Sunday, April 22, 2007

Weekend Warriors

Rafael Nadal is proving himself to be quite the weekend warrior, just in time for the French Open.

Following his success at the Pacific Life, Nadal - for the second year in a row - defeated Roger Federer in the finals of Monte Carlo, this time in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4.

What was telling about Nadal's performance this weekend wasn't the flashy part of his game, but rather his ability to stay clean on the dirt. Compared to Federer's 38 errors, Nadal committed just 19, holding his nerve and his game for his second title of the year.

Not only is Nadal looking good on the court, the Spaniard has also racked up 67 straight wins on clay, dating back to 2005. The next few weeks will be telling for Nadal's confidence heading into Roland Garros, where he's the two-time defending champion.

Meanwhile, Vania King, the 18-year-old American who vaulted herself into the top 100 last year, saved the day for the U.S. Fed Cup team, substituting for an injured Serena Williams to give the Americans an insurmountable 3-0 lead over Belgium.

King beat Kristen Flipkens 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 early in the afternoon before Venus won her singles and King teamed up with Lisa Raymond to give the Americans a 5-0 win. Now if King, ranked 83rd, can turn this weekend Fed Cup success into some tournament wins, we might see her inside the top 50.

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