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Friday, April 29, 2011
The men's Top 10 has been a bit fluid these past few weeks, especially its bottom end. In the past few months, Jurgen Melzer and Gael Monfils have entered the Top 10. This week, another Spaniard, Nicolas Almagro, gets that distinction, as he moves a notch to #10, after reaching the semi's in Barcelona.
Another Spaniard, Feliciano Lopez, makes a modest move to #37 this week. Ivan Dodig of Croatia, a surprise semifinalist in Barcelona, zooms 12 places to #44. Juan Carlos Ferrero slowly creeps up to #70. Finally, German Mischa Zverev reenters the Top 100 at #99, moving six places.
After the Barcelona tournament, Rafael Nadal continues to dominate the ATP tour clay court season. Below are the Top 10 players this clay court season and their respective points. These guys are, as of now, the players expected to do well in Roland Garros. This data will change weekly and the final list will appear in the first day of Roland Garros. -
1. Rafael Nadal (ESP) (#1) - 768 points
2. David Ferrer (ESP) (#6) - 384
3. Jurgen Melzer (AUT) (#8) - 144
4. Nicolas Almagro (ESP) (#10) - 120
5. Ivan Dodig (CRO) (#44) - 102
6. Andy Murray (GBR) (#4) - 96
7. Gael Monfils (FRA) (#9) - 72
8. Feliciano Lopez (ESP) (#37) - 61
9. Frederico Gil (POR) (#62) - 50
10. Ivan Ljubicic (CRO) (#32) - 48
Labels: Clay Court Season
Nicolas Almagro (#11) got to the semifinals of Barcelona, making him one of the frontrunners in this year's clay season. He also reached the fourth round in Monte Carlo. This was his path to the semifinals -
SF - lost to David Ferrer (ESP) (#6) 36 46
QF - Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP) (#77) 63 63
3R - Nikolay Davydenko (#39) 76(2) 63
2R - Pablo Andujar (ESP) (#51) 75 76(1)
1R - Bye
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
It must suck to be David Ferrer (#6) now, after playing runner-up again for the second consecutive clay tournament in a row. He has been unable to stop Nadal's domination of him, this time in Barcelona. He is still one of the favorites in Roland Garros but will need a lot of craftiness to defeat the more mobile Nadal. This was David's path to the finals -
C - lost to Rafael Nadal (ESP) (#1) 26 46
SF - Nicolas Almagro (ESP) 63 64
QF - Jurgen Melzer (AUT) 63 63
3R- Victor Hanescu (ROU) 63 63
2R - Carlos Berlocq (ARG) 62 62
Rafael Nadal (#1) wins back-to-back Monte Carlo and Barcelona titles again this year, by defeating David Ferrer in the final here in Barcelona. This early in the clay season, Rafa has so far dominated the competition, although pretenders to the King of Clay crown, David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro have shown some competition. This was Rafa's path to the championship -
C - David Ferrer (ESP) (#6) 62 64
SF - Ivan Dodig (CRO) (#56) 63 62
QF - Gael Monfils (FRA) (#9) 62 62
3R - Santiago Giraldo (COL) (#54) 63 61
2R - Daniel Gimeno-Traver (ESP) (#60
1R - Bye
Andrea Petkovic's quarterfinal appearance in Stuttgart was enough to make her move from #19 to #15 in the WTA rankings this week. Greta Arn enters the Top 50 this week, moving to #48.
Simona Halep, the runner-up in Fes, moves from #65 to #52. Even Dinara Safina rises this week, after a semifinal stint in Fes, from #74 to #65. Alberta Brianti, who won Fes, zooms from #94 to #67. Kirsten Flipkens enters the Top 100 and this week lands at #86.
Julia Goerges, who won Stuttgart, moves deeper into seeded territory, moving from #32 to #27.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Caroline Wozniacki continues to be the player to beat in this year's clay court season and points-wise, is still the player most likely to win Roland Garros. However, we're not even in the middle of the hostilities yet so things may still change as we welcome May. Here are the Top 10 clay court players as of April 24, based on their performance in all the WTA clay tournaments this season -
1. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 288
2. Julia Goerges (GER) 216
3. Elena Vesnina (RUS) 96
4. Samantha Stosur (AUS) 60
5. Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 54
6. Peng Shuai (CHN) 48
6. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 48
8. Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 38
9. Alberta Brianti (ITA) 33
10. Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 24
Labels: Caroline Wozniacki
Dinara Safina (#74) was able to reach the semifinals of Fes, only to hand a walkover to eventual champion Alberta Brianti, due to a GI illness. In Marbella last week, she reached the quarters. This was her path to the semi's -
SF - Alberta Brianti (ITA) (#94) WO.
