Well, Marat is gone from China, and the march towards Bercy and his last tournament continues. Still, he didn't exactly roll down and die in his match against Berdych - a match of two headcases - and so I suppose I can be happy with that. I just don't want to think about a future with no Marat in it. Sigh.
We saw a couple of upsets today, most notably third seed and Grand Slam man Juan Martin del Potro go down to Jurgen Melzer, retiring down a set because of wrist issues. I will be very disappointed in Juan if he can't back up his US Open triumph - but if he's injured I suppose that's not his fault. Just another casualty of the season and the length and all those wacky things. So hasta la vista, Juan, and hopefully we'll see you back again by Bercy.
But the result I thought was reeeeeeeeally interesting was Ivan Ljubicic taking down Fernando Verdasco. It seems like a thousand years ago that Ljubicic was #3 in the world - it was only 2006, and he spent a while floating round the top ten before sliding down to the bottom half of the top fifty. But nonetheless, he's got a lovely game and ain't no one can take that away...
...however, with Nando's crushing groundies, I thought he'd pummel Ivan into submission. Ivan is definitely one of the grandpas of the tour (read: is in his thirties) and while that serve of his is smoking, I got the impression that he'd lost a leeeeeeetle power over the years. But, of course, what does that mean? If one can counterpunch effectively, one can do anything.
I didn't actually see the match so I'm not exactly qualified to comment, but I thought this was an interesting result. Not good for Nando in his bid to make it to the year-ending championships, but it's always nice to see one of the elder statesmen - particularly a really lovely, eloquent gentleman like Ljubicic - prevail.
Shanghai ATP Masters 1000 (Shanghai)
Rafael Nadal def. James Blake, 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 6-4
Novak Djokovic def. Fabio Fognini, 6-3 6-1
Jurgen Melzer def. Juan Martin del Potro, 7-5 2-1 retired
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga def. Shao-Xuan Zeng, 6-3 6-3
Ivan Ljubicic def. Fernando Verdasco, 6-4 7-6 (8-6)
Gilles Simon def. Viktor Troicki, 6-3 6-4
Robin Soderling def. Nicolas Almagro, 6-4 7-5
Gael Monfils def. Lleyton Hewitt, 4-6 6-4 6-2
Tommy Robredo def. Florian Mayer, 4-6 7-6 (12-10) 6-4
Rainer Schuettler def. Tommy Haas, 6-4 retired
Feliciano Lopez def. David Ferrer, 4-6 7-5 6-1
Tomas Berdych def. Marat Safin, 3-6 6-4 6-4
Generali Ladies Linz (Linz)
Yanina Wickmayer def. Timea Bacsinszky, 7-6 (8-6) 6-4
Alexandra Dulgheru def. Sybille Bammer, 6-3 6-1
Alize Cornet def. Kristina Barrois, 4-6 6-3 6-3
Agnieszka Radwanska def. Monica Niculescu, 6-4 6-2
Sara Errani def. Tatjana Malek, 6-3 6-0
Petra Kvitova def. Iveta Benesova, 6-4 7-5
Carla Suarez Navarro def. Olga Govortsova, 6-3 6-4
HP Open (Osaka)
Melinda Czink def. Vania King, 6-4 6-2
Francesca Schiavone def. Yung-Jan Chan, 6-3 0-6 6-3
Sania Mirza def. Viktoriya Kutuzova, 6-4 6-3
Marion Bartoli def. Kurumi Nara, 6-1 6-1
3 months ago