Novak Djokovic wins / Davis Cup Week begins…

Novak Djokovic won a routine semifinal over Juan Monaco to advance to the final, but Andy Murray had it even better, as Rafael Nadal withdrew before the match with lingering knee pain. The additional rest wasn’t enough for Andy, though – as Novak took him out in straight sets during Sunday’s final: 6-1, 7-6(5).

The semi walkover was Andy’s second of the tournament, and based on the score, you can tell he was slow to find his game. Murray and Isner are the only two guys to have beaten Novak so far this year – Andy at the Dubai Semifinals in January and John at Indian Wells two weeks ago.

On the ladies side, Maria Sharapova made it to another final, but was simply outplayed by Agnieszka Radwanska: 7-5, 6-4. Radwanska showed great anticipation and seemed to get every ball back…in fact, she made only 10 unforced errors during the match, forcing Maria to gamble (45 unforced errors).

In doubles, the Bryan Brothers were taken-out in the semifinals by Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek, who went on to beat Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor in a great final: 3-6, 6-1, 10-8…

The ladies final was just as thrilling, with Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova defeating Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci 7-6(0), 4-6, 10-4. Congrats to Sony Ericsson announcer Todd Noonan for fianlly getting Nadia’s age right, after she called him out on it while on the court during introductions. LOVE IT! And congrats again, as well, to Paola Suarez – she and Gisela Dulko are finding their Argentine Olympic form, making it to the semifinals of the Sony Ericsson.

Let’s talk rankings, as of this morning (4/2/2012)

1. Novak Djokovic – he’s been there for 40-weeks now
2. Rafael Nadal
3. Roger Federer – beaten by Andy Roddick in  the 3rd round
4. Andy Murray
5. David Ferrer
9 . Mardy Fish slipped to 9th
11. John Isner slipped to 11th

1. Victoria Azarenka – beaten in the quarterfinals by Marion Bartoli
2. Maria Sharapova
3. Petra Kvitova
4. Agnieszka Radwanska
5. Samantha Stosur

With 55-days to go until Roland Garros, the ladies head to Charleston, South Carolina for a clay court tune-up at the Family Circle Cup. Melanie Oudin qualified and will play her first round match today against the 10-seed, Anabel Medina Garrigues.

The guys spend the week preparing to play for their country in the Davis Cup World Group Quarterfinals this weekend. Austria’s in Spain, Serbia’s in the Czech Republic, Croatia’s in Argentina and the U.S. is in Monte Carlo, France…on clay again. The same squad that defeated Switzerland on it’s home turf heads to France for Jom Courier: Mardy Fish, John Isner, Bob and Mike Bryan. They’ll play Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gael Monfils, Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra.