Monday, January 07, 2019

Weekend Tennis Roundup

Such a flurry of tennis activity I'm already feeling a bit overwhelmed, but here we go: I'm not a huge Hopman Cup person, but did end up enjoying quite a bit of it this year. As you probably heard, defending champs Switzerland won again. But the fun for me -- as always -- was the mixed doubles, where we not only got to Roger Federer and Serena Williams on the same court for the first time, we also saw Angie Kerber and Alexander Zverev against Alize Cornet and Lucas Pouille, and Kerber/Zverev against Federer (with Belinda Bencic) and Matt Ebden and Ash Barty. 

And we got to see Matt Eben's biceps ...

Did I mention his flex appeal?

Over in Brisbane, Kei Nishikori ended his nine-final losing streak defeating Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 to win his first title since Memphis in 2016.

Of note also was the return of Jo-Willie Tsonga, looking his beefy best again, who reached the semis before falling to the 22-year-old Russian. 

Karolina Pliskova got very lucky, rallying to defeat a red-hot-before-she-got-injured Lesia Tsurenko to capture the women's title. The final would have been a rematch of Tokyo if Naomi Osaka hadn't crapped out to Tsurenko in the semis. Here's hoping the young Japanese doesn't suffer the requisite post-Slam letdown YEAR like every other WTA player of late has. 

Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut overcame a mid-match scare to overcome Tomas Berdych 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in the Qatar Open final on Saturday. It was an impressive week for the 30-year-old, who also knocked out world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and three-time Slam champ Stan Wawrinka along the way to capture his first title in Doha and ninth overall. Both Berdych and Wawrinka are still on the comeback trail, so the Swiss Pole's first-round win over Karen Khachanov was particularly noteworthy even if it did make you scratch your head and say, "You beat him but then lost to him?" Not sure what's up with Novak, who dropped sets to Marton Fucsovic and Nikoloz Basilashvili before giving up the ghost to the Spaniard. 

Almost got 'shorty'

And from the Gland Freak files, history was made when the tallest ATP final in the open era took place Sunday in Pune, with 6-foot-8 Kevin Anderson narrowly edging 6-11 Croatian veteran Ivo Karlovic 7-6, 6-7, 7-6 in two hours and 44 minutes for his sixth ATP title. Karlovic, who is just a few weeks from his 40th birthday, became the oldest ATP finalist since Ken Rosewall in Hong Kong 1977.

Aryna Sabalenka -- whose shoulders and jawline I would kill for -- came from behind to beat Alison Riske 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3 in the Shenzhen Open final on Saturday. The 20-year-old from Belarus looks unbeatable at times, so it will be fun to see if she's able to put it all together in a major in the year ahead. The tournament saw Jelena Ostapenko get blown out by a qualifier in the first round -- and Maria Sharapova dodge a bullet when Xinyu Wang nearly defeated her before retiring with an injury, only to see Sharapova retire in her quarterfinal versus Sabalenka.

And finally, Julia Goerges defended her singles title in Auckland, New Zealand, ending the Cinderella run of Ro-nadian qualifier Bianca Andreescu 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 in Sunday's final. At first it looked like 152nd-ranked 18-year-old was going to continue the form that saw her emerge from qualifying to beat Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki, seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams and third-seeded Hsieh Su-Wei on the way to her first final. She took the first set in only 30 minutes, unsettling second-seeded Goerges with the same aggressive return game and mixture of strokes that had flummoxed her earlier opponents. But the tide of the match changed late in the second set as Goerges began to put more first serves in play and to gain more depth with her ground strokes, forcing Andreescu onto the defensive. The German clinched the second set in 45 minutes with a pivotal break in the 11th game, then took the deciding third set in only 23 minutes as Andreescu tired in her eighth match at the tournament. (Fun seeing Nathalie Tauziat again, coaching Bianca!) Goerges broke Andreescu in the first, fifth and seventh games to clinch her seventh WTA Tour singles title.

From Instagram:

See Diego Schwartzman get whipped into shape by a hot trainer HERE.

And if it's Monday it must be Sydney ...

Johnny, are you queer?

(With wire services)


jaragon said...

The trainer deserves his own post

Rian G. said...

This may be Diego's hot trainer.

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