Wednesday, 31 August 2011

US Open 2011 Day 2

The Djokovic/Dodig (or should I say Davydenko) section wasn't played on Day 1. Djokovic flew past Conor Niland until Niland decided to retire. Whilst the most interesting match of this section was Davydenko Vs Dodig, a tough first round match which took five sets to decide a winner. Will Davydenko be competition to Djokovic? I doubt it in his form.

Tsonga and Verdasco both made it through to Round 2, no shocks here. I was slightly surprised that Andreas Haider-Maurer lost to Sergei Bubka though, but that's irrelevant really because Tsonga will beat whoever won that match.

No shocks here besides a minor upset for me of Tursunov losing in five sets.

Ferrer will play Blake in Round 2 after both took four sets to beat their respective opponents. I'm not convinced that Blake can beat Ferrer but the men's draw is in need of a shock.

Another Top 16 seed is out and that is Mikhail Youzhny, that means Ernests Gulbis finally made the 2nd Round! It also means the first loss of my predicted final 16. Youzhny's draw was a shambles really so I wouldn't be shocked now if Gulbis makes it all the way.

The other point to make about this section was Nadal beating Andrey Golubev, but it wasn't the cleanest of wins. His draw is rather simple but could he survive Ferrer?

Wozniacki makes it past Llagostera Vives as planned. The shock here was Hantuchova's loss to Pauline Parmentier. Hantuchova was improving on her consistency this year so I think most expected her as a threat to beating Wozniacki. 

The shock of the day definitely came in this section where we witnessed another Grand Slam champion lose in the first round. This means there will be four different Grand Slam winners this year. I feel really disappointed that Na Li has slumped since winning Roland Garros. This definitely gives Wozniacki a very good shot of making the SFs with Petkovic her main threat.

Everything went according to rank here which means we are moving ever closer to an Azarenka/Williams third round.

The 32nd seed Martinez Sanchez lost to Mona Barthel and in British interest Anne Keothavong lost in straight sets to Chanelle Scheepers.

Out of the matches that were left from other sections there was nothing of note.


Tuesday, 30 August 2011

US Open 2011 Day 1

Dolgopolov and Gasquet, the two seeds that played, both made straight sets wins. Ivo Karlovic beat Fernando Gonzalez quite simply as well whilst Kei Nishikori retired two sets down. The Djokovic/Dodig section will be played on Day 2. Gasquet is still my pick to push through to the 4th Round.

Monfils, Berdych, Tipsaveric and Granollers all went through in straight sets. No shocks here. All the unseeded matches went to four sets or more. My picks here are Tipsaveric and Monfils.

The first seed out in the men's draw is Viktor Troicki, he fell in five sets to Alejandro Falla. I wasn't convinced Troicki could make the 4th Round for starters. My pick here was Radek Stepanek. Though I do think Tommy Haas has the potential to make the 4th Round, in fact all of those four do. Whilst the one possible slight shock above is Dudi Sela beating Thomaz Bellucci. Not really a shock but I did tip Bellucci here. Whilst many thought Ryan Harrison would knock out Marin Cilic, me NOT included. Instead Harrison imploded. Stepanek and Federer are my picks here.

The Tsonga/Verdasco section will be played on day 2. The other matches here were quite predictable with Mardy Fish producing an impressive display. Here my choice is Tsonga and Fish.

The main shock on Day 1 was the loss of Petra Kvitova. She hasn't been as sharp since winning Wimbledon losing to Andrea Petkovic twice in relatively simple straight sets. I already did a little individual post on her shock lost considering Alexandra Dulgheru hasn't been in great form either. The main benefiter from this is definitely Agnieszka Radwanska as she looks to make the QF at least. I didn't post this beforehand but I'd probably have put Kvitova Vs A. Radwanska as the most likely fourth round matchup.

No shocks here really but I do applaud Heather Watson for pushing Sharapova to three sets. My choice here would probably have been Shuai Peng Vs Maria Sharapova

No shocks here. Both Marion Bartoli and Samantha Stosur made it through in straight sets. Maria Kirilenko had a scare against Ekaterina Makarova and will face another Russian in Round 2, Vera Dushevina. My picks here would probably have been Bartoli vs. Stosur despite Petrova's improved form.

Yet again no shocks here but a huge congratulations to Laura Robson for making the 2nd Round, she has the potential to get to the third as well. I really wouldn't know who to predict between Cibulkova/V.Williams/Lisicki. I would chose Zvonareva on the other side because she doesn't have a difficult draw.


