Sunday, May 15, 2011

Off To Roland Garros

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World No. 2 Novak Djokovic has done the unthinkable.

He has defeated World No. 1 Rafael Nadal in back-to-back tournaments ON CLAY thus becoming the first man ever to beat Rafa TWICE ON CLAY. Last week Djokovic beat Nadal in the Final at the Madrid Open (7-5, 6-4) and today he again bested Rafa (6-4, 6-4) in the Final of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia or Italian Open. Djokovic is now within inches of taking over the No. 1 ranking from Nadal as only 405 ranking points now separate the two. Nadal has 12,070 points to Djokovic's 11,665. So "The Battle for No. 1" should and will be decided in the "granddaddy" of the clay-court season, the upcoming French Open.

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Djokovic will take his 37-0 record and 7 titles (so far in 2011) to Roland Garros where he will most likely be the favorite even though he will still be ranked No. 2. Nadal, however, is still the defending champion and 5-time champion overall and still the most dangerous man on clay. But right now I think all eyes have to be on Novak.

What a year so far for the 23-year old Serbian!

On the women's side--
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Kudos to former World No. 1 and current World No. 8 Maria Sharapova on winning the Italian Open title (6-2, 6-4) over World No. 7 Samantha Stosur. This was Sharapova's first title in over a year and her biggest win on clay. Since her long layoff after shoulder surgery in October 2008 Sharapova has struggled to regain her dominant form which took her to the top of the rankings on 4 different occasions from August 2005 to May 2008. Her progress has been slow and at times frustrating but she has quietly worked her way back into the Top 10. And with the win over Stosur she will move up to No. 7 in the world, which is her highest ranking since her comeback.

During the trophy presentation, Sharapova said, "This is just the beginning of many things to come. This is just the start of everything."

Confidence is always good when heading to a Grand Slam tournament. With (both) Venus and Serena Williams out with tough injuries and World No. 2 Kim Clijsters still doubtful, I wouldn't count Sharapova out at Roland Garros. That's for sure.


  1. Djokovic has been playing out of his mind this year. He should overtake Rafa as the number 1 player pretty soon but I still think Rafa has a trick up his sleeve for him in the French Open.

  2. I think the first time I hooked up with you was on a story like this May 10. All that is going on I don't think this big shift gets attention. link this on my blog this morning.

  3. Hey guys, thanks for dropping by.

    @SportAholic I agree, I think Rafa will prevail in the French but it's a crazy ranking system because Djokovic could lose to Rafa in the Final and still become No. 1 based on Rafa having to defend all 2000 championship points and Novak only having to defend 360 quarterfinals points. So if Novak reaches the final which will give him (1200-360) 840 points, that's enough to overtake Rafa, since he's only 405 behind. Go figure!

    @ Michael Yes, tennis has taken a backseat in the last few years to other sports. I think it's due to the U.S. not having anyone dominant anymore. No Americans are in the Top 10 on the men's or women's side, which is sad. But I'm a diehard fan regardless. Thanks for the promo on your blog. Loved it! I will do the same moving forward.