Friday, June 29, 2012

Nadal loss biggest in tennis history

We are prone to overstatement. Everything is bigger than the biggest, better than the best, faster than the fastest. It sells. But it also blurs reality, and confuses things when the oh-my-God stuff really does happen.

On Thursday, it really did happen. Rafael Nadal lost in the second round of Wimbledon. Who did he lose to? That’s what someone asked me a few minutes after it was over, a few minutes after I had watched every single point of that match for hours.
The answer: Um, uh. Can’t remember. Some guy with the same number of letters in his name as Nadal.
Some guy turned out to be Lukas Rosol, a 26-year-old from the Czech Republic who had never done anything before. He has lost more matches in his career than he has won.
And he beat Nadal 6-7 (11-9), 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.
It was the biggest upset in the history of tennis.
That is not hyperbole.
“(It) is not a tragedy,’’ Nadal said. “Is only a tennis match. At the end, that’s life. There is much more important things.’’
This throws tennis off its axis. What has made tennis fans feel right the past few years is Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic reaching the semifinals at every major. Then, one of them wins.
If you’re wondering, no, Nadal wasn’t hurt. He wasn’t at his best, but he wasn’t bad, either. He wasn’t sick. He wasn’t tired. He was not, as far as anyone knows, dealing with any personal crisis.
He isn’t getting old. He isn’t slumping. He just lost. A crazy, one-time thing. He was weak, mentally weak. And that was shocking, as tennis fans consider him a warrior.
He was agitated throughout, complaining to the chair umpire several times about something that Rosol was doing, possibly swinging his arms while waiting to return serve, or maybe making some sort of noise.
At one point, Nadal was so desperate and frustrated that he intentionally bumped Rosol as they switched sides, trying to bully and intimidate. Nadal needs to be fined for that.
“I was surprised that he can do (that) on Centre Court Wimbledon. . .’’ Rosol said. “He hit me, and then three times he apologize(s). And I say, `OK, OK, OK.’ ’’
Nadal wouldn’t say after the match what was bothering him, saying it would sound like an excuse. Too late for that. During the match, it sounded like this:
Boo hoo.
Tennis fans already are scanning their memories, and record books, to find a bigger upset. Just a few weeks ago, Serena Williams lost in the first round of the French Open to Virginie Razzano. But Williams is starting to get old, and the red clay at Roland Garros is her worst surface.
Some people think of Nadal as a clay-court specialist, but the past five times he has played on the grass at Wimbledon, he reached the finals each time, winning twice.
Rosol, meanwhile, had played the qualifying tournament at Wimbledon the previous five years, failing to get into the tournament each time. In five matches he won a grand total of one set.
Years ago, some guy named George Bastl beat Pete Sampras at Wimbledon. That was a biggie, too. But Sampras already was on the way down. Nadal won the French Open two weeks ago.
Lori McNeil over Steffi Graf? Australian Peter Doohan over two-time defending champ Boris Becker at Wimbledon? Close.
But Nadal is one of the greatest players of all time, and was playing hot. Rosol is ranked No. 100. He snuck into Wimbledon somehow this year, won the first round, and now, wow.
“I didn't feel anything,’’ Rosol said. “I was in a trance a little bit. . . I was somewhere else.’’
Tennis is such a mental game, and Nadal, Federer and Djokovic have the other players psyched out. Usually by the time the opponent walks onto the court, the match already is lost.
This is how Rosol won: He outsmarted Nadal with brilliant touch and tactics and. . .
Just kidding. He had no touch. He had no tactics. Rosol won by swinging as hard as he could on nearly every single shot, and hoping that more went in than went out.
Why not? What other way was he going to beat Nadal? The amazing thing was that he never panicked. And Nadal did.
Nadal finally had the momentum in the fourth set. But after the set, the match was stopped for half an hour while Wimbledon officials closed the roof over Centre Court. It was getting dark, and they didn’t want to risk having to close it in the middle of a set.
It worked perfectly for Rosol, who took a shower during the break.
The day did make you think of one other thing: Federer never loses these matches. He actually can get back to No. 1 if he wins Wimbledon, and the door just opened for him big-time. Nadal is the guy he can’t beat.
Federer gets to the quarterfinals of every major, and it’s a habit that doesn’t seem to mean much, until you see what just happened to Nadal. There is always one guy playing the match of his life, but Federer finds a way to win in the end.
Nadal’s loss also opens up half the draw for a shot at winning Wimbledon. Djokovic and Federer are on the one half. That means someone is going to break into the big three and reach the final.
Andy Roddick, fighting off questions Thursday about how long he will continue to play, now has one more chance. Andy Murray, a punch line in tennis because he’s the fourth-best player in a sport defined by three guys, has his opening. The pressure is on him, as a Brit. (Don’t count on him.) Juan Martin del Potro has a shot. The favorite to get to the final is probably Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, but he’s so inconsistent.
Five years ago Nadal beat Federer, known by most people as the Greatest Player of All Time, in a match generally considered to be the Greatest Match Ever Played. Now, on the same court, he lost to some tall guy named Rosol, who said his goal was to not lose 6-0, 6-1, 6-1.
Another “-est’’ moment.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tennis: Federer puts on performance fit for a prince

