Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Deserve It!

Well, it's official - I've missed covering it for a couple of days, but it's time now: Dinara Safina is the women's world number #1.
Anyone who reads this blog knows I am a big Dinara fan, so I thought I would be happier about this. Truth is, Dinara may be #1 in the numbers, but the best player in the world out there in the moment is Serena Williams and that's just the way it is. I know everyone knows this, so I'm not going to harp on about it.
What I want to know is this: what kind of effect will becoming #1 have on Dinara herself, whether it's just a fluke of numbers or not? We've seen a couple of players react in different ways to assuming the top spot - one only has to think back to the incredible slide of Ana Ivanovic last year after she won the French Open, became #1 and fell into an incredible funk afterwards. That title - the notion of being the best in the world - has a tangible effect on a player. When Roger Federer was #1, he was largely invincible for a lot of that time. So what will Dinara do?
Dinara is already is a bit of a funk. I don't think anyone would deny that. What I would really like to see is for this to pull her out of it. We're off the hardcourts and onto the clay, where her big run came last year. So Dinara, you may not be deemed worthy of the #1 spot now, so here's your challenge. Become worthy. Because you've got the game and you've got the skills and you have everything you need to deserve this spot. Do it. Deserve it.
Someone who does deserve his #1 ranking at the moment is Rafael Nadal, who cruised through in Barcelona. Actually, nearly all the seeds in Barcelona came through - Gasquet and Soderling were the only casualties. But I think we're set up for a good tournament in Barcelona - I don't doubt that Rafa will win it, but I'm really gunning for Nando Verdasco to come through his half of the draw and continue his excellent run. Rematch of the AO semi!
Today's Results
Barcelona Open Banco Sabadell (Barcelona)
Rafael Nadal def. Frederico Gil, 6-2 6-2
Fernando Verdasco def. Nicolas Lapentti, 7-5 6-3
Nikolay Davydenko def. Arnaud Clement, 7-6 (7-2) 6-2
Fernando Gonzalez def. Jose Acasuso, 6-4 6-4
Tommy Robredo def. Gaston Gaudio, 7-6 (8-6) 6-1
David Nalbandian def. Igor Kunitsyn, 7-5 6-4
Stanislas Wawrinka def. Mikhail Youzhny, 7-5 6-1
Radek Stepanek def. Janko Tipsarevic, 7-6 (7-2) 6-0
Nicolas Almagro def. Juan Ignacio Chela, 3-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-3
Christophe Rochus def. Richard Gasquet, 6-1 6-7 (2-7) 6-3
Potito Starace def. Robin Soderling, 7-6 (7-5) 2-6 6-2
Tomas Berdych def. Oscar Hernandez, 6-2 4-6 6-3
Feliciano Lopez def. Santiago Ventura, 2-6 6-4 6-3
Juan Monaco def. Daniel Gimeno-Traver, 7-5 6-4

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