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Rafael Nadal beat David Ferrer 6-2 6-4 to win the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell in Barcelona, Spain

Julia Goerges beat Caroline Wozniacki 7-6 (3) 6-3 to win the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany

Alberta Brianti beat Simona Halep 6-4 6-3 to win the Grand Prix de SAR la Princesse Lalla Meryem in Fes, Morocco

Julia Goerges

SAYING

“I only know I won, but I don’t know how. Playing against Caroline is like climbing a high hill.” – Julia Goerges, after upsetting top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki to win the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.

“I feel at home here. It’s a very special tournament. It always has been as I grew up watching this tournament. It’s a historical tournament with a great tradition and great champions. It’s more than a dream to win here six times.” – Rafael Nadal, after winning in Barcelona, Spain.
“It’s always sad to lose, but it’s been a very good week. This tournament is very special to me. If someone told me I would reach the final in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, I would sign for sure.” – David Ferrer, after losing a tournament final to Rafael Nadal for the second straight week.

“She was very aggressive and everything was going in. I tried everything, but it wasn’t enough. I’ll go back to the practice court and try to be better next time.” – Caroline Wozniacki, after losing to Julia Goerges in Stuttgart, Germany.

“It was my first doubles final ever. It was an amazing first week playing with Sam and winning it in my home country.” – Sabine Lisicki, who teamed with Samantha Stosur to win the doubles at Stuttgart, Germany.

“She’s always laughing and smiling, there’s no chance to be down. We might pair up again somewhere. It was a lot of fun here this week, so hopefully it’ll work out!” – Samantha Stosur, after teaming with Sabine Lisicki to win the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix doubles title.

“It was a great week for us, we beat a lot of good teams this week. And in the final we beat the best team in the world. We’re very excited about it. For now we can just enjoy the week. Everything was perfect.” – Santiago Gonzalez, after teaming with Scott Lipsky to beat top-ranked brothers Bob and Mike Bryan in the doubles final at Barcelona, Spain.

“This is the consequence of years of hard work. The only negative thing is that I have already been on the circuit nine years.” – Rafael Nadal, on his winning streak and number one ranking.

SPANISH REIGN

For the second straight week Spaniards Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer met in the final of a clay court tournament. And for the second straight week, Nadal came out on top, this time beating Ferrer 6-2 6-4 to claim his sixth Barcelona Open crown. It was the 29th consecutive match win for the top-ranked Nadal, who during the week became the 37th player in the Open Era to win at least 500 singles matches in his career. At 24 years, 10 months of age, Nadal became the second youngest behind Bjorn Borg to reach the 500-match milestone. No other player in the Open Era has won a tournament more than five consecutive times, but Nadal has won seven straight titles at Monte Carlo and now six straight at Barcelona. “It is a dream for me to win here six times,” said Nadal. “I think it will be difficult to repeat. Six years is a long time in the life of a tennis player.” Those who have won an event five consecutive times include Roger Federer, Balazs Taroczy, Borg and Guillermo Vilas. Nadal’s 31st clay court title – and 45th career crown — moved him into third place all-time on that surface. The last time he lost on clay was to Sweden’s Robin Soderling at the French Open in 2009. And it was the third time he has beaten Ferrer in the finals at Barcelona, also doing it in 2008 and 2009.

SURPRISE

When Julia Goerges upset top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki in the final of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, she became the first German since Anke Huber in 1996 to win the Stuttgart, Germany, event, the second oldest European indoor tournament. With a barrage of big serves and massive ground strokes, the 22-year-old Goerges captured her second and biggest career title 7-6 (3) 6-3. The only break of serve in the match came in the second game of the second set, and Goerges held onto it to beat Wozniacki for the first time in their three meetings. “I had goosebumps at match point,” Goerges said. “It was an unbelievable feeling playing the final with so many people watching. Everything was going so well, but you can never be sure against Caroline. She has turned lots of matches around when nobody expected her to. She is only beaten when the last point is over. Now I’m looking forward to my niece’s baptism on Monday and being able to sleep in my own bed again after three months traveling the tour.” Along with the title and bundle of money, Goerges won a Porsche sports car. “I walked past this car every day to practice. I never imagined that I would be driving it,” she said.

