trophy watch: llodra keeps his clothes on, venus makes her case, roddick hits back, etc.

Robredo rolls: Spaniard Tommy Robredo has been slowly compiling a successful 2009 (he’s 15-3 in match wins so far), adding to last week’s Brasil Open title a trophy from the Copa Telmex in Buenos Aires. As a part of a nine-match winning streak, Tommy took out 2007 champ Juan Monaco 7-5, 2-6, 7-6 (5).

Roddick’s revenge: Early bird got The Worm this week when Andy exacted revenge on Radek Stepanek‘s title win over the American at last week’s SAP Open. This time around, at the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships, the top seed only needed two sets to take out Stepanek: 7-5, 7-5.

As you may have heard, Roddick is skipping this the ATP Dubai stop in support of Shahar Peer. Good for him.

Teenage triumph: And on the women’s side of this combined tournament, Belarusian Victoria Azarenka upset top seed Caroline Wozniacki in the finals of Memphis 6-1, 6-3. This is Victoria’s second title of the year (and of her career). She was merely playing catch-up to Wozniacki, whose breakout 2008 produced three titles.

Venus and Virginie: Speaking of Dubai, a gracious (and henna-free) Venus Williams addressed Shahar’s situation during her trophy ceremony after beating Virginie Razzano 6-4, 6-2.

“I am not here to rock any boat or upset people, I am just here to do things that are right,” Williams said. “And I think right things are already happening next week and right things will happen next year.”

Props to Virginie and Asics for maxing out her airtime. They had her in another colorway of her separates, this one in black with pink trim.

French fracas: We’re a little sad that the French smorgasbord in Marseille has come to an end (Arnaud Clement, Youzhny, Tursunov, Dimitrov, Vliegen, Seppi, Safin, Chardy, Bolelli), and even sadder that Jo-Wilfried Tsonga denied us a post-win striptease from runner-up Michael Llodra. But thumbs-up to Tsonga for bagging his second title of the year.

Maria’s maiden title: In Bogota, Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez beat Gisela Dulko 6-2 6-3 for her first SEWTA title at the Copa Colsanitas tournament.

(images via Getty Images)

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>>archives: trophy watch

tattoo watch: venus stays noncommittal in dubai

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Venus Williams applied an elaborate henna tatto for this week’s Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships party. It’s not the first time Venus has flirted with tattoos — remember the disappearing act of 2007?

Scoreline: As she had wished before the beginning of this tournament, Venus will get to play against sister Serena in the Dubai semis. Venus took out Elena Dementieva 6-3, 6-3 while top-seeded Serena had no problem overcoming the go-for-broke strategy employed by Ana Ivanovic (Serena won 4 and 4).

Browse: See the rest of our tattoo watch blotter here.

(image via Getty Images)

razzano upsets zvonareva

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Virginie Razzano reaches her second semi of 2009 by upsetting fifth seed Vera Zvonareva 7-6 (7), 7-5 at the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships.

Props to the normally utilitarian Asics for spicing up Virginie’s skort with some pleating.

Scoreline: Up next for the frenchwoman is JJ-killer Kaia Kanepi, who beat qualifier Elena Vesnina in another quarter in their half of the draw. The winner will face a Williams sister in the final.

(image via Getty Images)

fashion focus: checking in on li ning

That hazmat orange on Jelena Jankovic‘s dress spilled over from Ivan Ljubicic‘s kit from Li Ning. The former top-fiver has had a slow 2009 so far, losing in the second round of the Australian Open (to Tsonga) and in the first rounds of Zagreb, Rotterdam, and Marseille.

We love the Guga-esque orange/blue/gold colorway of his kit. The pictures above, from Zagreb, show the gold piping on his shirt and the scale texture on the side panels.

And in Marseille, where he lost to Feliciano Lopez, we get a peek at his blue warmup top.

On the women’s side, Li Ning works with Zi Yan, who lost to Vera Dushevina in the first round at Dubai.

(Zagreb images via MTF; images via Getty Images)

kanepi peels jankovic

Kaia Kanepi, wearing Australian by L’Alpina, claimed her first top-five scalp by taking out Jelena Jankovic 6-2, 7-5 in the third round of the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships; she’ll next face Elena Vesnina, who beat Dominika Cibulkova 4-6, 6-1, 4-0 after the Slovakian retired because of the heat.

