Despite all the drama surrounding Marin Cilic's undisclosed positive drug test and three month suspension (It should be noted that baseball player Alex Rodriguez was reportedly offered a deal by Major League Baseball to sit out 2013 and 2014 and return in 2015 instead of being banned for life) and Viktor Troicki's attempts to drag everyone into the mess he created there was actual tennis played during the week. The US Open Series got underway with the ATP in Atlanta and the WTA in Stanford while the Europeans played in Gstaad, Umag and Baku (If they weren't busy withdrawing from parts of the US Open Series).
The biggest, and maybe the most exciting win of the day saw Dominika Cibulkova avenge her loss to Agniezska Radwanska earlier this year in Sydney by pulling off a three set win in Stanford. No one expected her to win. Aga, who will make you crazy when she is on, was outplayed and visibly frustrated by the end of the match because Dominika simply would not go away. Not only was the woman some call "Queen Vulture" outplayed she was worn out. Dominika beat her at her own game. Wherever Aga hit the ball Dominika was there. Dominika also did what Jamie Hampton couldn't the day before and stopped herself from rushing her play.It was a long and exciting match. Exciting because Dominika, who as one wag on Twitter said, is about an inch tall, shouldn't have won. But she did.
How do you define dull? Here's my opinion. Put two very tall men who have very little game outside of their serve on a hard court and let them go at it. If you see Kevin Anderson is going to play John Isner during the US Open Series or the US Open set yourself a reminder to tidy up your sock drawer. Or do the laundry. Or take a nice long soak. Or take a walk. I guarantee you whether it's a best of three or best of five there will be at least three tiebreak sets involved. Look at it this way. You can dust, vacuum or cook dinner and come back and see the end of the match. I really don't like serve only tennis. Apparently a lot of people agreed with me on Tennis Twitter today. I didn't like it when I saw Andy Roddick do it against Fabrice Santoro at the US Open a few years back and I didn't like it sitting in my living room watching one of the most boring matches I've ever seen in my life. It was right up there with the infamous Gilles Simon vs Gaël Monfils match that still makes people groan in agony while trying to claw their eyes out. Someone had to win and Isner managed to do so.
Congratulations to Elina Svitolina on winning her first WTA title. It's a shame no one saw her do it. I tend to wake up early and I put on a stream of Baku just to see some of the players I rarely if ever see play.I think I was one of the ten people world wide who did so. It's not even funny to snark about the WTA playing to empty stadiums in Asia anymore. There were literally no more than 50 people in the stadium during the two matches I watched and I'm including the tournament staff. I felt sorry for the players. They come out and do their best but how hard must it be to play in an empty stadium where the only cheers are from your family and staff? It's incomprehensible to me that the WTA is going to stage its YEC in China when the same situation that existed in Baku exists there. Unless they're going to pay for a lot of seat warmers the top women in the world will play before the same number of people that showed up in Baku. Sad.
I guess it's true that 30 is the new 20. It's also true that all good things must come to an end. Tommy Robredo, whom many thought would be out of the game by now due to the severity of the injury that kept him out most of last year, won the tournament in Umag. He defeated Fabio Fognini who had won back to back tournaments in Germany and was trying to win his third straight. Fognini ran right into the wall that he managed to dodge last week after getting a tough win over Gaël Monfils the day before. Robredo has Fognini's number and with nothing left in the tank Fognini saw his streak come to an end. Robredo was tired as well but he had more left than Fabio.
Mikhail Youzhny won the tournament in Gstaad over Robin Haase of the Netherlands becoming the first Russian to ever win the event. He said the following during his winners speech at Gstaad:
"First and foremost I would like to thank Federer for coming here and for losing in the first round."
It was a joke. Oh. Ha!
Maria Sharapova has pulled out of The Rogers Cup in Toronto because of a hip injury she sustained in Wimbledon. Uh huh.
There are rumors floating around that Rafael Nadal will not play in Cincinnati where he's never done well.
Ryan Harrison showed what a great guy he is during his match against John Isner. Isner wanted a ball back so he could use it for his next serve. Harrison threw the ball into the stands. Stay classy Ryan. You'll never be half the man Andy Roddick still is.
Andy Murray, or whoever runs his Twitter account, said that Baku should become a joint event. I think whoever typed those 140 characters wasn't using joint to mean an ATP/WTA event.