Monday, 29 August 2011

Ana Ivanovic 2.0?

Petra Kvitova the reigning Wimbledon champion was ousted earlier today by Alexandra Dulgheru 7-6(7-3), 6-3 in the first round. She becomes the only woman in the open era to have lost in the first round of the US Open after winning Wimbledon. So why do I compare her with Ana Ivanovic? Well the fact that since Ana Ivanovic's 2008 Roland Garros title she hasn't made it past the 4th Round of a Grand Slam. I just wonder if it was a little too much too early for Kvitova, is she finding it difficult to handle her new found success? I never really liked Ivanovic because she peaked too early and thus blew herself out before she could even solidify herself as a top player but I hope Kvitova can move on from this as she's a talented player.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

US Open 2011 Women's Draw

I'm exhausted after posting the men's draw so I'm going to keep this short.

Wozniacki stays as the No.1 seed for the US Open. Since becoming No.1 I think the main question on everyone's mind is when will she win a slam, sadly I don't think this will be the one. She had her chances a few slams ago but now a new breed of opponent has developed, she's no longer a favourite to win any slam. Coupled with her poor results pre US Open I think Wozniacki will be happy to even make the SFs.

I'd expect Wozniacki to be safe for the first three rounds but then there's Hantuchova and Kuznetsova on the horizon. Both are not in great form but both are capable of beating Wozniacki. It will depend what type of form Wozniacki is in herself.

Even more danger lurks after the 4th Round with Petkovic and Na Li being the main contenders for a SF spot. Petkovic possibly is the favourite here as Na Li hasn't been as strong since winning Roland Garros, the French Open must be cursed. It all depends on Wozniacki's own performance because in a way she has been given a good draw.

Azarenka is being considered the unlucky Top 8 player because she has been drawn against Serena Williams. I am so disappointed for her because I think she's ready to win a slam but facing Serena this early could be too much to handle. If she makes it through Peer and Ivanovic wil not be dangers. In fact if Azarenka manages to survive Serena she has a relatively OK draw with Jankovic, Pavlyuchenkova and Schiavone being her main threats. Jankovic saw a resurgence in Cincinnati but is she ready to become a top player again? Her Grand Slam record has been rather average since 2008. Schiavone is yet again seeing a slump after Roland Garros, she might as well hibernate for the year until Roland Garros comes around.

I remember when Wozniacki, Azarenka and Radwanska were named as the three rising stars of tennis. Wozniacki and Azarenka have both taken their places amongst the elite but it has only been the past month or so that Radwanska has finally responded. She has Petra Kvitova in her draw as well as dangers such as Lucie Safarova and Yanina Wickmayer so there's a lot to contend with. Unluckily enough she'll face her sister in the first round, Urzula Radwanska.

On the other side is Maria Sharapova who has Heather Watson as her Round 1 opponent. I think Sharapova must be second favourite to win the title. In her way are Flavia Pennetta, Julia Goerges and Shuai Peng. All have the potential to do damage but aren't really title contenders.

Finally there's Zvonareva's section which would be rather boring if it weren't for Venus Williams and Sabine Lisicki's 2nd Round match off. Besides Vera there is Bartoli, Stosur and Cibulkova looking to make the SFs. It's quite difficult to predict who will make it out of these six names because they're all rather unpredictable.

Sorry for the rather rushed analysis, I'm just really tired after typing up the men's draw.

US Open 2011 Men's Draw

I missed out on Wimbledon but I definitely won't miss out on the US Open, from the looks of things it'll be a very interesting slam.

So Novak Djokovic begins his first Grand Slam as the No.1 seed his first opponent will be qualifier Conor Niland from Ireland who at 29 years of age is a rather slow burner. You just need to compare their Grand Slam records to realise how incomparable these two players are. Niland is playing his second Grand Slam whilst Djokovic is coming off two Grand Slams this year. There's no doubt that the US Open is where Djokovic is most consistent so I'll be shocked if he doesn't at least make the SF where he is drawn to play Roger Federer.

Round 2 should be nothing to worry about either. He has either Carlos Berlocq or Pere Riba, ranked 69 and 70th respectively. Both haven't been impressive in the ATP circuit but Berlocq seems to have the edge here.

Round 3 could potentially be more dangerous with Ivan Dodig and Nikolay Davydenko being potential opponents. Dodig is seeded 32nd and whilst having a slightly shaky season he has beaten Robin Soderling and Rafael Nadal this year. Davydenko has really nosedived these past two years but I wouldn't count him out just yet. Other potential, though unlikely, round three opponents are Potito Starace; who is coming off five first round losses in Grand Slams and six consecutive first round defeats at the US Open, and Michael Berrer.

