U.S. Out of Top 10; Roddick Rocks Cincy
by Sean Randall | August 22nd, 2006, 10:53 am
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If the latest WTA Rankings are correct it’s an historic week in women’s tennis. With Lindsay Davenport dropping from 10 to No. 11 in the Monday rankings leaving exactly ZERO American women in the Top 10 for what I think – and feel free to prove me wrong – for the first time in the history of the WTA Rankings, which go all the way back to November of 1975.

That’s over 30 years and around 1,600 straight weeks that an American women had been ranked among the Top 10. Not no more.

Nor is it a surprise either, with few of the top Americans even playing of late due to injury. Lindsay, who is back on court this week in New Haven, has battled back trouble, Serena’s a knee and Venus a wrist I think.

With the big three also on the verge of retirement – Lindsay is rumored to be pulling the plug at the Open – one has to wonder just who is on the rise. The men have a promising 18-year-old Sam Querrey and even Donald Young, but the women’s charge is led by Alexa Glatch and who knows.

Sure Shenay Perry, Jamea Jackson and Vania King are playing well but they are not going to be Top 10 regulars, if they ever reach that high.

So pickings are indeed slim, that is unless we turn Maria Sharapova into a true American (maybe her new boyfriend will?).

Lindsay by the way is the only American ranked in the Top 30, one fewer than tennis powers Serbia and Italy. That’s scary.

On to brighter things…

So who had Andy Roddick winning Cincinnati in their million dollar ATP pool? I’m guessing probably no one. Roddick of course caught fire and caught some breaks en route to his first title of year Sunday at the ‘Nati.

Roddick hammered the hapless Juan Carlos Ferrero who himself showed a bit of a rebirth last week posting his best tournament performance since he ranked No. 1 late in 2003.

Roddick took full advantage of a draw which opened up big time as Roger Federer essentially took a pass and Rafael Nadal remains uneasy on the hard courts. After near disastrous encounter with Daniele Bracciali in the first round, Roddick never faced a set point thereafter, blasting just about everyone in his path including the winded Andy Murray Friday night. Murray said afterward he was playing at “50%” and strongly considered pulling out from the match against Roddick who he had beaten twice before both in straight sets.

So is Andy really back? Is he going to battle Roger and Rafael for No. 1? Are those “Anti-Roddick” fans feeling restless knowing Roddick’s cocky on-court stare downs figure to be in full effect at the Open? Is he really dating Maria Sharapova? Answers are probably yes, no, yes and yes.

With Roddick now working with Jimmy Connors look for even more bravado from Andy’s game which translates into more on-court attitude. So get ready for more hands to the air when he makes a miraculous volley, more stare downs at the crowd when he hits a running baseline winner and more yapping when he gets a shaky call from a linesperson.

And as Cincy showed, if Andy gets the serve going his going to be tough to beat. Roger and just a few others can handle that serve when it’s humming, so with the right US Open draw Roddick should at least make it to his first Slam quarter since 2005 Wimbledon.

The bottom line is it’s great to have Andy back. Even though many people hate his on court act, it’s fun to watch and usually provides a good bang for the buck. So if at the Open Roger pulls up lame or Rafa forgets to take off his roller skates maybe we’ll see Andy and his Mojo back in the Slam winner’s circle. Now that would really be scary.

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