The anticipation had been building for months following the announcement that Vancouver would host its first Davis Cup tie in 20 years. It also just so happened to be the biggest non-Rogers Cup tennis event to be held on Canadian soil in the last decade.
In the end, the Canada-France first round World Group tie lived up to the hype and delivered on expectations despite Milos Raonic being forced to withdraw from the much-anticipated reverse singles match up with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga because of pain in his knee.
Raonic played and won his singles match on Friday, defeating Julien Benneteau in straight sets, putting forth a virtually flawless performance to give Canada it’s only point of the weekend in a 4-1 defeat. Level at 1-1 after Friday’s singles, Canadian captain Martin Laurendeau substituted the in-form Raonic for Vasek Pospisil to play with Daniel Nestor for the crucial doubles point. In the end, the French pair of Benneteau and Michael Llodra played subliminal doubles to secure the second point for France and Canada was dealt a major blow when it was discovered that Raonic had tweaked his knee during the first set which would ultimately keep him out of Sunday’s reverse singles.
Frank Dancevic replaced Raonic against Tsonga in the first match on Sunday and acquitted himself more than admirably, playing inspired tennis that ignited the boisterous crowd at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. Dancevic’s performance, perhaps his best since the former world no. 65 made a surprise run to the quarter-finals o f the Rogers Cup presented by National Bank in Montreal in 2007, just wasn’t enough against Tsonga who was also at the top of his game, hitting winners from seemingly everywhere on the court. The World no. 6 posted an impressive 6-4, 6-4, 6-1 win to propel France into the Davis Cup quarter-finals where they will play the United States on home soil. Tsonga said he was disappointed to miss out on the chance to play Raonic in this setting.
“For us it was a good surprise,” said Tsonga. “Milos (Raonic) is a good player, talented, and I was a bit sad to play against another guy, because I think it (would have been) a good confrontation with Milos.”
For his part, Dancevic thrived in his return to the Canadian Davis Cup squad and enjoyed every minute of playing in front of vocal, supportive fans.
“I felt the energy out there and I felt like I had a lot of momentum on my side,” Dancevic said. “I felt like anything could happen … and it came down to just a few important shots by him, especially in the second set. He painted the lines on a few forehands, hit some unbelievable down-line and cross-court one-hand backhands.”
Gael Monfils, who did not play Friday’s singles match against Raonic as originally anticipated, and Vasek Pospisil concluded the tie with an entertaining match that wowed the crowd featured more than one highlight reel shot from the always flamboyant Monfils. The Frenchman defeated Pospisil, Canada’s Davis Cup hero in 2011, 6-4, 6-4.
A total of 15,233 spectators attended the tie over the three days and certainly made themselves heard throughout the weekend and showed why Vancouver is the fastest growing tennis city in Canada. The Canadian team left with many lessons learned as they look ahead to their World Group playoff tie in September, but also proved they belonged among the top 16 Davis Cup countries in the world.
With the opening round of the Davis Cup wrapping up on Sunday, the ATP World Tour will now shift back into form with three tournaments in Rotterdam, San Jose and Sao Paulo. Here’s a closer look at the draws from all three events and some analysis on who stands the best chance of making it to the final weekend.
ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament
The largest of the three being played this week, the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament is a level 500 event. An indoor hard-court event, Roger Federer will be looking for the surface to bring him some much needed success. A disastrous Davis Cup showing at home on clay has left Federer clearly confused about the status of his game. Rather than admit he played poorly, Federer instead shifted the blame onto country-man Stan Wawrinka. It was a rare moment of bad judgement from Federer. He opens with Nicolas Mahut from France and then could potentially face a dangerous opponent in Mikhail Youzhny who won the title recently in Zagreb.
The always tricky Alexandr Dolgopolov is also in the same quarter as Federer. The two have only played once, with Federer winning in Basel two years ago. Dolgopolov has come a long way since then and with the way Roger played this past week, you’d have to think this could be a great QF match.
Richard Gasquet, Feliciano Lopez and former top-ten presence Nikolay Davydenko are in the following quarter of the draw. I’d give a well-rested Gasquet (he did not travel to Canada for Davis Cup) the best shot of emerging here.
Juan Martin Del Potro is the third seed and should be able to navigate his way through the third quarter of the draw. He opens against Michael Llodra of France who has to get all the way from Vancouver, Canada to Rotterdam in the next twenty-four hours.
At the bottom of the draw is second seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic who has had some success lately with a big win in Montpellier over Gael Monfils. Berdych had a very solid 2011 where he won one event and reached eight tournament semi-finals and seven tournament quarter-finals. He is really starting to find that consistency that will make him a mainstay in the top-ten. A meeting in the second round with Marcos Baghdatis looms, but otherwise Berdych should be able to set-up a semi-final encounter with Del Potro that would be highly entertaining.
Regardless of the results, the tournament is guaranteed a new winner this year as Robin Soderling is not yet healthy enough to defend the title which he has held for the past two years. I’m gonna give the nod to Berdych in this one and I have a feeling that Federer’s recent troubles might continue with an early exit this week.
Brasil Open 2012
Played on clay, the Brasil Open attracts some of the usual dirt-ballers one might expect to see. Nicolas Almagro is the defending champion and also won this event in 2008. He has played some pretty decent ball on hard-courts so far this year so we’ll see if that continues on his favourite surface. Almagro is seeded first and gets a bye into the second round. His quarter is pretty sparse which should help him get his clay-court wheels going.
Fernando Verdasco is the third seed and has a nice section in his quarter as well. Take a look at veteran Fernando Gonzalez from Chile if possible as he has already announced his retirement to take place in Miami this coming March. Injuries have really taken away Gonzo’s physical and mental endurance but hopefully he has a little magic left in him before he says goodbye.
In the bottom-half of the draw, aging Juan Carlos Ferrero the eighth seed and Thomaz Bellucci the fourth seed will likely fight it out for a spot in the quarter, while the bottom quarter is the most interesting with David Nalbandian who is unseeded, Albert Montanes and second seeded Gilles Simon.
Almagro gets my vote of confidence to take this one based on his clay-court prowess and success at this venue in previous years.
A year ago the ATP World Tour took notice of fast-rising Canadian sensation Milos Raonic when he won his first-ever event here in San Jose. Unfortunately for Canadian tennis fans, a repeat will be very difficult to achieve for several reasons.
Firstly, Raonic was forced to pull-out of the Davis Cup tie against France on Sunday with pain in his knee that had been already taped throughout the event. Will he even be healthy enough to play in San Jose?
