ATP/WTA Previews; Diving Roddick Trips Big Baby Raonic
by Staff | February 21st, 2011, 1:10 am

Qatar Ladies Open
Doha, Qatar
Surface: hard
Seeds: Caroline Wozniacki, Vera Zvonareva, Francesca Schiavone, Na Li, Jelena Jankovic, Victoria Azarenka, Aggie Radwanska, Shahar Peer

Floaters: Nadia Petrova, Flavia Pennetta, Lucie Safarova, Kaia Kanepi, Marion Bartoli, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Daniela Hantuchova

Notes: The field attracts seven of the Top 10 players; (1) Wozniacki after a bye could face Petrova 2nd rd.; (7) Radwanska starts against Safarova; (3) Schiavone after a bye could face Kanepi; (8) Peer starts against Kuznetsova; (6) Azarenka starts against Hantuchova; the tournament returns to the WTA calendar after a two-year break; wildcards went to India’s Sania Mirza and 19-year-old Omani Fatma Al Nabhani.

Abierto Mexicano Telcel
Acapulco, Mexico
Surface: Clay

Seeds: Julia Goerges, Polona Hercog, Greta Arn, Gisela Dulko, Simona Halep, Arantxa Parra Santonja, Carla Suarez Navarro, Olga Govortsova

Floaters: none

Notes: Wildcards went to Czech sisters Karolina and Kristyna Pliskova; Melanie Oudin in the draw; Venus Williams beat Hercog in last year’s final; this field is beat.

Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships
Dubai, U.A.E
Surface: Hard

Seeds: Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Tomas Berdych, Mikhail Youzhny, Ivan Ljubicic, Viktor Troicki, Marcos Baghdatis, Ernests Gulbis

Floaters: Gilles Simon, Richard Gasquet, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Nikolay Davydenko, Michael Llodra

Notes: Federer shooting for his fifth Dubai title; Djokovic beat Youzhny in last year’s final; No. 8 seed Gulbis makes his Dubai debut; opening-round matches of interest include (4) Youzhny vs. Simon, (5) Ljubicic vs. (Q) Sergi Bubka (winner to likely face Gasquet), (6) Tricki vs. Kohlschreiber, and (2) Djokovic vs. Llodra; returning champs in the field are Djokovic (2010-09) and Federer (2007, ’05-03).

Delray Beach International Tennis Championships
Delray Beach, Fla., USA
Surface: hard

Seeds: Andy Roddick, Mardy Fish, Sam Querrey, John Isner, Kevin Anderson, Janko Tipsarevic, Benjamin Becker, Adrian Mannarino

Floaters: “Dr.” Ivo Karlovic, Dustin Brown, Kei Nishikori, James Blake, (WC) Ryan Harrison, Juan Martin Del Potro, Radek “The Worm” Stepanek

Notes: Roddick only 4-4 career in Delray Beach without a title, and makes first tournament appearance in eight years; seeds Isner, Tipsarevic and Mannarino make Delray debuts; openers of note include (6) Tipsarevic vs. Dr. Ivo, (3) Querrey vs. Brown, and (7) Becker vs. Blake; returning champs in the field are Fish (2009) and Nishikori (2008).

Abierto Mexicano Telcel
Acapulco, Mexico
Surface: Clay

Seeds: David Ferrer, Fernando Verdasco, Nicolas Almagro, Stanislas Wawrinka, Albert Montanes, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Juan Monaco, Juan Ignacio Chela

Floaters: Milos “Big Baby” Raonic, Horacio Zeballos, Thomaz Bellucci

Notes: The baby-faced Milos “Big Baby” Raonic takes a late entry into Acapulco to get ready for Davis Cup vs. Mexico; according to the AP, 12 Acapulco taxi drivers and/or passengers were killed in the days prior to the start of the tournament, the result of “bloody drug cartel turf wars”; seed Juan Monaco at 5-6 has a losing record in Acapulco; Bryan brothers the top seeds in doubles with a 10-1 career record at the event.