Jankovic attributed her loss to a bad performance. “This was the worst match of my career. It was a horrible day. I kept framing the ball, kept making unforced errors and could not put two balls together on the court. I didn’t move properly, and I didn’t see the ball properly,” she said.

“[Kanepi] didn’t have to do too much. Basically, I beat myself. I don’t know what happened out there. I am ashamed of this performance.”

Aww. What about some praise for your Estonian opponent?

For this tourney, Jelena and ANTA switched back to their first dress silhouette, switching up the color from green to orange. And finally we got a look at her warmup jacket, with a pleated front and ruched cuffs. Does anyone have details on that red and white tote? Doesn’t look like her Bally bag to me…

Bonus round: Kanepi’s official website.

(images via Getty Images)

we’ve come a long way, but there’s a lot left to do

Le sigh. Why is this still happening in 2009?

I’m sure you’ve already heard about the madness going on in Dubai: Shahar Peer was denied a visa to enter the United Arab Emirates even though SEWTA head Larry Scott had discussed with the tournament — essentially run by the government — that any player who qualifies to play must be able to do so.

The 45th-ranked Peer did qualify, and was already set to play a first-round match against Anna Chakvetadze. After this last-minute development, lucky loser Ayumi Morita replaced her in the draw.

While there was no exact reason from the government about the visa denial, organizers cited anti-Israeli public opinion in light of the Gaza conflict, the risk of a spectator boycott, and a potential threat to the well-being of a player.

Wall Street Journal Europe, a sponsor of the event, pulled out of its sponsorship obligations. Title sponsor Barclays, though, is sticking to their guns and backing the decision to keep Peer out of the event.

Stateside, Tennis Channel has dropped its coverage of the tournament. Here’s the statement from CEO and Chairman Ken Solomon:

Tennis Channel regrets to inform our viewers and tennis fans that we are canceling our upcoming coverage of the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships in Dubai, U.A.E, originally scheduled for this weekend. Unfortunately the event will exclude a single player who has been blocked from entering the country due to her nationality. This is despite her having qualified for the competition via her on-court performance and current ranking.

“Tennis Channel recognizes that this exclusion has been made by state authorities and neither the tour nor tournament directors themselves. However we also honor the role and proud tradition that tennis has always played as a driving force for inclusion both on and off the courts. Preventing an otherwise qualified athlete from competing on the basis of anything other than merit has no place in tennis or any other sport, and has the unfortunate result of undermining the credibility of the very nature of competition itself.”

Meanwhile, other SEWTA players are siding with Shahar even as they play the tournament (Venus Williams, Amelie Mauresmo). I’m not sure that the solution would have been to boycott the event completely since we don’t know why Shahar was denied a visa. But if it comes to light that the government is simply being intolerant, then the WTA and its players must be sure to skip Dubai next year.

We had such high hopes, especially since Peer got to play in Doha last year. TSF hopes that Dubai makes the right move and allows Israeli player Andy Ram to play in the ATP’s Dubai stop next week.

k-swiss makes tommy haas a bamboo shirt

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It seems that K-Swiss and Limited Sports get to share the hunky walking billboard that is Tommy Haas.

The German company’s monogrammed hat and wristbands are hanging around (we thought they were lost forever!) while K-Swiss outfits Tommy with the Bamboo Side Print Crew. Yep, it’s a shirt that’s 66% bamboo. Apparently, the plant’s fibers have good moisture-wicking and antibacterial qualities.

Scoreline: Haas lost to David Ferrer 6-3, 6-0 in the first round of the Dubai tournament.

Buy: K-Swiss Bamboo Shirt, $36.99.

(photos by Getty Images)

a trimmed andy murray overcomes roger federer

Andy Murray has finally emerged from the brink of injury — the one that caused a family feud — with a convincing win over Roger Federer in the first round of the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships. He grinded his way to a 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-4 win, using a playing style that Roger criticized. Is Roger offering advice or is he being a sore loser?

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Samson in reverse:
I’m all for letting men grow out their hair, but I am relieved that Andy’s finally cut down a little bit of that mop. He should buzz it all of for the summer swing.

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A black bag: Here’s a new, more muted Nike duffel for the World No. 1. And in case you’re keeping track: Federer has yet to win a title this year. And he’s unsure about participating in the Olympics. But wasn’t Beijing his excuse for not playing Davis Cup? Hmmm