Mardy Fish won his second consecutive title with a 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(3) victory over John Isner at the Atlanta Tennis Championships. Scott Lipsky and Rajeev Ram took the doubles title.
The last set of the singles final was the only tennis I was able to see all week. Apparently it was a sauna on the court. Isner, who really can't stand the heat, looked like he picked up where he left off in that indescribable Wimbledon first round match. Fish played the last stretch of the match with the renewed confidence of a winner and found his way to another title.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Atlanta Tennis Championships
Singles - Second Round
 [WC] A Roddick (USA) d R Ram (USA) 61 67(1) 63
L Lacko (SVK) d  L Hewitt (AUS) 64 62
 X Malisse (BEL) d I Marchenko (UKR) 63 63
K Anderson (RSA) d [WC] D Young (USA) 75 63
Doubles - Quarterfinals
S Huss (AUS) / A Sa (BRA) vs M Fish (USA) / A Roddick (USA)
J Blake (USA) / J Isner (USA) d M Kohlmann (GER) / R Schuettler (GER) 64 61
German Open Tennis Championships
Singles - Third Round
A Golubev (KAZ) d  N Davydenko (RUS) 64 64
 J Melzer (AUT) d J Chardy (FRA) 75 76(4)
 J Ferrero (ESP) d J Nieminen (FIN) 62 36 64
 T Bellucci (BRA) d  P Kohlschreiber (GER) 75 64
F Mayer (GER) d M Gonzalez (ARG) 76(1) 60
A Seppi (ITA) d F Fognini (ITA) 64 64
D Istomin (UZB) d [WC] J Reister (GER) 36 63 76(3)
P Starace (ITA) d [Q] P Riba (ESP) 46 64 64
Doubles - Quarterfinals
[WC] A Beck (GER) / C Kas (GER) d  F Cermak (CZE) / M Mertinak (SVK) 62 76(7)
M Lopez (ESP) / D Marrero (ESP) d  W Moodie (RSA) / D Norman (BEL) 67(4) 64 10-7
J Chardy (FRA) / P Mathieu (FRA) d S Aspelin (SWE) / P Hanley (AUS) 63 10 ret. (Aspelin - neck)
M Melo (BRA) / B Soares (BRA) d F Polasek (SVK) / S Stakhovsky (UKR) 76(5) 64
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
Argentinian player David Nalbandian celebrates after winning against Russian player Mikhail Youzhny on July 11, 2010, during their quarterfinal match of the Davis Cup World Group in Moscow. Nalbandian won 6-7, 4-6, 3-6.
He can't seem to play anywhere else anymore. I can't even remember the last time I've seen him hit a tennis ball at an ATP event, yet here he is doing what he does in Davis Cup once again:
Russian team players haven't exactly been in the mood for great tennis of late, but still: DaVEED led Argentina to a victory over Russia in Davis Cup in Moscow.
Mardy Fish added a grass court title to his resume in Newport, completing the career, all-surface title holder list with only his fourth career title.
And Rafael Nadal was in South Africa to witness his nation's history-making performance in the World Cup.
I watched a bit of it. Given that my mate is from the Netherlands and we have a visitor from the Netherlands interning on the farm, it's safe to see I flew solo in the field for most of the day yesterday.
Depressed, they emerged after the final ready to sow fall crops. Carrots, beets, scallions, leeks, lettuce, rutabagas, celeriac, sugar peas, and more carrots. They were quite industrious.
Had to break the news to the mate, after the fact, of course, that while I couldn't exactly cheer for Spain, I didn't see the Netherlands winning their first World Cup title in South Africa. Karma and all that.
But that's an essay for another blog and another time.
Back in Davis Cup, France kicked Spain squarely in the teeth. Guess the Spanish team was somewhere else...
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Dustin Brown of Jamaica walks off the court after losing a game against Austria's Jurgen Meltzer at the 2010 Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London June 21, 2010.
At your request, here is your thread to discuss Newport and the upcoming US summer hard court season.