Roddick Stops ‘Big Baby’ Raonic for ATP Memphis Title

Andy Roddick stopped shooting star Milos “Big Baby” Raonic, halting the baby-faced Canadian giant from a claiming a second consecutive title with a 7-6(7), 6-7(11), 7-5 win in the Memphis final Sunday.

Roddick clinched the win over the Canadian, who won San Jose last week, with a diving forehand passing shot on match point, taking in the adulation of the Memphis fans with a bleeding elbow and knee.

“That’s the best shot I’ve ever hit in my life, considering the circumstance,” Roddick said. “I don’t really remember much else besides the fact that I went for the ball, I hit it, I didn’t really think much of it. Then I heard people cheering. I was like, ‘No, there’s no way that went in.’ I guess it did.”

Raonic set a new tournament record of 129 aces, beating Mark Philippoussis’ mark of 106 in 2001. Raonic is projected to climb to No. 37 in the ATP Rankings on Monday, making him the highest-ranked Canadian man in ATP Rankings history.

Soderling Wins Marseille, Improves to 17-1

World No. 4 Robin Soderling came from a set down to defeat Marin Cilic 6-7(8), 6-3, 6-3 for the title at the Open 13 in Marseille, improving to a 17-1 win-loss record on the year. It is the Swede’s third title of the year after Brisbane and Rotterdam.

“Winning three tournaments in four tries is something I’ve never been close to before,” Soderling said. “It’s the best possible start. I’ve won many matches and only lost one, unfortunately in the fourth round in Melbourne. It’s a great start and I really hope it can continue this way.”

Soderling improved to 9-10 in career finals. Cilic fell to 5-4.

Almagro Tops Chela for ATP Buenos Aires Title

World No. 13 Nicolas Almagro won his second consecutive title after Costa do Sauipe on Sunday, beating Juan Ignacio Chela 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in the Copa Claro final in Buenos Aires.

“I hope it won’t just be nine titles in my career but a lot more,” said Almagro, all nine coming on clay. “I knew it would be tough, but I was in good shape.”

Both Almagro and Chela won their quarterfinal and semifinal matches after rain washed out Friday play. Chela dropped to a 6-6 record in finals.

Wozniacki Claims WTA Dubai Title, Reclaims No. 1

Caroline Wozniacki won her first WTA title of the year on Sunday at Dubai and reclaimed the No. 1 ranking from Kim Clijsters, defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1, 6-3 for the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship.

Wozniacki did not drop a set in the tournament. The Dane improved to 13-8 in career finals, while Kuznetsova fell to 13-19.

“I was hitting the ball cleanly and aggressively,” Wozniacki said. “I knew I had to, because if Svetlana is allowed to dictate, she’s just too strong. It was very important to stay pretty close to the baseline and keep her moving. I’m a player that can play aggressively, I can play defensively, I can mix it up and wait for the right moment. It depends on the opponent and it depends on how I feel.”

Rybarikova Ends Canadian Title Hope

Magdalena Rybarikova won her second WTA title Saturday night, raising the WTA Memphis trophy after Canadian opponent Rebecca Marino retired at 6-2 after losing the first set, citing an abdominal injury.

“It first happened in the semifinals against Rodina,” Marino said. “As I kept playing today it got worse and worse. I’m upset I had to retire in the finals but I didn’t want to make the injury worse. If this injury gets worse, it’s an injury that would take a long time to recover from.”

Rybarikova wins her second WTA title after Birmingham two years ago. “It has been a while since I last won a title,” the 22-year-old said. “Now, I’m a bit back. I didn’t play well in 2010 — I had some tough draws and although I played some top players close, I kept losing. But at the beginning of this year I said I wanted to be Top 50 again.”

