Gold Medal

Surprise doubles champs in Indian Wells

Roger Federer called it a “rough day at the office” after losing his singles semifinal against Novak Djokovic and losing the doubles final at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Federer and his partner Stanislas Wawrinka last teamed up to play doubles in the 2008 Olympics, where they took home the gold medal. This week’s doubles draw in Indian Wells was full of singles specialists who rarely if ever play doubles, including Rafael Nadal who happens to be the defending doubles champion with partner Marc Lopez. Roger and Stan dispatched the Spaniards in the semifinals on Friday.

It wasn’t a surprise that ‘Fedwrinka,’ as fans have dubbed the Swiss duo, was successful in Indian Wells. They may not play doubles very often, but both Federer and Wawrinka can be excellent doubles players when they want to. It’s been a tough week on the team though. On Friday, Roger and Stan faced off for a spot in the singles semifinals and then had to be out on the doubles court just an hour or two later to compete against Rafael Nadal and Marc Lopez. Wawrinka lost the singles encounter, but regrouped to play a pretty good match. In the final it was Roger who was fighting the losing blues. He lost only his third match of the year, all three of which have been against Novak Djokovic and had to be ready for doubles just two hours later.

This isn’t a story about the losers though. The real credit lies with the guys on the other side of the court. Federer and Wawrinka were taking on Xavier Malisse and Alexandr Dolgopolov, both reasonably accomplished singles players as well. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to see Dolgopolov and Malisse play together this week, but I did watch this match on TV and they were spectacular. Their win was even more surprising when the team explained how they came together. In the post match interview, Dolgopolov said, “We actually just we weren’t like talking all around. We just said hi before this tournament, and we weren’t like really close. But, yeah, he just ask me, Do you want to play like 15 minutes to the deadline of the doubles, because I wasn’t planning playing doubles here, and, yeah, here we are, winning the tournament. So it’s pretty amazing.” This was Alexandr Dolgopolov’s first ATP title in either singles or doubles and “Team Ponytail Express,” as Malisse and Dolgopolov are affectionately referred to, was all smiles throughout the entire match and especially after the win.

The newly crowned BNP Paribas Open doubles champions will continue to play doubles together through the European clay court season because of the success they’ve had in Indian Wells. This win actually catapults them from an unranked doubles team all the way to No. 5. Alexandr was supposed to play doubles with Florian Mayer for the rest of the spring and had to call him to see if he would allow Alexandr to play with Xavier instead. The prospects for Team Ponytail Express are great and I’m very excited to see how they’ll do in the clay season.

Pittsburgh Penguins Crosby Surprises Federer With Birthday Cake

Sidney Crosby greets Roger Federer with a cake on his 29th birthday Sunday.

Roger Federer and Sidney Crosby have missed out on their chance to play tennis together but can still share a birthday cake.The two sports stars met for the first time at the Rogers Cup on Sunday. They were set to play together on a practice court at the Rexall Centre, but rain scuttled their plans.

A birthday cake was brought out for the occasion as Federer turned 29 on Sunday, a day after Crosby turned 23.

Crosby says the two talked about watching each other play. The Pittsburgh Penguins star forward scored the overtime winner against the United States to give Canada the gold medal at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

Federer is a two-time winner at the Rogers Cup. The 16-time Grand Slam champion is currently ranked No. 3 in the world.

JENNIFER CAPRIATI HOSPITALIZED AFTER OVERDOSE

TMZ and other news outlets have reported that former world No. 1 Jennifer Capriati was rushed to the hospital this morning after a possible overdose.

The call came from a hotel in Riviera Beach, FL, and Capriati was transported to a nearby hospital.

Stefano, Jennifer’s father, said she is recovering well from the incident.

Capriati, 34, won three Grand Slam titles and a gold medal at the 1992 Olympics. She last competed in 2004 due to recovery from shoulder surgery. Capriati gave an interview to the New York Post last year, in which she revealed she was unable to cope with her post-playing days and had attempted suicide.

Dementieva stunned by American teen Oudin

American teenager Melanie Oudin (oo-DAN) has upset No. 4-seeded Elena Dementieva (deh-MENT-yeh-vah) in the second round of the U.S. Open.

The 70th-ranked Oudin, of Marietta, Ga., came back to stun Dementieva 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 Thursday in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Dementieva was the 2004 runner-up at the U.S. Open and French Open and won the singles gold medal at the Beijing Olympics last year.

The 17-year-old Oudin, meanwhile, never had won a U.S. Open match until this week. She never had won a Grand Slam match until reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon this year.

Now Oudin will face three-time major champion Maria Sharapova or another U.S. teenager, Christina McHale, in the third round.

Fashion Focus: Elena Denimantieva

Yonex decided to flex its design muscle by using “denim” — printed on a moisture-wicking syntehtic — for its fall ‘08 collection, which debuted in time for the fashion-forward U.S. Open. They even opted for orange thread as contrast stitching, giving the pieces a more authentic and rugged look.

Elena Dementieva played in the separates at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, where she lost to Katarina Srebotnik in the quarters. Notice the knot on th front lefft tank strap.

And this Russian wore the halter version during her semifinal run in New York. (She’s had a pretty good summer, following her semi @ Wimbledon with a gold medal from Beijing and the semi in NYC.)


Yonex’s Beijing kit for Elena.

And here’s the men’s denim line. As far as I can tell, none of the major tennis retail outlets are carrying this line in America.