Sunday, August 03, 2008

Tennis turmoil at the top

The men's and women's tennis tournaments (Men in Cincinnati, women in Montreal) are on the TV air. It should be fun.

There's a bit of turmoil at the top of each tour. Since Justine Henin unexpectedly retired no one on the women's tour has been able to hold onto the number one spot for more than a few minutes. After she won in Australia, Maria Sharapova was #1 for about 15 minutes (she is now out for the season - no Olympics, no U.S. Open - with what I believe is the tennis equivalent of a rotator cuff shoulder injury - remember baseball's Tommy John). She was replaced by Ana Ivanovic on June 9 after Ivanovic won the French Open. Venus Williams slipped in with a win at Wimbledon without unseating Ivanovic (not close enough in the rankings). Now although Jelena Jankovic lost Friday in the quarter finals to unseeded Dominika Cibulkova, Jankovich will move into #1 on August 11th. In today's Montreal final, my favorite Dinara Safina (Marat Safin's little sister) takes on still unseeded Cibulkova. But my advice is: keep an eye Dinara, she's going places. Good luck Dinara!

Spoiler update: Safina beat Cibulkova, 6-1, 6-2

Until the last few weeks, the rankings on the men's tour seemed stable. Roger Federer the men's equivalent of Henin had been #1 for about four years and seemed destine to continue dominating the sport (except on clay). But then suddenly he became vulnerable. He lost to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open, then lost to Rafael Nadal in the French Open (so what else is new?) and then, in a titanic match, lost to Nadal at Wimbeldon. Throughout all this he held on to his #1 ranking. But it was slipping away. Finally this week in Cincinnatti, after losing to Ivo Korlovic in the quarter finals Federer lost his #1 ranking to longtime #2 Rafael Nadal. Nadal will take over the #1 ranking August 18th. But irony stepped in last night, Djokovich beat Nadal in Cincinnati before Nadal could even take over #1. He still will, but the bloom is a bit off the Nadal rose.

We're rooting for Scotsman Andy Murray to beat Djokovich in the Cincinnati final that's on now. A long shot, but what the hell.

Update: Longshots sometimes come in. It's Murray 7(7)-6(4), 7(7)-6(5). The tennis irony continues. Nadal moves into #1, Djokovich beats Nadal, then Murray beats Djokovitch. Let's have a scotch to celebrate.

The real question is why is none of this mentioned on the network sports reports? None of these folks are American? National chauvinism, perhaps?

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