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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Marcel Granollers Wins Gstaad Amidst Many Fellow Spanish Superstar Comrades

Marcel Granollers (#45) is not even in the Spanish team elite and in Gstaad, Fernando Verdasco, Feliciano Lopez and Nicolas Almagro were all ranked higher than him and were relatively more famous.  However, he rose through and won the title over Verdasco (#20) 64 36 63.  He also won over Stanislas Wawrinka (#17) in the quarterfinals and Mikhail Youzhny (#14) in the semifinals, both players ranked higher than him.

Vintage Serena Is Back and Should Win Stanford

Marion Bartoli (#9) and Serena Williams (#169) are squaring off in the finals of Stanford 2011.  From the looks of it, Serena should win the title.  She blitzed through Anastasia Rodionova (#105) in the first round with a zero-zero, then Maria Kirilenko (#25) took a set from her in the second set.  She then only gave another Grand Slam champion, Maria Sharapova, four games in their quarterfinals.  Then in the semifinals, she gave Wimbledon semifinalist Sabine Lisicki, only 3 games. 

Marion on the other hand had a retirement over Ayumi Morita in the quarters and a walkover over Dominika Cibulkova in the semi's, so she's really fresh for a bruising fight with Serena.  Anyway, let's see how this pans out.

Dominika Cibulkova Reaches Semi's of Stanford

Pocket powerhouse Dominika Cibulkova (#19) reached the semifinals in Stanford, only to withdraw with injury, allowing Marion Bartoli of France to reach the finals.  All her opponents in the earlier rounds here were ranked lower than her, Date-Krumm (#52) first round, McHale (#65) second round and Erakovic (#121) in the quarterfinals.  It's a pity though that she got injured.  I hope she recovers in time for the US Open.

Sabine Lisicki Shows She Can Play In Hard Courts - Reaches Semi's in Stanford

After reaching the semifinals in Wimbledon, Sabine Lisicki (#26) starts her hard court season with a semifinal appearance in Stanford.  She had impressive wins over Top 10 players Samantha Stosur (#10) in the second round and Agnieszka Radwanszka (#14) in the quarterfinals.  Her semifinal opponent, although currently ranked at #169, is a many-time Grand Slam champion - Serena Williams.  Serena only gave 3 games to Sabine.  This is also the first time Sabine met Serena so she now has an idea on how to attack Serena's game in their future meetings.

Veterans Petrova and Peer Square Off in College Park

Nadia Petrova (#32) and Shahar Peer (#24) square off in the final of College Park, Washington.  Both veterans have not really done well this year so a victory here should start off their hard court season really well.  I am rooting for Nadia Petrova to win though.  I've always felt she has been an underrated player.

Tamira Paszek Does Well in College Park - Gets Into the Semi's

Tamira Paszek

Tamira Paszek (#42) continues her good run this year by reaching the semifinals here in College Park.  She had to go three sets over Melanie Oudin (#100) then had an easy win over American Madison Brengle (#222) in the second round.  In the quarterfinals, she had another marathon match over Canadian Stephanie Dubois (#117) before winning it.  In the semifinals, she went to three sets again over Israeli Shahar Peer but lost.  Even then, this performance shows her good stead as she starts the hard court season.

Irina Falconi Finally Breaks Into A WTA Tour Semi's in College Park

American Irina Falconi finally makes it into a WTA Tour semifinal, reaching the semi's in College Park.  Currently ranked #102, she's one of the young players for the US.  In College Park, she won over three players all ranked higher than her.

In the first round, she won over Belorussian Olga Govortsova (#97), then Zhang Shuai (#85) of China in the second round and Virginie Razzano (#81) of France in the quarterfinals.

In her semifinals though, she had to fight Russian veteran Nadia Petrova, currently ranked #32 in the world, but is a former Top 10 player.  Irina gave her a good fight though, taking it into three sets and winning the first round.

Her performance here should bring her into the Top 100 and boost her confidence more.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ksenia Pervak: Another Russian Hopeful

The Russian juggernaut in women's tennis knows no end.  At the Baku event last week, when #13 seed Pavlyuchenkova fell in the quarters, Ksenia Pervak immediately took her place in their side of the draw, to ensure an all-Russian final.  Vera Zvonareva, the eventual title-holder, was the other finalist.  Ksenia has been steadily climbing the rankings and she's currently at #51 this week.

Vera Zvonareva Victorious in Baku

Vera Zvonareva wins her second WTA tour title this year in Baku, winning over fellow Russian, Ksenia Pervak.  It has been a quiet year for Vera, as she maintains her current ranking of #3.  She finished last year at #2.  Her best performance this year was a semifinal at the Australian Open.  Her other title came in Doha.  She was also a finalist in Miami.

Gilles Simon Flirting With Top 10 After Hamburg Win

Gilles Simon rises to #11 this week after winning Hamburg this year.  Earlier this year, he also won the Sydney title.  Simon had had to win over three players ranked higher than him to win the title, starting with Monfils (#7) in the qfs, Youzhny (#17) in the semi's and Almagro (#14) in the finals.  Going into Hamburg, he was ranked #18.  Now, with the Hamburg title, Simon is knocking on the door of the Top 10 once more.  He reached as high as #6 in 2009.

