Singles - Final: (6) A Roddick def. (16) T Berdych 7-5 6-4
Last summer at Wimbledon, Larry Stefanki's influence on Andy Roddick seemed apparent: he was trimmer and he seemed to be moving better. Then came the injury. Roddick took a long time to really come back, and even after he was healthy, he seemed a little bit hesitant.
Not in this match. He of course served well, but he also seemed to be positioning himself much better than in recent years; that effort on his footwork really did seem to be paying off. In terms of points, this was pretty close, especially for the first ten games of the first set -- but Roddick never faced a break point,
How much good it will do him is an open question. With this, Roddick passes Roger Federer to take the #1 spot in the ATP Race this year. And he also leads in wins (he's 26-4 this year, with two titles, two finals, and two quarterfinals), and his two titles is tied for the lead (and he is the only one of the players with two titles to have won a required event). But, despite the Indian Wells final two weeks ago and the title here, Roddick rises only slightly in the rankings -- this puts him at #7. And we're heading into the clay season. He's not likely to earn many points there. And he can't add points at Wimbledon unless he wins the title. It isn't until summer hardcourts that he really has room to add points. To be sure, if he can play at the summer events the way he played here, he should certainly be able to turn the Big Six into a Big Seven.
Tomas Berdych, who perhaps was a little nervous, fails to pick up what would have been the biggest title of his career. But he moves up from #20 to #15. That means he will be seeded at every event he plays this clay season. That could well bring substantial benefits by the time Roland Garros rolls around.
Singles - Final: (14) Kim Clijsters def. (3) Venus Williams 6-2 6-1
Kim Clijsters said before this match that she and Venus Williams rarely play their best at the same time. Consider their U. S. Open quarterfinal last year, which Clijsters won by the score 6-0 0-6 6-4.
This time, there wasn't any of that back-and-forthing. Venus had bandages on both legs. Apparently they were precautionary, but she said afterward that she might have worn herself out over-practicing; she couldn't keep the ball in play. The match lasted less than an hour, and Clijsters won almost two-thirds of the points.
Venus sees her winning streak end at fifteen matches, but she still moves up to #4 in the rankings. That's nothing to the move made by Clijsters, however. Having won two of the last six required events, she is now up to #10 (from #16). And she still has Rome, Madrid, Roland Garros, and Wimbledon to add to her total. She has had some rather bad results to go with her good ones, but still, if we look at her eight results so far, and project her average level at each over a "normal" schedule of 16 events, we would get this:
4 Slams at an average of 1080 points per Slam: 4320 points
4 Premier Mandatory, average 540 points/event: 2160 points
3 Premier Five, average 155 points/event: 465 points
3 Premier 700 -- has not played one yet; estimate 225 points/event: 675 points
2 International, average 155 points/event: 310 points
Total: 7930 points.
Serena Williams has 7945 points. Thus Clijsters is on pace to compete for #1 this year -- especially since that figure for the Premier Fives is based on her first two events back. That does not mean she will be #1, or even that she will actually threaten it, but if present trends continue, she would.
It's the second Miami title for Clijsters, who also won in 2006 -- making her the first non-Williams to win multiple Miami titles since Martina Hingis in 1997 and 2000. The one before that was Steffi Graf. Not bad company.
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