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Guest Blog

Barcelona, Stuttgart final re-caps

Rafa, Maria in the Driver's Seat


April 29, 2012 | 10:38 PM

RAFA set another record in winning Barcelona for a 7th time: he's now the only man to win the same 2 titles 7 times. Good grief - could this go on every spring for years? Will it take the next Rafa to stop him if no one else seems to be able to do it? Joker doesn't seem interested in stopping him except where Rafa hadn't been quite so dominant (Madrid and Rome).

For the 4th time, David Ferrer was his final opponent. David could be celebrating setting a record himself: for losing in the final of the same tournament to the same player 5 times. Or not. Roger would be only 2nd in this dubious distinction category, having lost 4 times to Rafa in the same final, Paris. However, that could also be an ATP record for being a Major bridesmaid to the same groom, and his record could even get an asterisk: Roger also lost to him in the semis there. And so it goes, on and on, and on.

Today's final was as about as close as any other between these two men in a Barcelona final: 7-6 (1), 7-5. It was played in a swirling wind that even Rafa struggled to tame, so the quality of tennis wasn't as high as it might have been between two clay maestros. The champ faced 15 break points, losing serve 3 times, while his opponent faced 10 and lost 4.

After beating #1 Azarenka 6-1, 6-4 in Stuttgart, Maria could be driving out of Germany in a new Porsche, if, that is, she needed a new one. She has a week before she may be needed in Madrid, plenty of time to be touring across Provence and perhaps pay a visit to the Cote d'Azure where she could show off her car to the Joker in Monte Carlo. No swirling winds blunted the force of her serve (Germany's only WTA tournie is indoors), which hasn't been this devastating when it mattered in 6 years, since she was first #2 in the world: she allowed just one break point and saved it. Losing just 17 points on serve was almost Raonic or Isner-like. Having won their previous four finals, Vika may not have been prepared for a blitz krieg by the Russian on German soil. Good thing in this war that Vika survives to fight another battle, Madrid. At this rate, maybe we'll see them play a 4th time there, if Vika can beat Aggie for a 6th time in the semis and Maria doesn't get ambushed by Petra or crack up in her Carrera on a curve in the Pyrenees.

Rick

ATP, WTA final results, 3.28.12


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