***WRITTEN DURING KITCHEN NIGHTMARES USA SO FORGIVE THE SHODDYNESS***
As the clay season beckons (a round-up of which will as always arrive on the eve of Roland Garros), the U.S double whammy in March ensures the hard-court season goes out with a bang, and lots of ranking points up for grabs.
What we have seen this past month, is that said spoils have been shared amongst precious few.
The Williams siblings have famously shunned Indian Wells after the debacle over a decade ago, but this year heralded their return – lots of fanfare if only for an injury come the SF’s robbing us of an epic comeback win.
Instead, it was up to a number of surprise packages to provide the fireworks late on in the fortnight including Lisicki, Jankovic Bacsinszky and Suarez Navarro. Last year’s winner Pennetta was among them until the Quarters (via a brilliant victory over Sharapova) before Sabine ended a dream double for the veteran.
Who would emerge from this eclectic mix of finalists? The final was a great match between two different generations and two different approaches to the game. Jelena Jankovic continues to remain consistent after her years in the wilderness, and should have taken victory here. Instead, the Serb crumbled somewhat against the cold, metronomic and above all else, consistent Simona Halep.
The Romanian continues to impress 18 months after her form really electrified.
Whilst the women produced some unusual suspects, it was a repeat of 2014 for the guys as messieurs Federer and Djokovic faced off in the final. That match itself was something of an uneven contest (not that subscribers of TennisTV would ever find out 😉 but both players’ performances to get their were often spellbinding.
Roger was simply superb when dismantling Berdych in the QF’s, Djokovic was even better in his annihilation of Andy Murrray (who would fare much better just days later).
A shout out too for Milos Raonic, who produced some impressive power in beating Rafa Nadal.
In Miami, Serena would reign supreme once more (defeating Suarez Navarro in a very quick finale) and Djokovic made it a double once again.
In short, for the most part, March proved to us that the Women’s game is alive and well but Serena remains wholly capable still of dominating the biggest tournaments. Halep and others can beat her yes, but their time for dominance is still a long way away.
The men’s game is a similar story but only up to a point, and at that summit is Djokovic, and only Djokovic. Novak isn’t a fan of the clay but – with Nadal seriously struggling – this looks to be the best chance yet of the Serbinator nabbing that elusive title.
Murray and perhaps Federer still have a chance also, but neither like the clay more than Novak.
It is looking very rosy for the Serb now, let’s see what happens in a month or so.