Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - Marseille
The Frenchies made good at Marseille this week, with 3 of the 4 semifinalists coming from the host country and and two making it through to the final. Jo-Willy captured his fourth career title and second this year (Johannesburg) defeating Michael Llodra in a tight two set battle 7-5, 7-6(3) and raising his record to an ATP World Tour best 19-3. He also leads the Tour in the ace category with 235.
Along with a few other readers, I'm excited to see Jo-Willy showing real consistency in his big game and displaying real confidence in the key moments of his matches. His serve is becoming a big weapon and helped him keep his foes down and out this week. However, along with those same readers, I'm still cautiously optimistic with regards to his injury issues. The Frenchie's been injury free during his last two title runs so let's hope he finds the right balance in his schedule, doesn't overplay, and rests when required. I mean, who else would do the crazy thumb dance?
Andy Roddick - Memphis
The boycotting American, who took a wildcard into the tourney, avenged his loss to Radek Stepanek last week in San Jose straight-setting the Czech 7-5, 7-5 and earning his first title of the season and 27th of his career. He improved his record to 17-3 and prevented The Worm, who was the eventual winner at the SAP Open, from winning consecutive titles.
Tommy Robredo - Buenos Aires
Todo def owns the South American swing on the ATP World Tour so far capturing his second title in as many weeks (Costa do Sauipe) after edging out homeboy Juan Monaco 7-5, 2-6, 7-6(5) in the Argentinean capital. It was his ninth ATP title and the first time he won back-to-back titles in his career. However, if I were Todo I'd be very careful making out with that trophy. Just sayin'.
Venus Williams - Dubai
In all the hubbub and brouhaha that was the UAE/Israeli controversy this week, some pretty good tennis was actually being played by two lady ballers in particular: Venus Williams + Virginie Razzano. V reached her first final here by knocking sister Serena from her perch in the semifinals while the Frenchie ousted Russian top tenners Dinara Safina + Vera Zvonareva.
Virginie won her last meeting with V at the '07 Japan Open but there would be no final surprise here as the 7-time Grand Slammer easily dismissed her foe 6-4, 6-2 for her 40th career title. The 28-year old re-enters the Top 5 for the first time since 2003 and, with the exception of the major blip at the Aussie Open, has been playing perhaps the best ball out there. Will this form continue when she *gasp* hits the clay in Acapulco next week (no, I didn't stutter)? Who knows but let's just hope she finds something new to wear. Anything but THAT dress. Ugh.
Victoria Azarenka - Memphis
In a minor upset, Vika earned her second title of the season (Brisbane) when she subdued top seed Caroline Wozniacki 6-1, 6-3 in a 70 minute blowout. The Belarusian made it 2 for 2 as she teamed up with Wozzi to capture the doubles crown over Michaella Krajicek + Yuliana Fedak.
I don't know about you, but my sense is Vika is on the cusp of something big - a career run at Indian Wells, Miami, or even at one of the remaining Grand Slams this season. In my mind, the 19-year old seems ready to take that next step. She enjoys the big stage and relishes the fight. It wouldn't surprise me if it happens sooner than later.
María José Martínez Sánchez - Bogotá
M. José won her first career singles title upsetting third seeded Gisela Dulko 6-3, 6-2 in Colombian capital. She also joined Vika this weekend going 2-for-2 in winning the doubles crown with Nuria Llagostera Vives.
(images via AP, Luis Ramírez for Colpressphotos)