Beyond the injury debate, Milos has a tough draw that sets him up with first-seeded Gael Monfils in a possible semi-final match-up. He will also have to contend with having the entire draw gunning for him as the defending champ. Coming into an event as the title-holder is quite different from what he experienced a year ago.
In the bottom-half things will be pretty wide-open with Andy Roddick returning from an injury he suffered at the Australian Open and occupying the second seed. Who knows what kind of game the former American No. 1 will bring with him but his lack of match play will hinder his changes.
Underachieving Sam Querrey, aging Radek Stepanek and vet Julien Benneteau round-out the bottom half in terms of potential contenders. I’d look for one of them rather than Roddick to make their way to the finals against Monfils who appears to be over the knee problems that he was dealing with upon his arrival to Canada for the Davis Cup.
The time has come! While Andrea has done a great job breaking down the World Group match-ups, I thought I’d spell out for you the specific reasons why you should set your alarm for 5AM, skip work, cancel all of your social plans, and dedicate your entire Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to the wonder that is Davis Cup.
10. The Newcomers
It’s been 8 years since Canada has been in the World Group. For Japan it’s been 27. In both cases the newcomers, led by youngsters Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori respectively, will be looking to prove that they belong with the big guns. Both teams have uphill battles- Japan hosts Croatia and Canada hosts France, but there’s nothing quite as exciting as fresh blood.
In a giant reversal of storylines, Federer is the only one of the “Big 4” playing in Davis Cup this weekend. To top it off, he’s playing in Switzerland, against a depleted but still fun-to-beat American squad, and with good buddy Stanislas Wawrinka by his side. Love him or not, it will be fun to see the Legend soak in the well-deserved adoration and play in a team atmosphere on his home turf.
8. Russian Roulette
The Russian Davis Cup Team has undergone a bit of a makeover. Alex Bogomolov, Jr. is not only making his Russian debut, but he’s the team’s #1 player. Dmitry Tursnov and Igor Andreev, team mainstays, are absent while the struggling Nikolay Davydenko and the wildcard Igor Kunitsyn take their place. Mikhail Youzhny is coming off singles and doubles victories in Zagreb, but has been complaining to the press about an injured shoulder. All in all, there’s absolutely no telling what to expect from Team Russia as they travel to Jurgen Melzer’s Austria this weekend, and as always- that’s part of the fun.
7. Veterans Day
Some players have proven time and time again that they adapt to the Davis Cup atmosphere better than others. Whether it’s Melzer leading his Austrian team, Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek becoming mental giants for the Czech Republic, or David Nalbandian discovering the game (and legs) of his youth, there’s nothing quite as exhilarating as seeing the veteran guys play their hearts out for their country.
6. The Battle of the Misfits
One of the ties I’m most looking forward to is Spain/Kazakhstan. The Spanish Davis Cup stalwarts (Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Feliciano Lopez, and Fernando Verdasco) who have dominated the team competition for the past few years are sitting out this year, paving the way for their less heralded countrymen (Nicolas Almagro, Marcel Granollers, Legend and Former #1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, and Marc Lopez). Meanwhile Kazakhstan’s team is full of former Russians (Mikhail Kukushkin, Andrey Golubev, Yuri Schukin, and Evgeny Korolev) who migrated over to the neighboring country for a chance to shine. It will be fun to see all of these former “back-ups” take the stage and fight for Davis Cup glory.
5. Tommy Haas
Do I really need to explain this one? The often injured but forever adored German (when he’s not American) is back in Davis Cup action for the first time in five years! How lucky are we? Let’s just sit back and enjoy.
4. The Other Groups
Believe it or not, the World Group Playoffs aren’t the only Davis Cup action happening this weekend. There are some pretty crucial ties happening in “Group I” and “Group II” (don’t you dare ask me to explain what that means). Teams in action that you might be interested in are: Ukraine (Sergiy Stakhovsky! Sergei Bubka- yes, Vika’s boyfriend!) vs. Monaco, Uzbekistan (Denis Istomin- am I the only one interested in him?) vs. New Zealand, Australia (Hewitt! Tomic! You know them!) vs. China, P.R., Great Britain (Murray-less) vs. Slovak Republic (starring recent ATP Zagreb finalist Lukas Lacko). You’d be amiss if you didn’t scavenge for some (surely static) streams for the lesser-known teams this weekend too.
3. The New Heroes
Every year Davis Cup weekend, especially the first round, breeds unheralded heroes. Something about the five-set format, the team unity, and the pressure/invigoration of playing for one’s country brings out the best in some unsuspecting players. Who will it be this weekend? Could Milos lead the Canadians past the accomplished French team? Could the upstart Japanese make Davis Cup history against Croatia? Could the Swedish team find a miracle and cause the Serbian team to sweat? As cliche as it sounds, expect a new Davis Cup legend to be born.
2. Double Trouble
Davis Cup is the time for Doubles to shine, and this weekend is no different. This weekend we have spectacular Doubles storylines: the reunions of fan favorites Fedrinka (Federer and Wawrinka) and Bendra (Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra), the eternal mystery of who the other Bryan Brother will be (Bob Bryan is home playing father duty, so either Mardy Fish, John Isner, or Ryan Harrison will take his place alongside Mike Bryan in Switzerland), and the always delightful Davis Cup return of BerdWorm (Berdych and Stepanek). Whether you’re a fan of doubles, awkwardness, hysteria, or just misplaced volleys, Saturday will be a special day for you.
1. The Cheerleaders
Let’s be honest- Davis Cup really isn’t about the tennis. It’s about seeing the bromance on the benches as the fellow team members watch and frazzle along with us. Nothing is as great as seeing a good cheerleader- whether it be Roger Federer on his feet urging on Stanislas Wawrinka, Juan Carlos Ferrero fist-pumping a Nicolas Almagro winner, or John Isner and Ryan Harrison embracing when Mardy Fish gets to set point, there is no better reason to watch Davis Cup than to inspect the camaraderie on the benches.
Born in Moscow but representating Germany, Mischa Zverev advanced to his first career ATP Tour semifinal (6th quarterfinal’s attempt) in dramatic fashion. Zverev was losing to Vicotr Troicki 1:5 in the third set but managed to win 6 consecutive games, attacking at the net almost at every opportunity. The German saved two match points with service winners at 1:5 and was 4 times two points away from defeat at 4:5 on Troicki’s serve.
The other Moscow-born player Marat Safin ousted the defending champion Nikolay Davydenko 7-6(5) 4-6 6-4 after 2 hours 28 minutes. Davydenko was serving to win the first set at 6:5 and was two points away from taking the set in the tie-break. Decisive break in the third set came in the 5th game when Davydenko lost his serve despite 40-0 up.
