Last Week's Tournaments

BNP Paribas Masters (ATP - Indoor Carpet - Paris, France)

- Singles Final: David Nalbandian def. Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-0.
- Singles Semifinal: David Nalbandian def. Richard Gasquet 6-2, 6-4.
- Singles Semifinal: Rafael Nadal def. Marcos Baghdatis 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
- Singles Bracket

- Doubles Final: Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan def. Daniel Nestor/Nenad Zimonjic 6-3, 7-6.
- Doubles Semifinal: Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan def. Simon Aspelin/Julian Knowle 6-3, 6-4.
- Doubles Semifinal: Daniel Nestor/Nenad Zimonjic def. Arnaud Clement/Michael Llodra 6-4, 6-4.
- Doubles Bracket

Bell Challenge (WTA - Indoor Hard - Quebec City, Canada)

- Singles Final: Lindsay Davenport def. Julia Vakulenko 6-4, 6-1.
- Singles Semifinal: Julia Vakulenko def. Julie Ditty 6-1, 4-6, 7-5.
- Singles Semifinal: Lindsay Davenport def. Vera Zvonareva 6-2, 6-7, 6-3.

- Doubles Final: Christina Fusano/Raquel Kops-Jones def. Stephanie Dubois/Renata Voracova 6-2, 7-6.
- Doubles Semifinal: Christina Fusano/Raquel Kops-Jones def. Maria Fernanda Alves/Betina Jozami 6-3, 6-4.
- Doubles Semifinal: Stephanie Dubois/Renata Voracova def. Sunitha Rao/Christina Wheeler 6-1, 6-3.

  • Singles & Doubles Bracket

By the Letter is no tennis scheduled this week for the ATP Tour, after 44 consecutive weeks of play (including Davis Cup)
E...xiting in the first round of the Bell Challenge was top-seed Nicole Vaidisova, who injured her wrist after splitting the first two sets.
N...ovak Djokovic's second round loss to Fabrice Santoro in Bercy was a puzzling result, but it was revealed afterwards that the Serb was under medication after dental surgery.  "I couldn't give my 100 percent - not even 30 percent," he said.
N...adal has now reached the final of every Masters Series event except for Cincinnati (best finish: QF in 2006).
I...n reaching the semifinals of Bercy, Richard Gasquet jumped five positions in the ATP world rankings, clinching the eighth and final spot in the Tennis Masters Cup.
S...cot Andy Murray was involved in a minor car accident in Paris, but felt no ill effects during his matches, defeating Jarkko Nieminen and Fabrice Santoro before falling to Richard Gasquet in a close quarterfinal contest.
W...inning their eleventh title of the season in Paris, the Bryan brothers have now won 44 doubles titles, good for fourth best in the Open Era
O...fficial statement from Larry Scott, CEO of the WTA Tour, on the sudden Martina Hingis retirement.
R...etiring (for real) from tennis, effective immediately, was the decision Martina Hingis took as she revealed that she had tested positive for cocaine at this year's Wimbledon Championships.
L...ifetime ban for players involved in match-fixing was encouraged by ATP president Etienne de Villiers, following widespread accusations of such nefarious activity in recent months.
D...avid Nalbandian became the first alternate for the Tennis Masters Cup thanks to his back-to-back Masters Series titles; with Andy Roddick's participation in doubt, it's possible that the Argentine could end up playing in the year-end championships.  Two years ago, Nalbandian also was an alternate in Shanghai, and went on to win the tournament.

McGrogan's Heroes

ATP - In a span of just three weeks, the short list of contenders for the Australian Open men's title has a new member - one who was a minor figure on the tennis landscape a mere month ago.  David Nalbandian's win in Bercy gives him two Masters Series shields for the season - as many as Roger Federer has won this year (David defeated Roger twice enroute to his Masters triumphs). This raises interesting issues for Nalbandian, and they are welcome ones after the riducule he absorbed over his seemingly poor fitness through most of 2007.




