Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tennis' Sleepy Season Recap

Did you know that the tennis season didn't end after the US Open? There are still a few tournaments, mostly on the indoor hard courts, leading up to the Tour Finals being held in London for the men and Doha for the women where the top 8 men and women will battle it out for the last major title before the all-too-brief off-season.

For the men the first major tournaments after the US Open were the 500-level tournaments in China and Japan held last week. Top seeds Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal respectively won their 2nd and 7th titles of the season with those wins. This past week, Roger Federer and Andy Murray, as well as most of the other top 20 players, joined Nadal and Djokovic in Shanghai for the first time since the US Open. Obviously tired after a long season of winning, Nadal crashed out in the third round against Jurgen Melzer. Federer, Djokovic, Murray, and Juan Monaco comprised of the last four. Federer, on the heels of spanking Robin Soderling, excised revenge against Djokovic to reach the finals. It was, however, Murray who came out on top when he then went on to defeat Federer for the second time this year at the finals of a Masters tournament to clinch only his second title of the year.

While Nadal is locked to end the year at #1 with his tour-high seven tournament wins including three Grand Slam championships, the picture is a bit murkier for that second spot. With his win over Djokovic this week, Federer moves back into that runner-up spot. Boosted by his recent win here, Murray will challenge both Federer and Djokovic for that 2nd spot. There are three big tournaments (Valencia, Basel, Paris Masters) before the Tour Finals where these three guys can add major points in this "Race to #2." Note that for the last five years, those top two spots were occupied by Federer and Nadal.

As for the women, it's been mostly quiet on the tennis front, but loud on the injury front. Justine Henin already ended her season even before the US Open while Venus Williams followed suit a few weeks ago. Her sister Serena Williams and recent US Open champion Kim Clijsters are questionable for the year-end tournament as both are nursing injuries at the moment. With this said, Caroline Wozniacki took advantage of this and went on to win the two premier events right after the US Open, the Toray Pan Pacific Open and the China Open. On the heels of those wins, she grabbed the #1 ranking from Serena becoming the 20th player to ever do so (but joins Dinara Safina and Jelena Jankovic as being #1 and not having a Grand Slam title to her name).

Other players who had respectable showing at one or both of those tournaments include Vera Zvonareva, Elena Dementieva, Victoria Azarenka, Francescha Schiavone, Na Li, and Shahar Peer. Finally, huge shout out to Tamarine Tanasugarn and Kimiko Date Krumm for making history in Osaka, Japan this past week playing the oldest known final ever with a combined age of 73. Date Krumm was trying to be the first 40-something to win a title especially after taking out top seed Samantha Stosur. Tanasugarn, however, halted that fairy tale ending with one of her own as she claimed only her 4th career title beating 2nd seed Marion Bartoli on the way. Age is just a number.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for reading. Feel free to drop me a line. Instead of being Anonymous though, pick a name. Any name would do. Thanks again!