Hey guys, wait for me!
If we weren’t so busy here at VANtage Point HQ's stuffing our faces with Easter candy, maybe we would’ve realized the big Monte Carlo event started yesterday. Plus, there was a little bit of a pity party since VP pick Jeremy Chardy didn’t win Houston, which was more reason to eat candy. But Lleyton Hewitt won, so the candy eating was more celebratory. And Juan Carlos Ferrero, an old VANtage Point fave, won over in Casablanca, which called for more (wait for it): candy eating!
So now that all the chocolate has been properly disposed of, it’s time to knock the wrappers and Easter grass off the computer and get to the Point!
A Look Back: Well, at least I got it right on Evgeny Korolev getting to the semis! As mentioned above Chardy didn’t win the U.S. Clay Court Championships, but Hewitt did, a great result for someone months removed from hip surgery. As called here, though, last year’s finalists Marcel Granollers and James Blake both lost early. The tournament got decimated with no seeds making the quarterfinals. Anyway, congrats again to Lleyton for coming through.
This Week’s Spotlight: Even though it didn’t wait for the official VANtage Point send-off, you can’t help but look at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 stop in Monte Carlo this week, the first big clay-court tournament of the year, or as I like to refer to it, “The House of Rafa.” Rafael Nadal has won four titles in a row here, so it’s kind of safe to say he owns the joint. All of his top 10 compadres except Andy Roddick are here to challenge him. Roger Federer almost didn’t make it, but accepted a wild card to lead the contenders.
Players to Watch: I think we all know Rafa’s going to do well here, but he’s definitely one to watch just for pure entertainment’s sake. You want to know who I’m really interested in catching out here, though, and for the rest of the clay-court stretch? Andy Murray. I know he’s been one of the dominant players so far this year. I just want to see how his improved game translates to clay. I think Marin Cilic will get him here in the round of 16. A player I’m kind of high on this year, Tommy Robredo, could have a good run and I think he’ll push Federer in the quarterfinals. For old-school entertainment, check the first-round match between Lleyton Hewitt and Marat Safin.
The Final Four: I’m going with Nadal over Cilic and Fernando Verdasco (who has a pretty tough quarter to get through) over Federer.
And the Winner Is…: I said last week I was going to pick Nadal for every clay-court tournament he enters, right? Well, that starts here! Just kidding, I won’t pick him every time, but I do see him adding to the Monte Carlo title haul.
Van Sias writes the blog Tennis Talk, Anyone?
(image via getty)