Trophy Watch: the tennis year begins

With Roger Federer‘s first title of the season at this year’s Estoril Open, “the tennis season has finally begun,” says a hitting partner of mine. Even though this clay win was handed to him after Nikolay Davydenko retired with a leg injury, I’m sure this will feed his confidence as he warms up for Roland Garros.

Roger was up a set before Kolya pulled out at 7-6 (5), 1-2.

The Estoril Open trophy is still one of the best on the tour.

Maria Kirilenko gets shortchanged with a bland crystal cup after she bags her third career title at the Estoril women’s event. The gorgeous Russian, clad in adidas by Stella McCartney, took out the Czech Republic’s Iveta Benesova 6-4, 6-2.

Serena Williams caps her great week at the Family Circle Cup (she blew Masha out of the water in the third set of their quarterfinal match) with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory over Vera Zvonareva,

This week’s Kevin Anderson (or is it Kei Nishikori?), the barceloneo Marcel Granollers-Pujol, downed James Blake 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 at the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships in Houston.

Finally, David Ferrer wins the Open de Tenis Comunidad Valenciana. He outlasted two-time defending champion Nicolas Almagro 4-6, 6-2, 7-6.

(photos by Getty Images; Ferrer photo via OTCV)

The Spanish kids are alright

As expected (and more so now that Madrid is a main sponsor of Davis Cup), the Spaniards showed up for their quarterfinal tie last week dressed to kill. And that they did, brushing aside the Germans for a 4-1 victory. Kudos to Nike, Joma, adidas, and Lotto for all working together to make the Spanish team look like, well, a team.

Rafa Nadal in Nike.

David Ferrer wears Lotto.

The doubles team of Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco came out in Joma and adidas, respectively.

More: Two more of Rafa below…

(photos by AP)

Tag Heuer hosts Maria’s 21st birthday

With the first 2008 clay monkey off her back, Maria Sharapova heads to New York for a belated 21st birthday celebration on Tuesday. While she’s in the Big Apple, she’ll stop by the Late Show with David Letterman. Perhaps she’ll get David to rally with her?

Watch: Late Show with David Letterman, Monday, April 19, 11:35 p.m.

FYI: Her birthday is April 19.

David Ferrer in Lotto blue

Spaniard David Ferrer plays at this week’s Open de Tenis Comunidad Valenciana wearing pieces from Lotto‘s refreshing aqua-colored Spring 2008 Effect line. Notice the assymetrical geometric scribble that seems to be all the rage these days.

Buy: Lotto Effect Crew, $42.99; Effect Shorts, $29.99; Effect Polo, $49.99.

(photos via OTCV gallery)