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And it’s over on Court 18. June 24, 2010

Posted by phoenixaeon in Neil Gaiman, tennis, Wimbledon.
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And that image says it all… Except the actual score: 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7-9), 7-6 (7-3), 70-68. Amazing! But you have to feel for Nicolas Mahut. The man played his heart out as he was continually on the catch up. And the records broken?

  • Longest match in tennis history: 11 hours and five minutes
  • Longest set in tennis history: 8 hours and 11 minutes
  • Most number of games played in a single set: 138 games
  • Most number of games played in the match: 183 games
  • Most number of aces in a match by an individual player: 112 aces
  • Most number of aces in a match: 215 aces

I am so glad I had the opportunity to watch it to it’s conclusion. Some of the points were fabulous and the match as a whole was amazing. I’m not sure there’ll be a game that can compare to it. Ever!


And in other non-tennis news, Neil Gaiman has been awarded the Carnegie Medal for The Graveyard Book. It’s the only book to have been awarded both the Carnegie and the Newbery Medal.

Congratulations, Mr. Gaiman.

And the number of the day is 59. June 24, 2010

Posted by phoenixaeon in tennis, Wimbledon.

(Blogpost written 23-06-10, just late posting it!)

Wow! That is all I have to say. Well, not quite.

Today was a fabulous day for tennis. To tell the truth, I didn’t feel like watching any today, something that is not like me. But I think I had reached some sort of deuce saturation point and the thought of watch Roger Federer – despite his amazing skill on a tennis court – simply bored me to tears. Yikes, you wouldn’t think I loved to watch tennis, would you? But apathy struck an ace and I found myself watching rubbish TV to pass the time instead. Then, around 2.30ish, I thought I’d take a look at what games were being played. Yep, there was Federer, so I absent-mindedly clicked on the link. But as the page loaded up I noticed the Nicolas Mahut/John Isner game. Now, I didn’t realise that this was a continuation of their first round match from yesterday, as I turned the tennis off at 7pm  – when it was time to start talking Princi into going to bed. ‘Ooh,’ I thought, ‘let’s have a look at that then.’

The score at the time I turned on was 2 sets all and 6-6 in the decider. Just in time to see the last two or three games. Yeah, okay!

10-10: Wow! This is interesting. Both guys serving fantastic and no sign of a break point.

14-14: Okay, wasn’t betting on this. Time to put the football on and watch as England play devastatingly bad. Again. (And then, around 15-20 minutes later, England scored! Well done Defoe!)

20-20: Erm, what? You’re kidding, aren’t you? Surely one of them has to break.

30-30: The football had finished, England had won, USA scored a late match goal against Algeria. England set to face Germany (probably) in the next round. Facebook status update:

Ah well. Given up with the Mahut/Isner game. Now at 30 games all. It’s getting a bit boring now!

Then, a little while later:

And they’re still at it… 36 games all!

An hour or so later:

Holy crap! When will one of them break the other? Epic is not the word!


Wow! 50 games all. Unbelievable!

After that, I stopped updating the status, and commented on other statuses instead! Finally, at around 9.10 pm, the match was suspended due to poor light for the second day in a row, the score 59-59. Absolutely astounding! That they could play for over six hours (they played for about three hours yesterday) and maintain their level of tennis throughout – astonishing! That the ace count ended at 98 for Isner and 94 for Mahut – unbelievable! That they both could still hit winners, and some fantastic winners at that, until the match was suspended – truly fantastic! I will never understand how they got through that today, especially as they waited to 50-50 for a bathroom break and they only had a mouthful of banana every now and again between games. Poor Isner was totally wrecked by the end of the day, he could hardly move, but could that boy hit an ace! It’s amazing that his serve didn’t break down. And Mahut? He is a machine! Tennis terminator! It looked as if he’d played maybe two or three games at the end, he didn’t seem out of breath and his movement didn’t appear to be hampered at all! How? He must be made of circuitry and Duracell batteries – he just kept on and on and on, no mean feat as he was having to serve to stay in the set from the beginning of the set. Nerves of steel, I’m telling you!

It is such a pity one of them has to lose. And I’m glad I stuck (intermittently and then obsessively) with the tennis today. I am looking forward to what tomorrow has to offer and I am loving the game all over again!

Red clay. June 5, 2010

Posted by phoenixaeon in French Open, tennis.
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Well. That was a women’s French Open final worth watching! The last few years have been limp affairs, with the winner only narrowly having a better mental strength day than the loser. The quality of tennis was poor and the matches were hardly worth watching. Not so this final.

