Thursday, July 5, 2012

Worst Wimbledon commercials

   Overall, the television coverage of Wimbledon has been excellent.
   NBC lost its rights after 43 years because it declined to consistently show matches live. ESPN took over with 140 hours of live coverage, and most of its commentators have been insightful. Exceptions are Cliff Drysdale and Hannah Storm. Mary Joe Fernandez does a good job, but she is the U.S. Fed Cup captain, an obvious conflict of interest.
   Also, I can do without the inane postmatch "interviews" by the anonymous, faceless British announcers. Here's an interviewing tip: Ask a question -- preferably not "How does it feel to ... ?" -- rather than make a witty observation such as, "You played well today." 
   But the biggest problem with so much coverage is the same commercials airing repeatedly. Investment firms, Mercedes, Rolex, wine ... do you get the feeling that tennis viewers have money?
   Here are the worst commercials:
   1. Dos Equis beer. An older, macho-looking guy with a Spanish accent is sitting on a sofa with two beautiful, young women on each side of him. A message on the screen informs us that "the most interesting man in the world" is going to enlighten us on "boxers vs. briefs." He then pontificates on this urgent issue, "What's between you and your pants is between you and your pants."
   Thanks for that pearl of wisdom, Sergio. He ends the commercial by instructing viewers, "Stay thirsty, my friends."
   Just when you thought nobody could be more annoying than Flo, the Progressive lady, along comes this guy. I have a better label for him: the biggest asshole in the world.
   And what's the implication of this commercial? That if you drink Dos Equis, you're going to get laid? Sounds logical.
   2. K-Swiss tennis shoes. While French standout Gael Monfils prances around the court, he says in his heavy accent, "I am Gael Monfils. Any time, any court."     
   Yeah, right. It's amazing Monfils could get through the commercial without getting hurt. This guy can't lace up his K-Swiss shoes without getting a hangnail and pulling out of a tournament.
   3. IBM. A young woman in a European bakery says in her squeaky voice, "Using analytics, we discovered that when it's drizzling outside, people eat more cake. And when the temperature rises, panini sales go up. Finding these hidden connections helped our European bakeries increase their profitability by up to 20 percent. Let's build a smarter planet."
   Where do we begin with this one? What the hell are "analytics"? It sounds impressive, which is all that matters. And she needed "analytics" to make those earth-shattering discoveries? She couldn't just look outside and put two and two together?
   What's "profitability"? Is that anything like "profits"? And "up to" could mean anywhere from 1 to 20 percent. Finally, what do croissants have to do with the planet?
   Wimbledon results -- In a battle of former Wimbledon doubles champions, second-seeded Bob and Mike Bryan held off unseeded Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra 7-6 (5), 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2 in the third round.
   The 34-year-old Bryan twins, former NCAA doubles champions from Stanford who grew up in the Los Angeles area, won Wimbledon in 2006 and last year. Clement and Llodra, both of France, earned the trophy in 2007.
   The Bryans are scheduled to meet unseeded Scott Lipsky, a former NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford, and Rajeev Ram of Carmel, Ind., on Thursday in the quarterfinals. Lipsky and Ram downed Australians Chris Guccione and Lleyton Hewitt 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 to reach their third Grand Slam quarterfinal.
   Lipsky won last year's SAP Open in San Jose with Ram and paired with ex-Stanford teammate David Martin to beat the Bryans 7-6 (4), 7-5 for the 2008 SAP crown.
   The Bryans also won in mixed doubles at Wimbledon.
   Top-seeded Bob Bryan and Liezel Huber, a South African-born U.S. citizen, outlasted unseeded Johan Brunstrom of Sweden and Andreja Klepac of Slovenia 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the second round.
   Second-seeded Mike Bryan and Lisa Raymond, from Wayne, Pa., reached the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over unseeded Alexander Peya of Austria and Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany.
   Groenefeld won the 2009 Wimbledon mixed doubles title with Mark Knowles, who will begin his 11th season with the Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis on Monday in Boston.
   San Francisco Bay Area residents MacKenzie McDonald and Connor Farren triumphed separately in the first round of boys doubles.
   The eighth-seeded team of McDonald, from Piedmont, and Spencer Papa of Edmond, Okla., edged the German pair of Kevin Kaczynski and Maximilian Marterer 7-6 (5), 5-7, 10-6 tiebreak.
   Farren, from Hillsborough, and Bar Tzuf Botzer of Israel topped Britons Tommy Bennett and Joshua Sapwell 7-6 (7), 6-4 in a matchup of unseeded teams.    
   Men's Challenger in Winnetka, Ill. -- Tennys Sandgren, the No. 1 seed in last month's Sacramento Futures, knocked off top-seeded Benjamin Becker of Germany 6-1, 6-4 Tuesday in the first round of the $50,000 Nielsen Pro Tennis Championships.
