Tsonga, Gasquet Headline Metz; Spain, Argentina in Davis Cup Final
Seeds: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Ivan Ljubicic, Michael Llodra, Xavier Malisse, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Gilles Muller
Floaters: Nicolas Mahut, Philipp Petzschner
Notes: (8) Muller tough opener against Petzschner; defending champ Gilles Simon takes a pass; returning champs in the field are Ljubicic (2005) and (WC) Arnaud Clement (2003); other wildcards went to Frenchmen Kenny De Schepper and Benoit Paire.
BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy
Surface: red clay
Seeds: Juan Ignacio Chela, Florian Mayer, Marcel Granollers, Pablo Andujar, Potito Starace, Tommy Robredo, Andreas Seppi, Albert Montanes
Floaters: Igor Andreev
Notes: Originally called the Guys Who Were Insufferable Assholes Open, but they though the title was too long; wildcards went to Romanian hopes Marius Copil, Victor Crivoi and Adrian Lingur; career debut for Robredo at the event; past champs in the field are Chela (2010) and Montanes (2009).
HANSOL Korea Open
Seeds: Francesca Schiavone, Marion Bartoli, Julia Goerges, Dominika Cibulkova, Polona Hercog, Mar�a Jose Martinez Sanchez, Irina-Camelia Begu, Ekaterina Makarova
Floaters: Vera Dushevina, Irina Falconi, Kimiko Date-Krumm
Notes: Interesting opener for (1) Schiavone vs. the Russian Dushevina, and (6) Martinez Sanchez against the scrappy Falconi; wildcards went to Schiavone, Cibulkova, Bartoli and Korea’s So-Jung Kim; former champs in the field are Date-Krumm (2009) and Eleni Daniilidou (2006).
WANLIMA Guangzhou International Women’s Open 2011
Seeds: Maria Kirilenko, Jarmila Gajdosova, Ksenia Pervak, Petra Martic, Bojana Jovanovski, Alberta Brianti, Chanelle Scheepers, Maggie Rybarikova
Floaters: Alona Bondarenko, Jie Zheng, Aravane Rezai
Notes: (1) Kirilenko faces Bondarenko and (8) Brianto faces Zheng in challenging openers; also known as the TOE Life Ceramics Guangzhou International Women’s Open for sponsorship reasons, according to sources; no returning champions in the field; in the 2010 final Jarmila Groth beat Alla Kudryavtseva.
Del Potro’s Argentina, Nadal’s Spain Advances to Davis Cup Final
The Rafael Nadal-led Spaniards and Argentina, headlined by Juan Martin del Potro and David Nalbandian, drove their teams into the Davis Cup final over the weekend.
Argentina went into Belgrade and defeated Serbia 4-1 after world No. 1 Novak Djokovic collapsed with a back injury in the first match on Sunday. Del Potro was leading 7-6(5), 3-0 when Djokovic collapsed to the court, writing in pain.
“I tried although I was only 60 percent fit and I went into the match knowing there was a risk of aggravating the injury which I first felt at the US Open,” said Djokovic, who did not play on the opening Friday. “We knew my condition was not good but we believed that even so I would have a better chance against del Potro than my teammate Viktor Troicki would, at the end of the day it was my decision and it backfired…I was able to battle through the pain in the US Open final but not today.”
Djokovic fell to a 64-3 win-loss on the season. Del Potro says he looks forward to the challenge of facing Spain.
“I really enjoyed playing here and we are going to Spain knowing that they are the favorites but hopeful that we can win finally the Davis Cup,” del Potro said.
Spain reached its eighth Davis Cup final when Rafael Nadal manhandled France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-0, 6-2, 6-4 in the first Sunday singles.
Tsonga and Michael Llodra kept Spain in the match during the Saturday doubles after Spain won the opening two singles, defeating Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez in the Saturday doubles.
Nadal improved to 18-1 in singles for Spain.
“I’m very happy for the country and for the team,” said Spanish captain Al Costa. “Today Rafa played a really unbelievable match and I knew today was going to be very tough. He played so deep, so long with a lot of power, serving good and returning everything. When this guy plays good on clay he’s unbelievable.”
The Davis Cup final will be held on Dec. 2-4, 2011. Spain has captured the Davis Cup in three of the last four years.
Pervak, Zahlavova Strycova Win First-time WTA Titles
Russian Ksenia Pervak and Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova captured first-time titles over the weekend in Tashkent and Quebec City respectively.
The 25-year-old Barbora Zahlavova Strycova won the Bell Challenge on Sunday, defeating Marina Erakovic 4-6, 6-1, 6-0.
“I could see she was very tired after the first set so I started putting more balls in the court and making her run,” Zahlavova Strycova said. “In the first set she was playing very good, but I could see she was starting to make more mistakes, and after the second set I felt she was breaking down. Once it got to the third set I was just in the zone.”
Pervak, the No. 1 seed in Tashkent, didn’t drop a set all week in capturing her first career title 6-3, 6-1 over first-time WTA finalist Eva Birnerova.
“Both of us were nervous, but being the top seed was a little more pressure on me,” Pervak said. “This win is very special for me as it’s my first win on the WTA circuit.”
The 20-year-old Pervak is also good friends with Birnerova.
“I was expecting nothing coming here, so this means a lot to me,” Birnerova said. “I was injured and off the tour, and made a comeback from zero. This will give me a big boost and will help me end my year in the Top 100.”
In addition to the prize money, Pervak also collected a new SPARK car by local tournament sponsor My Dream Factory.
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