The Report Card hands out grades for the week in tennis. Last week, Juan Martin del Potro continued his dominance of the Citi Open, and Sam Stosur added a major scalp and a big title to her name in Carlsbad, Calif.
Juan Martin del Potro: A-plus. The nation’s capital suits del Potro. He’s now won the Citi Open title the last three times he’s played it (he also won in 2008 and 2009). The only man to beat him in Washington, D.C., in four appearances is Wayne Odesnik, in 2007. Last week, the Argentine didn’t drop a set against Ryan Harrison, Bernard Tomic, Kevin Anderson and Tommy Haas, and then came back to defeat John Isner 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 in the final. Del Potro, who is closing in on No. 6 Tomas Berdych, collected his 15th career title and became the 10th player with at least two titles this year.
Juan Martin del Potro as U.S. Open favorite? Crazier things have been said.
Sam Stosur: A-plus. Stosur has won the U.S. Open, reached the French Open final and beaten Justine Henin and Serena Williams (twice!) at Grand Slams. But she came into the Southern California Open with just three career titles, a surprisingly low number for a player with her firepower, and she didn’t seem poised to add to that total after a bad opening loss to Olga Govortsova at the Bank of the West Classic two weeks ago. But the 29-year-old Australian rebounded in a big way in Carlsbad, where, after accepting a late wild card into the tournament, she upset Agnieszka Radwanska 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 in the quarterfinals and top-seeded Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 6-3 in the final. Stosur had been 0-8 against Azarenka before Sunday’s victory, clinching her first title since the 2011 U.S. Open.
Stosur celebrated by hitting the pool:
John Isner: A. The top-ranked American extended his winning streak to eight matches before finally running out of gas (and luck) against del Potro in the final. On the whole, Isner’s level was top-notch through the week. His returns were solid, and he was able to break opponents and avoid the slew of tiebreak sets that marked his title run two weeks ago in Atlanta, where he played seven tiebreakers in four matches compared to just four in five matches in D.C.
Magdalena Rybarikova: A. Much like del Potro, Rybarikova just loves D.C. She successfully defended her Citi Open title, rallying from 0-4 down in the first set to upend Andrea Petkovic 6-4, 7-6 (2) in the final. Rybarikova also downed Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals.
Andrea Petkovic: B-plus. Petkovic’s comeback is quietly getting into gear. She made her second WTA final of the year with solid wins over wins over Alize Cornet and Mona Barthel before coming up short against Rybarikova in the final. Pekovic climbed 14 spots in the rankings, from No. 64 to No. 50.
Chin up, Petko:
My dearest Ryan Gosling- save me from this emo state I'm in. Thank you, sincerly, yours Andrea.—
Andrea Petkovic (@andreapetkovic) August 05, 2013
Marcel Granollers: A. The Spaniard bounced back from a first-set bagel to beat Juan Monaco 0-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4 in the Kitzbuhel final and capture his first title in two years.
Sloane Stephens: D. A little rust is understandable after taking some time off following Wimbledon, but a quiet, straight-set loss to 88th-ranked Olga Puchkova on home soil, at the Citi Open was a shocker. Stephens had a great draw last week to make her first WTA final.
Victoria Azarenka: B. She looked pretty unbeatable through the first few rounds of Carlsbad, but losing to Stosur in straight sets was a surprise, given their head-to-head. She subsequently withdrew from this week’s Rogers Cup, citing a lower-back injury. Precautionary or serious? We’ll have to see in Cincinnati.
Ana Ivanovic: B. No longer working with Nigel Sears and reunited with Sven Groeneveld as part of the Adidas Player Development Program, Ivanovic put together a strong run in Carlsbad (where she beat Stanford champion Dominika Cibulkova in the first round) to make her second semifinal of the year. She pushed Azarenka to three sets before losing 6-0, 4-6, 6-3.
Martina Hingis: B. In her first WTA event since 2007, Hingis kicked off her doubles comeback by pairing with Daniela Hantuchova to rout Julia Goerges and Darija Jurak 6-1, 6-1. The opening-round win was all the more impressive given that Goerges and Jurak had made the Stanford final the week before. However, there was no title run for the 32-year-old veteran with 37 doubles titles. Hingis and Hantuchova lost in the next round to eventual champions Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears.
Petra Kvitova: D-plus. In the second-longest women’s match of the year, Kvitova held two match points against French wild card Virginie Razzano (perhaps you’ve heard that name before) in the third-set tiebreaker and couldn’t convert. Then, after three hours and 35 minutes under the San Diego sun, Kvitova wilted and double-faulted down match point to lose 6-7 (8), 7-5, 7-6 (8). Ouch.
Tennis is hard… But that's why we like it, no? We never know the ending.. I hope a happy ending next time for me :(—
Petra Kvitova (@Petra_Kvitova) August 03, 2013
Marcos Baghdatis: B. Baghdatis finally — finally! — won a match. The Cypriot hadn’t won an ATP-level match since the beginning of February, losing 10 straight over the last five and a half months. He’s been working with Zeljko Krajan since Rome and their work finally paid off in a 6-7 (2), 6-2, 6-4 win over Lukas Lacko in the first round of the Citi Open. He then got greedy and followed it up with a strong 6-1, 6-2 win over Kei Nishikori.
Alison Riske: B. Speaking of snapping an ominous streak, Riske finally won her first WTA main-draw match away from the grass of Birmingham, England. The 23-year-old’s 6-3, 7-5 win over Vania King in the first round of the Citi Open put her at a career-high No. 93.
Mardy Fish: B-plus. Fish won for the first time since March, beating beating 114th-ranked Matthew Ebden 2-6, 6-1, 6-3 and Julien Benneteau 6-3, 7-5 at the Citi Open. Though he looked fit and ready to get back into the full swing of the summer season, Fish announced he would be skipping the Rogers Cup for personal reasons.
Grigor Dimitrov: B. Another decent week for Dimitrov, who knocked off Sam Querrey, 6-3, 6-2 to make yet another quarterfinal before losing in a tight one to Tommy Haas, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3).