Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Redeemed At Last: Roddick Wins Cincy!

Updated August 22, 2006

VCR ALERT! On Monday, Aug. 21: get a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Roddick vs PONG, on Entertainment Tonight, 7:30pm EST...or you can download the segment here. (updated link.)

VCR ALERT #2! On Wednesday, Aug. 23: Andy will make an appearance on ESPN's Cold Pizza, which airs at 10:00am EST.

WATCH Andy teach some guys from Fox News & Friends how to serve (very funny video!), or you can DOWNLOAD the file here.

WATCH another cheesy video entitled "Roddick's Redemption" here.

WATCH a video of Andy on CBS's Early Show from this morning's appearance here.

WATCH the new Roddick vs PONG commercial here:

WATCH the classic Amex commercial where a trophy falls on Andy's head here:


DOWNLOAD Roddick vs Ferrero highlights here.

DOWNLOAD Roddick's sit-down interview after defeating Ferrero here. (nice hair, Andy. LOL)

WATCH Roddick vs Ferrero match highlights here (commentary in Spanish).

WATCH Andy's victory lap and the trophy presentation here (commetary in Spanish).

DOWNLOAD Roddick vs Gonzalez highlights here.

DOWNLOAD Roddick's sit-down interview after defeating Gonzalez here.

WATCH Roddick vs Gonzalez highlights here (commentary in Spanish).

All of the championship final photos from Reuters, AP, and Getty Images are now up in my gallery. Tag-free of course. I'll have Wire Image photos up in a bit.

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Attention New Yorkers!
Hit with or Just Stalk and Watch Andy Roddick and Rafael Nadal on August 25th

* * *
Random Thought of the Day:
More Proof that Golf is Not a Real Sport

Posted August 20, 2006

Final: Roddick def Ferrero 6-3 6-4
Andy Roddick: 2006 Western & Southern Financial Group champion!

Congratulations, Andy Roddick!

This is Andy's first title of 2006 (his last title was in Lyon, France, October 2005); his fourth career AMS shield (last AMS title was in Miami 2004), and his second Cincinnati title (first was in 2003).

With this win, Andy will be back in the Top Ten (at #10) when the new rankings come out on Monday. Cincinnati also marks the end of the US Open Series which Roddick has now won for the second year in a row!

I am so freaking happy. All of that hard work has finally paid off. I've never seen him play more beautifully, with more power and finese and confidence, than ever before. No Roger, no Rafa? No problem! This week was all about Roddick and the crowd came out by the thousands to cheer him on. What a brilliant tournament.

I will update this blog with photos, news, and hopefully videos throughout the day.

Originally posted August 19, 2006

Cincy: Keeping His Eyes on the Prize

"I've had a lot of bulletin-board material."

— ANDY RODDICK, on his crappy, no-good, very bad year so far.

SF: Roddick def Gonzalez 6-3 6-3
QF: Roddick def an exhausted and half-dead Murray 6-3 6-4

In case you missed the Murray Whine-and-Excuses Bus, and didn't read all about it in today's news, Andy Murray was positively exhausted last night.

Okay, so Murray was obviously tired (maybe a little too obvious?) and he tried to hang in there (in fact, he managed to break Roddick back in the second set and was also quite tough to put away in that last game), but the fact is that Roddick played great tennis and earned this win: he was relaxed, confident, aggressive, hitting nice volleys and drop shots, there was variety to his game and variety to his serves....he's a totally different player when he's confident, and he's very hard to beat when he's in his peacock mode. He also took a lot of pace off of his groundstrokes which Murray doesn't like, so that was some smart playing from Roddick. He made some necessary adjustments to his game and it paid off.

This match meant a lot to Roddick and you could see the daggers both players were shooting out of their eyes at one another. Also very early in the first games, both players were hitting balls directly at his opponent, at one point Roddick just moved out of the way and wagged his finger at Murray, "tut tut!" "It's personal now," Patrick McEnroe intoned. It was a very edgy match, and it ended with a cold handshake, too. Brrr.
ANDY MURRAY: "Yeah, well, you know, I don't particularly like losing. When you can't play to the best of your ability, it's not nice mentally. He was getting pretty fired up and saying things across the court to me at the start of the match. It's a little bit annoying to lose matches like that."

And for those folks who were complaining about Roddick over-reacting with all the screaming and fist-pumps:
ANDY RODDICK: "With losing at Wimbledon and him playing great this summer, I really put a lot of stock in this match and knew I had to be intense in order to win."