John Isner Captures Second Title of the Year in Newport

John Isner wins his second ATP title of the year in Newport, winning over Belgian Olivier Rochus.  Earlier in the year, he won the Auckland title.  John continued his winning ways in Atlanta and reaches the finals, losing to eventual champion, Mardy Fish.

Gilles Muller Makes Semi's of Atlanta

Gilles Muller - Atlanta Tennis Championships - Day 3

Gilles Muller (#71) of Luxembourg usually figures in the hard court part of any season, and this year, after a rather tepid year, he breaks into the semi's of Atlanta, eventually losing to titleholder, Mardy Fish.  This is, as yet, his best performance in the tour this year.

Ryan Harrison Makes Semis of Atlanta

It is but fitting that one of the players that make up the future of US tennis makes a splash in the Atlanta event.  Ryan Harrison, currently ranked at #94, at 19 years of age, makes the semi's of the event, losing to fellow American and eventual champion, Mardy Fish (#9), 62 64.  He also won over Xavier Malisse (#40) of Belgium in the second round 67(3) 64 64.

Mardy Fish Reaffirms Top 10 Ranking With Atlanta Title

Mardy Fish (#9) wins his sixth ATP title in Atlanta, reaffirming his status as a current Top 10 player.  He won over fellow American, John Isner (#33) 36 76(6) 62.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Polona Hercog: Slovenian Hopeful Starts to Shine

The past two weeks, Slovenian Polona Hercog has been stamping her class on the WTA tour.  The week earlier, she won her first WTA title in Bastad, winning over Johanna Larsson 64 75.  This week, she again reaches the finals of Palermo, but falls to veteran Anabel Medina Garrigues 36 26.  I have seen her play in Bastad and she has powerful groundstrokes which can trouble the top tier players.  She's now currently at #36, just a stone's throw away from being seeded in the US Open, so let's see how her hard court campaign pans out.

Anabel Medina Garrigues Continues Her Winning Ways In Palermo

Veteran Spaniard Anabel Medina Garrigues is one of my favorite players in the WTA Tour and I'm happy to see her in the winner's circle once again, by winning Palermo last week.  This moves her ranking up to #34 this week.  She has been Spain's #1 player for sometime now, just alernating with Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez from time to time.  She won over Slovenian hopeful Polona Hercog in the final 63 62.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Auf Wiedersehen Sybille Bammer!

Sybille Bammer

I just learned that one of my favorite players in the WTA tour, Sybille Bammer from Austria has decided to retire this week after Bad Gastein.  I remember her very well because she's one of the few players I know who has a 2-0 win-loss record against Serena Williams!  Yeah, you read that right, the mighty Serena!  Even Sybille does not know how she did that - but she did!  I was really happy for her when she reached the quarters in the US Open in 2008 and she has also won two WTA titles.  I also remember her having to travel with her daughter while she played - I think she's the first mother to win a WTA title!  Of course now, Kim Clijsters has taken it a step further by being the first mother to win a Grand Slam! 

Anyhow, thanks for all the great memories Sybille and we'll miss you!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Petra Kvitova Ushers In A New Era in Wimbledon History

If I'm not mistaken, she's the youngest Grand Slam winner for sometime now.  It has always been one of the Williams sisters, then Kim Clijsters who have been dominating the Grand Slams for years, and even the recent "new" winners like Francesca Schiavone and Li Na are not exactly spring chickens. 

So I can boldly say that a new era of Wimbledon has dawned this year as they crowned Petra Kvitova, their Grand Slam Champion.  Frankly, I am as surprised as everyone else as to the swiftness of her ascent!  In 2009, I did not even know who she was!  But in 2010, she got to the semi's, to be beaten by Serena, and this year, she has the grand prize! Whew!  And she's only 21!  More Wimbledon titles may still come her way!

Novak Djokovic: Wimbledon Champ and #1 At the Same Time!

Novak Djokovic must be in heaven nowadays, achieving both the Wimbledon title and the world #1 spot, all at the same time!  Well, he deserves it!  After that almost endless winning streak, which was cut in the French Open, I was really hoping he would bounce back here in Wimbledon, since it's very important to win the slams when you're on a roll!  And he did!  Just shows how mentally strong he is nowadays! 

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Battle of the -ova's in the Women's Wimbledon Finals

Photo Titled Petra Kvitova

If it's not the Williams sister, it's the battle of the -ova's, which usually happens in women's tennis.  In this year's Wimbledon finals, it's Petra Kvitova, the Czech newcomer, against former champion, Maria Sharapova, who finally reach the final two.

And it's an interesting contest!  Kvitova's forehands are very powerful, but so are Maria's.  One question now is if Maria's serve holds in the finals.  She had too many double faults in her semi's, something which Lisicki wasn't able to exploit fully.  However, Kvitova is more experienced in this stage, this being her second time in the limelight of Wimbledon, so we think she can be able to control her nerves more - on such a grand occasion.  Kvitova also, is very calm and is able to regroup quickly.

However, I still pick Maria, like I did in the beginning of the tournament.  I can see how hungry she is for another Wimbledon title - and even if her serve was failing her yesterday, her groundstrokes were quite ferocious!  This should be in 3 close sets!

Photo Titled Sharapova set-up