   Becker, the 2004 NCAA singles champion from Baylor, reached a career-high No. 38 in the world in 2007 and beat Andre Agassi in the third round of the 2006 U.S. Open in Agassi's last career match.
   Sandgren, from Gallatin, Tenn., beat qualifier Ante Pavic of Croatia 6-4, 6-3 Wednesday to advance to the quarterfinals. Sandgren held two match points in a first-round loss to wild card Jeff Dadamo in Sacramento.
   Also reaching the Winnetka quarterfinals was second-seeded Ryan Sweeting, who's scheduled to play three matches for the Capitals next week.
   Bradley Klahn, the 2010 NCAA singles champion, is making his professional debut after completing his eligibility at Stanford. The left-hander from the San Diego area lost to sixth-seeded Sergei Bubka of Ukraine 6-3, 6-4 in the second round of singles but will play in the doubles semifinals with Mitchell Frank, this year's Intercollegiate Tennis Association Rookie of the Year from the University of Virginia.
   Devin Britton, the Sacramento singles champion, and Dadamo, the runner-up, upset second-seeded Rik de Voest of South Africa and Bobby Reynolds of Acworth, Ga., 7-6 (10), 7-6 (7) in the first round of doubles.
   Also reaching the doubles quarterfinals were third-seeded Danai Udomchoke of Thailand and Jimmy Wang, a Taiwan product who trains in the Sacramento area.
   Women's Challenger in Denver -- Nicole Gibbs, who won the NCAA singles title in May as a Stanford sophomore, upset seeds in the first round of singles and doubles in the $50,000 Colorado International.
   As a singles qualifier, Gibbs ousted fifth-seeded Sharon Fichman of Canada 7-6 (4), 6-0. Fichman is ranked No. 197 in the world.
   Wild cards Lauren Embree, who has helped Florida win the last two NCAA team titles, and Gibbs surprised fourth-seeded Madison Brengle of Dover, Del., and Chanel Simmonds of South Africa 5-7, 6-1, 10-8 tiebreak. 
   Falling in the opening round of singles were seventh-seeded Maria Sanchez of Modesto, Asia Muhammed of the Capitals and incoming Stanford freshman Krista Hardebeck. Sanchez won the inaugural Gold River Challenger last month in the Sacramento area.
   Second-seeded Muhammed and Sanchez dismissed wild cards Vasilisa Bardina of Russia and Rebecca Weissmann, 14, of Loveland, Colo., 6-3, 6-2 in the first round.
WIMBLEDON TV SCHEDULE
(All times PDT)
   Thursday -- Women's semifinals, ESPN, 5-10 a.m. (live). Wimbledon Primetime, Tennis Channel, 2-6 p.m. (premiere), 6-10 p.m. (repeat), 10 p.m.-2 a.m. (repeat).
   Friday -- Men's semifinals, ESPN, 5-11 a.m. (live). Wimbledon Primetime, Tennis Channel, 2-6 p.m. (premiere), 6-10 p.m. (repeat), 10 p.m.-2 a.m. (repeat).
   Saturday -- Women's final, ESPN, 6-11 a.m. (live), ABC, noon-3 p.m. (repeat), Wimbledon Primetime, Tennis Channel, 4-8 p.m. (premiere), 8 p.m.-midnight (repeat), midnight-4 a.m. (repeat).
   Sunday -- Men's final, ESPN, 6 a.m.-noon (live), ABC, noon-3 p.m. (repeat). Wimbledon Primetime, Tennis Channel, 4-8 p.m. (premiere), 8 p.m.-midnight (repeat), midnight-4 a.m. (repeat).
CALENDAR  
   THROUGH SUNDAY -- WIMBLEDON, www.wimbledon.com.
   Saturday-Tuesday -- West Coast Junior Championships, Rio del Oro Racquet Club, 119 Scripps Dr., Sacramento, www.norcal.usta.com.
   Saturday-July 15 -- WTA, Bank of the West Classic, Stanford University. Qualifying on Saturday and Sunday. Main draw Monday through July 15. www.bankofthewestclassic.com.
   Monday -- World TeamTennis, Sacramento Capitals' season opener at Boston, 4 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   Tuesday -- Capitals at Philadelphia, 4 p.m. http://www.saccaps.com/.
   July 12 -- World TeamTennis, Capitals' home opener (with Mardy Fish) vs. Kansas City, Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., www.saccaps.com.
   July 12 -- 2012 Northern California Tennis Hall of Fame Brunch and Induction Ceremony (Nick Saviano, Andrea Norman, Steve Cornell and Martha Downing), Stanford University, Pac 12 Plaza/Cardinal Plaza, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., tickets $75 each at http://www.acteva.com/booking.cfm?bevaid=230538.
   July 13 -- Capitals (with Fish) vs. Orange County, Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   July 14 -- Capitals at Orange County, 7 p.m.
   July 16 -- Capitals (with Sam Querrey) vs. New York, Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   July 18 -- Capitals at Washington, 4:10 p.m.
   July 19 -- Capitals at Springfield, 5:05 p.m.
   July 20 -- Capitals at Kansas City, 5:35 p.m.
   July 22 -- Springfield at Capitals (with Querrey), Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   July 24 -- Orange County (with Lindsay Davenport) at Capitals (with Kevin Anderson), Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   July 25 -- Capitals at Orange County, 7 p.m.
   July 27 -- Philadelphia (with Mark Philippoussis) at Capitals (with Anderson), Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   July 28 -- Boston at Capitals (with Anderson), Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   July 28-Aug. 5 -- OLYMPIC TENNIS TOURNAMENT, Wimbledon, www.london2012.com.

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