Tennis News Wire -
Singles - Final: (2) R Nadal def. (1) N Djokovic 7-5 6-3
The fall to earth continues.
Last year, Novak Djokovic won three French Open warmups on clay. This year, he has none. He lost five straight games at the end of the first set and the beginning of the second, and that was all Rafael Nadal needed to win his third title of the clay season
With it, Nadal regains the #2 ranking -- and hence the #2 Roland Garros seed. He won't be able to threaten Djokovic's top spot at Roland Garros, but the numbers are getting interesting. Djokovic is 30-5, 86% this year. Nadal is 33-5, 87%. Roger Federer is 32-3 plus a withdrawal -- 91% if the withdrawal is excluded, 89% if it is treated as a loss. So who is on track for the year-end #1? It is by no means clear that it is Djokovic.... And Nadal now has a big lead in clay points earned this year, with (believe it or not) David Ferrer second. Djokovic is third but effectively tied with Federer. It could prove to be a very interesting fortnight in Paris.
For the second straight day, they were unable to play in Nice due to rain. It's going to be a hectic rest of the week.
Sunday was a long day for the Americans. Monday was a short day -- but not any happier. Having already lost two points of their tie, they had to finish a suspended doubles match. And, yes, they lost that, too; James Blake and Ryan Harrison fell 7-6 6-4 to Carlos Berlocq and Juan Ignacio Chela.
Meanwhile, the Germans were taking a good position in the Blue Group. Igor Andreev wasn't in the original Russian lineup, but his presence didn't help. Florian Mayer beat him 6-2 7-6. With Philipp Kohlschreiber having already earned them a singles point, that gave Germany the win in its first tie. They won the doubles anyway; Mayer teamed with Christopher Kas to beat Igor Kunitsyn and Dmitry Tursunov in a match tiebreak. At least Tursunov is back in action!
The Czechs had suffered a surprise when Radek Stepanek lost his opener against Japan on Sunday. But Tomas Berdych made up for that with a 6-1 3-6 6-1 win over Go Soeda. And Stepanek redeemed himself when he and Frantisek Cermak beat the Japanese team of Ito and Soeda 6-2 7-6.
Croatia's team was already weak coming in. It got weaker overnight. Ivo Karlovic was not available to play against Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic. That left no one but doubles specialist Lovro Zovko. That was pretty predictable -- and ugly. Tipsarevic won 6-0 6-0. Zovko won only 25% of the points. He won only seven points on Tipsarevic's serve. He did manage to redeem himself a little in the doubles, though; he and Ivan Dodig beat Viktor Troicki and Nenad Zimonjic (who had very little reason to try hard, since Serbia had already won the tie) in two tiebreaks.