Monday, January 30, 2012

Victoria Azarenka: Hail, Hail To The New Queen!

“Vika - you are the pride of the whole nation!” -President Alexander Lukashenko of the Republic of Belarus

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AGAIN, CONGRATS TO THE NEW WORLD NO. 1!!!!

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BEAUTY AND THE BEST!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Super Bowl XLVI: In One Week-- The G-Men Cometh!

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THE NEW YORK GIANTS IN THE SUPER BOWL:
  • WON Super Bowl XXI over the Denver Broncos, 39-20.
  • WON Super Bowl XXV over the Buffalo Bills, 20-19.
  • LOST Super Bowl XXXV to the Baltimore Ravens, 34-7.
  • WON Super Bowl XLII over the New England Patriots, 17-14.
SUPER BOWL XLVI: MY PREDICTION: GIANTS 27 - PATRIOTS 24

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LET'S ROLL!!!!

2012 Australian Open: The Final: Djokovic Is No Joke!

CONGRATULATIONS TO NOVAK DJOKOVIC
2012 AUSTRALIAN OPEN CHAMPION

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THE FINAL:

No. 1 Novak Djokovic defeats No. 2 Rafael Nadal (5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5)

And in doing so, Djokovic defends his 2011 Aussie title, wins his third Aussie title overall and his 5th Grand Slam title overall.... And solidifies his undisputed No. 1 ranking.

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The epic battle lasted an astonishing 5 hours and 53 minutes, making it the longest Grand Slam final match ever. The previous record was (4 hours, 54 minutes) held by the Mats Wilander over Ivan Lendl 1988 U.S. Open final, which was also a match for the ages.

Here's how the Top 5 will look come Monday morning--

1. Novak Djokovic - 13,630 ranking points
2. Rafael Nadal - 10,435 ranking points
3. Roger Federer - 8,010 ranking points
4. Andy Murray - 6,900 ranking points
5. David Ferrer - 4,565 ranking points

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THE NEW KING LIVES ON!!!!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

2012 Australian Open: The Final: Queen Victoria!

CONGRATULATIONS TO VICTORIA AZARENKA
2012 AUSTRALIAN OPEN CHAMPION

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THE FINAL:

No. 3 Victoria Azarenka defeats No. 4 Maria Sharapova (6-3, 6-0)

And in doing so, Azarenka wins her first-ever Grand Slam title in her first-ever Grand Slam final appearance. She is now officially the new undisputed World No. 1 female player.

Here's how the Top 5 should look like come Monday morning--

1. Victoria Azarenka - 8585 ranking points
2. Petra Kvitova - 7690 ranking point
3. Maria Sharapova - 7560 ranking points
4. Caroline Wozniacki - 7085 ranking points [former No. 1]
5. Samantha Stosur - 5430 ranking points

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For the 22-year old NEW QUEEN of tennis, this is only the beginning--

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A STAR IS OFFICIALLY BORN!

Friday, January 27, 2012

2012 Australian Open: The Final: No. 1 vs. No. 2

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Australian Open:

The Semifinals:

No. 1 Novak Djokovic defeats No. 4 Andy Murray (6-3, 3-6, 6-7, 6-1, 7-5)
No. 2 Rafael Nadal defeats No. 3 Roger Federer (6-7, 6-2, 7-6, 6-4)

The Final:

No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. No. 2 Rafael Nadal

....As if anyone is surprised!

And for World No. 4 Andy Murray....

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The search continues....

Thursday, January 26, 2012

2012 Australian Open: The Final: No. 2 vs. ????

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Australian Open:

The Semifinals:

No. 2 Rafael Nadal defeats No. 3 Roger Federer (6-7, 6-2, 7-6, 6-4)
No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. No. 4 Andy Murray (to be determined)

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The Final:

No. 2 Rafael Nadal vs. ????

