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Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Updated: June 2, 7:27 AM ET
A gorgeous change of pace

By Sandra Harwitt

The movies have the Oscars, and tennis has the ... well, the awards don't have a catchy nickname, but being at the ITF World Champions Dinner is nonetheless prestigious. The 2010 winners were feted at the 33rd gala Tuesday night, held at the Pavillon d'Armenonville in Paris in conjunction with the French Open.

Take the players out of their tennis duds and dress them up in black-tie attire, and they make for a very glam crowd.

Wozniacki looked like a movie star wearing a glittery black Stella McCartney gown with a side slit.

"I'm happy I didn't trip on the way up here," she said, making everyone laugh.

The Bryan brothers came late and in tennis clothes straight off the court. Mike Bryan jokingly attempted to class up his act by slipping a loose tie around his collarless polo.

Who picked up the 2010 player of the year awards? Rafael Nadal for the men, Caroline Wozniacki for the women, Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta in women's doubles and Bob and Mike Bryan in men's doubles. Esther Vergeer was the women's wheelchair recipient for the 11th year in a row, while Shingo Kunieda won his fourth straight award in men's wheelchair. Juan Sebastian Gomez of Colombia won in junior boys and Daria Gavrilova of Russia in junior girls.

Frenchman Guy Forget, a former Davis Cup star and current Davis Cup captain, was given the 2011 Philippe Chatrier Award for his achievements in and dedication to the game.

Among the A-list celebs attending: Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark, former New York Mayor David Dinkins, three-time French Open champ Gustavo Kuerten and Grand Slam legend Martina Navratilova.

Four tops

The four highest seeds in the men's draw -- Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray -- all have advanced to the semifinals.

Nadal spoiled Robin Soderling's chance to reach a third straight French Open final by winning their quarterfinal, 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 (3). Nadal next plays Murray, who beat Juan Ignacio Chela 7-6 (2), 7-5, 6-2.

But Nadal didn't have only Murray on his mind. He also was thinking about the other semifinal between Djokovic, enjoying a 41-0 record this year, and Federer.

"Well, the best player of the world against the best player of history, so difficult to say more things," Nadal said. "Gonna be, in my opinion, [a] fantastic match. I think both of them have chances to be in the final."

Island girl

Monica Puig has lived 16 of her 17 years in Miami, but in spirit she's all about being Puerto Rican. In junior girls' action, Puig is representing Puerto Rico in high style this season, having reached the Australian Open final in January.

The fifth-seeded Puig moved into the French Open quarterfinals with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 win over Sofiya Kovalets of Ukraine.

"I prefer hard court, but when I get on the clay, it's something different," Puig said. "You come out of the court, and your socks are all red. It's fun to slide, and when you fall -- not many people think it's fun to fall -- but for me it's like, 'OK, I get off the court dirty, I did a good job.'"

Representing Puerto Rico, an unincorporated U.S. territory, is important to Puig.

"They wanted to make it a state, but I'd prefer not, because I like being from Puerto Rico," Puig said. "I think it's just different coming from a small island and knowing everybody is behind me."