With the Super Bowl dominating sports news this weekend, don’t forget about the tennis being played with some “off the radar” players coming through with big wins.
Fed Cup was the focus of the women this week. The U.S. team, led by Melanie Oudin, who won both her matches, easily won their tie against France 4-1. Considering this was played on red clay and in France, it’s quite an accomplishment and could bode well for Oudin with the clay court season just around the corner.
The U.S will next take on Russia who edged out Serbia 3-2 after Svetlana Kuznetsova and Alisa Kleybanova sealed the win in the doubles over Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic. Reigning Fed Cup champions Italy won over Ukraine and will now take on the Czech Republic in the semifinals.
Marin Cilic continued his fine form that he showed during his semifinal Australian Open run as he defended his title in Zagreb over Michael Berrer 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3. Fernando Gonzalez was not so lucky as he lost his hometown event in Chile, the Movistar Open, to Thomaz Bellucci 6-3, 4-6, 3-6.
And Feliciano Lopez ended a six year title drought by winning the SA Tennis Open in Johannesburg over Stephane Robert 7-5, 6-1. Lopez, who earlier beat Gael Monfils in the semifinals, continues his own mini-comeback that he started last year when he got to the semis of Shanghai and when he pushed Andy Roddick in their meeting at the Australian Open. I earlier wrote if Lopez’s new look had anything to do with it. But I suspect that hard work and a desire to emerge out the shadow of fellow countrymen Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco may be the real cause of Lopez’s upswing. And with both of those players in a minor downturn at the moment, Lopez may get his chance.
(Correction: Thomaz Bellucci won the Movistar Open by winning the final against Juan Monaco 6-2, 0-6, 6-4).