Top-seeded David Nalbandian and two-time Stockholm finalist Jarkko Nieminen have each won their matches against Spanish opponents, dropping just 5 games. Nieminen had very promising start of the year but since Australian Open hasn’t won 3 matches in a tournament.
Mario Ancic withdrew prior to the match against Kei Nishikori due to acute bronchitis. Ancic has been health problems from the beginning of the week.
Robin Soderling served 13 aces in straight sets victory over Rainer Schuettler.
Former Vienna’s champion Feliciano Lopez disappointed local fans beating Jurgen Melzer 4-6 6-3 6-4. Lopez had only two break points in the match and converted both of them.
Philipp Kohlschreiber playing his first tournament since US Open, advanced to the semifinal after easy win over Fernando Verdasco. Kohlschreiber during the week has dropped only 9 games (4 in the 1st round, 5 against Verdadco). Kohlschreiber’s countryman Petzschner reached first ATP semifinal after 6-4 6-2 over Carlos Moya in the late match.
Moscow – Quarterfinals
(7)Marat Safin (RUS) d. (1)Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) 7-6(5) 4-6 6-4
Michael Zverev (GER) d. Viktor Troicki (SRB) 6-4 3-6 7-5 – 2 M.P.
Fabrice Santoro (FRA) d. (4)Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-3 2-0 ret.
Igor Kunitsyn (RUS) d. Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 6-4 6-2
Stockholm – Quarterfinals
(1)David Nalbandian (ARG) d. (7)Albert Montanes (ESP) 6-4 6-1
(3)Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) d. Oscar Hernandez 6-1 6-4
(4)Robin Soderling (SWE) d. (5)Rainer Schuettler (GER) 6-2 7-5
(WC)Kei Nishikori (JPN) d. (2)Mario Ancic (CRO) w/o
Vienna – Quarterfinals
(q)Philipp Petzschner (GER) d. Carlos Moya (ESP) 6-4 6-2
Feliciano Lopez (ESP) d. Jurgen Melzer (AUT) 4-6 6-3 6-4
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) d. (5)Fernando Verdasco (ESP) 6-2 6-3
(8)Gael Monfils (FRA) d. (2)Fernando Gonzalez (CHI) 6-3 7-6(2)
Moscow champion from year 2005, Igor Andreev lost his second round match against Jeremy Chardy despite comfortable leading 6-3 5:2 (40-30). 21 year-old Frenchman has reached second quarterfinal this year.
Also tight match won another Frenchman (Moscow champion 2002, last year’s finalist) Paul-Henri Mathieu who needed 2 hours 48 minutes to beat Dudi Sela 6-7(3) 7-5 7-6(0).
The tournament has been dominated by the French and Russian players. Beside mentioned two players from France a place in the last eight booked their compatriot Fabrice Santoro and three players from Russia (Davydenko, Safin and Kunitsyn). Russian number 1 Nikolay Davydenko smashed Guilermo Garcia-Lopez in just 55 minutes and almost secured himself a spot in year-ending Masters Cup.
David Nalbandian finished Pim-Pim’s comeback on ATP circuit with surprisingly easy win 6-3 6-2. The match was equaled till 3:3 in the first set with a little optical advantage of the Swede who had 30-0 on Nalbandian’s serve twice. Since the 7th game of the first set Nalbandian overwhelmed his opponent breaking his huge serve three times.
Two Spaniards, clay-court specialists, Albert Montanes and Oscar Hernandez have reached indoor’s quarterfinal for the first time in career. They both lost easily first set to win without bigger problems two another sets.
One of the promising stars, 18 year-old Kei Nishikori of Japan, was two points away from losing his match against veteran Dominik Hrbaty at 4:5 in the third set. In the previous game the Japanese had triple break point. “I just concentrated on keeping my serve,” Nishikori said. “I’m glad that I did not go down after failing to break his serve from 0-40. The next game was difficult.” Hrbaty, former no. 12 in the world (now rank. 396) hasn’t reached an ATP quarterfinal from one and a half year.
Ernests Gulbis proved once again that has big potential to play on a very high level but has problems with concentration in the most important moments as well. Young Latvian wasted 5 match poins in the tie-break (6:4, 7:6, 9:8, 11:10) of the second set against Fernando Gonzalez. Gulbis has already lost four matches this year being one or two points away from vicotry (against Davydenko, Nalbandian, Acasuso and Gonzalez).
Juan Martin del Potro withdrew from the match against Philipp Kohlschreiber. It wasn’t a surprising decision in view of Del Potro’s previous tough match which was preceded by long flight from Tokyo where Del Potro had played a final last Sunday. Tired Argentinian has officially withdrew due to injury of his right big toe.
Moscow – Second Round
(1)Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) vs Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) 6-1 6-1
(7)Marat Safin (RUS) d. Julien Benneteau (FRA) 6-4 0-6 6-2
Michael Zverev (GER) d. Teimuraz Gabashvili (RUS) 6-2 2-6 6-1
Viktor Troicki (SRB) vs (8)Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) 6-3 6-4
Fabrice Santoro (FRA) d. (q)Denis Istomin (UZB) 6-2 6-4
(4)Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA) d. Dudi Sela (ISR) 6-7(3) 7-5 7-6(0)
Igor Kunitsyn (RUS) d. Robby Ginepri (USA) 6-4 6-3
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) d. (2)Igor Andreev (RUS) 3-6 7-5 6-4 – 1 M.P.
Stockholm – Second Round
(1)David Nalbandian (ARG) d. (WC)Joachim Johansson (SWE) 6-3 6-2
(7)Albert Montanes (ESP) d. (q)George Bastl (SUI) 1-6 6-3 6-2
(3)Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) d. Arnaud Clement (FRA) 6-4 6-7(5) 6-2
Oscar Hernandez (ESP) d. (6)Jose Acasuso (ARG) 2-6 6-3 6-4
(5)Rainer Schuettler (GER) d. Nicolas Lapentti (ECU) 7-6(6) 6-3
(4)Robin Soderling (SWE) d. (LL)Juan Monaco (ARG) 6-3 6-3
(WC)Kei Nishikori (JPN) d. Dominik Hrbaty (SVK) 6-1 1-6 7-5
(2)Mario Ancic (CRO) d. Steve Darcis (BEL) 7-6(4) 6-4
Vienna – Second Round
(q)Philipp Petzschner (GER) d. (q)Jan Hernych (CZE) 6-3 6-4
Carlos Moya (ESP) d. Eduardo Schwank (ARG) 6-2 6-3
Jurgen Melzer (AUT) d. Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP) 7-6(4) 6-3
Feliciano Lopez (ESP) d. (LL)Santiago Giraldo (COL) 7-6(5) 6-3
(5)Fernando Verdasco (ESP) d. Guillermo Canas (ARG) 6-1 6-2
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) d. (3)Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) w/o
(8)Gael Monfils (FRA) d. Radek Stepanek (CZE) 6-4 6-3
(2)Fernando Gonzalez (CHI) d. Ernests Gulbis (LAT) 4-6 7-6(11) 6-1 – 5 M.P.
