Tuesday, March 24, 2009

California stars

OK, so I didn't get the calls right on who would win the BNP Paribas tournaments this past weekend in Indian Wells, but I don't think there could've been worthier champs.

Vera Zvonareva (maybe I should put in front of that, "The much-maligned-by-TTA?" in front of her name) won the women's crown by beating Ana Ivanovic (my pick) in the finals in straights. I'm pretty happy for Vera to FINALLY pick up a big title. See, the reason she's been kind of maligned around these parts is that she spends so much time picking up rinky-dink titles, to me it looks like she's ducking out on the decent-sized ones. Then when she does play the bigger events, it looks like she's not ready to go up against her fellow top tenners. Anyway, I hope picking up Indian Wells (in both singles and doubles) shows to herself that she belongs. And it was a great tournament for Ivanovic and young gun Victoria Azarenka.

As for the men, what can you say about Rafael Nadal. Thirteen Masters titles before the age of 23? That's pretty sick. And I know the wind might've affected the results against Andy Murray in the finals, but he went in there with a game plan and stuck to it. Sometimes, it's hard for me to pick Rafa for hard-court titles (even though I did for the Aussie this year) because I still don't think he earns enough free points still. But the fight in him, I guess, more than makes up for that: something I'm sure David Nalbandian will attest to!

My original finalist picks, Andy Roddick and Roger Federer, had good runs with both losing in the semis. And A-Rod even managed to scoop up the title in dubs here. You know, looking back at the first sentence in this paragraph, if I were to really sit back and think about it, maybe Fed's run wasn't that good after all. He's gotta figure Murray out: It's only going to get tougher.

Anyway, I just wanted to give a send-off to Indian Wells. The big one, Miami, kicks off tomorrow. Looking forward to it!

P.S. I wish the Bryans would've won the doubles crown. Did you know that if they would've won, the only big title in tennis they'd lack would be an Olympic Gold medal? They just can't seem to get over the hump here at their home-state tournament.

(Photos: Getty Images)

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