Monday February 21st, 2011

1. Just go with it: What a week in Memphis at the Regions Morgan Keegan Championship. Andy Roddick won his first tournament of year -- and third career Memphis title -- beating Milos Raonic in a three-set thriller, wrapping the match up with the most ridiculous winner you will ever see. But for the second week in a row, a tournament was essentially hijacked by Raonic, the hard-serving Canadian who, in the span of barely a month, has gone from an Australian Open qualifier to the highest-ranked singles player in Canadian history (up to No. 37 in this week's rankings). Between his talent and his poise -- his four wins in Memphis were three-setters -- there's a lot of reason for optimism here.

One player whose stocked dropped in Memphis was Fernando Verdasco. After falling to Raonic for the second time in three days, Verdasco whined: "For me that's not a real match in tennis. I hope to play soon against him in clay court to show him what it is to play tennis, and play rallies, and run, and not [just] serve." Odd remarks from a player who's had plenty of success on hard courts. Odd remarks from a player who, in the past, has taken offense at being stereotyped as a clay-loving dirtballer. Verdasco has, predictably, been eating dirt in social media -- but we give him a partial pass because of this.

2. Back on top: Mimicking a tennis ball going back and forth over a net, a week after surrendering the top ranking to Kim Clijsters, Caroline Woznaicki regained the top spot last week, en route to winning the title in Dubai. Wozniacki sure did a convincing impersonation of a top player, winning every match in straight sets. Woznaicki will stay No. 1 through at least March 20. She may not have -- all together now -- won a major. But you sure can't question her results at the other events.

3. Scoring points: Casual fans often tune in at a Grand Slam and wonder how Player X could possibly have ascended to such an impressive ranking. Truth is, if you're able and willing, there are plenty of points on the table throughout the year. Consider Robin Soderling, who won his third title of 2011, beating Marin Cilic in the final of the Marseille event. Soderling has now won 17 of 18 matches in 2011. When he's seeded fourth at Roland Garros, remember this. Likewise, Nicolas Almagro won his second straight title, beating Juan Ignacio Chela in Buenos Aires.

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