Monday, April 02, 2018

Weekend Tennis Roundup

It was a bit of a "you can't win 'em all" kind of weekend in Miami. Was over the moon that Sloane Stephens finally got the post-Slam-title-drought monkey off her back, turning a shaky first set around to beat Jelena Ostapenko, 7-6, 6-1. (Ostapenko still has her monkey, but making the final went a long way toward seeing her ranking not completely plummet if and when she doesn't defend her points this week in Charleston and soon in Paris.) Stephens is definitely a big-match player: she's now 6 and 0 in finals dating back to Washington in 2015.

The men's side was a travesty, almost WTA-esque. The last thing the ATP needs is John Isner winning his first Masters 1000 title -- it's not like he's going to "build" on this -- weeks shy of his 33rd birthday. But in the end he somehow beat rising star (and two-time Masters 1000 titlist) Sasha Zverev in three. The gland-freak American probably only got to the final because Juan Martin del Potro was completely out of gas in their semi, after having outlasted a resurgent Milos Raonic in the quarters in a real thriller.

The victory rockets him back into the Top 10 -- tying his highest-ever position from back in 2012. In addition to not being a fan of one-dimensional games like his, the fact that he's a shameless Trump supporter only adds to my lack of enthusiasm. But it was an impressive feat nonetheless.

Elsewhere in the draw, it was great that Borna Coric built on his impressive performance in Indian Wells, reaching the quarters in Miami before losing to Zverev, whose number he'd hitherto had. 

Adding to the excitement was that he appears to have asked Nike to hike the inseam of his shorts up an inch or so. He prefers TO RECEIVE, by the way. 

And speaking of asses, young American Frances Tiafoe reached the round of 16 with an impressive victory over Tomas Berdych. Hyon Chung continued his consistent play, before coming up very short against Isner in the quarters. 

I'm not a huge fan of Victoria Azarenka, but I do think the women's game needs her. So it was nice to see her reach the semis -- with wins over Keys, Pliskova, Radwanska and Sevastova. (A seed in every round!) Here's hoping her custody situation is worked out and she is set to rejoin the tour full time.

Danielle Collins, a two-time NCAA singles champ, already made a case for "most improved" by coming all the way through qualifying to reach the semis of the main draw. I was thoroughly impressed when I saw her outhit Venus Williams in the quarters, but she looked a bit out of her element in the semifinals against Ostapenko. She may have been exhausted from playing so much tennis, so I'll be curious to see how she fares in the months ahead. Her results put her just outside the Top 50, so her qualifying days may be behind her forever.

Speaking of women's rankings, Sloane Stephens is now a career-high of No. 9 in the world!

American beauty

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mary Carrillo Told this story during the Ahn match: Andrea Agassi said the reason he was able to return Boris Becker’s serve so well was because realized that his tongue (which he stuck out when he surged) would point in the direction he was aiming.

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