If the first three rounds haven't yielded anything spectacular Round 4 might be a tougher contest, just. I'd say the most likely 4th Round opponent for Djokovic is Gasquet. Dolgopolov started the year well but has been much more shaky recently. He also lost to his potential first round opponent, Richard Gasquet, recently so I'm not convinced Dolgopolov can emulate his Australian Open performance. Kei Nishikori prefers the US Open but he doesn't look like a potential 4th Round opponent to Djokovic. Though rusty Ivo Karlovic and Fernando Gonzalez could be dangers, they will play each other in the first round. 

Most likely 4th Round opponents


Leading Section 2 is Gael Monfils and Tomas Berdych. Despite a rather quiet year for Berdych he has consistently made it deep into tournaments and recently defeated Federer. Berdych is one of the more unpredictable top players so I wonder how he'll fare. He faces Romain Jouan in the first round so he should be safe from a 1st Round defeat at least. However most of us believed that for him at Roland Garros but he lost to Stephane Robert another Frenchmen.

Berdych's second round opponent could be Fabio Fognini but Fabio has never made it past the 1st Round in 3 attempts. Potential third round opponent Janko Tipsaveric could be Berdych's main test as he recently lost to him but if Berdych is in form he should stroll safely through.

On Monfils side Marcel Granollers poses the main threat but I'm unconvinced that Monfils wouldn't at least make the 4th Round. Another three Spaniards look to topple the Frenchmen but it will be an uphill battle. Monfils will face rising star Grigor Dimitrov in the 1st Round

Most likely 4th Round opponents

My brain screams for Tomas Berdych Vs. Gael Monfils but there's an inkling feeling in me that believes this won't happen so I'm going on a whim and saying...


I might have to eat my words but it won't the first time.

Roger Federer leads Section 3 with supposedly a tough draw. His first round opponent is Santiago Giraldo, who I must agree is a tougher opponent than Djokovic's but it will be highly unlikely that we'll wave goodbye to Federer in Round 1. If he does luckily make it this far, I kid, he has the dangerous Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci to consider. However Bellucci is much more dangerous on clay than on the US hardcourts.

Moving onto the third round Federer has a number of young guns to look forward to. Helmed as two of tennis' brightest stars Bernard Tomic and Ryan Harrison will be amongst potential third round opponents but we should not forget Marin Cilic who is only 22 himself. Whilst Cilic lost in the first round at Roland Garros and Wimbledon I'm not going to write him off like some, I still think Federer's most likely third round opponent should be Cilic with Tomic never having competed at the US Open and the pressure on Ryan Harrison to do well.

So far so well for Federer but where is the supposed competition? If Federer is in good form then these opponents should not be worrying him. If Federer does want something to worry about the 4th Round might provide some danger in the form of Radek Stepnaek and Viktor Troicki but if Federer is eyeing on another US Open title these two should not be amongst his "to worry" list.

Most likely 4th Round opponents

A difficult one but purely on gut instinct I'm going for...


If you've been slightly disappointed by what is supposedly a tough draw for Federer don't be because his QF opponent will be one to look forward to. The most dangerous in the pack is Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Tsonga has defeated Federer in their last two matches, one of which being the Wimbledon QFs. Now if that isn't a sign of a nemesis I don't know what is.

Tsonga's first three rounds look simple enough. He faces Yen-Hsun Lu in Round 1 and most likely Andreas Haider-Maurer in Round 2. If all goes according to plan then Tsonga will face Fernando Verdasco but Verdasco is not the player he once was a year or two ago despite pushing Nadal in Cincinnati.

On the other side is Mardy Fish who must be on a high after claiming the $1 million prize money for winning the US Open Series Title and being the No.1 American going into the US Open. With his current form and confidence he should be able to make the 4th Round. If I was pushed to name threats then Michael Llodra and Kevin Anderson might appear on the list.

Most likely 4th Round opponents


The pair have never played each other before so I had to do a quick mock up.

Like Djokovic Soderling will have an Irish qualifier to contend with but unlike Djokovic Soderling has been out with an injury for the last six weeks.  Most will question whether Soderling is ready to play and win but we'll have to wait until his first match to know whether he is match ready.

Most experts believe that Soderling's loss will come at the hands of Alex Bogomolov Jr. A few strong runs especially to R16 at Cincinnati from the qualifiers have solidified him as a threat but I'm not willing to write off Soderling just yet.