It's time to plant fall crops so I'm about to be in the weeds again.
I'll do my best.
Sunday, July 04, 2010
By now the world knows Rafael Nadal has reclaimed the Wimbledon crown, notching his 8th Grand Slam singles title.
I have yet to organize my thoughts on this reclamation.
I'll try to have something up sometime tomorrow.
Tomas Berdych CZE (12) vs. Rafael Nadal ESP (2). For the first time I will be watching a grand slam final live, on site. Sadly, it is also the first time in 8 years that my favorite male player Roger Federer will not be in the Wimbledon men's final. It's also doubtful that this year's final will be as monumental a battle as the 2008 classic now called "the match of the century" won by Rafael Nadal or Federer's 2009 triumph of will over Andy Roddick.
I have previously predicted the results of the quarterfinals (1 of 4) and semifinals (0 of 2), so clearly I've not been having great results in predicting the men's matches this year. It's also difficult to pick a winner between Tomas Berdych and Rafael Nadal. On paper, Nadal should win since he has a 7-3 career head-to-head record against the young Czech. However, clearly Berdych is not the same player who has lost to Nadal 7 times.
Berdych is playing in his first Grand Slam final, which very few people win (Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Andy Roddick and Robin Soderling have all failed to do so. Juan Martin del Potro is the exception which proves the rule.) The great ones (like Federer and Nadal) do. Will Berdych be following in the footsteps of his countryman Ivan Lendl and become a late-blooming great?
[Correction by Craig Hickman: In addition to del Potro, Rafa and Raja, Andy Roddick (USO 2003), Lleyton Hewitt (US Open 2001), and Gaston Gaudio (Roland Garros 2004) are all active players who won their first Slam final. Of the recently officially retired, Gustavo Kuerten (Roland Garros 1997), Marat Safin (US Open 2001), Thomas Johansson (Australian Open 2002) and Albert Costa (Roland Garros 2002) did as well. Some of these players are great, some are not.]
If Berdych wins today, he will become the first player to beat the World #3, World #2 and World #1 to win a slam. This would definitely be an indication he is on his way to a Lendly-like career, instead of a Soderling-like career.
If Nadal wins today, he will have completed the Roland Garros-Wimbledon double for the second time, will have a 14-match undefeated streak at Wimbledon and will have claimed his 8th Grand Slam title, just 8 behind Roger Federer, despite being 5 years his junior.
MadProfessah's prediction: Nadal (in 3 or 4 sets).
Saturday, July 03, 2010
It's been a long time since I've seen Serena Williams this happy after winning a Slam title. Melbourne 2005, maybe. But she seemed more emotional and relieved for different reasons it seemed. New York 1999?
Today, she emoted pure jubilee. Four Wimbledon titles, 13 Grand Slam singles titles, surpassing Billie Jean King, and entering rarefied air. She has now defended both her Slam titles from last year, the first time in her career to defend two Slams in the same year, and only the third time she's defended a singles Slam crown at all.
Vera Zvonareva's composure held up throughout all of the first set and most of the second, and she was absolutely radiant and gracious, even through tears, after the match. Calling out the surgeon who fixed her ankle when she feared she'd never be able to play again was at once poignant and bizarre. Such is life on Centre Court at SW19. One hell of an effort from a player who's hoed through a tough, tough row.
Sometimes, players do re-invent themselves in a year.
Serena Williams USA (1) vs Vera Zvonareva RUS (21). For the third consecutive year and sixth time in the last eight years, Serena Williams is in the Ladies' Final of the Wimbledon championships. Surprisingly, she is not facing her older sister this time, as she has four times before, winning three titles in the process. Serena did well to get past a spirited challenge from Petra Kvitova, but, as predicted, she left the court with a victory after two sets.
Friday, July 02, 2010
The Joker was overcome by nerves. He rarely went for his shots which was surprising. He seemed content to just get balls back in play and hope Tomas [Berdych] missed. [Novak Djokovic] seemed swallowed whole by the occasion. Hats off to Berdych. Nice to see a new face in a slam final.
