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And So It Goes....

Overall: 7-1-0 (0.875)
Basis Function: Daubechies4

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Sunday, June 7, 2009

June 7th, 2009 Picks

(skip recaps)The losing continued for a bit when Kuznetsova wiped away Safina without a second thought and Azerbaijan failed to hold Wales scoreless, no surprise they failed to score themselves though. Then got back on track with the Mariners and Red Wings, the first being a close one and the latter being a nice little blowout. And so on to the picks.


Kuznetsova Powers Past Safina For Her 2nd Grand Slam Title 6-4 6-2
``I came out there and said, ‘Everything's great, I'm just doing my thing I love. I'm enjoying. It's my passion, what I'm doing. It's my job. And I cannot ask for more.”
-- 2009 French Open Champion Svetlana Kuznetsova
``It was the pressure I put on myself because I really wanted to win. I just didn't handle it, I was a little bit desperate on the court, and didn't do the things that I had to do. Didn't stay tough mentally.”
-- 2009 French Open runner up Dinara Safina
An impressive performance by Svetlana Kuznetsova lands her the title at Roland Garros.
``For Svetlana Kuznetsova, a career which promised so much when she won the US Open at the age of 19 only to stutter ever since is now definitively back on track. Dinara Safina meanwhile will go back to being known as “Marat’s little sister” and “No. 1 without winning a Slam” until she can silence her critics – and more importantly the doubting voices inside her own head – and finally prove her worth in the final of a Major."
Read more....Box ScoreThoughts From The Players...

Red Dragons World Cup Hopes Linger With Victory At Baku
Wales 1 - 0 Azerbaijan
Although they will require some cooperation from Germany and Russia to qualify for the World Cup Wales are still in contention with a win today.
``Wolves' Dave Edwards' second international goal was enough for a young and depleted Wales side to secure a narrow World Cup qualifying win in Baku. The Wolves midfielder made the most of panic in the box three minutes before the break to fire into an empty net. He was free to strike as the Azerbaijan defence failed to deal with Robert Earnshaw's right-wing cross. From then on he and his team-mates battled for every inch to produce a victory. There were only 79 Wales fans in this stadium and, having had their tickets given to them free by the Football Association of Wales, they must have loved every minute."
Read more from BBC....Read more from Observer...Box Score

RBI Doubles By Griffey, Ichiro Enough To Stop Twins
Seattle Mariners 2 - 1 Minnesota Twins
``A day after his club-record 27-game hitting streak ended, Suzuki went 3 for 4 against the Twins, including a two-out RBI double in the fifth that tied it at 1. Suzuki also sparked Seattle's winning rally in the eighth, chopping a leadoff single over the head of left hander Sean Henn. Russell Branyan struck out and Adrian Beltre popped up before Ken Griffey Jr. came up with his tiebreaking hit. Griffey drove in Ichiro Suzuki with a two-out double in the eighth inning and the Seattle Mariners edged the Minnesota Twins 2-1 on Saturday."
Read more....Box Score

Wings 2nd Line, Osgood, Step Up To Blank Pens, Take 3-2 Series Lead
Detroit Red Wings 5 - 0 Pittsburgh Penguins
Wow, a true manhandling of Pittsburgh by a veteran Detroit team. Their power play was unstoppable.
``After watching their two-game lead in the Stanley Cup finals disappear in Pittsburgh, the defending champions returned to the friendly confines of Joe Louis Arena and blew away the supposedly fresher Penguins 5-0 in Game 5 on Saturday night. Chris Osgood, on the verge of his fourth Stanley Cup championship -- third as the Red Wings starting goalie -- made 22 saves for his 15th playoff shutout. He earned an assist on Valtteri Filppula's goal for his fifth career playoff point, and improved to 11-4 in the finals."
Read more....Box Score

1) Roger Federer vs. Robin Soderling - 4 or 5 sets played
2) Ian Poulter vs. Charley Hoffman - Poulter cards a lower front 9 score
3) East Carolina vs. North Carolina - North Carolina
4) Elche C.F. @ Levante U.D. - Elche C.F. win or draw
5) Chicago Cubs @ Cincinnati Reds - Chicago
6) Tiger Woods' Finish At The Memorial: Tied for 3rd or better vs. 4th or worse - T-3 or better
7) Tony Stewart vs. Jeff Gordon - Stewart has a better finishing position
8) Virginia @ Ole Miss - Virginia
9) Baltimore Orioles @ Oakland Athletics - Oakland
10) Minnesota Twins @ Seattle Mariners - Seattle
11) San Francisco Giants @ Florida Marlins - Florida
12) Southern Miss @ Florida - Southern Miss
13) Dwight Howard vs. Pau Gasol - Gasol pts.
14) Philadelphia Phillies @ Los Angeles Dodgers - Philadelphia
15) Clemson @ Arizona State - Arizona State

1) Well, the final match of Roland Garros 2009 is here, featuring 13 time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer against first time Grand Slam finalist Robin Soderling. A win today would see Federer tie Pete Sampras' all-time record with 14 Grand Slam titles, and would make him the first since Andre Agassi in 1999 to win all four Grand Slam titles and on four different surfaces no less. Soderling has never advanced past the third round of a Grand Slam tournament before this year's French Open so his success has been an incredible storyline and a win today would be an incredible achievement and step forward in his career.

Robin Soderling's serve will surely make Federer hang his head at times, but in the end it will be Roger's yell bouncing off the walls at Roland Garros.