If Bogomolov isn't enough to end Soderling then Baghdatis or Isner will relish in beating a Top 10 player, will that happen though? Baghdatis has had a very shaky year with a less than impressive 18-19 W/L record. Isner on the other hand has faired slightly better though will playing in the US help or hinder him?

Potential fourth round opponents for Soderling include Del Potro and Simon. The 2009 Champion of course being the danger here but Del Potro is still trying to find the form that led him to the title in 2009. His recovery to the Top 10 should be a slow and steady one. If Del Potro fails there's always Simon to step up so Soderling has a tough job in his hands.

Most likely 4th Round opponents


Sadly nobody seemed to care the last three times they played each other so I had to make a crap mock up again. Every slam needs a major loss early on, it's almost a prerequisite. The anomaly is normally the Australian Open when most of the Top 8 are rested and ready for battle. And if most major commentators believe Soderling will be our first major loss then how can I argue. Though I'd like to see Soderling prove them, and me, wrong.

Soderling, or should I say Del Potro's, direct opponent for a SF spot is Andy Murray. His recent title at Cincinnati redeemed his first round loss at Montreal. Murray's year has been rather awkward. He has either made it to the semis and finals of tournaments or lost in the very first round however I doubt he'll lose early in the US with a rather simple draw early on. I always say this but it's the best time for Murray to make a move as both Nadal and Federer are on the low and nobody knows how much Djokovic's shoulder inklings will effect him.

I honestly believe that Murray has yet again been handed a very simple draw. If there is anybody for him to look out for it'd be Stanislas Wawrinka in a possible 4th Round match and Robin Haase who could potentially be a 2nd Round opponent. His road to the QF's is by far the easiest atm.

Most likely 4th Round opponents


Finally we're down to the last quarter. David Ferrer is an absolute workhorse, it will take a top player to topple him over. Some believe that player is in the form of a resurgent James Blake. It is possible considering Ferrer has in both their prior meetings but I'm not sure if James Blake is truly ready to take on the big guns. If Ferrer survive Blake then I don't see him losing before the QFs

Third Round opponents should be a breeze for Ferrer whilst what he may need to worry about is his potential 4th Round opponents. Nicolas Almagro leads a very varied bunch of players. What I'd love to say here is that Roddick is a favourite but I just can't. He has had a poor year and has seen his ranking slump to 21. He had better years in 2009 and 2010 but didn't manage to make it past the third round in both so are we ready to call Roddick a threat?

Most likely 4th Round opponents


Not really a VS picture but it was the best I could find. And similarly I don't think Almagro should really make the 4th Round but he was the best I could find amongst that bunch.

Finally in Section 8 is Rafael Nadal with Mikhail Youzhny at the other end. Mikhail loves the US Open but he hasn't been on the best of forms. Ernests Gulbis is his first round opponent. Most believed he was a future star  but with eight consecutive first round losses in Grand Slam level and a 16-16 W/L record this year it will really come down to who has luck on their side. Luckily Youzhny doesn't have a tough draw before he meets Nadal so Youzhny could make it through from pure grit. His main opponent after Ernests Gulbis is Jurgen Melzer but he himself has also been facing poor form and injury.

And finally Nadal, he has been given a very good draw, better even than Murray's so he better run with it. His first round opponent is Andrey Golubev, a talented player but has had an awful record this year of 5-23 and an 18 match losing streak. 

Most likely 4th Round opponents


so an update,


I highly doubt it would be all seeds though!

For now I would guess

Oh how I wish.

I'm too tired now, I'll do the women's draw later.

Miss Universe 2011 Pre Show - 1st Update

It has been a few days since the 89 girls arrived in Brazil and my god has the competition been ruffled. Many favourites are now being scrutinised whilst a few dark horses are looking more and more like front runners. Whilst my rankings have changed my favourites still stay intact. I have reverted back to Top 15 as I've heard no official reports of a Top 16 on the contrary I've heard something about a Top 14 + 1 viewer vote.

Anyway starting off my Top 15 list is a controversial one...

Priscila Machado

She is the most controversial delegate this year but sweeping past all that gossip Priscila is proving a tough competitor. She just knows her angles and how to carry herself. At this moment I cannot comment on her candid background because I have very little idea or information on what she did so for now my stance is "I don't care" I'm going to treat her by how she performs in the pageant and at the moment she makes my Top 15.

Kerstin Cook

Kerstin's eyes are absolutely mesmerising. I just wish she was more active with her candids. I can't wait to see how she performs in the official photos and the preliminaries. 

