Monday, 11 April 2016

Three for Sloane in 2016

After the two big tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami, to be renamed Vika and Novak Benefit Events, many of the big names set themselves for the European clay court season, leading into the second major of the year at Roland Garros.

Several players stayed in the US, women to play the Charleston tournament, the men off to Houston for a clay court experience.  Overseas, Marrakech has hosted an ATP event, while Poland's Katowice attracted a field of WTA players in a hard court warm up to bigger things.

Charleston lost Belinda Bencic and Venus Williams early, but it was 7th seed Sloane Stephens who dominated the event, taking out top seed Angie Kerber in the semi final, before winning her third title of 2016 with a win over Elena Vesnina in a quality final.

Dominika Cibulkova had made one final this year, losing in Mexico to Sloane Stephens in fact, so it was a happy Slovakian who easily conquered a lesser field to win in Poland, as 8th seed, defeating Italian 5th seed Camila Giorgi in the final.

Back in the States, it was future US number one (another fearless prediction) Jack Sock who took all before him, including knocking out top seed and compatriot John Isner to make the Houston final.
However, it was wily old Argentine Juan Monaco, now ranked 148, but once as high as 10, and raised on clay, who won the day.  He dismissed 2nd seed Benoit Paire, 5th seed Sam Querrey, 3rd seed Feliciano Lopez, before the three set triumph over 4th seed Sock in the final.

Marrakech, Africa was the scene for some of the lower ranked men to show their wares, the top seed ranked 37 in the world.  Federico Delbonis had only just taken Andy Murray's scalp at Indian Wells a fortnight ago to make the round of 16, so it was no great shock to see him take the title with a win over Croatia's Borna Coric.  Two mATP events in one week and two Argentine victors. 

Monte Carlo coming up and questions to be answered regarding Nadal on the surface that he has basically owned.  Does he still ?  And is Federer back to full fitness and if so will he ever win this tournament ?

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