Tenaciously Tennis

Headline Round-Up: Fish, Zvonareva, and Safina Win

After some exceptional American success last week, a string of big headlines are signaling the start of another busy seven days on the ATP and WTA tours. Here’s a round-up of the current events around the sport this week.

  • Mardy Fish continues his winning streak, notching match number 11 over Viktor Troicki. The American has swept the field since a second round loss at Wimbledon. He won two titles in Newport and Atlanta and looks primed to continue his success after dropping 30 pounds.
  • Wimbledon finalist Vera Zvonareva beat Dominika Cibulkova in a tough 6-0, 3-6, 6-4 to get her first win since losing to Serena Williams. Zvonareva seems to have recovered from the mysterious ankle injury that forced her to retire from the Bank of the West Classic last week.
  • Dinara Safina’s free-fall in the rankings and with her form finally picked up a little after she won a match — her first win in seven tries. The former world number one and three-time major finalist beat Alyona Bondarenko 6-1, 7-6 (2) in San Diego.
  • Serena Williams and John Isner are set to take part in the Hopman Cup, an international tournament that serves as a warm-up for the Australian Open. As an Associated Press article writes, “Williams and Isner will join the Serbian pair of Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic, Belgium’s Justine Henin, Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt and France’s Gael Monfils in the mixed teams tournament which runs Jan. 1-8.” Time will tell if the big-name players keep their commitments to this progressive event.
  • James Blake continues his poor form, this time losing to the qualifier Ryan Sweeting 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Blake is now ranked 105th. At the same event, David Nalbandian is back after a hamstring injury, winning over Rajeev Ram 6-4, 6-0.
  • Speaking of players recovering from injury, US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro is back on the courts. Although he probably won’t make it back in time to defend his title, or at least be a threat to win the event, it’s good to see he’s back. Click here to see the picture he posted on his Twitter account, apparently proving his return.
  • Back for more: Ivan Lendl will debut on the ATP Champions seniors’ tour in Paris this October.
  • Ones to watch, maybe: 22-year old Alexandra Mueller, ranked 447th, received a wild card into the US Open qualifying after defeating Alina Jidkova in the USTA playoffs. She handily beat Jidkova 6-0, 6-3. The last time Mueller played at the qualifying, she was 16. Jelena Dokic also made news for winning her second straight title on the ITF tour.

Top Seeds Roddick, Davydenko, Jankovic and Petkovic Struggle

The top seeds at their respective tournaments, Andy Roddick, Nikolai Davydenko, Jelena Jankovic, and Andrea Petkovic all struggled in early rounds. Three lost their matches, while one survived.

Roddick, the lone top seed to advance of the four, barely got past compatriot Rajeev Ram at the newly revived US Open Series event in Atlanta. Roddick — whose foundation will be building a tennis center in Texas — beat Ram 6-1, 6-7 (1), 6-3. After a disappointing Wimbledon, Roddick needs to do well to prove he’s still relevant going into this year’s US Open.

The next disappointing result belongs to Davydenko, whose year so far has been less than stellar due to injury. The Russian lost to the 79th ranked Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan 6-4, 6-4 at the Hamburg German Open. After making a run to the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, which ended with a roller-coaster loss to Roger Federer, Davydenko didn’t play at Roland Garros and made it to the second round at Wimbledon. I don’t see this being Davydenko’s summer to shine.

On the WTA tour, Jelena Jankovic pulled out of the Banka Koper Slovenia Open after struggling to a third set against qualifier Anastasiya Yakimova. Jankovic didn’t play the same after leading 6-1, 2-1 and twisting her ankle when attempting to get to a ball. This was her first match since retiring from the fourth round of Wimbledon with a back injury. Something’s going on with Jankovic, and I’m not sure what. Maybe it’s just more of the same old drama she’s been known for, maybe it’s being burnt out from all the play. Whatever the reason, she won’t be winning a Grand Slam title any time soon if she continues to sabotage her own potential.

Finally, Petkovic failed to advance at the Bad Gastein tournament after losing to Alize Cornet 6-2, 7-5. She won the event last year.

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