Dominguez Lino Captures WTA Bogota Title

No. 7-seeded Lourdes Dominguez Lino defeated unseeded Frenchwoman Mathilde Johansson 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 to win her second career title at the XIX Copa BBVA Colsanitas.

Dominguez Lino also won at Bogota in 2006. The 29-year-old Spaniard is now 2-2 in WTA finals.

Johansson was contesting her first WTA singles final.

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36 Comments for ATP/WTA Previews; Diving Roddick Trips Big Baby Raonic

jane Says:

“making him the highest-ranked Canadian man in ATP Rankings history.” Okay thanks – then clearly Rusedski defected before he became successful. I was wondering about that. I just looked up big-toothed Greg, and he bailed on Canada when he was ranked #47. Of course he later rose as high as #4 in the ATP rankings. I notice grendel didn’t include him when discussing Morgan as a power player, who is different than other British players, like Murray or Henman. So maybe Rusedski is not considered a true Brit. :) ?

Cherry Says:

I really thought Raonic would win another title. It was too bad he was defeated by Roddick. I am now looking forward to Raonic’s games in Mexico.

Kimmi Says:

good to see gulbis in a winners circle again. wins his first match. contador must be happy :)

gasquet beats dimitrov easily..ah grigor, you need to fight more that that, it has been big struggle for him so far. hope he is learning!

florian mayer beats nieminen easily too..hmmm, thought this would be closer as jarkko has been playing well recently. congrats to mayer, his unique game can be tough to some players.

grendel Says:

“So maybe Rusedski is not considered a true Brit. :) ?”

I never even thought of Rusedski, jane – so no, I don’t see him as a Brit (true or otherwise). He learnt his tennis in Canada, that’s what counts. Even so, would you call him a power player? A magnificent serve, of course, but of his groundies, what primarily sticks in my mind is his vicious lefty slice.

grendel Says:

So, baby Fed1 against baby Fed2. And what we learnt is that baby Fed + baby Fed definitely doesn’t = proper Fed.

Those who haven’t seen Dimitrov before must have been wondering what all the fuss was about. In the first set, Dimitrov couldn’t find his range at all, it was kind of painful to watch – not as if Gasquet was doing much. 2nd set was better, but Dimitrov was quite unable to capitalise on the opportunities which arose. And then, right at the wrong moment, he went walkabout to present Gasquet with the match.

We saw flashes to remind us of the talent, but all in all, looks like it’s going to be a long apprenticeship. Meanwhile, Gasquet, at 24, looks all washed up. He’s just a shadow of the great attacking player he was. Too much, much too much was asked of him too young. Hope the same doesn’t happen to Dimitrov.

margot Says:

grendel: or Andy :(

jane Says:

grendel, honestly don’t remember much about Rusedski but for his toothy smile and his big serve. I watched that USO final versus Rafter, but I was cheering for Patrick so probably more focused on him. I just thought of Greg as more of a baseline power player with most of his success on hard courts. I don’t why I have that impression of him; it’s all quite hazy, slid “deep into some inner windings”.

jane Says:

margot! did you hear that Murray & Djoko are playing doubles and IW. It is confirmed apparently.

congty -woot, Ernests won! Maybe bodes well for IW when you are there? Oh what am I saying? It is only one match won. But, with EG you have to read the signs to keep the faith. ;)

jane Says:

contador – congty. lol. sorry conty, not typing well this a.m.

margot Says:

jane: hi, just answered you elsewhere and looking forward to it :) Has tennisx changed the way it shows recent posts ?
grendel: just read the article you posted about Morgan and have to say I agree with the majority of the comments, it’s awfully premature to start hailing the new messiah. Also, apparently he doesn’t move very well. Alas, alas he has a mighty Achilles heel wouldn’t you say, nay even an Achilles leg ;)

grendel Says:

margot- “it’s awfully premature to start hailing the new messiah” – we can dream, can’t we….