SHARED JOY

At the beginning of the week Mexico’s Santiago Gonzalez and American Scott Lipsky decided to team up for doubles. At the end of the week, they snapped brothers Bob and Mike Bryan’s 10-mach winning streak to capture the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell doubles title, 5-7 6-2 12-10 (match tiebreak). It was the week of a lifetime for the winners, who earlier in the tournament knocked off the third-seeded duo of Jurgen Melzer and Nenad Zimonjic as well as the second-seeded team of Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor. Against the Bryan twins, Gonzalez and Lipsky saved four match points. “In order to beat Bob and Mike you have to play extremely well,” Lipsky said. “We kept our composure the whole match and played some big points at big times. We’re both very excited about how this week went. We served well all week. That puts pressure on our opponents and we put a lot of returns in. Hopefully at some point we can play again.” The Bryans were going after their third ATP World Tour title in as many weeks.

SAID WHAT???

When he didn’t get a wild card into the French Open, Donald Young let the USTA know his feelings about it in an expletive-filled Tweeter outburst. “They have screwed me for the last time,” he said in the one sentence that could be repeated verbatim. Then, thinking about his remarks, Young tweeted: “That tweet was out of character. Ive never been like that before, but Im tired of it. Sry about the language, but not the thought behind it.” The tweets came after Young’s camp requested a USTA wild card into Roland Garros, even though the United States Tennis Association (USTA) was ready to begin a wild-card playoff tournament in Boca Raton, Florida, USA. Young won a Challenger in Tallahassee, Florida, cracking the Top 100 at 98th in the ranking. But he missed the rankings cutoff for the French Open the week prior to his triumph. In March, the 21-year-old left-hander upset Andy Murray in the second round at Indian Wells, his best win ever. The ruling body of American tennis has provided Young with free coaching and training throughout different periods of his career, and he recently credited the USTA for helping him get into shape and become more focused on his game. The USTA and the French Tennis Federation have a reciprocal agreement in which they exchange men’s and women’s singles main draw wild cards into the 2011 French Open and the 2011 US Open.

SWISS MENTOR

Andrea Petkovic will begin working this week with Steffi Graf’s former coach, Heinz Guenthardt. The 23-year-old Petkovic, who is ranked 19th in the world, will work with Guenthardt in her home city of Darmstadt, Germany. The 52-year-old Guenthardt worked with Graf during the last eight years of her career. Serbia’s Petar Popovic will remain Petkovic’s main coach, but Guenthardt will work with her in an advisory capacity and will travel with her to Madrid this weekend. “The point is that I will incorporate my ideas and experiences and give an input,” Guenthardt said. “I will not be working with Andrea every day.” A commentator for Swiss television, Guenthardt trained former world number one Ana Ivanovic from February to November last year.

SHOWING THE BEST

The Tennis Channel will televise a countdown of the Top 100 Greatest Tennis Players of All Time. Those included in the ambitious project will be chosen by experts involved in various aspects of the game, with the criteria for their inclusion including number of major titles won, overall performance at Grand Slam tournaments, a player’s rankings, performance at ATP/WTA events, performance at Davis Cup and Fed Cup ties, records held or broken, and intangibles such as a player’s overall contribution to tennis.

