All the reasonable prognosticators had it playing out something like this, Rafael Nadal hurtling his way through the field to the Barcelona Open final. The last six times the Spaniard has laced up the Nikes at the Real Club de Tenis, he's won the trophy. Yesterday, he took out the most recent "other" champion, 2010 winner Fernando Verdasco 6-0, 6-4. In doing so, Nadal set up a final versus World No. 6 David Ferrer, a 7-6 (2), 6-4 winner over Canadian prospect Milos Raonic in a matchup closer than the score indicates, but one that showed Raonic doesn't seem to be quite ready to join the tour elite just yet. How will this final play out? Here's the BLT take:
29 April, 2012
27 April, 2012
If you haven't heard the news, well I guess you don't follow on Facebook or Twitter...and for that, shame on you. In any event, Blacklabel Tennis is taking on the Spanish clay swing this spring this swing and we kicked off today in Barcelona. We've posted a raft of our best shots on our Facebook page already, but we've saved some exclusives for you after the jump. Plus here's the only place for our quick commentary on the day.
22 April, 2012
Novak Djokovic versus Rafael Nadal, we've heard those words before 31 matches now. With all due respect to Roger Federer, the clashes between Nadal and Djokovic are fast becoming the defining rivalry of this current era of men's tennis, Nadal holds a slim 17-14 lead. Djokovic and Nadal are now the top two ranked players in the world, the winners of the last eight majors (four apiece) and their matches are pushing the very boundaries of the sport in terms of endurance and explosive shotmaking. The history left us (and most of the tennis world) salivating at the prospect of another final between the man dubbed the King of Clay and the reigning King of Tennis. This round would end with Nadal firmly atop his throne once more, drubbing a subpar Djokovic 6-3, 6-1 and winning his record-extending eighth Rolex Monte Carlo Masters and 20th ATP Masters 1000 title.
16 April, 2012
After swings in the Middle East, Latin America and the United States the tennis world is reconvening on Europe's outdoor clay courts for L'Autoroute A Roland Garros (The Highway to Roland Garros). While all eyes will eventually be on the famed terre battue of the French capital, before we reach the end of the highway there are cash and tradition rich events scheduled in Monte Carlo, Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome among other locales. Here is our look at the ten most important players to keep an eye on as the dirtball, err clay court season unfolds.
03 April, 2012
For years, tennis' twittering classes have been imploring former World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki to be more like 13-time major champion Serena Williams. Well, the almost great Dane seems to finally have taken that advice...but in the worst possible way. No, she hasn't (allegedly) screamed obscenities at a line judge, but weren't not talking about adding power to her game either. No, Caroline's following in Serena's footsteps by making her off-court interests more public; but she's not becoming a nail technician; nor is she going to guest star in a mediocre sitcom episode...that we know of. No, Wozniacki's adding to the WTA's noise pollution epidemic with an autotuned, synthesized comedy routine masquerading as a pop song.
You can hear Caroline Wozniacki's first (and presumably last) pop single "Oxygen" after the jump.