LONDON - Royalty reigned supreme on Wimbledon's Centre Court on Wednesday as Roger Federer produced a majestic performance for the watching Prince Charles.

Federer bowed to the heir to the throne before his match and Charles and his wife Camilla gave the Swiss maestro a standing ovation after he thrashed Italian Fabio Fognini 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 to reach the third round.

"We are thrilled for the tennis family that they came to watch today," Federer said after his imperious display.

Two years ago, Queen Elizabeth paid her first visit to Wimbledon since 1977, prompting women's champion Serena Williams to put in some serious practice on her curtseying technique.

As six-time champion, Federer was well aware of what the royal etiquette is on the world's most famous tennis court.

"They do brief you beforehand so that you don't do anything stupid," Federer said. "We were asked to bow which obviously is no problem."

But Federer did take time in the tunnel leading to Centre Court to explain the procedure to Fognini. They both bowed in perfect union to Prince Charles, who had in turn received his own standing ovation from fans when he appeared in the royal box above the court.

The match itself was a royal procession for Federer who never once looked in any danger.

His glorious groundstrokes and lightning fast movement across the court were greeted with unbridled admiration from the crowd. The graceful genius was at the peak of his form - except at the very start.

He drew gasps of incredulity when he lost the first two points of the match on his serve but normal service was promptly restored when he fired down two aces.

The Italian became so disheartened at the end of the first set that he did not even bother to try and chase down yet another stinging forehand from Federer. He just walked back to his chair, shoulders slumped.

Federer lost just four points on his serve in the second set and was swift to complete his clinical execution of Fognini in the third.

It was a routine day at the office but the third seed has shown he is still very much a contender after dropping just nine games in his first two matches at the tournament he so dearly loves.

"I really tried to focus hard and make sure I played a clean match," Federer said. "I served 13 aces out there today. I felt it was pretty fast." - Reuters

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Baseball: Youkilis shines in Boston finale

