Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Different Animal

A few upsets in the clay tournaments we have going on this week - we lost Rainer Schuettler (#2) and Christophe Rochus (#7) in Casablanca and former champ Mardy Fish in Houston. It seems strange to be calling these players 'seeds' - they're certainly not what we would normally think of as high level players. But that's this time of the year, I guess.
The clay season is both the most predictable and unpredictable swing of the year, in my opinion. The top players - players like Rafa Nadal and Nicolas Almagro, very rarely lose on this surface. Often with the top players you get a random upset here and there, but you very rarely see this on clay, I think. Look at Rafa's record - he's lost, what, two matches over the past four years? One was to Federer and the other one was to Juan Carlos Ferrero when he was pretty nastily injured. Other than that, he's been solid as a rock. Almagro, the Prince of Clay, is similar, though obviously on a lesser scale.
But when you skip down a rung or two to the rest of the top ten and the guys that are supposed to be at the top... on clay, it seems like the playing field is pretty different. You get a lot more upsets here. I don't know if it's just the claycourters upsetting those who are more consistent year-round or whether it's more arbitrary, but you certainly get some random results that you probably wouldn't normally see.
You've got to wonder whether Roland Garros should adopt a seeding system like hat of Wimbledon - based not only on current ranking but on previous performance on that surface as well. Clay is a different animal and the top ten rankings don't really reflect the real rankings. Nadal #1 and Federer #2, yes, but the rest of the top ten...? I think there'd have to be a significant reshuffle.
Today's Results
Grand Prix Hassan II (Casablanca)
Igor Andreev def. Rabie Chaki, 3-6 6-3 7-5
Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo def. Rainer Schuettler, 6-4 7-6 (7-5)
Albert Montanes def. Reda El Amrani, 6-2 7-5
Marc Gicquel def. Kristof Vliegen, 7-5 6-3
Juan Carlos Ferrero def. Christophe Rochus, 6-2 6-3
Potito Starace def. Oscar Hernandez, 4-6 6-3 6-3
Olivier Rochus def. Mehdi Ziadi, 4-6 6-2 6-1
Teimuraz Gabashvili def. Fabio Fognini, 6-2 6-1
Santiago Ventura def. Oliver Marach, 6-1 6-1
Nicolas Devilder def. Daniel Koellerer, 6-3 6-4
Mischa Zverev def. Flavio Cipolla, 6-2 3-6 6-3
US Men's Clay Court Championships (Houston)
Bjorn Phau def. Mardy Fish, 6-3 5-7 6-3
Sergio Roitman def. Agustin Calleri, 6-3 6-3
John Isner def. Michael Russell, 4-6 6-3 6-2
Tommy Haas def. Denis Gremelmayr, 6-3 6-3
Scoville Jenkins def. Alexander Peya, 0-6 6-4 6-3
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez def. Giovanni Lapentti, 1-6 6-0 6-2
Andalucia Tennis Experience (Marbella)
Jelena Jankovic def. Francesca Schiavone, 6-2 6-1
Anabel Medina Garrigues def. Anastasiya Yakimova, 6-1 6-3
Carla Suárez Navarro def. Maret Ani, 7-5 7-5
Sara Errani def. Julia Schruff, 7-5 7-6 (8-6)
Virginia Ruano Pascual def. Tathiana Garbin, 6-1 2-6 6-1
Andreja Klepac def. Severine Brémond, 5-7 6-2 6-2
Renata Voracova def. Pauline Parmentier, 7-6 (10-8) 4-6 6-4
Arantxa Rus def. María-Teresa Torró-Flor, 4-6 6-2 6-0
Ekaterina Ivanova def. Masa Zec Peskiric, 6-0 6-4
Polona Hercog def. Stéphanie Cohen-Aloro, 3-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-2
Selima Sfar def. Estrella Cabeza Candela, 6-3 7-6 (7-4)
MPS Group Championships (Ponte Vedra Beach)
Nadia Petrova def. Olga Govortsova, 6-2 6-4
Aleksandra Wozniak def. Jill Craybas, 6-4 6-4
Elena Vesnina def. Peng Shuai, 2-6 6-1 6-3
Sabine Lisicki def. Mariya Koryttseva, 6-3 7-6 (7-3)
Tamira Paszek def. Melinda Czink, 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-4
Anastasia Rodionova def. Galina Voskoboeva, 6-4 6-2
Daniela Hantuchova def. Anastasija Sevastova, 2-6 6-4 7-6 (7-5)

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