As we get ready for the rain-delayed, 54th running of the Daytona 500 – tonight at 7:00 EST on Fox…
…At last, a landmark U.S. event other than the U.S. Open Men’s Final gets washed-out on Sunday. We’ve enjoyed four consecutive rain-outs, Mr. Helton – I’d suggest you strategize future 500’s with U.S. Open Tournament Director Jim Curley…oh wait, nevermind…
Jim – sincerely – you will be missed!
…Here are the weekend’s winners and losers in tennis:
WINNER: Juan Martin del Potro – took down Michael Llodra to win the Open 13 Final in Marseille. Hopefully a confidence boost for the neck-bolted Argentine, who’s looked lost during his last two tournament losses to Roger Federer.
LOSER: Roger Federer…self-described. He says he hasn’t been able to crack 16 career Grand Slam titles over the past two years because of declining confidence, not diminishing talent. After a tough Davis Cup showing against Isner, he came back to win Rotterdam…again. We’ll see if some of that confidence has returned this week in Dubai, where World #1 Novak Djokovic has already won his first match since winning the 2012 Australian Open.
WINNER: David Ferrer on clay in Argentina, defeating Copa Claro defending champion Nicolas Almagro Sunday (4-6, 6-3, 6-2)
LOSER: Andy Roddick, who was taken-down in Memphis by Xavier Malisse last week. He’d dropped to #27 in the World, and woke-up this morning to a #30 ATP ranking. He’s the #4 seed in Delray Beach this week (Isner’s the top-seed).
WINNER: Jurgen Melzer, with a broken toe, beat red-hot Milos Raonic (7-5, 7-6) in the Memphis final on Sunday. What a week for Jurgen – after taking out Isner in the quarters and Stepanek in the semis…
LOSER: Caroline Wozniacki continues to struggle after losing the World #1 ranking to Victoria Azarenka. Caroline lost her Dubai semifinal in straight sets to Julia Goerges.
WINNER: Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska, who took out Julia Goerges in the Dubai Final (7-5, 6-4)
LOSER: 20-year-old Marko Djokovic – Novak’s little brother – just lost his first-round Dubai match to Andrey Golubev. Marko’s ranked 869th in the world, and I’m still a little unclear as to how he made the tournament. In any case – can you imagine living in the enormity of his brother’s shadow?! I wish him all the luck in the world; he’s going to need it.
WINNER: Hungary’s Timea Babos won her first career WTA Title on Sunday, defeating Romania’s Alexandra Cadantu (6-4, 6-4). Timea’s only 18-years-old, ranked 107th in the world…and has some momentum on her side after making the semifinals at Bogota the week prior.
One more thing…traveling Davis Cup Fans – it looks like you’re heading to Monte Carlo (sucks to be you) in April to cheer on Jim Courier’s Team USA against France. Honestly, this is great for Jim’s team – not only is it an important match to advance in the World Group…the timing makes it a super tune-up for Roland Garros.
This week, the guys are in Dubai and Delray Beach, while the ladies are in Mexico and Malaysia…