BOSTON -- Kevin Youkilis said farewell at Fenway Park on Sunday, a 9-4 win over the Atlanta Braves helped by Cody Ross, who hit two homers and drove in five runs.
Youkilis was traded to the Chicago White Sox for utilityman Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart after the game.
Youkilis was lifted for a pinch-runner after hitting a triple in the seventh inning. He was greeted with a hug from Nick Punto, who pinch-ran for him, and many of his teammates on the top step of the dugout.
The burly infielder, in his ninth season with the Red Sox, took his helmet off and waved to the crowd, blew a kiss and was urged to come out for a curtain call by his teammates before heading down the steps. He was given a lengthy standing ovation and the fans chanted 'Yook."
Aaron Cook (1-1), gave up three runs -- two earned -- six hits and didn't walk or strike out anyone in five innings.
Yankees 6, Mets 5: Robinson Cano hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning and the New York Yankees touched up R.A. Dickey for five runs in a victory over the New York Mets.
Nick Swisher had an early three-run shot against Dickey, who was coming off consecutive one-hitters -- making him the first major league pitcher in 24 years to accomplish that feat. But in a much-anticipated matchup at sold-out Citi Field, both he and Yankees ace CC Sabathia were missing their best stuff.
Cano drove a 2-0 delivery from Miguel Batista (1-2) over the home run apple in straightaway center for his 16th homer and fifth in seven games. The Yankees won the final two games of the weekend series by one run to finish 5-1 against their crosstown rivals this season.
Including a sweep in the Bronx earlier this month, the Yankees have won five consecutive series against the Mets since May 2010.
Sabathia gave up nine hits in 5 2-3 innings. He was betrayed by his defense while yielding five runs -- one earned.
Twins 4, Reds 3: Josh Willingham hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning off shaky Cincinnati closer Aroldis Chapman, rallying Minnesota over the Reds.
Joe Mauer opened the ninth with a double off the left field wall against Chapman (4-4). Willingham followed with his 15th homer of the season.
Willingham's homer overcame Joey Votto's eighth-inning, two-run homer that had given the Reds a 3-2 lead.
Rangers 4, Rockies 2: Matt Harrison (10-3) worked five scoreless innings for his 10th victory, Leonys Martin had a pair of extra-base hits for his first three RBIs in the majors and the Texas Rangers beat Colorado.
Martin, the Cuban defector who signed with the Rangers last year, had an RBI double in the second and a two-run triple an inning later.
Marlins 9, Blue Jays 0: Mark Buehrle pitched effectively for seven innings to become the winningest pitcher in interleague play, John Buck hit a three-run homer and the Marlins snapped a six-game losing streak with a win over Toronto.
Buehrle (6-8) gave up seven hits in winning his 25th interleague matchup, breaking a tie with Freddy Garcia. Buehrle struck out seven.
Orioles 2, Nationals 1: Matt Wieters hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning to interrupt Baltimore's agonizing offensive struggle, and the Orioles rallied to beat the Nationals.
Baltimore appeared headed for its third shutout loss in six games before Adam Jones led off the eighth with a single off Sean Burnett (0-1) and Wieters drove an 0-1 pitch over the center-field wall.
Tigers 3, Pirates 2: Justin Verlander (8-4) pitched a five-hitter, Quintin Berry hit a two-run shot for his first major league home run and Detroit avoided a sweep with a win over the Pirates.
Rays 3, Phillies 2; Rays 7, Phillies 3: Brooks Conrad hit a pair of two-run doubles off winless Philadelphia ace Cliff Lee and Tampa Bay swept a day-night doubleheader.
Lee (0-4) allowed five runs and six hits in seven innings. The 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner hasn't won a game since last Sept. 26.
In the opener, Carlos Pena hit a three-run homer in the eighth off Antonio Bastardo (2-2). Phillies starter Cole Hamels pitched three-hit ball for seven shutout innings.
David Price (10-4) went seven innings in Game 1 and gave up four hits, including Jimmy Rollins' homer in the sixth. Fernando Rodney pitched a scoreless ninth for his 21st save in 22 chances.
Astros 7, Indians 1: Chris Johnson homered and drove in three runs and J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer to lead the Astros over Cleveland for their first series since taking two of three from the White Sox from June 8-10.
Cardinals 11, Royals 8: Carlos Beltran had three RBIs, and Matt Holliday and Allen Craig each drove in two runs, powering St. Louis to a victory and its first three-game sweep in Kansas City since 2009.
White Sox 1, Brewers 0, 10 innings: Pinch-hitter Eduardo Escobar lined an RBI single in the 10th inning.
Alejandro De Aza opened the White Sox 10th with a double off Manny Parra (0-2). Adam Dunn walked with one out and Escobar, batting for Lillibridge, singled.
Padres 2, Mariners 0: Edinson Volquez (4-7) pitched four-hit ball into the seventh inning and Alexi Amarista hit a two-run double as the Padres beat Seattle.
Volquez, who leads the majors in walks with 55, walked three but was rarely stressed by the Mariners. The right-hander combined with three relievers for the five-hitter.
Angels 5, Dodgers 3: Mark Trumbo drove in Albert Pujols with the tiebreaking run in the seventh inning, and the Angels won their season series with the Dodgers for the third straight year. Peter Bourjos hit an early two-run homer and Howie Kendrick added another RBI single in the seventh for the Angels, who won four of six in the Freeway Series.
Athletics 4, Giants 2: Derek Norris hit a three-run shot with two outs in the ninth inning for his first major league home run, and the Athletics walked off with a stunning victory over the San Francisco Giants.
Norris hammered a full-count pitch from Santiago Casilla (1-3) over the left-field wall to help the A's avoid the first three-game sweep by San Francisco in Oakland.
It was Casilla's second blown save in 22 chances this season in place of bearded closer Brian Wilson.
Diamondbacks 5, Cubs 1: Wade Miley outpitched Matt Garza in eight strong innings, Justin Upton had three RBIs and Arizona completed a three-game sweep with a victory over the Cubs.
Miley (9-3) retired 20 of the first 21 batters he faced before giving up a homer to Alfonso Soriano in the seventh inning, then worked out of a jam in the eighth with runners on second and third.

