The tennis news (but not only) of the week: baby Safin and Halloween

Nov 6, 2018, 4:55:07 PM

The tennis news (but not only) of the week: baby Safin and Halloween
The best of the past week, on and off the courts, day after day. With a new world number 1, Safin’s reincarnation, the WTA season slowly ending and a very good Halloween.

Monday, October 29th

The tennis week started off, as usual, with Kevin Anderson winning two spots at the ATP ranking. The South-African is now the world number 6 and qualified for his first ATP Finals. In women’s tennis, the best progression is for Elina Svitolina, who’s now the world number 4 after her triumph at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals. Now let’s head to the Rolex Paris Masters, which hasn’t been this appealing for years, with the presence of Nadal, Djokovic and Federer. For the occasion, Benoit Paire decided to dye his hair... pink. Why not? In any case, it’s much more joyful than the rest of the news of the day, as Bolsonaro was elected in Brasil, a plane crashed in Indonesia, and the WWF announced that 60% of wild animals have gone extinct since 1970. It’s too much for Angela Merkel, who announced that she will soon end her political career.


Tuesday, October 30th

The second day started in Paris-Bercy and there are only three of the ten French players remaining in the tournament. Benoît Paire and his “beetroot” haircut is out, just like Lucas Pouille who keeps on disappointing his fans, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who was defeated by another revenant, Milos Raonic. Roger Federer, however, confirmed his presence. In women’s tennis, it’s almost time for holidays, but not just yet, with the WTA Elite Trophy being played in Zhuhai this week. The tournament is a sort of second chance for the best players who couldn’t qualified for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals last week. In the draw, we found, for instance, Kasatkina, Mertens, Muguruza, Garcia… In the rest of the sporting news, the start of the NBA season confirmed that the title-holder, the Golden State Warriors, are the huge favorites to win once again, as they are destroying all their opponents, with their latest triumph coming against the Chicago Bulls. Enough to please their number 1 fan, Novak Djokovic.


Wednesday, October 31st

This Halloween 2018 did look like a horror movie for the organizers of the Rolex Paris Masters: the last French players remaining have been knocked out, Federer qualified without playing following Milos Raonic’s withdrawal, and Nadal’s withdrawal, as he is still suffering from his injury. The Spaniard’s withdrawal came as good news for Novak Djokovic, who is certain to take back the number 1 spot at the ATP Ranking. A scenario which only a bold man could have pictured at the start of the season. But Halloween is also the time to dress up and take out the best pictures of the Graf-Agassi couple, the best in the business. Too bad they didn’t give it a try this year, but Agassi has less time on his hands now that he is taking care of Grigor Dimitrov’s career. Let’s cheer ourselves up by watching the video of the Frenchman Salif Lasource, the king of moonwalking who produced an unbelievable performance in front of the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris!


Thursday, November 1st

Jack Sock against Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev against Karen Khachanov, Kei Nishikori against Roger Federer and Marin Cilic against Novak Djokovic: that’s the program of the quarter-finals in Paris, after the fourth round was played on this Thursday, November 1st. A public holiday to decorate graves and ask ourselves the right questions, and notably question the state of French tennis. Gilles Simon didn’t beat around the bush as he said he was “pessimistic for the future”. He won’t be spreading bad vibes in the group which will take part in the BNP Paribas Davis Cup final, as Yannick Noah has excluded him from his pre-selection, just like Benoit Paire, Adrian Mannarino, Gaël Monfils and Julien Benneteau. There are only six names remaining: Chardy, Gasquet, Herbert, Pouille, Mahut and Tsonga. The only certainty is that they won’t be favorites against the Croatian players who are in top form at the moment, especially Cilic and Coric.


Friday, November 2nd

Before heading back to Paris, let’s take a small detour and get some news from the girls who are playing the Elite Trophy in China. The group stage is over, and the semi-finals will see Julia Görges taking on Ashleigh Barty and Garbine Muguruza against Madison Keys. A nice birthday present for the German who celebrated her 30th birthday with her fans. It’s also time for the semi-finals in Paris. Khachanov, who was very impressive against Zverev, will face Dominic Thiem, who defeated the title-holder Jack Sock. But more importantly, THE long-expected confrontation between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic will take place, as the first produced a very convincing performance in two sets against Nishikori, as the future world number 1 won a hard-fought battle against Marin Cilic. We can’t wait for tomorrow!


Saturday, November 3rd

A change in the draw in China! As her knee was still painful, Madison Keys had to withdraw from the tournament and was replaced by Wang Qiyang for her semi-final. The local seized her opportunity and knocked out Muguruza to reach the final, where she will face Ashleigh Barty. Not your usual headliners… In Paris, however, players put on a huge show with a homeric fight won by Djokovic in three long sets against Federer, with some moments of genius on both sides which pleased the french crowd. The Serb will however face a tough challenge in the last match of the week as he will take on an impressive Khachanov, who easily defeated Thiem, after crushing Zverev in the previous round. In the rest of the news, nothing much to point out, except that Melania Trump left Cairo, where she was on an official visit, with a hotel bill worth 95 000 dollars, and Apu, the Indian character in the Simpsons, could disappear from the show after the authors of the legendary TV show were accused of racism towards the Hindu community.


Sunday, November 4th

Two finals on the menu of this November 4th. The first saw Ashleigh Barty facing Wang Qiang and the Australian logically on in two sets to win the WTA Elite Trophy, the last individual tournament of the season. The last stop will be the BNP Paribas Fed Cup final next week with Czech Republic facing the U.S which will have to play without its best players. Against Kvitova and Pliskova, Team USA will be led by... Danielle Collins, Sofia Kenin and Alison Riske. No Williams sisters, no Alison Keys, and no Sloane Stephens, then... too bad. In men’s tennis, a huge surprise: the outsider Khachanov surprised Djokovic and won his first Masters 1000 in Paris! Not the last, surely, looking at the huge improvement in “Baby Safin” ‘s game, and his ability to show up in big moments: he’s now got four wins in four final played on the circuit. Djoko will cheer himself up knowing that he is taking back his world number 1 spot. There are three big events remaining in men’s tennis: in the right order, the Next Gen ATP Finals (where we’ll only find the players born in 1997 and after, with Tsitsipas being the huge favorite in front of De Minaur and the Americans Tiafoe and Fritz), the long-expected ATP Finals in London (Djokovic, Federer, Nadal, the eternal clash of the titans) and finally the goodbyes to the current Davis Cup by BNP Paribas with the final between France and Croatia starting on November 19th. Get your tissues ready!