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LaRosa's Sweet Spot: Sept 24, 2008

9/24/2008 2:31:00 PM

LaRosa's Sweet Spot Main Page

Sept 24, 2008

The market is out of control!

If you're like me, you too are heavily, frighteningly invested in, what else, tennis. And at no time of year is the market more topsy turvy than after the Slams, when players begin to freakishly hurl themselves at one of three things:

1. The precious remaining slots up for grabs in the YEC or the Masters Cup
2. Some face-saving title, be it ever so humble, to make up for a dismal year, or
3. If it's been a particularly harsh season, a last stab to make the Australian Open main draw.

This perfect storm of exhaustion, frustration and desperation apexes during the tours' Asian swing. Superstars take ridiculous tumbles (last year in Beijing, Martina Hingis managed to clear Tiantian Sun on her way to a second round straight sets drubbing by Peng Shui - it would be the last professional match Hingis would play) while upstarts make shocking breakthroughs (in the same round at the same tournament, some no one named Marin Cilic bounced top seed Nikolay Davydenko and hasn't looked back since).

While this instability can be wildly entertaining, it can cause some fans to spontaneously combust. Have no fear, the Sweet Spot is here. With all the advice you'll need so you can sit back on your balcony and relax whilst watching everyone else leap off (is 80 years long enough for that to be funny again?). Without further ado, my tips on who to buy, who to hang onto, and who to sell for rice and bus fare.


Dressed like a blue chipper
ANDY RODDICK: The #2 seed in China this week with a bangin' draw, he's got nothing to defend besides his pride until San Jose. He took top seed David Ferrer the distance last week in Davis Cup, and that was on clay. Frustrated by injury and missed opportunities – the guy's spring saw him taking out Nadal, Djokovic and (!) Federer - Andy's been on a raging tear lately. And there's no Roddick like an angry Roddick.

SAM STOSUR: Another victim of sidelining, this time for up to nine months with Lyme disease, Sam has nowhere in the rankings to go but up. Add to that all that doubles gravy (see: finals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open) and it's profit profit profit.

SAM QUERREY: The new King of Clay (let it marinate), Querrey's been showing nerves of steel lately, as evidenced by the fits he's given new #1 Rafael Nadal the last two matches they played. Behind that aw shucks charm is a cold-blooded killer. Buy in bulk.

NADIA PETROVA: A semifinal run in Tokyo followed up a semi in Bali (not to mention a title in Cincinnati.) Petrova's got the eye of the tiger. Thrill at her fight. And get as much out of her as you can until she gets injured again, which given her track record could be any minute.


DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: She was ranked No. 13 coming into Beijing this week but don't be fooled, she's out of the top 20 in the Race. It all went downhill after she lost her chokehold on Ana Ivanovic in that beyond winnable Australian Open semi. She let those squeaky sneakers get in her head. Might I suggest she invest in a pair herself, because if she doesn't defend those points, she's screwed. And Indian Wells is only once a year.

ANA IVANOVIC: Molly, you in danger girl.

JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: A little too close for comfort with Czech qualifier Lukas Dlouhy today, but he's into the Thailand Open quarters. Like Hantuchova, a dumpload of points rests on his ability to defend at the Australian. But after that he's wide open.

AMELIE MAURESMO. Let's be honest. If you haven't sold by now, you're in too deep.


ANNA CHAKVETADZE: Where is that Screaming Mimi who took on Tzipora Obziler and all of Israel in Fed Cup back in February? Since then it's been a literal world tour of pouting and hissy fits. Like me at Kate Hudson movies. Until she realizes no one owes her a win, that she has to earn it, there's nothing to gain here.

RICHARD GASQUET: He's 26-18 for the year. 18 people have beaten a guy lesser men would kill for one tenth of his game. I'm going to list off a few names just so it hurts him like it hurts me. Andreas Seppi. Marc Gicquel. Luis Horna (ranked 111). Dumping and running is cut throat, but he knows all about that from Davis Cup. Good luck in Beijing. Next!

JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: That win over Rafa in Rome was clearly the kiss of death, as he's won one match since. One.

DINARA SAFINA: Oh no he didn't! Yes he did. Awesome awesome run capped by fugly dish in Tokyo, but just think of the return you're going to get! And really, how long can Robo-Dinara last? These Safins are built to self-destruct. Get out while you can! You can probably get a Zvonareva, a Verdasco and a couple Kirilenkos for that price.

Of course, nothing is certain in these trying times. If all else fails, just dig a hole and crawl inside until it's all over. I'm sure someone will be along to bail you out shortly.