Tennis: Easy start against debutant for Federer

LONDON - Roger Federer left Wimbledon debutant Albert Ramos shell-shocked after thrashing him 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 as the Swiss six-time champion enjoyed an easy start to the 2012 tournament on Monday (early Tuesday, PHL time).

Federer, bidding to win a record-equaling seventh Wimbledon crown and a 17th overall grand slam, needed just 79 minutes on Court One to sail through the first round.

Spaniard Ramos, who had played only one previous grasscourt match, was unable to respond to Federer's skill, though he had one brief spell of fighting back.

He took the fourth game of the second set to deuce nine times and after saving four breakpoints, he put a forehand long on the fifth.

When the 24-year-old left-hander won his only game of the third set, for 5-1, the crowd gave him a big cheer but Federer, who will now face Italian Fabio Fognini, finished him off to love in the following game, concluding with his ninth ace.

Federer, who became the most successful active player on grass with his 106th win on the surface, said the ease of his win had given him a chance to practice his serve-and-volley game.

"Obviously being up a double break, or at least a break, up 30-love on your serve, you don't feel any pressure doing it," he told a news conference.

"It's rare to be up in the scoreline like today on a regular basis. It is maybe why it is a good time to try it out, then you can use it in tougher moments, difficult moments, to throw your opponents off. Who knows if I'll need it down the stretch?"

The third seed was relaxed about being put on Court One, instead of Centre Court, for his opening match.

"I don't mind it," he said. "I actually expected it, to be quite honest. If you make it down the stretch, you will get your Centre Court matches. It was as nice on Court One today." - Reuters

Friday, June 22, 2012

Germany vs. Greece

GDANSK, Poland -- Germany's most prominent fan will be in the stands for the quarterfinal against Greece at the European Championship.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, however, wins no popularity contests among the Greek contingent. So the political dimension of Friday's game only heightens what is already an intriguing match in strictly soccer terms.Germany is a three-time champion. Greece is the surprise winner of the 2004, and the Greeks are still standing again, with an unexpected place in the knockout stages.

It was always our main aim to reach the quarterfinals. So now we have nothing to lose," said defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos, one of the many Greece players with Bundesliga experience. "We are playing against one of the best teams here. All I can say is that we'll fight. If we get the win, that would be a huge result."

Greece has plenty of reason to be thankful to Germany - the 2004 championship team was coached by a German, Otto Rehhagel.

German and Greek officials are trying to play down the politics. Germany, Europe's biggest economy, has been a major contributor to international bailouts for Greece and was instrumental in demanding structural reforms and hugely unpopular spending cuts in return. Greek fans are unlikely to take kindly to Merkel's presence at Gdansk Arena.

"We are playing for our shirt, our flag and for the people back home," midfielder Costas Katsouranis said.

Added Greek forward Dimitris Salpigidis: "I don't think anyone on the team believes this will be our last game at this tournament. People have so many problems in their everyday lives. We're really hoping that we can put a smile on their face."

