Davidoff Swiss Indoors
Seeds: Roger Federer, David Nalbandian, Juan Martin Del Potro, James Blake, Stan Wawrinka, Igor Andreev, Tomas Berdych, Mardy Fish
Notes: First-rounder of note (4) Blake vs. Nicolas Kiefer (winner to potentially face Tommy Haas); Federer shouldn’t face opposition until (7) Berdych in quarters, and possibly Blake, Fish or Haas in semis.
Grand Prix de Tennis De Lyon
Seeds: Andy Roddick, Richard Gasquet, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gilles Simon, Tommy Robredo, Ivo Karlovic, Robin Soderling, Paul-Henri Mathieu
Notes: Tough first-round meetings abound in (1) Roddick vs. Nicolas Mahut, (8) Mathieu vs. Guillermo Canas, former No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero vs. Sam Querrey, and (5) Robredo vs. Michael Llodra.
St. Petersburg Open
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia
Seeds: Andy Murray, Nikolay Davydenko, Fernando Verdasco, Mikhail Youzhny, Marin Cilic, Dmitry Tursunov, Mario Ancic, Marat Safin
Notes: (2) Davydenko opens against big-serving Aussie Chris Guccione; Safin and Youzhny looking at an all-Russian quarterfinal.
Generali Ladies Linz
Seeds: Ana Ivanovic, Vera Zvonareva, Agnieszka Radwanska, Patty Schnyder, Nadia Petrova, Marion Bartoli, Flavia Pennetta, Alize Cornet
Notes: The top-seeded Ivanovic has a tough start with potential openers after a bye against Francesca Schiavone then Pennetta. Cornet Opens against China’s Jie Zheng, then potentially Maria Kirilenko. Missing is defending champ Daniela Hantuchova, who beat Schnyder in last year’s final.
FORTIS Championships Luxembourg
Seeds: Elena Dementieva, Anna Chakvetadze, Daniela Hantuchova, Caroline Wozniacki, Amelie Mauresmo, Na Li, Anabel Medina Garrigues, Sorana Cirstea
Notes: Ivanovic, the defending champion, is in Linz this week; Dementieva vs. Mauresmo showdown looming in quarters.
Andy Murray and Gilles Simon derailed the highly-anticipated Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer final in the Saturday semis at the MS-Madrid, and on Sunday the Scot Murray sealed the deal, defeating the Frenchman Simon 6-4, 7-6(6).
Murray beat Federer in th semis, and it was the second Masters Series title for the Scot this year after Cincinnati. Simon, who beat Nadal in the semis, had set points in the second-set tiebreak which the Scot fought off.
“Both of us were a little bit tired from yesterday, probably him more so than me because we’ve had some tough matches,” Murray said. Simon played three-setters in every match leading to the final.
Venus Williams snapped her three-match losing streak against Flavia Pennetta on Sunday, defeating the Italian 7-6(1), 6-2 for her second title of the year after Wimbledon. The victory puts the elder Williams sister in an excellent position to join sister Serena and the Top 8 players at the WTA year-end championships.
“I like playing when there’s a lot on the line; I really wanted to win this final, regardless of the fact it was the last year for the tournament or that it would put me in a very good position to qualify for the Sony Ericsson Championships,” Williams said. “I haven’t played there in so long — I’ve had a lot of issues since then and I’m happy to finally be healthy and hopefully getting to go there, depending on what happens with the other players this week coming up.”
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
SAFINA, WTA CLEAR THE AIR: Dinara Safina, now an outspoken player with clout since breaking into the Top 5, retracted her statement damning the WTA Tour’s new 2009 calendar for limiting the numbr of top players who can enter events such as Moscow after learning the Moscow event will have no limits on top players. The top Russian is nevertheless interested in having a say on changes to the tour, and will withhold her judgement on the new system until next year. “I support the direction the tour is taking — especially as it relates to steps taken to create a healthier calendar for top players – though I of course want to wait and see how the Roadmap develops before coming to final opinions on the many reforms that will part of the new system,” Safina said. “I do hope that I and other top players will have an opportunity to sit with the tour leadership in the coming weeks to discuss certain elements of the Roadmap where I think there is still room for improvement.” In other words, message to WTA CEO Larry Scott: Maintain good communication with the top players, or risk the potential demise of ATP CEO Etienne de Villiers.
MISC: Rafael Nadal secured the year-end No. 1 ranking by Roger Federer losing in the Madrid semis, becoming the first Spaniard to ever clinch the year-end No. 1 ranking…Svetlana Kuznetsova has hired 1974 Roland Garros and Wimbledon runner-up Olga Morozova as her new coach, dumping Stefan Ortega who had coached her for much of her career…The Zimbabwe/American team of Cara Black and Liezel Huber have clinched the year-end No. 1 doubles ranking on the WTA Tour…Insurance giant AIG is out after nearly a decade as the main U.S. Davis Cup sponsor, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press on Thursday…Nikolay Davydenko has joined Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray in clinching spots for the Masters Cup…Vince Spadea beat Sam Warburg for the Calabasas Challenger title…From tennis writer Matt Cronin: “Good for Novak Djokovic and his family for negotiating to buy the rights to Amersfoot and moving it to Serbia next year, but where did they get the money? The family must have some backers, because even though Djokovic has earned $8.7 million on court and likely another couple of million off court, the tournament probably went for at least $1.5 million or so, a nice chunk of change. Given that Djokovic supports his entire family (their pizza and pancake restaurant in Serbia can’t being raking in the dough), it’s hard to believe he’s going at it on his own. If the ATP approves the deal, the tournament will be held in May…Once again, Serena Williams is sending out a clear signal to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour that she will play where she wants to and when she wants to. Just 11 days ago, the USO champ pulled out of Moscow with a left knee injury, there were numerous photos taken of her surfing in Hawaii with her boyfriend, the rapper, Common. Folks who have surfed know that it’s not easy to do with a knee injury and probably shouldn’t be done if an athlete is going to attempt to play the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships in three weeks.”…Perry Rogers has stepped down as President of Agassi Enterprises, saying the business relationship was jeopardizing his friendship with Andre.
Also Check Out:
Andy Murray Withdraws From Madrid Due To A Back Injury
Safina Wins 2nd Straight Title at WTA Madrid
Surprise! Rafael Nadal Says Knee Is “Doing Well”
Tennis-X Notes: Rafter Returns, Players Busted for Gambling
Federer Pulls from Stockholm, Return Uncertain; Nadal Nears No. 1