Dream semis ahead in Dubai?


DelPo could be headed to a showdown against Djokovic

DelPo could be headed to a showdown against Djokovic

Dubai looks it like it will have two dream semis with Novak Djokovic going up against Juan Martin Del Potro and Roger Federer confronting Tomas Berdych. But first things first as Del Potro will open quarterfinal play Daniel Brands, then Berdych takes on a suddenly revived Dmitry Tursunov. Djokovic might face a stiff test from Andreas Seppi and then Federer will play Nikolay Davydenko

The Wrap: Week of Feb. 18: Tsonga is at home at home

Tsonga IW 12 TR MALT3267

Tsonga has won five of his titles in France

Imagine if a fast court Slam were played in France? Do you think Jo-Wilfried Tsonga would have a better chance of winning a major? I sure do. On Sunday, Tsonga captured his 10th ATP title by fending off a match point against Tomas Berdych in a 3-6 7-6(6) 6-4 triumph in Marseille. Tsonga also saved five match points in his quarterfinal win over Bernard Tomic, many of them with winners, which clearly indicates clutch play.

Tsonga has won five of his 10 career titles at home, including his sole Masters Series crown in Bercy back in 2008. Maybe home country advantage doesn’t mean that much in the grand scheme of things given that many players tend to perform better on surfaces and in conditions that are more to their liking, but recall that last year that Tsonga came reasonably close to taking out Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros, and clay is without question his worst surface.

As an attacking player, Tsonga likes quick conditions and presumably Marseille was to his liking. Berdych is tough indoors too, and quite tough on Tsonga given that the Czech had beaten him the last three times they played.

Now both men will head to Dubai, where Novak Djokovic is back in ATP action (he did play Davis Cup) for the first time since the Australian Open, and Roger Federer returns in an attempt to defend his title. Djokovic has a huge lead over Federer in the rankings and isn

Nadal’s Pain is Rivals Gain


With 11-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal absent from another Grand Slam, all eyes will be on the top three in the Australian Open odds.


Sharapova Finally Tops Sexiest Poll; Nadal wins Men’s

Maria has rematch with Lisicki.

It took eight years for Sugarpova to rule as sexiest female player.

For the first time in seven years, Maria Sharapova has won the TennisReporters.net Readers’ Poll for Sexiest Female of the Year. Sharapova

Time for the 8th TennisReporters.net Readers’ Poll

Readers: Vote for your top and sexiest players in the annual TennisReporters.net Readers’ Poll.
Rafa put a dent in Federer's GOAT label.

Rafa put a dent in Federer’s GOAT label.

It’s the eight annual TennisReporters.net Readers’ Poll, designed for our readers to sound off on their preferences.

Our most popular categories are Male and Female Players of the Year and, of course, the Sexiest Players. We’re allowing comments on the polls for the first time ever.

Sexiest Female Player Award is named after Ana Ivanovic after she won for five straight years. Sexiest Male Player Award is named after Marat Safin after he was also a five-time winner.

Last year’s winners included Novak Djokovic and Petra Kvitova for Players of the Year along with Rafael Nadal and Carolina Wozniacki as the sexiest. Last year’s voting can be found by clicking here.

TennisReporters.net editors do not necessarily support the results of the vote, especially in the Player of the Year categories. We realize that many readers will vote for their favorites as opposed to the players who have had better results.

Polls are open for one week to Saturday, Dec. 29 with results posted on Sunday, Dec. 30.

Rome Drawn and Quartered



Berdych has taken his excellent Madrid form to Rome.

Flavia Pennetta vs. Serena Williams: The Italian has had a tough time with injuries this year and hasn’t not shown her best form until this week. Serena has been on fire of since Charleston and is either playing well and destroying foes, or not playing very well and outshining and out battling them This is the first match on Center Court and while Pennetta is a terrific mover and fine defense to offense player, Serena will be able be to find the lines with her groundies and returns and win in 2 sets.

Thomas Berdych vs. Rafa Nadal: The Czech plays Nadal very ought and nearly knocked him out in Australia, but Nadal is playing angry and quite effectively after the Madrid fiasco last week. Berdych has been quite good in taking balls early and hitting through the court, but in slower red clay, Nadal will wear him down in point in 2 sets

Novak Djokovic vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: I don’t like this match-up for the Frenchman on dirt, even though he was quite impressive in knocking off Juan Martin Del Potro 6-4 6-1. However, the Serbian will get into Jo’s backhand side, will return him much more consistently than DelPo did and out maneuver him. Take Djokovic in two.

Angelique Kerber vs. Petra Kvitova: This battle of two powerful lefties should be a doozy if Kvitova finds her form. Kerber can beat just about anyone these days, but the Czech is due to start peaking and I get the feeling it will be in Rome. PK in 3 sets.

Roger Federer vs. Andreas Seppi: Huge props to the Italian who came back from the depths to stun Stanislas Wawrinka 6-7(1) 7-6(6) 7-6(6), but having face Federer after that marathon is not a desired draw. Federer did not play great in taking down JC Ferrero, but he’s been money off the ground and his serve is much more consistent than it was last year. Take Federer in a tough 2 setter in front of a raucous crowd.

David Ferrer vs. Richard Gasquet: The Frenchman was outstanding at times in defeating Andy Murray and his sore back, but Ferrer won’t make as many errors as Murray did and will come through in 2.

Dominica Cibulkova vs. Na Li: It

Alive and Kicking

Roger kisses his wife Mirka on Mothers Day after his title run.

Roger Federer and Serena Williams show their greatness in winning Madrid


By Matt Cronin

The two greatest players of their generations, Roger Federer and Serena Williams, once again showed that why they have been able to combine for 29 Grand Slams singles title: when in good head spaces, they are resilient and able to adapt to any condition.

