By TW Contributing Editor, Ed McGrogan
Last Week's Tournament
BCR Open Romania (ATP - Clay - Bucharest, Romania)
- Singles Final: Gilles Simon def. Carlos Moya 6-3, 6-4.
- Singles Semifinal: Carlos Moya def. Richard Gasquet 6-2, 6-4.
- Singles Semifinal: Gilles Simon def. Jose Acasuso 4-6, 7-6, 6-4.
- Singles Draw
- Doubles Final: Nicolas Devilder/Paul-Henri Mathieu def. Mariusz Fyrstenberg/Marcin Matkowski 7-6, 6-7, 22-20.
- Doubles Semifinal: Mariusz Fyrstenberg/Marcin Matkowski def. Jeremy Chardy/Teimuraz Gabashvili 6-2, 6-3.
- Doubles Semifinal: Nicolas Devilder/Paul-Henri Mathieu def. Jose Acasuso/Sebastian Prieto 6-4, 6-1.
- Doubles Draw
Commonwealth Bank Tennis Classic (WTA - Hard - Bali, Indonesia)
- Singles Final: Patty Schnyder def. Tamira Paszek 6-3, 6-0.
- Singles Semifinal: Tamira Paszek def. Daniela Hantuchova 6-2, 5-7, 6-4.
- Singles Semifinal: Patty Schnyder def. Nadia Petrova 7-5, 6-1.
- Doubles Final: Su-Wei Hsieh/Shaui Peng def. Marta Domachowska/Nadia Petrova 6-7, 7-6, 10-7.
- Doubles Semifinal: Su-Wei Hsieh/Shaui Peng def. Olga Savchuk/Ipek Senoglu 6-3, 6-3.
- Doubles Semifinal: Marta Domachowska/Nadia Petrova def. Jill Craybas/Natalie Grandin 6-4, 5-7, 11-9.
Fed Cup Final (ITF - Clay - Madrid, Spain)
- Russia 4, Spain 0
- Rubber One: Vera Zvonareva (RUS) def. Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) 6-3, 6-4.
- Rubber Two: Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) def. Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) 6-3, 6-1.
- Rubber Three: Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) def. Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) 5-7, 6-3, 6-4.
- Rubber Four: Elena Vesnina/Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) def. Nuria Llagostera Vives/Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) 6-2, 6-1.
By the Letter
T...ournament Physician award earns a headline? Must have been a slow week in tennis.
E...vidently, there was a feud going on between Jamie and Andy Murray, as discussed by the Daily Mail.
N...ikolay Davydenko has been absolved of all possible wrongdoings related to gambling (in the infamous Sopot match) by the ATP Tour.
N...ew "Bali Tournament of Champions" will be created next year; it's akin to the UEFA Cup (where the Sony Ericcson Championships equals the Champion's League) for you footy fans.
I...n case you haven't heard, Sam Querrey will get the nod as the United States' second singles player instead of James Blake, who opted out of the American's Davis Cup semifinal against Spain due to physical and mental exhaustion.
S...wiss Patty Schnyder broke a three-year title drought this week in Bali to win her 11th career tournament, and she also collected her 500th career match victory in the final.
W...eekday U.S. Open final between Roger Federer and Andy Murray had a 49% drop in ratings from the last year's Flushing Meadows final.
O...pen article from John Feinstein in the Washington Post was linked to in last week's comments - I enjoyed it and think it's worth a read.
R...eturn trip to China: Murray's run to the U.S. Open final catapulted him to No. 4 in the world rankings, and into the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai. He'll be looking to better his first round exit at the Beijing Olympics.
L...awsuit Redux: Now the ATP is going to be sued by four Italian tennis players (Potito Starace, Daniele Bracciali, Federico Luzzi, and Giorgio Galimberti), all of whom were handed bans earlier this year for betting on tennis.
D...avis Cup semifinal between Argentina and Russia will not feature Marat Safin - he pulled out of the tie last week.
ATP - Gilles Simon
Simon's third title of 2008 bumped him up to twelfth in the ATP Race and within striking distance of qualifying for the Tennis Masters Cup. And unless David Nalbandian miraculously defends both of his Madrid and Paris titles, that's one less player that Simon will have to pass.
This week, Simon beat a number of skilled dirtballers on their preferred surface (but the question begs to be asked - why is there a clay tournament in between the hard court and indoor season?), including Albert Montanes, Jose Acasuso, and Carlos Moya. Simon's win at Bucharest was doubly important because he won this tournament last year, thus needing to defend substantial ranking points.
It's been a sensational year for the Frenchman, even in defeat. Simon started off 2008 with a surprising third round appearance at the Australian Open (losing to Rafael Nadal), and he reached the semifinals of Rotterdam and Toronto later in the season. At the U.S. Open, Simon nearly ousted the hottest player on the ATP Tour, Juan Martin del Potro, but lost in five sets.
WTA - Svetlana Kuznetsova
Kuznetsova may not have the most attractive game on the WTA Tour, but it's definitely one of the most effective. She's reached five semifinals in 2008 (but has won just two of them), showing that she has little trouble at the beginning of tournaments. In last week's Fed Cup final, her two opponents were Carla Suarez Navarro (ranked No. 49) and Anabel Medina Garrigues (ranked No. 29), the kind of players who Kuznetsova has grown accustomed to facing in early rounds of events. Not surprisingly, she handled them both, helping Russia win their fourth Fed Cup title in the last five years.
Saturday's match against Suarez Navarro was a breeze for Kuznetsova, winning 6-3, 6-1. But Sunday's third rubber was much more taxing. After dropping the first set 5-7, Kuznetsova rallied to win the next two 6-3, 6-4, slamming the door on Spain before they could garner any momentum.
Spain chose to play this tie on clay, which was a double-edged sword. It was the surface their players play best on, but Kuznetsova, a French Open semifinalist this year, likes clay as well. But it likely wouldn't have mattered, as Kuznetsova headed into the Fed Cup with motivation from an early loss at the U.S. Open, as well as the pride of playing for her beloved country.
There have been badminton and table tennis videos on the MNP before, but never a squash clip. I'm not sure why it took so long, because squash was one of my favorite racquet sports to play in college. I'm getting the urge to play again after watching this:
Next Week's Tournaments
Davis Cup World Group Semifinals (ITF - Various)
Davis Cup World Group Playoffs (ITF - Various)
Toray Pan Pacific Open (WTA - Hard - Tokyo, Japan)
TOE Life Ceramics Guangzhou International Women's Open (WTA - Hard - Guangzhou, China)
Beyond the Bracket
(Will return next week.)
you had to pick the least enthused player from the following ITF mug shots, who would it be?