Robin Soderling won the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, when Mikhail Youzhny retired while trailing 6-4 2-0
Elena Dementieva beat Lucie Safarova 6-7 (5) 6-1 6-4 to win the Open GDF SUEZ in Paris, France
Fernando Verdasco beat Andy Roddick 3-6 6-4 6-4 to win the SAP Open in San Jose, California, USA
Juan Carlos Ferrero won the Brasil Open, defeating Lukasz Kobut 6-1 6-0 in Costa do Sauipe, Brazil
Vera Zvonareva beat Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-4 6-4 to win the PTT Pattaya Open in Pattaya City, Thailand
Elena Baltacha beat Lucie Hradecka 5-7 6-2 6-3 to win the Dow Corning Tennis Classic in Midland, Michigan, USA
“He’s tough. He’s the real deal. He could win a major.” – Pete Sampras, after losing an exhibition match to Fernando Verdasco, who went on to win the SAP Open.
“I believe life does not end when tennis ends. I am sure Amélie you will find yourself successful in anything you decide to do after tennis. Whatever you choose to do, I am sure you will reach the same success. Talented people are talented in everything!” – Elena Dementieva, in on-court retirement ceremonies celebrating Amelie Mauresmo.
“It’s quite amazing to receive a medal from Brazilian people. This event represents the potential, the energy of our people and I’d like to share this prize with lots of people. I took for granted Brazilian potential. That’s why I will work hard to increase tennis in Brazil.” – Gustavo Kuerten, after becoming the first tennis player to receive Brazil’s highest sports honor.
“In a match, there is no time to think negative. You have to fight until the end.” – Elena Dementieva, after winning the Open GDF SUEZ title in her third straight three-set match.
“Thailand should be proud of you for having such a great player.” – Vera Zvonareva, after beating hometown favorite Tamarine Tanasugarn to win her second straight PTT Pattaya Open in Pattaya, Thailand
“It really excites me that I’ll be 27 this year and still have a few years left to do some major damage.” – Elena Baltacha, who won an International Tennis Federation (ITF) women’s tournament in Midland, Michigan.
“I still don’t know the formula for the cover. It’s luck, the perfect suit and perfect storm to get it.” – Brooklyn Decker, the wife of Andy Roddick who appears on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue.
By beating hometown favorite Tamarine Tanasugarn in the final in Pattaya, Thailand, Vera Zvonareva became the first player in the 19-year history of the PTT Pattaya Open to win the singles title two straight years. The top-seeded Russian also leveled her record against her Thai opponent at 1-1, having lost to Tanasugarn in the second round at Wimbledon two years ago. “I hope to come back next year and try again,” Zvonareva said.
John McEnroe has always looked up to Rod Laver, the only man to twice win all four Grand Slam tournaments in the same year. But McEnroe, no slouch himself on the court, ranks Switzerland’s Roger Federer over both Laver and seven-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras. While in Zurich, Switzerland, McEnroe said Federer’s ability to average two Grand Slam titles a year was “phenomenally consistent and amazing.” The one thing that has eluded Federer, however, is McEnroe’s match winning percentage mark of .965, which the American set in 1984 when he posted an amazing 82-3 record.
Andy Roddick’s play on the court may get him a few paragraphs inside Sports Illustrated, but his wife has the cover all to herself. Model Brooklyn Decker, Roddick’s wife, graced the cover of SI’s swimsuit issue in a yellow bikini. It’s a departure from the sultrier look that SI has gone for the past few years. Decker compared her photo with the covers from the 1980s and ‘90s when Elle Macpherson was featured.
Continuing problems with her back has forced Dinara Safina to withdraw from this week’s tournament in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Ranked number two in the world, Safina has not played since she retired from her fourth-round Australian Open match last month against Maria Kirilenko. The 23-year-old Safina said she hopes to be able to play in Indian Wells, California, USA, at a tournament which begins March 10.
With the first pick in the World Team Tennis marquee draft, the Philadelphia Freedoms selected Andy Roddick. The New York Buzz then chose Martina Hingis and the St. Louis Aces, picking third, took Lindsay Davenport. Kim Clijsters was acquired by the New York Sportimes from St. Louis and will team with John McEnroe for the league, which runs July 5-25. Venus Williams will join her sister Serena on the Washington Kastles, while Maria Sharapova will play for Newport Beach, California; Anna Kournikova will play for St. Louis and James Blake will play for Boston. This will be the 35th season for the coed professional league, which was co-founded by Billie Jean King.
Ricardas Berankis became the first Lithuanian-born player to reach the quarterfinals of an ATP World Tour tournament when he beat Bjorn Phau of Germany 7-6 (5) 6-3 at the SAP Open in San Jose, California, USA. The 19-year-old Berankis was the number one-ranked junior in the world in 2007, when he won the US Open junior boys crown. Watching Berankis play was one of Lithuania’s greatest athletes, former NBA star Sarunas Marciulinois. One of the first Europeans to play extensively in the NBA, Marciulinois led the former Soviet Union basketball team to the gold medal at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea, and Lithuania to the bronze medal in the 1992 and 1996 Games.
SPORTS WORTH CROSS
Gustavo Kuerten is the first tennis player to receive Brazil’s highest sports award, the Cruz do Mento Desportivo (Sports Worth Cross). Brazilian Sport Minister Orlando Silva Jr. presented the medal to the three-time Roland Garros champion during ceremonies in Brasilia. “Guga is not only a great name of Brazilian sports, but also a great reference in international sports,” Silva said. “His example on and off the court will for sure inspire our generation.”
Fernando Verdasco had a great start and even better finish to his week in San Jose, California. The Spaniard began by beating former number one Pete Sampras 6-3, 7-6 (2) in an exhibition match. He finished up the week by winning the SAP Open, downing top-seeded and former number one Andy Roddick in the title match. “I felt a little old,” Sampras said after his defeat. “I tried. At times it wasn’t all that competitive.”
Just call Tamarine Tanasugarn ageless. At the age of 32 – considered old by tennis standards – Tanasugarn showed this past week she’s still to be reckoned with. Thailand’s top player reached the singles final of the PTT Pattaya Open in Pattaya City, Thailand, where she lost to defending champion and top-seeded Vera Zvonareva, then teamed with Marina Erakovic to capture the doubles, besting Anna Chakvetadze and Ksenia Pervak 7-5 6-1.
Andy Murray is skipping this week’s tournament in Marseille, France, saying he needs the rest. “After playing in Australia for five weeks, Andy has taken an extra week off to recuperate and recover for the long season ahead, he said in a statement on his website, www.andymurray.com. The 22-year-old Murray will return to tennis at the Dubai Championships beginning February 22.
A wrist injury will keep Juan Martin del Potro out of Davis Cup play when Argentina takes on Sweden next month. Del Potro, who won the US Open last September, will also miss the Open 13 in Marseille, France, this week.
Paris bid adieu to Amelie Mauresmo during ceremonies at the Open GDF SUEZ tournament. A three-time winner of the Paris tournament, Mauresmo was joined in on-court ceremonies by fellow players Elena Dementieva, Flavia Pennetta, Francesca Schiavone, Patty Schnyder, Tathiana Garbin, Alisa Kleybanova, Julie Coin, Virginie Razzano, Alize Cornet, Tatiana Golovin and Nathalie Dechy.
Great Britain’s Elena Baltacha believes she’s just starting to hit her prime at the age of 26. She showed that by capturing the singles title at the Dow Corning Tennis Classic in Midland, Michigan, beating Lucie Hradecka 5-7 6-2 6-3. “I think I haven’t fulfilled my potential,” said Baltacha, who has spent years battling health problems. “I think there are still parts of my game that can get better, and it’s exciting. And I really believe I’m on the right path now.”
Once again Roger Federer and Serena Williams have been nominated for top honors in the Laureus World Sports Awards. The awards, which recognize sporting achievements last year, will be presented in Abu Dhabi on March 10. Federer has won the award four times, while Williams has captured it twice previously. Other tennis players to be nominated for awards are Juan Martin del Potro (Breakthrough of the Year), Kim Clijsters (Comeback of the Year) and Shingo Kunieda (Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability).
Quickness and speed are the keys to Roger Federer’s greatness on a tennis court. Distance running is another matter entirely. During a trip to Ethiopia, Federer finished near the back of the field in a one-kilometer race against school children. “I’ve always had massive respect for long distance sports,” Federer said. “The terrain was so dangerous and they ran barefoot. It was impressive to say the least.” Federer was visiting one of the countries in which his charitable organization works. The Roger Federer Foundation, founded in 2003, spends USD $1 million a year on education in Ethiopia, South Africa, Tanzania, Mali, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
Only two Americans made it into the main draw of a USD $75,000 International Tennis Federation (ITF) women’s tournament in Cali, Colombia, and as luck would have it, they drew the top two seeded players. Both Americans lost in the opening round, Julia Cohen to top-seeded Polona Hercog of Slovenia 6-4 6-0 and Lauren Albanese to second-seeded Sandra Zahlavova of the Czech Republic 6-3 6-1.
Rotterdam: Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic beat Simon Aspelin and Paul Hanley 6-4 4-6 10-7 (match tiebreak)
Paris: Iveta Benesova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova beat Cara Black and Liezel Huber, walkover
San Jose: Mardy Fish and Sam Querry beat Benjamin Becker and Leonardo Mayer 7-6 (3) 7-5
Costa do Sauipe: Pablo Cuevas and Macel Granollers beat Lukasz Kubot and Oliver Marach 7-5 6-4
Pattaya City: Marina Erakovic and Tamarine Tanasugarn beat Anna Chakvetadze and Ksenia Pervak 7-5 6-1
Midland: Laura Granville and Lucie Hradecka beat Lilia Osterloh and Anna Tatishvili 7-6 (3) 3-6 12-10 (match tiebreak)
SITES TO SURF
Buenos Aires: www.copatelmex.com
Delray Beach: www.yellowtennisball.com/online/
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$1,100,000 Regions Morgan Keegan Championships, Memphis, Tennessee, USA, hard
$700,000 Open 13, Marseille, France, hard
$475,300 Copa Telmex, Buenos Aires, Argentina, clay
$145,000 Gemax Open 2010, Belgrade, Serbia, carpet
$2,000,000 Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, hard
$220,000 XVII Copa BBVA Colsanitas, Bogota, Colombia, clay
$220,000 Regions Morgan Keegan Championships, Memphis, Tennessee, USA, hard
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$1,619,500 Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, hard
$955,000 Abierto Mexicano Telcel, Acapulco, Mexico, clay
$442,500 Delray Beach International Tennis Championships, Delray Beach, Florida, USA, hard
$220, 000 Abierto Mexicano Telcel, Acapulco, Mexico, clay
$220,000 Malaysia Open, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, hard
Delray Beach International Tennis Championships, Delray Beach, Florida, USA, hard