Not sure how much of a chance he has Sunday. I said earlier this year [Rafael] Nadal's comeback wouldn't start until he got back onto the salt of the Earth. He seems poised to take the Euro double again and as Craig said he's hands down the best organic surface player, maybe since Borg. It's stunning to think about the '07 Wimby final, or even the '06. He's a few points away from going for his 3rd or 4th title right now.
For as much talk about the future of tennis being giant men flinging new age rackets with ease, there's a great percentage the first three slams of the year will still be won by Nadal and Roger Federer.
I don't think the second semifinal was as close as the score indicated. [Andy] Murray served out of his head to keep both sets close. But really for three sets once the rally was even it was all Nadal all day. He brutalized Murray with that lefty forehand. Down the line, hooked cross-court, the depth, the power, the sheer confidence the stroke was hit with today was stunning.
Nobody moves as well on grass as Nadal does right now, and maybe nobody volleys as well. From ball one he was the aggressor.
Andy did not play poorly, but its clear he doesn't have a weapon off the baseline. I agree with [graf_sampras], it's a great crowd and they deserve to have a champion and one day Andy will take home a Major title, but right now he's simply not in the same grass court league as Rafa is in.
I don't think a lot of pundits really realize how great Nadal is on this surface. The crew, sans Bee Jay [Brad Gilbert] (quiet Craig), all went with Murray. And I don't see NBC pushing the story of Rafa engaging in a true defense of his title. What if he played last year? What if they had a roof in '07? I know tennis can write a different history with 'what if's' but Rafa has been the best player at this event for some time now. If he wins Sunday will people finally admit as much?
Berdych has a puncher's chance, but Rafa has improved with every match, and when he unleashed the running, leaping fist pump in round 2 I knew he was locked in mentally. He wants this title and Sunday he gets it.
BY MAD PROFESSAH
Here are my predictions for the men's semifinals at the Wimbledon Championships for 2010.
I previously made predictions for the men's quarterfinals (1 of 4 correct) and the women's quarterfinals (2 of 4 correct).
Thursday, July 01, 2010
by Craig Hickman
The look of a broken player.
Serving down a break at 2-4 in the second set, Petra Kvitova faced break point. She swung her huge lefty serve into her opponent's backhand, and seemed surprised the ball came back. After all, for much of the match, her opponent wasn't handling that serve well at all. The surprising return led to an exchange that I described as the point of the tournament. The Wimbledon semifinal ingenue prevailed with a stinging volley winner.
Both players were whipped. Chests heaving, both let the crowd's extended applause wash over them. The longer it lasted, the better.
Petra fired another great second serve that came back with interest. The warriors were at it again. This time, Petra tried to end the point with a backhand crosscourt acute angle winner that landed half a foot wide.
Despite her deceptively efficient movement and excellent anticipation, she doesn't yet appear fit enough for the long haul. Still fatigued from saving that break point, she tossed in a double fault.
It took the better part of two tight sets with enthralling tennis sans melodrama for Serena Williams to finally break the will of her opponent. After the changeover, the defending champion would serve for the match.
Soon as her second serve hit the tape, Petra dropped her racquet, her shattered determination captured in the photo above.
What a match.
Best thing I heard by any commentator during it came from Lindsay Davenport.
"Serena doesn't get enough credit for her strategy," said the Wimbledon champion and former world No. 1. "She's definitely a thinking player out there."
And so when Serena stopped attempting outright winners on her service returns and started striking them high and deep, she pushed Petra back, forcing errors instead of giving away points.
An adjustment that made all the difference.
Petra had no deep-Slam experience to rely upon, but her exquisite serve, raw talent and gutsy fight are a breath of fresh air on a tour populated with serveless top-10 players who fold at the first hint of success.
Petra did no such thing. She had to rally from a set down and save match points just to get here. No. Serena had to break her will in order to win. She broke it with her tennis.
Her name alone wasn't going to be nearly enough.
PREDICTION: Serena in 2 sets.