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Marat Safin has notched 400th win in professional career beating 7-6(5) 3-6 6-4 Noam Okun of Israel. Safin places on 8th position among active players who have won the most matches in ATP Tour. Safin ended the match in bizarre fashion thinking that broke Okun’s serve to lead 6:5 in the third. He had gone to his chair before realised that won the match.
Nikolay Davydenko has extended the number of consecutive wins in Moscow to 11, after a routine win (6-1 7-5) over Florent Serra. Two-time defending champion Davydenko lost only one set in those 11 matches (against Safin two years ago in the final).
The biggest surprise of the first round was made by Uzbek Denis Istomin overcoming 7-6(2) 6-3 Mickael Llodra. It was Istomin’s first ATP win since Australian Open. Apart from Aussie Open, Istomin had won earlier matches only on lower levels and in Davis Cup.
The first round produced mixing emotions for the home crowd. After 17 years on the Tour the last singles match in professional career played Jonas Bjorkman. The Swede who debuted in Stockholm in 1992, lost in straight sets (2-6 4-6) to “lucky loser” Juan Monaco.”I felt I could have played a lot better than I did because I was playing well during practice during the last weeks.” said Bjorkman who will play in doubles till the end of the regular season.
On the other hand fellow Swede – Joachim “Pim-Pim” Johansson dignified with a win his comeback to ATP circuit after 12 months’ break. Johansson beat Nicolas Mahut 7-5 7-6(5) serving 20 aces at 75% of 1st serves in. “I didn’t feel anything on my shoulder” said 26 year-old Pim-Pim who officialy retired from professional sport at the beginning of 2008.
Juan Acasuso has won for the second time in 2008 a match from extremely difficult position. The Argentinian who beat Gulbis in Toronto being 1:5 in the deciding set, this time overcome a qualifier from Germany – Matthias Bachinger 7-6(5) 3-6 7-6(4) despite match point down at 2:5 in the third set.
In contrary to Joachim Johansson, Stefan Koubek hadn’t a promising comeback to ATP after 6 months injury-break. The Austrian lost 1-6 2-6 to 10 years younger “lucky loser” Santiago Giraldo. It was Giraldo’s first ATP match at the European indoor. After the match Koubek said he wants to play as many matches as possible to the end of the season and rebuild his form on the practice sessions in off-season in December.
Feliciano Lopez has won first ATP match after losing 6 in a row, beating in two tie-breaks Agustin Calleri.
Stanislas Wawrinka and Gilles Simon, Masters Cup contenders, have cutted down chances to qualify to Shanghai. Both players lost in the first round 6-7(5) in the third set (Wawrinka lost to qualifier Petzschner, Simon to Schwank).
Their stumble creates Shanghai hopes for Fernando Gonzalez. The Chilean, 11th in the ATP Race revenged Simone Bolelli for bitter Wimbledon’s loss beating the Italian 4-6 7-6(2) 6-2. They have met each other 4 times and 9 out of 13 sets have finished in the tie-breaks (Gonzalez leads 3-1 in Head to head; Bolelli leads 5-4 in the tie-breaks).
The revelation of the last couple of months – Juan Martin del Potro was struggling in two tie-break sets with unkown Austrian “wild card” Martin Fisher (No. 219). Del Potro saved set point in the first set tie-break (at 6:7) and was two points away from losing the second tie-break when Fisher was serving at 5:4. It was first indoor match for the Argentinian this year.
Moscow – First round
(1)Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) d. Florent Serra (FRA) 6-1 7-5
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) d. Nicolas Devilder (FRA) 6-2 6-4
Julien Benneteau (FRA) d. (q)Harel Levy (ISR) 6-4 6-3
(7)Marat Safin (RUS) d. (q)Noam Okun (ISR) 7-6(5) 3-6 6-4
Teimuraz Gabashvili (RUS) d. (3)Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) 7-5 4-6 7-6(1)
Michael Zverev (GER) d. Denis Gremelmayr (GER) 6-3 7-6(7)
Viktor Troicki (SRB) d. (WC)Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) 6-1 6-3
(8)Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) d. (WC)Alexandre Koudriavtsev (RUS) 4-6 6-3 7-6(6)
(q)Denis Istomin (UZB) d. (6)Michael Llodra (FRA) 7-6(2) 6-3
Fabrice Santoro (FRA) d. (WC)Yuri Schukin (KAZ) 4-6 7-6(2) 6-4
Dudi Sela (ISR) d. Victor Hanescu (ROU) 6-3 3-6 6-2
(4)Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA) d. Sergey Stakhovsky (UKR) 6-3 6-2
Igor Kunitsyn (RUS) d. (LL)Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 6-1 4-6 6-1
Robby Ginepri (USA) d. (q)Jiri Vanek (CZE) 6-3 6-4
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) d. Potito Starace (ITA) 3-6 6-1 6-4
(2)Igor Andreev (RUS) d. Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) 2-0 ret.
Stockholm – First round
(1)David Nalbandian (ARG) d. Bobby Reynolds (USA) 6-1 6-1
(WC)Joachim Johansson (SWE) d. Nicolas Mahut (FRA) 7-5 7-6(5)
(q)George Bastl (SUI) d. (q)Frederik Nielsen (DEN) 7-6(6) 3-6 7-6(4)
(7)Albert Montanes (ESP) d. Thomas Johansson (SWE) 6-3 4-6 6-3
(3)Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) d. Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) 6-7(5) 6-3 7-5
Arnaud Clement (FRA) d. (q)Bjorn Rehnquist (SWE) 6-2 6-1
Oscar Hernandez (ESP) d. Ivo Minar (CZE) 6-4 6-3
(6)Jose Acasuso (ARG) d. (q)Matthias Bachinger (GER) 7-6(5) 3-6 7-6(4) – saved 1 M.P.
