Welcome to Tennis’ 2012 Asian Swing

Tokyo’s Pan Pacific tournament saw it’s share of drama…

World #1 Victoria Azarenka pulled-out of the tournament before her quarterfinal match, after suffering dizziness during her previous win over Roberta Vinci – her trainer’s calling it chronic fatigue.

Maria Sharapova has had an amazing 2012, but was knocked-out in the quarters by Sam Stosur 6-4, 7-6 (10), who could use a confidence injection in the months leading up to the Australian Open, where she lost in the first-round last year.

Nadia Petrova has excelled mostly in doubles competition over the past few years, but she’s not done making a statement on her own – Nadia defeated Agnieszka Radwanska in a three-set final 6-0, 1-6, 6-3. That is Nadia’s 12th career title, and she had to beat three top-10 players to snag it: Sam Stosur, Sara Errani and Radwanska.

The guys played in both Malaysia and Thailand last week…

In Malaysia, Argentina’s Juan Monaco put on an amazing show. He was seeded second, and outlasted Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (4) in the semifinals. Kei had a 5-2 lead in the third set, but won fought back to force the tie-break and win the title. Juan then beat Julien Benneteau in a three-set final 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 to win his 4th career title.

In Thailand, Richard Gasquet won an all-French final over Gilles Simon 6-2, 6-1 in just over an hour, winning his seventh career title. Simon was actually up a break early in both sets, but Gasquet’s accuracy through the rest of both sets proved too good.

This week, the guys head to Tokyo while the ladies play the China Open. This is the stretch of tournaments that Andy Murray dominated last year. He then pulled-out of the year-end championship, but arrived Down Under with a new coach, Ivan Lendl. Who knew last fall’s success and confidence would lead to a Wimbledon final, Olympic Gold and first Grand Slam Title at the U.S. Open?

In Tokyo, Andy is back to defend his title (last year he had to go through Rafael Nadal to lift the trophy). Not to mention, last year he won the doubles title with his brother Jamie, as well.

And speaking of the champ, check out the recap video of the 2012 U.S. Open here: