ANB AMRO ROTTERDAM:
Andy Murray beat Rafael Nadal in the final of the ANB AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam this weekend, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0. I didn’t see the match, but I heard it was painful for all involved: for Rafa, it was his bum knee, for Murray, it was the confusion of playing a gimp, for the fans, it was watching eight straight breaks of serve in the second set. Hardly a classic, but Murray ended it with a soon-to-be classic quote: ”Obviously it’s not the way you want to win as I could see Rafa had an injury. . .He made it difficult as he was hitting the ball so hard and being aggressive on every shot to try and keep the points short. It just shows how good he is that he can beat me on one leg!“”
I give Rafa props for fighting through the entire tournament and hanging tough in the final, but geeze, why the HELL did he schedule himself to play this week in the first place?
The doubles was another top seeded match-up, with the No. 1 team of Nestor/Zimonjic beating No. 2 pair Dlouhy/Paes.
Radek Stepanek beat American-hope Mardy Fish in the final of the SAP Open in San Jose this weekend, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. Radek says he’s feeling fit and confident this season, with a 12-2 match record and two titles (the other being in Brisbane.) He scored a big confidence booster in the semis, when he beat Andy Roddick for the first time in five tries. I want to spare a thought for Roddick here – the guy has had some impressive losses, and this was right up there (thanks to Forty Deuce for spelling it out): 19 aces, 1 double fault, 78% first serve, 81% first serve points won, 103 to 101 total points won and 1 0f 11 break points converted. Ouch, sounds like Roger’s stats when he plays Rafa.
Oh, and another thought spared for underachiever Mardy Fish, who now has a dismal 2-10 record in finals. Here’s how he explained the pain the tenth time ’round:
“Everything went – starting with my leg, my feet. You stop moving, you get a little tight. You get so close to winning this. To say it doesn’t creep in your mind that you remember some of those losses you have in all those finals – I have 10 losses in all those finals – that’s a lot.”
Let’s hope Mardy has a sports psychologist on speed dial.
Radek scored another victory in doubles, when he and partner Tommy Haas beat Rohan Bopanna and Jarkko Nieminen in straights.
Tommy Robredo beat home-crowd favorite Thomaz Bellucci in the final of the Brasil Open in Costa do Sauipe this weekend, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. This was his 8th career title out of 15 finals (for shame, Mardy!) and his 7th on clay. Nice win for him, sad for the folks in the crowd – Bellucci said fans were crying in the stands when he lost. The Brazilian can take comfort in this: No one’s ever cried for Tommy Robredo.
Eh, I’m too hard on him – let me congratulate Tommy for scooping up the doubles title with partner Marcel Granollers, taking out my cutie pie Juan Monaco and partner Lucas Arnold Ker.
Does anyone else find it spooky that both Tommy and Stepanek scored the singles/doubles sweep this weekend?
The big one (ATP 500) is on indoor hard courts in Memphis, at the Regions Morgan Keegan Championship (the WTA will be playing simultaneously at the same venue – their tournament is called the Cellular South Cup.) It’s many of the same players for SAP, with Roddick and del Potro taking the top seedings. There are also two ATP 250 tournaments: the Copa Telmex in Buenos Aires (outdoor clay) and the Open 13 in Marseille (indoor hard) where Novak Djokovic will make his post-Aussie debut (Andy Murray’s withdrawn from his title defense with a foot injury.)
Side note: As the injury report piles up, I find it very sensible of Roger Federer to be hiding out in Dubai or wherever he is. The Dubai/Davis Cup/Indian Wells/Miami grind is almost upon us!!! (Yeah, that’s insane.)
Andy photo: Hamish Blair/Getty Images
Robredo photo: Andre Penner/AP Photo