Adam's Daily TT Commentary - Final Report
Hotzenplotz is the TT Marseille Open champion after coming from behind to defeat Alekutza and claim his first Tennis Tipping singles title. Before the match, famous bands from both the participants nations were invited to sing the national anthems, with the wonderful O-Zone singing the Romanian, and Rammstein performing the German. When play finally did begin it was Alekutza, not for the first time this week who got off to a fantastic start, seizing the early lead. However, as she got closer to victory and nerves began to come into play, she seemed to start playing with her heart rather than her head, trying to clinch victory in the manner of her dreams. Gradually, Hotzenplotz began to come back at her and with superior tactical nous, deservedly won the match, sealing a fine start to the year which has also seen him reach the Sydney final and help his country to a Hopman Cup victory. For Alekutza, questions must be asked about her decision to go out partying last night, but she can take a lot of heart from her performances this week where she has won 6 matches. Having reached such a low in her career where she was performing so poorly she failed to even bother turning up for events, this will hopefully reignite her TT career. Hotzenplotz now stands on the brink of the top 20 when the new rankings are released tomorrow, and has his eyes firmly set on a coveted spot in the top 10.
In the doubles final, there were scenes of jubilation as French brothers Scala and Siders defeated Chris 84/SloKid to win the doubles title in front of their home fans. In a disappointingly low quality encounter, the Slovenian pairing got their tactics horribly wrong, and were made to pay. The Parisian siblings, who narrowly missed out on a place in Shanghai in 2007 did their best to choke away the title in typical French fashion, but managed to scrape home. After the match, doubles experts Deboogle!. and Tytta!. (who had been given free tickets and did some commentary for ESPN) spoke of their admiration for the duo, stating "they are good".
Adam's Daily TT Commentary - Semi Final Report
Qualifier Alekutza's dream run in Marseille continued as she crushed 6th seed propaganda to reach the final, where she will face German Hotzenplotz. Starting the week a lowly 159 in the world, it has been an incredible story as a win tomorrow will almost double her points tally. The former professional pool player fully deserves a place in the final after sweeping past a 3rd straight seed, showing no signs of the nerves which had affected her in the Quarter Final against Labamba. After getting off to another good start, the Romanian remained strong to seal a spot in the final as well as a SE into the Buenos Aires event next week. Youngster Hotzenplotz booked a meeting with Alekutza after defeating Chris 84 in a high quality encounter. The pair matched each other shot for shot, until for the 18,594th time in history, a German held his nerve to defeat a Brit right at the climax of the match. Hotzenplotz has been on a tear up the rankings in the last 6 months, and a victory in the final will see him reach the top 20 for the first time in his career. Whatever happens, he will leave Marseille in a strong financial position, with a minimum of €41,900 in prize money and an additional $34,550 in gambling winnings. Alekutza has looked slightly more impressive in the build up, but in her first singles final it remains to be seen how she will cope, and Hotzenplotz goes into the match as the slight favourite due to his experience on the big stage.
In the doubles event, Chris 84/SloKid emerged victorious from a bad tempered clash with top seeds savestheday91/Sheva to reach the final. With very little between the pairs, the match resorted into something of a slugfest, with more insults than shots. However, it was the Slovenian duo who claimed victory, as the pressure took its toll on savestheday91, who struggled without adeegee by her side to helo her deal with the annoyingness of Chris 84/SloKid as has happened in the past. Scala/Siders then delighted the home crowd with an emphatic win over Renaud/Wolves68, who despite being cheered on by biggest fan Gulzhan, were seemingly unsettled after finding out they'd be playing against each other next week. Although Scala/Siders on paper look the stronger side, and have the higher ranking, betting exchanges are unable to seperate the teams, clearly taking into account the history of French players and their ability under pressure.
Just a short offering today, the excitement of such wonderful finals is messing with my mind.
Adam's Daily TT Commentary - Quarter Final Report
There were shocks aplenty 3 of the top 5 seeds crashed out at the Quarter Final stage, leaving 6th seed propaganda as the only remaining seed. Top seed and tournament favourite greatkingrat fell to the on-fire Chris 84, who now holds a tour best W/L record of 11-2. Clearly benefiting from the fantastic Tennis Tipping facilities in Slovenia, the British born star has had a cracking year, a noticeable improvement on 2007, vindicating his decision to switch nationalities. For greatkingrat, he seemed happy enough to finally get some wins on the board, and said he was hoping to carry the form into Rotterdam next week.
