Toray Pan Pacific Open
Surface: hard outdoor
Maria Sharapova got a little help in winning her first title since returning from shoulder surgery, raising the cup after opponent Jelena Jankovic retired with a right wrist injury trailing 2-5 in the first set. “It was my second final of the year and I was a bit nervous,” said the unseeded Sharapova. “But I played well enough this week to know I could give her a good match. I just wanted to keep fighting out there and unfortunately Jelena had to stop.”
Sharapova missed nine months of play from August 2008 to May 2009 due to a prolonged recovery from surgery that had many doubting if she could every return to form. “To go from not knowing whether you’ll ever play the sport again to holding a trophy, it’s an unbelievable feeling” Sharapova said. “You realize what a gift it is to hit a tennis ball. I’ve put in so much work and this is just exciting.”
Ai Sugiyama, playing her last tournament before retirement, lost in the doubles final with partner Daniela Hantuchova, falling 6-4, 6-2 to Alisa Kleybanova and Francesca Schiavone. Sugiyama reached career highs of No. 8 in singles and No. 1 in doubles during her career.
PTT Thailand Open
Surface: hard indoor
No. 10-ranked Gilles Simon reinforced his Top 10 status by winning his first title in almost 12 months, defeating Viktor Troicki 7-5, 6-3 for the Bangkok title.
“It feels really good because it’s never easy to win a tournament, even when you’re one of the top seeds at the tournament,” said Simon. “I had four good matches to play, I won it and I guess it’s very nice because it’s the first one of the season.
Simon improved to a 6-2 lifetime in tour finals.
Troicki served for the first set at 5-4 but could not close.
“I’m a little bit disappointed that I lost,” the Serb Troicki said. “At 5-4 in the first set I was serving and I was a little bit unlucky on the first point but after that Gilles played three great points, I couldn’t do much and he broke me back. He was mentally maybe stronger in those deciding points of the first set and he won it.”
In the doubles final, Americans Eric Butorac and Rajeev Ram beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain and Mischa Zverev of Germany 7-6(4), 6-3.
“I love Thailand,” Butorac said. “Playing with Rajeev, he’s one of my favorite partners I’ve ever played with. For some reason we just click on the court and we’re also good friends off the court. I think an indoor, faster court definitely helped us because we’re serving bigger, volleying bigger.”
Proton Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur 2009
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia
Surface: hard indoor
World No. 8 Nikolay Davydenko defeated No. 2 seed Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 7-5 to win the Kuala Lumpur title on Sunday, his third title of the year.
“It feels great to win the first tournament in Kuala Lumpur,” Davydenko said. “I also won Warsaw last year which was the first time the tournament was held. As the defending champion I have to come back in 2010 to defend my title.”
Davydenko improved to 6-1 lifetime against the lefty Verdasco.
“I feel very tired,” Davydenko said. “In the first set we played difficult points. In the second set the points were getting shorter. Just the first game of the match took 10 minutes. It was hard to recover in between points.”
For Verdasco it was his first solid result after sitting out some time with an injury.
“I am happy with the week in Kuala Lumpur,” said the Spaniard. “I came here without having played much tennis because of my foot injury. It was important to get some confidence and rhythm for the next tournaments.”
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
EVERT AND NORMAN SPLIT — The power couple of former No. 1 Chris Evert and golf champ Greg Norman have a announced their separation, not much more than a year after they dumped their previous spouses over each other. Norman’s first wife of 26 years, Laura Andrassy, followed by telling reporters at various news outlets that the two “narcisists” had it coming. “You just can’t get in a relationship like that so quickly,” Andrassy told Jose Lambiet, a columnist at The Palm Beach Post. Andrassy was dumped by Norman at virtually the same time Evert dumped ski champ Andy Mills so the two could hook up. Andrassy collected $100+ million from Norman, who may now be looking at a payout to Evert. Norman and Evert, who during their brief entanglement enjoy public displays of affection for the media, reportedly couldn’t even agree to sell their separate residences or pool other resources.
YOU DON’T KNOW SERENA — Tennis writer Christopher Clarey on Serena Williams’ temper: “But Williams has been less classy of late, with a significant uptick the last two seasons in code violations at major tournaments. She was fined for audible obscenities at the Australian Open in 2008 and 2009 and at Wimbledon in 2008. At the French Open this year, she was not fined but should have been after threatening her third-round opponent, Maria Jose Sanchez Mart�nez. After Sanchez refused to admit to touching the ball with her arm during a point, Serena eventually said, “I’m going to get you in the locker room for that; you don’t know me.” In New York last month, Williams left much less to the imagination after being called for a foot fault. She brandished her racket like a club and growled that she would love to shove the ball down the throat of the diminutive line judge. And then came that line again: “You don’t know me.”…
Melanie Oudin lost in the first round of qualifying at the China Open to American countrywoman and Fed Cup team member Alexa Glatch…Oudin has also already committed to play the WTA Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., event next year…
CZECH VAIDISOVA OUT — Tomas Berdych talking to The Daily Forehand on Czech countrywoman Nicole Vaidisova: “I mean, with the Czechs, because she quit the Fed Cup, and she quit the national team, she is not popular…There are many reasons for not playing, but if you just say “I’m done, I’m not playing,” well…The people don’t like her as much. She’s living more in the States. So yeah, [quotation fingers] “she’s Czech.” But she’s living so much outside, so I don’t know much about her. But this is a sport. This is tennis. I don’t know. I just hope she can get better and…that’s it.”…
SAM HURT — Sam Querrey is out 4-6 weeks after emergency surgery on his arm, required after he reportedly sat on, then fell through, a glass table…
FED TAKES A REST — The joke in the U.S. is that for casual tennis fans the season ends after the US Open. Apparently the same can be said for Roger Federer. The world No. 1 announced this week that he is withdrawing from next month’s ATP Asian swing in Tokyo and Shanghai, saying he needs some rest after a long season. With the announcement Federer also released the boilerplate I-hate-to-miss-this-my-fans-are-great-blah-blah-blah: “After consultation with my team and doctors, I decided to take the difficult decision to withdraw from both tournaments. This will allow me a chance to give my body a chance to rest, rehabilitate and recover from a physically challenging year. I’m disappointed that I have to withdraw from Tokyo and Shanghai as they are two of my favorite cities. The fans have been great to me over the years.” Shanghai is a “Masters 1000″ event, and the next Masters 1000 after that isn’t until Paris on Nov. 8, so Fed is probably looking at six weeks on the beach with Mirka and the babies…
FRENCH OPEN — ‘I’M GOING TO DISNEYLAND!’ — According to French media reports, the French Open could move from Stade Roland Garros to…Stade Disneyland Paris! “It’s really premature to discuss such a project,” French Open Director Gilbert Ysern told the sports daily L’Equipe. “We can’t deny the possibility exists, but no negotiations have been initiated. We are still working actively on the Georges Hebert stadium project. But given the technical and political problems we face, we have to envisage the worst-case scenario — that is to say, not being able to properly complete the project and being forced to leave Roland Garros.”…
Dane Caroline Woniacki says she wants to buy a place in New York City to use as her U.S. training base…
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