Well, if Kolya was going to be beaten by any man in Moscow, it is only fitting that it be this one. He went down in three sets to Marat Safin.
Before I start my regularly scheduled 'I love Marat' fanfare, complete with bells and whistles, can I just say that any man who flies from Shanghai to Moscow and plays approximately three seconds after he lands, regardless of jetlag, and pushes someone as talented and unpredictable as Safin to three has my undying respect. These two weeks have taught me to Respect the Davydenko. Man's fierce, yo.
Now. Back to Marat.
Oh, how I would dearly, dearly love him to win a tournament as a parting gift! And oh! how Moscow would be absolutely perfect for this purpose! If there's any tournament he is going to win - I am aware that this has a likelihood of approximately 0.0000000001%, Marat being Marat - I'm pretty sure Moscow would be the one. It would be somehow fitting, I guess, for Marat to go out in this way.
Not that it will happen, but hey, he beat the top seed! The top seed who won a Masters series event last week (we won't mention the jet lag). Marat's got game, and I wish, wish, WISH for him to make it happen.
My other long time followee, Gulbis, went out tamely in Stockholm. To tell the truth, I'm not surprised, what with the whole Swedish prostitute sex scandal. I don't know whether Gulbis was, in actuality, involved, and frankly, I don't care. I want him to take away a lesson about concentration from this tournament - about separating off court sagas from the world on court. Lleyton Hewitt is the master of this. Ernie, clearly, has a ways to go.
Kremlin Cup (Moscow)
Mikhail Youzhny def. Potito Starace, 6-1 6-1
Pablo Cuevas def. Teimuraz Gabashvili, 3-6 6-1 6-4
Sergiy Stakhovsky def. Fabrice Santoro, 7-5 6-1
Marat Safin def. Nikolay Davydenko, 4-6 6-4 6-2
Illya Marchenko def. Denis Istomin, 1-6 6-4 4-1 retired
Evgeny Korolev def. Igor Kunitsyn, 7-6 (8-6) 6-3
Alona Bondarenko def. Nadia Petrova, 7-6 (7-3) 6-3
Olga Govortsova def. Maria Jose Martinez Sanches, 6-1 6-4
Maria Kirilenko def. Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-3 603
Agnes Szavay def. Flavia Pennetta, 4-6 3-0 retired
Evgeniya Rodina def. Elena Vesnina, 6-1 3-6 6-2
Francesca Schiavone def. Nuria Llagostera Vives, 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 6-3
If Stockholm Open (Stockholm)
Joachim Johansson def. Juan Monaco, 6-4 6-4
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez def. Simon Greul, 6-3 7-5
Thomaz Bellucci def. Leonardo Mayer, 7-5 3-6 6-3
Robin Soderling def. Giovanni Lapentti, 6-3 6-0
Tommy Haas def. Florent Serra, 6-3 6-4
Marcos Baghdatis def. Juan Carlos Ferrero, 6-4 6-2
Feliciano Lopez def. Ernests Gulbis, 6-2 6-4
BGL Luxembourg Open (Luxembourg)
Kirsten Flipkens def. Anabel Medina Garrigues, 7-5 6-3
Sabine Lisicki def. Polona Hercog, 7-6 (7-1) 6-4
Timea Bacsinszky def. Roberta Vinci, 6-2 6-2
Daniela Hantuchova def. Tatjana Malek, 6-1 6-0
Yanina Wickmayer def. Alexandra Dulgeru
Lucie Hradecka def. Catalina Castano, 7-6 (7-4) 6-2
Roger: older and not quite out
6 months ago