- Each of today’s ATP finals were won by the favorite. Tomas Berdych took out a surprisingly (to me at least) resurgent Marin Cilic. I figured the PED suspension would hurt Marin’s game for some time. Instead, he’s started 2014 well. Berdych builds on a strong Aussie Open showing. A lot of people have been waiting on Berdych to do something after his 2004 Olympic splash, but, aside from May-July 2010, he’s been a very solid top 10 player who has not threatened for big trophies. Maybe the Big Czech looks at Melbourne and thinks he could have been in the final and beaten a spent/less than 100% Nadal.
- David Ferrer winning a clay court event is not huge news. He is either the second or third best clay court player on tour. Still, beating a younger player in Fabio Fognini proves that Ferrer is an ageless as well as tireless player.
- Kei Nishikori beat another ageless player in Ivo Karlovic. Kei played well in Melbourne so a title here may be the start of a big year for him. Gasquet was solid in early 2013 and built toward a semifinal appearance in New York.
Halep and Kerber
Simona Halep put together a comprehensive win over a quality opponent in Angelique Kerber. I think Kerber can become a top 5 player if a lot of things break her way (I’d say work with Jimmy Connors perhaps). I think Halep is on her way to the top 5 in the next 9-18 months.