Roseline Luo

To be honest I'm not disappointed with China because I knew she wasn't the natural stunner I was looking for. From when she competed at Miss China Universe I knew she should be categorised under "Fierce" rather than beautiful. I kind of let the hyping get over me as she was one of the few Chinese delegates who was ever hyped. At the moment she is flailing, day by day she is dropping for me, but I know her strengths are when she performs so I'll wait until the prelims to decide her fate.

Shamcey Supsup

Shamcey has been consistently strong since arriving in Brazil so I don't see any problem with placing her at 12th. To be honest I like Shamcey much more than Venus because Shamcey is prettier and fresher in my opinion whilst Venus' appeal was her aura.

Viviana Ortiz

I still love Vivi but the girls above her have really shone through whilst I'm still waiting for that turning point with Vivi. I really do think that come preliminaries Vivi will be the highlight of the show but as of now she needs to step up her game to return to the Top 5.

Natalia Rodriguez

I really don't understand the hate for Natalie, she is gorgeous and when made up is as good as any other front-runner but she constantly gets bashed. In my opinion even some of her worst candids are better than normal photos of some supposed front runners. Am I blind or do I just have distinctive taste?

Natalia Gantimurova

Russia has been the real shock of this pageant. Initially I thought Russia was another Albania in that she'd brush up well but was quite ordinary in candids but she has proved me wrong! She has a natural radiance and presence that makes her one of the strongest candidates in the bunch. From being out of even my Bubbling Unders list she now sweeps in at No.9. 

Natalie Vertiz

Peru is now officially a favourite. Before I was jumping on the bandwagon but now I get it. She looks beautiful and has a killer body, her smile is infectious and her charm is evident, I will be amazed if she doesn't make the Top 15/16.

Kim Edri

How anyone can say she's a disappointment is beyond me. Despite me knowing very well that MUO are looking for that fierce and charismatic girl I have placed Israel as high as 7th on my list, if it weren't for that she'd be straight in my Top 5! Kim is one of the prettiest girls in the bunch and she just doesn't know how to take a bad photo!

Iliana Papageorgiou

Sorry for this incredibly pixelated photo but I just can't find a decent sized photo of Iliana. She is so gorgeous that even in such a photo she shines but I just wish she was prominent in the competition.

Wait Top 5 already! Who's missing? Mexico, Netherlands, Ghana, Panama, Australia, Kosovo, Ukraine, Malaysia and USA have all made my Top 16 before but where are they now? If you learnt anything in Maths class you'll know that the above list totals to 9 not 5 - so who's out!

Scherri-Lee Biggs

Making her debut in my Top 5 is Scherri-Lee. Sorry Scherri-Lee that I ever doubted you. She is naturally stunning and beautiful. If Rachel and Jesinta both managed to make the Top 5 I can't imagine how they'd be any justice if she didn't follow suit.

Kelly Weekers

Jumping right up to fourth place is Kelly and it looks like she isn't finished just yet! Kelly is stunning, there's no other way to put it. From originally being somebody I wasn't sure about to one of my absolute favourites shows how much Kelly has impressed in the first few days since arrival. Kelly must make the Top 15.

Olesya Stefanko

Normal order resumes and Olesya is at 3rd. Olesya just has that aura about her, she's so intriguing to look at and such a sex bomb! She's a natural performer and considering how Ukraine placed so highly last year I can't see any justice is Olesya doesn't place equally as high.

Deborah Priya Henry

Class, Elegance, Poise, Beauty, Sophistication... To all the haters suck on the fact that she will place and carry on the successful lineage of MW07 alumni. Hah. Just kidding.

Alyssa Campanella

As long as Alyssa doesn't start spouting zombie monsters out of her mouth she will always be my favourite because she is ~~~ simply the best ~~~. However the competition is tough, I can easily see her being challenged by some of her competitors but I have faith that Alyssa will perform on the night and regain a spot and the title for the USA.

Kosovo OUT
Panama OUT
Mexico OUT

Brazil IN
Russia IN

Kosovo - She's still not out entirely, she makes my Bubbling Under list but she's been a huge disappointment. As I said before my high placement of her was generally from my image of her beauty rather than what I had seen so when she arrived in Brazil looking like a washed out Pop Princess (or a wannabe Kylie) I immediately demoted her.
Panama - Yet again I tried to jump on the bandwagon but fell and crushed my leg. I just don't understand how she's been hyped this much. She's still in my bubbling unders but I just don't understand the massive appeal with her.
Mexico - The gorgeous Karin is out because whilst she's pretty I find her facial features stiff. It's as if she's infected with a severe amount of botox. Every photo she looks the same, I want her to loosen up a bit!