SLIPPING

Chris Evert may have won the US Open singles six times, but that fact didn’t help her get a wild card into the mixed doubles at this year’s tournament. Evert and ESPN’s Mike Greenberg lost their mixed doubles second-round match at the US Open National Playoffs USTA Eastern Sectional Qualifying Tournament at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York, site of America’s premier tennis tournament. Evert and Greenberg lost to two teaching pros, Bea Bielik, the 2002 NCAA singles champion, and Darrin Cohen, a former standout at the University of Virginia, 6-1 6-4. Bielik reached the third round of the US Open in 2002, where she lost to Justine Henin. “It has always been Mike’s dream to play in the US Open and I was happy to help him with his dream,” Evert said. The US Open National Playoffs USTA Eastern Sectional Qualifying Tournament is the second of 16 Sectional qualifying tournaments taking place nationwide through June. The winners of each of the 16 sectional qualifiers advance to the US Open National Playoffs in men’s singles, women’s singles and mixed doubles, which will be held in August.

SURFACE IS OK

The Spain-United States Davis Cup quarterfinal tie to be played in Austin, Texas, in July can be played on the court surface the Americans have selected. The International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) Davis Cup Committee agreed that the acrylic surface complies with Davis Cup rules. The surface is used in more than 30 tour events and two Grand Slam tournaments. Spain had objected to the surface, claiming the the name – Indoor Hard Premiere – is not on the list approved by the ITF. However, the USTA said the surface has been used in five home Davis Cup ties and two Fed Cup home ties involving the US teams since 2007, including the Fed Cup quarterfinal in 2007 between the United States and Spain. The Davis Cup Committee is comprised of five members: chairman Juan Margets of Spain, Armando Cervone of Argentina, Tom Gullikson of the United States, Geoff Pollard of Australia and Charles Trippe of Great Britain. Both Margets and Tom recused themselves from voting in the matter because of their national affiliations.

SUCCESS AT LAST

Alberta Brianti finally won her first WTA title, beating seventh-seeded Simona Halep of Romania 6-4 6-3 in the final of the Grand Prix de SAR la Princesse Lalla Meryem in Fes, Morocco. The 31-year-old Brianti last played in a final two years ago in Guangzhou, China. The Italian built a 5-2 lead before a downpour interrupted the match. “We had to stop for the rain, but I was able to keep concentrating and win,” Brianti said. “I was playing good tennis all wee, including today. I’m very happy to win my first title.” Brianti advanced to the final when Russia’s Dinara Safina retired from the semifinal with a backache. It was Halep’s second straight loss in the Fes final

STRAIGHT IN

Irinia Falconi and Tim Smyczek have earned USTA wild card entries into the French Open. Playing in Boca Raton, Florida, the 20-year-old Falconi beat Julia Boserup 4-6 7-6 (6) 6-3, while the 23-year-old Smyczek beat Donald Young 6-7 (4) 6-4 6-3 6-2. Falconi will be making her third consecutive appearance in a Grand Slam tournament main draw and Smyczek his second. Six men and six women competed for the wild cards.

STRIVING FOR CHANGES

Rafael Nadal wants some major changes made to the ATP rankings system so players can enjoy “more relaxed lives” and hopefully “longer careers.” Nadal said the rankings should be calculated over two years, rather than the current 12 months. He believes this change will “benefit future generations” by prolonging careers and improving standards. Last year, Nadal played 22 weeks in 17 events. He believes a change to the rankings system by calculating standings over an extended period could take pressure off players and reduce injuries to ultimately lengthen careers. The nine-time Grand Slam winner said he wants the modifications implemented as soon as possible so “we don’t have to play every week.”

STAYING PUT

The city of Delray Beach, Florida, USA, has decided to continue spending taxpayer money on the annual ATP tournament, even though it puts the city budget in the red. The city will pay USD $350,000 per year to keep the tournament, saying it’s the right move because the event generated USD $11.6 million in economic activity and keeps downtown businesses in business. “We draw a lot of traffic here. From all over this country and outside, we also draw people from Europe,” said Mayor Woodie McDuffie, who said the city is trying to land a corporate sponsor to pay for the stadium’s naming rights.