(5)Rainer Schuettler (GER) d. Chris Guccione (AUS) 6-0 6-3
Nicolas Lapentti (ECU) d. Ivan Navarro-Pastor (ESP) 3-6 7-6(7) 7-5
(LL)Juan Monaco (ARG) d. (WC)Jonas Bjorkman (SWE) 6-2 6-4
(4)Robin Soderling (SWE) d. Benjamin Becker (GER) 7-5 6-3
(WC)Kei Nishikori (JPN) d. (8)Marcel Granollers (ESP) 2-6 6-4 6-2
Dominik Hrbaty (SVK) d. Pablo Andujar (ESP) 6-2 6-1
Steve Darcis (BEL) vs Christophe Rochus (BEL) 2-6 6-3 6-3
(2)Mario Ancic (CRO) d. Olivier Rochus (BEL) 7-6(6) 6-2
Vienna – First Round
(q)Philipp Petzschner (GER) d. (1)Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) 6-7(5) 6-2 7-6(5)
(q)Jan Hernych (CZE) d. Roko Karanusic (CRO) 4-6 6-4 7-6(5)
Carlos Moya (ESP) d. Michael Berrer (GER) 7-6(5) 7-6(6)
Eduardo Schwank (ARG) d. (7)Gilles Simon (FRA) 4-6 7-5 7-6(5)
Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP) d. (4)Ivo Karlovic (CRO) 6-4 7-6(4)
Jurgen Melzer (AUT) d. Ivan Ljubicic (CRO) 7-6(3) 6-3
Feliciano Lopez (ESP) d. Agustin Calleri (ARG) 7-6(2) 7-6(4)
(LL)Santiago Giraldo (COL) d. (WC)Stefan Koubek (AUT) 6-1 6-2
(5)Fernando Verdasco (ESP) d. (q)Victor Crivoi (ROU) 6-4 6-4
Guillermo Canas (ARG) d. Andreas Seppi (ITA) 7-6(2) 6-3
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) d. Marc Gicquel (FRA) 6-2 6-2
(3)Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) vs (WC)Martin Fischer (AUT) 7-6(7) 7-6(5)
(8)Gael Monfils (FRA) vs (WC)Alexander Peya (AUT) 3-6 6-1 6-3
Radek Stepanek (CZE) d. (q)Pavel Snobel (CZE) 6-4 6-2
Ernests Gulbis (LAT) d. Filippo Volandri (ITA) 6-2 6-3
(2)Fernando Gonzalez (CHI) vs Simone Bolelli (ITA) 4-6 7-6(2) 6-2
Gold: Rafael Nadal, Spain
Silver: Fernando Gonzalez, Chile
Bronze: Novak Djokovic, Serbia
Gold: Elena Dementieva, Russia
Silver: Dinara Safina, Russia
Bronze: Vera Zvonareva, Russia
Gold: Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka, Switzerland
Silver: Simon Aspelin and Thomas Johansson, Sweden
Bronze: Bob and Mike Bryan, United States
Gold: Venus and Serena Williams, United States
Silver: Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual, Spain
Bronze: Yan Zi and Zheng Jie, China
Juan Martin Del Potro beat Viktor Troicki 6-3 6-3 to win the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington, D.C.
Nadia Petrova won the Western and Southern Financial Groups Women’s Open in Mason, Ohio, by defeating Nathalie Dechy 6-2 6-1
Pat Cash beat Jim Courier 6-3 6-4 to win the Hall of Fame Champions Cup title in Newport, Rhode Island
Frederico Gil beat Benedikt Dorsch 6-4 1-6 6-3 to win the Ted Open Challenger in Istanbul, Turkey
“Nowhere in my best dreams I can imagine something like what I did this year. I know how difficult it is to win these things, and especially here, because you only have one chance every four years.” – Rafael Nadal, after adding Olympic gold to his victories at Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
“I never expected a medal – gold, silver or bronze. It’s unbelievable. For me this is the best moment in my career.” – Elena Dementieva, after winning the women’s singles title.
“It does mean more for me to win it with Serena, to share this kind of moment with your sister. I mean, we are practically joined at the hip.” – Venus Williams, who with sister Serena won the women’s doubles.
“Sort of a dream-come-true moment. Maybe it comes around once in a lifetime. It’s almost disbelief, to some degree.” – Roger Federer, after he teamed with Stanislas Wawrinka to win the men’s doubles gold medal.
“We’re leaving China on a high. We were obviously disappointed that we couldn’t make the gold medal match, but it’s going to be something really special to us to have that medal back at home.” – Mike Bryan, after teaming with brother Bob to win the bronze medal in men’s doubles.
“To win any medal in the Olympics is a huge achievement. Not many of the athletes get a chance to win a medal.” – Novak Djokovic, who beat James Blake 6-3 7-6 (4) to win the third-place bronze medal.
“I felt like I competed hard. I have to take something positive from the way I was playing this week.” – James Blake, who upset Roger Federer, then lost the next two matches at the Beijing Olympics.
“I’m the most consistent player, so that’s why I became number one in the world. And my time will come. I’m only 23 years old. It’s not like I’m at the end of my career.” – Jelena Jankovic, defending her rise to the top of the women’s rankings without having reached the final of a Grand Slam tournament.
“I came here to win an Olympic medal and realistically I was only ever going to win one in either singles or doubles. If I had to pick one, I’d like to win it with my brother.” – Andy Murray, following his upset singles loss to Lu Yen-Hsun of Taiwan at the Olympics. Andy and brother Jamie Murray then lost in the second round of doubles to Frenchmen Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra 6-1 6-3.
“The crowd cheered me with so much passion and many of them used my hometown dialect. It was great to play in front of them.” – Wimbledon semifinalist Zheng Jie after her first-round victory at the Olympics. She wound up teaming with Yan Zi for the bronze medal in doubles.
“You know the feeling when you remember something and smile in the darkness? I had this kind of smile on my face that night.” – Akgul Amanmuradov of Uzbekistan, in her blog about the Olympics opening ceremony.
“He can’t win all the time. It is not humanly possible. I think now the pressure is off, so watch out.” – Tomas Berdych, after losing to Roger Federer, saying the Swiss star just has had too much pressure.
“Rafa played great to get it. That’s what I expected and hoped for many years ago when I got to number one – that if ever somebody were to take it away from me, he would have to play an incredible tennis schedule, win the biggest tournaments, dominate the game basically. I think Rafa totally deserves it.” – Roger Federer, on Rafael Nadal taking over the number one ranking.
“This is definitely not the way I wanted to go out, but I am looking forward to getting a week on court to focus on things not in a match situation.” – Andy Roddick, after being upset in Washington, D.C., by Viktor Troicki.