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"I thought Rafa played well from start to finish. It was a tough match physically as well. I’m disappointed, but it’s only the beginning of the season. I’m feeling all right, so it’s OK.” -Roger Federer

2012 Australian Open: The Final: No. 3 vs. No. 4

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Australian Open:

The Semifinals:

No. 4 Maria Sharapova defeats No. 2 Petra Kvitova (6-2, 3-6, 6-4)
No. 3 Victoria Azarenka defeats No. 11 Kim Clijsters (6-4, 1-6, 6-3)

The Final:

No. 3 Victoria Azarenka vs. No. 4 Maria Sharapova

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The winner takes over the No. 1 ranking!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

2012 Australian Open: The Usual Suspects!

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In the world of men's tennis we have the Elite 4 and then there's the rest of the field. Every now and then someone other than these 4 will break through and reach the Final 4 but (more often than not) the above 4 gentlemen are usually the last players remaining in the men's locker room....

And the 2012 Australian Open is no exception.

The Semifinals:

No. 1 Novak Djokovic (defending champion) vs. No. 4 Andy Murray
No. 2 Rafael Nadal vs. No. 3 Roger Federer

  • Will World No. 1 Djokovic continue to tear it up in Grand Slam events and make it 4 of the last 5?
  • Will World No. 2 Nadal capture his 11th overall Grand Slam title and begin his quest to regain the No. 1 ranking?
  • Will World No. 3 Federer capture his mind-boggling 17th Grand Slam title and cement his legacy as the greatest player ever?
  • Will World No. 4 Murray capture his first-ever elusive major title? Make no mistake about it, the only reason why Murray has never won a major is because of the 3 men ahead of him. Aside from those 3, there is no better player in the world than Murray.

These 4 men have combined to win 23 of the last 24 major titles. Incredible!

AT STAKE: TENNIS SUPREMACY

2012 Australian Open: Kvitova, Azarenka, Sharapova and Clijsters

2012 Australian Open

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The Semifinals:

No. 2 Petra Kvitova vs. No. 4 Maria Sharapova
No. 3 Victoria Azarenka vs. No. 11 Kim Clijsters (defending champion)

AT STAKE: The first Grand Slam title of 2012 and the new World No. 1 ranking.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Fresh Prince of Motown!!!!

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THIS JUST IN: According to the AP, slugger Prince Fielder and the Detroit Tigers have agreed (in principle) to a 9-year deal for a whopping $214 million. What a heartbreak for the Milwaukee Brewers and what a game changer in the AL Central! Read more, here....

Yubelkis Peralta: TSC's Favorite 2012 Calendar

With every new year comes an immense collection of new calendars from the world's top models. In the past three weeks I've spent lots of time searching the world wide web and looking at photos from many (and I mean many) of these calendars. I don't know why, call it a hobby.

So without further ado, I present my favorite 2012 calendar cover photo.


BIO: Yubelkis Peralta was born in Santiago Rodriguez, Dominican Republic on January 22, 1989. She began her television career at the tender age of sixteen in her native homeland. She currently works for the network Telemicro International where she is the hostess of the highly rated show Ruta Telemicro. She is also a professional model. Her inspiration for her 2012 calendar (or calendario) were the legends of Hollywood, such as the likes of Marylin Monroe, Greta Garbo, Elizabeth Taylor, Sofia Loren, Cher and Lynda Carter (above). Great resemblance, I must say!

Follow her on Facebook and Twitter(@YubelkisPeralta)

2012 Australian Open: No. 1 No More!

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Well folks, sooner or later it had to happen!

By losing in the quarterfinals at the 2012 Australian Open, current World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki will relinquish the No. 1 ranking when the tournament is over. Wozniacki lost the quarterfinals match to defending champion and former-World No. 1 Kim Clijsters in straight sets 6-3, 7-6.

When the new rankings come out, Wozniacki, for certain, will drop to #3 and quite possibly to #4. She is already (mathematically) behind World No. 2 Petra Kvitova and World No. 3 Victoria Azarenka in ranking points as a result of her loss. She could also fall behind World No. 4 Maria Sharapova if Sharapova reaches the final.

Ironically, this could be the best thing that could have happened to the young Scandinavian from Denmark. Since taking over the #1 ranking, Wozniacki has been dogged with the question, "are you worthy of being #1 with no Grand Slam titles to your credit?" She held on to the top spot for an incredible 49 consecutive weeks and 67 weeks overall. She did this my having good showings in the major events and by winning plenty of non-Grand Slam tournaments. But unfortunately for her, in the world of tennis, you are judged by how many majors you have won.

And with no majors under her belt, Wozniacki was never viewed as an undisputed No. 1 player by many in the media.

Maybe now, without the pressure of the #1 ranking, the 21-year old Dane can work on her game and finally capture an elusive Grand Slam title down the road. At the end of the day, she is a great player with a bright future ahead.

As for the defending champion Kim Clijsters--

World #3 Victoria Azarenka and defending champion Kim Clijsters - Getty Images
Clijsters has a date with #3 Azarenka in the semifinals. Coincidentally, Azarenka is in the same boat as Wozniacki. Well actually, a bit worse. Azarenka is currently the points leader and has never reached a Grand Slam final in her career. At least Wozniacki has reached one final in her career, the 2009 U.S. Open. It his quite conceivable that Azarenka takes over the #1 ranking without the benefit of ever reaching a Grand Slam final. If #2 Kvitova losses her quarterfinal match, she cannot out-point Azarenka. If #4 Sharapova losses before the final, she too, cannot out-point Azarenka. Go figure!

But regardless of the outcomes, either, Azarenka, Kvitova or Sharapova will be the new World No. 1 after the Aussie. And defending champion Clijsters (currently #12 in the world) is probably better than all three of them. Again, go figure!

FOR THE RECORD: Wozniacki's 67 weeks at #1 are the most ever by a player who's never won a Grand Slam title. The most ever, BY FAR!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Tynes After Tynes

IT NEVER GETS OLD!

WHAT A VIEW AND RE-VIEW!!!!

Giants vs. Patriots: Destiny's Children

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And so the rematch of all rematches has come to fruition. Super Bowl XLVI-- New York Giants vs. New England Patriots II-- "THE REMATCH".

SUPER BOWL XLII: GIANTS 17 - PATRIOTS 14
SUPER BOWL XLVI: ????

They say that sometimes facts are stranger than fiction... and, my oh my, the Giants-Patriots rivalry is no exception:
  • In 2008, the Patriots were the No. 1 seed in the AFC and went on to play in the Super Bowl. In 2012, the Patriots are the No. 1 seed in the AFC and are on their way to the Super Bowl.
  • In 2008, the Giants went into the frozen tundra of Green Bay and won a tough game on the road against the No. 1 seeded Packers. In 2012, the Giants went into the frozen tundra of Green Bay and won a tough game on the road against the No. 1 seeded Packers.
  • In 2008, the Giants won the NFC Championship Game ON THE ROAD on a Lawrence Tynes field goal in overtime. In 2012, the Giants won the NFC Championship Game ON THE ROAD on a Lawrence Tynes field goal in overtime.
Talk about, Back to the Future! My goodness!

Folks, we can't make this stuff up! MY GOODNESS!!!!
"IT'S DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN" at it's best!!!!

Why The San Francisco 49ers Lost!

NFC Championship Game
New York Giants 20 - San Francisco 49ers 17

AP Photo
First of all, KUDOS to the San Francisco 49ers on a monster season!

During the Giants-Packers divisional playoff game, 49ers tight end Vernon Davis was asked if he was rooting for the Packers or Giants and he said the Giants because this way the 49ers get to host the NFC Championship Game. In an earlier post my response to that was-- BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR, VERNON! As a DIEHARD Giants fan I was compelled to say that! And one thing about the old "be careful what you wish for" adage-- it will (more often than not) hold true. It will (more often than not) come back to haunt (the wisher) and haunt him BIG TIME! Mr. Davis (by now) should know that all too well!

So why did the 49ers lose? Two simple reasons--

1. The 49ers made ONLY two turnovers on special teams all season long ( regular and post-season). Both came in the NFC Championship Game, which lead to Giants scores. Both blunders, for the record, were by Kyle Williams.


2. Quarterback Alex Smith was 1-13 on third downs. That, my friends, ain't gonna get the job done.

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IT WAS PRETTY MUCH-- THAT SIMPLE!

Friday, January 20, 2012

2012 Australian Open: Ugly!

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Well America, it's over! The American experience on the men's side at the 2012 Australian Open that is.

