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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Breakout Player in the Kuala Lumpur 2010 Open: Milos Raonic of Canada

Milos Raonic of Canada, currently ranked #237, reaches the quarterfinals of the KL Open where he will face Igor Andreev of Russia.  Milos won over Igor Kunitsyn of Russia in the first round, 7-6, 6-3.  In the 2R, he won over Sergiy Stakhovsky of the Ukraine, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3.  He has a good chance of reaching the semifinals as Andreev is also on the comeback trail, and is currently ranked #102.

Tokyo 2010 Open Surprise Success: Coco Vandeweghe

I've been hearing about Coco Vandeweghe for a while now, especially during the hard court season.  At this year's Tokyo Open, she becomes the lowest ranked player (at #172) to reach the quarterfinals, beating Aravane Rezai and Julia Goerges in the earlier rounds.  Next in line is Top 20 player, Victoria Azarenka.  If Coco wins over her, it would really catapult her to higher heights and really introduce her to top rate women's tennis!  Good luck girl!
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

ATP Rankings Watch: September 27, 2010

There were two tournaments last week, one in Bucharest and one in Metz.  The biggest mover this week is Pablo Andujar of Spain who moves into the Top 100 this week, from #105 to #77. This big move was due mainly to his finals appearance in Bucharest, where he lost eventually to Juan Ignacio Chela.

Another big mover this week is Somdev Devvarman of India, entering the Top 100 at #100, moving up from #117.

Juan Ignacio Chela is another big mover this week from #53 to #39, by virtue of his title run in Bucharest.  This good form should help Chela return to the Top 32 and be seeded in time for the Aussie Open in 2011.

Metz 2010 Champion: Gilles Simon of France

Gilles Simon wins his 7th career ATP title last week at the Metz Open.  This is his 4th straight year of winning at least one ATP title.  Below was Gilles' path to the championship at Metz -

Finals - Mischa Zverev of Germany (#155) 6-3, 6-2
SFs - Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany (#31) 6-3, 6-2
QFs - Xavier Malisse of Belgium (#55) 7-5, 4-6, 6-1
2R - Igor Sijsling of Netherlands (#148) 6-1, 6-7, 6-3
1R - Dustin Brown of Jamaica (#118) 6-3, 6-4

I hope with this title, Gilles regains some of his confidence back and slowly climb back, at least, even to the Top 20.

WTA Rankings Watch: September 27, 2010

The following players had the biggest moves up the WTA Rankings for this week. 

Topping the list is Evgeniya Rodina of Russia, who enters the Top 100 this week, moving from #109 to #89.  Evgeniya reached the semi-finals of this year's Tashkent Open, eventually falling to the champion, Alla Kudryavtseva, who is also a big mover this week, from #82 to #57.

Another big mover this week is Elena Vesnina, who moves from 72 to 58, by virtue of her finals appearance, also at the Tashkent Open.  She also lost to Alla Kudryavtseva.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bucharest 2010 Champion: Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina

Juan Carlos Chela (#53) of Argentina wins his sixth career ATP title in the Bucharest Open.  This is his second title this year, winning in Houston, earlier this year. This is also the first year that he wins more than one ATP title.  Below was Chela's title run -

Finals - Pablo Andujar of Spain (#105) 7-5, 6-1
SFs - Albert Montanes of Spain (#22) 6-1, 6-3
QFs - Bjorn Phau of Germany (#100) 6-3, 6-3
2R - Simon Greul of Germany (#101) 6-1, 6-0
1R - BYE

It's great to see Chela play well again this year after having no titles in 2008 and 2009 and then proceed to win two this year!

