trophy watch: roger retreats to routine while rafa rolls on with record

The Queen’s Cup

Rafael Nadal continues to make his case for winning this year’s Wimbledon title with a 7-6 (6), 7-5 victory over Novak Djokovic at The Artois Championships in London. Rafa, who took home $133,000, is the first Spaniard to win a grass court title in 35 years (bookending Andres Gimeno‘s 1972 Eastbourne feat).

Does Rafa already have a toothpaste endorsement deal? It could be very lucrative…

Meanwhile, Roger Federer scurried back to the teat of the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany, where he tried to erase last week’s French Open drubbing with his fifth title at this smaller grass event. He beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-4. He didn’t drop a set in five matches, helping extend his record to 25-0 at this event (and to 59 straight wins on grass dating back to 2002).

Looking forward: Roger will seek his sixth straight Wimbledon title this coming week.

Top seed Nikolay Davydenko chips away some more of that (unfounded) match-fixing notoriety with another title, this time at the Orange Prokom Open in Warsaw. He has racked up three titles so far in 2008, tying Nole and trailing only Rafa’s five. Kolya beat second seed Tommy Robredo 6-3, 6-3. Great track jacket from Airness!

Kateryna Bondarenko switched to a more even K-Swiss outfit for the DFS Classic final. Kateryna overcame Yanina Wickmayer 7-6 (7), 3-6, 7-6 (4).

In this week’s only clay contest, Maria Kirilenko made quick work of Maria Martinez Sanchez (6-0, 6-2) in the Barcelona Open. Maria turned this around with a first-round exit at Eastbourne this week.

(photos by Getty Images)

even without sound…

I’m slumming it these days — I have a laptop with a broken hinge (read: the screen can’t stay up on its own) and no sound card (YouTube just isn’t the same…) — yet I’ve managed to enjoy Janko Tipsarevic‘s vlog at The Artois Championships at the Queen’s Club in London.

The Serbian shows off his bedhead while getting some physical therapy done for his forearm.

And he tries to book a practice court in this video. What is it with tennis players and cartoon tees? (Of course a heady man like Janko would enjoy Family Guy. I love him even more!)

Scoreline: He lost to compatriot and eventual finalist Nole Djokovic in the third round — 2-6, 6-1, 6-4.

(screenshots from atptennis.com)

trophy watch: on grass, do as they always do

Tradition and history trump innovation and design for this week’s trophies (we’re playing on grass, after all).

Absent were the green trees, sailboats, and eagles. Instead, Halle, Birmingham (England), and Queen’s Club all doled out some mighty fine chalices. Simple. Classic.

At the DFS Classic, Jelena Jankovic defeated Maria Sharapova in three sets (4-6, 6-3, 7-5) and gets the gravy boat.

And Andy Roddick also needed to go three sets to beat Frenchman Nicolas Mahut 4-6, 7-6 (9), 7-6 (2) at the Artois Championships. How many kegs can he dump into that?

In Halle, Tomas Berdych won against Marcos Baghdatis 7-5, 6-4. Berdych one-ups his loss in last year’s final against Roger Federer. The youngster’s prize comes with a lid to prevent spills.

The Barcelona KIA tournament — backed by Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario and won by journeywoman Meghan Shaughnessy — followed what the grass tourneys did even though it was contested on red clay.

djokovic does sharapova

If Nole spent less time hamming it up on the court, perhaps he would’ve gone deeper into The Artois this past week.

But hey we only live once. Here he is doing a HILARIOUS impersonation of Rafa Nadal, and Masha after that.

(via Operation Doubles)

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god save the queen’s club!

The grass season hasn’t even started yet it’s already falling apart. American hope Andy Roddick crashed out of the first round of doubles at the Surbiton Trophy (a Challenger event). The top-ranked American, frustrated with his play as of late, skipped out on the post-match press conference after the loss. Glad to see hotlantan Robby Ginepri is back in action, though.

Meanwhile, the British will have to wait at least until 2008 for a countryman to win Wimbledon. Andy Murray, still recovering from a wrist injury, pulled out of the Artois Championships at Queen’s Club. He likely won’t recover in time to play the grass season at all.

Also, a German daily reports that Tommy Haas won’t recover from shoulder injury in time to play Halle or Wimbledon. Le sigh. (via OTB)

But we should still give props to the folks at the Artois, who have done all they can to create hype and grow the tournament’s brand. They dropped “Stella” from the name to widen their scope, and they started a well-produced podcast, now eight episodes old, which is much easier to digest than all the video that’s been floating around online in the last few months.

Still, if they’re feeling down about all this bad news, they can go drown their sorrows at The Queens Arms, this chic new restaurant that’s opened nearby.

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