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The Weekly Wild Card: July 16 | July | 2012 Articles

The Weekly Wild Card: July 16

Written by Brandon Lawrence on .

The cure for a hangover? More drinking. After the emotional high of Wimbledon, the ATP World Tour spread out to four different countries in two continents and the WTA Tour began their version of the US Open Series. And all around the globe? The favorites all won. Click Read More to get your Weekly Wild Card.

 -The "biggest" tournament on the men's side, based on prize money and prestige, was the Hall of Fame Championships in Newport, Rhode Island. It is the only grass court tournament in North America, and it coincides with the International Tennis Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. The tournament, while not particularly meaningful on its own, has provided a shot in the arm for American players in the past. John Isner and Mardy Fish had both in the past used the tournament to start their summer right. This year, John Isner, after struggling mightily in Europe, found his game and successfully defended his Newport title. The other major story was the resurgence of Lleyton Hewitt, who reached the final but was unable to defeat Isner. There were a couple other items of note from the tournament. Ryan Harrison, the young American, made a great run into the semifinals where he ran into Isner. There were a couple disappointing results. Milos Raonic barely squeaked by Matthew Ebden before getting beaten soundly by Benjamin Becker. Donald Young and Alex Bogomolov Jr both continued their descents back into obscurity with first round defeats.

- The three tournaments that took place in Europe over the past week occupy a peculiar place in the calendar. They are all held on red clay, and with no major red clay tournaments from now until next year, they are a fun, if meaningless, money and ranking points grab. And in the three tournaments in Croatia, Sweden, and Stuttgart, the number one or two seed won each of them. Top seeded David Ferrer won the Swedish Open, and top seeded Janko Tipsarevic won the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart, while second seeded Marin Cilic won his home tournament in Croatia. Overall, nothing particulary newsworthy happened, except that notorious underachiever Grigor Dimitrov made the semifinals in Sweden. Will he use this to improve his game and be more consistent? Probably not. But a good result for him regardless.

- On the women's side, the US Open Series began with the Bank of the West Classic on the campus of Stanford University. Calling it a Classic is a bit generous, and the only player of note to play in the tournaments was defending champion and 2012 Wimbledon winner Serena Williams. Serena won the Wimbledon title on Saturday, hopped on a plane late Sunday, and played only a few days later. Fortunately for her, there was no other top player in the tournament, and I'm not counting Bartoli as a top player. Serena practically sleepwalked through the tournament, but the most interesting storyline of the tournament was Coco Vandeweghe. The young American made the first WTA final of her career, and in doing so set up the first all American WTA final since the 2009 WTA Championships, which featured both Williams sisters. Serena started off poorly against Vandeweghe, and Coco even served for the first set, but her serve deserted her. Serena broke, won the set, and never looked back. Serena keeps the points she earned last year, and many viewed her participation in this event as a way for her keep the ranking points necessary to make a run at the number one ranking. Next for her will be the Olympics.

- In Palermo, the big story was Brit Laura Robson reaching her first WTA semifinal. Sara Errani also continues to look to build off her French Open run, as she won the title. 

- Going into next week, the oddest ATP World Tour 500 level event takes place. The German Tennis Championships, formerly the Hamburg Masters, takes place as a 500 level event. Nicolas Almagro and Gilles Simon are the top seeds, and I would say there are about 8 players who have a real shot at winning the tournament. While it doesn't prepare them at all for the upcoming Olympics or American hard court tournaments, it can provide some useful ranking points to give them better seeds. 

-The US Open Series also begins on the men's side, with Atlanta playing host. There are a ton of Americans in this event, with John Isner, Mardy Fish, and Andy Roddick being the top ones. Look for an American to win this one.

- The final ATP tournament this week is being held in Gstaad, Switzerland. The top seed is Janko Tipsarevic, with hometown favorite Stan Wawrinka also playing. Who'll win? I have no clue.

-The women are in Carlsbad and Sweden, with the Carlsbad tournament being a Premier event. Even though it has the designation, the highest seeded player is Marion Bartoli, and no one else of note is playing. The top player in Sweden is Sara Errani, and she has to be the favorite, although look out for Roberta Vinci, her compatriot. 

- Today also marks the 287th week that Roger Federer has been ranked number one, a new record. What an amazing achievement, and that combined with the most major titles of all time, Federer continues to cement his status as the greatest of all time. We'll see him and the rest of the top players next at the Olympics, but in the meantime, enjoy the tennis!