Just like a year ago, Memphis had a distinctively weaker field than Marseille despite a higher status #. Unfortunately none of the Top 10 players bothered to visit the U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships (five Top 10 guys arrived in France). Kei Nishikori , who aspires to turn into a Top 10 player this year, outplayed his all five opponents. He was close to lose a set only in the first round in which he faced a set point (against Marchenko). Last year’s finalists, Melzer and Raonic were ousted as early as the first round. For Raonic it’s a break of some pattern, the last two years he’d reached Memphis final a week after triumphing in San Jose, this year he made a three-peat in San Jose, but couldn’t repeat his good result in Memphis. Jack Sock, who surprisingly eliminated the Canadian, reached his first doubles final pairing the U.S. veteran Blake. “He is a great player, he’s in very good shape,” Lopez said of Nishikori. Their final lasted barely 67 minutes. Nishikori has now won 3 titles, two ‘500’ among them. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga prior to Marseille had just won one match in 117 tournaments having saved a match point. Since this week he has added two more victories of this type to his resume. The Frenchman saved five match points in the quarterfinals against Tomic (three with winners, two after Tomic’s errors) and one match point with an ace in the final. Tsonga became the first player to win a title saving match point(s) in two different matches during the same tournament since Querrey in Los Angeles ’10 ##. Tsonga and Berdych have met four times in the last five months, Tsonga avenged three previous defeats. “This is a great victory. I stayed in the match even when it was very difficult and waited for my chance. I survived and took my chance when it came. I’m very happy. This shows me that I’m on the right way.” said Tsonga, he claimed his 10th title, the second one in Marseille – “This victory is different from the one in 2009. Back then I had some problems. Today I see that my work pays off.” As expected, David Ferrer triumphed in Buenos Aires capturing 20th title and extending his streak to 25 winning matches in a row in South America! “I am very happy for this title. I cannot describe it with other words,” said Ferrer. “It’s very hard to win back-to-back titles, and this tournament in Buenos Aires is always very tough. I am very proud.” The runner-up, Wawrinka advanced to his first final in more than two years. The tournament was very unfortunate for the hosts: Monaco withdrew due to an injury; Del Potro chose European indoor swing once again; sensational victor from Vina del Mar, Zeballos failed in the first round; two other Davis Cup mates, Nalbandian and Berlocq met already in the first round, and the winner of that match (Nalbandian) encountered the “unbeatable” Ferrer in the following round.
Marseille (250) S: (3)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga d. (1)Tomas Berdych 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-4 – 1 m.p. D: (2)R.Bopanna/C.Fleming d. (1)A.Qureshi/JJ.Rojer 6-4, 7-6(3)
Buenos Aires (250) S: (1)David Ferrer d. (3)Stanislas Wawrinka 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 D: S.Bolelli/F.Fognini d. N.Monroe/S.Stadler 6-3, 6-2
Choker of the week: Memphis: Igor Sijsling, who faced just one break point in three sets against Marin Cilic, and blew four mini-MPs at 5-all + three match points in the deciding tie-break, two of them on serve (served a double fault on the last occasion). Cilic won 7-6(2), 3-6, 7-6(7).
# Number of Top 20 players participating in this week’s tournaments:
4 – Memphis, 6 – Marseille, 3 – Buenos Aires
## Double match point(s) saved champions in XXI Century:
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga saved 5 MPs in QF (against B.Tomic) and 1 MP in F (against T.Berdych) in Marseille ’13 Sam Querrey saved 1 MP in SF (against J.Tipsarevic) and 1 MP in F (against A.Murray) in Los Angeles ’10 Albert Montanes saved 1 MP in QF (against G.Simon) and 2 MPs in F (against J.Blake) in Estoril ’09 Wesley Moodie saved 4 MPs in SF (against J.Nieminen) & 2 MP’s in F (against M.Ancic) in Tokyo ’05 Nikolay Davydenko saved 1 MP in SF (against M.Youzhny) & 3 MP’s in F (against G.Rusedski) in Moscow ’04 Lleyton Hewitt saved 4 MPs in 2R (against P.Srichaphan) & 2 MPs in F (against A.Agassi) in San Jose ’02 Jan-Michael Gambill saved 3 MPs in QF (against C.Woodruff) & 3 MPs in SF (against W.Arthurs) in Delray Beach ’01