It was a weird week because ‘250’ tournaments had stronger draw than ‘500’ tournament in Memphis #. Regions Morgan Keegan Championships have a valuable tradition, held since 1977 with many champions who were Nos. 1 in the world, in recent years became the weakest (out of eleven) event in its rank. It’s not only a matter of players interested in participating, the venue in Memphis is out-of-date, reminds me of American challengers, attendance is rather lousy except the finals. The biggest star of the tournament and defending champion – Andy Roddick is completely out of form – in the first round he lost to Xavier Malisse, whom had beaten in their all nine previous meetings. John Isner also disappointed local fans as he was stunned by amazing return performance of Jurgen Melzer  – despite a broken toe the Austrian rediscovered his 2010 form, he came back from a break down in the 3rd set in his first two rounds and finished as a surprising champion. In an interesting final he astonished Milos Raonic with unconventional positions on return and did what seemed almost impossible – broke the Canadian serve twice in just two sets. Melzer was able to dig out of troubles serving in the 10th game of both sets; in the 1st he was two points away, in the 2nd fought off a set point (Raonic’s backhand mistake). It’s Melzer’s 4th title and the biggest one in his long career.
Juan Martin del Potro  had a tough draw in Marseille but dealt with it very well beating three Frenchmen in a row, including a main favorite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Del Potro’s first career match with a losing a match point-up set) to capture his 10th title. The Argentinian said after the final: “All finals are special. Many things come to your mind… I was 0/30 down in the last game. I was really nervous. I didn’t make a double fault since the Davydenko match [untrue: he served 3 against Gasquet] and I had one at 5:4, serving for the match, so you could see how nervous I was. I’m really glad I won my another tournament here in France, so it’s amazing for me.” A 20-year-old powerful serving Albano Olivetti , Frenchman of Italian roots, made some fuss advancing to the quarter-finals in his first ATP tournament. The huge Olivetti (202 cm, 104 kg), who previously had a small experience even on a Challenger level, staved off two match points in the last qualifying round, and upset in the second round Mardy Fish  firing 23 aces. There’s no doubt he is the most hefty player thus far. I’m very curious whether this hybrid of Karlovic and Hewitt 😉 is going to become a regular ATP player in the future. If yes, he should be involved in many “tie-break matches” with plenty of aces and perhaps breaking the record of the fastest serve. According to Lajovic, Olivetti has already broken the record (258 kmh) but it happened in a Challenger so it’s an unofficial record.
Nicolas Almagro is one of the best clay-courters of the current era. The real problem appears when he faces his compatriots Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer. Nadal hasn’t been bothering for many years to participate in South American tournaments in contrary to Ferrer, who last year in Acapulco finished Almagro’s longest winning streak – 13 matches, this week in Buenos Aires ended a 10-match winning streak waiting patiently on Almagro’s self-distraction (at the end of the final broke the racquet on his sole). The very efficient in ATP finals Almagro has lost 4 out of 5 finals to ‘Pics” (9-0 their overall H2H). Ferrer’s career title No. 13.
S: Jurgen Melzer d. (4)Milos Raonic 7-5, 7-6(4)
D: (1)M.Mirnyi/D.Nestor d. I.Dodig/M.Melo 4-6, 7-5, [10-7]
S: (4)Juan Martin del Potro d. Michael Llodra 6-4, 6-4
D: N.Mahut/E.Roger-Vasselin d. D.Brown/JW.Tsonga 3-6, 6-3, [10-6]
Buenos Aires (250)
S: (1)David Ferrer d. (2)Nicolas Almagro 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
D: D.Marrero/F.Verdasco d. (2)M.Mertinak/A.Sa 6-4, 6-4
Choker of the week:
Buenos Aires. Second week in a row it’s Javier Marti. The Spaniard came back from a 1:5* (30/40) in the 2nd set playing against Benoit Paire, and was serving to win the match at 6:5 (30/15) – lost 12 points in a row! Paire battled through to next round 2-6, 7-6(0), 6-2.
# Number of Top 20 players participating in this week’s tournaments:
1 – Memphis, 6 – Marseille, 5 – Buenos Aires
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