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)

neon matchables

Attention to detail. We had to tell this ball girl yesterday that we just loved her nails. Loved! While lots of the bright colors at this year’s USO are coming from full-fledged kits — particularly adidas — if you look closely, this gal took subtle brightness to another level, using neon yellow on her fingernails to go along with her Polo Ralph Lauren top. We dig it.

Neon-plosion. In fact, it’s actually very hard to tell just how bright a lot of these clothing items actually are. Rafael Nadal’s Nike is blindingly yellow, though both TV and still cameras dumb it down a little. The same goes for the tones of bright reds, pinks and oranges that adidas is experimenting with. Below: David Nalbandian.

As Nick noted in a tweet yesterday, Wilson is doing the same thing, though they are going more of the Nike route (accents) than adidas (full color blocking/in-your-face patterns).

Which do you prefer? Below, a good shot of the adidas kit that Sania Mirza had on today — similar to the bright number that Christina McHale rocked yesterday — both on the new Court 17.

And don’t forget that this all comes back to PRL, too. Their ball persons are in the same fashion game as the players. Anyone noticing a trend?!

(top image by TSF; others by getty images)

pimp it like pico

For TSF readers in Miami, a little tip: if you’re into the clothes of Etiqueta Negra — a favorite of both Juan Monaco and David Nalbandian — it’ll pay to visit their outpost at the Aventura Mall in the near future. UrbanDaddy’s letting folks leverage $50 into $100’s worth of clothes from the Argentina-based label, putting you that much closer to picking up Pico’s style. Us non-Floridians can browse the full-priced goods at the company’s site.

Act soon: The offer’s good until Wednesday next week. More info here.

(screengrab via etiquetanegra.us)

flashback: yonex at the 2010 us open

Elena Dementieva was the 12th seed at the 2010 US Open and made it to the fourth round before falling to Sam Stosur in a third-set tiebreak. Elena’s still rusty after that calf injury that kept her out of commission for two months.

She and fellow Yonex-er (and fellow Elena) Elena Baltacha wore the company’s New York Dress, with gold piping across the upper chest, a wrap skirt, and an embossed plaid design on the fabric (loves!).

And Baltacha lost in the second round to 27th seed Petra Kvitova 6-7 (5), 3-6.

Buy: Yonex Women’s 2010 New York Dress, Red/White/Gold and Black/White/Gold, $69, TW.

On the men’s side, Lleyton Hewitt nabbed the last seeded spot but fell in the first round to Paul-Henri Mathieu 3-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 1-6. And David Nalbandian, as the 31st seed, made it to the third round before falling to Verdasco 2-6, 6-3, 3-6, 2-6. Both Hewitt and Nalbandian wore the same kit.

(Dementieva and Baltacha photos by TSF; Hewitt image via Getty Images)

davis cup: nalbandian moves argentina into the semis

Two clutch performances by David Nalbandian at this past weekend’s Davis Cup World Group quarterfinals in Moscow moves Argentina into the next round. Even though he’s been sidelined by injury for the past few months, the former World No. 3 won the opening singles rubber (vs. Davydenko) and the decisive fifth rubber (upsetting the unflappable Mikhail Youzhny), both of which contributed to their 3-2 victory against the Russians. (Read up: Tie Details)

Top clothing marks go to Leonardo Mayer in Lotto. Everyone else came predictably dressed (Eduardo Schwank in Topper‘s standard issue; Nalbandian in Yonex; Davydenko — with costume changes — in Dunlop; Kunitsyn and Youzhny in Fila and adidas whites, respectively).

Click on the pics below to see more.

(images via Getty Images)

nalbandian pushes rafa with five match points

Rafa Nadal had to work for his place in the quartefinals of the BNP Paribas Open. The top seed fended off the always dangerous David Nalbandian, who now has a 2-1 record against the Spaniard (with two wins in 2007 — Madrid and Paris).

Another kit: Nadal and Nike came up with another variation of his Bold Crew Men’s Tee, this time in white/neon turquoise/charcoal.

Scoreline: Nadal saved five match points (four on his own serve, one on Nalbandian’s) to take the second set to a tiebreaker. The third set did not start until 1:30 a.m. The final score: 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-0. After this test, Rafa will face Juan Martin del Potro in the quarters. Del Potro beat John Isner 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3) in the battle of the beasts.

Buy: Nike Bold Crew Tee, $45; Re-Invent Shorts, $55.

(images via Getty Images)

tattoo watch: daniel koellerer

Austrian tennis player Daniel Koellerer upset top seed David Nalbandian 1-6 6-3 6-4 in the first round of the Acapulco tournament.

BTW, the Mexican version of ESPN The Magazine put Venus Williams on its February cover (in anticipation of the tournament, which she won). The mag also included an article on Nalbandian, plus a decent layman’s write-up about the event’s “ATP 500″ designation, and how that fits into the rest of the ATP scheme.

(photo by Getty Images)

only a frenchman…

Michael-Llodra-Sydney09

Just when you thought that Michael Llodra‘s all-grey Lacoste kit was a little too Dead Man Walking, he turns it into a Cabaret with one simple move.

(Not that we didn’t expect it; the Australian summer is his time of year to show some skin.)

Scoreline: Llodra lost to David Nalbandian 6-1, 6-3 in the second round of the Sydney International.

trophy watch: giant balls, david’s peak, jelena’s hat trick, and changing the russian guard

Another Philipp to watch: Sorry, Herr Kohlschreiber — you’ll have to save some space at the table for qualifier Philipp Petzschner, who nabbed his second career ATP title at the Bank Austria-TennisTrophy when he beat beat Gael Monfils 6-4, 6-4 after taking out Wawrinka, Moya, and Lopez in earlier rounds.

In Stockholm, David Nalbandian performed as expected, winning his second title of the year with a 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 victory over Robin Soderling. He’ll head into this week’s Mutua Madrilena Masters as the defending champion.

Marat Safin failed to convert his finals appearance in the 2008 Kremlin Cup into a title (this would have been his first since the ’05 Australian). Meanwhile, props to Igor Kunitsyn and his 7-6 (6), 6-7 (4), 6-3 victory over his veteran countryman for his maiden title. He even prepared a speech that congratulated Marat!

Hot potato: The top players of the SEWTA continue to keep us fans on our toes, making sure that whoever holds the No. 1 ranking isn’t the last woman standing at a tournament. In this week’s episode of “The Consistency Caper”, second-ranked Jelena Jankovic downs Vera Zvonareva 6-2, 6-4 for her fourth title of 2008. Meanwhile, top-ranked Serena is MIA. BTW, this is the third meeting in as many weeks between Jelena and Vera.

(Note: Apparently — see first comment below — this is no longer the case. TSF apologizes for the error. Congrats to victor Jelena, who now has all the spoils.)

It’s in the bag: The flip-flops of Roger Federer (first, he’s out “indefinintely”, next, he’s back on the schedule a week later…) played second fiddle to Rafa Nadal, who received a trophy from the ATP this week in recognition of his No.1 ranking. He’ll pretty much end the year in the top spot barring any missteps.