Howdy, everyone. Little late to the party to day, I had to spend the morning with Cowboy Luke, as he took some tests addressing his auditory processing abilities, which has to do with more than the fact that he doesn't like to listen to anyone, anytime, about anything (I exaggerate, of course). Anyway, a few hours from now I'll heading over to Madison Square Garden for the Tennis Night in America Billie Jean King exhibition (check out this video if you haven't done so already, courtesy of Tennis.com's The Daily Spin). My favorite bit is the names of the players at the end. I'll post on the exo here and at ESPN tomorrow.
Meanwhile, my rhetorical question of yesterday regarding the Alisa Kleybanova vs. Elena Dementieva final in Kuala Lumpur (Does anyone see an upset in the making?) was answered with a resounding "yes!" by the WTA's newest first-time titlist. I didn't see the match (there was this little USA vs. Canada hockey game yesterday) but giving up just five games to Dementieva is an eye-catching statistic that makes the win seem that much more resounding. Well done, Alisa.
Kleybanova's will come as a surprise, but mostly to those who haven't been paying attention very closely these past few weeks. But I think everyone was caught off guard by Ernests Gulbis's win at Delray Beach. I mean, this was a guy who couldn't win two matches in a row through most of 2009 (he finally broke the hex by getting to the quarterfinals of Tokyo in October - I hope for Ernie's sake that the prize-package did not include a Toyota with fault brakes and an unstoppable accelerator).
I also like the way Novak Djokovic survived some rough and ragged patches to defend his title at Dubai. As any great player can tell you, it's relatively easy to win (at least commensurate with your talent level) when you're playing well. The key to playing Top 3 level tennis is winning matches when your game, or spirit, isn't first rate. I'll bet Novak found this win more satisfying than some others where he might have experienced less difficulty.
See y'all tomorrow -