“It would be great to have another duel with Federer,” said world No. 1 Rafael Nadal. “If I play him it means I will be No. 1 at the end of the year because I will have reached the final. I can only meet him there.”
See the draw breakdown at:
Seeds: Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic, Venus Williams, Vera Zvonareva, Agnieszka Radwanska, Patty Schnyder, Anna Chakvetadze, Daniela Hantuchova
Notes: Jankovic to open against winner of Nadia Petrova vs. Flavia Pennetta; (8) Hantuchova opens against Russian Maria Kirilenko; former No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo unseeded.
IF Stockholm Open
Top-seeded David Nalbandian started a turn-around of his horrid season on Sunday at Stockholm, topping No. 4-seeded Swede Robin Soderling 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 for his second title of the year after Buenos Aires. This year the chunky Argentine failed to advance past the third round at any of the four Slams, or the Beijing Olympics.
“Overall I’m happy with my performance this week,” said Nalbandian, who now moves on to Madrid where last year he beat Roger Federer in the final. “I think I’ve played well every time I stepped in the court and this gives me some confidence going into Madrid.”
In the doubles final Jonas Bjorkman won his 700th career doubles match, teaming with Kevin Ullyett to beat Swedish wildcards Johan Brunstrom and Michael Ryderstedt 6-1, 6-3.
After the win, tournament officials trollied Bjorkman around the stadium court in a wheelchair to mark his upcoming retirement.
Bank Austria Tennis Trophy 2008
German qualifier Philipp Petzschner capped his amazing run Sunday in Vienna, winning his first career title with a 6-4, 6-4 upset of No. 8 seed Gael Monfils. The German almost made it a double after the final, losing in the doubles final with partner Alexander Peya to No. 4 seeds Max Mirnyi and Andy Ram.
“I think the key today was that I was a little more patient than [Monfils],” said the 24-year-old German, who had lost his last two matches against the Frenchman. “My tactics went a little bit better. I changed a little bit since our last match in Bangkok. I tried to come to the net and be more aggressive.”
Monfils said the German was the better man on the day.
“Well done to Philipp winning the final,” Monfils said. “He’s a friend of mine so I am happy for him.”
The media continues to bag on Jelena Jankovic for holding the world No. 1 ranking ‘by default’ after the retirement of Justine Henin and injury to Maria Sharapova — but the sunny Serbian continues to give her own brand of ‘F.Y.’ to the press and fellow players by doing what she does best — collecting titles.
On Sunday in Moscow the top-ranked Serb, who recently re-took the top spot from Serena Williams, fortified her position by easily dismissing No. 7-seeded Russian Vera Zvonareva 6-2, 6-4 for her fourth title of the year at the Kremlin Cup.
“All of my opponents in the last few weeks have been tough for me,” said Jankovc, who has won three titles in three week’s in her sprint-like effort to secure the coveted year-end No. 1 ranking. “Winning three tournaments in a row is a great result. I’ve been trying my best. I’m close to finishing the year as the No. 1 player in the world.”
Unseeded Igor Kunitsyn won the all-Russian men’s final, upending former No. 1 and No. 7 seed Marat Safin 7-6(6), 6-7(4), 6-3.
The 27-year-old captured his first career title by snapping a three-match losing streak against Safin.
“Playing in front of a home crowd in an all-Russian final, against one of my best buddies Marat and one of my favorite players was amazing,” Kunitsyn said. “It was amazing to be in the final and it really is a dream come true. I wasn’t expecting it.”
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
WTA PLAYER BOYCOTT?: With all the fanfare surrounding the unveiling of the “Roadmap 2009″ and a new tour calendar for women’s players, the WTA Tour apparently forgot to spread the good news, or at least brief their top players on how things are going to work. “If they (WTA) don’t listen to what we have to say we might even choose to boycott the new tour,” Russian Dinara Safina told reporters this past weekend at the WTA event in Moscow. Fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova was also concerned how the new rules for top players will effect smaller events such as the one in Moscow. “I was told only two players from the Top 10 could enter a smaller tournament like the Kremlin Cup next year,” Kuznetsova told reporters. “What if (world No. 1) Jelena Jankovic and Serena or Venus (Williams) want to play here? Then all the top Russian players, and there are five of us in the top 10, will not be able to play in their home tournament. That’s nonsense. They said the leading players would have to play in designated tournaments while lower-ranked players would be able to enter any event they like. There’s no logic in that at all.”
LET’S KEEP PLAYING: From the ATP on Marat Safin’s opening-round match in Moscow: “The match had a bizarre end when Safin broke [Noam] Okun to take the match 6-4 in the third. However, Safin mistakenly thought it was 6-5, and a changeover. So after securing the break, the Russian went to his chair and began to towel off. Eventually chair umpire Carlos Bernardes leaned over and informed Safin the match was over. The somewhat embarrassed Safin quickly went to the net and shared a laugh with Okun while they shook hands.”
GAMBLER CRACKDOWN: ATP events are circulating lists of on-line gamblers to ban from events, according to Bloomberg news: “The ATP men’s tennis tour may ban 15 professional gamblers from attending tournaments after finding they were placing bets on site to exploit a 20-second delay in scores being received by bookmakers, a tournament director said. The ATP sent organizers of the Madrid Masters tournament, which starts in two days, a list of the names and credit-card numbers of 15 bettors who they want excluded from entry, tournament director Gerard Tsobanian said today in an interview. “It’s a very international list,” Tsobanian said. Some of the gamblers have tried to get into past tournaments by posing as journalists, he added.”
AUSTRALIAN OPEN MOVING?: The city of Sydney is reportedly moving on a behind-the-scenes plan to entice the Australian Open away from Melbourne by building a multi-million dollar stadium at Glebe Island, west of central Sydney, that could host the event once Melbourne’s contract expires in 2016. Shanghai, Dubai and Abu Dhabi will all also reportedly put together bids by then. Welcome Down Under to the Abu Dhabi Open!
MISC: Max “The Beast” Mirnyi obtained an international law degree from Belarus State University…Swede Joachim Johansson has come out of retirement, and says he will play a full 2009 schedule…From tennis writer Bob Greene: “TENNIS.com is the new title sponsor of the Zurich Open, a stop on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. The Tennis Company, headquartered in Santa Monica, California, calls itself the world’s leading website for tennis fans. Aside from TENNIS.com, the company publishes Tennis Magazine and Smash Magazine. The Tennis Company is also a managing partner in the Indian Springs [sic, Indian Wells], California, tournament.”…Lindsay Davenport’s agent says she will not defend her title in January at Auckland, although no official retirement announcement has been released…The ATP Hamburg tournament is going to court to appeal the court-approved decision to strip them of their Masters Series status, and reportedly expect to hear a decision late this year or early in 2009…World TeamTennis announced that Jesse Levine would replace Donald Young for the Advanta WTT Smash Hits exhibition against Andy Roddick this past weekend at Kennesaw State University, with oddly no reason for Young’s no-show…Top 10ers Nikolay Davydenko, David Ferrer, Andy Roddick and Stan Wawrinka all have career losing win-loss records in Madrid. James Blake is a career 0-4 in Madrid…Goran Ivanisevic beat Henri Leconte in straight sets in the Budapest senior tour final.
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