Maria Sharapova beat Li Na in three sets to defend her Italian Open title in Rome on Sunday in a bizarre match played in sometimes heavy rain and amid the distraction of football fans gathering nearby.
Longtime rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal remain on course for a semifinal showdown at the Indian Wells Masters after both former world No. 1s moved into the last eight of the U.S. hard-court tournament.
World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki began her latest bid for a first grand slam title with a 6-2 6-1 win over Anastasia Rodionova on Monday, joining last year's finalists Kim Clijsters and Li Na in the second round of the Australian Open.
Caroline Wozniacki survived a first round scare at the China Open Monday then defended French Open champion Li Na who has been the subject of fierce criticism for exiting at the same stage to a lowly-ranked opponent.
By the middle of the second set in their Australian Open semifinal, it was apparent that Roger Federer could not hurt Novak Djokovic. Heaven knows he tried. Over the years, he has tried in more ways than one.
So it has come to this in the world of big-time tennis: You're 28 years old, absolutely in your prime, cherishing the game -- and you're some kind of mythical superhero, a miracle of longevity and commitment.
Rafael Nadal's ascent to the top ranking has been accompanied by significant amount of press coverage -- even during an already crowded Olympic season. But, I was particularly struck by the video clip on the ATP Web site congratulating Rafa for this achievement. Full disclosure: I am a huge Rafa fan, but I am curious as to what is driving this. Is it due to Roger's incredible run of 237 weeks? Or is it something else? I can't imagine ATP doing this if Roger recaptures No. 1 next year, or even if Djokovic takes it, for that matter. Any insights on this? -- Tony Hooper, New York