25.1s055.robbins--300x300Power Forward Orlando Sanchez (above) of St. John’s.

The NCAA tonight ruled in favor of the appeal brought by St. John’s on behalf of Orlando Sanchez, successfully facilitated by high powered eligibility attorney Robert Orr, whom St. John’s had retained to make Sanchez’s latest appeal.  Orr had successfully made the case for UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad, the enormously talented freshman wing player, who had been initially ruled ineligible for the 2012-2013 season, which granted Muhammad his freshman eligibility in November of 2012.

Muhammad has gone on to average 18 PPG and 5 RPG, while leading the Bruins to a 21-7 record this season.  UCLA is 11-4 in the PAC-12, tied right now for the conference lead with Oregon, and while they are outside the top 25, they are headed to the dance.   What made the Shabazz appeal so crucial for UCLA was the probability that, had Shabazz lost his appeal, the player would have most likely sat out this season and then went directly to the NBA.

Perhaps Orr’s help in the Sanchez case can have a similar effect on St. John’s next year.  The Johnnies have been woefully deficient in the paint this year, and Sanchez, who will be 25 in May, averaged more than 11 RPG and 4 BPG in his last season of JUCO ball.  While Lavin has called Sanchez a “shot maker”, we think that was more a function of him being political than being truthful.  We see Sanchez as an excellent shot blocker, rebounder, and defender with great length (6’9, 215 lbs.) and maturity, and we expect him to be the starting power forward next season.  Sanchez may not be known for his offense, but he is already a man  who can fill the lane and open things up for St. John’s in conference play by playing solid defense.

This season effectively becomes a red shirt season for Sanchez, who will debut for St. John’s in November of 2013.  St. John’s will also have God’s Gift Achiuwa returning to next year’s squad, giving them considerable veteran beef inside for a deep tournament run.  While Gift obviously has his flaws, he was a significant contributor for a lot of last season, and makes a very good looking backup four.

While the decision to grant Sanchez the year of eligibility does mean that right now, St. John’s has one scholarship too many allotted for next season.  Obviously one guy’s got to go, which, with all of the flux surrounding the program in the last 2 years, does not seem far fetched.  In our dream scenario, that guy would not be Jakarr Sampson, who we believe would combine with Sanchez and Obepka to form one of the longest and most athletic front lines in the nation.  Our dream starting 5 would be rounded out by point guard Jamal Branch and shooting guard and leading scorer D’Angelo Harrison.

We would hope that rather than Sampson declaring for the draft, a little to never used player will transfer, in order to accommodate the recruitment of a potential scorer, such as the speculation surrounding Rysheed Jordan.  Though Bourgault has made a contribution on the court, we could most easily live with his departure as opposed to guys like Jones and Balamou, who have more eligibility and greater upsides.

Even if Samspon declares for the draft, we would think that St. John’s looks extremely good for next year, especially considering they play their best with Obepka on the floor.  With Sanchez next to Obepka, St. John’s should control the paint, and Sanchez will probably slide to the 5 when Obepka sits, allowing St. John’s to continue to control the low box with Sanchez and Gift.

We’d have suggested Max Hooper as a transfer candidate, and that still may be, although we don’t think it’s likely that Hooper, who transferred from Harvard, would change schools again.  We’d also suppose there is a possibility that Amir Garrett, a strong pitching prospect for the Cincinnati Reds, would give up his basketball scholarship to concentrate on baseball.  Such a move would also alleviate the scholarship logjam, although we are keen on having Garrett back on the court next season.

Let’s Go Redmen!

Crack (

We love Sarah Silverman (above between McCarver and Buck).  And we aren’t that big on baseball, or in game ads, or shameless network promotions, or when at baseball or football games, the star of some new FOX or CBS show will happen to be in the crowd and then happens to pop into the booth to tell us how great their new show is, though that show is bound to fail and be awful, just like every other “new” show in history.  So when Sarah Silverman got her chance as the celebrity Red Sox fan on Saturday–some new genius twist by FOX–to do commentary for an inning, because obviously, baseball, on its own merits in May, is short merits, she made them pay.  And we applaud her.

Conceived of the same logic that got us a neon enhanced puck or Dennis Miller on Monday Night Football, was FOX’s celebrity fan feature.  Silverman, a New Hampshire native, honored the segment by declaring that she didn’t care about the Red Sox, that she had some baseball facts that she could run with–but when asked to name one stayed silent (hilarious!), and then talked about Doc Ellis, who pitched a no hitter on LSD while both Tim McCarver and Joe Buck were yelling “NO NO NO!”

