I'm afraid I have been slacking a bit on blog posts lately. I still follow all the tennis going on as closely as I can, but with all the little tournaments it's just a bit harder to find the excitement level to write about it. It doesn't help when much of it isn't televised live, and watching it live on the computer at uncomfortable hours often isn't an option (unless it's a certain guy by the name of Roger Federer). Unfortunately I wasn't able to watch any of the Tsonga-Berdych match, though that would have been a good one and I was happy to see that Tsonga had won, saving two match points in the process. I was disappointed to miss all but the last few games of the Ferrer-Wawrinka match due to a prior commitment. I was glad Stan was able to take a set, but in the end Ferrer was just too strong on clay.
I did follow pretty closely the women's tournament in Dubai, however, and enjoyed seeing some good tennis. I was glad to see Caroline Wozniacki playing well again, though she just didn't have enough against Petra Kvitova, who was really on her game. The final against Kvitova and Erani was one of those really strange matches where one set looked completely different from the next, with the scoreline being 6-2 1-6 6-1. Kvitova is just one of those players where, when things are working for her, she is almost impossible to beat. Some of the winners she hits are just bullets through the court with not the slightest chance of being returned. But when things go off, they really go off. It was good to see her winning another title after some struggles for a while to find her real game.
I also was able to watch the semis and final of the ATP Memphis tournament. Kei Nishikori played some brilliant tennis against Feli Lopez, seeming to get back almost everything Lopez threw at him and hitting just punishing shots to win his 3rd career title. It was the semifinal Lopez played against Istomin, however, that was more intriguing to me, particularly the end. It was match point for Lopez and he hit what both he and his opponent thought was an ace. They both came to the net and had shaken hands when the chair umpire finally got their attention to tell them the serve was a let. It has been 40-15 and Lopez went on to lose the next three points. I was getting pretty nervous for him that he was going to get broken and potentially go on to lose the match after already having celebrated his victory. However, he held his nerve and managed to come back to win the game and the match. Though I'm sure he is disappointed to lose in the final, that is still so much better than losing in the semi when he thought he had it won. I had never seen that situation happen before.
And now on to the really important stuff - Roger Federer is in Dubai getting prepared to try to defend his title from last year, not to mention that he has won here five times already. Hopefully being back in the warm climate again after the cold in Rotterdam, and being back with his family again will up his game and produce his first title of 2013. Of course, Novak Djokovic, will have something to say about this. It will be Novak's first tournament back in action since Australia and he will be anxious to re-solidify his #1 ranking.
I was encouraged by a couple of the things Roger had to say to the media in the last week, one of them being: "I strongly believe I have more Slams in me." That is something every Fed fan likes to hear because no matter how much we believe in him, he also needs to have the belief himself that he can still win out in a major over his younger competitors. He also said this about whether he could return to #1 again: ''Absolutely realistic, if you play great." Here's hoping that he can start that playing great pattern this week in Dubai and show that he is still fully in there.