Gilles Simon won Metz. Thank god. I was dying to find out who would. For the record, he overcame Mischa Zverev in straight sets 6/3 6/2. Zverev had benefited from the withdrawal of Richard Gasquet before the semifinal yesterday, which is exactly the kind of thing that has to happen for Zverev to make an ATP final, even at an event like this one. Zverev is blessed with an ungainly game, with a complicated forehand somewhat reminiscent of Jim Courierâ€™s, and a pronounced lack of firepower on the backhand. His lefty serve seems effective. Simon, however, is clearly the superior technician, and clearly the more experienced guy. Now heâ€™s a bit richer, and will probably be a little better seeded at the Australian Open in five months time.
These little European events are frankly weird. Theyâ€™re tennis tournaments â€˜just becauseâ€™. Half the field seemed to be French. Everyone else that can be bothered playing is already off in Asia, in the short lead-up to the Shanghai Masters. Now, unlike some I have no problem with the Asian swing. I think it has its place, and I think the ATPâ€™s efforts to invest it with its own identity will be successful, if they havenâ€™t been already. But why is there an indoor event in France, strategically scheduled to be as far as possible from the location of the current top 5?
The short clay court hangover after Wimbledon is a similar anomaly. The only top tier player to regularly turn up is Davydenko. Itâ€™s instructive to look at the tournament appearances of the top 10, and to see how many they used to show up at, back in the day. Federer won the Sydney International in 2002. Can you imagine him playing it now? Or Milan, where he won his first title in 2001.
Daft commentary of the week: â€œTo win a Grand Slam, you really have to beat those guys youâ€™re meant to beat.â€ Makes sense. Presumably, it helps to beat everyone else, as well.
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