The BNP Paribas Open was kind of special for me this year because players I like very much--Flavia Pennetta, Aga Radwanska, Simona Halep, Li Na, and Jelena Jankovic all showed up in the last stages of the tournament. And while Halep was too tired, Radwanska was ultimately too injured, and Li went off to Na Na Land, I was still glad to see them all get to the semifinals or better. Of course, it was often hard for me to cheer for anyone because I wanted them all to win!
Having Pennetta win was truly the icing on the cake. Pennetta is iconic to me, even though she has never won a major. What a pleasure it was to see her take home a trophy from a premier mandatory event.
My favorite match (and I didn't see them all, of course) was the quarterfinal played between Radwanska and Jankovic. And my favorite moment of the whole tournament--not counting Pennetta's moment of victory--was when Jankovic challenged a call while lying on the court with her legs dangling. That's our JJ.
That was a rather sharp contrast to Maria Sharapova's insistence that she didn't challenge a call when everyone saw her make the universal "I challenge" gesture. I noticed that the chair umpire for the men's final made a point of telling the players that the best way to challenge a call is to say that you are challenging.
On to Miami, speaking of Sharapova. The Russian star has been the runner-up there five times, but has never won. Beating her for those five titles were Kim Clijsters, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Victoria Azarenka, Agnieszka Radwanska, and Serena Williams. Will the Miami Curse be lifted this year?