Novak Djokovic beat Stanislas Wawrinka 4-6 6-3 6-3 to win the Rome Masters in Rome, Italy.
Dina Safina defeated Elena Dementieva 3-6 6-2 6-2 to win the Qatar Telecom German Open in Berlin, Germany.
Thomas Muster won the BlackRock Tour of Champions in Rome, Italy, by a walkover when Goran Ivanisevic was unable to play because of a shoulder injury.
“This year has been like a dream for me, but I want to continue. I want to finish the year as number one.” – Novak Djokovic, who added the Rome Masters to his 2008 Australian Open title.
“My mother can buy anything she wants. She can walk into any store and I will pay for it.” – Dina Safina, after beating her third top-ten player of the week and winning the German Open.
“I’m a little surprised, because in one week playing the final in Masters Series, and to be 44 and then top ten after the week is a big jump for me.” – Stanislas Wawrinka, whose surprising week at the Rome Masters has boosted his ranking from number 44 in the world to number 10.
“It happens once in a while, but never anything like this – a tournament without semifinals.” – American tennis commentator Bud Collins on players retiring from both Rome Masters semifinals because of injuries.
“The problem is there’s a real risk the injury might get worse.” – Amelie Mauresmo, who said a scan showed she has an intercostal tear in her rib area, the reason she has pulled out of two tournaments, including the Italian Open.
“This is another showing that the season is really tough. The players are not getting injured for nothing.” – Novak Djokovic, after both Rome Masters semifinals ended with retirements because of injury.
“We are aware that this year’s calendar asks a great deal of all ATP players in terms of scheduling for the European spring clay court season.” – Andy Anson, ATP CEO of Europe, about the players’ complaints of the packed ATP calendar.
“You can put me on the list if you want to, but I don’t know if I can keep playing like this. This week I played so good, starting with Justine (Henin), just so good.” – Dina Safina, when asked if she should be considered one of the favorite for the French Open women’s title later this month.
“I came into the match with the belief that I can win.” – Radek Stepanek, after upsetting Roger Federer 7-6 (4) 7-6 (7) in the quarterfinals of the Rome Masters.
“It’s quite disappointing. I played so poorly on the big points.” – Roger Federer, after losing to Radek Stepanek.
“If someone had told me I would be in the final I would have shaken his hand and given him half the prize money.” – Dinara Safina before she won the German Open title.
“I definitely lost that match, rather than she won it off me. It just wasn’t my day out there. It wasn’t pretty for me out there at all.” – Serena Williams, following her 2-6 6-1 7-6 (5) loss to Dinara Safina at the German Open.
“It’s a very important win for me and I feel special right now. I haven’t had this special feeling for a long time.” – Juan Carlos Ferrero, after handing Rafael Nadal only his second loss on clay in three years, 7-5 6-1 in the second round of the Rome Masters.
“I have this pain at the back of my foot, so it was tough for me. I just congratulate Juan Carlos. I think this is an important win for him because he’s trying to go to the Olympics.” – Rafael Nadal, after losing to Juan Carlos Ferrero.
“This dispute isn’t specifically about whether or not Madrid is the venue. The players and Davis Cup team captain (Emilio Sanchez Vicario) have once again been misled, and a promise has not been kept to defend and approve the conditions established for us so as not to give our rivals an advantage.” – Statement from Spain’s top players complaining about the choice of venue for September’s Davis Cup semifinal against the United States.
“It just comes to the point where the schedule is too long without the biggest sporting event in the world shoved right in the middle of its busiest part of the season.” – Andy Roddick, saying he’s skipping the Beijing Olympics tennis tournament to instead prepare for the U.S. Open
“For my favorite fan base – 75-year-old women – this proves to you that can still be young at an advanced age.” – John McEnroe, 49, after winning his first Outback Champions Series title in Boston in his 13th career tournament on the 30-and-over tour.
Dina Safina rode her string of upsets to the title at the Qatar Telecom German Open in Berlin, Germany. The 22-year-old Russian knocked off world number one Justine Henin, then fifth-seeded Serena Williams during the week. In the final, Safina beat ninth-ranked Elena Dementieva 3-6 6-2 6-2. Safina is the sister of two-time Grand Slam tournament champion Marat Safin.
