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Nadal-Federer renew their rivalry at the Australian Open

Their epic Wimbledon final from last summer seems like a long time ago but Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will renew their rivalry once again this evening as they vie for the men’s title at the Australian Open. This will be their seventh showdown in a Grand Slam final and it’s quickly becoming a must-see rivalry not unlike the Red Sox-Yankees or Lakers-Celtics for all sports fans.

Losing his #1 ranking in the world after Nadal’s thrilling victory in England has been a major catalyst in the revitalization of Federer’s career. He has added intensity and motivation to his smooth, effortless return volley game and hasn’t lost a match at a Grand Slam tournament (including a U.S. Open title last September) since Wimbledon.

Federer will be making his 18th appearance in a Grand Slam final and a victory Sunday evening in Melbourne will put him even with Pete Sampras at 14 Grand Slam tournament victories. His hard-court surface record is also very impressive, as Federer has won seven of the last eight Grand Slam tournaments played on that surface, including winning five straight U.S. Open titles.

The tennis world anointed Nadal as the new king of the sport last summer. The young Spaniard emerged at a time when tennis needed someone to challenge Federer’s dominance. Nadal will never emulate Roger’s play on the court, his sweating and grunting and his fist-pumping, emotional style are all big parts of his game. His top spin forehand shot will be taught to future generations for years to come.

The key to Nadal’s long-term success will be his play on hard-court surfaces. On clay, he has no equal, but Nadal’s improved play on the hard court and grass last year helped him take over tennis’ #1 ranking. Winning Wimbledon was a memorable moment in Nadal’s career, but winning on the hard-court in Melbourne tonight would be just as impressive.

The tennis world was bracing for an unknown to knock off Nadal or Federer, but for the past two weeks they reminded everyone just how good they are. The match is on in the wee hours of Sunday morning (3:30 AM ET) on ESPN2 here in the U.S., but the network is replaying the match later in the morning.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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Giants still a candidate for Manny?

According to Buster Olney’s latest column, the Giants might still be interested in free agent Manny Ramirez. (If they were even interested in the first place, that is.)

Manny RamirezLo and behold, the Giants have emerged as a player in this bidding. But it remains to be seen whether they are going to be shoving big chips at Ramirez, or if they’re just hanging in the thing to position themselves in the event Ramirez gets so frustrated with the Dodgers that he’ll walk away from L.A., at any price. It’s possible the Giants are not really bidding up Ramirez, but just hoping that a Hall of Fame bargain with a chip on his shoulder drops in their lap.

Executives with other teams do not believe the Giants are serious players in the Manny bidding. They think San Francisco’s real intent is to keep the Dodgers honest, to force them to give Ramirez at least a two-year deal. And if somehow Ramirez gets angered by the Dodgers’ level of interest and decides to deliver himself to their division rival, well, all the better for the Giants.

So basically, we know now what we knew three weeks ago about the Giants: they might be interested…but they might not be interested. Sweet.

Vick could move to halfway house soon

According to Michael Vick’s lawyer, the suspended NFL quarterback could move to a halfway house ‘any day’ now.

Michael Vick“He’s in the process of being released to the halfway house,” attorney Paul Campsen told Judge Frank Santoro. “We expect it to occur any day.”

But the U.S. Bureau of Prisons has not given Vick’s attorneys a specific date for the move, which Campsen said could occur with only “a day or so” notice.

Vick is serving a 23-month sentence at the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kan., for his role in a dogfighting conspiracy. He is scheduled for release July 20 but could serve the last few months of his term at a halfway house in Newport News, his hometown.

“We believe he is ultimately going to be reinstated by the NFL,” said another Vick bankruptcy attorney, Michael Blumenthal.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has not said whether he will lift Vick’s suspension after his release. Vick once was the league’s highest-paid player before his indictment and guilty plea left both his finances and his reputation in tatters. He filed for bankruptcy protection in July, claiming assets of $16 million and liabilities of $20.4 million.

Papers filed in his bankruptcy case show exceptionally poor management of Vick’s fortune, including lavish and often unexplained spending and an array of questionable investments. The case has been complicated by poor record keeping and Vick’s sketchy knowledge of where his money was going.

Santoro said Vick’s finances could be “charitably described as in freefall” when he filed his bankruptcy petition.

Vick’s freefall must be one of the biggest in celebrity history. Not only did this guy get locked up for running a dog fighting scandal in his backyard, but he also blew all of his money and now is bankrupt. Did he just think that money was going to fall out of the sky whenever he needed it? What a disaster.

Top 10 Reasons to Watch Super Bowl XLIII

The guys from The Love of Sports compiled a top 10 list of reasons to watch Super Bowl XLIII.

Kurt Warner4. The Commercials
The Super Bowl’s legendary for some of the funniest and lamest commercials of the New Year. Who could forget Super Bowl XLI’s Pepsi Cola – Sierra Mist: Bearded Comb Over or Chad Johnson’s Super Bowl Party? If the $3 million price tag companies pay for a 30-second spot isn’t enough to watch a commercial or two in these hard economic times, then the anticipation of a potential sequel to the Bearded Comb Over should do the trick.

3. Pick a Side
If your team of choice didn’t make it to the Super Bowl, don’t feel bad when you become a temporary Steelers or Cardinals fan for the day. The game’s more interesting when you can get behind a team and watch them hoist up the Vince Lombardi Trophy at the end of the game. Both the Steelers and Cardinals will be more than happy to have one extra fan on the bandwagon.

2. Athletic Performance
Super Bowl XLIII boasts some serious NFL superstars who should have no problem hamming it up on the big stage. Warner, Edge, Troy Polamalu and Willie Parker are just some of the exciting playmakers to grace the television screen this Super Bowl Sunday.

1. It’s Football, People!
The ability to tackle a 220-pound man is something I won’t be able to experience in my lifetime, but I bet it feels pretty amazing to accomplish. The exciting plays, the unbelievable catches and the amazing story lines all contribute to one of America’s favorite sports and one heck of a Sunday afternoon. The only thing you have to do this weekend is ask yourself one question … Are you ready for some football?!?!?

The Super Bowl should be a holiday. Football, Super Bowl squares, food, adult-type beverages, friends – what more could you ask for on one day?

Rejected Super Bowl Ads: Sexy Toyota

This is freaking hilarious:

Rejected Super Bowl Ads: Sexy Toyota

I don’t know why, but when they show the two guys yelling, “Yeah! Yeah!” in the parking lot, I was dying.

Check out more funny videos at Atom.com.

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