Well, this was a busy weekend in tennis, wasn’t it? Busy enough so my women’s draw preview has gone completely to sh*t! (No more Venus, no more Frannie, no more Woz, no more Jelena! Even Vinci is not more – down to Lepchenko. And how about Lucky Loser Madison Keys taking out Li Na? At least Serena’s through. Phew!) And as the action in Madrid heated up, there was still unfinished tour business to attend to in Portugal and Munich.
I managed to catch most of the entertaining ladies final in Portugal between Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and my pint sized fave, Carla Suarez Navarro. Pavs played calm, steady tennis to win her first title on clay, 7-5, 6-2. It will be interesting to see if she can continue her success on the red stuff, and great fun to watch her coach Martina Hingis looking on from the players’ box. (Suddenly I’m all for on court coaching!) As for Carla, well, she’s a bit of a novelty act. So I’ll continue to watch her whenever I can – whether it’s first round, or finals flame outs.
The men’s final in Portugal featured a first class match up: David Ferrer vs. Stan Wawrinka. I’ve been watching and waiting all season for Stan to make good on some of the inspired play he’s been flashing more and more often these days – as in that five set thriller he lost to Novak Djokovic in the Round of 16 at this year’s Australian Open. I feel like he’s been playing so well, for so long, but has continued to come up short and miss his opportunities. Well, today it finally all came together at the right time, or maybe he forced it to, as he took the bull by the horns, so to speak, and walloped world number 4 David Ferrer: 6-1, 6-4. It was a joy to watch Stan’s one-handed backhand in action (the forehand wasn’t bad either). But seriously, can anything open up a court so beautifully as that shot, often written off as a flashy bit of nostalgia? The way Stan holds it until the very last thread of anticipation is snapped – will he send it short and cross court, flat and down the line, spinning into the opposite corner or dropping just over the net cord? – creates a frisson with nearly every point. I love David, but Stan’s performance was devastating.
Speaking of devastatingly handsome one-handers, the dashing Tommy Haas continues to blaze a trail for all oft-injured, aging, former world No. 2s in the world. He beat defending champ and fellow countryman/one-hander Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 7-6(3) in the finals of the BMW Open in Munich, taking his first title there and the 14th title of his career. Damn right he was happy about it:
“It’s a sensational feeling to be quite honest,” said Haas (via ATP). “It was another one of those milestones that I hoped for, to maybe win this title one year. To have done that, this late in my career, is a big highlight for me. Every time you win a title, it’s a reflection of putting everything together the whole week. It doesn’t happen that often. You’re really proud of those moments.”
I’m just basking in this happy turn of events. Who on earth doesn’t want to watch more of Tommy Haas? Hopefully we’ll be seeing much more of him -and Stan and Anastasia – in Madrid and beyond. Though I should bridle my enthusiasm, look how I jinxed the ladies in Madrid.
A sad, scary turn of events: Bernard Tomic was a weekend loser, going out to Radek Stepanek on Sunday. But more troubling is this story about Bernard’s already notorious father/coach, John, who was arrested at a Madrid hotel a few days ago after allegedly head butting and seriously injuring Bernie’s practice partner, Thomas Drouet. A Monte Carlo paper reported last week that John Tomic hit his son while on the practice courts there, and this latest outburst of violence may be related. From News.au:
Drouet and John Tomic are alleged to have clashed in the street outside the hotel.
Drouet was knocked out and left with a broken nose, fractured vertebrae and stitches after the alleged attack which was witnessed by leading players, including Alexandr Dolgopolov and Janko Tipsarevic.
Scary and sad stuff.