America's last survivor, No. 16 John Isner, has bit the dust. He lost his third round match to the underrated No. 18 Feliciano Lopez of Spain, 6-3, 6-7, 6-4, 6-7, 6-1. This marks the first time in the Open Era that no American male player has reach (at least) the 4th round at the Australian Open.

There is no question that American men's tennis needs to go back to the drawing board because it is getting UGLY. Having to depend on aging players like Mardy Fish and Andy Roddick is not going to cut it. The younger players like Isner, Sam Querrey, Donald Young and Ryan Sweeting have shown that they are not ready for the big stage and probably never will be. It's time for a drastic makeover at the youth tennis camps, America!

On other fronts--

Australian teenager Bernard Tomic has made a decent run by advancing to the 4th round. This is his best showing at the Aussie. He does however have a brutal date with World No. 3 Roger Federer in his next match. If we may remember, Tomic made headlines last year by reaching the quarterfinals at Wimbledon at the tender age of 18. Is there a star in the making?

The "comeback kid" No. 11 Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina has eased his way into the 4th round. Del Potro is starting to look like the player that shocked the world in 2009 when he stunned then-World No. 1 Roger Federer in the U.S. Open final. If he wins his 4th round match he will play the winner of the Federer-Tomic match in the quarterfinals. This part of the draw could get VERY, VERY interesting.

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NOTE: If he advances to (at least) the quarterfinals the Argentine will in all likelihood crack the Top 10 when it is all said and done. This is an awesome achievement considering that just one year ago he fell to No. 485 after a long absence due to a devastating wrist injury.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

2012 Australian Open: Roddick Done!

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In the battle of former World No. 1s at the 2012 Australian Open, Aussie native Lleyton Hewitt outlasted American Andy Roddick and won their second round match (3-6, 6-3, 6-4, retired) as Roddick called it quits due to a nagging leg injury. The No. 15 Roddick was America's highest remaining seed on the men's side. The key word is-- WAS.

In the early 2000s, Hewitt (80 weeks) and Roddick (13 weeks) held the No. 1 ranking for a combined 93 weeks before the dawning of the Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal-Novak Djokovic era began. But there's no question that the aging Hewitt (31 next month) and the aging Roddick (29) have seen their better days. Next up for Hewitt is the up-and-coming Canadian No. 23 Milos Raonic in the third round.

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Also getting booted on the American front was the unseeded Ryan Sweeting who lost his second round match to World No. 5 David Ferrer of Spain. To Sweeting's credit, he did battle Ferrer to the very end, losing in 5 sets 7-6, 2-6, 6-3, 2-6, 3-6.

And so that leaves No. 16 John Isner as the only remaining American on the men's side. He has a date with No. 18 Feliciano Lopez of Spain in the third round and if he gets by Lopez he is on course to face --UH OH!-- World No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the fourth round. Let's not get our hopes high, America.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

2012 Australian Open: Gone Fishing!

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Well America, our best hope on the men's side of the 2012 Australian Open has bit the dust!

World No. 8 Mardy Fish has gone fishing!

Fish lost his second round match to Alejandro Falla of Columbia 7-6, 6-3, 7-6 and became the first Top 10 player on the men's side to get booted from Melbourne.

The other two Americans booted in the second round were Donald Young and Sam Querrey. Still alive are No. 15 Andy Roddick and unseeded Ryan Sweeting who are yet to play their second round matches. Roddick is favored to defeat the aging former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt and advance to the third round. The 24-year old Sweeting has his hands full with World No. 5 David Ferrer and isn't expected to get passed the second round.

The only American already in the third round is No. 16 John Isner. He's scheduled to play No. 18 Feliciano Lopez of Spain who is no walk in the park. If Isner has a good day and defeats Lopez, he most likely will have the unenviable task of facing World No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the fourth round. So let's not jump on the Isner bandwagon just yet America.

But for Fish, it's safe to say that his 2012 experience down under was very disappointing.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

2012 Australian Open: Good-Bye Sam!

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As the 2012 Australian Open marches into the second round, it would have to move on without it's hometown heroine. Defending U.S. Open champion and Australian native Samantha Stosur became the first major casualty of the first Grand Slam of the year. The World No. 5 Aussie lost her first round match (6-7, 3-6) to unranked Sorana Cirstea of Romania, much to the astonishment of her home crowd at Rod Laver Arena.

