Milos Gets His Triple
Milos Raonic d. Tommy Haas 6/4, 6/3
Tommy Haas showed up at the HP Pavilion armed with his best game, ready to rumble – only problem with that is that Milos Raonic did exactly the same. The 2013 version of Raonic is a much more mature player than the versions that won the 2011 and 2012 SAP Open titles. Raonic has exponentially improved his ground game while maintaining the booming serve, and he’s added mastery of the scorching return to his repertoire. It’s a recipe for unbeatable in this arena, and Raonic’s noticeably high level of confidence reflects that.
“I think I’m a much better player in general and I think I’m a much better competitor,” Raonic said. “I think I have a lot more experience and know better how to deal with certain situations. I’m more of a complete player.”
Raonic broke Haas’ serve early in the 1st set, and then again at midpoint in the 2nd, and we all know that’s not a good thing when playing Raonic – his serve is just too strong to count on being able to break back. Make just a few errors and you’re behind the 8-ball. It’s a situation similar to that almost-universal bad dream where you’re late to school, you rush down the hallway and realize you’re still in your PJs and sock monkey slippers, and let’s throw in some quicksand to up the ante. There’s nothing good about that scenario, but Haas had a very matter-of-fact take on the match result.
“There was nothing I could have done. I didn’t play a bad match; I just came up against a guy who played phenomenal tennis today,” he stated, displaying a perspective honed over many years on the ATP tour.
X-Man Gets His Double
Xavier Malisse/Frank Moser d. Lleyton Hewitt/Marinko Matosevic 6/0, 6/7 (5), 10/4
Xavier Malisse won his second consecutive SAP Open doubles championship, this time teamed up with Frank Moser. (Malisse and Mark Knowles won the title last year.) Team X-Man quickly bageled Team Rusty, as Lleyton Hewitt and Marinko Matosevic really weren’t clicking at all in the 1st set. In fact, they seemed destined for a double bagel, remaining scoreless through the first ten games.
But once they finally put a game on the scoreboard, Team Rusty began to show some spark, battling back to take the 2nd set and send the match into the super tiebreak. But Team X-Man would prevail, perhaps calling upon the Power of the Bun and some solid team play, giving them the honor of becoming the final SAP Open doubles champions.
The End of an Era
I stuck around to take a pic of the court being dismantled for the last time in the HP Pavilion. Covering the tournament this year has been bittersweet for me – I’ve loved every minute of being here, but I’m incredibly sorry to see the tournament come to an end. I’ve made friends here in the media room and among the tournament staff and spectators – it’s been a blast. My thanks to Jennifer for letting me cover it for you, and my thanks to you for enduring my sometimes giddy tennis-freak tweeting. It’s been a pleasure. Kimber Bennett (@DirtyOldBroad), signing off.