Personally, after months of having to endure a less-than-excited-to-be-here Roddick where he would mope around with his head hanging and never said word "boo" to anybody, the return of In-Yo'-Face Andy is a very welcome sight and I highly encourage him to do more of it. It's not like he was fist-pumping Murray's unforced errors, anyway.

In the middle of all this, I had to feel for Brad Gilbert, who must have known that everybody would be watching for his reaction to every point played. He was uncharacteristically subdued and quiet during the match last night and I couldn't blame him: had he tried to be a "cheerleader" for Murray, as Murray wants him to be, his actions would've been misinterpreted as him cheering against Roddick. Accordingly, I thought that Gilbert behaved wisely, and Murray really shouldn't fault him for that.

I can't wait until the day comes when people finally stop over-analyzing everything Roddick and Gilbert say and do, and move on. I really don't get this obsession many tennis watchers seem to have with their relationship. "Oh look, Andy and Andy both wore the same outfits last night, what does it all mean? Is Roddick giving the finger to Gilbert or is Murray mocking Roddick?" Yes, let's dissect and analyze some more meaningless b.s. to get to the bottom of this mystery.

* * *
Preview of Roddick vs Gonzalez Semifinal

Taken from a gambling website (of all places!):
Regardless of who he moves on to play in the finals, is it safe to call Andy Roddick the 2006 Cincinnati Champion? I think so. If he can pass Gonzo here, he will win the title no questions asked. He is a combined 9-0 versus Robredo and JCF and that my friends means that his Super Bowl matchup, his big World Cup Final is tonight. Gonzalez is the toughest man to beat in this competition because he has all his mechanics working hardcore for him. The forehand is on, the serve is on and he is a tough cookie. What a match this is going to be. Stats wise and based on the performances we saw last night, I would say Gonzalez will win this match. However, this match is being on a Saturday Night in Cincinnati, with the entire home crowd supporting Roddick. ARod mentioned after his match with Murray that he was looking to prove all his nay-sayers wrong in this tournament. He feels like everyone has written his career off and he does not like that. Well go out there and prove it to us son, the stage has been set and it's time to get it on. Gonzalez has been probably the second best server overall after Andy Roddick. Sure ARod had a few problems against Murray but the Scot is one of the best returners around and Roddick did what he had to do to take care of that. Have you noticed in Gonzo's last few matches that he leaves himself vulnerable to break points and somehow often collapses and has mental lapses? It may not look like it in the Ferrer scoreline but as badly as Ferrer was playing, Gonzalez did get broken twice in the second set but most of the time broke right back. Gonzalez is also a good returner so Andy will have to rely on his serve to catapult him into the finals. His 16 aces against Murray show how tired Murray is and Gonzalez might start to feel some of the same effects (having played almost as many matches as Murray the last two weeks). Andy is fresh and injury free and is ready to go. Andy leads the H2H 5-2 but lost to Gonzo here in Cincinnati back in 2002 when he was #9. This match will be a lot closer than Roddick's two wins against Gonzo in 2006 (both on grass) but he should be able to pull this off in three sets and with a late break for the win.

* * *
Down Goes Rafa (Another Sleeping Giant Awakens)

With both Federer and Nadal out of Cincy (this is the first time they've both crashed out before a final since the 2005 Australian Open), the other players are ready to jump at this great opportunity to up their game and pounce on winning this masters shield. I can see it in Roddick's eyes how badly he wants to win this. But Fernando Gonzalez and Juan Carlos Ferrero can also see the prize right before their very eyes and they will fight just as hard as Roddick to win it.

Gonzo is great but, how awesome would it be if we could get a rematch of the 2003 US Open final of Roddick vs Juan Carlos Ferrero on Sunday? The Mosquito is back, and he's biting.

* * *
Americans: Pick Up Your Copy of the Sunday edition of USA Today Weekend!

I'll rush to the store on Sunday morning and grab a copy to scan for the rest of you. Click on image to read the article.

- READ Roddick's post-Murray match interview here.
- Cincinnati Enquirer: Roddick rocks on.

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DOWNLOAD highlights from the Roddick/Chela match here.
DOWNLOAD highlights from the Roddick/Murray match here.
WATCH two incredible shots Roddick made during the Murray match here.
WATCH Roddick's classic American Express trophy-fell-on-my-head commercial here.

Originally Posted August 16, 2006

Cincy: Easy Peasy

"This is not about me. This is about me making Andy the No. 1 player. That's what it's about."


