Ferrero at TMS-Madrid, Henin-Hardenne at Zurich Do the No. 1 Dance

Posted on October 21, 2003

Juan Carlos Ferrero sent the pretenders in the race for No. 1 a message Sunday at the TMS-Madrid, capping off a stellar week by stopping the red-hot Nicolas Massu 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in the best-of-five indoor final for his fourth title of 2003. "It's a special win for me here in Madrid," said Ferrero, who collected his first career indoor trophy. "You know, I was in front of all my crowd, all the people of Madrid and the rest of Spain. I think it's been a very important victory for me because I've been to the finals of Shanghai and Bangkok (indoors). I couldn't win them. But here I've been able to. So it's been important to me. I'm able to say I've been able to win on all surfaces." We must have missed that grasscourt title JC. Massu is 2-3 in finals this year. In the doubles final, (2)Bhupathi/Mirnyi beat Black/Ullyett 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 for their fifth title of the year (and third TMS after Monte Carlo and Canada). Black/Ullyett are now 1-3 in finals this year.

Basel is the money event this week on the ATP, which had featured the top three players in the race for the year-end No. 1 until Juan Carlos Ferrero pulled Monday morning. In Ferrero's absence, Andy Roddick and Roger Federer join fellow seed Coria, Nalbandian, Novak, Philippoussis, and Robredo. In last year's final, Nalbandian beat Fernando Gonzalez in straight sets in the best-of-five final. Former champions in the draw are Nalbandian (2002) and Tim Henman (2001,'98). Watch for Federer to ramp it up in front of the home crowd. The Basel draw will be made on Monday.

A fairly solid field at St. Petersburg, featuring seeds Schuettler, Grosjean, former No. 1 Kuerten, Max "The Beast" Mirnyi, Youzhny, Spadea, Gaudio, and Marat "Can I Get a Win" Safin. First round matches of interest are Kiefer vs. Yevgeny "I Can't Believe I'm Not Seeded" Kafelnikov, (5)Youzhny vs. Pavel, (8)Safin vs. Vicente, (6)Spadea vs. Davydenko, and (3)Kuerten vs. Vahaly. Wildcards went to Igor Andreev, Alex Corretja, and Vadim Davletshin. Past winners in the draw are Grosjean (2002), Safin (2001-00), and Kafelnikov (1995).

Lots of crazy mini-dramas at the "if...Stockholm Open" (yes that's the tournament title) this week, the only event in ATP history that was elevated to Masters Series status, then slapped back down to regular tournament status. Thai Paradorn Srichaphan leads the field, with fellow seeds Schalken, Massu, Gonzalez, Fish, Zabaleta, Ferreira, and Nieminen. The rub lies in some of the first round match-ups, including Ancic vs. Karlovic in an all-Croatian, (3)Massu vs. Jurgen "Everybody Loves" Raemon, and the biggie in (2)Schalken vs. the red-hot Taylor Dent (winner to potentially play Ginepri). Wildcards went to Thomas Enqvist, Joachim Johansson, and Robin Soderling. Returning champions in the field are Srichaphan (2002), Schalken (2001), Enqvist (1999,'96-95), and Jonas Bjorkman (1997).

On court Monday in St. Petersburg are Sargsian vs. Stepanek, (WC)Davletshin vs. Voltchkov, Pavel vs. (5)Youzhny, (7)Gaudio vs. A.Martin, and Ferrer vs. Hrbaty.
Matches in Stockholm today are Ancic vs. Karlovic in an all-Croatian, (6)Zabaleta vs. Carlsen, Moodie vs. (WC)Soderling, and (4)Gonzalez vs. Beck.
The Basel draw will be made on Monday.

WTA REVIEW/PREVIEWHenin finally does it, reaches No. 1 (WTA)
Justine Henin-Hardenne is on the top of the world, ascending to No. 1 after Sunday beating unseeded Jelena Dokic 6-0, 6-4 in the Zurich final for her tour-leading eighth title of the year. "I served unbelievably today, I think that was the key to my victory with 11 aces and 70% first serves in," the personality-challenged H-H said in her robotic post-match conference. "I think I've shown everyone how hard (coach) Carlos and I have been working on this aspect of my game. It's great to see Jelena back at this level of tennis. My next focus is not on keeping No. 1 but my first match at the Championships in LA. I want to be fresh and ready for that in two weeks time." Then she mysteriously said "K-i-l-l a-l-l h-u-m-a-n-s" and left the room. In the doubles final, (1)Clijsters/Sugiyama beat (2)Ruano Pascual/Suarez 7-6(3), 6-2

Two of the Top 10 post for Luxembourg this week, with the seeds including new No. 2 Kim Clijsters, Chanda Rubin, Eleni Daniilidou, Tamarine Tanasugarn, Maria "Orgasmo" Sharapova, Katarina Srebotnik, Alicia Molik, and No. 44-ranked Maria Sanchez Lorenzo. Nice drop-off. Wildcards went to Belgian teenagers Elke "Sister Of" Clijsters (0-5 in WTA events) and Kirsten Flipkens. First round matches of interest are (8)Sanchez Lorenzo vs. the talented Frenchwoman Loit, and (4)Tanasugarn vs. E.Clijsters (interesting because it will be a pounding). In last year's final, (1)Clijsters rolled over (2)Maleeva 6-1, 6-2, then turned around and won the doubles title with Janette Husarova. Clijsters (2002-01) is the lone returning champion in the field.