Switzerland has been represented in many tournament finals over the past few years, but the Rome Masters produced a surprise from the Alpine confederation. It was Stanislas Wawrinka, not Roger Federer, who reached the title match before Novak Djokovic struggled to a 4-6 6-3 6-3 victory. Wawrinka’s run included victories over two top ten players, James Blake and Andy Roddick, as well as Britain’s Andy Murray and Juan Carlos Ferrero right after he had shocked fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal. The run to the final boosted Wawrinka’s ranking to number 10 in the world, make it the first time since the rankings began in 1973 that two Swiss players have been in the top ten at the same time.
The Rome Masters singles semifinals lasted all of 10 games. Total. Andy Roddick pulled out of his match against Stanislas Wawrinka with a back injury while trailing 0-3. Then Radek Stepanek retired from his semifinal with Novak Djokovic leading 6-0 1-0. Djokovic’s quarterfinal opponent, Nicolas Almagro, also retired with an injury. And although he didn’t retire, defending champion Rafael Nadal suffered from a blister on his right foot in his second-round loss to Juan Carlos Ferrero. In all, there were a tournament-record five retirements as Fernando Gonzalez withdrew from his third-round match because of a right leg injury and Juan Martin Del Potro retired in his first-round match against Andy Murray.
Fans at the Rome Masters should have expected as much. One day after both men’s singles semifinals were drastically shortened because of injury retirements, the BlackRock Tour of Champions final wasn’t held at all: Goran Ivanisevic, who beat Pat Cash on Saturday in three sets, woke up Sunday with a sore shoulder and couldn’t play, giving the title to Thomas Muster on a walkover. Muster did take to the court, however, playing an exhibition match with Henri Leconte.
The top two players in both the men’s and women’s singles- Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, and Justine Henin and Ana Ivanovic – were among the big names who were upset in tournaments the past week, the men in Rome and the women in Berlin. Others who were upset this week included Svetlana Kuznetsova, Jelena Jankovic and Serena Williams in Berlin, while David Ferrrer, James Blake and David Nalbandian were among those toppled in Rome.
Spanish players are upset that their nation’s Davis Cup semifinal against the United States will be played in Madrid. The players, who want to play at sea-level where the ball would be slower, feel that Madrid’s 600-meter (1,968 feet) altitude will favor the big-serving American team. Emilio Sanchez Vicario was confirmed as team captain even though Sanchez sided with the players in complaining that Spanish Tennis Federation president Pedro Munoz had gone back on a promise to listen to the players’ advice regarding the selection of the site. Munoz said: “They can say I didn’t keep my promise, but not that I lied.”
Maria Sharapova’s decision to skip the German Open has proved beneficial to her ranking. When Ana Ivanovic was upset in the semifinals of the Berlin tournament by Elena Dementieva, it meant the Serbian player would slip from her world number two ranking and be overtaken by Sharapova. The Russian still hasn’t said why she pulled out of the Berlin event.
Two-time champion Amelie Mauresmo has pulled out of this week’s Italian Open because of a rib injury. The Frenchwoman won the Rome tournament in 2004 and 2005 and has twice been runner-up. Mauresmo was replaced in the draw by Nadia Petrova.
STAKING A CLAIM
Madison Brengle, an 18-year-old from Dover, Delaware, earned a spot in the main draw of the French Open after winning a USTA wild card tournament in Boca Raton, Florida. Currently ranked number 274 in the world, Brengle has now won four USTA wild card playoffs – for the Australian Open main draw wild cards in 2007 and 2008, and a French Open qualifying draw wild card in 2007. The U.S. Tennis Association and the French Tennis Federation have a reciprocal agreement in which wild card entries into the main draw at the 2008 French Open and 2008 U.S. Open are exchanged.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has appointed Andrew Jarrett as Chief of Officiating. A former British Davis Cup player, Jarrett coached the British Olympic team and has been manager of Women’s National Training at the Lawn Tennis Association. He is a gold badge referee and has worked as a Grand Slam supervisor at the Australian Open and U.S. Open. In 2006, he was appointed Wimbledon referee.
SITE FOR SENIORS
Three players who have been ranked number one in the world and have been inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame – John McEnroe, Jim Courier and Mats Wilander – will play in the Hall of Fame Champions Cup in Newport, Rhode Island, August 13-17. The three Hall of Famers will be joined by five other tennis champions in the five-day singles round-robin competition.