This business about speed. Surely speed is a weapon, like any other, and no player has all the weapons. Monfils is reckonned to be the fastest on the tour – but it’s evidently not enough to propel him to the top. Soderling is certainly not fast, but he’s got to two finals. delPo – an actual slam, and so on.

Morgan is young, and will no doubt wring the very most out of such athletic ability as he has (as Sharapova did for instance). The hope must be that the deficiencies which remain will be more than compensated for by other strengths.

Having said all this, I’ve yet to see the young man play….

chrisJ Says:

Jane – Nole and Murray are playing doubles at Miami from what I’ve heard.

margot Says:

grendel, top 6, not Sod, do have this speed though, don’t they? But it’s not just speed, it’s a kind of anticipation of where the ball is going to be. Not sure you can learn this. As far as dreams go, add Brody and there was another kid, was it Ward, who won Wimbledon boys’ doubles. In fact all 4 were Brits……now just slowly slipping into a rosy dawn….;) and Heather and Laura don’t look half bad either….

contador Says:

“So, baby Fed1 against baby Fed2. And what we learnt is that baby Fed + baby Fed definitely doesn’t = proper Fed.”

hahaha….so glad u r back grendel : )

as for gulbis – jane, Kimmi: oh yeah, keeping the faith here but not to be fooled. i’m thrilled he showed up and won a match! just looked at the pictures on atp website. he has his clean cut us open 2008 hair. loved his interview as usual. it’s a huge ask for him to win one more…likely stakhovsky. but if he could beat stakhovsky, he’d get to play federer…ernie’d like that. but a rush of adrenaline can go either way…choke, choke. how’d he beat fed last year?

madmax- the thing i like about gulbis is probably what you don’t? ; )… his personality. nothing monotone about him, ever. his strut has nothing on fognini…lol.. yep, and a slacker attitude about tennis, which is regrettable for all his fans and maybe him someday :/

(Alberto Contador got a pass from the prime minister of spain. yay. his: “it was in the steak,” excuse holds. at IW i’ll wear a saxo bank cap and a Contador #1 tee. maybe i can get somebody’s attention. thumbs up from a spaniard? rafa? ferrer?)

a clear mind and ice in the veins is good. talking about my favorite swede. he does a good job anticipating, which helps his lack of speed. dolgopolov confused him. that won’t happen again, i don’t think?

Trilby Says:

I hope that nickname ‘big baby Raonic’ doesn’t stick. Where I grew up it would have been an insult. Raonic’s demeanour on court was extremely mature and the way he handled the stress points throughout demonstrated a wisdom and court savvy beyond his years – unlike a few players on the tour. A certain Mr. Roddick, nearly a decade older, in fact, is known to throw childish tantrums over the normal business of everyday tennis in the big leagues, such as line calls and supposed ‘dissing’ by opponents. So Staff, whoever you are, please find a more pleasant and suitable nickname for this tall, polite, well-spoken young man who, with luck, has a great future ahead of him.

contador Says:

Trilby. agree, and very well said. “big baby Raonic” doesn’t fit.

baby face, yes. big, yes. milos is all class.

madmax Says:

It’s the legs that Raonic has. Similar stance to Chardy. Like a foal. Ranoic has done incredibly well, but I do think he hasn’t reached the class pedigree yet. Don’t like these histrionics on court – what was the whinging at the umpire? Was it a double bounce on court? I know he didn’t lose the point, but even so. He wasn’t polite on court today, but I suppose can be forgiven – youth! He will be a threat to every and any opponent at the slams.

Will he be seeded 32 now? Does anyone know?

Kimmi Says:

the way milos is going, i wont be surprised if he is seeded in the next slam madmax. he is ranked 37 now..needs five more spots to be seeded.

Is he still playing acapulco? i see roddick has withdrawn in delray beach.

contador Says:

he is playing in acapulco, Kimmi. maybe a match with dolgo too.

