Malisse Breaks Title Jinx; Rutter De-Bones Capriati Porn Dating Story

Posted on February 7, 2005

Soderling Wins Second Career Title at ATP Milan

No. 5 seed Robin Soderling of Sweden won his second career title Sunday at the ATP stop in Milan, defeating No. 4 Radek Stepanek 6-3, 6-7(2), 7-6(5) to join his Swedish idols.

Soderling become the third Swede to win in Milan after Bjorn Borg (1978) and Stefan Edberg (1984).

"This is a very special win because I know that Borg and Edberg had won this title," Soderling said. "It is nice to have my name next to them and it's great to win my second title. When you win your first title it could be by chance, but if you win your second title you really believe you belong up there and you realize you can win many more."

The Swede, who entered Milan with an 0-2 record on the year, is now 2-4 career in finals. Stepanek is now 0-2 in career finals.

"I had my chances but he served too well today," Stepanek said. "It came down to a couple of points and he took them. That's the way tennis is."

In the doubles final, unseeded Italians Daniele Bracciali and Giorgio Galimberti saved two match points to defeat unseeded Frenchmen Jean-Francois Bachelot and Arnaud Clement 6-7(8), 7-6(6), 6-4 for their first tour title as a team after seven Challenger titles together.

Malisse Breaks Title Jinx at ATP Delray Beach

Belgian Xavier "X-Man" Malisse won his first career title in his seventh final Sunday at the ATP stop in Delray Beach, Florida, defeating Czech Jiri Novak 7-6(6), 6-2.

"It feels awesome," Malisse said. "It is a feeling that I've never felt, seeing that last ball go out and getting the monkey off my back. It was a feeling of disbelief because you can't believe it happened. It's been a long time in coming."

Novak was attempting to win his first title since the Tokyo-outdoor in 2004.

"I thought the first set was the key of the match," Novak said. "I had the lead, I was in control. He was just better in the second set. I'm disappointed I just lost the final, but I'm very happy to have reached the final."

Malisse is the first player to go winless in as many as six finals before winning his first ATP title since Frenchman Cedric Pioline, who lost nine finals before finally breaking through to claim his first career title in Copenhagen in 1996.

In the doubles final the Swedish/Aussie combo of Simon Aspelin and Todd Perry won their first career title in their third final of 2005 after defeating Jordan Kerr and Jim Thomas 6-3 6-3. Aspelin and Perry were finalists in Adelaide and Auckland in January.

Gaudio Reclaims Clay Magic with ATP Vina del Mar Title

Top seed and current French Open holder Gaston Gaudio defeated defending champion and No. 2 seed Fernando "Gonzo" Gonzalez 6-3, 6-4 for his first title of the year Sunday at the ATP stop in Vina del Mar.

It was the sixth career title for Gaudio, who has won 26 of his last 29 matches on clay.

"I might have not played the best of my tennis today but with Fernando it is very difficult to play it's best since he is always leading," Gaudio said. "It depends on his game. But the important thing was to win a tournament like this that I had so close to win it before."

The Chilean Gonzalez saved four match points in the final game before finally succumbing before the home crowd.

In the doubles final Saturday, unseeded Spaniards Dave Ferrer/Santiago Ventura ousted top-seeded Argentines Gaston Etlis/Martin Rodriguez 6-3, 6-4.

Coria, Nalbandian Headline ATP Marseille

The Open 13 on hardcourt in Marseille is the money event of the three ATP events this week, which is why you see top seeds Guillermo Coria and David Nalbandian taking a pass on the lower prize money Buenos Aires event on clay (and taking the French appearance money).

Joining the Argentines among the seeds are Joachim "The Jackhammer" Johansson, Russian Nikolay Davydenko, Dominik "The Dominator" Hrbaty, Feliciano "F-Lo" Lopez, German Nicolas Kiefer, and Croat Ivan Ljubicic.

First round match-ups of note are (5) Hrbaty vs. Mario "Baby Goran" Ancic, (4) Davydenko vs. veteran Sjeng Schalken, (WC) Gael "Force" Monfils vs. Igor Andreev, (3) The Jackhammer vs. former No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, (6) F-Lo vs. Fernando "Hot Sauce" Verdasco in an all-Spanish, (2) Nalbandian vs. Rainer "Shine" Schuettler, and a potential (1) Coria vs. "Grinning" Greg Rusedski in a second-rounder.

In last year's final The Dominator came back from a set down to defeat Soderling in the all-unseeded final, while top seeds Mark Knowles/Daniel Nestor beat (2) Martin Damm/Cyril Suk in doubles.

Hrbaty is the lone returning champ in the field. Former winners in Marseille have included No. 1s Roger Federer (2003), Yevgeny Kafelnikov (2001), and Boris Becker (1995).

On court Monday in Marseille are (4) Davydenko vs. Schalken, (6) F-Lo vs. Verdasco, and Ancic vs. (5) Hrbaty.

Roddick, Agassi, Haas Lead Strong ATP San Jose Field

While the ATP stop in Marseille draws the largest prize pot this week, the SAP Open in San Jose attracted the stars in former No. 1s Andy Roddick and Andre Agassi, and former No. 2-ranked Tommy Haas.

Other seeded players at San Jose include Americans Vince Spadea and Mardy "Silver" Fish, Czech Jiri Novak, Jurgen "Tuna" Melzer and Max "The Beast" Mirnyi.