Nalbandian might be the biggest "wild card" heading into the new year.  I think we know what to expect from Federer, Nadal, an,  to an extent Djokovic.  The crew of Gasquet, Murray, Baghdatis, Berdych et al are much less predictable, but most pundits would probably suggest that one from this group will finally make a "leap" of sorts, and the rest will likely play like they have been for the past few years.  But ask prognosticators about Nalbandian, and I'd expect to hear predictions ranging from sure-thing Grand Slam champion to consistent flame-out, or worse.  I don't the critics for having so little confidence, since he has been so up and down, but right now, the notion that he may be taking the last, big step into the elite is supportable.

As mentioned in the By the Letter ("D"), there is a chance that David could play in the Tennis Masters Cup.  If not, the next time we'll see the Argentinean is in January, leading up to the Australian Open.  One thing worth mentioning - the last player to complete the Madrid/Paris double was Marat Safin, who went on a similarly torrid streak following the U.S. Open in 2004.  The winner at the following year's Australian Open?  Marat Safin.

!Lindsay WTA - Lindsay Davenport is a champion again this week, although she has no chance (as opposed to Nalbandian's slim chance) to make the year-end championships. But I believe that, just like Nalbandian, she would surely make some noise if she did play. Davenport cruised through the Bell Challenge in Quebec City, winning her second tournament of fall (she defeated third-seeded Julia Vakulenko in the final, 6-4, 6-1).  Lindsay breezed through this match, requiring only 22 minutes to take the second set.  It was both a representation of how far she's come back since having a child (she is 13-1 on the year), as well as her dominance in this particular event.

Entered into the Quebec draw as a wild card, Davenport ran into few obstacles along the way.  All of her matches were straight-setters, with the exception of her semifinal against second-seeded Vera Zvonareva (6-2, 6-7, 6-3).  But other than Zvonareva, none of Davenport's opponents could earn more than four games in a set against the resurgent American. Lindsay played exceptionally well, albeit in a rather weak draw (see: fourth-seeded Meilen Tu).  No one will complain about her having won the title though, least of akk Davenport, who was overjoyed with her unexpected success since returning to the WTA Tour.

Another comparison I draw with both Nalbandian and Davenport is that Lindsay is another wild card heading into next year.  Davenport has played only Tier II and III events since returning to action, so it will be interesting to she how she stacks up against a much deeper draw once January rolls around.  However, she defeated a number of highly-ranked players in those smaller events, including Daniela Hantuchova, Jelena Jankovic, and Elena Dementieva.

P.S. In the past, there has been some correlation to "blogging a tournament", and then winning that event.  I can't quite remember who has done this before, but it's been done multiple times on the men's tour (anyone want to chime in with the names?).  This past week, Lindsay blogged about her time in Quebec for the WTA's site, and naturally, went on to win.

Tennis Theatre

Here's a video from the 2000 Australian Open final, in a match that featured two women who were both in the news this week - but for completely different reasons.

Next Week's Tournament

Sony Ericsson Championships (WTA - Indoor Hard - Madrid, Spain)

  • Website
  • Singles Bracket
  • Doubles Information

Television Coverage:

11/6 - 12:00 pm - 7:00 pm (Versus - Singles)
11/6 - 11:00 pm - 12:00 am (Versus - Singles)
11/7 - 12:00 am - 12:30 am (Versus - Singles)
11/7 - 12:00 am - 12:30 am (Versus - Singles)
11/7 - 12:00 am - 12:30 am (Versus - Singles)
11/7 - 12:00 pm - 7:00 pm (Versus - Singles)
11/8 - 12:00 am - 1:30 am (Versus - Singles)
11/8 - 12:00 pm - 7:00 pm (Versus - Singles)
11/9 - 12:30 am - 2:00 am (Versus - Singles)
11/9 - 12:00 pm - 7:00 pm (Versus - Singles)
11/10 - 12:00 am - 1:30 am (Versus - Singles)
11/10 - 5:30 am - 7:30 am (Tennis Channel - Doubles; Live)
11/10 - 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm (Tennis Channel - Doubles; Live)
11/10 - 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm (Versus - Singles)
11/10 - 10:00 pm - 2:00 am (Tennis Channel - Doubles; Tape)
11/11 - 7:30 am - 9:30 am (Tennis Channel - Doubles; Live)
11/11 - 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm (Tennis Channel - Doubles; Tape)
11/11 - 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm (Versus - Singles)

