Impressive performance this weekend by Tommy Haas, who hammered Andy Roddick to win his third Memphis title. Haas won the event without dropping a set or even facing a break point – a pretty amazing statistic – and he raised his 2007 record to 13-2.
Haas has been here before, of course. Last year he started just as strong winning 23 of his first 29 matches, with three of those losses coming to Roger Federer, before fading down the stretch. If Haas can stay healthy there’s no reason he can’t be a Top 5 or even a No. 2 player. He has all the shots, quick feet, but injury, bad fortunes, mental lapses and maybe his super hot girlfriends have plagued the German’s progress. Let’s hope he can put together a full season and his results continue.
After she split from ballkid extraordinaire Pierre-Yves, Justin Henin seems to be back on track following an excellent win in Dubai over Amelie Mauresmo – her fourth title in the UAE. And with the top spot on the women’s tour wide open, it could very well be Henin’s again at year end, especially when you look at the field.
Jury is still out on how Sharapova will handle her beat-down from Serena is still unkown. Mauresmo’s motivation is probably not be there like it was a year ago. Clijsters is busy making wedding arangements. Hingis is determined but I don’t think she has the firepower to compete for No. 1, and the Williams sisters are always a question mark.
That leaves Henin with a good look at the No. 1 ranking. Problem is she needs to win two of the next three Slams to have any real chance (remember she reached the final of all four last year, winning just the French, so plenty of points to defend).
Back to Memphis, you have to love Andy Murray dismissing his loss to Roddick, saying afterward: “You’d have to ask him how he saw it, but I just viewed it as another match…It was the semi-finals of a Tour event. Maybe it did mean a lot to him but it wasn’t like it was the biggest match I’ve ever played. I didn’t feel nervous walking on the court like I did at maybe some of the grand slams, against [Rafael] Nadal, against Roddick at Wimbledon, [David] Nalbandian the year before. I didn’t feel nervous, I was just looking forward to trying to play my game and unfortunately I didn’t play my game that well today.”
I’m sure Brad Gilbert, who with Murray is now 1-2 vs. his former pupil Roddick, didn’t see it just “as another match”, losing to the guy who fired him. And it’s probably not the attitude you want for a kid who’s about to crack the Top 10.
A guy with no attitude issues is Roger Federer, who’s in Dubai this week collecting some serious cash (a million anyone?) and some more records. Federer this week breaks Jimmy Connors’ run of 160 straight weeks at No. 1. By my math, if Fed doesn’t hit another ball he will hold onto to the No. 1 ranking guaranteed another 15 straight weeks before he could lose it to someone like Roddick should the American win the next five Masters Series events (Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo, Hamburg, Rome) and then the French Open.
Now if only you could bet against that happening…
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