Here’s the epic Silverman inning:

Now really, how dumb is FOX?  If they know anything about Sarah Silverman at all, they have to know she has won a major coup by getting on national TV to talk baseball, or in other words, to perpetrate a massively major goof on the establishment.  Kudos.

And we miss her cookie parties!

Crack (,

Yanks GM Brian Cashman (above) as he hangs off the side of a Connecticut building.

A few weeks back, much was made of a charity event or a Christmas event in Stamford, Conn. at which a Spiderman like Brian Cashma–yes, that Brian Cashman–rappeled down the side of a skyskraper, albeit a Connecticut one.  On the matter Cashman would say he saw it done last year, and thought, “Why I can’t I do that?”

We thought, well, you can’t do that because you are the GM of the New York Yankees, one of the most important jobs in sport.  Frankly, we also thought, “What the fuck is this guy thinking?”  As evidenced by the folly he made of the free agent pursuit of Cliff Lee, and the no plan B plan, we conclude if he does any thinking at all, it’s not much.  In analyzing Cliff Lee’s FA priorities, did no one in the Yankee front office unearth that Lee owned a home in South Jersey near Philadelphia and that Philadelphia had the nation’s best medical facility for his son with special needs?  Or more simply, that Lee also played for the Philies, enjoyed playing there, and went to the World Series for them as well?

Or what about the most basic principle when it comes to New York teams making free agent offers, any sport?  That agents use the NY offer to drive up the price on the team they really want to go to.  Could Cashman, at this for a while now, have perhaps realized that Lee was shopping the Yanks’ offer? 

He should have.  He should have also understood that negotiations are complex and their nature is always subject to change, at any moment.  Carl Crawford was an Angel after all, and then all of a sudden, a Red Sock.  But Cashman wasn’t surprised that Crawford went to Boston.  He is expecting us to believe a lot of tales this winter, and the dull NY media keeps allowing him to spin them without calling him on them.  Cashman was wining and dining Crawford the very evening he signed with Boston, but we are supposed to think that was just a nice, healthy meal between consenting adults–a dinner date between Spiderman and a player the Yankees had no interest in.

When Cashman presented his 7 year offer to Lee, the press here exalted the Yankees and declared the matter settled.  Lee was on his way.  Mike Francesa, Yankees “expert”, declared that no one passes on this type of deal.  It was the second time, by the way, that Francesa has been dead wrong–dreadfully wrong–on a major Yankees’ issue this winter.  Mike had declared since before the 2009 World Series that the Jeter negotiations would never become contentious, that the Yankees would never embarrass Jeter would definitely show the captain love.  Mike also said that ‘no plan B indicates that plan A will work’ with regard to the Lee situation.

The 7 year offer, the Yankee braintrust presented to Lee, the Yankees declared was final.  No way on Earth were the Yankees budging off of an already ‘outrageous’ 7 year guarantee.  Well, they didn’t budge the offer, literally, leaving it on the table for Lee’s very smart team to have their way with, and to use as the framework to extract a better deal from both Texas and Philadelphia, for over two weeks.  Like Jeter had an unofficial deadline by which to come to terms so the Yankees could conduct other business, Lee should have had a deadline.  At the time the offer was made, it was the most substantial offer.  By the time Lee had a fortknight with it, Texas and Phily had made substantially better offers.  So Jeter, the Yankees’ own, gets treated badly, and Lee, who the Yankees wanted very badly, obviously, they didn’t know how to treat.  And don’t kid yourselves like they didn’t want him badly.  When you decide to give a guy $ 153 M, you want him badly.  That is elementary.

Then the New York media begins to spin this yarn that Lee is the 1 guy to spurn the Yanks dollars.  Larger than life Cliff Lee, the big time pitcher who just follwed his heart.  Then ESPN super scoops the New York media with news that Philadelphia’s offer trounced the Yankees’ in terms of average salary and included an easily vesting 6th year option if the player pitches 200 innings in year 5 or 400 combined innings in years 4 and 5 at $ 27.5 M.  So Lee is basically grabbing $ 147.5 M for 6 in Philadelphia–a better deal.  Then Cashman goes into hiding for a few days, slinks out of his hole, spins us one about the Yanks not needing Lee, and how plan B is patience, i.e. inaction.  A team imposed deadline on a Lee deal may not have gotten the ace in pinstripes, but it gives his people less time to get a dream contract from Philadelphia and allows the Yankees to move on the few other ooportunities thay were out there.

