August 22, 2011
Rafael Nadal serving it up during his doubles match with friend and fellow Spaniard Marc Lopez. Notice the taped up fingers on his right hand. Apparently Rafa was burned after touching a hot plate at a Japanese restaurant in town. Yikes.
After eight days of tennis and the inaugural year of a men’s and women’s combined event, the Western & Southern Open came to an epic conclusion yesterday with six winners crowned (Andy Murray, Maria Sharapova, Paes/Bhupathi, and YShvedova/King). But the biggest winner of all, as is the case with every year, were the fans.
The tournament has a storied history, having hosted the world’s best players and having been located at numerous facilities around the city. It is hard to believe that when the tournament made its home in Mason over 25 years ago and became a top tier event that life could get any better. But folks it did. In year two of a multi-million dollar three year expansion the W & S Open is as close to a grandslam as it gets.
Therefore, for those that ventured out to the Open and/or for those who didn’t, iSPYCINCY wants to share with you the week captured on camera.
Caroline Wozniacki Maria Sharapova
*Wozniacki ended up losing in the first round to American Christina McHale. Earlier in the week she was spotted with her new beau, British golfer Rory McIlroy. Sharapova avenged her finals lost last year with a three set victory over Jelena Jankovic on Sunday. What you can’t see in the picture is the giant rock on her finger. Sharapova is engaged to NBA player Sasha Vujacic.
Tsonga (cute as ever) is much quieter off the court as compared to his enthusiastic and amplified on court demeanor. Which famous athlete does Tsonga most look like? If you guessed Muhammad Ali then you would be correct.
Crowd favorite Andy Roddick returning serve during his first round match against Philipp Kohlschreiber. Roddick was up a set and a break when things began to unravel. Early in the third he double faulted and wacked the ball into the stadium. The move earned him a point penalty which resulted in a loss of the game. Let the self-implosion begin.
Court 3, standing room only crowd, during the Nadal/Lopez doubles match. Took multiple changeovers before I spied myself a seat, but it was well worth it thanks to the quality of doubles and showmanship from both teams.
Rematch of the 2009 U.S. Open men’s final. This time Roger came out on top vs. Juan Martin Del Potro. A repeat bid at the finals however was lost during a quarterfinals upset at the hands of Tomas Berdych. At 30 years of age Roger just isn’t the same player he used to be.
Probably the best match of the tournament. Round 3: Nadal vs. Verdasco. Final score: 7-6, 6-7, 7-6 (11-9). The match lasted over three and a half hours and both players battled their hearts out. Verdasco’s attempt to finally beat his fellow countryman fell short once again but certainly not from lack of effort.
Mardy Fish is 29 going on 19. Always been a talented player but seems to have matured later in his career. Fish has been on a tear this summer with a victory in Atlanta and finals appearances in both L.A. as well as at the Rogers Cup in Montreal. Hard work pays off, he was crowned the Olympus U.S. Open Series winner after his quarterfinals victory here. Go Fish!
Fish went on a streak of 30 straight games holding serve until a reporter jinxed him during a post match press conference. Early in his semifinals battle against Murray, Fish was broken and that trend continued all the way through the match.
Justin Gimelstob and Mardy Fish getting ready for some TV time. Fun fact — Fish spent most nights eating dinner at Embers Restaurant. Tomas Berdych, Roger Federer, and James Blake were also spied at Embers multiple times throughout the week.
Gael Monfils, an excitable player from France, made a nice run into the quarterfinals before meeting up with world No. 1 Novak Djokovic. Although Monfils got off to a great start taking the first set he could not keep the momentum going as the Djokster finally worked his way into the match. Nevertheless the fans appreciated the inspired play from Monfils and look forward to his return next year.
Novak Djokovic has had an incredible year. He won both the Australian Open and the championships at Wimbledon, with his only loss coming during a semifinals match up at Roland Garros against Roger Federer. Yeah, we are all kinda speechless. Props to you Nole, what a year.
However, everyone has to lose at some point and on Sunday during the championship match it came in an unfortunate way. Down 6-4, 3-0 to Andy Murray, Dkokovic, grimacing in pain due to an aggravated shoulder injury, was forced to retire. With Flushing Meadows only a week away, we hope that is enough time for Novak to heal. If not, his magical year may have come to a deflating end.
Well folks, it was fun while it lasted. Although we have to wait another year for the stars to take the stage back in Cincy, for the tennis enthusiasts (both new and old), the final grand slam of the year, the U.S. Open (in Flushing Meadows, NY), begins Monday, August 29th. Rafael Nadal is the defending champion but with his poor showing here, I doubt he will be the favored returning player. And now, with Djokovic’s questionable shoulder, his 2011 reign of dominance is also under watch. For the women, as is often the case, it could be anyone’s tourney to win (Kim Clijsters is the defending champion, but she missed the W & S Open due to injury). No matter what, iSPYCINCY looks forward to enjoying more unbelievable tennis. This time however we’ll be watching the sport with a view from the couch instead of the court. Ahh, it must be love.to top ↑