Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships
Seeds: 1. Serena Williams, 2. Dinara Safina, 3. Jelena Jankovic, 4. Elena Dementieva, 5. Vera Zvonareva, 6. Venus Williams, 7. Svetlana Kuznetsova, 8. Ana Ivanovic, 9. Agnieszka Radwanska, 10. Alize Cornet, 11. Marion Bartoli, 12. Dominika Cibulkova, 13. Jie Zheng, 14. Anabel Medina Garrigues, 15. Anna Chakvetadze, 16. Kaia Kanepi
Watch for: (9) Radwanska opening against her sister Urszula who qualified into the main draw; (14) Medina Garrigues vs. former No. 1 and last week’s Paris winner Amelie Mauresmo; (6) Venus Williams after a bye facing a Russian in either Maria Kirilenko or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova; (7) Kuznetsuva in a tough debut vs. either Russian qualifier Elena Vesnina or China’s Na Li; (3) Jankovic potentially opening against China’s dangerous Shuai Peng; (11) Bartoli vs. veteran Ai Sugiyama; Israel’s Shahar Peer removed from the draw after being denied a visa to enter the country.
Regions Morgan Keegan Championships & Cellular South Cup
Memphis, Tenn., USA
Seeds: 1. Caroline Wozniacki, 2. Victoria Azarenka, 3. Lucie Safarova, 4. Anne Keothavong, 5. Marina Erakovic, 6. Sabine Lisicki, 7. Alla Kudryavtseva, 8. Pauline Parmentier
Watch for: (1) Wozniacki opening against resurgent qualifier and former Top 5er Jelena Dokic; (7) Kudryavtseva vs. (Q) Michaella Krajicek; wildcards to Portugal’s Michelle Larcher de Brito and Americans Melanie Oudin and Alexandra Stevenson; American Alexa Glatch qualifies.
Copa Sony Ericsson Colsanitas
Seeds: 1. Flavia Pennetta, 2. Carla Suarez Navarro, 3. Gisela Dulko, 4. Nuria Llagostera Vives, 5. Klara Zakopalova, 6. Mathilde Johansson, 7. Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, 8. Loudes Dominguez Lino
Watch for: A giant lack of star power.
Regions Morgan Keegan Championships
Memphis, Tenn., USA
Seeds: 1. Andy Roddick, 2. Juan Martin Del Potro, 3. James Blake, 4. Robin Soderling, 5. Radek Stepanek, 6. Igor Andreev, 7. Mardy Fish, 8. Sam Querrey
Watch for: (1) Roddick vs. fellow American Robby Ginepri 2nd rd.; (8) Querrey vs. Haas; (3) Blake vs. Hewitt; (7) Fish vs. Taipei comer Yen-Hsun Lu; (2) Del Potro vs. Argentine countryman Guillermo Canas, winner to face winner of Taylor Dent and Ernests Gulbis.
Seeds: 1. Novak Djokovic, 2. Gilles Simon, 3. Gael Monfils, 4. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 5. Tomas Berdych, 6. Richard Gasquet, 7. Marat Safin, 8. Feliciano Lopez
Watch for: (1) Djokovic vs. hot-handed Frenchman Jeremy Chardy; (7) Safin vs. veteran Arnaud Clement; (8) Lopez vs. Ivan Ljubicic; (5) Berdych vs. Russian Mikhail Youzhny; (3) Monfils vs. French countryman Paul-Henri Mathieu; (2) Simon vs. (WC) Grigor Dimitrov, who stretched world No. 1 Rafael Nadal to three sets last week.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Seeds: 1. David Nalbandian, 2. Nicolas Almagro, 3. Tommy Robredo, 4. Carlos Moya, 5. Jose Acasuso, 6. Al Montanes, 7. Marcel Granollers, 8. Eduardo Schwank
Watch for: (1) Nalbandian vs. former force Nicolas Lapentti; former No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero unseeded; wildcards to Argentines Gaston Gaudio and Juan Ignacio Chela.
ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
No. 2 seed Andy Murray rolls the top-seeded Rafael Nadal 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 after Nadal experiences a “new” knee injury during the final. “I had a problem with the injury but I don’t want to talk about that,” said Nadal, who appeared to suffer the injury in the second set. “Andy played very well today and he deserved to win the tournament.” It was the 21-year-old Murray’s second title of 2009, and he becomes the first Brit to win Rotterdam after Tim Henman lost three times in the final.
San Jose, Calif., USA
Radek Stepanek defeated Mardy Fish in a testy 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 final on Sunday to win his fourth career title and first of 2009. Fish was dominant in winning the first set, but when Stepanek took a medical time-out in the second, the American came undone mentally, losing the second and in the third collapsing in a heap of unforced errors. “I didn’t think it was an injury at all,” said Fish, who failed to acknowledge Stepanek in the post-match trophy ceremony. “He seemed fine to me. I would have been shocked if I was up a set and he didn’t call the trainer. It’s par for the course for him. You know what to expect. It’s unfortunate.”
Brasil Open 2009
Costa do Sauipe, Bahia, Brazil
Spain’s Tommy Robredo sweeps both the singles and doubles title in Brazil, topping inspired unseeded Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in the singles final, and teaming with countryman Marcel Granollers to top Argentines Arnold/Monaco in the doubles final. Robredo, who claimed his first title of the year, failed to serve out the match at 5-3, but broke in the next game to claim the title. “It was very emotional and moving to feel the public support me to that degree, yelling my name and even some people crying at the end,” the 21-year-old Bellucci said.
Champions Cup Boston (Senior Tour)
Boston, Mass., USA
Pete Sampras defeated the 49-year-old John McEnroe 7-6(10), 6-4 on Sunday to capture the title at the $150,000 Champions Cup Boston, the debut event on the 2009 Outback Champions Series tour. McEnroe led 3-0 in the first set and held four set points in the first-set tiebreaker, but was unable to hold off the 37-year-old Sampras. “John McEnroe turns 50 tomorrow — it’s incredible how well this guy still plays,” Sampras said following the match. “I’m in awe of it actually. At 50, it’s amazing to move that well. It’s pretty incredible.” McEnroe beat Sampras last year en route to the Boston title. Todd Martin won the third-place match when Jim Courier pulled out with a bad back.
Open GDF SUEZ
Lacking confidence and on the verge of retirement last year, former No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo completed her turn-around on Sunday at home in Paris, defeating Elena Dementieva 7-6(7), 2-6, 6-4 for the title. “I have had hard times,” Mauresmo told reporters afterwards. “I did some soul searching by the end of last year and there is a new dynamic, a good preparation during the winter.” The Frenchwoman saved a set point in the first, and burst into tears upon serving it out in the third. It was the 29-year-old Mauresmo’s first title since Antwerp in 2007, and is projected to put her back in the Top 20. It was Dementieva’s third final of the year, with her record now 2-1 in the championship round for 2009.