RZ Says:

Re: Rusedski…I think he’s not really considered a Brit based on the circumstances of his changing citizenship. This wasn’t like Martina Navratilova or the many others who become a U.S. citizen after training and living in the U.S. for years. From what I remember, he became a British citizen to get more money and assistance. The U.K. was desperate at the time for a big-time tennis player (this was a year or two before Henman broke out). I think if Henman hadn’t been so successful, Rusedski would have been more embraced as a Brit but unfortunately for him he was outdone at most turns (except that U.S. Open final) by Henman.

grendel Says:

” From what I remember, he [Rusedski] became a British citizen to get more money and assistance.”
I think that’s true, RZ. At the time, I heard he also had ambitions for Wimbledon, and he apparently thought being British would help in this respect. That’s a curious misreading of the situation, if you think about it, and in fact Rusedski’s record at Wimbledon turned out to be very disappointing – not least, one suspects, because of the pressures that even a pretend Brit had to face on the hallowed lawns.

At the time, there was not a universal welcome for the “new Brit”. A player called Wilkinson (now a part time commentator) refused to play in the Davis Cup with Rusedski, although he subsequently changed his stance.

Yes, Rusedski’s “rivalry” with Henman had its comic side. You always had the feeling Rusedski resented Henman’s popularity with the British public, feeling his own contributiion was undervalued. This was strangely naive – fact is, the British could identify with Henman. He was from a toff background, true, but not a disagreeable one and besides, the British quite warm to certain toffs, always providing they are their own. From a British perspective, Rusedski always looked American since (sorry) Canadians tend to be indistinguishable from Americans in British eyes.

There was one particularly delicious incident which was not overeported. Towards the end of the tennis season one year, Rusedski needed only a small number of points to topple Henman from his British #1 spot. So he flew out to Kazakhstan to play in a minor Challenger tourney – must have been the first such tourney he’d played in for years, so there could be no doubt as to why he’d entered. All he had to do was to win the first round, and he was the new #1. One in the eye for that Henman. He lost.

Still, having said all this, poor old Rusedski is still determined to become accepted by the British and – so far as I can tell (one does tend to rely on info relayed by Rusedski himself) – he has been consistently doing his bit for British tennis on the coaching side. And I am starting to find Rusedski as a commentator more acceptable – he is dogged and certainly knowledgeable and actually greatly preferable to quite a number of appalling British commentators – led by the egregious Andrew Castle.

contador Says:

somdev is psyched to play federer and apparently had a premonition about it. watch out, fed!

contador Says:

dear god, i dread a first round loss on so many levels. *giggles nervously*

Kimmi Says:

youzhny owns simon for sure. just check H2H it is 7-0 in favour of youzhny.
guess what! simon draw youzhny in dubai first round..ouch! what can gilles do?

contador – everyone and their dog wants to brings their best game when they play federer. they want to be written in history books. somdev has a very good serve. roger could be a little rusty in his first round match, who knows? let hope he brings his best game too..

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Am I the only one thinking Raonic is murdering his chances at the upcoming Masters events by playing Mexico?
I believe he’s been playing every week since mid-January, going deep in tourneys, and all across the globe too.
Now Mexico, with 5-set Davis Cup matches to follow, then BAM Indian Wells.
I guess he’ll get almost a week off after DC, but this just seems like overkill to me.

dari Says:

Yeah, tv, I am sure he didn’t think he would be going quite as deep in all these tournaments. But now Mexico is really important for him to get ready for Davis cup, which is also on clay. If there is ever any time to do this, its when you’re 20. Surely he will schedule more carefully in the future!

jane Says:

ChrisJ Maybe you are right, thanks.

margot, chrisj says Murray /Nole partnership will be in Miami, either way, should be fun! Sorry I probably missed your reply on the other thread. Snowed under with work and scrambling to watch/blog just a little here and there.

dari Says:

TV, all, raonic is out if acapulco. Wonder if he went down and turned around or what, cause I read ATP tweets and they said he was on his way. Aw well, that kid needs rest.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Thanks dari. Good move by Milos, get some beach tame, get laid, get used to the clay at your leisure over the week. Its Mexico, we ought to win this even if they play on tequila.
DelPotro is back in action though, he is also in danger of burning himself out. And he has Roddick in the field again at DelRay beach. Would be amazing to see him win a tournament before the Masters events, he could be a force on clay this season if he goes in with confidence.

