100 memories: Ferrero has plenty of fight

Editor's note: The tennis season now over, it's time to look back. Novak Djokovic was no doubt the player of the year, but there were many memories to savor. Beginning Dec. 12, Ravi Ubha is unveiling his top 100 memories of the 2011 season. Check back each weekday until Dec. 23 as we count down to No. 1.

80. The mosquito is still buzzing

Juan Carlos Ferrero probably won't return to the top 10, no less reclaim the No. 1 ranking, but the Spaniard still has plenty of fight.

How else to describe the 31-year-old's display against Gael Monfils at the U.S. Open?

Ferrero, who missed the first three majors of 2011, topped Monfils in five sets and nearly five hours in the second round on the gracious Frenchman's birthday.

79. Royalty at Wimbledon

Centre Court at Wimbledon was abuzz on the second Monday, and not only because Andy Murray took on Richard Gasquet. Newlyweds Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge watched from the royal box, even doing the wave at one stage.

"If I'd known they were coming, I would have shaved," Murray said. "I was thinking to myself as I came off [court] I was sweaty and very hairy."

78. More drama in Bercy

Semifinal Saturday is the day to watch at the Paris Masters. In 2010, Robin Soderling and Monfils saved a combined eight match points against Michael Llodra and Roger Federer, respectively, to advance to the final.

This year, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, willed on by the home crowd, saved three match points to fend off John Isner in 2 hours, 59 minutes.

Unfortunately, organizers blundered by replacing last year's lightning-quick hard court with a much slower one.

77. 'Rafa'

Rafael Nadal's autobiography, released in the summer, wasn't entirely riveting (compared to Andre Agassi's), but hey, if Murray came out with one, why not Rafa?

"Everybody knows a little bit more my life without the book than Andre's life without the book," Nadal said at the U.S. Open.

It's written in perfect English -- which is a shame.

Nadal's Spanglish is highly endearing, no?

76. Tipsy's time

Early this year, Viktor Troicki was the firm Serbian No. 2 behind Novak Djokovic.

Janko Tipsarevic then blew past him.

Tipsarevic produced the kind of tennis many thought he had in him, winning his first two titles, reaching a maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal and finishing in the top 10.

He even made his debut at the World Tour Finals, replacing the injured Murray.

75. Maria rips Andrea

Tennis fans generally adore Andrea Petkovic's "Petko Dance," and why not? There's nothing wrong with a bit of personality in the game.

But as Djokovic discovered with his imitations, fellow players aren't as keen.

When Petkovic comfortably downed Maria Sharapova at the Australian Open, out came the dance. Two months later in Miami, Sharapova got her revenge and subsequently took a swipe at the German.

"More than anything, I sensed that she was tired, probably a lot of the dancing that she's been doing," Sharapova said.


74. Andrey's swoon

Andrey Golubev shone in 2010. The powerful Kazakh (who was born in Russia and trains in Italy) shot up almost 100 spots in the rankings, ending at 36th.

There was another dramatic move for Golubev in the rankings in 2011 -- this time in the wrong direction. He's now hovering barely inside the top 150.

At one point, Golubev lost 18 straight matches at the highest level to approach Vincent Spadea territory.

73. Jankovic runs out of gas -- really

Tennis can be cutthroat, as Jelena Jankovic found out.

The car Jankovic was riding in on her way to practice in Cincinnati ran out of gas (it had to happen to her, eh?), and she claimed players who saw her on the road didn't stop to help.

Jankovic eventually arrived to the site, played later in the day and beat Iveta Benesova.

"Pretty funny," Jankovic said. "It's not how you begin the day, it's how you end it, so I'm glad I got my win and we got going."

72. Oz revelation

When Fabrice Santoro retired in 2010, the game lost a showman. Santoro was the antithesis of today's plethora of power players, bamboozling opponents with his change of pace and trickery.

Alexandr Dolgopolov Jr. has that in his arsenal, too, although he also can blast the ball on his serve and forehand.

Dolgopolov announced himself to the tennis world in January, reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open.

"He's got a very unorthodox game," said Murray, who beat Dolgopolov in the quarters. "He has a game that can make you play strange shots or, you know, not play that well."

71. Nadal versus Verdasco, slugfest Part 2

Nadal's battle with Fernando Verdasco at the 2009 Australian Open was one of the best matches in tournament history. Nadal triumphed in five sets -- and 5 hours, 14 minutes.

In a similarly bruising affair, Nadal edged Verdasco 7-6 (5), 6-7 (4), 7-6 (9) in 3:38 in Cincinnati, closing it out after initially relinquishing a 5-1 lead in the third-set tiebreaker.

Verdasco, who slipped to 0-12 against Nadal, actually won more points, 128 to 123.

Nadal fell to Mardy Fish the next day in the quarterfinals.