Why Tennis Channel is more important than ever

Well it wasn’t the best of months for tennis in America. First, the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open was on one of ESPN’s many networks, but a lot of fans struggled to find it. And then Sunday, the men’s final of the Sony Open cut off just as Andy Murray and David Ferrer were going into a third-set tiebreaker on CBS because of the start of the Michigan-Florida blowout.

The tennis people don’t want to admit this, but they’re low on the totem pole as far as network executives are concerned. If you’re not a slam, you’ll get shoddy treatment.

But if you were paying attention to Tennis Channel, they continue to do an excellent job giving fans what they want. A really great moment for the Tennis Channel was at the BNP Paribas Open, when the matches went long and Novak Djokovic had to play a match beginning after midnight. Tennis Channel stayed with the coverage and it was fantastic. And you won’t get the cutoff like you had with CBS on Sunday, and you’ll always know where to catch the matches … uninterrupted.

The BNP Paribas Open has a strong desire to be on a network, so they continue to have a contract with ESPN with hopes of getting on ABC. They need to give up on the networks, like many of the views have. If you look at the television landscape in entertainments, very few of the best shows are on network. They are on AMC, or the premium networks. I’m talking about Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Girls, Dexter, Homeland, Boardwalk Empire and Walking Dead. You can build a strong audience and good buzz as all those shows have. As a fan, I never cared about AMC, but once I got hooked on Mad Men and Breaking Bad, it’s become appointment TV.

Hopefully the BNP Paribas Open and Sony Open will take note.

BNP Paribas: Rafael Nadal beats Juan Martin del Potro to win title

Rafael Nadal, of Spain, reacts to winning his match against Juan Martin del Potro, of Argentina, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament Sunday, March 17, 2013, in Indian Wells. / AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Rafael Nadal, of Spain, reacts to winning his match against Juan Martin del Potro, of Argentina, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament Sunday, March 17, 2013, in Indian Wells. / AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Rafael Nadal has defeated Juan Martin del Potro 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to win the BNP Paribas Open.

Down a set and a break, the fifth-seeded Spaniard came back to claim his third title in Indian Wells and snap a six-match losing streak in finals contested on hard courts.

Nadal broke del Potro in the third game of the final set to go ahead, but the Argentine didn’t go away. Trailing 5-3, Del Potro saved three championship points to force Nadal to serve for the match. When del Potro hit a forehand wide on Nadal’s fourth championship point, the Spaniard tossed aside his racket and lay on the ground in celebration.

After del Potro came back from an early deficit to win the first set, winning six of the last seven games in the opening frame, Nadal returned the favor in the second set, claiming the final five games to even the match.

BNP Paribas Open: Sharapova wins it

Maria Sharapova hugs her coach Thomas Hogstedt just after her win over Caroline Wozniacki at the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday, March 17, 2013. / Jay Calderon/The Desert Sun

Maria Sharapova hugs her coach Thomas Hogstedt just after her win over Caroline Wozniacki at the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday, March 17, 2013. / Jay Calderon/The Desert Sun

Maria Sharapova has won the BNP Paribas Open for the second time. The Russian beat another former champion here, Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2. It took just 1 hour, 20 minutes for Sharapova to take the $1M prize.

Sharapova posted some impressive numbers along the way. she won 86 percent of her first serves and won 65 total points. She had 72 percent of her first serves in play and also saved 4 of 9 break points.

Sharapova is now projected to overtake Victoria Azarenka for No. 2 with Azarenka dropping to No. 3. Her victory today means the Russian has won at least one title in 11 years.

She is the eighth player to won multiple singles titles here, joining Martina Navratilova, Mary Joe Fernandez, Steffi Graff, Lindsay Davenport, Serena Williams, Daniela Hantuchova and Kim Clijsters.

Navratilova is the only player to win it back to back (1990-91).


BNP Paribas Open: Show me the money

Just in case you are getting ready to prepare your taxes….here’s something to ponder.
Take a look at these figures. This is the amount that is awarded to the winners of the BNP Paribas Open.
American doubles team Mike and Bob Bryan won the doubles title Saturday night, so their check is all set.
Now, it’s just the singles winners; the winner gets the $1M prize and the runnerup receives $500,000. It will be the second top prize for the women’s winner as both Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki have won here before.
For the men’s final, it’s Rafael Nadal seeking win No. 3 here and the surging Juan Martin Del Potro seeking his first finals victory at Indian Wells.
Prize Money
Total: $6,202,628
Winner: $1M
finalist 500,000
semifinalist: 225,000
quarterfinalist: 104,000
4th round: 52,000
3rd round: 26,000
2nd round: 16,000
1st round: 11,000
Qualifier 2nd round: 2,515
Qualifier 1st round: 1,285
Winner 245,000
Finalist: 125,492
Semifinalist: 63,220
Quarterfinalist: 32,220
2nd round: 16,993
1st round: 9,102

BNP Paribas: Finals set for Sunday

The finals are set for the final day at the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday. Starting at noon, No. 2 seed Maria Sharapova will take on No. 8 seed Caroline Wozniacki in the women’s final, followed by No. 5 seed Rafael Nadal against No. 7 seed Juan Martin del Potro in the men’s final.