While heavy fighting was going on in the country, Anne Keothavong of Britain beat Lourdes Dominguez-Lino of Spain 6-4 6-1 to win a $50,000 International Tennis Federation women’s tournament in Jounieh, Lebanon. Jounieh is located eight miles (30 kilometers) north of Beirut, which for four days during the week was the focus of bloody sectarian clashes between Sunnis and Shiites. The tournament was conducted with no problems.
Justine Henin was slapped with a $20,000 (USD) fine by the WTA Tour when the world number one player was a late withdrawal from the Italian Open, citing fatigue. Henin lost in the third round of the German Open this past week after taking a month off with a knee injury. The four-time French Open champion will head to Roland Garros with having played just two clay court matches this spring.
Chinese star Peng Shuai helped celebrate the 100-day countdown to the Beijing Olympics by becoming UPS’s star Courier For A Day. The first stop for courier Peng was the Beijing Organizing Committee where she presented a letter for commitment from United Parcel Service, one of the sponsors of the Games. Then Peng headed to the China Charity Federation to make a special delivery. Besides sponsoring the 2008 Paralympics Games, the UPS Foundation is donating $100,000 (USD) to the China Paralympics Games Management Center.
Jelena Jankovic says she has been taking acting lessons, with a possible movie role in the future. “It was super,” she said of the acting lesson. “I’ve always enjoyed activity that is not connected with tennis. It (the lesson) lasted only an hour. I got instructions to use my imagination and I acted the scene without anybody’s advice. At the end we did several exercises because they wanted to test my acting talent.”
Kimiko Date-Krumm’s comeback ran into reality in Fukuoka, Japan. Ranked as high as number five in the world, Date-Krumm’s second tournament back from a 12-year retirement ended in the quarterfinals of the $50,000 International Tennis Federation event when she lost to top-seeded Aiko Nakamura 6-2 6-2. The eventual winner was Tomoko Yonemura of Japan, who beat Thailand’s Tamarin Tanasugarn in the final 6-1 2-6 7-6 (8). In her first tournament back, Date-Krumm won the doubles. This time she and her partner lost in the first round.
SEE FOR YOURSELF
ESPN360.com will provide more than 150 hours of live online tennis coverage from Sony Ericsson WTA Tour events around the world. The coverage has already begun and will conclude with coverage of the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha, Qatar. Additionally, matches will be available for on-demand replay for at least 48 hours after their completion.
SUPPORTING THE SPORT
Juan Maria Tintore, president of the Real Club De Tenis Barcelona, has been awarded the Golden Achievement Award for 2008 by the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The award is presented annually to individuals who have made important contributions to tennis in the fields of administration, promotion or education, and have devoted long and outstanding service to the sport. Tintore was presented the award at a ceremony in Barcelona by Arantxa Sanchez Vicario.
SCORING DAVIS CUP
Bosnia/Herzegovina, Lithuania, Moldova and Norway took another step toward being promoted to Davis Cup Europe/Africa Zone Group II next year. Competing in an eight-nation round-robin competition played on clay in Yerevan, Armenia, the four will now play for two spots in Group II. The other four nations – Armenia, Andorra, Estonia and Ghana – will meet, with the teams finishing third and fourth being relegated to Europe/Africa Zone Group IV in 2009.
Rome: Bob and Mike Bryan beat Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic 3-6 6-4 10-8
Berlin: Cara Black and Liezel Huber beat Nuria Llagostera Vives and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 3-6 6-2 10-2
SITES TO SURF
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
$2,270,000 Hamburg Masters, Hamburg, Germany, clay
$1,340,000 Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Rome, Italy, clay
BlackRock Tour of Champions Hamburg, Germany, clay
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$1,500,000 ARAG ATP World Team Championship, Duesseldorf, Germany, clay
$370,000 The Hypo Group Tennis International 2008, Poertschach, Austria, clay
$370,000 Grand Prix Hassan II, Casablanca, Morocco, clay
$200,000 Istanbul Cup, Istanbul, Turkey, clay
$175,000 Internationaux de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France, clay
$1,340,000 Qatar Telecom German Open, Berlin, Germany, clay
BlackRock Tour of Champions, Sao Paulo, Brazil, clay