And now 12 extra girls made my bubbling unders

Angola - Leila Lopez
Paraguay - Alba Riquelme
Hungary - Betta Lipcsei
Panama - Sheldry Saez
Korea - Sora Jung
Thailand - Chanyasorn Sakornchan
Costa Rica - Johanna Solano
Canada - Chelsae Durocher
Mexico - Karin Ontiveros
Bahamas - Anastagia Pierre
France - Laury Thilleman
Kosovo - Aferdita Dreshaj

And finally a few comments on unmentioned girls
Aruba - a huge surprise but still not convinced
Vietnam - rising
Sweden - rising
Indonesia - rising
Serbia - starting to rise
Ireland - not as bad as I thought
Albania - Don't understand her appeal, she'll undoubtedly be a strong performer though (she is once again another Anxhela Martini to me)
Finland - rising
Portugal - rising
Haiti - rising
Ghana - I'm so disappointed, to think that Yayra was once in my Top 16.
Venezuela - I'd be happy if Venezuela was shut out for another year.
Trinidad and Tobago - HOW?

See you next time

Friday, 19 August 2011

US Open will be very interesting...

I say this because of the shock I'm in to see Nadal and Federer lose before the semis again, together! I'm so used to seeing either of them making it to the semis or finals, at least, that it seems weird when both are missing, twice! A few years ago we all thought Federer was on the out but he rose back but unfortunately this time it's for real. Federer no longer has that edge amongst most of the other players and one thing that helped him to YTD records of like 80-5 was because people "feared" him. The mentality was "oh no I've got Federer in my draw, I'll be lucky to get a game" but now his invincible status has well and truly be vanquished. He's still definitely a strong player and deserves a Top 3 spot, for now, but from now on it's only down for him I believe. And what's with Nadal, losing to Dodig now Fish. Fish is undeniably on a high but Nadal is definitely not the player he was even just a year ago. This however bodes extremely well with Djokovic who has only lost once throughout the year!

Montreal and Cincinnati 2011 must be two tournaments Nadal and Federer would like to forget about.

Just a side note what is happening to Wozniacki? Arvidsson, Vinci now Mchale! A 3 match losing streak one week before the US. She has one more tournament to redeem herself. I guess her maiden Slam will have to wait. Whilst I love Serena I hope the US Open won't be the Serena show.

Miss Universe 2011 Pre Pageant (19/08/11)

We're getting closer and closer to the pageant officially starting and I just wanted to update you all on my slightly altered Top 16.

Firstly I still don't know whether it is going to be a Top 16 but I've heard that it's going to be 15 + 1 viewer vote so I'm going to stick with 16. Also I've heard rumours that it's going to be 3 from each continent, that would be a very evil twist by the MUO. But I don't understand how the "Trump Cards" will be handed out then. If the MUO do adopt this policy it should be

North Europe
South Europe + Africa
Asia and Oceania + Middle East
North America + The Caribbean
South America

That would satisfy geographical location and still be relatively fair until Africa start being competitive.

Anyway back onto my slightly altered Top 16, I didn't think it would change but there's been one or two alterations

Top 4

Top 8
Puerto Rico

Top 16

Bubbling Unders
Costa Rica
Czech Republic

In terms of other favourites Albania, Nicaragua, Russia and Trinidad and Tobago are all in my next list down. Whilst some recent fan favourites like Egypt, Finland, Serbia and Sweden are all another list down.

Can't wait until this gets going.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Miss Universe 2011 Pre Pageant

The competition will begin very soon and with this year being lauded as one of the best ever I'm very excited to see what happens. I've been an on and off follower of the national pageants but I've reviewed all the contestants to come up with my definitive pre-pageant favourites list. 

As this year I'm not sure if Miss Universe will change their number of placements I'm going to use MUOs newest format of 16-8-4 seen at Miss USA 2011.

So without further ado My Top 16,


Karin Ontiveros, 23

Since 2004 Mexico has had an iron grip on Miss Universe, and Miss World in fact, with only one blip in 2009. But Ximena Navarrete (MU10) quickly avenged Karla Carillo; left out of the Top 15, and Elisa Najera; who should have been higher than 4th Runner Up, by winning the Miss Universe title.

It is no different for 2011. Karin Ontiveros is a beautiful girl with doll-like features and a stunning physique as well. She will undoubtedly be well prepared for Miss Universe, as is the norm with Miss Mexico's, so I will be surprised if she doesn't make the first cut.