I had thought that Sam Stosur was sure to win, given the strength of her game throughout the tournament. To be fair, I hadn’t actually caught any of Francesca Schiavone‘s matches , well, only a little of the semi-final game, but to have reached the semi-final she had to have been playing well (her semi-final match was a bit of a washout as Elena Dementieva struggled with a torn calf muscle and withdrew from the match after the first set tie breaker).  Anyway, I didn’t hold any ideas that said it would go Schiavone’s way. How wrong I was!

Schiavone deserved to win. Absolutely, positively. She had the superior game when it mattered, and boy, did it matter! A close game, the score ending at 6-4, 7-6 (7-2), and Stosur had led in the second set 4-1. But Schiavone never let Stosur find her rhythm, pelting the ball back and taking every opportunity handed to her. It was a really exciting game. So well done, Francesca Schiavone, the first Italian woman to win a grand slam.

Francesca Schiavone with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen (image from http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jTFlsOvcMVogkQMCRXNF251L4CuQD9G56MAG0)

Eeks and boo! September 9, 2009

Posted by phoenixaeon in EA300, Oh woe is Murray, OU, tennis, US Open.

Yay, but eeks! I received the course materials today. I love getting that box filled with goodies. So, I opened it up, checked everything was there – it was – and took five minutes to have a look at the TMA questions. Wrong thing to do. I think my brain thought it was a hedgehog as it assumed the defensive curl position. What was I expecting? To have some idiot savante understanding without reading the course guide and the essays? Yes. Yes I was, obviously! I read through the questions and inwardly cried at my ignorance. Silly, but if I’m not panicking about something, then I’m not breathing (supposedly!). That means tomorrow, when Princi is at school, I shall break out a new notebook and start working through the exercises. Hopefully things will become clear then.

As for boo, well, Andy Murray lost his match at the US Open. I finally get to watch one of his games and he bloody loses! He certainly didn’t look all there and Marin Cilic totally railroaded him. I’ve not seen him beaten like that for a while. There’s not much to say about it, it was a complete washout of a match. At least Kim Clijsters‘ comeback and Melanie Oudin‘s success have provided some interest. I’m hoping Clijsters can battle past Serena Williams tomorrow, that’d certainly make the final intriguing. Then Oudin has Caroline Wozniacki to rally agianst in her quarter-final match tonight. That should be a good match.

But enough of the tennis talk. I have a Tazcat to save from a Princi.

Tired eyes. August 17, 2009

Posted by phoenixaeon in Andy Murray wins Masters, EA300, reading, Sports, tennis.

Well, I’m not getting very far with the pre-reading for the kidlit course. I’m still reading Treasure Island. I’ve also started reading Tom’s Midnight Garden before bed. And when I’m not reading either of these I am flicking through one of the five or six critical analysis books I have bought. I wonder how much more my brain can take! But, if I can get some prep done before the course starts it should be better than nothing. I think I should start making notes and whatnot soon, just so I don’t forget things that may be relevant. Ugh! What have I let myself in for?

And now, sport. I had a moment of confusion last night. I didn’t know whether to watch the tennis – Andy Murray vs Juan Martin del Potro, the final of the Montreal Masters – or the athletics – Jessica Ennis going for gold in the heptathlon at the World Champs in Berlin. I opted to switch back and forth between the two. Unfortunately, this meant that when Murray started playing well I missed most of it. But it was worth it to see Ennis win the gold, and to watch the hurricane known as Usain Bolt. That man is made out of wind! Forget the world record he set in Beijing of 9.69 seconds. He shaved another tenth out of that last night. His new world record is now 9.58 seconds. And that still looked easy. Unbelievable.

As for Andy Murray, well, he won. Yay! The first and second sets were both tight and ended in tie breakers, but the third set was Murray all the way. Del Potro looked completely fubar-ed and the game slipped away from him. The scoreline ended up 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-3), 6-1. I can’t really comment any more on the match as I hardly watched any of it. But woohoo! Let’s see how Murray goes in Cincinnati this week. I just hope he doesn’t tire himself out too much before Flushing Meadows.

And that… July 5, 2009

Posted by phoenixaeon in tennis, Wimbledon.

As they say, is that. And what a match.