In the semifinals Saturday, Nadal defeated sixth seed Tomas Berdych 6-4, 7-5, and del Potro upset top-ranked Novak Djokovic 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. The fans who stuck around were treated to two entertaining doubles finals. Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina beat Nadia Petrova and Katarina Srebotnik 6-0, 5-7, 10-6, and then Bob and Mike Bryan won the first BNP Paribas Open title of their decorated career by knocking off Jerzy Janowicz and Huey Treat 6-3, 3-6, 10-6.

BNP Paribas: No. 7 Del Potro upsets No. 1 Djokovic in semis

Pulling off his second upset in two days, No. 7 seed Juan Martin del Potro will take on Rafael Nadal in the finals of the BNP Paribas Open after knocking off top-ranked Novak Djokovic 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

After falling behind 3-0 in the final set, Del Potro won six of the final seven games to claim his spot in the final. He raised his arms in triumph after thumping an ace out wide to win the match.

The first set was even until Djokovic finally broke through in the 10th game, converting his third set point and seventh break point of the match when del Potro shanked a forehand. But Del Potro fought back by breaking Djokovic three times in the second set to even the match.

The Argentine defeated third seed Andy Murray 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-1 in the quarterfinals.

Del Potro will play in his first final at Indian Wells. Nadal leads their head-to-head series 7-3, including two straight-set victories at the BNP Paribas Open (2009 quarterfinals, 2011 semifinals).

BNP Paribas: Nadal d. Berdych, 6-4, 7-5

Rafael Nadal has advanced to the BNP Paribas Open finals for the fourth time. He’s won it twice, in 2007 and 09.

He beat Tomas Berdych in Saturday’s semifinals, making it 13-3 overall and 12 in a row against the No. 6 seed.

Berdych said he didn’t see any issues plaguing Nadal’s ailing knee in the match.

“(He was) moving quite well,” he said after the match. “He looks strong again.”

Nadal will face the winner of the Novak Djokovic v. Juan Marin Del Potro match, which is currently on court.

Here’s some key stats from the Nadal-Berdych match

match time: 1:43


Aces: 4, Doubles faults 4, 1st serve in 54 percent, first serve points won 69, total winners 16, unforced errors 36, nets points won 4/9, break points won 1/4



Aces: 2, Double faults 1, first serve in 69 percent, first serve points won 70, total winners 16, unforced errors 25, net points won 6/7, break points won 3/7

BNP Paribas Open: championship weekend

We’ve had a little bit of everything in the two weeks of professional tennis here at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. There’s been sun, clouds and cold, a bit of rain, a couple of earthquakes and record heat.

Four singles players have survived it all to play for a chance in the title match Sunday here; first up today and just taking the court is No. 5 Rafael Nadal who takes a 12-3 career mark against No. 6 Tomas Berdych.

The later match is No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. No. 7 Juan Martin Del Potro. Although Djokovic fell to Del Potro in the bronze medal match at the London Olympics, he has been unstoppable since Oct. 31, winning 22 in a row.

Will it be 23 and a chance for another title?


CORRECTION: Order of play

Tomas Berdych will take on Rafael Nadal in the first match today, which begins at noon on the main stadium.

They will be followed by Novak Djokovic taking on Juan Martin del Potro.

The women’s doubles final,  [3] Nadia Petrova (RUS) and Katarina Srebotnik (SLO) taking on [4] Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) and Elena Vesnina (RUS) will not begin before 3 p.m.

The men’s doubles final, [1] Bob Bryan (USA) and Mike Bryan (USA) taking on Treat Huey (PHI) and Jerzy Janowicz (POL) will not begin before 4 p.m.


BNP Paribas Open: Stick around for the doubles finals Saturday

The last few years, the men’s doubles final have been very exciting … and loud. The atmosphere has been great. One of the best was when Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish won the title, and Fish jumped into Roddick’s arms.

Then throw into that mix Bob and Mike Bryan, who are looking for their first title in their home Masters 1000s tournament. They have a great following and the atmosphere will be electric.

The Bryans will face unseeded Treat Huey and Jerzy Janowicz. It’s always the unseeded ones who are dangerous. And Janowicz is a rising star in singles, currently ranked No. 24.

And you can’t forget about the women’s doubles final, with Nadia Petrova and Katarina Srebotnik, the No. 3 seeds, taking on Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.

Vesnina will be playing her third consecutive doubles final here, having won in 2011 with Sania Mirza. . She also reached the 2008 doubles final, winning the title with Dinara Safina.

So come for Rafael Nadal-Tomas Berdych and Novak Djokovic-Juan Martin Del Potro, but stay for the doubles.