Second tournament on clay in Rafael Nadal’s bag after his victory against David Ferrer in Barcelona. The former world number 1 appears to be already super fit. One month to Roland Garros, the left-handed player is...

Second tournament on clay in Rafael Nadal’s bag after his victory against David Ferrer in Barcelona. The former world number 1 appears to be already super fit. One month to Roland Garros, the left-handed player is definitely the number one favourite for the Porte d’Auteuil tournament.

Bucharest, Gilles Simon 10/10

Inconspicuously, Gilles Simon was under pressure on Bucharest’s clay courts. Winner of the tournament in 2007 and 2008 and seeded No. 1 on Romanian land, the French got the best out of the modest Fabio Fognini (57th player in the world) in less than two hours (6-4, 6-3). A score that doesn’t reflect the reality of the match. Indeed, after his great performance in Monte Carlo (semi-final), the French number 2 had to work hard to avoid the many break points on the services he conceded. A pretty average service to say the least (only 48% of first services). In the second set, the world number 12 had to keep fighting to rule out five break points and finally win the tournament, the tenth of his career. If his body doesn’t let him down - especially his back - Simon can hope to be the troublemaker of Roland Garros’ clay courts. At least, hopefully for him, as he’s been trying for a while now…  

Barcelona, Nadal as usual

A week after his eighth title at Monte Carlo, Rafael Nadal continues his series by winning for the seventh time the Barcelona tournament. While his week was fairly quiet - especially his semi-final against Verdasco that he knocked out for the thirteenth time in thirteen matches - Rafa had to snatch to beat his compatriot David Ferrer in the final (7-6, 7-5, 1h33 for the sole first set). However, Ferrer had numerous opportunities to take the first set. For over an hour, Ferrer accomplished the feat of forcing Nadal to play very far from his bottom line, even dictating the game with his forehand topspin. But, as often when Ferrer has the set in his racket, he falters. Mentally, he is no match for the monster that is Nadal, who won his 48th career title. After two tournaments on clay in 2012, Rafa is already showing ten wins in ten games (all in straight sets). Quite impressive. The Favourite for Roland Garros isn’t hard to find. And he’s left-handed.  

Stuttgart, the beautiful Maria takes her revenge

What a weekend for the gorgeous Maria Sharapova. Saturday, the former World No. 1 took took Petra Kvitova in two hours (6-4, 7-6 [3]) in the semi-finals, before knocking out Victoria Azarenka in the final (6-1, 6-4). A sweet taste of revenge for the Russian after two defeats against the world number one in finals (Australian Open and Indian Wells). But above all, Sharapova landed her first tournament victory in 2012 (her twenty-fifth in career). You can’t forget that Sharapova had an account to settle with the Belarusian. Indeed, Azarenka molested the Russian dryly in their last clashes (6-3, 6-0 Australia, 6-2, 6-3 in Indian Wells). In order to show how hungry she was for victory, she made an unbelievable start, thanks to a XXL service, and a quickly dispatched the first set (3-0, 4-1, 6-1 to finish). An easy win but to put into perspective. Indeed, Azarenka had to seek the intervention of the physio for a wrist injury. Nevertheless, the Russian garners confidence before Roland Garros. The only Grand Slam title still missing to her list...  

Fez, Bertens the surprise guest

Kiki Bertens is 20 years old. She stands at the 149th place in WTA ranking, and has no title to her name. Over the weekend, the native Wateringen player updated her Curriculum Vitae. Even better, the pretty Dutch had previously never won a single match on the professional tour: now consider it done. After qualifying, the right-handed just won the Fes’ tournament in Morocco. A truly great performance, especially since the blonde leaves Morocco with the scalp of the Romanian Simona Halep (42nd Worldwide, double finalist in Fez and eliminated in the semi-finals 6-3, 6-4) and above all the one of the Spanish Laura Pous-tio (seeded No. 5 in the tournament) who lost in the final in two sets (7-5, 6-0). Quietly but surely, the young player pocketed a nice handful of dollars and left the tournament Grand Prix SAR Princess Lalla Meryem with stars in her eyes.  

The package

Mardy Fish and the Olympics, it's a bit of a love story. In 2004, the American left Athens with a nice silver charm around his neck. Currently ninth in the world and first American in the ATP rankings, Mardy won’t be going to London this summer. He announced this week that he prefers to stay home, where he will finalize his preparation through the summer at the Washington tournament with in sight the U.S. Open in September.  

The quote

When asked why he prefers the PlayStation to the Xbox 360 or the Wii Gilles Simon’s answer is pretty straightforward. And detailed. "I always played the PlayStation because my favourite game is Final Fantasy. The license was exclusive to the PlayStation one, then to the PlayStation two and now to the PlayStation 3. That’s why it’s just the best console on the market". Phew, An essential issue finally settled.  

The figure: 10%

Work more to earn more. Or something like that. Right now, on the ATP tour, the trend is to increase the overall allocation of Grand Slams. After Roland Garros, Wimbledon has just yield to the pressure from the players. The overall allocation of the tournament on grass will be increased by 10%. Specifically, it will go from 14.6 million pounds to 16.1 million. In the facts, players out in the first round will walk away with 14,500 pounds (+26%). As for the lucky winners, they will go home with more than a million pounds in their pocket. Nice one.  

The ranking: 75

That’s the ranking of the Hungarian Greta Arn. Her particularity? She’s the highest ranked 70s born female player in the world. It's simple: in the top 100 women, only three of them are seventies babies. Besides the Hungarian, there are Kimiko Date Krumm (born in 1970), 82nd Worldwide and Tamarine Tanasugarn (1977), 85th.  

Tweet of the week

Victoria Azarenka oversees women's tennis. But she has also a quite good sense of humour. Wednesday, as she was watching the semi-finals of the Champions League football match between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, the Belarusian posted a photo on her Twitter account of Julia Görges, a German player. And obviously, a Bayern fan. "Some rough comments from @ juliagoerges watching football. Girls watching soccer together. Where is world going? Lol"!/vika7/status/195235647823413248/photo/1  

The video

Rafael Nadal had it tough to get rid of David Ferrer. The proof with this video punctuated with a huge defensive raging scream. Vamos! link :