Tennis Last Week: Tsonga and Radwanska Shine in Canada

Hey guys. This is a new feature, similar to Things We Learned during the Slams, where we just run down our thoughts on the previous week. Enjoy!


1. I’ve never appreciated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as much as some others seem to. Most of the time, he infuriates me to watch. (See: his match at the 2012 French Open against Novak Djokovic.) However, he played an absolutely flawless match against Djokovic in Toronto to beat him in straight sets, winning more than 16% of his service points with an ace, and winning 47% of his return points. I thought that would be the end of it, but he ended up beating Grigor Dimitrov, Andy Murray, and Roger Federer to win his second Masters 1000 title.

At this point in his career, I don’t think we’re going to see Tsonga “get it together,” but at least he gives us occasional performances like these to savor. At the risk of sounding cynical, I don’t think anyone should expect it to last through the US Open, or through the rest of the year. I hope I’m wrong, though.

2. I really don’t know what’s happened to Dominika Cibulkova. She was playing such incredible tennis for the first few months of the season, and now she’s just … not. She struggled to beat Canadian Francoise Abanda, who basically has no backhand, and then fell in three sets to Heather Watson in Montreal. I really thought she was playing well enough to be a top 10 player for the duration of this year, but she sure isn’t playing like one now.

3. Roger Federer’s outfit was very bad, but also very funny.

At least Petkovic liked it!

4. Speaking of The Fed, this photo op made my life, as a hockey fan.

This pic is oh-so-Dorkerer:

5. My apologies for making my points too Fed-centric, but I can’t help but wonder about Fed’s missed opportunities this year to add to his Masters 1000 titles. That’s three losses in Masters 1000 finals this year, and two of those were against Stan Wawrinka and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. It doesn’t get much better than that in a Masters 1000 final. Fed might not need to add to his legacy by winning more titles, but I think he will rue some of these missed opportunities. That aside, he’s playing some very good tennis, so maybe we’ll see him get one of those elusive Masters 1000 titles in the remainder of 2014. He always plays well in Cincinnati, and in fact, his last Masters 1000 title came there two years ago.

6. I didn’t get to watch the last few days of Toronto and Montreal because I have been at Cincinnati qualies for the last few days! You can read my write-up here, and I will be bringing you more action from Mason, Ohio later this week.


1. How magical is Venus Williams, you guys? I simply can’t get over her excellent week in Montreal.

Watch all of these highlights from her match against Angelique Kerber. You simply won’t regret it.

Here are some of my favorite excerpts from her pressers:

Q. Are you saying you’re tired because of the illness?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I just think this week I was tired because I played so many matches, a couple thousand hours on the court.
That’s great for me. Instead of unreasonable fatigue that’s unconquerable, just the opposite really: a fatigue from too much success. That’s the positive of today. I ran out of energy because I was winning too many matches. I haven’t had that problem in a long time.

Q. What did you enjoy the most during this amazing week in Montréal?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What I enjoyed the most was just being able to compete, being able to push myself, being able to have the opportunity to really bring everything I had.
So for me that felt amazing, just to have a chance, to be able to enjoy the competition. For me, that was the most amazing part of the week.
As well as the fans here in Montréal, because I didn’t expect that kind of support. I felt like I was from, you know, Québec. I might be a long‑lost soul from Québec.

She’s just the best. I don’t have the words to elaborate any more than that right now, I’m sorry. Perhaps a link to my USA Today piece on her from last year would be appropriate right now.

2. I did write about the Williams Sisters’ semi for BR. What a match.

3. Welcome back, Agnieszka Radwanska. Okay, okay, so her draw wasn’t that difficult. But honestly, she had not really been losing to the cream of the WTA crop this year, let’s be honest.

I was beginning to wonder how in the world she had kept her top-five ranking, and boy was this a great reminder. She’s never been past the fourth round of the U.S. Open, which is frankly just stupid, but it mainly has to do with the fact that she’s usually so mummified by the time August comes around that she can no longer tennis.

She seems to be a bit fresher and healthier this year, so fingers crossed she’s a bit more of a factor. With Li out, she should have a top-four seed.

As I said on Twitter, cheesecake for everyone.

4. All year the Big Four has looked vulnerable. The problem is that up until last week, the only guy to really take advantage was Stan Wawrinka.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga stepped out of the self-inflicted shadows and, for a week at least, he lived up to his potential. LOOK HOW HAPPY HE IS.

Where he goes from here is anyone’s guess, but I certainly hope he sticks around. And I thought this was adorable, and surprisingly observant:

Q. Congratulations. How does it feel to win your second Masters title? And how does this compare to the first one that you won in Paris?

JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA: I feel good. You know, I think for the moment, you know, I don’t realize really what I achieved this week, but it’s a big achievement for me.
It’s completely different than before when I won in Paris. In Paris it was the first one, you know, behind my family, all my friends, everybody. I think I did it with my heart, you know, in Paris. Here I just did it with my level, with my game.

5. Hell. Yes.

6. I know that Sloane Stephens lost to Jelena Jankovic this week, but I really did think that this was a step forward for her. She actually seemed bothered by the fact that she lost! And, whether she listens or not, I’m glad that Hogstedt is telling her what she needs to hear.

7. Holy crap, CoCo Vandeweghe. I’ll admit that I unfortunately didn’t get to see any of her matches because Tennis Channel and ESPN were only showing the main court in Montreal, but WOW. She not only qualified, she then beat Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic in back-to-back days.

She was ranked No. 113 at the start of the year. Now, after making the Miami Round of 16 as a qualifier, winning her first title in grass season, and making the quarters of Montreal, she’s up to No. 38 in the world! She has top-30 wins over Zhang, the Serbian Sisters, Muguruza (twice!), Stosur, and Pavs.

8. I didn’t get to see many of their matches because I was covering the PGA Championship as well, but kudos to Ekaterina Makarova and Feli Lopez for making the semis this week. More of that, please.

2 Responses

  1. Shawn Harkins
    Shawn Harkins August 11, 2014 at 6:31 pm |

    If your idea of Jo Willy getting it together again is top 6 you are correct.Furthermore that would be like saying Murray won’t get it together again. Jo missed 2 and 1/2 mos.last year,Andy 3 months if you include December Hiatus / Vaca /Exo Time.Time off is lost pts equals lost ranking as well as rust/ and physical / mental attributes.It’s tough getting back just ask Cilic, Troicki,etc.Fact is Jo will get it together again if he hasn’t already (so will Andy) it just takes time amongst other factors and when all is said and done which I perceive to be yr end 2014, Jo will be nestled in his usual area of 8/9 or less specifically 7-12 where he has perched himself for the better part of 5/6 years and he will continue to rank here for at least 2 more years with occasional dips to 14/15 possible but short lasting.

    1. Amy
      Amy August 11, 2014 at 6:42 pm |


      I meant more that I don’t expect Tsonga to start beating the top guys on a regular basis. I think he is what he is: a player capable of having a great week or a great month, but not a serious contender to win a Slam.

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