Almagro, Petkovic Capture Titles

Posted on May 22, 2011

Almagro Finds Clay Twice as Nice with ATP Win Entering French

World No. 12 Nicolas Almagro won his third ATP claycourt title of the season on Saturday, coming from a set down to defeat Romanian Victor Hanescu 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-3 in the final of the Open de Nice Cote d'Azur.

The Spaniard won back-to-back titles in Costa do Sauipe and Buenos Aires in February before finishing runner-up in Acapulco, launching him into the Top 10 in April. Now Almagro will be one to watch at Roland Garros where he is the No. 11 seed, and has never surpassed the quarterfinals.

Three breaks of serve highlighted the first set, ended by Hanescu winning the tiebreak. Almagro took the second, while in the third both players traded early service breaks before Almagro broke again in the sixth game to ride out the set and victory. Almagro improved to 10-3 in career finals, while the 29-year-old Hanescu dropped to 1-4.

Petkovic Beats Lame Bartoli for WTA Strasbourg Title

Germany's Andrea Petkovic announced her threat intentions for next week's French Open when she defeated Marion Bartoli in the final 6-4, 1-0, ret., after the Frenchwoman retired citing a left thigh injury.

The No. 1-seeded Bartoli lost just 11 games in three matches to reach the final, while Petkovic in her semifinal struggled past Daniela Hantuchova in three sets.

In the final Bartoli jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the power of Petkovic turned the tables, earning her a second career title and second on clay after Bad Gastein in 2009. Petkovic improved to 2-2 in career finals, while Bartoli fell to 5-8. Petkovic will rise to a career-high No. 12 when the Monday rankings are released, one spot behind Bartoli at No. 11.

Stosur, Jankovic, Georges on Feature Courts Sunday at French Open

Last year's French Open runner-up Sam Stosur, former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic and German break-out poster girl Julia "Gorgeous" Goerges will be featured on the stadium courts for the women as the French Open kicks off main draw play on Sunday at Roland Garros.

Matches to watch for include (8) Stosur vs. Iveta Benesova, (17) Goerges vs. Mathilde Johansson, (10) Jelena Jankovic vs. Alona Bondarenko, Magdalena Rybarikova vs. (13) Svetlana Kuznetsova, (19) Shahar Peer vs. Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, former Top 5er Jelena Dokic vs. Vera Dushevina, and Spaniard Arantxa Parra Santonja vs. the top-ranked American in the draw Bethanie Mattek-Sands.


WTA VS. EXHIBITIONS -- The beginning few weeks of the WTA season is traditionally blown off by the top players, who favor lucrative exhibition matches and tournaments. This week the WTA announced they will go head-to-head with the exos in trying to entice the top players to, uh, actually play the tour events they're supposed to be playing, by elevating the WTA Brisbane event to "Premier Level" status in 2012. The event will take place the week of Jan. 2, 2012, and will feature according to the WTA "an enhanced array of top WTA stars." An enhanced array? How does that compare to the regular array of stars? Prize money will also increase to $655K in 2012 and $1 million in 2013. Will it be enough to entice the Williams sisters and Maria Sharapova and Kim Clijsters and the "B"-level former No. 1s Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic away from the cash cow exhibitions?

American Donald Young is reportedly skipping the French with a wrist injury...Fernando "Gonzo" Gonzalez pulled from the French Open draw citing a bad knee that is expected to sideline him for three weeks...Andy Roddick, who ended up pulling from the Rome doubles final with a bad shoulder, also pulled from the Nice singles. After being notified he was only getting semifinalist prize money for the Rome doubles after pulling out of the final, according to ATP rules, and that his only recourse was to appeal the decision, Roddick said, "We're going to have to beg for the money we earned. This is embarrassing for the tour. The ATP should stand for the Association of Tie People." Roddick then pulled from the French...According to the Daily Mail, Tim Henman will be paid $330,000 to commentate at Wimbledon...Former No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero pulled from the French citing injury...