Nikolay Davydenko beat Rafael Nadal 7-6 (3), 6-3 in the final of the Shanghai Masters on Sunday. This is Davydenko’s fourth title of the season and his third career Masters title. Watching him hit those crisp ground strokes and perform his soft-shoe scamper around the court, I remembered: I like watching Kolya play. He’s like a hamburger – I don’t have one very often, but I always enjoy it when I do.
Of course, the big story in Shanghai was the high number of player retirements. 9 players tapped out of their matches last week – that’s 16% of the draw. Here’s the hit list: Stan Wawrinka (abs), Gael Monfils (back), Ivan Ljubicic (thigh), Feliciano Lopez (ankle), Andy Roddick (knee – now confirmed to be a slight sprain needing 2-3 weeks recovery time), Tommy Haas (shoulder), Juan Martin del Potro (wrist), and Mischa Zverev (hand – sustained during his match.)
Unlike Andy Roddick and Rafael Nadal, Davydenko says he sees nothing wrong with this injury-ridden part of the season:
“It’s good for me if everybody gets injured at the end of the year, because I didn’t play the first three months of the year and everybody played already.”
“Maybe I have more chance coming to [qualify for the year-end event in] London. Maybe everybody will retire in London and I can win London!“
Oh Kolya, you are a quirky one. But kudos to him for surviving a three hour, three set marathon against Novak Djokovic on Saturday and finding a way to come back strong the next day. At least right now, he’s the fittest man on the ATP tour.
Rafael Nadal benefited from two retirements (Ljubicic and Lopez) on his way to the final, making it hard to read too much into this result. But no matter Rafa’s current form, he’s only 23 years old and only two Masters titles shy of Andre Agassi’s all-time record of 17 (Roger, of course is at 16, but he’s ancient!) So I’m putting this into the “win some/lose some” category and will refrain from reading Rafa’s tea leaves until next year’s Australian Open.
On the women’s side, the wait is finally over! French Open semifinalist Samantha Stosur won her first career title in six final appearances by beating Francesca Schiavone 7-5, 6-1 in the finals of Osaka. This win will take her to No. 13 in the rankings – next stop, Top 10! (Sorry the above photo is not from Osaka – but I think it gets the point across, right?)
US Open semi-finalist, Yanina Wickmayer won her second career WTA tour title at the Generali Ladies Linz, beating Petra Kvitova in the final. She’ll now be in the top 20 for the first time in her career.
Oh and props to my favorite Frenchman, who teamed up with my not-so-favorite Frenchman to win the doubles title in Shanghai against Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski of Poland.