Ladies and Gentlemen, the two hottest players on the ATP and WTA tours continued their hot streaks this weekend. Rafa sent a huge statement to the field this week (particularly to Fed and Nole) that the change in surface is not necessarily a change in result. While he didn't have to go through Fed or Nole for the trophy (not his fault his main rivals crashed out early), his wins over Gasquet and Murray were huge and emphatic, maybe not in scoreline, but in quality and tenacity.
With the win in Toronto, Rafa's shot at #1 comes this week in Cincinnati and it's very likely that he will go into the US Open in a few weeks as the number one seed. I'll preview the points race in another post. But lost in all of this is the big story: with this win, Rafa has put the Xisca curse to bed. Rafa had previously failed to win any tournament she attended.
On the left coast, Dinara Safina followed up her big win over Jelena Jankovic on Saturday night with a solid performance against a resurgent Flavia Pennetta to take the LA title. At this point, it's hard to argue that there has been a more consistent and dominant player on the WTA over the past three months. She won Berlin having blitzed the field by beating Serena, Justine, and Elena D., made the finals of RG beating Maria, Kuzzie, and Lena D. again, made the finals of S' Hertogenbosch, and probably would have made a run at Wimbledon had she not succumbed to cramps against Peer.
Good on her. Ana's Avenger looked even fitter than she did at RG and Wimbly, and it's always nice to see a player's visible dedication and hard work pay off. If she can stay healthy, there's no reason she can't make a run for #1 in the next year. Her strokes are technically solid, her game is strong, she's proven she can play on all surfaces, she's fit, and most importantly, she's tamed those Safin demons without muting the competitive fire that clearly runs in her blood.
One interesting note: Safina is copying her BFF Ana's 2007 run. Wins Berlin, RG runner-up, LA champion. Stay tuned.
Lastly, Sara Errani won Portoroz, giving her a 10 match win streak. On her way to her second title she beat my girl Caro "Ski Boots" Wozniaki. Get some rest Caro.