“Roger has been dominating everyone for four years and now Nadal is beating everyone. For me, there are two number ones.” – Italy’s Potito Starace.
“She served really well. She kept it deep, and I was always under pressure. My serve wasn’t that good, and she has one of the best on the tour, so there was a huge gap.” – Nathalie Dechy, after losing to Nadia Petrova in the final at Mason, Ohio.
“I wouldn’t mind playing Roger or Rafa. I just think it would be fun to play on a big court and get that experience, but whoever I play is fine. I’m just looking forward to the opportunity.” – Austin Krajicek, who earned a wild card entry into the U.S. Open by winning the U.S. National Boys’ 18 championship.
Thursday at the Olympics was a rough day for the favorites. It was capped by Li Na’s 7-5 7-5 victory over Venus Williams, but earlier the same day Serena Williams was sidelined by eventual champion Elena Dementieva 3-6 6-4 6-3, and James Blake shocked top-seeded Roger Federer 6-4 7-6 (2). The losers ended up winners, however, as sisters Venus and Serena won the women’s doubles title while Federer teamed with fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka to capture the men’s doubles gold.
Rafael Nadal continued his torrid summer by adding Olympic gold to his trophy case. It was the first gold medal for Spain in tennis as Nadal became the first player ranked in the top five in the world to win the men’s singles at the Olympics, never losing serve in his 6-3 7-6 (2) 6-3 victory over Fernando Gonzalez of Chile. Nadal also moves up to number one in the world this week, finally supplanting Roger Federer. Nadal has won 38 of his last 39 matches, including victories over Federer in the finals of Roland Garros and Wimbledon. Gonzalez is the first man since 1920 to medal in men’s singles in two successive Olympic Games.
Roger Federer finally won Olympic gold. He teamed with Stanislas Wawrinka to capture the men’s doubles for Switzerland, beating Simon Aspelin and Thomas Johansson of Sweden 6-3 6-4 6-7 (4) 6-3 for the title. It was one of the few bright spots this year for Federer, who has not won a Grand Slam tournament since last September and has seen his 4½ -year reign atop the rankings end when Rafael Nadal became number one in the world. It is Federer’s first medal in his three Olympics.
Russia swept all three medals in the women’s singles, with Elena Dementieva gaining the gold, Dinara Safina the silver and Vera Zvonareva the bronze. It was the first time a country has swept all three medals in one tennis event since Great Britain did it in the women’s singles in 1908. Dementieva beat Safina 3-6 7-5 63 for the gold medal, while Zvonareva stopped Li Na of China 6-0 7-5 in the bronze-medal match. Zvonareva was inserted in the singles draw only after fellow Russian Maria Sharapova withdrew from the Olympics with a shoulder injury. It was the second Olympic medal for Dementieva, who won silver in 2000.
Venus and Serena gave the United States a gold medal in women’s doubles by beating Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual of Spain 6-2 6-0. With the win, the Williams sisters improved their lifetime Olympic doubles record to 10-0. They won the doubles gold at Sydney but didn’t play in Athens four years ago because Serena was hurt. In the men’s doubles, brothers Mike and Bob Bryan won a bronze for the United States by beating Michael Llodra and Arnaud Clement of France 3-6 6-3 6-4. The medal is the first for the Bryan twins.
Novak Djokovic of Serbia won the bronze in men’s singles when he defeated American James Blake 6-3 7-6 (4). Djokovic, who lost to Rafael Nadal in the semifinals, followed his medal-winning victory by ripping off his shirt and throwing it to the cheering crowd along with two rackets. He then circled the court waving a Serbian flag. Blake had upset top-seeded Roger Federer in the quarterfinals before losing his next two matches.
Rafael Nadal isn’t the only ATP player having a grand summer. Juan Martin del Potro won his fourth straight tournament by routing Viktor Troicki 6-3 6-3 in the final of the Legg Mason Classic in Washington, D.C. The 19-year-old Argentine ran his winning streak to 19 matches and has won 38 of his last 40 sets. In his last four tournaments, he has win titles in Stuttgart, Kitzbuhel, Los Angeles and now Washington, D.C. Troicki, a 22-year-old from Serbia, was playing in his first ATP final.
There apparently were so many fans of Roger Federer living in the Olympic village that the Swiss tennis star instead stayed in a Beijing hotel. Every time Federer showed up at the Olympic village his fellow athletes swamped him with requests for autographs. “It is impossible, really, there are so many athletes asking for photos and so on. It is not ideal to prepare,” Federer said. He stayed in the village at the last two Olympics and even met his girlfriend there during the Sydney Games.
When the Gumulya sisters finally met on a tennis court when it counted, a tournament title was on the line and 22-year-old Sandy was the top seed. But it was 17-year-old Beatrice Gumulya who came away with her first career singles title, capturing the USD $10,000 ITF event in Jakarta, Indonesia. Sandy Gumulya may be Indonesia’s top female player, but she was routed by her younger sister 6-2 6-1. The Gumulya sisters rarely play in the same tournament, and it has usually been Sandy who has toted home the trophies.
Jelena Jankovic showed how much a champion she is when she participated in a gala event in Beijing called Champions For Children. Jankovic took time out before the Olympic tennis competition got underway to support UNICEF in her role as National Ambassador for Serbia, and she also chatted with 14-year-old Chinese tennis champion Liu Yingchong. At the event, which focused on the most vulnerable children, Jankovic advocated for equality for girls. Other celebrities at Champions For Children included movie star Jackie Chan and classical pianist Lang Lang.
SAME OLD MAC
Even with age, rage is still there for John McEnroe. The left-hander was tossed from his opening round-robin match at the Hall of Fame Champions Cup in Newport, Rhode Island, for a new kind of triple fault: cursing, arguing with the chair umpire and making an obscene gesture at fans. While arguing a line call, the 49-year-old McEnroe was given a code violation warning for uttering an obscenity. When he kept up his tirade against chair umpire Ray Brodeur, he drew two abuse of official penalties. As the argument progressed, fans started yelling at McEnroe to resume play. McEnroe responded with his obscene gesture and was ejected, the first time McEnroe has been defaulted from a match on the Outback Champions Series, a circuit for stars over 30.
SWITCH AT THE TOP
In the maddening world of tennis rankings, Ana Ivanovic has regained the number one spot from her Serbian compatriot Jelana Jankovic, even though she withdrew from the Olympics with a thumb injury. Jankovic played – which could have been her downfall – but was eliminated in the quarterfinals by silver medalist Dinara Safina. If she had won the gold, Jankovic would have retained the number one ranking. Svetlana Kuznetsova also could have become number one if she had won the Olympic gold. Instead, the Russian lost in the first round.
