So one of the old veterans who had planned on retiring at the end of the year. No, it's not Marat Safin, but who really expects that train to suddenly un-derail itself? It's Nicolas Lapentti, former top ten player, and he says that the reason he's staying on is because his country, Ecuador, has been elevated to the world group in Davis Cup for the first time in approximately twelve centuries, courtesy of the effort Nico and his brother Giovanni put in.
I can't claim to know much about either of the Lapentti brothers, but I thought this was sort of nice. It made me go awwwwwwwwwww, anyway.
So, back to tennis.
In Moscow, Janko Tipsarevic is in his first semi in a few years - I so would not have picked this, by the way, the fact that he's been semi-less for a long time. I pick him a lot to win in bracket challenges and the like... but this may be because the one match of his I really remember well is his epic third round against Federer in Australia last year where he went down 10-8 in the fifth and where he was playing lights out. So I might have a slightly inflated view of his playing style. But he's in the semis in Moscow, and more power to him. I'm picking Youzhny to win the title, but if anyone can shake it up, I think it'll be Janko.
Moscow for the ladies has been the typical seed bloodbath. Second seed Jelena Jankovic went out - which is probably good, because she has to get to Doha. I'm not talking any more about that. It'll depress me...
...but Sabine Lisicki, playing in Luxembourg, is enough to make me like the WTA pretty much single-handedly. She took out Clijsters-conquering Patty Schnyder in style - kudos. And she's just so happy and fearless on court and she never leaves anything out there... really, the WTA needs a few more like Sabine Lisicki. I'm hoping for big things from her next year.
And back to Stockholm, which looks like the most interesting tournament going on this week. We've got an interesting, albeit motley, bunch of semi finalists - the Yoker, tiny Olivier Rochus, Star of the Future Thomaz Bellucci and the Smiling Cypriot. I'm kind of ambivalent on Rochus - though I do like him for his shortness - but I would be pretty happy for any of the other three to win this tournament. Fond of all of them. I might have a slight preference towards Soderling because of year ending championships purposes, but this tournament really seems like a win-win situation from my fan perspective. Looking forward to it!
Kremlin Cup (Moscow)
Mikhail Youzhny def. Sergiy Stakhovsky, 6-3 6-3
Mikhail Kukushkin def. Pablo Cuevas, 4-6 6-1 6-4
Janko Tipsarevic def. Robby Ginepri, 6-3 6-3
Illya Marchenko def. Evgeny Korolev, 0-6 6-2 6-3
Alisa Kleybanova def. Jelena Jankovic, 6-4 6-3
Francesca Schiavone def. Maria Kirilenko, 6-3 6-2
Alona Bondarenko def. Tsvetana Pironkova, 6-3 6-3
Olga Govortsova def. Vera Dushevina, 6-3 6-0
If Stockholm Open (Stockholm)
Robin Soderling def. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, 7-6 (7-4) 6-4
Olivier Rochus def. Jarkko Nieminen, 6-3 2-6 6-1
Thomaz Bellucci def. Joachim Johansson, 7-6 (7-4) 6-3
Marcos Baghdatis def. Arnaud Clement, 6-4 6-4
BGL Luxembourg Open (Luxembourg)
Shahar Peer def. Daniela Hantuchova, 6-2 7-6 (7-4)
Yanina Wickmayer def. Kirsten Flipkens, 7-6 (7-1) 4-6 6-1
Sabine Lisicki def. Patty Schnyder, 6-4 6-2
Timea Bacsinszky def. Katarina Srebotnik, 6-7 (3-7) 6-1 6-4
3 weeks ago