Seoul 2010 Champion: Alisa Kleybanova of Russia

Alisa Kleybanova (ranked #28) won her second WTA Tour title by defeating Klara Zakopalova (ranked #39) of the Czech Republic.  Her first, came earlier this year at Kuala Lumpur.  Below is Alisa's route to the championship -

Finals - Klara Zakopalova (CZE) (#39) 6-1, 6-3
SFs - Agnes Szavay (HUN) (#38) 6-3, 6-2
QFs - Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) (#49) 6-1, 6-2
2R - Ksenia Pervak (RUS) (#99) 6-7, 6-1, 6-2
1R - Kai-Chen Chang (TPE) (#93) 6-2, 6-3

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tashkent 2010 Open Champion: Alla Kudryavtseva

The top tier of the Russian contingent consists mainly of household names like Maria Sharapova or Elena Dementieva but there is a strong second tier of players just waiting in the wings of their more illustrious compatriots.  This is evident in this year's Tashkent Open, where three of the four semifinalists came from Russia.  It was no surprise then, that a Russian, Alla Kudryavtseva, took away the trophy, and her first WTA Tour title as well.  Alla is currently ranked #82.  This was Alla's path to the championship -

Finals - Elena Vesnina (RUS) 6-4, 6-4
SFs - Evgeniya Rodina (RUS) 6-1, 3-6, 6-3
QFs - Akgul Amanmuradova (UZB) 7-6, 6-3
2R - Alexandra Panova (RUS) 6-4, 6-2
1R - Yuliana Fedak (UKR) 6-4, 6-1

Alla won over higher-ranked Elena Vesnina, currently at #72.  Her semi-final opponent, Evgeniya Rodina, is ranked at #109, yet she gave Alla all she could handle before losing the match.  The fourth semifinalist was Monica Niculescu of Romania, who lost to Vesnina.  She is currently ranked #81.

With this win, Alla should edge closer to the Top 50.
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Sunday, September 19, 2010

WTA Player of the Week (September 19, 2010): Jarmila Groth of Australia

Jarmila Groth of Australia jumps to #41 from #55 this week, up 14 places, after winning her first WTA title in Guangzhou, China.  She is one of Australia's newest tennis hopes and from the way she plays, she looks like Top 20, even Top 10 material!  This was her path to her title -

1R - Nina Bratchikova (RUS) 6-2, 6-0
2R - Tamarine Tanasugarn (THA) 6-1, 6-4
QF - Maria Elena Camerin (ITA) 6-0, 6-2
SF - Edina Gallovits (ROU) 6-0, 6-1
Finals - Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS) 6-1, 6-4

She just lost 15 games towards her title! Imagine that! I look forward to seeing her play well in other tournaments and I won't be surprised if she makes a dent in next year's slams.

WTA Player of the Week (September 19, 2010): Tamira Paszek of Austria

I was a fan of Tamira when she made a surprising splash during Wimbledon in 2008 but I was surprised to find her struggle afterwards and didn't hear any more success stories from her - until this week!  Tamira Paszek of Austria re-enters the Top 100 at #92, jumping a hefty 59 positions, after her win last week at Quebec City.  Tamira is the hope of the future for Austrian tennis and hopefully, with this win, she can slowly climb back to the Top 50 within a year or so.  I also won't be surprised if she can make a dent in the slams next year as she was able to do it already before.

This was her path to the Quebec City Championship -

1R - Marina Erakovic (NZL) 6-0, 6-4
2R - Jill Craybas (USA) 6-3, 6-2
QF - Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) 6-3, 6-4
SF - Christina McHale (USA) 6-2, 6-2
Finals - Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) 7-6, 2-6, 7-5

Her path towards the finals was easy, just dropping 20 games, but she meets veteran player Sands in the finals and the fight was evident from the tight score.  In the end, Paszek held her ground and won herself a WTA title.

Tamira also got to the 2R in the last US Open, falling to Chan of Chinese Taipei.
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Monday, September 13, 2010

ATP Rankings Watch - September 30, 2010

Another Grand Slam has just finished so the effect on the rankings will  take effect this week depending on the performance of the players concerned. Rafael Nadal, US Open 2010 champion, cements his #1 position, with an almost 5000 point lead over #2, Novak Djokovic. Rafa, completes his Career Slam with this title and he also adds it to the Wimbledon and French Open titles he won this year.  2010 is looking to be his year. 

Djokovic, runnerup on this year's US Open, moves back to #2 this week, as he trades places with Federer, who went down to #3.  There are two new entrants in the Top 10.  Mikhail Youzhny of Russia, a returning semi-finalist at this year's US Open, jumps from #14 to #9, while David Ferrer of Spain moved from #12 to #10.  He reached the 4th round at this year's US Open, falling to Fernando Verdasco.

Within the top 20, the biggest mover was Stanislas Wawrinka, a quarterfinalist at this year's US Open, and he moves from #27 to #20.  In the Top 100, the biggest mover was Italian, Fabio Fognini, jumping from #86 to #71.  Interestingly, Fognini lost in the first round to Fernando Verdasco, in a hard-fought five-set match.  Robin Haase of the Netherlands is another big mover, jumping from # 83 to #70, although he was not even in the main draw of the US Open.  There are two newcomers to the Top 100, and both are Frenchment, Edouard Roger-Vasselin who jumps from #115 to #100, and Paul Henri-Mathieu who reenters at #97, jumping 12 notches.

WTA Rankings Watch: September 13, 2010

It's the week after a Grand Slam and surely, there is a lot of movement within the Top 100, due mainly to players who did well in last week's US Open.  Let's see who they are.

 Vera Zvonareva, runner up to Kim Clijsters is the biggest mover within the Top 10, reaching a career high of #4.  Venus Williams also climbs a notch back to #3 due to her semi-final appearance.  There is a reentry in the Top 10 as we welcome back, Elena Dementieva, to #10.  She reached the 4th round, losing to Stosur.

 Within the Top 50, the biggest mover was quarterfinalist, Dominika Cibulkova, who jumps from #45 to #33.  Although she lost to Wozniacki, it was still surprising to see the diminutive player beat Svetlana Kuznetsova in the preceding round.  Her tenacious brand of play is really reaping her dividends. 

In the Top 100, Renata Voracova of the Czech Republic is the biggest climber, moving 19 notches from #97 to #78.  Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan is the second biggest climber, moving 18 notches from 78 to #60.  She reached the 2nd round where she lost to Kanepi.  Coming in second is Austrian Sybille Bammer who climbs from #85 to #69, a 16 notch jump!  Bammer loses to Dementieva in the second round. 

Yung-Jan Chan of Chinese Taipei climbed 13 spots from 77 to 64.  However, she is still not the highest-ranked Asian.  That distinction still belongs to Kimiko Date Krumm, currently at #50. Yung Jan-Chan reached the 3rd round, losing to Wozniacki.   

There are four re-entries into the Top 100, #94 - Zuzana Ondraskova of the Czech Republic, Pauline Parmentier of France #97, Varvara Lepchenko of the USA re-enters at #98 and Edina Gallovits of Romania touches base at #100.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

US OPEN TENNIS 2010: King of Flushing Meadows - Rafael Nadal

Finally, Rafa achieves a career Grand Slam by winning this year's US Open men's title.  It was an inspiring win from him, and he took to task the nice, defensive play of his rival Novak Djokovic.  You can actually see that Rafa really wanted this title, from the onset of this tournament.  And it was also evident in the finals.  With Federer out, he knew he had a good chance of completing his collection, and this was the year that he finally achieved it!  Is it possible for him to win 16 Grand Slam titles like Federer?  He's only 24 so it is possible, if he continues to play well and not get injured.

US OPEN 2010: Pakistan's Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi - Runner-Up in Both Mixed Doubles and Men's Doubles

I have heard of Qureshi before as a Top 200 singles player, but I was very surprised to see his name on the roster of the finals in both the Mixed Doubles (with Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic) and in the Men's Doubles (with Rohan Bopanna of India).  Incredible achievement for someone from Pakistan, a country that does not really have a tennis winning tradition!  He's now 30 years old and from what I've read, he's one of those players who does serve-and-volley tennis.  His partnership with Rohan is very interesting since India and Pakistan does not really have a very peaceful history between them, so with both Rohan and Aisam playing together, they are able to build a bridge of peace between the two nations, using the sport of tennis, as the platform.

