Hamburg, Atlanta Previews; Soderling, Ferrero Title Winners; X-Notes
bet-at-home Open — German Tennis Championships 2011
Seeds: Gael “Force” Monfils, Jurgen “Tuna” Melzer, Nicolas Almagro, Mikhail Youzhny, Gilles Simon, Florian Mayer, Juan Ignacio Chela, Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco, Janko Tipsarevic, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Nikolay Davydenko, Marin Cilic, Andreas Seppi, Guillermo “G-Lo” Garcia-Lopez, Fabio Fognini, Al Montanes
Floaters: Philipp Kohlschreiber, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Marcel Granollers, Andrey Golubev
Notes: All 16 seeds receive first-round byes; the top seed Monfils is 0-1 career in Hamburg; the former Masters Series event is now a lower-tier event headlined by a betting website; returning champs in the field are Golubev (2010) and Davydenko (2009).
Atlanta Tennis Championships
Atlanta, Ga., USA
Seeds: Mardy Fish, Kevin Anderson, John Isner, Xavier “X-Man” Malisse, Grigor Dimitrov, Igor Kunitsyn, Alex Bogomolov Jr., Somdev Devvarman
Floaters: Nicolas Mahut, Lleyton Hewitt, James Blake, Ernests Gulbis, Gilles Muller, Tommy Haas
Notes: Interesting openers include (1) Fish vs. the Mahut-Richard Bernakis winner after a bye, (8) Devvarman vs. Ryan Sweeting, Blake vs. Gulbis in a battle of strugglers, (7) Bogomolov vs. Muller, (WC) Haas vs. (WC) Robby Ginepri, and (WC) Donald Young vs. “Iron” Mike Russell (winner to face (2) Anderson); Fish beat Isner in last year’s final.
Seeds: Vera Zvonareva, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Elena Vesnina, Ekaterina Makarova, Monica Niculescu, Elena Baltacha, Ksenia Pervak, Evgeniya Rodina
Floaters: Aravane Rezai
Notes: Nine Russian gain direct entry in this close-to-home event, a first-time event on the WTA tour calendar and the lone WTA event this week.
Soderling Pounds Ferrer for Home Swedish Open Title
Top-seeded Robin Soderling powered past No. 2 seed David Ferrer 6-2, 6-2 on Sunday to win his second SkiStar Swedish Open title in three years in his third straight Bastad final. It was his fourth ATP title of the season, and he improved to 10-10 overall in career finals.
“Now finally, my body feels good,” said Soderling, who skipped Sweden’s Davis Cup meeting with Serbia last week, citing the need for a rest. “I struggled a little bit with some injuries the past couple of months. My confidence is really good.” Soderling, who keeps his coaches on a short leash (and contract), joked, “I’ve won at least one title with all of my coaches — it seems like I could pick anyone. We’ve (Fredrik Rosengren and I) had some good results since we started working together, but it’s not until now that everything has come together.”
31-Year-old Ferrero Regains Clay Touch with ATP Stuttgart Title
Former world No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero defeated fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar 6-4, 6-0 for the MercedesCup title in Stuttgart.
It was the 16th career title for the 31-year-old, who improved to 16-18 in career finals. He also took home a white Mercedes convertible for his week’s worth of effort. The 25-year-old Andujar dropped to 1-2 in career finals. Ferrero is the seventh Spaniard to win Stuttgart after Jose Higueras (1983), Alberto Berasategui (1994), Alex Corretja (1997), Rafael Nadal (2005, 2007), David Ferrer (2006) and Albert Montanes (2010).
Martinez Sanchez Wins 1st 2011 Title at WTA Bad Gastein
Spaniard Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez captured her fourth career title on Sunday at the NURNBERGER Gastein Ladies in Austria, defeating Patricia Mayr-Achleitner 6-0, 7-5 in the championship.
“At the start I was playing almost 100% perfectly,” Martinez Sanchez said. “It’s normal to have a bit of difficulty after such a good start, but I stayed calm all the time until the end, and that’s why I won…I got here a bit late and didn’t have too many days to get used to the altitude here, but day by day I was learning.” Mayr-Achleitner reached her first WTA final on her home soil.
Medina Garrigues Beats Hercog for WTA Palermo Title
Spain’s Anabel Medina Garrigues, now the active leader for claycourt titles on the WTA tour, won her fifth career Palermo title on Sunday, defeating Polona Hercog 6-3, 6-2.
“I think Polona was a little bit tired, because she won in Bastad last week and made the final here too, but I played a really good match,” Medina Garrigues said. “I was very serious today. I was focusing on the tactics me and my coach talked about, and it worked. I’m also just trying to enjoy playing tennis and trying not to think about winning or losing, my ranking, or anything else.”
Medina Garrigues joined Venus Williams (Wimbledon), Serena Williams (Australian Open, Miami) and Kim Clijsters (Luxembourg) on the list of players winning an event five times, improving to a 32-3 win-loss in Palermo. Hercog ended a nine-match winning streak, capturing her first WTA title last week in Bastad, and fell to 1-2 in career finals.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Moscow-based 22-year-old Russian Alisa Kleybanova has been diagnosed with cancer, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. “It’s my birthday today and I want to thank all of you for the wonderful messages. I haven’t written anything for a long time about why I haven’t been on tour, so that’s why I’m writing this today,” she said in a statement. “It’s not an easy time for me right now. I’ve been a bit unlucky with my health…I’ve been having treatment in Italy and it has been going well, but it takes lots of patience and I’ve had to be really strong to get through this. The good news is after I do treatment for a few more months, if I feel well, there’s a chance I’ll be able to play tennis again.”…During Tennis Channel’s U.S. Davis Cup doubles coverage, how many times did commentator Justin Gimelstob say “Free Safety Position” to refer to the guy at the net? 150? 350? Give it a rest…The U.S. Davis Cup crowd in Austin, Tex., over the three days at the Frank Erwin Center of 48,807 fans, was the second-largest home crowd in U.S. Davis Cup history…Panasonic, after losing out in court in an effort to null its contract with the USTA and pull out of the US Open as a sponsor, is “proudly” back in launching a promotional contest: “For two weeks every year, the sporting world and tennis fans worldwide turn their attention to the courts of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York for one of the most unique and exciting events in sports, the US Open,” said Shiro Kitajima, president of Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. “As a proud sponsor of the US Open, Panasonic wants to give one lucky consumer the opportunity to experience the excitement of a US Open final in person.” — Ha ha hyuk.
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Fish Forges Ahead in Atlanta, Faces Harrison in SF; Almagro v. Simon in Hamburg Final
ATP/WTA Previews: Soderling, Verdasco Headline Bastad