vika, ‘encouraged’ by serena, celebrates cincy with champers



Moet & Chandon Celebrates The 2013 Western & Southern Open

World No. 2 Victoria Azarenka added another chapter to her rivalry with Serena Williams when they faced off at the 2013 Western & Southern Open this past Sunday. Azarenka edged Serena 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (8-6) to increase her head-to-head against the 16-time Grand Slam champion to… 3-12. Azarenka can take comfort in that stat, though, with 2 of those 3 wins against Serena coming in matches played this year.

In their trophy ceremony, Azarenka was awarded a Jeroboam of Moët & Chandon Imperial, which she asked Serena if she should open. “I was encouraging her,” said Serena in the post-match conference, being careful to point out that it was Azarenka’s idea to spray the champagne on the court.

“She did [encourage],” Vika said. “She said, ‘yeah, you should pop it.’ I was like, I know, I want to, but I need to get more practice because I felt like I’m not directing it too well.” Seems like you did just fine, Vika!

Further Reading: More on the friendly rivalry between the top two ladies.

(Photo courtesy of Moet)

trophy watch: is it real ceramic, rafa?



2013 Western & Southern Open Trophy - Rookwood Cup - Cincinnati Rafael Nadal

Legit: Spaniard Rafael Nadal has made a habit of biting his trophies, and so this picture after he won the Center Court Rookwood Cup.

No. 26: Nadal bagged his 26th career Masters Series title — and fifth of the year — with his win over unseeded American John Isner in the final. The scoreline: 7-6(8), 7-6(3).

trophy watch: hello to rafa, goodbye to san jose, and the ladies switch it up



Juan Martin del Potro defeats Julien Benneteau in 2013 Rotterdam tennis event

ABN AMRO: Juan Martin del Potro was last man standing at the ABN AMRO WTT, the stacked ATP 500-series event in Rotterdam led by tournament director Richard Krajicek which saw Roger Federer ousted by finalist Julien Benneteau and had semifinal runs by Gilles Simon and Grigor Dimitrov. Delpo earned his 14th career title by downing Benneteau 7-6(2), 6-3.

Qatar Total Open 2013 trophies: Serena Williams vs. Victoria Azarenka

Vika wins two: The plot thickens in the battle at the top of the women’s game between Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams. At this past week’s Qatar Total Open, contested in Doha, Serena regained the No. 1 ranking but Azarenka notched her second career win over Williams (in 13 tries) and defended her Doha title. The scoreline: 7-6(6) 2-6, 6-3. Azarenka is taking the week off to heal a foot injury, while Serena is playing in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Serena praised Victoria for her work in the final:

“I always respect Victoria. I think she’s a really good player. Obviously she’s so consistent and she plays well. She’s such a solid player. It’s nice to always play someone and go home and you’re like, ‘Okay, I didn’t do great, but let me work harder.’ I think that she inspires a lot of people to work harder, and definitely me.”

2013 SAP Open - San Jose - Trophy - Milos Raonic defeats Tommy Haas

Bon voyage: The final edition of the 125-year-old SAP Open, held in San Jose, Calif., featured a three-peat for top seed, and two-time defending champ Milos Raonic. He defeated fourth seed Tommy Haas 6-4, 6-3. Raonic won all three titles without dropping a set.

Raonic, from Canada, wore a New Balance tee with a black-and-green print. ”Today, I’m more of a complete player,” he said after winning the title. “I was able to put pressure on [Haas] in most of his service games. I was able to hold quite handily, which I’ve shown I can do in the past. I was able to create pressure every game. It wasn’t just one game. I was getting to a lot of deuce games.”

Rafael Nadal wins the 2013 Brasil Open

Chippin’ off the old block: The story of Rafael Nadal has finally come full circle. After disappearing from the circuit for about eight months after losing to Lukas Rosol in the early rounds of Wimbledon 2012, the Spaniard took home the Brasil Open (Sao Paolo) title last week. The 6-2, 6-3 victory over David Nalbandian was Nadal’s first since beating Novak Djokovic in the final of the 2012 French Open.

It’s all about the titles: “It’s very nice and important because at the end of your career what’s left are the titles,” Rafa reflected after his win, “and depending on certain moments there are some titles that you appreciate very much. This one I appreciate it the most because of all the struggles I went through during the week, with some problems with my knee some days.”

(Photo Credit: Rotterdam photo via ABN AMRO WTT Facebook; Nadal photo via Brasil Open; San Jose photo via SAP Open website; Vika/Serena photo via Qatar Tennis Federation)

trophy watch: a bonus trophy for the ladies in doha



Nadia Petrova holds Diamond Ball trophy - Qatar Total Open 2013 -

A Girl’s Best Friend: The organizers of the Qatar Total Open 2013 in Doha are a bit more excited about this year’s draw, with the possibility of the Diamond Ball trophy being awarded at the end of the week. The secondary trophy can go to a player who wins the Qatar Total Open three times. Both Maria Sharapova and Nadia Petrova have each hoisted two Total Open trophies; Sharapova won Doha both in 2005 and 2008, while Petrova won Total Open titles in 2006 — in Doha and Berlin.

Trophy Watch: This isn’t the first time a special trophy’s been awarded to three-time winners. The Proximus Diamond Games, held for most of the 00′s in Antwerp, handed out a bedazzled racquet to Amelie Mauresmo.

(RELATED: TSF’s Trophy Watch archives)

Doha: Save for a few early dropouts in Kirilenko and Sloane Stephens — and breakthroughs in Barthel (over Kerber) and  McHale (over Safarova), it’s biz as usual. Results, draws, and orders of play available at the Qatar Total Open website.

(Photo Credit: Qatar Total Open)

trophy watch: open sud de france, pbz zagreb indoors, vtr open



This past week week, the women and the men swapped spots for world team play; with the ladies competing in their first Fed Cup ties of the season and the men duking it out for titles at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors, the VTR Open in Vina del Mar, and at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier.

Marin Cilic - PBZ Zagreb Indoors 2013

Top seed and local Marin Cilic won his third PBZ Zagreb Indoors title after defeating Jurgen Melzer 6-3, 6-1 in the final. Cilic also won this title in 2009 and 2010. Melzer is looking for an uptick on his win-loss record for 2013 so far, which has seen upsets to lower-ranked players and upsets against Tomas Berdych in Melbourne and Grigor Dimitrov in Brisbane.

Melzer, on his loss to Cilic:

“He was the better player today. I needed it to be close at 4-all, 5-all in the first set to give me confidence. That didn’t happen and he ran away with it. I felt like I was hitting the ball really well at the beginning, but he hit the ball even better. What made the difference in the first few games is that he had free points on serve, whereas I had to work for them: hit a winner or play well so he missed. He deserved the victory.”

More: Trophies from France (our pick of the week!) and Chile, plus the Fed Cup ties — after the cut…