January 23, 2011

Australian Open Odds, Pick, and Preview: Stanislas Wawrinka vs. Roger Federer



#19 Stanislas Wawrinka

#2 Roger Federer

A pair of Swiss natives are going to be taking center stage at Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday morning in Australian Open betting action, as Roger Federer looks to take down his Olympic partner, Stanislas Wawrinka.

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The argument could be made that the straight sets victory for Wawrinka in the fourth round of the Australian Open over Andy Roddick was the biggest singles match of his career. The hard courts have treated this Swiss man well, as he has now played in back to back quarterfinals at the US Open and here down under. These are the only two quarterfinal appearances in his career in Grand Slam events. Roddick was the second foe that Wawrinka took down in straight sets last week, as he also took out #12 Gael Monfils in a mild upset 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, 6-3. Wawrinka has not been dropped in a set yet, and he has only needed two tiebreaker games to get the job done. He has been masterful both on serve and as the returner, picking up a whopping 18 services breaks in just four matches. Wawrinka has won a commanding 92 percent of his first service points against Roddick, and he dropped his average unforced errors down to 26.8 per match after a miserable 42 blunders in his opening round triumph.

And then there is Federer, the defending champ and four time winner of this illustrious event. Just looking at all of Federer’s accolades would make anyone else on the ATP Tour (save Rafael Nadal, of course) absolutely sick as a dog. He has four Aussie Opens, a French Open, six Wimbledon titles, and five US Opens, and we haven’t even discussed the other five Grand Slam events in which he was a finalist, the four in which he was a semifinalist, and the four in which he was a quarterfinalist. Yes, without a doubt, Federer is going to go down as one of the greats we have ever seen in tennis regardless of gender, and he is going to try to prove it again on Tuesday morning against his fellow countryman. Federer was pushed to five sets in the second round against Gilles Simon and four sets against Tommy Robredo, and he clearly has some chinks in the armor at this point. Committing 147 unforced errors is usually an entire tournament for the Swiss hero, but this is his tally through just four matches.

Federer needs to be very, very careful in this one. Wawrinka knows all about his game, especially since the 2008 Olympics in which the two claimed a gold medal together. There is clearly one Swiss man in this field that has been on fire and really doesn’t look stoppable, and unfortunately for Federer, we’re not talking about him. Don’t be shocked if this at least ends up being a marathon, if not a tremendous upset.

Australian Open Free Pick: Stanislas Wawrinka +350 at BetUS

Oldenburg trying

Chicago Sun-Times May 29, 2011 Don Oldenburg is really trying to keep it together. The crew chief for Indianapolis 500 pole-sitter Alex Tagliani knows he???s going to be a bundle of nerves when the 95th running of the great American race starts. in our site bowers and wilkins

Oldenburg is a Villa Park native and will participate in his second Indy 500 today (11 a.m., Ch. 7). But this year, he has a pole-sitter to worry about.

Tagliani became the first Canadian driver in Indy 500 history to get the pole position last weekend when the Quebec native drove his No. 77 Bowers and Wilkins car an average speed of 227.472 mph. Tagliani is on the front row with Scott Dixon and Oriol Servia.

???Sunday is going to be one of the best days of my life,??? said Oldenburg, who???s in his second year with Sam Schmidt Motorsports, one of the newest teams in the IZOD IndyCar series.

???On [pole qualifying day] I was so nervous all day, and once [Tagliani] got the pole, it was one of the most gratifying things of my life.???

Tagliani has been a sentimental favorite during Indy practices and qualifying. In 2010, Tagliani spent two days in the hospital, including 24 hours in intensive care for a respiratory ailment. Tagliani, an asthma sufferer, was still weak when he competed in pole qualifying but was strong enough to earn a second-row spot.

???We worked on the car hard in March,??? Oldenburg said. ???We wanted to finish what we started [from a year ago]. Last week when we did a 223 [mph], we knew we had a shotgun.???

This year, a healthy Tagliani is putting Sam Schmidt Motorsports on the map, and a lot of his gratitude goes to Oldenburg.

???Everyone loves working for Don,??? Tagliani said. ???That is such a plus. Since we started this team, we???ve had more resum?©s from people to come and work for us. And that tells you a lot about the reputation of a guy like Don.???

A graduate of Willowbrook High School, Oldenburg has been around cars and racing most of his life. in our site bowers and wilkins

His father owned stock cars and an auto-repair shop in Elmhurst. In 1993, Oldenburg answered an ad for Skip Barber Racing, and his career in motorsports was born.

And now Oldenburg is on the biggest stage of his life. His job today is more than just getting a fast car for Tagliani.

???My biggest job is trying not to show my nervousness,??? Oldenburg said. ???Indy will drive you crazy.???

Villa Park native Don Oldenburg (left) is the crew chief for Canadian driver Alex Tagliani, who???s the Indy 500 pole-sitter. | For the sun-times

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