look rather weak, if there were anything to worry about but I'd be interested to see what the qualifier Antonio Veic (above) could do.

No wonder they are saying Nadal has got it tough because he potentially has Fernando Verdasco and the American who could play on clay, Sam Querrey, to look forward to in Round 4. However yet again we are talking about potential here, both players haven't been great this season whilst has Querrey ever been great at Roland Garros? He's never made it past the first round! Whilst these names that Nadal could face early on look really tough none of them have been in form this year so it's more likely we'll see Nadal pass through without dropping a set than be pushed to a five set marathon.

The QFs however could provide Nadal with some real competition. Most of the times when we talk about Nadal and Roland Garros we're asking ourselves who can take a set off of him but what could be better than somebody that has actually beaten Nadal at Roland Garros, the only one as well - that is none other than Robin Soderling. Soderling had a great start to the year which has slowed down slightly since the turn to clay but he is still a force on the tour. But Soderling needs to get on his A game, he hasn't been able to beat Djokovic, Federer or Del Potro on clay this year so it's looking pretty grim for his chances of beating Nadal at Roland Garros.

If we are still asking ourselves whether an American could push Nadal on clay then surely the name to look out for is Mardy Fish, yes he lost to Isner this year on clay but being in the Top 10 and the best American player on tour must have boosted his confidence to do well, surely... However I'd be shocked if anybody would actually rate his chances highly of even making the QFs.

Maybe the only thing interesting about section 2 is the battle of the hotties Jeremy Chardy Vs Grigor Dimitrov, I bet a lot of fan girls will be watching that match.

Andy Murray is in section 3. I think Murray should be thanking the people who pulled his draw because out of the Top 4 I'd say he has the easiest job. He does have some potential dangers in his draw. Milos Raonic started off the year as one of the next big things so he could be a threat though he hasn't really done as well on clay and he's still pretty raw against the best players. More of a danger might be Dolgopolov who amazed everyone by making the QFs at the Australian Open. He also managed to make the 3rd Round in his first attempt here but if Murray nearly beat Djokovic on clay last week whilst Nadal was no where close then that must be saying something about Murray's potential here and Dolgopolov was facing a 4 match losing streak coming into Nice.

The larger danger probably lurks in section 4 for Andy Murray. Nicolas Almagro has been a beast this year and made the QFs at Roland Garros both last year and in 2008 so if Andy Murray is feeling any bit tentative I'm sure Almagro will take that opportunity and pounce on it seeing as he also did that to Murray in 2008. Whilst I wouldn't classify Melzer as a threat he did beat Federer on clay recently and he did make the SFs here last year.

Ferrer leads section 5 with Gael Monfils also here. Both are neck and neck I'd say for making the QFs but neither of the two are consistently up there at the top at Roland Garros. I'd be shocked if anyone besides them two made it to the QF spot in section 5 but it's not unlikely.

Section 6 is headed by the Swiss pair Federer and Wawrinka. People are saying Federer has a tough draw but I wouldn't say it's that tough. The only potential threat in the early rounds for Federer is Tipsarevic but he hasn't been that great either. Stanislas Wawrinka had a great hard court season but his clay season has been pretty awful. 

Finally we have Djokovic, who I'd say has the most dangerous draw because of Juan Martin Del Potro and Tomas Berdych. Marin Cilic and Mikhail Youzhny are also dangers but they haven't been on form this year. I'm actually slightly worried for Djokovic yes Del Potro might be coming back from an injury but meeting as early as the third round could spell disaster for Djokovic as Del Potro has arguably been one of the best players on clay this year. If he manages to pass Del Potro in a reasonably easy fashion then Djokovic should be safe up to the semis because I don't see Berdych being able to beat Djokovic where he is now and tbh I'm not even convinced Berdych will make the QFs.

The obvious favourites for the title this year are Nadal and Djokovic, I honestly don't see anybody else winning it. The biggest threats for Djokovic making the finals are definitely Federer and Del Potro whilst Nadal should have a safer journey to the finals with only Murray and Soderling have an outside possibility of making a shock.