R16: Roddick def Chela 6-3 6-4
R32: Roddick def. Vliegen 6-4 6-4

A good solid win for Andy today. I had a good feeling about this match when Andy challenged a call almost immediately in the first game of the first set and he won it. If you're that confident challenging a call so early in a match when there's not even a score up on the scoreboard yet, then good things can only happen.

After getting broken in by Bracciali in yesterday's match, Andy had an easier time of it today ("Everything was working a lot better than yesterday," he said), looking more relaxed and confident; he had "a little spring in his step", according to ESPN's commentator, Chris Fowler, and even having a laugh with the chair umpire and with Vliegen himself when he challenged a call on Kristof's serve that was clearly in. Pam Shriver noted that "when you're confident and relaxed, everything goes your way," and for the most part, things finally did go Andy's way. He was playing aggressively but his forehand still isn't as penetrating as it used to be and he had a difficult time converting several break points, but I guess it doesn't matter when you're looking so sharp at the net(!) (Roddick won 15 of 21 points at the net, a phenominal number for him). More importantly, he wore a gorgeous navy blue shirt and white trucker hat. Hubba, hubba.

Pam Shriver interviewed Andy oncourt after the match. "It's nice without Fedex, isn't it?" she asked. "It's weird without Fedex," Andy laughed. Andy is well aware that Federer being out of the picture doesn't exactly make his chances of winning this title any easier. He's just as likely to lose to Murray in the QF's as he is to Federer.

Also, if you noticed Roddick apologizing to Vliegen after the match but didn't quite understand why: at 4-4 in the second set, Andy went to towel off because he thought Kristof's serve was called a let but it wasn't, and so Kris's rhythm was thrown off a bit and then he missed a volley, handing Roddick the break.

When Roddick spoke to Vliegen afterwards, Vliegen didn't seem to interpret Roddick's toweling off as an act of gamesmanship.

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Down Goes Roger

People are still gobsmacked over the unthinkable happening today: after two years (55 matches) of total domination on the U.S. hardcourts, Roger Federer was finally beaten. In straight sets, no less (the first that's happened since 2004 Roland Garros vs. Guga Kuerten) And unfortunately, it was the wrong Andy that beat him: Andy Murray, Brad Gilbert's new protege. Ugh. My feelings mirror many other Watchers' feelings that I've been reading on the tennis messageboards: There's nothing wrong with Murray beating Federer...except for the part where Gilbert will hog all the credit.

I did, however, get some small pleasure in reading this passage from Federer's interview: "Two Masters Series back-to-back — 12 matches in 13 days — it's something of the impossible." Oh really, Roger? Andy Roddick didn't seem to have that problem when he won Canada, Cincy, and the US Open all back-to-back in 2003. Mmhmm. *snaps!* Isn't it nice for Roddick hold a cool record like this all to himself?

If you saw the match, you have to admit that Roger did look completely out of it, though. And not just during the Murray match, he was showing signs of rust and fatigue even in the Toronto final vs. Richard Gasquet. I would say that this was probably the ugliest, most error-strewn match Roger has played in months, maybe even years. He didn't even look like he cared if he won or lost, he just went through the motions, shook hands, and quickly left the court barely waving to the crowd.

But credit to Murray for finally capitalizing on Federer's subpar playing because, as Murray himself said, "How many guys beat Roger when he's playing badly anyway?" The answer: practically nobody. Vamos!

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DOWNLOAD the Roddick vs Vliegen highlights here.

- ESPN: Connors looking to inspire confidence in Roddick.
- The Cincinnati Post: Roddick back in stride.

Originally posted August 15, 2006

Cincy: Roddick Eats His Vegetables

R64: Roddick def Bracciali
6-7(6) 7-6(4) 7-6(5)

Wow. That was the worst match I never saw. I can't remember the last time I was so exhausted just from watching a scoreboard.

So I get home and quickly watch some highlights on tape. Andy won this match on sheer heart and guts alone. There were no breaks of serve for either guy, though both had their chances. Three tiebreaks. Few games were held at love. Neither guy was playing his best. Roddick was obviously rusty from lack of match play and appeared to tweak his back again, calling for a trainer in the second set. Bracciali decided his back wasn't feeling all that great, either, and also called for the trainer.

But in the end Roddick showed why he's the champion and Bracciali is not. Well done, Andy. I'm happy and proud to see the scrappy fighter back in action, kicking and screaming, and chewing chair ump Lars Graf out again. Classic Roddick.