2nd seed Labamba followed his doubles partner out of the tournament, crashing to a shock loss to qualifier Alekutza. Cheered on by
lover coach guille&tati4life, the Romanian got off to a great start, but tightened up as she aimed for what is believed to be her first TT singles Semi Final (since televisions were invented anyway). Labamba took full advantage, hauling himself back on level terms and began to look the more likely winner. However, he seemed to run out of gas, clearly feeling the effects of his unusually early start to the day and the qualifier held her nerve to seal victory, extending her surprising run. Alekutza was understandably delighted with the result, celebrating wildly and screaming “florius” for some peculiar reason.
In the battle of the Germans, Hotzenplotz staged a remarkable comeback to stun 5th seed ZackBusner and reach the last 4, but the match was overshadowed once again by match-fixing allegations. After a one-sided opening set in which ZackBusner was in total control, the world number 16 looked set for an easy win after breaking early in the second as well, but exchanges on Betfair inexplicably had Hotzenplotz down as favourite. Whether there was something suspicious going on, or whether we were witnessing the first ever choke by a German (a feat so rare there isn’t even a word in the language for it) is unknown, but the increasing number of rumours must be of great concern to the TT board. With German commentator Bilbo criticising Zack for being “all serve”, Hotzenplotz began taking charge of the rallies and wore down his aging opponent to book a spot in the last 4.
Bulgarian propaganda has been sneaking quietly through the draw, though a crushing win over Ria will have made everyone sit up and take notice. The Maltese star had been filled with hope after being told by a fortune teller that it was her destiny to win this event. Sadly, the prediction turned out to be about as impressive as a Guillermo Coria service game, and she was soundly beaten.
Home fans are guaranteed at least one French player in the doubles final after French duo Scala/Siders defeated Hotzenplotz/TMJordan to set up a meeting with French-Kazakh pairing Wolves68/Renaud who ousted qualifiers AceMaker/Gerard. The Spanish duo had complained they hadn’t been receiving the plaudits they deserved for their performances, so there was a lot of focus on them as they entered the court. Having only been asked for their autograph for the first time in their TT careers yesterday, the pairing struggled to cope with the intense scrutiny, and they were swept aside. Despite the easy win, Wolves68/Renaud decided to make life difficult for the umpire, swearing at him in French well aware that the umpire only spoke English, and they are expected to receive a heavy fine for their poor behaviour. Top seeds savestheday91/Sheva scraped through, edging past Deea/Alekutza in an epic encounter. The match was interrupted consistently, as security struggled to cope with the male crowd, many whom were attempting to ask the females on a Valentine’s date. The top seeds now face Chris 84/SloKid, who compounded Labamba/ greatkingrat’s misery by ousting them from the doubles event. Having struggled initially since their switch from the inferior WTA TT tour, the Slovenians are beginning to rediscover the luck which brought them so much success, and now look a force to be reckoned with.
Adam's Daily TT Commentary - Round 2 Report
In a bad tempered clash, Chris 84 triumped in the 'battle of the brothers', outhinking and outplaying his younger sibling guille&tati4life to reach the Quarter Final of the Tennis Tipping Marseille tournament. Having grown up together and played many a Tennis Tipping friendly at the Kelvin Hall, both knew each others game inside out and it was a question of which man could bring something new to the court. Experience showed though, as the elder brother drew up a gameplan and carried it out to perfection, anticipating the exact manner in which his young rival would play. There was an unfortunately acrimonius handshake at the net at the conclusion, as Chris 84 felt the need to taunt the man he'd spent most of his youth with. Although disappointed, guille&tati4life said he planned to remain in Marseille coaching Alekutza, sparking rumours of a romance between the two. Chris 84 can look forward to a Quarter Final encounter with top seed greatkingrat, who looked close to being back to his best in seeing off Peta Pan. It was a brave effort from the Aussie considering the circumstances, and our thoughts are with her at this tough time.
