Again, not much to report this week... none of the really big boys are playing, which has meant my interest has dropped significantly. I think this makes me a pretty vapid tennis fan, really... no Roger, no Rafa, I lose interest. And it's not that there aren't good players playing this week - Ferrer, for one, Gasquet, for another. I'm just shallow.
Not that Richou, baby Fed, will be playing any more this week... he went down badly to Marc Gicquel. Not that he lost heavily - it was tight - but he lost to someone he shouldn't have. He is ten times the player that Gicquel is, especially on grass. What a shame. Richou is SO off his game. He needs to sit down with that basketball game scene in High School Musical if you ask me... because his head is NOT in the game.
Disclaimer: I loathe High School Musical. Just so you know.
David Ferrer is through, however, which is good. I saw him practice at the Australian Open this year, and damn can that boy scramble! (Not only that, he is rather nice looking... hence the standing and watching!) I would venture to say that he is the best returner on the circuit. I mean, there is always the Federer exception, and Djokovic (curse his name!) might give him a run for his money, but Ferrer really is fabulous. I'm not sure what his grass game is - I'm still not sure, what with not actually watching his match in s'Hertogenbosch, but I'm going to keep an eye on him at Wimbledon.
Before the French Open started, I picked Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Ferrer as my semi finalists. I have no way of proving I did this because I wasn't blogging at that stage, so you'll just have to take my word for it, but still, I came pretty close! The big three are pretty much a given, and Ferrer was only one match away... I don't know if I'd back him at Wimbledon, but I really am very interested to see how he holds up. His most powerful weapon is the return, and grass is so fast, so I guess returning is harder (hence the points generally being so shorter) so if he can push his super-returningness into service there, he will be superb. Superb!
He once described himself as the 'worst top hundred player of all time.' Now that he's #5 in the world, I think we can say pretty comprehensively that this is not true. I love Ferru's game. And he seems like such a nice kid as well. Actually, I would love to see him play doubles with Rafa - just for kicks. I think their games would be highly complementary - and they are the numbers #1 and #2 Spaniards, so it would be all nice too. Nadal has played with Robredo before, but I don't know if he's played with Ferru... I think they'd be awesome. In fact, if Rafa and David stay healthy, I think Spain is a dead cert for the Davis Cup this year. There are some awesome teams in the semis - the US are always strong, with Roddick and Blake and the Bryans, and the Russians are tough, and the Argentinians maybe the favourites, but I really think that Spain is untouchable if they have all their players. Can you imagine? You've got Rafa and Ferru for the singles, you have Robredo as well, and if it's on clay, you have Almagro too, and you have all those other guys about, like Verdasco. How can you compete with the depth of Spain?
One of the other things I like about Ferru is that he is virtually untireable. Seriously, the guy is like the Energiser bunny. He has to be one of the fittest guys on tour (again, the Federer caveat in place!) He reminds me a bit of Hewitt back in the old days - he just doesn't stop. He played seven or eight straight weeks of tennis leading up to and including the French, I think - he played Valencia, Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome, Hamburg and I think Dusseldorf before Roland Garros, in which he reached the quarters. And it wasn't like he didn't go deep into these tournaments - he won Valencia, reached the final in Barcelona and was up there in nearly all of those tournaments. "Ferru" means iron in Catalan, and this man deserves that title more than anyone on the tour, in my opinion.
And he seems to be such a lovely guy, too. He's blogged for the ATP a couple of times. He's not exactly the golden pen, but he comes across as so sweet. So go David! I'd love to see him win s'Hertogenbosch - and go deep at Wimbledon too. Vamos!*
Ordina Open (s'Hertogenbosch)
Mario Ancic def. Steve Darcis, 6-2 6-4
David Ferrer def. Massimo Dell'acqua, 6-2 7-6 (7-3)
Jurgen Melzer def. Igor Andreev, 6-4 1-6 6-1
Marc Gicquel def. Richard Gasquet, 7-5 7-6 (8-6)
Sorana Cirstea def. Maria Kirilenko, 7-5 6-4
Tamarine Tanasugarn def. Kateryna Bondarenko, 6-3 6-3
Dinara Safina def. Camille Pin, 6-1 6-4
Anna Chakvetadze def. Angelique Kerber, 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7-1)
Alona Bondarenko def. Marina Erakovic, 3-6 6-4 6-3
Alona Bondarenko def. Iveta Benesova, 6-4 4-6 6-4
Yung-jan Chan def. Sofia Arvidsson, 7-5 7-5
Slazenger Open (Nottingham)
Radek Stepanek def. John Isner, 6-3 6-2
Vince Spadea def. Alexander Slabinsky, 6-1 7-5
Gael Monfils def. Chris Guccione, 7-6 (7-4) 6-4
Eduardo Schwank def. Frederik Nielsen, 6-3 6-3
Gilles Simon def. Donald Young, 6-1 6-4
Samuel Groth def. Jamie Baker, 7-6 (9-7) 6-3
Fernando Verdasco def. Marcos Daniel, 6-4 7-6 (7-3)
Thomas Johansson def. Kei Nishikori, 7-5 retired
Alex Bogdanovic def. James Ward, 6-3 6-4
International Women's Open (Eastbourne)
Caroline Wozniacki def. Tsvetana Pironkova, 6-3 6-2
Ekaterina Makarova def. Vera Dushevina, 6-3 6-0
Olga Govortsova def. Nicole Vaidisova, 6-2 6-4
Virginie Razzano def. Kaia Kanepi, 6-3 6-4
Alisa Kleybanova def. Melanie South, 6-4 6-4
Sybille Bammer def. Alla Kudryavtseva, 7-6 (11-9) 1-6 7-5
Nadia Petrova def. Li Na, 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 6-3