QF - Anastasia Pivovarova (RUS) 64 26 64
2R - Alize Cornet (FRA) (#67) 61 63
1R - Jill Craybas (USA) (#105) 61 60
Kirsten Flipkens (#104) may re-enter the Top 100 this week, after her semifinal finish here in Fes. She lost to eventual runner up Simona Halep. This has been her best performance this year, as yet. This was her path to the semifinals -
SF - lost to Simona Halep (ROU) (#65) 57 46
QF - Nadia Lalami (MAR) (#497) 60 61
2R - Eleni Daniilidou (GRE) (#168) 64 75
1R - Silvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP) (#167) 63 63
Simona Halep (#65), one of the more talented new players in the WTA tour right now may have to content herself with a runner up position first as veteran Alberta Brianti defeats her in the finals of Fes. This was Simona's path to the finals -
F - lost to Alberta Brianti (ITA) (#94) 46 36
SF - Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) (#104) 75 64
QF - Greta Arn (HUN) (#52) 62 61
2R - Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS) (#77) 64 62
1R - Anastasiya Yakimova (BLR) 62 60
Alberta Brianti (#94) of Italy wins her first WTA title this week in Fes. It was a surprise run to the title for Alberta, as she wasn't really expected to figure very well here - but she did. One interesting fact was that all the players she defeated were all ranked higher than her! She won over the only seeded player left in the draw, Simona Halep in the finals. This was her path to the championship -
F - Simona Halep (ROU) (#65) 64 63
SF - Dinara Safina (RUS) (#74) WO.
Q - Melanie Oudin (USA) (#93) 75 57 60
2R - Ksenia Pervak (RUS) (#83) 75 62
1R - Laura Pous-Tio (ESP) (#85) 75 62
Samantha Stosur (#7) is now heating up her clay court season with a semifinal finish in Stuttgart. She lost to eventual champion, Julia Goerges. It has been a spotty season for her, just reaching the quarters in Dubai, before reaching the semi's here. This has been her path to the semi's -
SF - lost to Julia Goerges (GER) (#32) 46 63 57
QF - Vera Zvonareva (RUS) (#3) 26 63 76(3)
2R - Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) (#36) 64 26 64
1R - Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (ESP) (#33) 75 61
Agnieszka Radwanska (#14) reaches the semifinals of Stuttgart, losing to Caroline Wozniacki. With her semifinal finish here, she lands into the top 10 players most likely to win Roland Garros, at least for this week. Her year has been pretty ok. She has reached the quarters in Miami, Dubai and the Australian Open - and with her current ranking in the clay court season, she should also reach the same level in Roland Garros. This was her path to the semi's -
SF - lost to Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) (#1) 57 36
QF - Kristina Barrois (GER) (#79) 75 63
2R - Francesca Schiavone (ITA (#4) 61 63
1R - Jamie Hampton (USA) (#118) 60 61
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Well, Caroline Wozniacki, although the #1 player in the world now, can't probably win everything, although everyone expects her to beat everyone. Not Julia Goerges though today, who has been on a roll here in Stuttgart, even beating French Open 2010 finalist Samantha Stosur in the semi's. Even then, Caroline is still the woman to beat this clay court season, although she has some players already breathing down her neck. This was her path to the finals -
C - lost to Julia Goerges(DEN) (#32) 67(3) 36
SF - Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) (#14) 75 63
QF - Andrea Petkovic (GER) (#19) 64 61
2R - Zuzana Kucova (SVK) (#133) 61 62
1R - Bye
At the start of the Stuttgart tournament, no one had an inkling that local player, Julia Goerges (#32) would take it all the way. She becomes the second German player to win this tournament, after Anke Huber.
What makes her victory more interesting is that she defeated world #1 Caroline Wozniacki in the finals, Samantha Stosur in the semi's, and Victoria Azarenka (another clay court titlist this season) in the second round - to achieve it. These three are probably the most likely players favored to win Roland Garros this year. So this puts her as one of dark horses now for Roland Garros.
