Wednesday, April 09, 2014

A Quarter For Your Thoughts: 1Q Awards

The ATP season is one quarter over. So, who's three-quarters full?

**2014 PLAYERS-OF-THE-1Q**
1. Stanislas Wawrinka, SUI

...suddenly, Stan really WAS the man in Melbourne. His stunning run to the Australian Open title -- complete with wins over Nadal & Djokovic -- made him the new Swiss #1 and the third-highest ranked player in the world. Sure, his results have been pretty disappointing ever since January. But, really, his 2014 season is already made no matter what happens the rest of the way.
2. Novak Djokovic, SRB
...his slow start included losses to both Wawrinka and Federer, but he's more than made up for it with his second career sweep of the Indian Wells and Miami titles. With Rafa's failure to win the AO, Djokovic can still set his sights on a Player of the Year sort of season.
3. Bob & Mike Bryan, USA
...they started even slower than Djokovic, and there really was reason to believe it might be o-v-e-r. But then the twins came back to the U.S. and won a tour-best three titles, including a sweep of Indian Wells and Miami. Yes, reports of the Bryans' tennis "death" was greatly exaggerated.
4. Rafael Nadal, ESP
...he's reached more finals (4) than anyone, but his wins in Doha and Rio (the latter after saving a MP) are overshadowed by losses in shocking fashion in Melbourne to Wawrinka, after suffering a still lingering back injury, and in dominating fashion to Djokovic in Miami. Will his body hold up well enough for a ninth Roland Garros title in ten years?
5. Roger Federer, SUI
...his back issues over and with a new racket in his hand (and Stefan Edberg in his ear), Federer has managed to wake up a few echoes of his past glory this season. A win over Djokovic en route to the Dubai title and an I.W. final run has gotten him back to (at least) where he belongs -- in the Top 5 -- and once again in the conversation for a possible slam run this summer.
6. Tomas Berdych, CZE the big Czech finally starting to reach his potential? He reached his first slam semi in four seasons in the AO, and climbed to a career high of #5.
7. Marin Cilic, CRO
...speaking of finally beginning to reach his potential. The Croat reached three straight finals, winning back-to-back titles.
8. Lukasz Kubot/Robert Lindstedt, POL/SWE
...who won the Australian Open doubles crown? These two did, of course. Forgetting is more than forgiven.
9. Alexandr Dolgopolov, UKR
...the exciting Ukrainian has a win over Nadal, an Indian Wells semi and runner-up in Rio.
10. Fabio Fognini, ITA
...reached back-to-back finals, winning one... and gets extra credit for "assistant coaching" Pennetta to a title in Indian Wells.
HM- Eric Butorac/Raven Klaasen, USA/DEN
...earlier this season, they twice knocked off the Bryans (including in the 3rd Rd. in Melbourne), reached the AO final, won in Memphis and looked like the doubles story of the year. They still could be, but since then the Bryans have wrestled away the spotlight.

RISER: Kei Nishikori, JPN
NEW FACE: Grigor Dimitrov, BUL
SURPRISES: Dan Evans, GBR & James Ward, GBR
VETERAN: Lleyton Hewitt, AUS
COMEBACK: Gael Monfils, FRA
TEAM: Swiss Davis Cup Team
JUNIOR STAR: Alexander Zverev, GER
DOWN: David Ferrer, ESP

1. Wawrinka wins Australian Open
2. Djokovic sweeps Indian Wells & Miami
3. Federer def. Djokovic, wins Dubai
4. Bryan twins sweep Indian Wells & Miami
5. Hewitt def. Federer, wins Brisbane

AO QF - Wawrinka d. Djokovic 2-6/6-4/6-2/3-6/9-7
in a Melbourne classic, Wawrinka ends Djokovic's 28-match win streak, string of 25 straight AO victories, three-year reign as Aussie champion and nearly-epic (for anyone not named Roger, at least) 14-slam run of consecutive semifinals.

Rio SF - Nadal d. Andujar 2-6/6-3/7-6(10)
Rafa saves two match points against his fellow Spaniard, winning on his own MP #4. He went on to win the title.

*MARATHON MEN...just not Isner & Mahut*
AO 1st Rd. - Seppi d. Hewitt 7-6(4)/6-3/5-7/5-7/7-5
Hewitt comes back from 0-2 sets down and holds a match point, only to fall in this 5+ hour battle.

Davis Cup 1st Rd. - Ward/GBR d. Querrey/USA 1-6/7-6/3-6/6-4/6-1
you lose on home soil (San Diego) to a Brit who's not named Andy. Pity the poor U.S. Davis Cup team. Or maybe not.

"Star Wars: Legends by Proxy": Djokovic joins forces with Boris Becker, while Roger Federer brings Stefan Edberg aboard
"Star Wars: Legend Says, 'G'day (again), Mate'": HOFer Patrick Rafter plays doubles with Lleyton Hewitt at the Australian Open
"Star Wars: Legend Says C'mon!": Hewitt picks up his 600th career match win
"Star Wars: Legendary Inactivity": both Miami semifinals are decided via walkovers, the first time that's happened on the ATP tour since 1969
"Star Wars: Legend No More?": Andy Murray parts ways with Ivan Lendl. Nice knowin' you, "Andy Murray: Slam Champion?"

4...Rafael Nadal, ESP (2-2)
3...Marin Cilic, CRO (2-1)
3...Roger Federer, SUI (1-2)
2...Kevin Anderson, RSA (2-0)
2...Novak Djokovic, SRB (2-0)
2...Stanislas Wawrinka, SUI (2-0)
2...Tomas Berdych, CZE (1-1)
2...Fabio Fognini, ITA (1-1)
2...Gael Monfils, FRA (1-1)

Czech Republic vs. France
Italy vs. Switzerland

All for now.

Read more!


Post a Comment

<< Home