"When you haven't played for three weeks or so, it's just tough getting into the flow of a match a little bit, especially against a guy who gives you pretty much no rhythm," Roddick said. "He's taking one ball and hitting as hard as he can. It's tough to kind of get into a groove."

"I like the conditions. The fans, they helped pull me through today again. They're real good to me here. I feel comfortable here. Sometimes my family comes down to this tournament. It's just nice. It's a very comfortable place for me."

Andy's next opponent is Kristof Vliegen of Belgium. That match is scheduled for 7:30pm EST on ESPN2, Wednesday night.

By the way, for those of you wondering what the "eating his vegetables" headline means: Bracciali=Broccoli. Just a little play on words.

* * *
Maria Still Refuses to Comment on Her Non-Existant Relationship With Roddick

Sharapova speaks, but not about Roddick
The news surrounding Sharapova before the match, however, wasn't about her actions on the court, but about who she was dating. While Sharapova refused to comment on her current beau, the former Wimbledon champion has been linked with fellow tennis star Andy Roddick for the past year in the worst-kept secret relationship since Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

The two hit it off before the ESPYs last year when they were often paired on the red carpet for photographers; with Roddick jokingly telling the taller Sharapova on more than one occasion to take off her heels. Since then they've been spotted together more times than the paparazzi can count, from poolside at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel before this year's ESPYs to exclusive gambling rooms in Melbourne during the Australian Open to UCLA's campus after last month's Country Wide Classic. Most recently, they were spotted getting cozy at Zinc Lounge in Manhattan Beach, which shouldn't come as a surprise since Sharapova has been somewhat of a regular at the ultra-chic lounge inside of the new Shade hotel since she moved into town.

By the way, I was flipping through the new US magazine and noticed in their "Summer Couples" section that they reprinted a large picture of Andy and Maria taken from the ESPY Awards last year. And like any gossip rag worth its salt, they cleverly left the actual year date off their blurb: "Roddick and Sharapova hit an ESPY preparty in Beverly Hills July 12 before lounging poolside at the Tropicana Bar at the Hollywood Roosevelt until the wee hours."

Aha! Caught in the act of making shit up again!

* * *
Oops. Yahoo Did It Again.

Roddick Watch's own Butthead of the Week Award goes to that perennial whipping-boy favorite of tennis aficionados, Yahoo!, for posting in their Tennis Headline News section today that Roddick had "exacted some revenge" after he was "stunned by Bracciali in the second round at Wimbledon last year." Um. Yeah.

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DOWNLOAD the Roddick vs Bracciali highlights here.

WATCH a really bad video about the state of American tennis. The good part? At the end they show Andy practicing and saying in a ridiculous, high-pitched voice, "It's starting to feel good again, Ladies and Gentlemen!"

- READ Roddick's post-match interview here.
- ESPN: Connors looking to inspire confidence in Roddick.
- Cincinnati Post: Roddick trying to salvage lost season.
- Cincinnati Enquirer: Roddick works on an upswing.
- Cincinnati Enquirer - Roddick: Don't call it a comeback.


Anonymous said...

hi this isnt relly related to this particular post lol, but i was just wondering who is that little chinise girl sat with andy's parents during recent matches in cincy, does anyone know?

tangerine said...

It was Andy's niece, Ann-Marie. His brother Lawrence married an Asian lady. They have a son named JC, too.

hasina said...

wow im soo happy for andy. he soo deserved this.

i hope he keeps this up for the us open.

he needs to be even better...since fed and nadal are gonna take that more seriously than they did cincy!

Anonymous said...

the match today was amazing.

sharapova was defintely sitting with andy's family. and my guy friends took up the chance to hit on her. hilarous.

.sg said...

don't get too excited. it's not uncommom for the top players to bow out of warmup tourneys before a slam.
andy just got through a diluted field.

he'll be lucky to see week 2 in nyc.


Noelle De Guzman said...

Thanks a lot, .sg. It's so great when people like you exist to bring us fans back to Earth. LOL

I am definitely psyched that Andy won a big tournament for his first title this year -- even with Roger and Rafa in the draw. :D This is what we kept wanting for him to do: step up!

tangerine said...

Hey Noelle!

I was thinking of you Monday night as I was watching the season premiere of PRISON BREAK and they showed Andy's Pong commercial. :D

Just wanted to pass on the warmy and fuzzy feelings....

Anonymous said...


Can you refresh some of the videos on yousendit.com -- esp..roddy-murray and Andy's post match sit down after the final in cincy

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