In Acupulco, unseeded Luis Horna, of Peru, won his first career title, defeating Chile's Juan Ignacio Chela, who was seeded seventh. Score: 7-6, 6-4. On the women's side, Anna-Lena Groenefeld also had a breakthrough, beating Flavia Pennetta, 6-1,4-6, 6-2. Groenefeld has been showing steady improvement since she partnered with Martina Navratilova in doubles. Just a coincidence, says Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Ah, 56 ain't bad: Roger Federer's streak of 56 wins on hardcourts ended when he lost in the Dubai final to dirtballer Rafael Nadal, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. After the Spanish teen won the French Open, the question became whether his game could translate to other courts, which is fair. The Spaniards traditionally put their all into Roland Garros, then find an injury when it's time to report to Wimbledon. Nadal's win this week isn't a major, but it is Roger Federer. Look out for Nadal, French and beyond. Also in Dubai this past week, Marat Safin and Andre Agassi returned to the tour. Both lost in the second round to Olivier Rochus and Bjorn Phau, respectively.
At the Qatar Total(ly!) Open, Nadia Petrova beat Amelie Mauresmo, 6-3, 7-5 in the final. The Russian was able to beat Mauresmo for the second time in six tries for her second career title. The resurgent Martina Hingis made the semis here before going down to Mauresmo.
I don't stay up long enough to cover the Tennis Channel Open final in Las Vegas between James Blake and Lleyton Hewitt. Blake has never beaten Hewitt, but Blake is playing with confidence these days, while Hewitt has a title drought in the back of his mind. Blake in three.
In other news:
Believe it or ... believe it, Martina Hingis is now ranked higher than Serena Williams after two months of play. She's 44th, while Williams is 46th.
Pete Sampras will compete in World Team Tennis this season. He says he's not interested in competing again, but that sounds a lot like what Hingis was saying. "It's for fun." Sure. It'll be nice to have you back too, Pete.
The straight dope: Two wheelchair players were busted for "doping" this week. David Buck, of California, was suspended for 3.5 months after testing positive for cannabis last October. Although it isn't performance-enhancing, there is still a minimum penalty under the World Anti-Doping Code. Clearly, pot is not going to enhance your tennis game. It makes you eat Cheetos and kill police horses. Besides, the man's in a wheelchair. Give him a freakin' break.
Ilanit Fridman, of Israel, tested for terbutaline, a drug used to treat asthma, and not known to enhance performance. But alas, he had no therapeutic use exemption, so he got a month. So let's get this straight. You have asthma and you have an attack before a match. But you really want to play, but damn, no exemption. The World Anti-Doping Code says: "Hey, man, don't even think about it." Guys, focus on performance-enhancing! Unless they consider being able to breathe a defined advantage over your opponent.