This is her second WTA title with the first one coming from Bad Gastein last year. This was her path to the championship -
C - Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) (#1) 76(3) 63
SF - Samantha Stosur (AUS) (#7) 64 36 75
QF - Sabine Lisicki (GER) (#155) 64 64
2R - Victoria Azarenka (BLR) (#5) 46 Retd.
1R - Michaella Krajicek (NED) (#140) 63 61
Saturday, April 23, 2011
The rivalry on clay between Spanish compatriots Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer continues to spill over to Barcelona this week. Both guys played in the finals of Monte Carlo last week, with Nadal victorious. Today, both players dispatched off their opponents with clinical efficiency. Nadal only allowed Dodig five games, 63 62, while Ferrer allowed Almagro seven, 63 64. Nadal though, is still the guy to beat but let's see how Ferrer deals with him in the finals.
Julia Goerges will carry the hopes for Germany in the Stuttgart Open. Today, she stuns Samantha Stosur 64 36 75, to get into the finals of this event. Anke Huber was the last German to make it into the finals and that was in 1996. She also won it in 1994 and 1991. Interestingly, Steffi Graf never won this event. She figured in the finals though of 1984, losing to Catalina Lindqvist. So, it has been 17 years since a German champion has been crowned. Will Julia finally end the drought?
A finalist here last year, Simona Halep will try to win the title here in Fes this year. Last year, she lost to Iveta Benesova. This year though, she is the favored one to win, at least on paper, as she is ranked #66, as opposed to Alberta Brianti's #94. Today, she triumphed over Kirsten Flipkens, to make it to the finals of this event for a second year in a row. If she wins Fes, it will be her first WTA title, ever!
Alberta Brianti cruises through the finals of Fes, after a walkover with Dinara Safina. After a three-set quarterfinal with Melanie Oudin, Alberta is given some rest time today due to Safina's illness and will face Simona Halep of Romania for the title here. This is now her best performance for the year, and if she wins the title, it will be her first WTA title. She is currently ranked #94 in the world.
Friday, April 22, 2011
If only Feliciano Lopez won his quarterfinal today over Croatian Ivan Dodig, it would've been an all-Spanish semifinal affair at this year's Barcelona Open. Nevertheless, the top three players who are shaping up to be the top clay players of this season, Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro, have proceeded to make their semifinals appearance in this event. Nadal will meet Dodig for the first time. It should not be difficult to ascertain who'll win that. David Ferrer also holds a 6-0 head-to-head over Almagro, and three wins were also on clay. Their last meeting was on clay in Acapulco. A Ferrer - Nadal final in the works!
It is but fitting that Ivan Dodig of Croatia, gets the semifinal slot in his side of the draw since he was the one who ousted Robin Soderling (#5), the highest seed in their group. After winning over Soderling, Dodig proceeded to defeat Raonic (#28) and Feliciano Lopez (#42), and will next meet the King of Clay, Rafael Nadal (#1). He is currently ranked #55. The two have actually never met so it would be interesting as to how Nadal would deal with a new entity. This should also be a good basis for Dodig to see how he fares in clay, knowing that he can beat a finalist of the French Open (Soderling). Now can he take a step forward and defeat a defending champion? We'll see tomorrow.
I am happy to see Dinara Safina reach the semifinals of Fes, a good indication that she is finding her footing once more on clay. In fact, this was the surface where she suddenly had a resurgence a few years ago, by defeating, then Queen of Clay, Justine Henin in Rome, if I'm not mistaken.
Will she be able to go all the way here in Fes? Well, we'll have to see. In today's quarterfinal match with Russia's Pivovarova, she had to finish it off in three sets! However, if you look at the draw, only Simona Halep is the seeded player left and if the draw falls into place, she might be Dinara's opponent in the final. In the semi's, Dinara will have to wait for the Brianti - Oudin match - and my pick for that match is Brianti, since clay should be more her surface than the American Oudin.
Still, Dinara's semifinal appearance here should her Dinara's confidence a bit so good luck to her!
It was a close victory today for Samantha Stosur, as she narrowly defeated Vera Zvonareva in their quarterfinal match in Stuttgart. Now that she is in the semi's of a clay court tournament, this should improve her confidence more, after a rather slow start of the season. She will meet Julia Goerges of Germany. This will prove to be another tough match as Julia will surely get the support of the local crowd. Interestingly, Julia has the upper hand in their head-to-head, winning their only meeting last year in Tokyo, but that was on a hard court. Anyhow, it should be an exciting match. Stosur in three sets.
