Monday, March 22, 2010

Indian Wells Surprise Winner

Let's start with good news/bad news for Rafael Nadal who I dubbed, a little too prematurely, as the "man of the tournament." The good news is that he finally won a title since May of last year. The bad news is that it was only for doubles as he lost in the semifinals against an inspired Ivan Ljubicic who then went on to defeat Andy Roddick. For the American, it's another "so close, yet not" results while the unexpected doubles win for Nadal against the number one doubles team should alleviate the sting of not winning a title. Though it would do him a lot of good to get a title before his usual dominant clay season.

Ljubicic, on the other hand, wins his first Masters title defeating three top ten players (2nd ranked Novak Djokovic, 3rd ranked Nadal, and 7th ranked Roddick). It capped off a strange BNP Paribas Open with the favorites faltering including Australian Open finalists Roger Federer and Andy Murray.

I was hoping for a French Open rematch between Nadal and Robin Soderling, but after the semifinals, the man with the losing record against the other player would go on to win: Ljubicic (1-5) d. Nadal, Roddick (0-2) d. Soderling, Ljubicic (3-7) d. Roddick. In any case, this is a great result for the veteran player who was the runner-up at Masters events three times prior. He takes his new top 15 ranking into Miami where many people will sure pay closer attention to him.

Two former US Open finalists went head to head in the women's final with Jelena Jankovic winning in straight sets over higher-ranked Caroline Wozniacki. This was Jankovic's first title since nabbing the Cincinnati title last summer. Her win restores a bit of stability in the tournament that saw some of its biggest draws like Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic, and Svetlana Kuznetsova making early exits as well as the conspicuous absences of the Williams sisters.

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