Various Goings On in Europe

May 7, 2010

Attentions this week are split three ways, with major tournaments going on in Belgrade, Portugal, and Munich for the men’s tournaments.

Belgrade

When you’re one of Serbia’s biggest stars, winning a tournament in your hometown must be a special moment. Winning in your hometown in a tournament your family now own and run is even more special. Goran Djokovic, Uncle to world no. 2 Novak Djokovic, is the Serbia Open’s director, and after the popularity of the tournament in Belgrade last year has increased the capacity of the stadium in Belgrade. The calibre of players has increased slightly from last year too, and the Djokovic family are hoping it will go from strength to strength in the coming years. Needless to say, Nole is hoping for his second win in his family’s tournament’s second year. He has currently booked a place in the quarter final after beating Italy’s Fabio Foginini.

Portugal

Roger Federer started the tournament in Portugal with a children’s clinic at the Estoril stadium. The kids got to have a knock up with the world no. 1, and I imagine there are a number of very jealous fans around the world at seeing that opportunity. Today he got through to the semi-final, beating Arnaud Clement 7-6 (9-7) 6-2 for the spot. Looks like the champ hasn’t let his shock exit in Rome hamper the rest of the season; well, did anyone really expect it to?

Munich

At the BMW Open in Germany, Marin Cilic is top seed, with Mikhail Youzhny and Tomas Berdych just behind. This year, all of the top six seeds have made it through to the quarter-finals, with Phillip Petzschner and Jan Hajek also getting through to the quarter-finals. With the likes of Cilic, Baghdatis and Kohlschreiber around, this will be a highly contested tournament.

Elsewhere

Juan Martin del Potro has returned home after surgery to his wrist in Minnesota. The injury has plagued the Argentine since his fourth-round exist at the Australian Open. It’s been months since he last played in a tournament, and it looks like it could be many months before he can start to play again. The recovery period from this kind of surgery is long, and his French Open and Wimbledon campaigns are almost certainly out of the question. This naturally puts doubts on him being able to defend his title in the US come the end of the year. Delpo had spend months trying to avoid surgery and resolve the injury in another way, but unfortunately the injury was more serious than he had originally thought. I’m sure everyone will wish the Big Friendly Giant of tennis a quick recovery, and hope he can take heart from Nadal’s blistering return after having so long out of the game due to injury himself. Fingers crossed Delpo.

In Rome, Nadal took the Rome Masters title in the rain with a 7-5 6-2 defeat of David Ferrer. Despite the rain and Ferrer’s successful save of five break points, Rafa played doggedly and in his rather familiar determined fashion, until he could bite down on the Masters trophy and call it his own. Looks like those knees are holding up.

Also in Rome, Jelena Jankovic gave a superb display against Venus Williams, only dropping one game and ultimately thrashing the Williams sister 6-0 6-1. Jankovic has recently slipped to 58th in the rankings and the world number one had shown no signs of struggling in her earlier matches; but it seemed that on the day Jankovic was just too good.

Kim Clijsters had to pull out of the Madrid Open at the end of April with a foot injury, and remains a doubt for the French Open. She played in the Fed Cup for Belgium against Estonia with fellow returnee to the game Justine Henin, and it was whilst playing there that she injured her foot. The recovery period is six weeks, so her appearance at the French Open is still uncertain.

Talking of Justine Henin, she has claimed her first title since coming out of retirement. At the beginning of this month she beat Sam Stosur 6-4 2-6 6-1 in the final at the Stuttgart Grand Prix, and won a Porsche along with her first big shiny trophy since coming back to the game. She is now back in the world’s top 20 and looks to have a strong chance at the French Open coming up at the end of this month, especially with Clijsters and Serena Williams injured.

Dust off those French phrasebooks and crack out those sunglasses; tennis will soon be heading to Paris and with the day-glo tennis gear and the bright red courts, it’ll feel like the European summer is truly underway.  I can’t wait.

-SophieG

Written by: SophieG

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