STATUS HONORED

Three Spanish members of the International Tennis Hall of Fame were celebrated again when they were presented with Hall of Fame rings during a special ceremony at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell tournament. Honored were Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, Andres Gimeno and Manolo Santana. The rings were presented to the trio by Christopher E. Clouser, chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, and CEO Mark L. Stenning. Since 1955, the Hall of Fame has honored 218 individuals from 19 nations. A fourth Spaniard, the late Manuel Alonso, also has been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Additional International Tennis Hall of Fame rings, underwritten by The Bruce T. Halle Family of Scottsdale, Arizona, will be presented at tennis events around the world in the coming years. Presently, there are 84 Hall of Famers living in 16 different countries, a testament to the global reach of the game.

SAYS I’M BACK

Carlos Moya is back already. The former number one player will join the ATP Champions Tour next month when the seniors play the second annual Seguros Bolivar Tennis Champions in Bogota, Colombia. The 34-year-old Moya only retired from the ATP World Tour last November. He said the lure of competition had prompted his decision to join the seniors tour. Moya won the French Open in 1998, reached the number one ranking in 1999 and helped Spain win a Davis Cup title in 2004.

STILL HIGHER

The singles champions at the French Open will each receive USD $1.7 million, an increase over the USD $1.4 million given to the winners a year ago. Organizers at Roland Garros say total prize money for the clay-court Grand Slam tournament is increasing to USD $25 million from about USD $20.7 million in 2010. Women gained parity in prize money at the tournament four years ago. The French Open will be held from May 22-June 5 at Roland Garros in Paris.

Wimbledon also has increased its prize money. Each of its singles champions will each receive USD $1.8 million, while the total prize money will be increased to USD $23.8 million.
“Leading international sports events, such as Wimbledon, are all about the quality of the players on show,” All England Club chairman Philip Brook said. “It is important that we offer prize money which suitably rewards the players both for the box office appeal they bring to the event and for their supreme performances on court.” The All England Club chief executive Ian Ritchie said the club has asked the British government to relax tax rules to make the tournament more attractive to competitors. Athletes visiting Britain for team sports such as soccer are not taxed on earnings and endorsements for their time in the country, but individuals are.

SAD NEWS

Joao Nogueira Jr., former secretary general of the Angolan Federation of Tennis (FAT), has died. Following services held in Luanda, Nogueira’s remains were buried in the Alto das Cruzes Cemetery.

SHARED PERFORMANCES

Barcelona: Santiago Gonzalez and Scott Lipsky beat Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan beat 5-7 6-2 12-10 (match tiebreak)

Fes: Andrea Hlavackova and Renata Voracova beat Nina Bratchikova and Sandra Klemenschits 6-3 6-4

Stuttgart: Sabine Lisicki and Samantha Stosur beat Kristina Barrois and Jasmin Woehr 6-1 7-6 (5)

SURFING

Munich: www.bmwopen.de/
Belgrade: www.serbiaopen.rs/
Estoril: www.estorilopen.net/
Barcelona: www.bcnwta.com/wta/index.php?menu=1&continguts=welcome
Madrid: www.madrid-open.com/
Prague: www.pragueopen.cz/2011/index.php
Cagnes-Sur-Mer: www.opendecagnes.com

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

(All money in USD)

MEN

$575,500 Estoril Open, Estoril, Portugal, clay
$575,500 BMW Open, Munich, Germany, clay
$527,250 Serbia Open, Belgrade, Serbia, clay

WOMEN

$220,000 Barcelona Ladies Open, Barcelona, Spain, clay
$220,000 Estoril Open, Estoril, Portugal, clay

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

MEN

$4,500,000 Mutua Madrid Open, Madrid, Spain, clay
$123,770 Prague Open, Prague, Czech Republic, clay

WOMEN

$4,500,000 Mutua Madrid Open, Madrid, Spain, clay
$100,000 Open GDF Suez, Cagnes-Sur-Mer, France, clay



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About Bob Greene
Bob Greene, the esteemed former Associated Press tennis writer, wraps up the week that was in international tennis with his “Monday’s With Bob Greene” column – a revival of his popular weekly feature at the AP.

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