Andy Roddick took Roger Federer the distance, but had a chance to win it three. Still, it was a brilliant match, the last set running over more than an hour and a half and ending at 16-14 to Federer. Wow! It was exhausting to watch. But most definitely worth it. *Phew* I still wish Andy Roddick could have pulled it out of the bag, though.

The end is nigh! July 4, 2009

Posted by phoenixaeon in Happy learning Principessa, LRRH, Oh woe is Murray, Poetry, Reading with Principessa, tennis, Wimbledon.
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Oh well. I didn’t get either of the Wimbledon finals I was hoping for. Today it’s an all American/Williams/sister affair. Again. I suppose I’ll be supporting Serena, as she’s the underdog – she only (yes, I said only!) has two Wimbledon singles titles to Venus’s five. In which case, it is most likely that Venus will win.

Tomorrow it is Federer versus Roddick. Of course, I wanted a Murray versus Haas match. But as it isn’t I would love to see Andy Roddick win the final, just for something different. However, I have no doubt that Federer will win. Again. OK, I know he is a fantastic player and most of the time he constructs immaculate points and is a genius with a tennis racket, but it gets so boring! The same thing all the time. I just want a change. I know Nadal won last year, but even then it was much of a muchness, what with all the finals they have contested against each other. I also know that Federer is on the charge to beat Pete Sampras‘s record of 14 grand slam titles, the same number Federer currently holds, but please! Different! So, c’mon Roddick!

On other things other than tennis… Princi has been moved up a level or two on her school’s reading scheme. The stage 6 books are now far too easy for her, although every now and again there will be a word she stumbles over (in the last book it was wrestle and its variants and baboon), so they’ve started her on stage 7C. Her teachers even call her to the front to read books to the other kids during ‘mat-time’. I am so proud of her. She is also enjoying her phonics in school, using the Jolly Phonics (JP) method. I’m not sure how she’s doing with writing her letters though, so I might experiment with her today by breaking out the JP book I have and printing out a few pages for her. (Currently, she is watching Playhouse Disney. God, how I hate Playhouse Disney! Give me CBeebies any day.)

As for me, I have worked a lot of kinks out of the Rosie story. There’s still stuff to be done and that definitely includes combing it for obvious grammar mistakes (I am sure there’ll be some in there, there always is!), but I think it is reading better. I am still having the doubts about the flashback scene though, but I really don’t think swapping it around would make it any better.

The poems are starting to resemble finished products. There’s a lot of working out to go through on Gambling on inheritance. Not so much on Defensive crouch or Abyss, gazing. I am hoping to have these submissions ready mid next week. I want to have everything out of the door by next Friday. And then I think my productivity will diminish. After all, I have a lot of reading to get through at the moment, too.

Of books and poems. July 2, 2009

Posted by phoenixaeon in books, EA300, Poetry, tennis, Wimbledon, writing.

Hmm. Swallows and Amazons. Still struggling. I really can’t find my way into the story. It feels acutely inaccessible to me and this is resulting in the story (so far) boring me to tears. I can only read a few pages at a time before my brain starts filtering it out as white noise. Not good. This revelation had me choosing to start another of the set books for EA300 (registration complete. Really need to start making headway with the reading now); Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve. What a difference! I was instantly pulled in to this story. I had read some posts on the course forum about how people had struggled with imagining the ‘moveable cities’, but no real problem here, with the description of mechanical London conjuring the image of a metallic, motorised version of Minas Tirith. So, with a story I can get my teeth into, I am looking forward to reading today.

Poems. I found a niche of productivitiy last night, scribbling down two new first drafts – although one will be for Princi’s book – and an almost decent draft of Gambling on inheritance. I’ve worked on that latter again this morning, and had my bro look it over. He seemed to like it, but are family members ever likely to give a real, unbiased opinion? I’m not sure they do, as they are probably worried about hurting feelings. But as long as it’s constructive criticism, then I’m not going to be phased by it. In fact, I’d welcome it. I’m glad I have folks whom I can send stuff to and receive this support from. I don’t think I’d be confident enough to send poems out without their input, as sometimes they see things that I have overlooked, or they offer suggestions that help in strenthening poem. Even the negative criticism is helpful, it makes me aware that the poem isn’t working on some level. So, be on the lookout, I’ll be sending you this new poem to look over!

On other writing endeavours, I have finally had the kick up the bum that I needed to motivate me to finish the final draft of Rosie. Trying to find ways to keep my attention away from the stifling heat of last night, I started thumbing through Writers’ Forum. Don’t know why I started from the back, but I did. I read through the competition poems. I skimmed some of the articles, only to be disgusted when reading an article by a kid lit publisher when she said a book about kids being chosen to go to an island to be involved it a televised survival game – to the death – was a fantastically original story; not so, it seemed a serious rip-off of the Japanese novel/film Battle Royale to me. And then, at the very front of the magazine, I found a tiny little call for submissions for paranormal stories from Rebel Books. That was when my mind was made up to get Rosie fixed. I think it would work well here. So tonight the laptop will be joining me in bed.

Looking forward to the tennis tomorrow, with Andy Murray facing off against Andy Roddick. Should be a good fight, that. I am hoping that Tommy Haas gives Roger Federer a good match in the other semi-final, though I am (no so) secretively keeping my fingers crossed for Haas to win. I’d love to see that! As for the women’s semi-finals today, I would love to see Dinara Safina and Elena Dementieva win, but I think it’s a given that the Williams sisters will take the wins, making the final a replay of last year’s final. Sorry to say, but yawn! They’re great tennis players, but as with Roger Federer, it’s getting a bit boring now. Still, you never know.

Hyper-extension? June 30, 2009

Posted by phoenixaeon in Occupational Therapist visits., tennis, Wimbledon.
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I had an unexpected visit from the occupational therapist this morning. She popped around to show me the revised plans for the extension. Woohoo! It looks fab, so much better than the proposed plans from a couple of months ago, and strangely resembles what I wanted to suggest to the surveryor the next time she came around. Well, the idea for the bedroom and bathroom, anyway. But they have decided that it would make more sense to alter the kitchen and make the kitchen and living room more open plan. Bonus! Chuffed to little mintballs with these new plans, I can tell you.

It’s going to make life so much easier, but a little more depressing Princi-wise. I will no longer be able to put her to bed. I enjoy sitting and listening to audiobooks with her at bedtime. It will make it more difficult for her to be able to jump into bed behind me though. I’m not yet sure if this is a bonus or a downer. Unbroken sleep is good, but having a Princi hug during the night is good too. But little kicky feet in the back is not good. Maybe I’ll have to buy some walkie-talkies.

As for the tennis – I ended up not watching the final set of Andy Murray‘s match against Stanislas Wawrinka last night, switching off at the end of the fourth set. I was too tired to see it through to the end, so I was happy when I found out that he had won the match. And I managed to see a little of Lleyton Hewitt‘s 4th round match – just as he started making inroads to break back from two sets down to Radek Stepanek. Poor Stepanek, he must have thought that match was his. I thought the match was his! But Hewitt battered him back and hardly allowed him a game from the third set onwards from what I could see from the score: 4-6, 2-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2. So, all’s good in the world of tennis.

Apart from Soderling‘s 11th straight defeat to Roger Federer!

One of those rare days. June 28, 2009

Posted by phoenixaeon in books, Sports, tennis, The Principessa Files, Wimbledon.
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Sunday. Usually a day crammed with various sporting events – well, the ones I enjoy watching anyway. But not so today. It’s the traditional Sunday off at Wimbledon – no tennis. It is that one weekend in MotoGP when the race is scheduled for the Saturday. Assen! And there is no F1 on today neither. Holy heck! What will I do with myeslf in those moments when Princi is distracted by Nanny’s computer or by a trip out to the park with Grandand?

And talking of tennis, Andy Murray is firing aces like it’s going out of fashion! Yesterday’s match agaisnt Viktor Troicki was brutal. I found myself feeling quite sorry for the exasperated Troicki as hammered down ace after ace and picked Troicki’s game to pieces. OK, the game Murray playead against Ernests Gulbis was a demonstration of how to demolish a good player, but yesterday’s game was something else. It reminded me of the 2008 NadalFederer French Open final, where Nadal got into Federer’s head and turned the screws. I hope Murray can keep up this level, he should be able to now, because he’s playing some fantastic tennis and I’m loving it! And I think I might have to try to make some time to see the next Hewitt match. He seems to be on the comeback trail and when his tennis is on, boy, is he good.

Well, I’m going to go sit with Princi and read books with her. I have finally given her the pop-up dinosaur book now that she has shown she can be careful with them – she has taken care of her Wizard of Oz book really well. If only she could be careful when she jumps up on my knees. My tongue is still hurting after she jumped into my chin yesterday!