Who will win in the women's draw? Must be Wozniacki, Clijsters or outside bets Sharapova and Azarenka. I hope it's not Clijsters though because it would totally undermine the tour if Clijsters can just come back to the tour and immediately win a Grand Slam. I think Wozniacki should be able to make the SFs. I'd say the only threats are Kuznetsova, Bartoli and Stosur and that's stretching it because I don't think either of those three are performing well. I'd say Stosur would be her biggest threat because besides the two losses to Julia Goerges Wozniacki has had a very good year.

The 3rd and 4th section are filled with those former greats. Zvonareva, Petrova, Jankovic and Schiavone would have all made a tough draw in previous seasons but this season I honestly don't think any of them would beat Wozniacki or even Stosur that's why I think this section of the draw is pretty weak.

Section 5 and 6 is filled with dark horses such as Na Li, Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka. I think I've seen sites where Azarenka is listed as favourite and Kvitova as 4th favourites to win Roland Garros this year. Na Li on the other hand is a bit of a hit or miss. At this point you may be asking me why I've only named the top players, well to be honest I don't think anybody will tackle the top players that's why I've only put them in contention.

Finally we have Sharapova and Clijsters draw, the draw of the former greats shall we say. Sharapova had an amazing week last week, is she ready to take Roland Garros? It's possible because the draw is so wide open. To be honest I don't want to do any more guessing, I'd rather just sit and watch the action because finally for the first time I'm not busy during Roland Garros!

ANTM: My Favourite 40

The arrivals of All Star made me consider forming a definitive list of my favourite girls from the first 16 Cycles. As you may know I'm a fan of ANTM, I think I enjoy continuity that's why whenever I watch a show I watch it till the end which is probably why I still bother with ANTM but anyway after a lot of time looking through all the girls that have ever competed I made a list of my favourite 40. I stress these girls aren't the most modelesque or the prettiest they are just the girls I like the most (actually some of the girls on this list I don't even like!), I did however find that some girls I may have liked in their respective cycles but after a while they just fade from my memory that's why my list is dominated by girls from more recent cycles. So here we go...

Felicia Provost - Cycle 8

To be honest I don't remember Felicia much, I don't even really have an opinion on her but I remember for Cycle 8 I didn't watch the series but looked at the photos and Felicia was one of the girls who I thought was robbed because she looked so gorgeous. A lot of her post show work looks a bit lame but I didn't want to have an odd numbered list so Felicia made it...
Note, I have watched Cycle 8 since then.

Dionne Walters - Cycle 8

I don't actually remember Dionne much, nor do I remember liking her either but a few weeks ago I saw a recap clip of Cycle 9 and I remembered the joy she gave the world when she wanted her model nickname to be "Wholahay", honestly that has got to be one of ANTMs funniest moments.

Alexandra Underwood - Cycle 14

Nearly every post I saw during cycle 14 had at least one comment about how Alexandra should not be in the final 4 of cycle 14, I myself was also a culprit I believe but take Alexandra out of the craziness that was Cycle 14 and you have a beautiful "real size girl" as Tyra likes to call it. Alexandra is the best plus sized model ANTM has ever had (imo) so she gets kudos just for that.

Kyle Kavanagh - Cycle 5

Why is she here? Because she's god damn gorgeous, that's why! Yeah I know she was as memorable as a pea and hasn't really done anything after the show but Kyle was one of my favourites amongst the very random Cycle 5 (which I didn't watch during the time). I just remember thinking to myself she can't honestly be going before Kim the lesbo who looked ugly in photos, Lisa the girl who peed her pants and Jayla... who? 

Anchal Joseph - Cycle 7

Cycle 7 was one of those weird cycles that doesn't register in my memory but out of all the fuzziness Anchal's cat eyes pierce through! There was a lot to love in Cycle 7 such as the craziness that was Caridee, the even crazier Melrose and the twins but I just remember feeling so sorry for Anchal when she was bullied by the other girls because she thought she wasn't pretty enough - how cruel the world is.

