After last year’s Asian-swing sweep, and momentum gained from winning Olympic Gold and his first Grand Slam Championship at the US Open, expectations were high that Andy Murray would defend his title at the Japan Open over the weekend. While Andy cruised to the semifinals, Canadian Milos Raonic was determined to prevent the rout he suffered in Flushing, thanks to the ground-stroke precision of the unstoppable Scot. Milos made it a match right from the start, breaking Murray in the opening game of the first set. Raonic went on to win the hard-fought semi 6-3, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4), then fell to Japan’s Kei Nishikori in the final on Sunday 6-7 (5), 6-3, 0-6. The win is Nishikori’s second ATP tour title, his first in nearly four years, and certainly a thrilling title for tennis fans in Japan.
In China, Novak Djokovic was dominant in his final over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, winning 7-6 (4), 6-2. Nole has entered this tournament three times, and has yet to lose a match…extending his China Open win streak to 14-0. After Arthur Ashe Kids Day at this year’s US Open, Novak was often seen celebrating on-court to Carly Rae Jepsen’s summer smash “Call Me Maybe,” even performing the flash-mob dance moves. At the China Open, the ballkids joined Nole in celebration by dancing to Korean Rapper Psy’s “Gangham Style.” Charismatic, easygoing and authentic – Novak played along again. Let’s just hope we’re not leading him down the road to an appearance on “Dancing with the Stars!”
The ladies were also in action at the China Open, and the Azarenka vs. Sharapova rivalry continues with another win from Vika 6-3, 6-1. Azarenka has now won four of their last five finals, and owns 13 WTA titles. This was her first title since Indian Wells nearly seven months ago.
This week, the points are higher for the guys at the Masters Event in Shanghai…another event won last year by Andy Murray. Federer, Djokovic, Murray, Tsonga, Isner – the big names are in town for a week of tennis and 1000-points.
The ladies are in Osaka, Japan and Linz, Austria. Vika’s heading for the tournament in Austria and said she has about 10 more matches in her – just enough to win Linz and the WTA Championships in Turkey – before taking a break, then preparing for the 2013 season.
Here’s the video that aired before the U.S. Open Women’s Singles Final with Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams – featuring my voiceover, written by Chris Granozio and produced by Charles Tabano.