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Sports Then and Now

Best of the Rest: Mikhail Youzhny wins PBZ Zagreb Title 46

Posted on February 10, 2012 by Pete South

While the "big four" slug it out for major titles, Mikhail Youzhny and other second tier players fight for ATP titles.

While Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray are dominating the majors, other talented men’s tennis stars are fighting it out for ATP titles in an attempt to build their game toward a level capable of competing with the top stars.

One of those players, world number 32 Mikhail Youzhny, claimed the eighth ATP title of his career by easily beating the unseeded Slovakian Lukas Lacko 6-2 6-3 in the final of the PBZ Zagreb Indoors tournament. The 29-year-old Russian, who was the third seed, had not won on the ATP Tour since his victory in Kuala Lumpur in 2010, but was far too good for the world number 97, who was competing in his first Tour final.

Youzhny did not face a break point throughout and broke his opponent’s serve three times. Those betting Betfair money will have been impressed.

“It feels really good as it was my best match of the tournament, and that’s why I won,” said Youzhny. “It’s tough to compare my level with previous years, it’s impossible. But for sure this was my best tennis of the week.” Read the rest of this entry →

Men’s Tennis Power Rankings: Rafael Nadal Soars Seeking World Tour Crown 2

Posted on September 23, 2010 by Marianne Bevis

Nadal celebrates winning his first U.S. Open and a career grand slam.

It was the day after the Australian Open. Rafael Nadal had slipped, in the space of a fortnight, from No. 2 in the world to No. 4, and was almost 4,000 points off the Federer pace.

But you can’t afford to turn your back for a moment in this fast-changing game of tennis.

Take the last two months. Wimbledon—and the grass season with it—came to an end. The normal hiatus that follows the frenetic action between the clay Masters and London is usually a welcome oasis in the middle of the tennis year. But this year, there has barely been time to draw breath between the clay, the grass, and the hard-court seasons.

First, France celebrated a famous win over champions Spain in the Davis Cup.

No fewer than three top players ditched their coaches: Nikolay Davydenko, Andy Murray, and Stanislas Wawrinka. Another, renowned for ploughing his own furrow, suddenly took on a coach: Roger Federer.

A handful of players had one last fling on clay before the rigors of the North American hard courts took over the tour—and that helped to ensure that the top three places in the Power Rankings would be filled by Spaniards: Rafael Nadal, Nicolas Almagro, and Juan Carlos Ferrero.

Many others turned early to their preparations for the U.S. Open Series on the searing courts of Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Washington.

The big names, though, kept their powder dry until the two Masters that provide the test-bed for the final Major of the year in New York.

They reaped the rewards for that reticence, too. Federer won the Masters in Cincinnati, Andy Murray took the Masters in Toronto, and Nadal shared the honors at the U.S. Open with Novak Djokovic.

So, yes, some things change fast. For every Mikhail Youzhny and Stanislas Wawrinka who has gate-crashed this month’s Power Rankings (PRs), there has been an exit by an early hard-court bloomer such as Tomas Berdych and Sam Querrey.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same. The second and third in the world, Djokovic and Federer, who were outside these rankings in August, are back again, ranked—you guessed it, second and third.

And that man who trailed by 4,000 points back in February? He’s now the one with clear water between him and the rest: on top of world. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose…

Read the rest of this entry →

BMW Tennis Championship: Mikhail Youzhny Leads Top-Ranked Field 4

Posted on March 09, 2010 by JA Allen
Mikhail Youzhny during recent Davis Cup play vs. India

Mikhail Youzhny during recent Davis Cup play vs. India

Currently ranked No. 13 in the world, Mikhail Youzhny, nicknamed Misha, heads the list of exciting players entered in the BMW Tennis Championship being held in Sunrise, Florida starting March 14th.  The field this year includes a record 13 of the top 50 players in the world.

The Russian Youzhny is a crowd-pleaser who loves to entertain and make fans fully relish the action unfolding before them.  He has been playing tennis professionally for over 10 years and at age 27 he shows no signs of letting up.

When he is healthy, Youzhny is a challenge for any player on tour because of his aggressive nature and his ability to hit the ball deep, hard and flat, often taking it on the rise and pushing his way forward into the court. His liberal use of drop shots keeps opponents on edge because the Russian is able to change direction and disguise his shots extremely well. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Dale Murphy: A Hallmark of Excellence
      July 2, 2024 | 1:53 pm
      Dale Murphy

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was a standout player of the 1980s, remembered not only for his exceptional skills on the field but also for his exemplary character and sportsmanship.

      Born on March 12, 1956, in Portland, Oregon, Dale Murphy’s journey to becoming one of the most respected players in baseball history is a testament to dedication, perseverance, and a genuine love for the game.

      Early Career and Rise to Prominence

      Murphy was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the first round of the 1974 MLB Draft. He made his Major League debut on September 13, 1976, at the age of 20. Initially a catcher, Murphy transitioned to the outfield early in his career, where he would solidify his place as one of the premier outfielders of his era.

      Read more »

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