10 Thoughts: WTA Championships, Basel, and More

Today at the WTA Championships, Jelena Jankovic upset Victoria Azarenka, Serena Williams cruised past Agnieszka Radwanska, and Li Na took care of business against Sara Errani. Elsewhere, Roger Federer survived another scare, this time against Denis Istomin in Basel. Some thoughts from today’s tennis action:

1. Agnieszka Radwanska and Andy Murray are fans of each other:

2. I am not sure if this was a big deal at the time because I was busy during Davis Cup weekend, but I definitely missed this anecdote about 21-year-old Henri Laaksonen being disciplined for poor behavior during the Swiss Davis Cup tie. One of the commentators brought it up during Laaksonen’s match against Juan Martin del Potro in Basel. From reading this, I’m thinking “Henri Laaksonen” might be Finnish for “Bernard Tomic.”

The Finnish-born 21-year-old Henri Laaksonen, who has played just one live rubber for his newly adopted country, thought he should have got the nod for the second rubber and when he made his dissatisfaction clear Luthi had no option but to discipline him, leaving him behind at the team’s hotel.

Meanwhile Chiudinelli repaid his captain’s faith in him with a gutsy 36 61 63 76(7) victory over the Ecuadorian No. 1 Julio-Cesar Campozano, staving off two sets points in the fourth-set tiebreak.

Stanislas Wawrinka, the Swiss No. 1 who had given his country a flying start earlier in the day with a straight sets win, described Laaksonen’s behaviour during training in the past few days as “unacceptable” and was firmly behind his captain’s decision to leave him out.

Luthi commented: “I wasn’t happy with his respect level. I think it’s important for the young guys that they learn about that. First of all I think it’s important that we give our team the best chance to win – you try to have the best atmosphere in the team – and the second thing is that it’s absolutely important that he learns those things – that’s why I took this decision.”

3. Speaking of struggling Swiss tennis players, Roger Federer pulled out a scrappy (i.e., ugly) three-set win today against Denis Istomin. It looked dire for him when he faced four break points in his first service game at 0-1 in the final set, but he fought off the pressure and managed to string together enough back-to-back decent games to come through.

It puts Federer in an advantageous position to qualify for the World Tour Finals, since everyone else in the running for the final slots failed to pick up points this week. But Federer’s not out of the woods yet – he looks far from convincing. And should he qualify for the event, I don’t think any top 10 player would have trouble beating this version of the Fed.

Then again, rest hasn’t seemed to help Federer’s form, so perhaps he can play himself into shape if he can win some matches in Basel and Paris. (Though maybe not in an aesthetically pleasing manner, judging from today.)

4. While Victoria Azarenka was a bit of a train wreck today, it was fun to see Jelena Jankovic bringing out her best tennis.


As for Azarenka, it sounds like she’s experiencing some burnout.

5. It struck me as kind of sad when commentator Alicia Molik suggested that Agnieszka Radwanska should switch her return position up in hopes of distracting Serena Williams into double faulting. If that’s the strategy you’re resorting to against Serena, you’re probably screwed.

6. More fodder for the Federer-Del Potro bromance:




7. An update on Ryan Harrison from his Facebook page:

It has been a rough couple of weeks after catching viral pneumonia at some point in Asia. I tried to play in Vienna after spending days in bed which then led to six more days in bed before being release by doctors to fly home to the States. Feels so good to be home with friends and family and I am almost 100%. I had my first short hitting session yesterday and I am so happy to be back on court.

8. David Ferrer has been struggling as of late – coming into Valencia, he’s lost five of his last 12 matches. Dismantling a tough first round opponent today in Gael Monfils, 6-3, 6-2, may have been a much-needed confidence boost.

9. This was a fun rally from the Radwanska-Williams match:

10. Lauren Davis is suing over an incident from 2011 in which she was struck by lighting equipment at the WTA tournament in Charleston, giving her a concussion:

“While plaintiff was waiting to be interviewed, a piece of lighting and video equipment selected, provided and installed by defendants fell and struck plaintiff in the head, knocking her unconscious,” Davis says in the complaint.

As a direct result, says Davis, who has since played in the U.S., Australian and French opens, “suffered and continues to suffer from serious, severe and painful head trauma and injuries including a concussion, post-concussion syndrome with its resulting emotional effects, and severe and long-term headaches.”

She claims she also “has required expensive and long term medical treatment including multiple emergency room visits, evaluation and treatment by specialists, diagnostic tests such as CT scans and MRI, prescription medications, and other treatments and will continue to require medical care in the future.”

Amy can be spotted on a tennis court in the Philadelphia area, shanking backhand volleys.