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…

going home: open sud de france, vtr open, pbz zagreb indoors

 PBZ Zagreb Indoors - 2013 tennis tournament website

PBZ Zagreb Indoors – Zagreb, Croatia

Going home: TSF’s screengrabs of tennis tournament homepages and websites.

Nothing of note to report from the sites of the three ATP events running this week (while the women take a break for Fed Cup play): the Open Sud de France (Montpellier, France) has a solid photo gallery and video section. We are dying to know what’s going on with this segment on tennis-themed art. Alas, it’s only in French, so we can’t take advantage; we suggest adding subtitles for next year’s videos.

The VTR Open (Vina del Mar, Chile) is pretty much letting Rafael Nadal‘s return to the ATP Tour do all the talking; the Chileans are keeping a straightforward web presence.

The PBZ Zagreb Indoors, with its genius square root logo, mixes it up with some bright colors and a fun, throwaway memory game based a tournament ad.

 

VTR Open - Vina del Mar, Chile - 2013 Tournament homepage

VTR Open – Vina del Mar, Chile

Open Sud de France website

Open Sud de France – Montpellier, France

tennis channel to air rafael nadal’s return

Tennis Channel will air Rafael Nadal's return to competitive play in 2013

Tennis Channel will air Rafael Nadal‘s first single match back after being sidelined for seven months due to various ailments. Nadal, who already won a doubles match with teammate Juan Monaco, will play in the main draw of the VTR Open in Vina del Mar, Chile, on Wednesday at 4pm ET. This marks the return of Nadal after a roller coaster absence involving knee injury and a stomach virus, among others.

With an unprecedented seven French Open championships to his name and the best clay-court record in the Open Era (254-19; .930), Nadal is considered by many to be the greatest player of all time on clay, the surface used at this week’s event in Vina del Mar. He will face the winner of Delbonis/Pella. (Browse: VTR Open Singles Draw)

Leif Shiras will call the match for Tennis Channel. Encore presentations of Nadal’s comeback will air Wednesday at 8pm ET and Thursday, Feb. 7, at 10pm ET. The network had already planned to carry the singles semifinals and championship in Vina del Mar this weekend prior to Nadal’s entry into the tournament. That schedule is as follows (all times live):

Saturday, Feb. 9
5pm – Semifinal #1
8:30pm – Semifinal #2

Sunday, Feb. 10
4pm – Championship

lefties and lanks rule the roost

The women took a week off to fight for the flags, but the men were vying for titles this past week.

Marin Cilic defended his title at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors with a 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3 win over Michael Berrer. After the match, Marin explained that second-set hiccup that went Berrer’s way.

“I was surprised with the level of [Berrer’s] game. It’s not that I underestimated him; it’s just that I did not expect this level of tennis in his first major final. There were no ups and downs in his game; I had to earn every point.”

Marin currently has a 15-1 record for 2010. He won Chennai and made it to the semis of the 2010 Australian Open.

South Africa and South America: See the other two singles winners after the cut…

tattoo watch: juan monaco’s left foot

Fernando Gonzalez won the Movistar Open title in Vina del Mar, Chile, after fellow finalist Juan Monaco withdrew from the tournament with an ankle injury.

juan-monaco-vinadelmar08.jpg

Monaco sustained the second-degree sprain in the second set of the doubles final. He hit his foot against a referee chair while running down a ball. The subsequent on-court treatment finally revealed the tattoo we’d been looking for.

A gracious winner: This bittersweet victory for Gonzalez is the first ATP singles final walkover since 2003. “I’m happy to have won this tournament once again but a little sad for Juan, who wasn’t able to play the final,” Gonzalez told reporters at his post-match conference. “He is a great player and even better person. It’s tough for him not to be able to play (Sunday’s) final and probably miss the Davis Cup next week. We are good friends and I hope he recovers fast from this injury.”

Career hiccup: And of course Monaco was devastated: “It’s very unfortunate that this happened to me in such a good moment of my career. I’m sad that I won’t be able to play the final here in Vina del Mar and the Davis Cup tie against Great Britain next week. I’m hoping to make a comeback at Buenos Aires.”

The Copa Telmex, to be held in Buenos Aires starting on February 18, is the first of three titles that Monaco will be defending in 2008. His 28 clay victories last year was second only to the 31 of Rafael Nadal.

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