The top-seeded Roddick opens against a qualifier, while other first-round openers of note are Robby "Baby Courier" Ginepri vs. (WC) "The" Donald Young in an all-American, (6) Fish vs. veteran Thomas Enqvist, (5) Novak vs. the crafty Frenchman Cyril Saulnier, and (2) Agassi vs. (WC) Bobby Reynolds in an all-American.

In the 2004 final (1) Roddick edged (3) Fish 7-6(13), 6-4 in a highly-entertaining contest, with Fish then teaming with countryman James Blake to win the doubles as an unseeded pair.

Returning champions at San Jose are Roddick (2004) and the five-time champ Agassi (2003,'98,'95,'93,'90).

On court Monday are Irakli "Freak Show" Labadze vs. Carlsen, Kim vs. Hernych, (WC) Jensen/Jensen vs.  Fisher/Kohlschreiber, Jeff "Baby Krajicek" Morrison vs. a qualifier, Gambill vs. H.-T. Lee, and the 15-year-old (WC) Young vs. Ginepri in an all-American.

Former French Champs Moya, Gaudio Lead Dirt Field at ATP Buenos Aires

Last year's runner-up and former Roland Garros champion Carlos Moya heads the field this week at Buenos Aires as the ATP South American claycourt swing hands off from last week's event in Vina del Mar, Chile.

Moya is joined among the seeds by current Roland Garros holder Gaston Gaudio, Argentine Guillermo Canas, Chile's Fernando "Gonzo" Gonzalez, Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela, Italy's Filippo Volandri, Spaniard Rafael "The Prodigy" Nadal, and yet another soldier of the Argentine Army in Mariano Zabaleta.

The top-seeded Moya faces a qualifier in his opener, with a potential second-round meeting with either former Roland Garros winner Al Costa or rising Argentine Juan "The Principality" Monaco.

Other openers of note are (3) Canas vs. the struggling former No. 2 Alex Corretja, (7) The Prodigy against clay grinder Agustin Calleri of Argentina, and (2) Gaudio vs. a qualifier.

In last year's final Moya was routed 6-4, 6-1 by top seed Guillermo Coria, who this week is playing at Marseille.

Returning Buenos Aires champs in the field are Moya (2003,'95) and Corretja (1994).

On court Monday are Acasuso vs. Mathieu, Corretja vs. (3) Canas, Calatrava vs. (8) Zabaleta, Costa vs. Monaco, Montanes vs. Saretta, and Mantilla vs. Hernandez.

Serena, Mauresmo, Sharapova Headline This Week at WTA Paris

Australian Open holder Serena Williams heads the star-packed field this week at the WTA stop in Paris, the Open Gaz de France, joined by former No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo, last week's Tokyo winner and current Wimbledon holder Maria Sharapova, Russian Nadia Petrova, Frenchwoman Nathalie Dechy, Croat Karolina "The Spreminator" Sprem, Italy's Silvia Farina Elia, and Bulgaria's Maggie Maleeva.

First round match-ups of note are (6) The Spreminator vs. Dinara "Little Sis" Safina, a potential second-rounder of (3) Sharapova vs. Tatiana "Hot Pants" Golovin, (7) Farina Elia vs. Klara "Kouky" Koukalova, and (2) Mauresmo vs. the winner of Mary Pierce and Anabel "Funky Cold" Medina Garrigues. 

In last year's final the top-seeded Kim Clijsters unmercifully pounded the unseeded Pierce 6-2, 6-1.

Former champs in the field are Serena (2003,'99), Mauresmo (2001), and Pierce (1998).

Li, Groenefeld Lead No-Name WTA Hyderabad Field

Top seed Na Li and No. 4 Jie Zheng give the star-challenged WTA Hyderabad field a decidedly Chinese feel this week in India.

Also among the seeds are Germany's Anna-Lena Groenefeld, Russian Tatiana Panova, Thai Tamarine Tanasugarn, Slovak Lubomira Kurhajcova, and Russian Maria Kirilenko.

Unseeded notables in the field are former Top 10er Jelena Dokic, and India's sweetheart Sania Mirza. 

In the 2004 final, No. 4-seeded Aussie Nicole Pratt beat the unseeded Russian Kirilenko.

Martina Navratilova
says it's time for equal prize money: "While men and women get equal prize money in Australian and American Open, it is not the same at Wimbledon and at the French Open. They say women can't get equal prize money because they play only three sets. We offered to play all the five sets but they did not allow us." Wonder why? Sleep factor? Regardless of the quality, it's well-past time for equal prize money...Porn star Dale "DeBone" Rutter told Tennis-X that, contrary to other reports, he was never dating Jennifer Capriati: "Jennifer and I are not dating. We met one time with a group of people and that was it. I can't believe where these stories come from. If it were just affecting me I really would not care. But this is so not fair to her. I'm sure she is not happy. Can we clear this up. I feel bad for Jennifer."...John McEnroe and Andre Agassi have both won five titles at ATP San Jose...The Jensen brothers received a doubles wildcard this week in San Jose...The SAP Open in San Jose is the only men's professional tennis tournament on the ATP circuit played on only one stadium court...Marta Domachowska withdraw from Hyderabad this week with a shoulder injury.