Federer Finishes with Flourish for Hometown ATP Basel Title
Roger Federer is primed for the year-end ATP Masters and a shot at showing the tennis world who is really in top form. In a weekend where world No. 1 Rafael Nadal pulled from Paris with a shoulder injury to rest for the year-end finale in London, Federer powered past Andy Roddick in straight sets in the Basel semifinals, then defeating nemesis Novak Djokovic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 for the Swiss Indoors title.
The world No. 2 Swiss lost to Djokovic in last year’s Basel final.
Federer improved to 12-6 career against Djokovic, winning three of four 2010 meetings, but losing the big one in the US Open semifinals. The Swiss earned his 65th career title in his fifth consecutive Swiss Indoors final.
Ferrer Wins Valencia, Virtual Place at Year-end Masters
The numbers aren’t set with one regular-season event to go at the Masters-Paris, but Spaniard David Ferrer looks to have all but clinched his spot in the year-end final eight by beating Marcel Granollers 7-5, 6-3 in the all-Spanish final for the Valencia Open crown.
It was the ninth career title for Ferrer, who outlasted Robin Soderling in three sets in the semifinals. It was also the Spaniard’s first title indoors, and second of the year after Acapulco on clay.
Granollers defeated Gilles Simon in the semifinals, and drops to 1-1 in career finals, winning Houston on clay in 2008.
Ivanovic Wins ‘Loser Bowl’ to End 2010 Season
Former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic ended the year on a high note, three weeks ago winning her first title of the year in Linz, and Sunday winning the ‘Loser Bowl,’ otherwise known as the Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions in Bali, featuring the top eight players (and random wildcards) who did not make the year-end WTA Championships field.
Ivanovic in the final defeated Alisa Kleybanova 6-2, 7-6(5). Since winning the French Open and rising to No. 1 in 2008, the Serb’s career has been derailed by various confidence-sapping injuries and coaching firings that saw her ranking plummet outside the Top 50. She will now begin the 2011 season ranked inside the Top 20.
In the third-place match between the two losing semifinalists, 40-year-old Kimiko Date Krumm defeated Daniela Hantuchova 7-5, 7-5.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
CASH GRAB 2011 — That ATP calendar needs to be shortened…so players can compete in more exhibition cash grabs! World No. 1 Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, instead of beginning 2011 at ATP events, will again lead the field at the year’s biggest cash grab, the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi on Dec. 30-Jan. 1, 2011. Also getting a bank-account injection for playing the exhibition will be Robin Soderling, Tomas Berdych, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Marcos Baghdatis. Nadal says he is looking forward to pocketing $1 million+ as he did last year (in prize money and appearance fees) when he won the event. “Abu Dhabi is a very special place to me. I’ve enjoyed the best season of my career so far and it all started with a victory in Abu Dhabi, so it holds great memories…Everything about Abu Dhabi and the tournament from the weather, facilities and the atmosphere in the stadium, make it the ideal place to start my season.” — and the cash! ‘Thanks again Abu Dhabi, I’m going to back up my Spanish van to the back of the hotel, and you fill it with money.’ But let’s shorten the ATP calendar…
From the ever-quotable Liezel Huber on the close-knit-ness of the U.S. Fed Cup team: “Well, during the year, I remember I loaned Mel [Oudin] some money for a cab ride in Paris and she still hasn’t given me the money back. That’s kind of how we are as a family. Bethanie [Mattek-Sands] and I hooked up for doubles. We had a great run at Wimbledon. Her first semifinal. So there we are family. Coco [Vandeweghe] and I shared a trainer in Asia. Coco didn’t pay for it, but he was there for her. Coco let me share her trainer. [U.S. Captain] Mary Joe [Fernandez], Bethanie and myself are on the same charades team so that makes us even closer knit. We check in with each other on the road. It’s like we’re all kind of spread out in the country, but I’m trying to be really nice to Mel because I want her to do a charity event with me next year. We’re just really spread out, but we really are on each other’s Facebooks and are really good friends with each other and I expect Christmas presents (smiling).”…Who is the new over-dramatic screamy Brit guy on the Tennis Channel coverage? Get rid of that…How heinous was Novak Djokovic’s samurai-throwing-up shiny blue and red outfit in Basel?…Michael Chang pulled from the Grand Cayman senior tour event as he is expecting his first child with wife Amber Liu, the former pro player who is 12 years his junior…Nice job Tennis Channel, covering all the post-match trophy presentation in Basel…Spanish women players have ended their boycott of the Spanish Tennis Federation’s running of the Fed Cup team, coming to terms on an agreement…Jo-Wilfried Tsonga pulled from Valencia citing knee pain last week. The Frenchman said he “snapped a tendon” and needs three weeks of rest. Really, three weeks for a “snapped” tendon? Must be a fast healer…Marcos Baghdatis pulled from his remaining 2010 events after injuring his shoulder…Elena Dementieva says starting a family was one of the reasons for her retirement announcement, but it sounds like the intensely-private Russian may be pregnant already?: “It is true that I expect changes in my private life in the near future,” told the Russian media. “I don’t want to give all the details because these are very private, intimate things.”…Former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic canned coach Heinz Gunthardt, reportedly because he cannot travel enough with her.
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