Sorry for the delay, folks. I know what you’re probably thinking: “Van must be basking in the glory of getting so many Davis Cup picks right last weekend. How did he do it? Did he pay people off?” There’s no payola scandal or guesswork going on here at VANtage Point, my friends. Our crack team uses the latest statistics on a particular player, runs them through our high-powered jumbo supercomputer, which then produces the amount of accuracy you would come to expect at the Point! Anyway, the delay is due to the later start date of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, which I’ll discuss shortly. But first …
A Look Back: The first round of the Davis Cup has come and gone and it went pretty much how I expected. The only tie I missed the call on was Germany-Austria—that Jurgen Melzer: career journeyman if I ever saw one. He wasn’t the only one that stunk up the joint, though. I wasn’t too impressed by what Novak Djokovic and James Blake brought to the table, either. I guess France was kind of disappointing to some, but you saw it here first at the Point that the Czechs were gonna bounce them, and that they did!
This Week’s Spotlight: The men and women are goin’ back to Cali this week for the BNP Paribas Open. It starts today and the top 32 players get first-round byes. Anyone who is anyone is there, except for the Williams sisters. Roger Federer is back from “injury” and so is Maria Sharapova (sans quote marks around injury), but only to play doubles.
Players to Watch: I think you have to have your eye out for that Federer guy. This is his first match since, well, you know, that CRUSHING Australian Open finals loss. Also, Andy Murray’s been out of the loop for a couple of weeks now—what’s up with him? (I think Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will get him, but we’ll see.) You want to know who I’m really intrigued by? Andy Roddick. Does he have another Masters title in him and can he go through the Fantastic 4 to get it? As for the women, be sure to give a gander to Dinara Safina. Last year’s "It Girl" had a great Aussie Open this year, but other than that she’s had some tough losses. I actually think Victoria Azarenka will give her another one. And can the defending champ, Ana Ivanovic, break out of her slump here? Watch out for her. But all eyes will be on Sharapova. Personally, I don’t see the need to play doubles here unless you’re 100 percent, but that’s a subject for another day. Regardless, the amount of outside media attention she brings is good for the game.
The Final Fours: For the guys, I’m going with A-Rod over Rafael Nadal (Yeah, I said it!) and Federer over Tsonga. On the women’s side, I’m taking Azarenka over Vera Zvonareva and Ivanovic over Jelena Jankovic.
And the Winners Are: Federer’s “injury” timeout pays off and he takes out A-Rod in straights, while Ivanovic, like Federer, will be picking up her first title of the year here. VANtage Point won’t be around next week since this tournament is sooo long, but catch it the week after for a look at Miami!
Van Sias writes the blog Tennis Talk, Anyone?
(image via getty)