Sunday, February 15, 2009

You gotta love that!

Nothing like a little love from the home crowd to pull you through!

Amelie Mauresmo had a great Valentine's Day yesterday, knocking off Jelena Jankovic in the semis in Paris. She goes on to face Elena Dementieva who got through via walkover when Serena Williams couldn't play.

I knew Mauresmo had some fight left in her as far as her career goes. I think if she stays healthy and relaxed (which are always the two keys for her) she can do some damage this year. I wrote something about this a few months ago in a moonlighting excursion for that site you all know and love, On the Baseline. You can catch it here. (Excuse the plug!)

Also, around the globe:

• Tommy Robredo won the Brasil Open over against Thomaz Belluci for his first title of the year. Now this is something that kind of intrigued me earlier this year: I read in some interview before the Australian Open that Robredo said he liked his chances going in. Really? With the Big 4 playing there? Come on! But you know what? He gave a great effort there, getting to the round of 16 before falling to Andy Roddick. It's nice to hear a player saying they have just as much a shot as anyone else and fighting to make that happen.

• Radek, not Roddick, will be playing for the San Jose title today against Mardy Fish. Stepanek beat A-Rod and Fish beat good buddy James Blake. A Roddick-Blake final was probably the tournament organizer's dream, but Stepanek-Fish shouldn't be bad.

• Vera Zvonareva won Pattaya City today, beating Sania Mirza in the final. Two things on this: Zvonareva has to stop playing these smaller events. She pads her resume with these titles, which I don't think help her when she gets to the big tour stops when she has play fellow top-tenners in the later rounds. Then again, I said that when she went into Dubai last year and look what happened! And also, watch out for Mirza. She just won the Aussie mixed and now a runner-up showing at a tournament. Good results in a short stretch.

• And don't think I forgot about the main event going down today: Rafael Nadal vs. Andy Murray in Rotterdam. I think Rafa wants to take Murray down a notch in this one. But it's funny: Even if Murray wins, I don't think it's going to count much. Here's what I mean: Murray was supposed to win the Australian, but lost pretty early, while Rafa went on to win. Beating Nadal at Rotterdam would be a decent result, but having not made a strong showing at the Australian was still a setback that he probably won't get to overcome until Wimbledon. You have to get it done at the Slams. As it is, I'm back to thinking Murray is further behind Rafa than he was a few months ago.

(Photo: AP)


hcfoo said...

Hi there Van! That's a great coverage by you.

Although it's impossible to beat Elena who is now in her top form, credit has to be given to Mauresmo for making it to the final here by beating JJ. That's already an incredible result after struggling for so long.

Fish has just come back in the tournament last month and he's already in the final here looking for his first title at SJ. I really hope Blake would buck up a bit and see him in the top 10 again.

If Sania is injury-free and play good tennis, I'm very confident that this girl will make a come back to the top 30 in a few months.

Well, yeah Rafa was bageled by Murray but like what you said it's not going to count much. In fact Djokovic should be the one worrying because Murray is definitely closing the gap.

Shelia said...

Hi Van!

I was so glad to see Mauresmo in this kind of form again. She has always been one of my favorites. I love that French flair. She and Gasquet put the poetry in tennis... beautiful effectiveness.

I read that Blake rolled his ankle the day before, but did not make much noise about it. I was sorry to see him have to lose because of his inability to utilize his speed effectively. He was really coming through the tournament nicely.

I think that Murray can thank his lucky stars that Nadal had to take out both Tsonga and Monfils just before playing him. Who wouldn't be a quart low after playing those two back to back.

freakyfrites said...

Hey Van! Did you notice that both Radek and Tommy also won the doubles this weekend? Talk about padding the resume!
Oh, and now Mardy Fish is a dismal 2-10 in career finals! How do you recover from that? Poor guy. . .
Good point about Murray and the Aussie Open, although I do think these best-of-three wins give him a little bit of a mental edge if and when he plays Rafa or Roger at Wimbledon.
Allez, Amelie!