Labamba's scorching start to the year continued as he blasted his way past KalleOnAir with a near flawless performance. With unforced errors almost completely cut out of his game, the flying Finn improved his record to an impressive 13-4 for the season, and looks a serious contender for the 2008 player of the year even at such an early stage. However, showing the sort of humility which earned him the coveted TT sportsmanship award last year, he played down the suggestions, stating there were many other players who had started the year equally well. Alekutza is the player with the unenviable task of trying to derail the Labamba train, after she reached the Quarter Final with victory over 7th seed Aleksz. Out of nowhere, it is a 4th straight win for the young Romanian.....what has brought this turnaround in fortunes is unclear, but meeting 2 of her heroes in the space of the last month, one Scotsman named Adam and a Romanian named Horia has undoubtedly played a major part.
In other Quarter Final matches, Ria will take on 6th seed propaganda and ZackBusner will face Hotzenplotz in an all German encounter. Ria reached the last 8 after scraping past the unfortunate savestheday91, who was hampered by an injury. Having gained a reputation as a faker and someone who uses far too much gamesmanship, there was little sympathy from the French crowd when the Serb took another infamous injury time-out though it did seem to be genuine on this occasion. Bulgarian propaganda was involved in another epic encounter, this time edging past rising star Gutturnio D.O.C. in a final set tie break. It remains to be seen how much he has left in the tank, and he'll need to be in top shape to see off Ria who never goes down easily in big tournaments. ZackBusner upset tournament organisers by knocking out star attraction rob88hock, scoring a win which had looked unlikely for most of the day. The triumph takes Busner to 7 match wins for the season, still some way short of the number of nicknames he has on the tour. Hotzenplotz booked a meeting with his compatriot by ending the run of qualifier Gerard in superb style, hitting a string of winners on his way to a high class victory, with many observers describing it as the 'epitomy of quality TT'.
In the doubles event, it was a grey day for the seeds as only top seeds savestheday91/Sheva managed to survive. When asked how their partnership had remained so strong for a number of years, savestheday91 admitted, "we have a very strong bond, we do everything together. Even the toilet. Often, tactics are discussed over the TwoDaLoo", leaving much to the imagination. The Quarter Final will now see one of the all time great matches for a male Tennis Tipping fan, as the top seeds will square off against Romanian beauties Alekutza/Deea. Tickets sold out within 3 minutes of going on sale, 95% being sold to men. Who'd have known Sheva was such an icon for male fans? Elsewhere, French fans were finally given something to cheer about as Scala/Siders fought past ZackBusner/Gutturnio D.O.C, and Wolves68 also making it to the Quarter Final with his partner Renaud, who continues to be investigated by TT authorities after his singles match yesterday.
Adam's Daily TT Commentary - Round 1 Report
The Tennis Tipping tour has been rocked by a betting scandal, as investigators were called in to investigate suspicious betting patterns during the match between Hotzenplotz and 4th seed Renaud. During the course of the match, rumours began to circulate that Renaud had placed a large sum of money on himself to lose, as well as Hotzenplotz backing himself heavily. This led to a string of bets from punters on the German, who ended up victorious. The encounter had been billed the 'match of the day', but ended up being one of the most dreadful shows ever witnessed on a TT court. Renaud did seem to be doing his best to lose, serving an incredible number of doubles faults which not even famous double faulters Guillermo Coria nor Gulzhan could compete with, but the German still made hard work of it. After the match, Renaud totally denied any wrong doing, stating "I was fatigued from my efforts in Davis Cup, and felt I ought to conserve some energy for Rotterdam where I will be playing with my hero in doubles".
Away from the controversy, it was a good day for the big guns as both greatkingrat and Labamba progressed. Labamba continued his fine start to the season with victory over Bjorki, managing to put behind him the fiasco of Davis Cup last weekend where he brought the wrong racquets to court. On the other hand, greatkingrat still looks woefully out of form, but did just enough to see off home hope Wolves68 to finally claim a first victory of the season. After the match, the Brit blasted the doubters whom had written him off and predicted an early loss, claiming it was merely a temporary blip. It completed a miserable day for the French, as they were left with 0 players in the draw after Ria had beaten Scala and Aleksz had beaten *julie*. Many fans felt let down, especially after seeing pictures in the tabloids of all 3 partying into the early hours of the morning on Sunday in a Romanian nightclub. What they were doing in Romania is unknown as they played in France for the Davis Cup, but the photos of them topless surrounded by Romanian beauties did not go down well.
In other matches, Chris 84 and guille&tati4life both opened their campaigns in style against fallen British stars to set up a mouth-watering clash between the 2 brothers. Chris 84 saw off Marksman, and guille&tati4life crushed alansk as doubts remain about the new dad's ability to reach the pinnacle of the game once more. The siblings have been at loggerheads since Chris 84 switched allegiance to Slovenia and became a Glasgow Rangers fan, and it is sure to be a fiesty affair tomorrow. Alekutza, who had been sporting a similar look to guille&tati4life in qualifying, returned to her normal, lovely look today but still managed to continue her resurgence in form, squeezing past Forever-Delayed who spent his time at changeovers strangely writing a rap song. Self-proclaimed 2006 TT newcomer of the year rob88hock cruised past China's linus to set up a 2nd round clash with ZackBusner, who struggled past virex in a match which was so poor that boos could be heard ringing around the stadium at times.
The biggest disappointment of the day was TMJordan, who seemed to have been caught up in his own hype and was made to pay by the on-fire Gerard. The Canadian has built up a fairly large bandwagon with his performances this year, but slumped to a shock loss against the Spanish qualifier. Serbia's savestheday91, seemingly buoyed by leading her country to a stunning upset over Belarus, looked impressive in easing past marcelwks with ease. Peta Pan overcame some very upsetting personal news to beat GlennMirnyi, and there aren't many in Marseille who would begrudge her the Marseille title at this tough time. The wonderful Gutturnio D.O.C.'s surge up the rankings continues, as the Italian, who is predicted in this column to claim a Shanghai spot this year ousted AceMaker. He now faces propaganda who outlasted Sheva in a tight battle. Smasher entertained the crowd during his match with KalleOnAir, but was unable to set up an all Finnish 2nd round match with Labamba.
Adam's Daily TT Commentary - Qualifying Round Up
A depleted qualifying tournament ended with just 1 seed reaching the main draw, as several of the big names didn't even bother to show up much to the disgust of the fans. Top seed maldini opted to take a skiing holiday in the Alps ahead of making his way to Marseille, leaving tournament organiser adee-gee furious. 2nd seed SloKid slumped to a shock defeat against the woefully out of form Alekutza, who seemed to be inspired by her new haircut which left her looking incredibly like Scottish TT star guille&tati4life. The Romanian then sealed a place in the main draw, gaining revenge on Ukraine's Mishka Logvi after he had taken out her best friend on tour Deea.
5th seed virex received a warm welcome from his many female admirers in Marseille, and he gave them plenty to cheer as he qualified for the main draw. Having received a walkover in the opening round when Mara_M disgracefully snubbed adee-gee for the 2nd time in a month by standing him up, virex then comfortably took care of lowly ranked Botswanan lil_cilic. 3rd seed Siders was another withdrawal, giving Gulzan, the 3rd most famous person in Kazakhstan (behind Borat and Renaud) a chance to give her ranking a big boost by qualifying. However, she failed to make the most of it as she was ousted by lil_cilic in the opening round. Although her recent practice sessions with Renaud have seen her develop an almost identical style of play to her compatriot, the results have not been of the same standard.
It has been a great weekend for Spaniards AceMaker and Gerard, who both qualified in singles, qualified in doubles together, and also had the time to win a DC tie for their country. There was controversy however, as AceMaker was booed by the home fans whom have clearly not forgiven him for leaving the country of his birth and representing Spain. However, even the most patriotic Frenchman had to applaud his displays over the weekend, after he blitzed his way past seeds muniu and GlennMirnyi in impressive fashion.
The main draw begins tomorrow, where the pick of the matches sees the in-form Renaud takes on up and comer Hotzenplotz. The German, never short of confidence has backed himself heavily to win, and will pick up more in gambling winnings than in prize money should he emerge victorious. Top seed and tournament favourite greatkingrat opens his campaign against Wolves68, one of only three French competitors in the draw. 3rd seed Scala is the player most home hopes lie with, but he faces a tricky opening match against Ria, who often raises her level when competing in tournaments run by good managers. We’d also like to extend a warm welcome back to rob88hock, who has been sorely missed on the TT tour and we wish him the best of luck. It would certainly be good for the game should he work his way back to the higher echelons of the rankings.