Kelly Weekers, 21

Originally I overlooked Kelly but upon reading rave reviews about her I took another look and was floored by her potential. Miss Universe 2011 is lacking in blonde potential semifinalists so Kelly should stand out from the crowd. She is naturally pretty so please don't overstyle her, especially her hair and makeup. However I still have my concerns with Kelly, she can easily drop from my Top 16, but for now she represents as one of the blondes in my favourites list.

Will she make the semi-finals? I doubt it but there's a chance.


Natalie Vertiz, 19

From one barbie doll to another to another, all three of the girls I have mentioned have such doll like faces and my god they are tall as well! Natalie reminds me of Gona Dragusha (MU09 2nd Runner Up) mixed with Sabrinne Al-Tawil (BP11 Top 15) but maybe only because both sported bun do's in their respective pageant! 

I wouldn't say Natalie is a sure fire favourite of mine, there's potential for her to drop off my list, but I do think if she is competitive she'll be a strong force in the pageant. I believe she has a strong chance of making the cut.


Natalia Rodriguez, 24

A lot of people think she's the Photoshop queen of the pageant but from what I've seen up to now, candids as well, she is an absolute stunner. The only reason why she doesn't rank higher with me is because I've not seen enough of her in candids being relaxed and her natural self. I would love to see Natalia prove all her doubters wrong in the pageant but trying to place with an Argentinian sash will be a challenge.

There's a chance she could make it but she'll have to work hard for it.


Yayra Erica Nego, 26

Rewind back to 2009 just before Miss USA 2009, which was won by Kristen Dalton, I placed her in my alternatives list. So why is she now sitting in the Top 16, a pageant of higher status with a high quality field? I'm not too sure myself. When Erica was crowned Miss Ghana I was shocked and amazed because I didn't expect to see Erica ever again but when I reviewed her most recent images I saw something special I either missed or she didn't have in Miss USA 2009. It was that natural appeal that draws you into the top contestants and besides MU11 is missing a fierce black delegate.

Will she make the cut? Probably not but who knows.


Sheldry Saez, 19

If I'm to be utterly honest I don't get the hype for Sheldry. She's beautiful and photogenic but I still haven't seen that photo which makes me go "She's got it". In a way I've placed her in my Top 16 because everyone else has and I think I'm probably the one that has missed the plot not the masses. My gut instinct also tells me that I'll too probably jump on the bandwagon once she arrives in Brazil.

She will probably make the cut so I better start liking her soon, jk.


Shamcey Supsup, 25

I hear someone calling foul from a mile away. In fact I haven't just placed Shamcey up there because she's an architect or because I followed Binibining 2011 so religiously it's actually because I truly like Shamcey. She was always one of my favourites for the Binibining Universe title along with Patricia Tumulak so I wasn't amongst those crying buckets that MJ or Patty didn't make it. I hope Shamcey does well because she deserves to be recognised though considering China, Australia and Malaysia will likely have places already gaining a fourth spot for Asia Pacific looks unlikely unless she gets a Trump Card (unlikely) or gets voted in (very likely).


Scherri-Lee Biggs, 20

I must be one of few who hasn't put Scherri-Lee in my Top 8 or 10. I like Scherri-Lee, she's gorgeous, but like with Sheldry and to some extent Natalie I still don't see "it" yet. However Scherri-Lee is much closer to making my Top 8 than my bubbling list but until I see that edge from Scherri-Lee she won't penetrate my Top 8.

And of course she'll make it into the first cut, she could by all means make the final 4 or 5.


Beginning with...


Iliana Papageorgiou, 20

Iliana is absolutely stunning, I find it odd that not all pageant fans think the same but one thing that is preventing Iliana from moving forward is the fact that she looks like she's about to prepare for New York Fashion Week not Miss Universe 2011. I'm just unsure whether this beauty will perform as a beauty queen or as a top class model - there's a huge difference between the two.

I fear Greece might miss the cut if she doesn't start to get hyped.


Aferdita Dreshaj, 25

To be honest back 10,000 years when pageant fans were already hyping her I just didn't take much notice. I just didn't understand why she was given so much attention, it was when her attention started to get divided by the newer faves that I started taking notice. Personally I still feel I haven't seen enough of Aferdita, I still feel my placement of her in my Top 8 is due to my image of her beauty not her actual beauty so I'm excited to see what she delivers at Miss Universe 2011.