It has not been a good homecoming for Stosur as she also lost in the second round of the Brisbane International to No. 46 Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic earlier this year.

There is no question that the immense pressure of playing at home is what derailed Stosur. In the end, the extremely high expectations from her home crowd proved to be her undoing. Stosur was the only Top 10 player (male or female) to falter in the first round.

Happy Birthday Greatest!!!!

SI.com/Vault
The Greatest is 70 years young today!!!!

Giants-Patriots II?

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IT JUST HIT ME!!!!

The New York Football Giants and the New England Patriots are 1 step away from clashing in perhaps what would be the rematch of all rematches.

ONE STEP AWAY!

Can Tom Brady and the Patriots take care of the Baltimore Ravens and punch their ticket to Super Bowl XLVI? They are favored to do so.

Can Eli Manning and the Giants annihilate the San Francisco 49ers the same way they annihilated the mighty Green Bay Packers on the road? The road warrior Giants have done it before and by peaking at the right time they are poised to do it again.

So will Brady get his chance to avenge what is perhaps the biggest and toughest loss in pro football history? Will he get a second chance against the nemesis who denied him of a perfect 19-0 season? 


SUPER BOWL XLII: Giants 17 - Patriots 14

I'm sure Brady thinks about that score every single day.

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ONE STEP AWAY!

Unless, of course, the Ravens and the 49ers have other ideas....

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Mr. Ray Lewis may have something to say about this when it's all said and done! No doubt!

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Ghost of Ian Kennedy

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The New York Yankees have received a lot of praise and criticism for their recent trade which sent potential hitting star and fan favorite Jesus Montero to the Seattle Mariners for their talented young pitcher Michael Pineda.

Some say the trade was good because it gives the Yankees a solid #2 starter behind ace CC Sabathia. Others say giving up the young and promising catcher with the potential superstar swing was just too much. I agree with the latter.

What some in the Yankee universe don't realize is that a prior blunder caused the Yankees to trade the young prodigy. Had the Yankees shown patience with (the now) Arizona Diamondbacks ace and 20-game winner Ian Kennedy, this trade would never have happened. Kennedy, himself, would have been the elusive #2 starter which the Yankees so desperately need. And for those who said Kennedy couldn't handle the pressure of playing in New York-- how can we ever know that?-- he only appeared in 14 games and made 12 starts for the Yankees in 3 seasons. If that's the definition of patience then the Yankees have their own dictionary. And besides, who's to say the young Pineda will handle the pressure of being the #2 starter in a relentless win-now town who was enamored with Montero? If Montero flourishes in Seattle and Pineda struggles, I can see the young Dominican having a rough go of it. It's no secret that Yankee fans have a take-no-prisoners attitude, just ask A.J. Burnett.

Only time will tell which team got the better of the trade or if it benefits both teams. Pineda (9-10, 173 K, 3.74 ERA) is a promising young pitcher but with only one season under his belt, the jury is still out on his consistency. The same goes for Montero but there's no doubt that Yankee fans were excited about the highly-touted kid and many were left bitter when they heard the news that he was no longer in pinstripes.

....And it all gravitates back to the impatience the Yankees had with Kennedy (21-4, 198 K, 55 BB, 2.88 ERA, 1.09 WHIP for the Diamondbacks). There is no doubt in my mind about that!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Hey Frisco...Watchout!!!! The G-Men Cometh!

NFL Divisional Playoffs
New York Giants 37 - Green Bay Packers 20

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During halftime of the Giants-Packers game, San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis said he's rooting for the Giants to beat the Packers so that the 49ers could host the NFC Championship Game. Well Vernon, you got your wish! All I can say is-- Be careful what you wish for!!!! The New York Football Giants and their smothering defense is coming to town!

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MY PREDICTION: Giants 27 - 49ers 17

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Broncos-Patriots: Can Tim Tebow Do It Again?

NFL Divisional Playoffs
Denver Broncos at New England Patriots

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All I'm going to say is-- if Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos waltz into Foxboro and stun the New England Patriots in dramatic fashion-- then there's gotta be something to this "BELIEVE" thing. No doubt.