On Sunday, Federer took an impressive 3-6 7-5 7-5 victory over Czech Tomas Berdych, his 74th crown overall and 20th Masters titles. Serena took her seventh victory in eight tries over world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka , this one a 6-1 6-3 destruction, a clear sign that if she stays healthy that now No. 6 Williams seem destined to retake No. 1 sometime during the grasscourt season, or maybe even sooner.

Federer also grabbed the the No. 2 ranking from Rafael Nadal, who was one of the slippery blue surface’s most strident critics.

“Look, it’s been a tough tournament and tough to move but you just go on with it and try to make the best out of it,” said 30-year-old. “There was some good tennis and there was some bad tennis as well, you see that in all the tournaments, but I thought the level of play under the circumstances was very good.”

The court was super fast and did not play at all like clay, well maybe bad and dry clay, so it was a great opportunity for Federer, who is lethal in quick exchanges. He served accurately, went for his returns (even showing off a fine backhand down the line) crowded the Czech when he could and withstood his big groundless. The contest was very close and Berdych, who has showed a lot of maturation over the past three years, displayed a good amount of fight and ability, but he was lacking the confidence that Federer usually shows on the bog points.

The final statistics show the quality of the contest, with Federer hitting 44 winners to Berdych 42 and the Czech making 27 unforced errors to Federer’s 30.

“It was just about a few points and I think Roger’s experience won through today,” Berdych said “One thing I am sad that I was not able to beat him but the other one is that losing to him is something special. He just showed what a great champion he is that playing in the conditions that were here he was able to win the title.”

Serena simply lit up Azarenka, a power player who only managed six winners in the match, less than hlaf of Serena’s 14-ace total. She started slow and finished slow, didn

Bashers line up in Madrid finals

After her win over Radwanska, Azarenka showed off her 'blue' shoes in an FB post.

While much of the rest of the field slipped and slided their way out of Madrid, four players who can bang the ball on the super fast so-called clay court have reached the final.

Roger Federer, who has proved he can play on anything, anytime, anywhere, smoked Janko Tipsarevic 6-2 6-3 to set up a showdown with Tomas Berdych, who has had very consistent year and won a high quality contest over Juan Martin del Potro 7-6 7-6.

On the WTA side, the tennis world will get the match its been looking for since Victoria Azarenka won the Aussie Open and became No. 1 when she’ll will face 13-time Slam champ Serena Williams.

Federer holds a 10-4 edge over Berdych, but the Czech, who likes the high bounces on clay, did upset the Swiss ay 1010 Wimbledon. However, Berdych knocked him out of Wimbledon in the quarterfinals two years ago. Federer has won both their matches on clay, but they haven

Going to where they’ve never gone before

Aga won back to back Premier titles for the first time.

So now Agnieszka Radwanska has gone where she never gone before

Three fine finals ahead

Murray: so close yet so far

TOKYO: Rafa Nadal vs. Andy Murray

Welcome to version 18 of what could be a great rivalry but one that has somewhat fizzled as Nadal has beaten Murray all four times they’ve played this year. Even thought the Scot plays him tough, Nadal is more consistent and authoritative than he is from the backcourt and unlike some other elite players, Murray cannot totally exploit Nadal’s backhand with his weaker forehand. Murray is 4-13 against the Spaniard entering this match and while he did look good in dispatching David Ferrer 6-2 6-3, Nadal also looked good in out muscling Mardy Fish 7-5 6-1. Murray needs this win more than defending champ Nadal does, but Rafa is looking for a confidence booster after his difficult loss to Novak Djokovic in the US Open final, so he is sure to charge hard. Murray has a much better chance here than he does at the Slams because it’s a two out of three set match and there is less pressure attached to the event.

BEIJING: Tomas Berdych vs. Marin Cilic

With Berdych talking out Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4 4-6 6-1 in the semis, the eight spots for the ATP World Finals are getting close to being sewn up. While there are still big events to be played in Shanghai, Basel, Stockholm, Vienna and Bercy, Berdych, Tsonga and Tokyo semifinalists Mardy Fish and David Ferrer all made progress this week. Nicolas Almagro, who is No. 9 in the race, isn’t a very good fast court player, No. 10 Robin Soldering is ill and No. 11 Giles Simon does not like super fast courts either. No. 12 Juan Martin Del Potro has an outside shot, but he will get a zero pointer in his ranking for not playing Shanghai next week and all aforementioned four will play there. DelPo will have to do major damage to grab the last spot.

Berdych has proven himself to be en excellent fast court player when he is motivated and the same goes with Cilic when he’s feeling confident, which has been rare this year. This a huge chance for the young Croat to make himself relevant again but he will have to serve and return very well to pull off the upset.

BEIJING: Andrea Petkovic vs. Agnieszka Radwanska

While it may not always be the case, the last two weeks have shown that those players on the buddle of qualifying for the year-end WTA Championships in Istanbul are super motivated. That Radwanska and Petkovic made it to the final proves how important being members of the 2011 final eight club is, as both came into the week chasing Marion Bartoli for the eight and final spot. By reaching the final, both appear to have already passed Bartoli and it looks like if Radwanska wins the title, she’ll also pass No. 7 Samantha Stosur.

Radwanska won Tokyo last week and is looking to pull off a career first by winning back-to-back Premier titles. Petkovic has never won a Premier title, but has been very solid most of the year, reaching three Slam quarters. Radwanska is the more talented of the two, having beaten Petkovic twice this summer, ironically in back to back Premier tournaments in San Diego and Toronto in August. She is not as physically strong as the German is, but has more variety and confuses her with her change of pace. Petkovic has to bring something different to the table this time.