Tennis Bytes: Wozniacki, Azarenka Triumph and Sweeting, Andujar Win First Titles

Linus FernandesAnalyst IIApril 11, 2011

Ryan Sweeting
Ryan SweetingMatthew Stockman/Getty Images

Even as the Rolex Monte Carlo Masters took off on Sunday, the 10th of April, 2011, there was more  tennis happening across the world.

In Houston, the home crowd had a lot to cheer for when local hero Ryan Sweeting defeated Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-4, 7-6 (3) to clinch his first ATP tour title at the US Men’s Clay Court Championships. For Nishikori, it was a disappointing end to a great run that could have provided some relief to his suffering country.

This is good news for American tennis in a  week that Mardy Fish surged past flag-bearer Andy Roddick in the rankings to become the No. 1 US player.

Indian interest in the tournament ended with Somdev Devvarman falling to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 4-6, 1-6 in the second round.

Devvarman is at his highest-ever ranking of 71. He hopes to end the year within the top 50.

In Casablanca, Morocco, another Spaniard Pablo Andujar celebrated his coming out with his first-ever ATP title winning the clay-court Grand Prix Hassan II.

Andujar beat Italian Potito Starace 6-1,6-2 in the final on Sunday.

In women’s tennis, Indian fans celebrated  when Sania Mirza and Russian Elena Vesnina lifted their second WTA title of the season. The score line read 6-4, 6-4 in a straight-sets victory over Americans Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Meghann Shaughnessy.

The Family Circle Cup final at Charleston was a repeat of the Indian Wells final three weeks ago.

Sania Mirza recently propelled her way back into the top 100 in women’s singles. Her campaign at Charleston ended in the quarterfinals losing to China’s Peng Shuai, 6-2, 2-6, 2-6.

It was No.1 seed Caroline Wozniacki who emerged triumphant in the tourney, beating Mirza’s partner, Elena Vesnina, 6-2,6-3 in the final.

Lest Wozniacki draw comfort from her continued reign at the top, she faces a fresh threat from Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka.

The Sony Ericsson Open winner continued her hot streak to clinch her second successive title.

In Marabella, Spain, Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu’s stupendous performances—she upset Svetlana Kuznetsova in the semis—came to a grinding halt when faced with Azarenka’s powerful game.

A 6-3,6-2 win means that Azarenka is now ranked No. 5 in the world. Begu breaks into the top 100.

Meanwhile, Kim Clijsters’ chances of making it three Slams in a row took a nosedive when she injured her ankle at her cousin Tim’s wedding.

It does seem that tennis players are now more vulnerable off court than on. Clijsters may not be able to play in the French Open this year.

Does Sweet Caroline smell an opportunity here? Serena Williams MIA and now Clijsters. Can it get any better for the luscious Dane?

Andy Murray, in a desert of his own making, is seeking help from Darren Cahill and Sven Groeneveld to restart his 2011 season. Murray has struggled since his Australian Open final appearance.

Roger Federer feels that clay is one of his best surfaces despite his losing record to old foe Rafael Nadal.

The Swiss great said : "But I’m really happy with my clay court career, if you just want to break it down to those, because I have, what, three finals here, a couple of finals in Rome I think, I have multiple French Open finals. I could have had much more, but I could also have had much less. So I’m happy with what I have."

Nadal enjoyed an audience with Prince Albert II of Monaco at the Palace on Sunday. Nadal is the favourite at the Rolex Masters—in Novak Djokovic’s absence.

Quote of the day: 

If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything. – Mark Twain