Federer is an impressive 9-0 against Soderling over their careers, and has lost just one set to him in those 9 matches, back in 2005 on grass. Federer was also 5-0 against Juan Martin del Potro and had never lost a set to him, but despite that del Potro took Federer to 5 sets. Tommy Haas also took him to 5 sets, while Jose Acasuso and Paul Henri-Mathieu each took him to 4 sets. Against those three he was 14-2 all time and had previously dropped a total of 9 out of 40 (22.5%) sets played against them before dropping 4 out of 13 (30.8%) in this tournament. All told Federer has won 2 of his 6 matches in straight sets while Soderling has won 3 of his 6 matches in straight sets. Both players would seem to have struggled enough against lesser players than one another to be defeated in straight sets, and yet that would be a mutually exclusive event leaving a win for one or the other in 4 or 5 sets as the only choice left over. There are a great number of previews

being written on this match, so I encourage you to read them. Most 'experts' agree this will be a highly competitive match, with Federer holding the advantage in overall skill and variety of shots, and Soderling having a power advantage as well as having less pressure stacked on his shoulders.

||←←¦¦ΞΞ==----Watch The Match Live Right Here----==ΞΞ¦¦→→||

Levante Unión Deportiva will miss the services of top goal scorer Geijo (10) in today's match with Elche C.F.

Elche C.F. make the trip to Valencia to avenge their January 2-0 defeat at home to Levante.
Levante Unión Deportiva will host Elche C.F. today at Ciudad de Valenica with nothing but pride and that winning feeling on the line. With only 9 points left available this season both clubs sit within the safety zone and well off of promotion. A quick look at the Segunda Liga tables shows Levante (8th) 6 points above Elche (11th) despite having a -2 goal differential on the season compared to Elche's +7 differential. At home Levante has a +10 differential and 11-3-5 (W-D-L) record while Elche's differential is 0 with a 5-7-7 record on the road. As for their recent form Elche C.F. has been quite good on the road, defeating Rayo Vallecano (5th) and drawing against Cordoba (15th) and U.D. Salamanca (7th) in their last three away matches. Levante has not been quite as good, defeating Rayo Vallecano and Alicante (20th), but losing to U.D. Salamanca in their last 3 home matches.

Levante face a few injury concerns though Rubén Suárez, tied for top goal scorer this season, is thankfully not among them after picking up a slight knock earlier in the week. Levante will be without forwards Alvaro del Moral and Geijo, as well as defender Robusté with Manolo Reina a major doubt. Geijo will be a big loss for the team as he is their other top goal scorer and scored their only non-penalty goal in their away match against Elche in January, which they won, 2-0. Elche C.F.'s homepage is down at the moment so news is difficult to come by for them, but I can only assume they have most of the side they have had which has led them to win or draw their past three away matches against teams higher up on the tables than Levante. Based on their recent form and Levante's less than intimidating goal differential at home I would favor Elche C.F. to come away with a draw in this match if not win it outright. So long as they do not have a man sent off mid-way through the second half that is.

13) The Los Angeles Lakers are coming off a 100-75 win over the Orlando Magic in Game 1 of their NBA Finals series and could take a commanding 2-0 lead tonight with another strong performance.

(left) Gasol knows he's money with his mid-range jumper; (center) Howard is blinded by Gasol on a shot attempt; (right) Howard attempts to drive through Andrew Bynum.
The biggest doubt for the Lakers in that respect is whether they can maintain their defensive intensity to such a high level and whether the Orlando Magic will continue to cooperate. Orlando shot 29.9% from the field in Game 1 and only 34.8% from three point range. The Lakers are a good defensive team, one of the best in the league, but clearly Orlando was also a little off on their shooting to score only 75 points. A big question then is what adjustments will Stan Van Gundy make offensively to remedy that situation. I'm not an NBA coach but I'm guessing one strategy he will employ is to try and take higher percentage shots. In other words, Orlando will be trying to pound the ball in the middle, will try and run screen and rolls, and will try and run trailer plays, all designed to get open layups and dunks. That would certainly seem to imply Howard will make more than one field goal and score more than 12 points. As for the Lakers, having won by 25 points they are more likely to continue doing what they have been doing, and that's get Andrew Bynum involved in the game, let Kobe take over at times, and play solid inside out offense to get open shots from any distance.

Looking at the graph below it's difficult to see where either player has much of an advantage. Howard has scored more points in a single game this year, on the road no less, than Pau Gasol has scored in any game at home. Howard is also averaging 18 points in three games against the Lakers, while Gasol is averaging only 13 points in those games. Gasol did outscore Howard 16-12 in Game one of this series, however, and Howard has scored fewer than 15 points in 16 of 48 road games (33.3%) this year so it wasn't an exceptionally poor game for the big man. Gasol, on the other hand, has scored fewer than 15 points in only 11 of 51 (21.6%) home games this year. Howard has a much bigger problem with getting into foul trouble, and has less range on his shot than Pau Gasol who is deadly to at least 12 feet out. I think Howard is more than capable of blowing up for 30 plus points in Game 2, but I also think the Lakers are capable of locking down on him defensively, fouling him hard to make him work for points at the line, and frustrating him in general by exaggerating contact and drawing offensive fouls on him. I think it will be extremely close, but in the end Gasol outscores Howard in this game, something like 18 points to 17 points.

Howard has averaged 18 points in three games against L.A. this year compared to 13 points for Gasol, though Pau did outscore Superman 16 to 12 in Game 1.

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