Only one of the Top 10 in Linz this week, but a solid all-Top 20 seeded line-up in Anastasia Myskina, Ai Sugiyama, Vera Zvonareva, Nadia Petrova, Daniela "Walking Stick" Hantuchova, Anna Pistolesi, Paola Suarez, and Patty Schnyder. First round matches of interest are (8)Schnyder vs. countrywoman Mikaelian, (7)Suarez vs. the 18-year-old Aussie comer Sprem, and (5)Hantuchova vs. Zurich runner-up Dokic. In last year's final, No. 4-seeded Justine Henin-Hardenne beat unseeded Alexandra Stevenson 6-3, 6-0. There are no returning champions in the field, as H-H pulled to rest up for the year-end WTA Championships.

On court monday in Luxembourg are Srebotnik vs. Sequera, Loit vs. Sanchez Lorenzo, Tanasugarn vs. Kim's little sis (WC)E.Clijsters, Cohen-Aloro vs. Daniilidou, and Pratt vs. Barna.

Only one main draw match on court today at Linz in Krasnoroutskaya vs Farina Elia, ticket holders get a whole lot of final-round qualifying, get in line for the refund.

2003 SINGLES TITLE LEADERS (through Oct. 19)
8--Justine Henin-Hardenne (BEL)
7--Kim Clijsters (BEL)
6--Roger Federer (SUI)
6--Andy Roddick (USA)
4--Andre Agassi (USA) 
4--Guillermo Coria (ARG)
4--Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP)
4--Anastacia Myskina (RUS)
4--Serena Williams (USA)

2003 DOUBLES TEAM TITLE LEADERS (through Oct. 19)
7--K.Clijsters/A.Sugiyama (BEL/JPN)
5--M.Bhupathi/M.Mirnyi (IND/BLR)
5--M.Knowles/D.Nestor (BAH/CAN)
5--S.Kuznetsova/M.Navratilova (RUS/USA)
4--B.Bryan/M.Bryan (USA)

Roger Federer 70-15
Juan Carlos Ferrero 66-15
Andy Roddick 64-15
Rainer Schuettler 64-26

Steffi Graf (GER) (377 weeks at No. 1)
Martina Navratilova (USA) 331
Chris Evert (USA) 262
Martina Hingis (SUI) 209
Monica Seles (USA) 178
Serena Williams (USA) 57
Lindsay Davenport (USA) 37
Tracy Austin (USA) 22
Jennifer Capriati (USA) 17
Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario (ESP) 12
Venus Williams (USA) 11
Kim Clijsters (BEL) 10
Justine Henin-Hardenne (BEL) 1

Swedes have won the title five of the last eights years at the ATP Stockholm Open...Carlos Moya has all but wrapped up the No. 7 spot at the Masters Cup, just waiting for the announcement; the No. 8 spot is up for grabs among three players in Nalbandian, Philippoussis, and Grosjean...Justine Henin-Hardenne is No. 1 this week, but will drop to No. 2 next week since she pulled out of the Linz tournament where she was defending champion...Sweden will appeal to the ITF after the country was left out of the 2004 Davis Cup seedings, the Swedish federation's chairman Jan Carlzon said. "We will file an appeal to the ITF next week where we'll ask for the seeding and the draw to be re-done," Carlzon told the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet. "I have an unpleasant feeling that the ITF are counting the money rather than merits. The Davis Cup is incredibly popular in Holland, which means big television revenues. Unfortunately that's not the case for Sweden." The Netherlands got a seeding ahead of the higher-ranked Swedes, who subsequently drew the tough Austria team in the opening round...For a while there, it appeared we could have had a rare new No. 1 quadruple Monday, with the top spot in the WTA singles/doubles and ATP singles/doubles all changing hands...Philadelphia is banking that Venus shows for the event next week. Otherwise the top seed may be Vera Zvonareva...Did anyone else notice the written apology to Feliciano Lopez in Daily Telegraph on Sunday?  Lopez was accused a week earlier by the British paper which had suggested the Spaniard threw a match to Jarkko Nieminen at Long Island in August. The paper said those claims were unfounded. Nice lawsuit.