Gdansk also was also the scene of the first battle of World War II, when Nazi Germany invaded Poland. A German soccer federation delegation laid a wreath Wednesday at a memorial for Poles at the Westerplatte peninsula on the outskirts of the Baltic city.

Germany has two Poland-born players in its squad, Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski, and Polish fans could throw their support behind the Germans. By winning its group, Germany got to stay in Gdansk and was spared having to travel.

Merkel attended Germany's 4-0 rout of Argentina at the 2010 World Cup and saw Germany beat Turkey in Berlin in the most important Euro 2012 qualifier for her team. She has visited the German locker room and briefly spent time with the team in Gdansk before the tournament.

"She seems to bring us luck," midfielder Sami Khedira said.

Germany is the only team to have won all three group games and goes into the quarterfinal as the overwhelming favorite. But the Germans understand the ability of the Greeks."They are a very good team, underestimated by many.

They create few chances but score from them. Technically, they are strong and play well one-on-one," Khedira said.

"It will be tough to crack their defense, but we have the means. We have to be patient, but we also have to be constantly on the move. They will try to disrupt our game and beat us, but they will not succeed."

Added midfielder Thomas Mueller: "We know what we have to do, but it's not going to be a piece of cake."

Greece will be missing playmaker and captain Giorgos Karagounis because of suspension.

There is speculation Germany coach Joachim Loew will return Klose to the starting lineup, although Mario Gomez scored three goals that won matches against Portugal and the Netherlands. Klose, a 34-year-old striker, scored the last time these teams played each other, a World Cup qualifier in 2001.

Six Greece players have either played or still play in the Bundesliga.

Greece has five defeats and three draws in the eight games it has played Germany or the former West Germany."We are not too bothered about statistics. ...

That doesn't really matter," Salpigidis said.



Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Euro 2012 EUFA the sports book 12bet

Euro 2012 EUFA the sports book 12bet 

Group Stage Russia Vs Czech Match Preview

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Russia will come into the go with as powerful favorites in many experts sight after their amazing displaying during determining. Dick Advocatt's men lead Team B with seven benefits from their ten trips.

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Euro 2012 Group Stage – Poland Vs Greece Match Preview

Euro 2012 EUFA bet on sport 12bet

Poland Vs Greece Match Preview

In the build-up to the first activity of this season's European Championships, the betting for the Greece vs. Poland has thrown on a variety of events. When the draw was declared and the accessories were set for each team, Greece were the possibilities on favorites to choose up a win in this fascinating first experience of the tournament.

Check back for the you win match preview guide for the Euro group A stage game of Poland Vs Greece.

A couple of days before the game kicks off, we’ll be giving you our exclusive betting guide to Poland Vs Greece, with an in depth look at all the components that are likely to affect the outcome of the match – including the team line up, latest happenings off the pitch, potential goal scorers and the likely Poland Vs Greece final score and how this could affect group A.

This will allow you to make an informed decision and take advantage of some of the very best odds on Poland Vs Greece with

In the mean time you can check out more about each of the individual Poland football team and Greece football team by looking at our teams guide.

Euro 2012 EUFA bet on sport 12bet

Poland Vs Greece Match Preview



In the build-up to the first activity of this season's European Championships, the betting for the Greece vs. Poland has thrown on a variety of events. When the draw was declared and the accessories were set for each team, Greece were the possibilities on favorites to choose up a win in this fascinating first experience of the tournament.

Check back for the you win match preview guide for the Euro group A stage game of Poland Vs Greece.

Description: Poland vs Greece

A couple of days before the game kicks off, we’ll be giving you our exclusive betting guide to Poland Vs Greece, with an in depth look at all the components that are likely to affect the outcome of the match – including the team line up, latest happenings off the pitch, potential goal scorers and the likely Poland Vs Greece final score and how this could affect group A.

This will allow you to make an informed decision and take advantage of some of the very best odds on Poland Vs Greece with

In the mean time you can check out more about each of the individual Poland football team and Greece football team by looking at our teams guide.