P.S. There also appears to be some Tennis Masters Cup (ATP) coverage on Tennis Channel on Sunday, 11/11, from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm, as well as from 8:00 pm - 12:00 am.

Beyond the Bracket

You've probably all seen commercials on Tennis Channel featuring Ivan Lendl and his "perspectives".  Now, I'm not sure if these are actually his own ideas, or if the concept is completely staged - but that's a subject for speculation on another day.  Today, I want to answer one of the points that Lendl raises in the most recent "perspective" of his, that being the location of the year-end championships (YEC).

Lendl states that the YEC should be kept in the same location year after year, in order to develop a sense of history and identity that the current YECs are lacking.  Lendl played in a number of YECs which took place at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and he feels that this venue was optimal.  He has good reason to say that - in its heyday, the YEC appeared to be a much grander and more celebrated event than it is today. This may be because, as Lendl said, the tournament moves to where the tours can find the :the biggest payday."  BTW, you'll see at the end of each "Perspectives" item that you can  share your thoughts with Ivan by emailing him. I'm going to skip emailing Ivan and share my thoughts here.

I think that you can go two ways on this.  There is some merit in keeping the event in the same place, year after year, and it certainly would establish a continuity and tradition, which are important in the always-changing tennis calendar.  But I don't think the YEC (for the men) needs to be played at Madison Square Garden - after all, New York City already has a Grand Slam, and it is played only a few months before the YECs begin.  It seems like overkill, although the attendance and media buzz certainly would be massive.  There are other places more deserving - in particular, places that don't currently host a major tournament.  Somewhere like...South America.

Infrastructures notwithstanding, I think that the YECs would be well-suited in the southern hemisphere.  First of all, the continent produces some of the world's best players, but besides the South American swing that follows the Australian Open, there are practically no tournaments played there during the year. South America doesn't even host a Masters Series tournament for the ATP Tour, and there are nine of these on the schedule.  In addition, the passionate fans that South America is noted for (watch some of the Davis Cup ties that have been played there) would add to the lively environment, which I think would be a big improvement over the current stasis in Shanghai.  I realize that there are some problems with this idea - most notably generating sufficient revenue, as well as the change that would be required from the fall indoor season in Europe and Asia, to the outdoor clay of a YEC in South America.  But I do think it is an ideal location, purely based on tennis reasons.

Another way to approach this is to have the YEC move every year, in order to equally distrubute the wealth (of players and spectating opportunities).  If this occurred, the incumbent host nation would have an entire year to generate a great deal of buzz for a once-in-a-generation mega-tournament. The current system, which has seen the YEC in Frankfurt for six years, Hannover for four years, Houston for two years, Shanghai for four years, etc, is the worst of both worlds.

A constant complaint about tennis is that the best players only play in the biggest events, and so smaller countries/tournaments/fans are shut out from seeing the Federers, Nadals, Henins, and Williamses of the world.  The best way to promote the game is to let the fans see the world's best, and if the YEC went on a yearly rotational basis, this is more likely to happen. I can see, oh New Zealand, or perhaps Copenhagen, taking on the role of host for the YEC.

FIFA just restructured the way the World Cup is being distributed, and tennis should do the same.

And lastly,  here is your IF question for today: had to guess, how far will David Nalbandian and Lindsay Davenport get at the 2008 Australian Open?

- Ed McGrogan