The Last Word – Dec. 21, 2013

A few days before Christmas, and what are Spanish heartthrobs Fetchin’ Feli López and Fernando (Hot Sauce) Verdasco doing?

Shopping? Singing carols?

Nope, playing each other in the finals of the Spanish national championships.Verdasco defeated Nicolás Almagro in the semis Saturday; López beat Rubén (one-armed bandit) Ramirez Hidalgo.

(Oh, the ladies are playing, too – the Spaniards often forget them. Their final will be Anabel Medina Garrigues vs. Laura Pous Tió).

Quebecer earns first pro title

Brossard’s Julien Bélair made good in a $10,000 event in Brazil Saturday, capturing the doubles with partner (and University of North Florida teammate) Moritz Bürchner of Germany.

Belairdoubles

It’s his first pro title; more pics here on the event’s Facebook page.

 

No BBC for Boom-Boom

Clearly Boris Becker, the new coach of Novak Djokovic, plans to still be on the job by Wimbledon despite what no doubt will be furious wagering activity on the over-under of the length of his tenure.

He will not be waxing poetic on the BBC from the All-England Club this summer, saying he can’t coach a player one day then just hop into the broadcast booth.

He would be, it’s safe to say, rather a minority in thinking that, in this serve-many-masters world of tennis.

So kudos to him. Or perhaps the Djoker or his manager said, “Fuggedaboutit”.

 

Comeback kicks off with a win for Diatchenko

Russia’s Vitalia Diatchenko, who had been sidelined since the Sept. 2012 with X, finally returned to action this week at a $50,000 ITF event in Ankara, Turkey (and you thought this was the off-season? Hah!)

Vitalia Diatchenko Sirotkina

She reached the final, defeating Marta Sirotkina 6-7 (3) 6-4, 6-4.

Vitalia Diatchenko

Sirotkina, the No. 2 seed, is ranked No. 137; after her long absence, Diatchenko, who hits two-handed off both sides, has no ranking.

She was as high as No. 105 in July, 2009 and No. 60 in doubles (she has nine titles on the ITF circuit and won the WTA Tashkent event with Eleni Daniliidou in 2011).

But her career has been in fits and starts because of injuries; she was out of the juniors from age 14-16 with a shoulder injury, and much of 2012 with a knee injury (she played just three tournaments) and all of 2013 until this week. She also posts lots of hot photos of herself on her Facebook page 🙂

Diatchenko played three doubles events in the last few months before making her return in singles and won her second one – a $75,000 in Dubai – with partner Olga Savchuk.

Maybe it’s Olympic magic; Diatchenko hails from Sochi.

(Top pic from Diatchenko’s Twitter feed; bottom pic from the Open Court archives).

 Tatjana Malek a Mama

German player Tatjana Malek, who married her coach Charles Édouard Maria (how original!) in April and is now Tatjana Maria, announced on Twitter today that she is the proud mom of a daughter named Charlotte. So it was only slightly shotgun 🙂

Charlotte

All babies are beautiful. But that’s a bee-yoooo-tiful baby. It’s a good thing they didn’t name her Marie because, you know, that would make her Maria Maria.

Malek/Maria, 27 , has and has been off the Tour since losing in the first round at Wimbledon to Su-Wei Hsieh (she would have been about three months along). Currently ranked No. 265,  she reached a career high in singles of No. 64 in 2009, and a career-best in doubles of No. 68 in June of this year.

Tatjana Malek_new

(Baby pic from Maria’s Twitter feed).

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