Novak Djokovic continued his amazing run this season by winning the Monte Carlo Masters while the Fed Cup action dominated the headlines as the Czech Republic and Russia advanced to the final.
Djokovic beats Nadal in semis; wins second Monte Carlo title
The clay court season got underway but it is Novak Djokovic and not Rafael Nadal, who has come away with the first Masters Series title on the European circuit.
Djokovic defeated the Czech Tomas Berdych 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in the final to win his 17th match in a row. The Serb has now become the first player to win the first three Masters Series titles of the season and has also tied Roger Federer with 23 Masters titles. They are only lagging behind Nadal who has 27 Masters titles.
Djokovic’s run also included a win over the Spaniard in the semi-finals that reduced the gap in their head-to-head to 20-23.
It was not a good start to the clay court season for Federer either, who went down to Gael Monfils in the third round in straight sets. Monfils also went on to beat Grigor Dimitrov en route to the semis where he lost out to Berdych.
Meanwhile, the Bryan Brothers won the doubles title, beating Australian Open champions Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini 7-6, 6-3 for their fifth title in Monaco, their 34th ATP Masters title and their 106th career doubles title.
Czech Republic and Russia reach the Fed Cup final
In the Fed Cup, Petra Kvitova led the Czech Republic to a 3-1 victory over France, scoring wins in both her singles matches. The Czechs are now through to their fourth Fed Cup final in the past five years and they will meet Russia, who defeated Germany 3-2 in the other semi-final.
Russia opened the tie by winning the first two rubbers before Andrea Petkovic and Angelique Kerber won both their singles matches on Sunday to level the tie at 2-2. It was up to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Elena Vesnina to give the Russians the decisive doubles rubber and the tie 3-2.
In the World Group play-offs, Italy defeated the United States 3-2, in spite of Serena Williams winning both her singles matches. Williams lost the deciding doubles rubber alongside Alison Riske to the Italian duo of Sara Errani/Flavia Pennetta. This was Serena’s first defeat in 17 matches in Fed Cup action.
Elsewhere, Martina Hingis’ singles comeback resulted in two losses as the Swiss edged past Poland 3-2. Canada suffered a stunning defeat to Romania who were playing without World No. 3 Simona Halep as Eugenie Bouchard’s slump continued with two losses. Also, Netherlands shocked Australia 4-1. Serbia, Slovakia, Belarus and Spain won their ties to move into the World Group II.
Closer home, India advanced to the Asia/Oceania Zone Group I as they scored a win over Philippines in the Group II Playoff final. Sania Mirza played when it mattered the most, partnering Prarthana Thombare for a win in the deciding doubles rubber in the final.
Teliana Pereira wins title
At the only low-key WTA event – the Claro Open in Colombia – Brazil’s Teliana Pereira became the first Brazilian woman to win a WTA title since 1988, beating Yaroslava Shvedova 7-6, 6-1.
On the men’s side, Novak Djokovic further cements his place atop the world rankings, holding more than 5,000 point lead over Federer – that’s the largest lead between a World No. 1 and No. 2 in ATP history. Nadal climbs back up one spot to No. 4 while Andy Murray stays put at No. 3. Berdych climbs one spot to No. 7 while Marin Cilic climbs 1 spot to No. 9 and Monfils climbs 3 spots to No. 15.
The Bryan Brothers continue to lead the men’s doubles rankings and Jack Sock makes the only move in the Top 10, climbing one spot to No. 8, swapping places with Julien Benneteau.
With the Fed Cup taking the centre stage this week, there is no change in the Top 30 of the world rankings where Serena continues to lead over Maria Sharapova while Sania continues to lead the world doubles rankings for the second week in a row.