Seeds: Andy Murray, Nikolay Davydenko, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Fernando Verdasco, Gilles Simon, Gael Monfils, Tommy Robredo, David Ferrer
Floaters: Nicolas Almagro, Tomas Berdych, Paul-Henri Mathieu, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Mikhail Youzhny
Notes: Valencia moves from a spring claycourt event to an indoor hardcourt event; openers of interest include (8) Ferrer vs. Almagro in an all-Spanish; former champs in the field are Ferrer (2008), Almagro (2007-06), Andreev (2005), Verdasco (2004), Ferrero (2003,1999), and Al Martin (2001).
Davidoff Swiss Indoors Basel
Seeds: Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Fernando Gonzalez, Marin Cilic, Radek Stepanek, Stan Wawrinka, James Blake, Philipp Kohlschreiber
Floaters: (Q) Olivier Rochus, Jeremy Chardy, John Isner, Richard Gasquet, Rainer Schuettler, Ivo Karlovic, Ivan Ljubicic
Notes: Basel is loaded with talent with it’s new calendar spot; Roger Federer was the first player to win three straight titles at his hometown tournament in 2008; Gonzo won in 2005; Bjorn Borg won Basel in 1977, and eight No. 1s since. Basel is kind of a big deal; Federer vs. Rochus first round, with the Swiss needing three sets to beat the Belgian in their last three meetings.
Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Championships
Serena Williams won her second career WTA Championship title on Sunday and pocketed $1.55 million dollar after a 6-2, 7-6(4) win over sister Venus in the all-Williams final at the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Championships in Doha, Qatar. The younger Williams sister previously won the year-end championship in 2001. Neither Williams sister will compete for the U.S. in the upcoming Fed Cup final versus Italy, as Serena played the Doha final with a heavily-strapped left thigh, and Venus with a bandaged left knee. Four players in the field ended matches during their campaign due to injuries.
Grand Prix de tennis de Lyon
Yes he’s back, Ljubi’s back, yes he’s back. Former Top 10er Ivan Ljubicic won the Lyon title on Sunday in the first final of the year for the 30-year-old, defeating French wildcard Michael Llodra 7-5, 6-3. “It has given me the belief that I am still a great player and that I can compete with the best,” Ljubicic said. “I feel in great physical condition and I’m going to give everything I have in the last two weeks of the year.” Llodra dropped to a career 3-4 record in ATP World Tour finals.
Bank Austria Tennis Trophy
Jurgen Melzer claimed his home-country title on Sunday, defeated top-seeded Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-3 to win the Bank Austria Tennis Trophy. It was the second career title for Melzer, the No. 7 seed, who broke Cilic’s serve three times in the match. Cilic was looking for the win to boost his chances of qualifying for the ATP year-end championship.
St. Petersburg Open
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia
Ukrainian qualifier Sergiy Stakhovsky came from behind for a 2-6, 7-6(8), 7-6(7) victory over first-time finalist Horacio Zeballos of Argentina Sunday for the St. Petersburg Open title. The 23-year-old Stakhovsky won his second career title after beating Ivan Ljubicic at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors in February 2008. “I was just trying to keep in there as long as I could,” Stakhovsky said. “That’s all I could really do today as he was playing much better than me.”
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
US OPEN CHAMP CLIJSTERS SHUT OUT OF DOHA — If the WTA Tour has the same provision as the men’s tour that all Grand Slam champions qualify for the year-end championships, that sure would have brightened things at the year-end championships in Doha with US Open winner Kim Clijsters in attendance. Look for that rule to change soon.
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