What a fun week – nothing too serious, but lots of good matches. The tennis schedule really is crazy – we had simultaneous tournaments in Portugal (a combined men’s and women’s event), Spain (men), Charleston (women) and Houston (men), with top players in the finals of nearly all of them (and some lesser-knowns, too.) Here are some highlights from this grab bag week:
Family Circle Cup: I really enjoyed watching Serena’s three matches (thanks ESPN for your professional coverage!) As usual, it was “all about Serena” on the court, with Cornet, Zvonareva and even Ms. Maria Sharapova playing supporting roles to the diva of power tennis. That said, all of her opponents, even the itty-bitty French girl, battled hard – these few matches were the best I’ve seen on the women’s side in some time. The Sharapova match was the most intense, with Maria winning more games than she had total the last two times they’ve met. Did anyone else sense that Serena was really going for the bagel in the final set, just to punish the Russian for taking a set off her? Good fun, and I’m looking forward to these two ego maniacs battling it out at the slams this summer!
Side note: What do you think is going on with Justine? Will her game surface in time for the French?
Estoril Open: I didn’t see more than some highlights on atp.com, but I’m glad Roger won his first title of the year (finally!) It should relax him, and, hopefully, keep the journalists and bloggers from going all bug-eyed and foamy-mouthed. It’s too bad he didn’t have the chance to beat Davydenko fair and square, the Russian having pulled out at the start of the second set with an ankle injury. Very odd, considering how relaxed Davy looked talking about the final beforehand. Obviously, given the scrutiny of his every move, Kolya must have had a very good reason to retire (flashbacks to the Poland Open.) Whatever, it’s just wonderful to see Roger hoisting a trophy on a Sunday.
On the women’s side, congrats to Maria Kirilenko for winning both doubles and singles in Estoril.
Valencia Open: Ferrer defeated Almagro in a tight three-setter, strengthening my hunch that one of these two players will be replacing Roger or even Rafa in the RG final.
Meanwhile, at the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship (yes, that’s the tournament’s official name!): I’m now watching Blake battle it out with Granollers (who?) in the final of this little tournament at a high falutin’ country club in Houston, Texas.
The tennis will be more focused next week – the women doing the Fed Cup thing and the men playing a Masters Series event in Monte Carlo. Tennis Channel is offering oodles of ATP coverage to disrupt my sleep and work patterns. Here are some of the mouthwatering matches that will be on tomorrow, starting at 1am Pacific Time:
Ferrero vs. Llordra (the Frenchman’s my new crush)
Murray vs. F-Lo (the connoisseurs match up – yum, yum)
Kuerten vs. Ljubicic (see Guga while you still can!)
Tipsarevic vs. Mathieu (has P-H recovered from having his heart and mind stomped on in Winston-Salem last week?)