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)

retail therapy: the sap open’s final merch tent



SAP Open - San Jose 2013 - Commemorative T-Shirt

Retail Therapy: There is only one way we know how to mourn the loss of a 124-year-old tennis event here in California, currently named the SAP Open and hosted at the HP Pavilion in San Jose: hitting up that merch tent. This navy varsity tee is the week’s best seller so far, but there are a few more offerings in the gallery below. Adult tees are $30-$35, children’s sizes at $25. None available for sale online, unfortunately, so snap it up on-site if you can!

(RELATED: TSF Picks from the 2013 Australian Open e-store)

Draw: No. 1 seed and two-time defending champion Milos Raonic plays veteran Michael Russell for a spot in the quarters. The rest of the top four – John IsnerSam Querrey, and Tommy Haas — are all still in the running. (Browse: Men’s Singles Draw) Also note that Saturday’s schedule includes a mixed doubles exhibition with Andy RoddickLindsay Davenport, and (ahem) Stefanie Graf before the evening’s singles semifinal match.

(Photo Credit: Nicholas McCarvel/TSF)

going home: rotterdam, sao paolo, doha, san jose



Brasil Open 2013 (Sao Paolo) website

Sao Paolo: My, what a big banner you have! That stuff poking out at the bottom of our screengrab — that’s the slider for their content, pretty much below the fold. Again, we get the point of showcasing your star attractions (including Rafael Nadal in his second tourney back!), but the rest of the event is also giving you newsworthy bits, including Ricardo Mello‘s retirement from professional tennis and, you know, actual matches. (Along with Rafa, the top four seeds are AlmagroMonaco, and Chardy.) Props: Their photo gallery is pretty varied, navigable, and has good pictures. Bonus: The tournament has a smartphone app (for Google, Windows, and iPhones).

ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament 2013 - Rotterdam

Rotterdam: This is how you tell your fans who’s showing up to a tournament. It might even be downplaying the event’s ATP Tour 500 level cache; along with Roger FedererJuan Martin del Potro, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, you have players like MonfilsDimitrovTomicKlizanJanowicz, and Davydenko — all of whom can produce some great matches this week. Feedback: could you keep the seeding/wildcard/qualifier notations in the draw sheets?

ABN AMRO homepage

The other thing to note about Rotterdam is how hard they push the business/hospitality end of their tournament. The event’s main page, www.abnamrowtt.com, gives much real estate to wooing sponsors and getting businesses to scoop up packages and suites for the tournament. We know these deals are what grease the wheels, but we’d prefer the solicitations for event sponsorship to get toned down the week of the tournament, if only to give their current clients a chance to enjoy their investment and letting the fans experience the tennis.

Qatar Total Open 2013 (WTA Tournament)

Doha (WTA): The Qatar Total Open 2013‘s pages live within the Qatar Tennis Federation website. Everything’s housed in the same place, but it probably couldn’t hurt to get a separate URL for the tournament. Fingers crossed: No action yet, but we’re hoping to see lots of images come through via Instagram.

SAP Open 2013 - San Jose tennis tournament

 

San Jose: Nothing much to note re: the final installment of this Bay Area ATP stop. The SAP Open website is pretty straightforward, and includes video content and a daily blog featuring different players entered in the tournament. (Monday’s blog entry was by Tim Smyczek.)

 

 

 

spotted: floating orbs at the sap open



arena decor at the HP Pavilion - SAP Open 2013

What a fitting way to bid adieu to tennis in the Bay Area! The folks at the SAP Open in San Jose have decked out the HP Pavilion in floating tennis balls to fill the space within the arena’s vaulted foyer — looks like tennis is just floating away into the ether. The event’ll be missed, for sure.

Action-packed: Tonight, the Bryans face off against fellow Americans Steve Johnson and Jack Sock in the first match of the evening. They’ll be followed by Fernando Verdasco vs. Tim Smyczek. More info available on the SAP Open website.

(Photo via @nickmccarvel/instagram)

trophy watch: acronym edition



SAP: At the SAP Open in San Jose, Fernando Verdasco beat a top-ten player for the first time in 15 tries with his 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 upset of Andy Roddick. Andy was none too happy about a few line calls that didn’t go his way.

GDF: Top seed Elena Dementieva needed three sets to overcome a nagging Lucie Safarova 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-4. This is Dementieva’s second title of 2010; she also won the Sydney tournament before the Australian Open.

PTT: Vera Zvonareva successfully defended her title at the PTT Pattaya Open title in Thailand by taking down hometown fave Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-4, 6-4.

ABN AMRO: Swede Robin Soderling was the last man standing in Rotterdam after Mikhail Youzhny retired while trailing 0-2 in the second set. Youzhny sustained the injury after he stunned top seed Novak Djokovic 7-6 (5), 7-6, (6). Soderling also upset a seed, Nikolay Davydenko, in the semis.

JCF: In Costa do Sauipe, the Joma-wearing Juan Carlos Ferrero steamrolled Lukasz Kubot 6-1, 6-0 at the Brasil Open for his 13th career title.

(images via Getty Images)