What fun it is to recap the happenings of a fantastic tournament. The BNP Paribas Open had an overall attendance this year of 350,086, with millions watching worldwide as we had comebacks, upsets and ultimately saw Novak Djokovic and Caroline Wozniacki capture the singles titles. I referenced Katy Perry’s “Hot ‘N Cold” to wrap-up the highlights, so here goes:
Cause you’re hot then you’re cold
- Hot: Wildcard young American Christina McHale really showed up in the second round, defeating Grand Slam champion Sveltana Kuznetsova 7-6, 7-6. Nadia Petrova defeated her in the third round, but she took the rollercoaster Russian to three sets.
- Hot: Tennis pros playing footy shirtless in the practice field.
- Hot: Another wildcard young American, Ryan Harrison, blazed through the main draw (Jeremy Chardy, 22nd seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Milos Raonic) to set up a nighttime meting with Roger Federer, which Federer won 7-6, 6-3, but not before Harrison could shed light on what’s to come from him.
- Haute: Caroline Wozniacki’s Stella McCartney for Adidas dress.
– Cold: Agniezska Radwanska received a Bye in the first round, defeated Iveta Benesova in the second round, defeated Maria Kirilenko in three in the third round, then was unable to close out the match against Victoria Azarenka in the fourth round in a third-set tiebreak. Azarenka just took her out cold.
- Cold: Fans yelling out during points. If it’s your first time attending a live tennis match, do everyone a favor – google proper etiquette, and then follow it.
– Reheated: Dinara Safina made it to the fourth round, trouncing last year’s French Open finalist Sam Stosur 7-6, 6-4 on her way there, only to lose to Maria Sharapova. But it’s pretty evident Safin’s little sister is back in fighting form. These wins will hopefully give her the confidence to move onward and upward in the rankings.
- Reheated: Seems not getting a wildcard into a master’s tournament (*cough* Miami) does nothing but fuel the fire for Ivo Karlovic. The Croat defeated qualifier Marinko Matosevic, 6th seed David Ferrer, 28th seed Gilles Simon, 23rd seed Albert Montanes and finally met Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals. He took Rafa to 3 sets with the match determined in a 3rd-set tie break. He might be 32 years old, but he still has fire in his serve.
You’re yes then you’re no
– Yes: Novak Djokovic, just yes. Always yes.
- Yes: Sania Mirza and Elena Vesnina teamed up and took the women’s double’s title. They’ll be pairing through Wimbledon too, it seems.
- No: 5th seed Andy Murray received a Bye in the first round and should have very well just said “bye” from there. The Brit was eaten up by American Donald Young 7-6, 6-3 in the second round and showed little to no signs of fight. I refuse to believe he’s still battling an Australian Open hangover, but Andy, please give me a reason to stay on your side.
- No: The women’s 6th seed and defending champion Jelena Jankovic barely came into the tournament as a favorite, and she must have known it. The Serbian went down passively to Ivanovic. Her 2011 season is continuing on the same path that her 2010 season ended – flat.
- Yes then No: Remember when Ana Ivanovic and Andrea Petkovic teamed up for doubles? That was so last week, and so yes! Until they lost, then it was oh no. But maybe, sometimes the first time is the worst time?
- Not Sure: 9th seed Fernando Verdasco received a Bye in the first round and was gifted a retirement from Richard Berankis in the second only to be defeated by Sam Querrey 7-5, 6-4 in the third round. Verdasco had barely done anything to get there and then barely did anything to stay. His future is fuzzy but until I see some action from him, I can’t consult my crystal ball on this one.
You’re in then you’re out
– In: Bonjour, Richard Gasquet, and welcome back to the ATP Tour. After *that* incident in Miami, you’ve been slowly but surely fighting your way back. Entering as the 18th seed, Gasquet convincingly defeated and demoralized Andy Roddick 6-3, 7-6 in the fourth round. He lost to Novak Djokovic in 2 sets in the quarterfinals but clearly showed his backhand is back.
– In: Gasquet’s compatriot, Marion Bartoli, made a fine run to the finals before losing to Caroline Wozniacki. She absolutely did not go in as a favorite, but with her showing at the tournament, catapulted her way into the top 10 again. Brava.
- All In: The new adidas marketing campaign, including shirts customized for each player (All Ana, All Andy, All Fernando) is alright by me.
– Out: Defending champion Ivan Ljubicic received a Bye in the first round only to meet up with fired-up Juan Martin del Potro, who defeated Ljubicic 5-7, 6-4, 6-2. Ljubicic is only getting older, so it seems the peak of his career may have been hoisting the title at last year’s tournament.
- Out: Kim Clijsters and Victoria Azarenka had untimely departures from the tournament, with a shoulder injury and hip injury, respectively. Tommy Robredo also pulled out of his quarterfinal match against del Potro with a left adductor strain. Robredo has already withdrawn from Miami, but here’s hoping the ladies can recouperate and recover before the event.
You’re up then you’re down
- Up: If you’re going to buy stock in any player right now, make it Ana Ivanovic. She split with her trainer and is “all in” the Adidas player development program, with people like Darren Cahill in her corner. The French Open champion lost to Marion Bartoli 6-4, 7-6 in the quarterfinals, but to make those kinds of waves at a premier event after being so wishy washy? I’d say her P/E ratio is high, as is her confidence.
- Up: Somdev Devvarman bageled Baghdatis in the second round, took out Malisse in the third and met with Nadal in the fourth. He played strong and with confidence against the world No.1, proving why he’s one to watch.
- Up then down: Stan Wawrinka had a fantastic tournament, strongly beating Nikolay Davydenko, Marin Cilic and Tomas Berdych to set up a quarterfinal meeting with Roger Federer. But when the match started against his Swiss friend (and doubles partner), Wawrinka fizzled. He’s shown he can defeat top players, he just needs to figure out how to do it consistently.
– Down: Lleyton Hewitt had a tough first-round draw against Rendy Lu, but the 6-2, 6-3 scoreline is rather worrisome. Seems the Grand Slam champion couldn’t find the answers, or did he barely put up a fight?
You’re wrong when it’s right
– Wrong: Andy Roddick. We love your emotion. We love your drive. We (sometimes) love your attitude. But your rant at umpire Fergus Murphy during your match against Richard Gasquet was reminiscent of your “My Right Foot!?” tantrum from last year’s US Open. You were wrong to take it that far then, you were wrong again.
– Right: You have a ponytail and it’s really hard to say your name – but that’s okay. Alexandr Dolgopolov gave a “I just won the lottery” speech upon winning the doubles title with partner Xavier Malisse. He won his first ATP title of any kind and he beat Roger Federer. He was giddy with delight. Also, he managed to quip in that he and Malisse signed up 10 minutes before the deadline. Better late than never!
- Right: Caroline Wozniacki – thou are number one and thou art slamless but thou could care less. And good for you! Not caring seems to be the secret ingredient in your winning machine, that and giving roses to fellow players, twirting dinner plans to lovestruck Americans and looking lovely in that ruffle dress while so many compared you to a cupcake. You win matches and you win hearts. Winning the title at Indian Wells? That’s just the icing on top.
- Right: While there was no event per se for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the players banded together and got behind Kei Nishikori to help raise money for those affected. Multiple touching tributes from Novak Djokovic, Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka showed us, once again, that these superhuman tennis stars have superhuman hearts.
(Photos: AP/Getty Images)