Russell Martin, knee jerk signing anyone?  Cashman would have us believe that Martin was part of a master plan.  A month ago, Cash was telling us young stud Jesus Montero was going to be the catcher.  Now we’re looking at pedestrian Russell Martin, who has no upside whatsoever.  Why?  Because Montero will be trade in whatever the next knee jerk move the Yankees make–the finest hitting prospect at catcher in baseball–in a trade no doubt to qualify as rape and pillage.  People are actually looking forward to seeing Montero come along, the way they were with say, Robinson Cano. 

Now Cashman got around last week to telling us that losing the Lee sweepstakes really does hurt.  Oh great wise one, speaker of truths!  In our opinion, the GM of the Yankees needs to be on the ball, not sliding down the side of a wall.  Cashman is telling us how fine we are with AJ Burnett, who we spent $ 82.5 M on, and who we absolutely not could give away.  Cashman, with the luxury of the Yankees deep pockets at his disposal, is the only GM in sport who can make 82.5 $ M mistakes.  Who can trade Jose Contreras for Esteban Loiza, watch Contreras go forth and conquer, and wipe it all away with a stroke of the Yankees’ money pen. 

There is a legion of examples as to Cashman’s bungled trades and signings, as evidenced by their inability to pursue the only other available FA pitcher of note, Carl Pavano, who stole $ 57 M from Cashman previously.  Instead of scaling buildings and writing wild checks, how could he ever manage an $80-$100 M payroll?  Frankly, we wouldn’t care if this guy, as well as all the Yankees beat writers and media mouthpieces, strapped themselves to a building in Connecticut and then took an unexpected plunge.

Like Tom Coughlin, they should all sit in a dark room and stare into space in solemn contemplation.  And they can take their time about coming out.  Because if the best idea I could come up with was to dress up like an elf and shimmy down the side of a 22 story building, and I ran the New York Yankees, I would hope that someone would have the decency for me or the Yankees to get me the fuck out of here on a rail.  Did you see this fucking video?  Why have only 246 people watched it?

Happy New Year.

Crackbillionair (,

The undisputed heavyweight champion of collective bargaining, former MLBPA Director Donald Fehr (above).

Donald Fehr, who for months has worked for the NHLPA as an unpaid consultant, was unanimously voted the Director of the NHLPA yesterday, in what must be viewed as an ominous sign for NHL owners who bumble along with commissioner Gary Bettman, and stick their hands in the player’s pockets at every turn, or so they think.

Many believe the first shot in the battle for the NHL’s new collective bargaining agreement was fired this summer when the league defeated the union’s grievance over Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract with the Devils. Saturday, the players fired back – and with a big hired gun.

As expected, members voted overwhelmingly to appoint former baseball union head Donald Fehr as NHLPA Executive Director.

With the current collective bargaining agreement expiring in September of 2012, it is a sign that the union is preparing to play hardball. In a sport still recovering from the loss of the 2004-05 season because of a lockout, Fehr’s leadership of the baseball union during its 1994-95 strike raises concerns about yet another NHL season ruined by labor unrest.

Fehr tried to calm those concerns for the time being. “We treat a work stoppage, a strike, as a last resort. You consider it only when all alternatives failed,” Fehr said. “We certainly hope, and I certainly believe that the owners will treat it as a last resort, too. And so, if you would ask me if I anticipate a stoppage, the answer is no. And certainly hope we won’t have one. I am not going predict what is going to happen in negotiations.”

Foolishly, the NHLPA parted ways with their best ever Executive Director, labor shark Bob Goodenow, who navigated the league through a 10 day strike in 1992, a protracted lockout in 1994-1995, and a messy labor dispute that caused the unthinkable–the cancellation of the 2004-2005 NHL season.  Why?  Because Gary Bettman, a feverish proponent of hardball who loves nothing more than going to bat for small time cities and fraud owners who don’t deserve franchises, continually insists on hard salary restrictions to protect teams like the Nashville Predators, who scrape the bottom of the salary threshold and complain over every cent out of pocket.

Does Nashville really deserve a team?  Tampa Bay?  Florida?  Atlanta?  Bettman was happy to take the franchise start-up fees from these ownership groups and then watched them all flounder financially, while severely diluting the talent pool in the league to the point where they have had to change several basic rules of the game to promote scoring because scoring talent is so severely diluted that for a while, a team was lucky to have one legitimate scoring threat.  Then Bettman went to work on the players–attempting to basically strip them of a major slice of the salaries they earned–to help teams like the above mentioned while big market teams who are interested in putting out a quality product were constricted by a hard salary cap.

Goodenow was so sharp that he pushed for a clause that would see 10 year pros earning below the league average become unrestricted free agents.  When the clause went into effect, Bettman failed to realize that these unrestricted free agents would then receive greater compensation, thereby pulling up average salaries, and in turn, create more 10 year pros who would qualify for UFA status.  Bettman was steamed at having been out maneuvered, and was giddy when the players turned on Goodenow toward the end of the armageddon labor dispute that the league allowed to cancel out an entire season. 

Bettman has been true to the owners–especially small market owners–to a fault.  Has any league in the history of professional sport seen more owners go to federal prison?  On Bettman’s watch alone, we have seen fraudulent con artists suck as Bruce McNall, Dean Spanos, and Peter Pocklington go to jail, and in the case of Spanos, the league did not properly investigate his background and allowed him to buy the Islanders despite the fact the man had no money.

Bettman is in the major leagues now however, and frankly, he will most certainly be over-matched by Fehr, upon whose watch MLB salaries have become grotesquely bloated.  Fehr, so adept at out maneuvering the owners, refused to concede to steroid and amphetamine testing for several years, despite the fact that such drug use is illegal under the national laws of the nations where baseball is played.  The anonymous drug testing policy he instituted was a stroke of genius when it came to protecting player image and average salary, because steroid induced statistics were good for player contracts.

As for the NHL players, these guys are probably the most down to earth, hard working, for the love of the game, major professional athletes in the world.  And Bettman has grossly mismanaged the game’s television potential and international financial growth quotients, which Fehr, and his arrmy of publicists is sure to hammer him for.  Bettman is out of his league here.  Fehr has studied the NHL revenue streams and collective bargaining agreements since the minute he stepped down from the MLBPA in December 2009, and has gotten an even closer look as an unpaid consultant now for months. 

And Fehr has said that he will now basically dissect the entire league prior to agreeing to open negotiations with the NHL in the spring.  We’d hate to lose hockey again, but we are staunchly pro union here, and we seriously doubt that in this economy that teams or players will be willing to shut down a billion dollar industry.  We view the Fehr hire as an enormous get for the players.  He is just the man to get the players a good deal, and we have a healthy suspicion that both the NFLPA and NBAPA will wish they had rang him up as labor actions loom in both those leagues.

Crack (,

Lance Armstrong (L.) cycling with Frankie Andreu (above).

Frankie and Betsy Andreu, the former a one-time teammate of cyclist Lance Armstrong, the latter, his wife, have been contacted by the F.D.A.’s resident expert when it comes to investigating the use of performance enhancing drugs, criminal investigator Jeff Novitsky, and plan on cooperating fully with his investigation into doping on Armstrong’s cycling teams, according to the New York Daily News

The Andreu’s were in Armstrong’s Indiana hospital room visiting the cycling star in 1996, when Armstrong was being treated for cancer.  When dr’s came in to question Armstrong about his drug history, the Andreu’s got up to leave but were told to stay by Armstrong.  It was then that they heard Armstrong admit to the use of performance enhancing drugs to cancer dr’s–which they have since testified to under oath.

Novitzky has now reached out to the Andreus, who, after being subpoenaed in a 2005 arbitration dispute over victory bonuses, testified that they heard Armstrong confess in a hospital in 1996 to using performance-enhancing drugs. Betsy Andreu confirmed that she and her husband had spoken to Novitzky, but said they have not been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles that is meeting in secrecy under the direction of assistant U.S. Attorney Doug Miller.

“Novitzky has been nothing but respectful and fair to us,” Andreu told the Daily News. “We will definitely cooperate, telling the truth.”

Armstrong has vigorously denied doping and has hired a powerful legal team to protect himself from the investigation. His attorneys have called the government’s probe a waste of taxpayer money, and have attacked the credibility of a number of Armstrong’s accusers.

The news of Novitzky’s contact with the Andreu household was first disclosed by the Los Angeles Times, which reported that Novitzky had also tried and failed to interview Stephanie McIlvain, a friend of Armstrong’s and a representative of the Oakley eyeware company. McIlvain testified in the 2005 arbitration dispute between Armstrong and a Texas company called SCA promotions (she said she did not recall the 1996 hospital confession the Andreus spoke of).

McIlvain left a number of phone messages for Andreu in recent years, and now Andreu says the government has possession of them.

McIlvain, who worked for Armstrong sponsor Oakley at the time of her perjury, um, I mean testimony, seems perfectly happy to continue lying and obstructing justice for Armstrong.

I wonder how much it cost Lance to buy that type of loyalty.

–Crack (,

Roger Clemens before a federal grand jury in 2008 (above).

Roger Clemens may soon be exchanging his fancy liar clothes for a nice prison jumper, as today the federal government read a 19 page indictment against the disgraced power pitcher which included 6 separate charges of perjury, obstruction, and making false statements to investigators.

Each charge carries a maximum of 5 years in federal prison.

According to the United States attorney’s office, Clemens faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine, but under the current sentencing guidelines, a conviction would likely bring 15-21 months.Clemens’s allegedly false testimony came in a public hearing in which Clemens and his former trainer Brian McNamee, testifying under oath, directly contradicted each other about whether Clemens had used the banned substances.

“Americans have a right to expect that witnesses who testify under oath before Congress will tell the truth,” United States Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. said in a statement announcing the indictment. “Our government cannot function if witnesses are not held accountable for false statements made before Congress. Today the message is clear: if a witness makes a choice to ignore his or her obligation to testify honestly, there will be consequences.”

The authorities will not seek to arrest Clemens. According to a spokesman for the United States attorney’s office, Clemens will be asked to appear at arraignment through a judicial summons. The spokesman said that a date had not been set for the arraignment although it could be set later today. The congressional hearing at the heart of the indictment came just two months after McNamee first tied Clemens to the use of the substances in George J. Mitchell’s report on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. After Mitchell released the report, Clemens claimed McNamee made up the allegations.

From the New York Daily News:

Clemens was one of the greatest pitchers of all time and once a certain first-ballot lock for the Hall of Fame, and a trial is sure to become a huge spectacle, all but assuring that a long train of witnesses will be summoned to testify, including Pettitte, who has verified McNamee’s claims about Pettite’s use of HGH. Other teammates and club officials could also be called to the stand.

Clemens also told Congress during the hearing that McNamee had injected his wife, Debbie, with human growth hormone, but that he had not been present when the trainer shot her up in the belly button. McNamee, as the Daily News first reported, told investigators that Clemens had summoned him from the guest house he was staying in at Clemens’ home to administer the injection. McNamee also said he saw vials of HGH in a shaving kit in Clemens’ bathroom as he prepared to give Debbie Clemens the HGH. McNamee believed the HGH had been sent to Clemens’ home by Radomski, who later provided prosecutors with shipping receipts for a package to Clemens’ address.

To secure the indictment, Butler presented the grand jury with what one source close to the case called “overwhelming” evidence that McNamee’s claims were true.

Even before the Feb. 13 congressional hearing began, then committee chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said Clemens had made statements that were had said things that were “untrue” and “implausible.”

Thursday, then Tom Davis, the panel’s ranking Republican, told the Daily News that he and Waxman had been approached by federal investigators asking about materiality of Clemens’ statements to the committee.

“I remember sitting in my office with him and saying, ‘Whatever you do, don’t lie.’ We made it clear, don’t lie.” The Justice Department initiated its Clemens perjury investigation two weeks after the February 2008 hearing, where Clemens licked his lips nervously as he was confronted with evidence and testimony that undermined his claims.

Even a sentence of less than 2 years in federal prison and a $ 1.5 M fine would be devestating punishments for Clemens, once revered, for whom prison will be especially humbling, and who, we hear, is struggling financially due to court costs and legal fees.

Of course, Clemens could have saved himself all the trouble by taking Tom Davis’ advice and telling the truth, but the Rocket would rather try to make everyone else into the liar, including McNamee, who luckily kept DNA evidence on Clemens, who obviously isn’t trustworthy.

And none of this bodes well for Clemens in civil court either, where McNamee should seek a substantial payday against the once exalted player who began a sexual relationship with country singer Mindy McCready when she was only 15 years old.

Wonder what Lance Armstrong thought of Clemens’ indictment?

Don’t lie under oath.

–Crack (,


Will the last remaining American male, Robby Ginepri (above), be waiving goodbye to Paris tommorow?

Court Philippe Chatrier


Robby Ginepri vs. (3) Novak Djokovic

This is a tough ask for Ginepri, on top of the tough ask he improbably pulled off on Saturday, topping former champion Juan Carlos Ferrero in 5 sets.  Ginepri’s fitness after a 5 set match is not a question.  This one should come down to a big talent mismatch, as the others in this head to head have.  The Djoker is 4-0 lifetime, and has yet to lose a set to Ginepri, ever.  He even handed Ginepri the most lopsided loss in his career at Roland Garros way back in 2005, 6-0, 6-0, 6-3 in just 1 hour and 18 minutes.  This match is Djokovic’s to lose, but it’s hard to pencil in the Serb because of his poor conditioning and always say quit attitude.

(1) Serena vs. (18) Shahar Peer


Serena should win fairly handily, though Peer’s playing great tennis.  This is a very interesting matchup, especially on Peer’s end.  I hear that in Israel everything stops when she plays, like in Japan, when Ichiro has an at bat, and there are televisions on showing her playing literally everywhere.  That’s enormous pressure.  Serena seems to be in top condition, though she did have a mental lapse for an entire set in round 3 versus Pavlyuchenkova.  Serena seems to want this title though, even if she has to go through Henin and Jankovic before even playing the final.  A victory in this major would give her 2 legs of the slam, with the hardest one for her already under her belt.  Serena is playing for history.  I hate to jinx it, but history might be in trouble.

(24) Thomaz Bellucci vs. (2) Rafael Nadal

One previous encounter, which Nadal won in straights, but Bellucci took a set to a tie-breaker, and kept Rafa on court for almost 3 hours.  Bellucci has had a checkered clay court season, and though he is 22-12 on the year, he hasn’t reallly put much of a win streak together, hasn’t won a tournament, and hasn’t beaten anyone of note.  And David Ferrer completely smoked him a couple of weeks ago, a bad sign for the Brazilian in a matchup against Nadal.  For Nadal, it will be 3 best of 5 set matches in four days, and cumulative toll has always brought his level down some, with his creaky knees.  It would be nice if Bellucci took a set from Nadal, who is yet to lose one at Roland Garros this year.  And in a perfect world, Bellucci would take 3.

(4) Jelena Jankovic vs. (23) Daniela Hantuchova

Jaja versus Dani Hani…what can we say?  Hantuchova is usually loathe to win a big match, and the surface suits Jankovic to a tee, she of the Gael Monfils school of hard court sliding.  I wish I felt DH had a shot, and I know she will get opportunities because of Jankovic’s horrendous serve, but Hantuchova doesn’t seem mentally tough enough to pull it off. 

Court Suzanne Lenglen


(22) Jurgen Melzer vs. Teimuraz Gabashvili

I saw both of these players up close and personal at the US Open in 2008.  Melzer, I thought was overmatched, but scratched out an incredible 5 set win versus Feliciano Lopez.  Gabashvili was also overmatched, and played steady, but lost to Stanislas Wawrinka (by the way, we sat next to Stan’s wife–much fitter than Mirka if you were wondering).  Gabashvili has sort of caught lightning in a bottle here, while Melzer, has steadily improved to the point where he is taking out very legitimate clay courters (David Ferrer).  Melzer has arrived.  I like him tomorrow, big.  It is very unlikely that Gabashvili will have another incredible day on his serve, which carried him against Roddick.

(22) Henin vs. (7) Stosur


Not so fast, Henin bandwagon.  Stosur is going to come to play.  You wouldn’t think Paris was best suited for an Aussie, but Sam is best here on the red clay.  Henin has played well overall, but people aren’t quivering in fear like they once were.  And Henin had a tough weekend courtesy of Maria Sharapova.  I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that the classy Australian can take the Belgian waffle.

(7) Fernando Verdasco vs. (19) Nicolas Almagro


Let’s hope Verdasco wins.  It would set up a very interesting quarter-final between him and Nadal, who he is very tired of losing to.

Jarmila Groth (Aus) vs. Yaroslava Shvedova (Kaz)


Watch this match between unheard ofs, in which one will become a major quarter-finalist become the match of the day.  I wish I could tell you something about these two, but I can’t muster much.  Shvedova has a higher profile than Groth, ranked # 36 in he world.  But Groth has 2 things going for her.  She beat Shvedova at Wimbledon in 2008 in what has been their only match to date.  And Groth is hotter.

Groth (above).

All in all, I thought the Sunday RO16 matchups were way more interesting and competitive than tomorrow’s will be, but at least we don’t have to watch NBC edit our sport tomorrow.

–Crack (

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