Caroline Wozniacki is already showing everyone that she's the player to beat in this year's clay court season - and is a strong favorite to win Roland Garros. Today, she defeats Andrea Petkovic of Germany to get through to the semi-finals of this event. With already 240 assured points, she widens her lead from the rest of the field. As of today, Elena Vesnina is a far second from her with only 96 points. A far third is Samantha Stosur, who has 70 assured points. Stosur will most likely be her opponent in the final.
In the semifinals, she will meet Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, and this will be their first clay court meeting. They have meet four times before, all on hard courts, and Wozniacki has the head-to-head lead of 3-1. I won't be surprised if Wozniacki continues her run to the finals tomorrow. In three sets.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
If you look at the current draw of the Barcelona Open, which has just finished the third round, you can easily surmise that Nadal, Ferrer and Almagro are the favorites to get the semifinal slots in their sides of the draw.
However, with the withdrawal of Andy Murray and the defeat of Robin Soderling to Ivan Dodig in the second round, one side of the draw is really wide open. The contenders are as follows: Ivan Dodig, who just upset Soderling, Feliciano Lopez, who just upset a seeded player in Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Kei Nishikori, who just reached the final in Houston, and Milos Raonic, the highest ranked player left in their side of the draw. Milos though, is still a greenhorn in matches of this level, so I am betting on Nishikori to go all the way to the semis.
Feliciano Lopez has had two three-setters and could be tired, so Nishikori can take advantage of that. Dodig could win over Milos, since he's the more confident player for now, since he won convincingly over Soderling. Between Dodig and Nishikori, I'd go for Nishikori.
Anyhow, no matter how it pans out, all these four guys in contention will meet the cream of the crop of clay courters.
Simone Vagnozzi was not expected to reach the 3rd round of the Barcelona Open mainly because he's currently ranked #186 in the world. But he has already defeated two players ranked much higher than him, compatriot Fabio Fognini (#49) in the first round and a seeded player, Juan Monaco (#37) in the second round.
Ironically, his opponent in the third round, is ranked lower than his first two opponents but Juan Carlos Ferrero (currently ranked #77) is a Grand Slam champion, and that idea alone might overwhelm Vagnozzi. So let's see if he can just concentrate on his game and get to his first ATP quarterfinal!
Four German women are fighting for three semifinal slots in this week's Stuttgart Open. Their country is sure of one semifinal slot already, and I'm betting it would go to Sabine Lisicki, although Julia Goerges herself is a strong player. The other two though, may have their hands full. Kristina Barrois has to contend with a Top 10 player, Agnieszka Radwanska. Andrea Petkovic, the German #1, has to contend with the world #1, Caroline Wozniacki. However, since they have the home crowd behind them, it could be a factor to help them win over their opponents. We'll know tomorrow.
It's always exciting for the home country to have a homegrown player do well in a local tournament. This week, Nadia Lalami of Morocco has reached the quarterfinals of the tournament here in Fes, defeating Top 20 player, Aravane Rezai today, that's why everyone is making notice of her performance. She is currently ranked #497 in the world.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
It's an exciting week for Mardy Fish. He reaches the Top 10 for the first time in his career! This week, he moves from #11 to #10. This is the highest ranking he has ever got. Ditto also for Gael Monfils, who this week, returns to #9, a rank he reached in February of 2009. Jurgen Melzer also reaches the highest rank of his career, as he moves to #8 and a good chance to be in the year-end championships.
Milos Raonic also celebrates his highest rank yet, at #28! Ivan Ljubicic rebounds to #33.
Frederico Gil moves 18 spots this week to #64, also his highest rank, as of yet. He had to qualify for the main draw and managed to run up to the fourth round. Also, Maximo Gonzalez moves 12 notches to #81. Lik Gil, he also had to qualify for the main draw in Monte Carlo and reached the second round.
Labels: ATP Rankings Watch
Sunday, April 17, 2011
With back-to-back wins in Miami and Marbella, Victoria Azarenka of Belarus reaches the Top 5 of women's tennis. This is also the highest rank she has ever reached.
After being a surprise finalist in Marbella, Irina-Camelia Begu zooms 41 places to #97, her first time in the Top 100.
Elena Vesnina returns to the Top 50, after being a runner-up in Charleston. She is now at #45.