Kimmi Says:

Good news dari, the guy needs some rest. charge the batteries, ready for big assault in IW and miami.

couple of retirements in dubai. baggy always injuries..too many injuries holding him back, what is wrong this time baggy
Golubev is happy to win a match this year at last :)

Lu retires too. I see kohls beat upset or maybe not. kohls is known to cause big upsets once in a while.

Djoko is back on where he left it chance for llodra.

davydenko won a match..yay! keep going davy, you can get back to the top soon..

the maestro is not yet to come though! would have liked to watch him play but…duty calls! Good luck rog!


contador Says:
somdev is psyched to play federer and apparently had a premonition about it. watch out, fed!

Devvarmen is a poor man’s Simon. He’s quick around the court and likes to counter punch. He has no weapons to speak of. If Federer is tentative and starts playing a game of who can be the better human backboard then it could be a close match. Otherwise Fed should win comfortably.

jane Says:

So happy Nole won in straights; I was a little bit worried since Llodra beat Nole in Paris, but he was “in the zone” that entire event and really hasn’t been since, whereas Nole is on a roll. ;)

Hope he keeps it going!

contador did you see the funny picture of Davy at the ATP site? LOL!

RZ Says:

Grendel, thanks for the info. One more Henman/Rusedski comparison: A few years back I asked Jon Wertheim from in his weekly mailbag how Tim Henman was doing as a commentator for the BBC. Wertheim gave him generally positive reviews, and then ended with (paraphrasing here): “In keeping with the trend of the past 10 years, he’s better than Greg Rusedski.” Ouch! (I think his words were slightly milder).

contador Says:

it was my attempt at a joke about somdev and my own angst over the possibility of roger federer losing in a first round. a stress mostly due to the tennis world fall-out.

and i thought it was ironic somdev got federer after talking about it.

but yes, in another lifetime or universe, NELTA, devvarman wins. : ) only fair. federer didn’t fall into the human backboard trap. i watched the match. but i am seeing what you are saying. also watched the youzhny-simon match. simon gets everything back but youzhny, it seems with his skills, should have won that match vs simon. misha attacks more and simon’s second serve was barely registering on the speed gun. the h2h was 7-0 misha going into the match. good thing i don’t bet tennis, lol..

jane – i saw it and was so jealous of irina!! he’s so hot in a spa robe with a cup of tea…hahaha…

uh boy. gulbis has stakhovsky. i have everything crossed. gulbis on a good day should be able to overpower sergei. but stakhovsky has the plan, no doubt.

contador Says:

and i just watched the hightlights of nole/ llodra. laughing at the llodra show! once he knew he was done, it looked like an exho.

nole through easy. i was expecting a closer match too, jane.

Kimmi Says:

ah, missed a federer tennis dose. i have to find the highlights.

Contador – you watch the match. good! i was reading some of the comments on bbc website during a federer match..some said federer was all over the place. somdev must have too much respect to lose that easily.

could that be true? maybe a little rusty after 3 weeks off?

Youzhny lost. ha-ha! did not give gillou a chance. glad didnt have to play a bracket challenge here. Youzhny must still be feeling the effect of losing badly to cilic in marseille..he was serving for the match in that match, wasnt he? that is the only sane reason i can come up with! glad simon got a win against youzhny, its never good to lose to one player forever. he must be happy :)

now the road is open for simon to reach the semi..maybe meeting federer on the way. bring it on i say. bring it on!

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