PTT Pattaya Open
Pattaya City, Thailand
Top-seeded Russian Vera Zvonareva dashes the hopes of unseeded Indian Sania Mirza 7-5, 6-1 in the Sunday final, nonetheless a much-needed confidence boost for the flagging Mirza. “The first set could have gone either way, but when you’re playing against someone who’s so good, if you don’t take your chances — the one or two that you get — you will pay a price for it,” Mirza said. “She played a great match. I felt like I played okay as well. I was striking the ball well.” It was Zvonareva’s eighth career title and first of 2009. Mirza falls to 1-3 in career finals.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
James Blake lost to Mardy Fish in San Jose on an injured ankle, rolling it in his previous match…
Andy Murray pulled from Marseille citing an ankle problem…
From Tennis.com: “Defending champ Nicolas Almagro has exited Costa do Sauipe in stormy fashion, with the Brazilian crowd hurling insults as they barracked for his Portuguese opponent Frederico Gil. A scuffle between a small group of fans and Almagro also took place after the match. “They called me “maricon” (homosexual) during the match. Then I come out here and it happens again,” an angry Almagro told tournament officials. He also criticized the practice of serving drinks in the VIP boxes during the match. “I never before saw people drinking alcohol in a tennis stadium. It’s unreal.” Brazilian website UOL reported that the crowd called Almagro “Alfatso” and rowdy fans later instructed his friends to “Go pack his bags.” Reports from tournament workers that Almagro had assaulted aggressive fans after the match were unfounded, said the ATP, though some pushing did take place. There was also tension between the two players during the match, with Almagro aiming a ball at Gil during one stage. “Almagro is a hothead,” said Gil, who is otherwise friendly with the Spaniard.”…
From the Globe and Mail’s Beverley Smith on WTA Tour players appearing in the latest swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated: “Today, athleticism is sexy. The line isn’t blurred — it’s been erased. Yesterday’s Marilyn Monroe is today’s Hantuchova, the definition of beauty reshaped some 35 years after Title IX legislation in the United States encouraged girls to take up sport.” — The same Hantuchova who for years publicly battled anorexia/an eating disorder? Compared to the curvy Marilyn Monroe? Maybe not the best example…
WTA Dubai Event Kicks Out Israel’s Peer
Australian Open winners Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams are already on the DL. Serena pulled from the Paris semis, and Nadal suffered during the Rotterdam final, both with knee injuries…
ARGENTINE BAILOUT — Argentina will have to beat the Dutch in the first round of the Davis Cup without Juan Martin Del Potro, Guillermo Canas or Agustin Calleri who have all made themselves unavailable. “I will not play because I am currently playing on hard courts and the Davis Cup tie will be on clay,” Del Potro told Del Potro told www.fuebuena.com.ar. So it would be very difficult for me. However, after the first round, if we win, I will be there.”…
MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS ROGER — Jelena Jankovic shot back at Roger Federer announcing she wasn’t worthy of the No. 1 ranking when she held it last year without winning a Grand Slam title, telling Reuters: “To be honest, I do not like to talk about players, I really prefer to focus on myself. Why should [Federer] even care? I don’t like putting my nose in other’s business. I mean, one thing I like about [Rafael] Nadal is that he is such a great champion, he is so humble, always has kind words for everybody, he is a role model for everybody. Federer is a great champion, I don’t want to get in a fight with him but why does he care, I really don’t understand. Why does he need to do that?”…
The nation of Iran competed in the Fed Cup a couple weekends ago for the first time in 37 years, with the women wearing a sport-designed birka…
SANIA IS TIRED: India’s Sania Mirza on skipping Fed Cup for her country: “I have never said I would boycott tournaments in India. All I said was I don’t want to play in this meet. As a tennis player I’m allowed a week off if I’m tired.” Tired from what, winning the mixed doubles at the Aussie Open? Without Mirza the Indian Fed Cup team lost to Taiwan 3-0, and now will drop to Asia/Oceania Zone Group II sub-zonal play next year…
Following his semifinal loss at the Australian Open to Roger Federer, Andy Roddick flew straight to Tampa (where his model/fiancee Brooklyn Decker was also working) to watch the Super Bowl, rooming with friend and Tampa resident Mardy Fish…
Nadia Petrova pulled from Pattaya City citing a right foot injury…
It is rumored that Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf, Tim Henman and Kim Clijsters could be involved in a May exhibition match at Wimbledon to test the new retractable roof ahead of The Championships (as Wimbledon likes to be referred to) in June…
Ana Ivanovic has finally hired a new coach, Craig Kardon who has formerly worked with Lindsay Davenport, Martina Navratilova, Jennifer Capriati and Mary Pierce…
World Wrestling Entertainment has named Michelle Wilson, the former eight-year chief marketing officer for the USTA, its executive vice president of marketing…
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