When her shirt was soaked with sweat, Australia’s Casey Dellacqua changed at her courtside chair by stripping down to her sports bra during her 6-2 6-0 loss to Victoria Azarenka of Belarus at the Olympics. Dellacqua was furious when chair umpire Ali Katebi and then tournament supervisor Donna Kelso refused to allow her to go to the dressing room to change her shirt without having to take an authorized toilet break. “In this humidity, you should be able to change a shirt,” Dellacqua said. “I could literally feel water dripping down my legs. But he wouldn’t let me go off the court … So I just thought, ‘Oh, I’ll strip’.'” That, she did.
SET TO WED
A German newspaper says former Wimbledon champion Boris Becker plans to marry his late manager’s daughter. According to Bild, Sandy Meyer-Woelden, 24, will marry the 40-year-old Becker. The bride-to-be is the daughter of former Becker manager Axel Meyer-Woelden, who died in 1997. Becker is divorced from his first wife, Barbara Becker, with whom he has two children. He also has a daughter with London-based model Angela Ermakova. Meyer-Woelden is a jewelry designer and for several years dated German tennis star Tommy Haas.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has been added to the Outback Champions Series for 2009. The Rio Champions Cup will be held March 12-15, 2009, on an indoor hard court at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro and will be the first stop for the senior tour in South America for champion tennis players age 30 and over. Jim Courier, John McEnroe and Goran Ivanisevic are the first three players to commit to play in the eight-player round-robin event.
SHOWING IT AGAIN
The 2008 Wimbledon final between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, considered by many as one of the greatest tennis matches ever, will be shown in the United States again on ESPN Classic on Sunday, August 24,. The five-time defending champ Federer came back from two sets down and saved two championship points in the fourth-set tiebreak before falling 6-4 6-4 6-7 (5) 6-7 (8) 9-7 as Nadal won his first Wimbledon title. The rain-delayed match ended in near darkness after 4 hours, 48 minutes of play, making it the longest (in terms of elapsed time) men’s final in Wimbledon recorded history, and ending 7 hours, 15 minutes after its scheduled start. The defeat also brought to an end Federer’s 65-match winning streak on grass.
Severine Bremond will play in her 19th consecutive Grand Slam tournament singles draw. The Frenchwoman, who turned 29 the past week, received a wild card into the U.S. Open, which begins August 25. Once ranked as high as 34 in the world, Bremond reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon two years ago. Others receiving wild cards into the main women’s singles draw are U.S. Girls’ 18s national champion Gail Brodsky, American Fed Cup players Jamea Jackson and Ahsha Rolle, and American teenagers Asia Muhammad, Melanie Oudin and Coco Vandeweghe. The United States Tennis Associated said an eighth wild card will be given to an Australian player not yet named.
Awarded wild cards into the men’s singles draw are Americans Amer Delic, a former NCAA singles champion; Brendan Evans, Scoville Jenkins, Austin Krajicek, Jesse Levine, and Sam Warburg, along with Carsten Ball of Australia and Laurent Recouderc of France. Krajicek, a distant relative of 1996 Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek, earned his wild card by capturing the USTA Boys’ 18 singles national championship, defeating Ryan Thacher 2-6 6-2 6-2 6-0 in the first battle of left-handers in the tournament’s finals history.
The United States boys’ and girls’ teams pulled off a historic feat at the World Junior Tennis Finals, each winning the 14-and-under version of Fed Cup and Davis Cup in Prostejov, Czech Republic. It is the first time in the history of the event that one country has captured both titles. The girls’ team successfully defended its 2007 title, while the boys’ team won the championship for the first time since 2003.
Sawgrass Country Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, will be the site next year for the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour event that has been held at Amelia Island Plantation just outside Jacksonville, Florida. The tournament, which had been known as Bausch & Lomb, will also get new sponsorship and be known as The MPS Group Championships.
Kelsey Anonsen is giving up her tennis scholarship at the University of Washington to switch to the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, and that school’s women’s basketball team. In high school, the 5-foot-9 (1.7m) guard led her team to a provincial basketball title and was a tournament all-star. In tennis, she was ranked sixth in the Canadian province.
SETS NEW ANTI-DOPING CODE
The International Tennis Federation has ratified a new anti-doping code which will allow more flexibility in determining sanctions. The changes, which will allow the circumstances of a case to be taken into account to a greater extent, go into effect on January 1.
Tennis great Tracy Austin is the latest sports figure to accuse a prominent Los Angeles investment broker of fraud. Austin and her husband Scott Holt filed a civil lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court alleging that Gary R. Fournier charged excessive commissions on bond trades and “churned” their accounts to generate fees from unnecessary transactions. The couple claims damages “in excess of USD $500,000” on the trades, which allegedly occurred from 1994 to 2002, while Fournier worked for Salomon Smith Barney Inc. Its successor firm, Citigroup Global Markets Inc., also is named as a defendant. Fournier has denied wrongdoing. Others who have filed charges against Fournier include former basketball players Jerry West, Mitch Kupchak, B.J. Armstrong and Stacey Augmon; and former major league baseball players Sean Douglass and Rex Hudler.
Washington: Marc Gicquel and Robert Lindstedt beat Bruno Soares and Kevin Ullyett 7-6 (6) 6-3
Mason: Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova beat Hsieh Su-Wei and Yaroslava Shvedova 6-3 4-6 10-8 (match tiebreak)
Istanbul: Michael Kohlman and Frank Moser beat David Skoch and Igor Zelenay 7-6 (4) 6-4
SITES TO SURF
New Haven: www.pilotpentennis.com
Forest Hills: www.foresthillstennis.com
US Open: www.usopen.org
Jelena Jankovic: www.jj-jelenajankovic.com/
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$708,000 Pilot Pen Tennis, New Haven, Connecticut, hard
$600,000 Pilot Pen Tennis, New Haven, Connecticut, hard
$74,800 Forest Hills Tennis Classic, Forest Hills, New York, hard
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
ATP and WTA TOUR
U.S. Open, Flushing Meadows, New York, hard
The Olympics event has gotten increasingly compelling.
The Russian women have their 3rd, 4th, and 6th ranked players in the semi-final round (Safina, Dementieva, and Zvonareva respectively). This is unprecedented since the Olympics were reinstated in 1988.