Are you even doubting her not placing? Come on with Fadil at the helm there's no doubt she will place.


Kim Edri, 18

You were not expecting this were you. But I just find Kim to be so beautiful and sweet I don't care that she'll probably not be seen at Miss Universe amongst all those performers. I hope Kim will prove us all wrong and bring us an inner sexuality none of us imagined but here's me hoping.

I would be over the moon if Kim makes the cut but I doubt it.


Roseline Luo, 24

Ey, did you just read that wrong? Me putting Roseline out of the Top 4? No you've not read it wrong, she just missed out on my Top 4 (note the previous girls were not put in any specific order, I'm just saying if there was a top 5 I'll probably put Roseline there). Roseline will, I repeat will, put China back on the map. She is beautiful, elegant, tall, sexy and most importantly a performer however the problem is I'm not seeing anything else. Outside of strutting her stuff on the catwalk I haven't felt the same presence from her as I'd expect from a potential winner. I'll have to wait until Brazil to decide whether China will ascend my Top 4.

By god she will make the first cut but will she win? I highly doubt it. On the 60th Anniversary I don't expect China to take it especially with Trump at the reins, maybe if it was the 61st Anniversary, The Donald can't let China win it all you see.


Who have I missed? Albania? Angola? Costa Rica? Malaysia? Puerto Rico? Ukraine? USA? Venezuela? or someone else entirely?

From now on I will list my favourites in order.


Viviana Ortiz, 24

Of all people why have I placed Viviana amongst my Top 4? Because despite not being as naturally pretty as a lot of the girls in my Top 16 it's all about the aura. Like with Ana Rodriguez (Miss Texas USA 2011) I didn't think she was the prettiest at all but she had that "Je ne sais quoi" to push her to the top. Viviana is a performer, her innate confidence and presence has shone through in the pre-pageant stages now Viviana just needs to translate that to the actual pageant.

If you like patterns, since 2001 it has been:
Title - Non Placer - Non Placer - Placed - Placed
Title - None Placer - None Placer - Placed - Placed

So will Viviana be the next Title holder...


Olesya Stefanko, 22

Like many of the girls this year I initially took no notice of Olesya but when I began to review the competition I was just stunned by her photos. I hope she is as good at Brazil because if she is she'll be a huge threat to some of the favourites. Olesya doesn't get enough recognition in my opinion, I don't actually know why, but I think she could possibly outperform Anna Poslavska (Miss Universe 2010 3rd Runner Up).

Her placement within the Top 15/16 is nearly assured in my opinion but we'll see what happens on the night.


Deborah Priya Henry, 26

Normally when I love contestants it's from the first image I see of them, that has been the case of many of my Top 16 and in previous pageants as well. With Deborah that is exactly the case. Unlike many who have placed her lower in favour of other candidates I still have faith in Deborah because she's beautiful, elegant, exotic, sexy, intelligent and charming all wrapped into one with the added X-Factor. I hope she can emulate the success of the MW07 alumni in that Ada Aimee De La Cruz made it as 1st Runner up in 2009 and Yendi Philipps also came in at 1st Runner up in 2010. It could bode well for Deborah!

I think she'll place but I am unsure where she'll end.

Finally nobody beats the beauty that is...


Alyssa Campanella, 21

It is testament to her beauty that despite scores of girls being hyped and rehyped Alyssa still stands as most pageant fans No.1. She is undoubtedly the one to beat because she just has it all. If she doesn't make it into the Top 4 or 5 I think it would be the biggest shock in Miss Universe for a while. In actual fact if she doesn't win it would be a bigger shock than most. There are only a handful of girls I will not mind seeing take Alyssa's crown (atm) 4 in fact but if Alyssa does miss the crown it will not be because the other girls performed exceptionally well it'll be because Alyssa didn't perform to her best.

And just to give you some more choice here are 10 girls in my Bubbling Unders list.

Angola - Leila Lopes, 25
Czech Republic - Jitka Novackova, 19
Paraguay - Alba Riquelme, 20
Costa Rica - Johanna Solano, 18
Switzerland - Kerstin Cook, 22
Korea - Sora Jung, 20
Bahamas - Anastagia Pierre, 22
Venezuela - Vanessa Goncalves, 25
France - Laury Thilleman, 20
Brazil - Priscila Machado, 25

Yes Priscila made my bubbling unders. Yes she has a supposed porn past but if she's still competing I'll just wipe that history away until it's really necessary to decide who should win based on everything, including the girls background.

Anyway I can't wait until they arrive in Brazil. See you then.