It was a busy tennis week this last week I realized as I was trying to find time to watch four different finals on Sunday. As I digested my disappointment that I wouldn't be watching Roger Federer in either the semifinal or final of Rotterdam I had to remind myself that I am a tennis fan, not just a Fedfan, and that I could still enjoy watching some good tennis even though I wasn't watching my favorite. So putting my disappointment aside I was able to appreciate the good matches that were still on the docket for the weekend.
In spite of this, though, I admit that none of the matches turned out the way I had hoped. Though I for the most part like Juan Martin Del Potro and would usually want him to win when he's not playing Roger, I couldn't help but feel the pain for Julien Benneteau for his previous losses in finals and really wanted to see him break through this time. Almost the whole match though it felt like he was just trying to keep up with the great play of Delpo and in the end there really was nothing he could do against someone playing this well. JMDP deserved this win, after a poor showing in last year's final, and poor Benneteau once again had to face another disappointment. Though not one of my favorites, and certainly a threat always now to Federer, I really hope he gets his breakthrough title at some point before he retires.
In the women's final, though I'm not always one to cheer for Serena, in this case after the emotion shown after regaining #1 I was really hoping she would be holding the trophy at the end to supplement her great accomplishment. She just didn't seem herself in this match, though, never seeming fully comfortable, and Victoria Azarenka wasn't about to be intimidated. I'm sure it felt so good to her to prove that she had been the valid #1 by beating her replacement. It will be interesting to see upcoming matches between the two.
I didn't see the full final between Nadal and Nalbandian, really only some of the second set, but my impression of what I saw was that Rafa still wasn't playing like his normal self, making quite a few errors, but when Nalbandian was in a great position with two breaks in the 2nd set he just folded and gave it away. I think it will be a test for Nadal in his next tournament where Ferrer will also be playing, so we'll see what his form is by the end of February for his next tournament. I'm sure he felt very happy to be holding another trophy, though, whether he played his best or not.
In the final match of the day I was really hoping to see Tommy Haas pull it off. I have liked Tommy for a long time, and I think it's a real inspiration to see him playing great tennis at the age of 34 after a long injury timeout. He really didn't even have a chance, however, with the way Milos Raonic was playing. I don't know what it is about the conditions in San Jose, but he wasn't giving an inch on his service games, and the return winners that he was hitting on Tommy's service games were incredible. I'm sure he wishes he could buy the tournament himself to keep it in San Jose where he has had so much success, winning it three times in a row. To be honest, though, what I was thinking at the end of the match was that I really hope he's not in Federer's draw for Indian Wells!