Tenaciously Tennis

Roddick Returns After Mono Scare

Any Roddick returned to the tour after a scare of mononucleosis, the same disease that wracked Roger Federer’s system in 2008. Roddick, entered in Cincinnati, punctuated his comeback with a 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-1 win over Sergiy Stakhovsky. He looked poised to win in straight sets after leading 5-2 in the tiebreak when things started to fall apart. Roddick threw his racket, let off the steam, and never looked back. He steamrolled in the final set, playing what he considers some of his best tennis of the season.

After the match, he said, “I don’t feel perfect, but good enough. That third set was actually a blessing in disguise. That’s the best I’ve played in months.” That’s a great sign going into the next round, although I don’t think he’s ready to take on the big guns in the tournament, such as Federer, Rafael Nadal, or Andy Murray.

Here are other things to think about on the WTA and ATP tours:

  • Federer doesn’t have Paul Annacone with him at the tournament. Is something wrong already? Was it only a short-term gig? Or is Federer a little annoyed that lost to a coach-less Murray at the Rogers Cup? None of the above, apparently.
  • Murray’s definitely not getting a new coach until after the US Open. Good choice.
  • Venus Williams committed to playing the US Open. Now, how about Serena?
  • How will Ana Ivanovic and Maria Sharapova fare after getting injured at Cincinnati?
  • Jelena Jankovic continues to be a big question mark, losing in the first round to Iveta Benesova, while Svetlana Kuznetsova rebounded after a tough loss to Sharapova last week. She beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, a semifinalist at Cincy, in three sets. What’s next for Jankovic? Is she going down, Ivanovic-style? Or, will she be another Elena Dementieva? She’s had her chances to win a major, defaulting, being dramatic, or injured every time.
  • James Blake, a former top ten American, will receive a wild card into the US Open. Is it worth it?

Budapest Finalists Szavay and Schnyder Post Wins

Straight off Sunday’s final at the Budapest Grand Prix, Agnes Szavay and Patty Schnyder — both Budapest finalists in 2009, too — continue to advance on clay . At the ECM Prague Open, Szavay won against Liana Ungur 6-4, 6-3, while Schnyder overcame a tough test from wild card and the 215th player in the world Zarina Diyas, 6 – 7 (2), 6-4, 6-1.

With the wins, Szavay — the seventh seed — next meets with Iveta Benesova, who faced a tough three set test from the qualifier Mervana Jugic-Salkic. Given Benesova’s long match and their career head-to-head — which Szavay leads 1-0 with a 2008 clay win over the Czech — I see another comfortable win for the Hungarian.

As for Schnyder, she’ll next face France’s Alize Cornet, who edged Tamira Paszek 7-6 (4), 6-7 (3), 6-4. I see the veteran dispatching the 20-year old Cornet in straight sets. Schnyder’s clay court game is simply superior, and she shouldn’t have any trouble closing out the match.

In future rounds, Szavay’s first potential seeded opponent wouldn’t be the semifinals, where she could meet Anabel Medina Garrigues, the fifth seed. Schnyder, who’s in an open section of the draw, could potentially meet the top seed, Lucie Safarova, in the semifinals. Schnyder’s faced Safarova three times in her career. She’s beat Safarova two-of-three times, including the last win at the 2009 US Open.

Although it might be too early to call the finalists for the tournament, Szavay and Schnyder have clear draws to the semifinals. It’d be great to see their momentum continue to see another final round match-up.

For the full draw, click here.

Day Three Results Rundown

Day three proved to be filled with upsets and sharp play from the top tier of the current tennis all-stars. Here’s a brief summary of noteworthy results.

The WTA:

  • Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, and Maria Sharapova all record easy victories in their first round matches.
  • Agnieszka Radwanska and Victoria Azarenka advance with their 6-3, 6-3 wins. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova only needs one more again to beat Iveta Benesova.
  • French Open finalist Sam Stosur joins Francesca Schiavone in defeat after straight sets loss to Kaia Kanepi.
  • Na Li and Jie Zheng make it to round two in straight sets.
  • Petra Kvitova, a player I have my eye on, takes out Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-2.
  • American Vania King set to play decisive match against Daniela Hantuchova tomorrow.
  • Serena and Venus Williams team up to continue their doubles major title string up success. They’re shooting for five in a row.

The ATP:

  • Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Sam Querrey, and Robin Soderling advance in three sets.
  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga comes back strong in first match after retiring at the French Open.
  • Seeds Nicholas Almagro, Juan Carlos Ferrero, and Marcos Baghdatis fall, while unseeded American James Blake continues to struggle. Fabio Fognini upset Fernando Verdasco, too.
  • John Isner’s match is held at two sets apiece against Nicholas Mahut.

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