Pan Pacific Open is Underway

This week, tennis returns to Japan for the first time since an earthquake and resulting tsunami led to the most-frightening nuclear meltdown since Chernobyl.

The Pan Pacific Games are on, after touching ceremonies to honor those whose lives were lost…and Maria Sharapova took little time to dispatch Tamarine Tanasugarn.

The guys are in Thailand, with Andy Murray as the top-seed…Roger Federer just withdrew from the Shanghai Masters…and Andy Roddick is staying stateside for the time-being. After playing an exhibition in Oklahoma City last night, Andy sounded-off on the prospect of players forming a union, after a contentious U.S. Open. He even went as far to suggest he would head-up the effort.

Congrats to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – he beat Ivan Ljubicic for the Moselle title over the weekend, pushing his ATP World Tour Ranking to #7.

And for tennis fans in South Africa and Southwest Missouri – long time Springfield Laser Chanelle Scheepers picked up her first WTA title Saturday Night, defeating Magdalena Rybarikova in the Guangzhou Open. Can World Team Tennis’ Springfield Lasers get her back in 2012?