Kelle Jacobs - Cycle 3

Something about Kelle made me love her. Maybe it was that slamming body! Maybe it was her self-confessed oreo-ness or maybe it was how cute she acted just something made me really sad to see her eliminated.

Brittany Markert - Cycle 13

Maybe it was a mistake to extend my favourites list to Top 40 because I don't remember much of Brittany M but I just remember how gorgeous she looked in her cycle and how she was eliminated before the shortest girl ever on ANTM Sundai Love - hell I feel like going to church now from typing her name.

Lisa Jackson - Cycle 9

What I liked about Lisa was that she was very down to earth and very beautiful, it was a shame to see her eliminated from her cycle because she produced some stunning photos. I think her vulnerability made her very beautiful and I felt really annoyed when the other girls picked on her because she was an exotic dancer.

Jessica Serfaty - Cycle 14

Personally I think Jessica was overrated during her cycle but she is indeed very beautiful and made a lovely team with Raina. I can't forget how she nearly burnt the model house down when she put tacos over a toaster and then all hell broke lose.

Gina Choe - Cycle 6

This is purely biased because in my opinion Gina is the prettiest Asian girl to have ever been on ANTM. Some may call her annoying but I found her perfect for reality TV and it was great to see her feud with Jade and how every audience stood at her back when she finally stood up for herself against Jade, however brief it was.

Simone Lewis - Cycle 14

Simone is gorgeous but she didn't produce the goods on Cycle 14, however I loved her on Cycle 14 which had a gorgeous cast. I will forever be baffled how she was the first black or mixed girl to be eliminated from her cycle.

Chelsey Hersley - Cycle 15

I think Chelsey may feature so highly because I only saw her less than a year ago. To be honest even now I'm clutching on straws as to why I like her but it was great watching her battle against Ann and how she saw her as her mortal enemy and how she futilely tried to take the ANTM title from Ann, oh how I hoped she would create the biggest shock in ANTM ever.

Chantal Jones - Cycle 9

My list is still in the depth of 'I like her because she is gorgeous even though I don't remember much of her', I swear up near the top I have better reasons. But honestly Chantal is one of the prettiest girls ever to have been on ANTM and she looks gorgeous in most of her post show work I'm ashamed I don't remember much of her.

Jenah Doucette - Cycle 9

Right above Chantal is the one she beat to make the Top 2 - well actually it was Saleisha who made the bottom 2 with Jenah but Chantal still needed to overcome Jenah. Honestly I must have long term memory loss because I don't remember much of cycle 9, or 10 or 8 or 7 or 5 or 4 or 2 or 1! But I do remember she was my favourite and she is GORGE! Enough of a reason?

Jade Cole - Cycle 6

I don't like Jade but I love how she made Cycle 6 the best cycle ever. Jade will forever live amongst the hearts of the ANTM fanatics who remember her as the crazy woman with the poodle fro. How she provided some of the best moments on ANTM history and how she will forever live on as the true all star of ANTM.

Furonda Brasfield - Cycle 6

Furonda was another girl who made Cycle 6 the greatest ever. Though she didn't have as big an ego or personality as Jade she was great entertainment and produced some stellar shots to go with it, who can forget her house rules on how to get along with her.

Aminat Ayinde - Cycle 12

I think everybody was shocked when Aminat made the Top 3 of Cycle 12, calling her Tyra's little project but I loved Aminat she was fierce man! And had one of the hottest walks on ANTM history. She has a lot of potential, I say that tentatively, but she was just so misunderstood.

Teyona Anderson - Cycle 12

Teyona, the first ANTM to feature on my list. I loved her wind in the face alienesque beauty and she did deserve her win. Sadly I don't know what Teyona has done recently and I fear she'll just be one of the many forgotten girls of ANTM.

Ann Ward - Cycle 15

I don't actually like Ann that much but she was incredibly intriguing and this Covergirl shot was one of the things that changed my opinion. There wasn't much I liked about her on Cycle 15 but she features on this list because she made Cycle 15 the most relevant cycle in terms of modelling.

McKey Sullivan - Cycle 11

Sorry McKey I don't actually remember you much but I know I loved you on Cycle 11 because you were reserved but had a feisty edge and weren't afraid to break out of your comfort zone. McKey was a great winner but five cycles on she doesn't register that much in my memory.

Monique Weinhart - Cycle 16

I actually amazed myself by how high I placed Queen Monique but you just couldn't forget her quips and her amazing body and how she thought it was hard having an amazing body - I honestly don't know if she was joking or not.

Ann Markley - Cycle 3

I find it amazing how even up to 19th spot my reason for putting Ann this high is because she's gorgeous! She is stunning... But I do remember her "friendship" with Eva, vaguely, and how it all blew up towards the end.

Alasia Ballard - Cycle 14

Alasia, Alasia, Alasia, she was one of my favourites on Cycle 14, I honestly didn't get all the hate for her. Yes her first few photos were dreadful but then she produced some stellar shots and she wasn't that bitchy compared to some other girls coughAngeleacoughKrista. Alasia provided the humour the drama and the BODY to cycle 14.

Molly O'Connell - Cycle 16

It only occurred to me a few weeks after Mikaela left how much I actually liked Molly. She was gorgeous and had a pretty interesting personality edit. She could also take amazing photos so what's not to like. I hope Molly does well after her stint on ANTM because she deserves it.

Joanie Dodds - Cycle 6

Joanie will forever feature on my favourites list as long as she stays amongst my favourite Top 2 on ANTM ever. I loved both of the Top 2 on Cycle 6 and they provided healthy competition to a crazy cycle. Cycle 6 was the perfect mix of drama, model potential and humour (and Thailand produced a beautiful backdrop to all the photos). Joanie is beautiful and she took some awesome photos and would have been an equally good winner to Cycle 6.

Jennifer An - Cycle 13

I may be biased but I championed Jennifer. She was one of my favourites on Cycle 13 and she could have done so so well. I loved her personality and it was great she made the Top 4 I just really hope ANTM has another Top 4 Asian before it finally gets cut off of its saggy ass.

Jaclyn Poole - Cycle 16

JACYLN! She is so cute it's acidic! Oh how wasted she was on Cycle 16, not in terms of modelling but in terms of quotable quotes. I just loved her and shame on you Alexandria for making Jaclyn cry, my poor baby :(

Erin Wagner - Cycle 13

I'm not sure why Erin ranks so highly but I just love her, even her brattiness doesn't stop me from loving every bit of her. I think one reason might just be because she is a whoop ass model, she is one of those girls that doesn't need to do much to look awesome - if only she were 3 inches taller...

Fo Porter - Cycle 12

I just loved Fo's personality and it's great the success she found after ANTM. It was quite funny seeing her take amazing photos and then take some very questionable ones right after but I was so sad when she broke down because of a boyish haircut.

Brittany Brower - Cycle 4

I just remember her being the life of the Cycle, how she was basically a mini Janice Dickinson and how gorgeous she was - that's why I'm so excited to see her back. I really hope she does well on All stars or it'll be such a disappointment.

THE TOP 10...

Kendal Brown - Cycle 15

I'm not going to lie, success after the show makes me like the contestant even more only because it means I get to see more of them and be happy that the ones I like are successful and the fact that Kendal signed with Wilhelmina in New York is enough to catapult the most beautiful girl on Cycle 15 into the Top 10. Say what you will about Wilhelmina but signing with any top agency in New York is a feat of its own. Cycle 15 gave us a lot of fantastic contestants but Kendal was the most robbed of all time in my opinion, yes she didn't perform that well but her potential alone should have shot her into the Top 6 alone.

Fatima Siad - Cycle 10

Drama, we had it, Beauty we also had it, Success after ANTM, relatively so but yes we also had it so of course Fatima makes my Top 10. Not only that Fatima also had a story - perfect ANTM punchline so why was she eliminated over Whitney - we will never know. I must add what makes Whitney's win all the more confusing was how the cycle had Anya, Fatima and Katarzyna - all who had so much potential to break the HF drought of ANTM, I think Whitney's win was one attribute to ANTMs steady decline in ratings. If only I could turn back time I would crown Anya or Fatima and have Alexandra Underwood of Cycle 14 be Tyra's token plus size winner eliminating Krista from our memories.

Jane Randall - Cycle 15

Besides Kendal Cycle 15 also gave us Jane Randall - quickly becoming one of the most successful ANTM alumni. Jane signed with IMG after coming 3rd/4th, a major feat, the only girl to do so I believe. On the show she produced some stunning moments, if it weren't for Ann's presence as the token weird girl who would go on to dominate the show I think Jane could have won and be given a more interesting edit. Jane is on the way up not only in her career but in my rankings.

Yaya DaCosta - Cycle 3

Something about Yaya I loved, it's difficult to keep Yaya so high up my rankings despite having participated thirteen cycles ago but I just can't ignore her because in my heart I love her for some odd reason. I think it has to do with how entertaining she was to watch, how beautiful her photos were and how robbed she was of being the third ANTM winner and first black winner. Yaya I salute you for staying in the Top 10 despite participating in 2004!

Alison Harvard - Cycle 12

I see blood! Or how Alison would wish it. I think that alone made Alison stand out, just the creepiness of her fascination with blood (which would be reciprocated by Tatianna Kern, or more specifically corpses, but she didn't stay long enough) but she managed to take shot after shot of stunning photos. Alison must be one of the favourite ANTM candidates of all time by the fans and so if she loses All stars there must be a very very good reason or there will be blood! 

Mikaela Schipani - Cycle 16

Out of all my favourites Mikaela must have been the most robbed but anyway I've voiced my disapproval too many times already. I just love that HF face and how down to earth she is. I'm so sad she didn't get a better edit and how her weave problems weren't even talked about because of Queen Molly's disaster but anyway Mikaela is a goddess and I hope she does well in her trip to NYC to get signed.

Nicole Fox - Cycle 13

Oh how we all mocked the short cycle but how it produced some of the best contestants ever. Nicole is just perfect ANTM material, takes gorgeous photos and is rather quirky. I am so ashamed how I put her amongst my pile of "Why is she here" girls when I saw her pre show portrait but once I saw her in action I knew she would be one of my eternal favourites of ANTM history, she may be shorter than most ANTM girls but she packs a bigger punch.

Analeigh Tipton - Cycle 11

I think what made me love Analeigh was not only because she took gorgeous photos, had an amazing personality, was so lovely on the show and was so beautiful but the main contributing factor was how I thought she was a gonner by week two or three. The judges obviously disliked her and I think most of the viewing public thought she wouldn't last (especially because of spoiler photos) but week after week she stayed and week after week she produced stellar photographs until the point came when she even looked like a contender, it just made her fans back her up and happier every week when she proved the initial deserters wrong - for that reason alone Analeigh will be one of my favourites forever.

Raina Hein - Cycle 14

Raina was such a personality and it was the biggest disappointment when she lost out, though we all knew it. Some may think she's fake but they're just scared of how someone can genuinely be so nice and positive about life - that's why I love her but taking amazing photos, having an amazing look and having so much potential does help! Never has a pre show portrait defined my favourite as much as Raina's. From the first image of her that surfaced I knew Raina was going to be in the Top 10 of my all time favourites. So who could honestly knock her off the top spot?

Dani Evans - Cycle 6

So to cap it all off we have an actual ANTM winner! Dani was possibly what made me continue watching ANTM she was part of the best cycle and she is my favourite ever. She was so charming and her personality was awesome and her twang - perfect! She was great to watch especially because she produced awesome photos and looked awesome anyway. And her dedication was second to none - she thought through her illness to produce this awesome shot which is possibly what made her edge in front in Tyra's mind. Dani will always be my favourite even though I think some of her recent work looks a bit awkward it doesn't matter because honestly she was the main reason why I love ANTM so much.