I also love his speech today, when they received their trophies.  He wished all the Muslims well, since it was the last day of their Ramadan and also thanked the Bryan brothers for contributing to the Pakistan flood relief efforts.  I hope that he finally wins a major slam title in the future!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

US OPEN TENNIS 2010: The Queen of Queens - KIM CLIJSTERS

I was so happy to see Kim win tonight!  Her third straight US Open title, if we don't count the intervening years where she did not compete.  She played very comprehensively today, effectively shutting down Vera 6-2, 6-1, immediately at the onset of the first point.  She never let her game down and never let Vera in in the game.  Vera played horribly too so the game was finished in 59 minutes, the most lopsided finals in almost 30 years. 

During the speeches, Kim urged on Vera to keep on trying and that eventually, Vera will win her first major.  Kim's daughter was also there and she looked cute with her curly hair.  Kim also shared a kiss with her hubby and best friend!  I hope Kim now aims for another major trophy - maybe an Aussie or a French Open title.  Those goals are not unreachable!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Every Grand Slam, I give an Elite Men's Team Country Award to the country who has the most number of players to reach the 4th Round.  This serves as my gauge as to what country has been dominant on that said Slam and is usually a reflection of how good their players are on that surface.  The criteria is simple.  The country with the most 4th round players wins the award.  If there is a tie, it is broken down just by simply adding their latest ATP rank. The country with the lowest sum wins the award.

For this US Open 2010, the following countries win citations for producing quality players - the name of the country and the number of their entrants in the 4th round -

Austria - 1
France - 2
Russia - 1
Serbia - 1
Sweden - 1
Switzerland - 2
USA - 2

And now, the country that gets the US Open 2010 Elite Men's Team Country Award is SPAIN!

They have an impressive six (6) players through the 4th round - an astounding number!  Leading the charge is Rafael Nadal (#1), Fernando Verdasco (#8), David Ferrer (#12), Albert Montanes (# 23), Feliciano Lopez (#25), and Tommy Robredo (#41).  Incredible!

Monday, September 6, 2010

US OPEN 2010: Female Breakout Player - Beatrice Capra

Every Grand Slam, I pick a player I crown as my 'Breakout Player' for that Grand Slam.  The criteria is that it is a player not in the current Top 50, who makes a big splash in that Grand Slam.  She can be a returning veteran or a newcomer to the sport.  

Since all the current players in the Round of 16 are Top 50 players, I can now pick my 'Female Breakout Player' for the US Open 2010. 

I have picked BEATRICE CAPRA from the US.  Beatrice, 18, reached the 3rd round of this year's US Open where she lost to Maria Sharapova.  However, on her way there, she beats Aravane Rezai, a current Top 20 player, and Karolina Sprem, a wily veteran.  Not bad for a player currently ranked #371!

With her performance here, she should be in the Top 200 soon and have a chance to break into the Top 100 if she continues her winning streak!  Another bright spot for American tennis!


Every Grand Slam, I give an award to the country that has the most number of players in the 4th round.  I call that award, the Elite Women's Team Country Award. If two or more countries have the same number of players, I just add up the latest rankings of their representative players and the country with the lowest sum, wins the award!

The following countries have representatives in the 4th round -

Australia - 1
Belgium - 2
Denmark - 1
Estonia - 1
Germany - 1
Israel - 1
Italy - 1
Serbia - 1
Slovakia - 1
USA - 1

Now, the country that gets the US Open 2010 Elite Women's Team Country Award is RUSSIA!

They put five (5) of their players into the 4th round.  That's quite an impressive number!  The five women players who made it are - Vera Zvonareva (#8), Elena Dementieva (#12), Svetlana Kuznetsova (#13), Maria Sharapova (#17), and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (#22).