Monday, February 28, 2022

Weekend Tennis Roundup


Nice wins for Andrey Rublev, Rafael Nadal, Pedro Martinez, Iga Swiatek and Sloane Stephens. Plus the hunks were on a tear in the Challenger events -- and more BELOW.


Andrey Rublev, who became a viral sensation for speaking out against his country's invasion of Ukraine, produced one of the performances of the season to win the trohy in Dubai, ending Jiri Vesely’s dream run in the desert with a 6-3, 6-4 win in Saturday’s championship match. 

You may recall that the thick Czech -- who also had to qualify for the event -- knocked out Novak Djokovic, Denis Shapovalov, Roberto Bautista Agut and Marin Cilic en route to the title match

Rafael Nadal defeated Cameron Norrie in the Mexican Open final -- 6-4, 6-4 -- for his third title in 2022

Big boy Pedro Martinez showed off his fighting spirit to clinch his first ATP Tour title at the Chile Dove Men+Care Open on Sunday. The 24-year-old Spaniard came from a set down to defeat #NextGenATP star Sebastian Baez in the championship match in the Chilean capital, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. 

Fourth-seeded Martinez had already battled past Jaume Munar, Yannick Hanfmann and local favorite Alejandro Tabilo on the way to the final at the clay-court ATP 250 event. The win pushes Martinez to a career-high No. 50 in the ATP Rankings, and afterward he told more about his journey to a first tour-level title. Read HERE.

Iga Swiatek charged to her first title of the season on Saturday, cruising past Anett Kontaveit of Estonia 6-2, 6-0 to win the Qatar Open in Doha. The Pole's play was so impressive -- including straight-sets wins over Sabalenka, Sakkari and Kasatkina -- it reminded me of when Mary Pierce was "on" and there was nothing anyone could do about it. Imagine if she or Jelena Ostapenko could play in their zone all the time. 

Sloane Stephens ended a four-year title drought by beating Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic, 7-5, 1-6, 6-2, to capture the sombrero in Guadalajara. Stephens, who was once ranked No. 3 in the world, entered the match No. 57. After going undefeated in her first six WTA singles finals of her career, which included the 2017 U.S. Open and a WTA 1000 crown at Miami, the American has been 0-3 in her last three finals. Stephens had not made it to a final since the 2018 year-end championships. Here's hoping this is the start of another winning summer.

Around the net ...

Those Lock brothers -- seen here reporting for Davis Cup duty -- sure get me going

Cam Norrie and Coach of the Year Facundo Lugones have a some fun south of the boarder 

Daria Gavrilova came up short versus Sloane Stephens in the Guadalajara quarters. But I see she was the big winner in December when she got her MRS, marrying Aussie tennis hunk Luke Saville

Jack Draper collected his third Challenger title of the year after saving four match points to defeat Alexander Ritschard 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(8) in Forli!

The 20-year-old model rises to No. 145 in the world ... based on points

Hubba hubba! Quentin Halys returned to the #ATPChallenger winner's circle, defeating fellow hunk Vasek Pospisil 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the Pau, France, final

Ooh la la !

Imagine looking like this and being unhappy ...

Albano Olivetti and David Hernandez took the Challenger doubles from in Pau

A winning combo on and off the court

Nico Jarry with his hot (photographer?) friend Andrés Sáenz De Santa María 

At least Christian Harrison's red hat doesn't say what I feared it would

Does anyone know who the slab of beef in Daniil Medvedev's box is?

Proud of Sergiy Stakhovsky for taking a break from complaining that women players doesn't deserve to be paid as much as men to fight for his embattle homeland 

A misguided Nadal fan friend of mine reached out to say he agreed that arguing about tennis was stupid 

... when we can instead be agreeing how how Eduardo Nava's ass is

Hard to imagine that Marton Fucsovics needed much help to prepare for a spread in Fashion Street

Christian Harrison is pretty in pink

Despite the suspense-free loss in Acapulco, it's hard to think of Cam Norrie as a loser

How cute were Stefanos Tsitsipas t and Feliciano Lopez teaming up to win the doubles crown in Acapulco, with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over fourth seeds Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer

23 + 40 = hot

Don't know who he is, but Pedro Martinez has one hot cheerleader in his box

Pedja Krstin stepped out on Borna Coric with Laslo Djere

Not to be outdone, the Croatian cutie got a little Yugo reunion by visiting sexy Aljaz Bedene in Slovenia

Ryan Harrison and his boys

The women in the Harrison brothers' lives might want to hire a PI

Tommy Haas in his fetish wear

Cam he am

Benoit Paire getting used to the life he would like to be accustomed to

Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic looked cute as runners-up in Dubai

Robert Farah and the boys

Just what Corentin Moutet needs to do -- take up professional gambling 

Pro photographer Toms Laurence got a slew of great shots from the Challenger in Pau

Lloyd Glasspool -- who survived Alexander Zverev's violent outburst plus two cases of food poisoning 

But still managed to leave Mexico looking pretty as ever

What's your board game of choice?

Tobe Simon's legs don't just happen

Put a bag over Jiri's face and go to town

After an embarrassing first set, Tommy Paul held his pretty head high taking Rafael Nadal to a tiebreak in Mexico

Seen in Daria Saville's box

American J.J. Wolf's run in Acapulco ended on a bit of an embarrassing note, but let's not forget he fought he way through the quallies and chalked up wins over Andreas Seppi, Kevin Anderson and Lorenzo Sonego before that 47-minute drubbing by the Greek God

Kudos to J.J. for the many costume changes and for taking the headband off to show his pretty hair

Mean machine

Yes to all of this

Everybody wants a piece of Kevin Krawietz

Tom Hill's coffee klat(s)ch continues 

Brother Christian your time has come

Jiri Vesely's secret weapon? 

Yes and yes

The Brits have a winning singles player ...

and doubles! 

Jamie Murray always knows where the action is

Here's wishing John Millman well, after a freak self-inflicted eye injury

I've been enjoying the Tennis Channel pairing of Tracy Austin and Pam Shriver until Pam got overly excited about a graphic they held up depicting the duo's head-to-head. For some reason, it didn't mention that Tracy leads 4 to 2 -- not to mention her 12-0 in juniors -- instead saying Tracy leads 8 sets to 6, which Pam played off as a wash and then harped on her 2-1 in majors record. To her credit, Tracy seemed far less concerned about it than I was! 

Whatever this is, please sign me up

Nicely done, Holger

This kind of training seems to be doing the trick for Michael Venus, who along with partner Tim Putz edged out No. 1 seeds Pavic/Mektic to win the doubles crown in Dubai, 6-3, 6-7(5), 16-14

Watch an encouraging cancer-treatment update from Chris Evert HERE.

And lastly: Kind of sad for Daniil Medvedev -- and men's tennis -- that the Djokovic/Federer/Nadal/Murray stranglehold on the No. 1 ranking would end because Djokovic was robbed of defending 2,000(!) points on the day before the event started, by a politically motivated hack who stepped in to overrule a previously agreed-up medical exemption. And even then, Medvedev "ascended" to the top of the ranking by a measly 150 points. Can't imagine this is how any tennis player ever dreamed of getting there. 🙄

UPDATE: Proud of Rublev and Medvedev and now Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. What a sad moment in history.


Looks like the WTA is now removing both

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