Point / Counterpoint
2014 Family Circle Cup
2014 Sony Open - Miami
2014 Indian Wells
World Tennis Day at MSG 2014
2014 GDF Suez Open
2014 Australian Open
2013 ATP World Tour Finals
2013 US Open
2013 Bad Gastein
2013 Australian Open
2013 French Open
2013 SAP Open
2013 Indian Wells
Keeping It Simple with Blair Henley
Heroes and Zeros: Fognini is Fab, Kazakhstan and Canada are Climbing
By Chris Oddo
(February 4, 2013) --
has the ability to inspire a patriotic fervor in players who have otherwise been lulled to sleep by the entrepreneurial enticements of life on the tour, and last weekend was no exception. Unsung and underappreciated, heroes emerged like flowers from cracks in the pavement, blooming right in front of our very eyes.
Here's the best and brightest of what
we saw this weekend
Hero: Andrey Golubev and Kazakhstan
What is it about Golubev and Davis Cup? "It's not about the rankings, It's only about playing for your country," the Kazakh, a former World No. 33 who is currently languishing at 165, said after defeating
to secure a place for Kazakhstan in the World Group quarterfinals on Sunday.
Wins have been very hard to come by for the talented 25-year-old, but he's had a few in his career, perhaps none bigger than his upset of Tomas Berdych in 2011, when the Kazakhs famously upset the Czech Republic in their first ever World Group appearance.
Now if only Golubev can pretend every match is a Davis Cup match when he steps on the court, he may begin to rebuild his ranking...
Zero: Lukas Lacko
The disgruntled Slovakian
took to Twitter
to call out
for not playing in Slovakia's Davis Cup tie against the Ukraine over the weekend. As entertaining as it was for us gossip-starved fools on Twitter, there has to be a better way for Lacko to reach out to a person that he calls "a good friend."
Hero: Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares
Just when it looked like the USA was going to close out the Brazilians on Saturday with ease, Melo and Soares upped their game to defeat the world's best doubles team in five sets in Jacksonville. In staving off elimination, the Brazilian duo become only the third team to defeat the Bryans in Davis Cup play, and the first since 2008.
Zero: John Isner
Isner had the chance to close out Brazil on Sunday with a win over
at home, on a fast, American-style hardcourt, but he couldn't get it done. Worse,
Isner took issue with Brazilian fans at the Jacksonville tie
who were noisy between points, reportedly saying saying "To be honest, I don't appreciate their fans at all. I don't think they're too classy at all."
Some things are simply better left unsaid, John. Or at least put more tactfully.
Hero: Fabio Fognini and Corrado Barazzutti
for winning a decisive fifth rubber to give Italy its first World Group Davis Cup win since 1998, and more kudos to Italy's Captain,
, for having the wherewithal to rest Fognini on Friday, so that he could be fresh on Sunday to take out Ivan Dodig in Turin.
Zero: The Tennis Gods
For being so rough on
. Wawrinka and his partner
longest match in Davis Cup history
on Saturday, when they fell to
4-6, 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(3), 24-22 in seven hours and two minutes.
Not only has Wawrinka been shouldered with the burden of leading the Swiss team against the defending champions in Geneva while Roger Federer is off gallivanting, he was also forced to deal with a monster of a player in Berdych again on Sunday (he lost in four tough sets)...
Speaking of Berdych...
Hero: Tomas Berdych
Has anyone noticed that Tomas Berdych owns a 17-1 record in Davis Cup doubles? That is mighty impressive, considering that an elite player like Berdych could easily demure with regard to doubles when it comes to Davis Cup. In a day and age when most top players pick and choose the ties they play based on how they feel and what tour events they want to be extra fresh for, Berdych seems to be happy putting it all on the line for his native Czech Republic. He's gone 13-1 in Davis Cup play since the beginning of 2012, and reached his 40th career Davis Cup victory with his epic doubles win on Saturday.
Hero: Christian Harrison
--Ryan's little brother--won his first professional singles title this weekend when he took the Men's Futures event in Sheffield, England. It was his second consecutive final.
Hero: Maria Kirilenko
The Russian won her sixth career title, and first since 2008, when she took the PTT Pattaya Open with a
three-set win over Sabine Lisicki in the final
Oh, Canada! The Canadians won their first World Group tie against Spain and will host Italy in the quarterfinals in April. It wasn't the Spain side we've seen in recent years, as
Nicolas Almagro, Feliciano Lopez,
were all nowhere to be found, but nevertheless, a World Group win is a World Group win.
Hero: Mona Barthel
The German became one of just four unseeded champions in Open GDF Suez history, and she notched her second and third top ten wins en route to her second WTA title.
Zero: Jurgen Melzer
0-2 vs. two players outside of the top 100 in Austria's loss to Kazakhstan.
Hero: Kristina Mladenovic
The 19-year-old jumped to a career-high ranking of No. 69 by reaching the Open GDF Suez semifinal last week.
(Photo Credit: Daviscup.com)
France Clinches Doubles to Win Fed Cup Tie Versus U....
Vekic Upsets Cibulkova to Win Maiden Title in Kuala ...
Wawrinka Defeats Federer for Monte-Carlo Crown
Kerber Books Germany Into First Fed Cup Final in 22 ...
Keys Keeps U.S. Fed Cup Team Level with France After...
Popular This Week
Djokovic-Federer, By the Numbers, Episode 34
Fognini on Reaching Top 10: “Not My Problem”
Part II: Talking Tennis with ESPN’s Chris Fowler
Calling the Shots: Talking Tennis with ESPN’s Chris ...
Djokovic Taking a Different Approach to Clay-Court S...
TENNIS NOW TV
Daily News Vlog
Catching Up With...
Tennis Lessons Online with Tom Avery
Fuzzy Yellow Balls - Video Tennis Lessons
Tennis Express - Racquets, Shoes, and Apparel