In a nod to the International Tennis Federation (ITF), who did the seeding for the doubles, it seems as though some of the best “singles” players in the world are poised to be decorated in doubles gold. This is in stark contrast to Rennae Stubbs’ comments. The affable Aussie offered a self-serving criticism of the seeding policy (before losing to doubles “specialists” from Spain), suggesting that it is incorrect to factor in singles rankings when seeding for the doubles event.
Roger Federer has continued his quest for gold… but in the doubles. With partner Stan Wawrinka, also ranked top 10 in the world in singles, redemption should come at the hands of surprise Swedes Tommy Johansson and Simon Aspelin during the gold medal round. I will continue to presume that if Roger Federer actually played doubles frequently (and the same can be said for the Williams sisters in women’s tennis) that he would be atop the world ranking. This is reminiscent of Barcelona, when two great singles players (Boris Becker and Michael Stich) ran the tables to take the gold.
The top-seeded Bryan brothers take on Michael Llodra and Arnie Clement for the bronze. The French team beat the Bryans in Davis Cup earlier this year and in the 2007 Wimbledon final.
James Blake lost a heartbreaker to Chilean Fernando Gonzalez in the semi-final. The match was marred by an incredulous moment. The first point of the 19th game in the third set was decided when Blake rifled a passing shot point-blank that evidently clicked off Gonzalez’ racquet before sailing long. Replays confirmed this. Unfortunately, the umpire did not see or hear this. In an act of dubious sportsmanship, the Chilean offered nothing. Commentator Jimmy Arias, who might well be the best in the business, called it exactly what it was: Cheating.
This has been gum-chewing time for US coaches Rodney Harmon and Jay Berger. Like tennis coaches are wont to do, Harmon and Berger have looked presciently calm on the sidelines, but their stomachs surely have been churning.
In the second men’s semi, the relentless Rafael Nadal managed to overcome Novak Djokovic. Theirs is fast becoming the best rivalry in tennis, as Djokovic has the movement and groundstroke artillery to compete favorably against Nadal. The final point of the match came when Rafa chased down some bombs and lofted a short lob that was sure to be smashed away. Unfortunately nerves came into play or Djokovic simply took his eyes off the ball, but he missed the simple overhead smash. His tearful reaction while walking off the court confirmed just how meaningful this Olympic opportunity was for him.
I have been among the naysayers about Olympic tennis, but could not have been proved more wrong. The painful, inconsolable reactions from losing players, and the sheer tension at the end of close matches, have told a clear story. The players love this event, and are desperate for success. Citius, Altius, Fortius indeed!
After three days of play in the tennis competition at the 2008 Olympic tennis competition, it is the French men and the Russian women who leading in the team competition in Beijing. Both nations are seeking their nation’s first gold medal in the team competition in tennis….eerrr….uh…wait…a minute. Team competition? Is there one?
In my column posted last week (click HERE to read), I suggested that a team competition at the Olympics consist of each singles and doubles victory earning one point for a nation in a “team competition” and the nation with the most points at the end of the competition, be awarded team gold, silver and bronze. If this was indeed the case at the Games (there is only individual medals at stake in men’s and women’s singles and doubles), then after two rounds of singles and one round of doubles play, the men’s standings would be as follows
France – 8 points
Russia – 6 points
Switzerland – 4 points
Argentina – 4 points
Spain – 4 points
Czech Republic – 3 points
USA – 3 points
Germany – 3 points
Chile – 3 points
Belgium – 3 points
Serbia – 3 points
Austria – 3 points
France is paced by its depth as three players – Gael Monfils, Gilles Simon, Paul Henri Mathieu – all reaching the round of 16, and Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra reaching the round of 16 in doubles. Russia has two players in the round of 16 of singles – Michael Youzhny and Igor Andreev – and two doubles teams – Nikolay Davydenko and Andreev and Youzhny and Dmitry Tursunov into the round of 16 of doubles. Switzerland is, of course, paced by Roger Federer, who is the round of 16 of both singles and doubles (with Stan Wawrinka). David Nalbandian is the only Argentine still remaining in the men’s field as he is into the round of 16 of singles. For men’s singles and doubles draws at the Games, click here.
In women’s play, the team point standings would be as follows;
Russia – 8 points
China – 6 points
USA – 6 points
Belarus – 4 points
Ukraine – 3 points
Czech Republic – 3 points
Italy – 3 points
France – 3 points
Slovakia – 3 points
Russia has three women remaining in women’s singles – Dinara Safina (the U.S. Open Series women’s winner), Vera Zvonareva (who replaced the injured Maria Sharapova in the Olympic field) and 2000 Olympic silver medalist Elena Dementieva, who are all into the round of 16. In doubles, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Safina, the No. 1 seeded team, are into the round of 16 as are Zvonareva and Elena Vesnina. The Chinese women have Jie Zheng, the Wimbledon semifinalist earlier this year, and Li Na, the first-round conqueror of No. 3 seed Kuznetsova, into the round of 16 of singles, while Zheng and Zi Yan are into the round of 16 of doubles. The United States is, of course, paced by the Williams sisters – Venus and Serena – who are into the round of 16 of singles – and vying for all-sister Olympic gold medal match – and through to the round of 16 of doubles. Lindsay Davenport and Liezel Huber are through to the round of 16 of doubles as well for the Americans. For men’s singles and doubles draws at the Games, click here.
Let’s keep close tabs on how the rest of the tournament shapes up as far as our “mythic” team competition goes.
Vroom: Russian Maria Sharapova proved that her Australian Open title was no joke, backing it up with her second title of the year at the $2.5 million Qatar Total Open. The Under Armour of opponent Vera Zvonareva was no match for Masha — she took Vera out 6-1, 2-6, 6-0.
Vera takes home a nice trophy.
The men: Andy Roddick — who looks a little… chubby? weathered? (Does he look different to anyone else? Is it facial hair?) — continued to wow the San Jose crowd with a winning performance, besting Radek Stepanek 6-4, 7-5 in the final. (FYI, Andy’s won this event twice before, and made the semis two other times.)
Meanwhile, David Nalbandian‘s back troubles disappeared this week during the Copa Telmex in Buenos Aires. He beat compatriot Jose Acasuso 3-6,7-6 and 6-4. I’m soooo ready for the next Yonex colorway. Yellow and red are too intense for the clay. Unless you’re Guga Kuerten.
And this streaker, who made a statement at the Rotterdam final, is exactly why I am not vegan. Improper nutrition would lead me to do redundant things like writing “Vegan Streaker” on myself — as if the crowd could confuse me as a linesman. When he gets out of jail, can someone get him some beef?