Tennisopolis : Tennis Social Network

What can I say? I've really been into "American Idol" this season!

Anyway, the clay-court season—the real one, not the teaser Latin American one earlier this year—kicked off this week and already there's been some pretty interesting happenings.

I guess the biggest thing is Serena Williams losing today to Klara Zakopalova (huh? who?) in the first round in Marbella, Spain. And not only did she lose the match, she also lost the number-one ranking to Dinara Safina, who'll take over the top spot next week. I have a couple of thoughts on this: 1) Why did Williams even go out there if she just got through playing the finals in Miami and is scheduled to be in Charleston next week? I think any tennis realizes that's a pretty ambitious schedule for her. And 2) Her losing the top spot is almost as bogus as bogus gets. 'Nuff said on that—for now.

At the U.S. Clay Court Championships in Houston, the top four seeds—James Blake, Mardy Fish, Jurgen Melzer and Jeremy Chardy—are all out before the quarterfinals. Over at (shameless cross-promoting plug) VANtage Point on Down the Line! this week, I predicted Blake would lose in the first round. Pretty smart, huh? But right on the flip side of that, I picked Chardy to win the whole thing! Great call, Van!

There's a minor thing going on right now that I'm kind of happy about at one of the stops this week. In Casablanca, Juan Carlos Ferrero has made it to the quarterfinals and looked good doing it. He's been too good a player in his career to have not won a title in years. I hope he gets it done this week.

I think this week so far could be a microcosm of what could shape up into an interesting clay-court season.

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