The first two tournaments in the WTA tour clay court season has already finished so for the next few weeks, we'll be ranking the Top 10 players for this year's clay court season, which comprises of ten tournaments and the day before the French Open, we'll have a quantitative guess as to who should do well in Roland Garros. As of this week, these are the Top 10 players in this year's clay court season -
1. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) (#1) - 192 points
2. Elena Vesnina (RUS) (#45) - 96
3. Victoria Azarenka (BLR) (#5) - 64
4. Jelena Jankovic (SRB) (#8) - 48
4. Peng Shuai (CHN) (#29) - 48
6. Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) (#97) - 32
7. Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) (#23) - 24
7. Christina McHale (USA) (#82) - 24
7. Sania Mirza (IND) (#73) - 24
7. Julia Goerges (GER) (#34) - 24
Labels: WTA Clay Court Season
Jelena Jankovic (SRB) (#8) reaches her third semifinal (Doha, Dubai) this year in Charleston. It has been a relatively good year for her, with a quarterfinal appearance in Miami, a fourth round appearance in Indian Wells, and a finals appearance in Monterrey. She loses to world #1 Caroline Wozniacki here in Charleston. This was her path to the semifinals -
SF - lost to Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) (#1) 46 46
QF - Christina McHale (USA) (#97) 62 60
3R - Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) (#80) 62 62
2R - Tamira Paszek (AUT) (#97) 62 63
1R - Bye
Peng Shuai (CHN) (#30) is having a good year this year. This time around, she reaches the semifinals of Charleston, which is surprising for her since it's a clay court tournament. It's still early this year yet she has already reached the semifinals in Auckland, Hobart and here in Charleston; the fourth round of the Australian Open and Miami; and the quarters of Pattaya, Indian Wells and Doha. This was her path to the semi's -
SF - lost to Elena Vesnina (RUS) (#56) 67(4) 36
QF - Sania Mirza (IND) (#90) 26 62 62
3R - Nadia Petrova (RUS) (#22) 63 57 62
2R - Ayumi Morita (JPN) (#53) 62 61
1R - Sloane Stephens (USA) (#180) 62 61
Elena Vesnina (RUS) (#56) is one of those Russian players in the second tier of her country's elite group of players. She makes a surprise run to the finals here in Charleston since she's not really well-known in the clay circuit. What makes her run remarkable is that she disposed of last year's French Open finalist, Samantha Stosur in the third round, and continued her wins up to the finals where she lost to world #1 Caroline Wozniacki. This was her path to the finals -
F - lost to Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) (#1) 26 36
SF - Peng Shuai (CHN) (#30) 76(4) 63
QF - Julia Goerges (GER) (#35) 26 62 62
3R - Samantha Stosur (AUS) (#5) 64 61
2R - Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) (#41) 64 76(6)
1R - Rebecca Marino (CAN) (#58) 67(4) 62 63
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) (#1) starts her 2011 clay court season campaign with a title in Charleston. The pressure for her to win a Grand Slam title is still there and I know she feels it so she has to show the competition that she's a contender for the French Open title this year. This is also her third WTA title this year, after winning Dubai and Indian Wells earlier. This was her path to the championship -
F - Elena Vesnina (RUS) (#56) 62 63
SF - Jelena Jankovic (SRB) (#8) 64 64
QF - Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) (#23) 46 64 64
3R - Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) (#48) 76(6) 76(9)
2R - Irina Falconi (USA) (#128) 61 61
1R - Bye
After winning Miami last week, Victoria Azarenka (BLR) (#6) continues with her winning streak, this week, getting the Marbella title. By winning this title, it should put her into the Top 5 of women's tennis. This was her path to the championship -
F - Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) (#138) 63 62
SF - Sara Errani (ITA) (#43) 62 61
QF - Dinara Safina (RUS) (#81) 51 Rtd.
2R - Laura Pous-Tio (ESP) (#82) 63 62
1R - Arantxa Parra Santonja (ESP) (#65) 62 63
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) (#13) reaches the semi's of Marbella, a good start to her clay court season. Her year has been a bit inconsistent though. As of now, she has reached the fourth round of the Australian Open, the quarters of Sydney and the finals of Dubai. She also lost to a new and upcoming player (Irina-Camelia Begu) in her semi-final match here. This was her path to the semi's -
SF - lost to Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) (#138) 63 67(3) 46
QF - Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino (ESP) (#253) 61 62
2R - Agnes Szavay (HUN) (#44) 67(2) 61 62
1R - Mona Barthel (GER) (#165) 46 76(4) 64