Archive for August, 2007

Day 5…

August 31, 2007

First, I want to congratulate Young for beating Gasquet! They didn’t play but, hey, does it say 1-0 in the h2h? Means he is ready for 3rd round and one round away from Federer.
Feliciano Lopez played quite well, and as I was 50-50 on that match, it couldn’t have been closer with 7-6 in the 5th set.
Another intense battle was Johansson d. Clement in 4 sets where 3 were breakers. Johansson makes a powerful move intro 3rd against Roddick.
And of course, Santoro! I was impressed to see how popular he was on the center court playing against Blake. He played exceptionally at times and if he would have had less cramps and more genius play, maybe he could’ve taken it.
I got 11-3 on the picks yesterday, where one was Young’s “victory” over Gasquet

Todays picks:
Fish d. Robredo (shouldn’t he?)
Nadal d. Tipsarevic (could see this in 4 or 5 if Nadal plays like in the 1st round)
Djokovic d. Stepanek (if Stepanek plays like he did early in the USO series, he could win it)
Henman d. Tsonga (Confidence boost for Henman yesterday, must get this in 3 or Tsonga wins)
Hewitt d. Calleri
Safin d. Wawrinka (played well in 1st round)
Ginepri d. Gabashvilli (picking home favorite but really 50-50 here)
Ferrer d. Serra
Berrer d. Gulbis (close)
Pavel d. Ljubicic (I think this might happen!)
Sela d. Monaco (Sela’s breakthrough?)
Odesnik d. Chela
Nalbandian d. Malisse
Del Potro d. Melzer
Moya d. Knuitsyn
Youzhny d. Kohlschreiber


Return of the kings

August 30, 2007

Tim Henman has won a tennis match. It just hasn’t happened a lot this year and it must feel good to beat a strong opponent like Tursunov.

Marat is back! He also got a tough opponent in Dancevic (finals of Indy and OF of Montreal) but knew how to play in a Grand Slam event and just played good enough to get a straight set win. Don’t know if this is the start of a great run…

I got 14-3 for my picks last night, bringing the total to 50-17.
Here are the ones for today:

Roddick d. Acasuso
Blake d. Santoro
Gasquet d. Young (?) Match of the day if the YOUNG talent really steps it up
Davydenko d. Kiefer (wouldn’t be surprised if Kiefer wins though)
Murray d. Bjorkman (Murray seems to be 100% and therefore he wins, I had actually picked Bjorkman before I saw Murray play his 1st round)
Haas d. Petzschner
Koubek d. Llodra
Lopez d. Andreev (??? I am almost 50-50 on this one)
Berdych d. Bolelli
Almagro d. Horna (clay battle on hard)
Verdasco d. Simon
Canas d. Lee (not sure here either!)
Johansson d. Clement
Mirnyi d. Grosjean ! (If Myrnyi plays like he did against Baggy, no chance for Grosjean)

Day 2 review

August 29, 2007

I got 18-6 for my picks yesterday. Not bad.
No big surprises, no major upsets. I think that Johansson could give Roddick trouble in a 3rd round. He worked well to take sets 2,3, and 4 after losing the first to Massu. The Swede probably wants to take Roddick down to show that when they go to Sweden for their Davis Cup SF, it’s gonna be a tough match even if the team has no star players to rely on. But first he needs to defeat Clement who took down tower Karlovic. Gonna be a tough nut.
Here are my picks for today: (both 1st and 2nd round matches)

Rafael Nadal d. Alun Jones (who?)
Roger Federer d. Paul Capdeville (what are the odds that Nadal AND Federer lose today?)
Marat Safin d. Franc Dancevic (I would be dissapointed if not, never met so open match)
Dimitry Tursunov d. Tim Henman (REALLY don’t believe Henman can take Tursunov the way he’s been playing)
John Isner d. Rik De Voest (and waiting to be hanged by Federer)
Robby Ginepri d. Olivier Rochus (I want to pick Americans in New York!)
Janko Tipsarevic d. Ryan Sweeting
Ernest Gulbis d. Potito Starace
Mikhail Youzhny d. Nicolas Devilder
Stainslas Wawrinka d. Evgeny Korolev
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez d. Igor Kunitsyn
Michael Berrer d. Michal Przysiezny (Prz.. who?!)
Phillip Kohlschreiber d. Mariano Zabaleta
Carlos Moya d. Bjorn Phau
Jo-Wilfred Tsonga d. Oscar Hernandez (I hope for his sake)
Tommy Robredo d. Bobby Reynolds
Fernando Gonzalez d. Teimuraz Gabashvilli

Querrey out, Odesnik going strong

August 28, 2007

Stefan Koubek had apparently no problems in his first round singles match against Querrey. I thought it might be close and a couple of tie-breaks here and there but 7-6, 6-1, 6-1 is not close. Actually Querrey must have showed some home anxiety nervousness. I still think that he could make a good run in the future and close up on top 20.

Wayne Odesnik, ranked 153 has not been a lot in the spotlight but is progressing (I assume) by making the 2nd round, which is best result for him so far. Well I picked Udomchoke from Thailand who I actually enjoyed watching at Wimbledon. He gave Roddick a hard time and obviously gave Odesnik a hard time taking this battle to 5th set tie-break. Luckily for Odesnik and for home fans, he won it 7-2 and is in the 2nd round against Chela, who should give him even more trouble.

Also want to mention a guy who I saw working his a** off all day against smash-serve Karlovic. No easy match and he needed 5 sets to get it, but boy did Clement come up with some good returns and pressure Karlovic into doing all kinds of uncomfortable shots. Poor Karlovic didn’t see that coming. I’ve seen Karlovic serving better than today, but when your’re 173cm and might get the serve in a smash-like path it’s really impressive! Good job Clement!

Still 1st round

August 28, 2007

Some real surprises yesterday. Schuettler is out, should have beaten Capdeville but I don’t know why he isn’t as good as he used to be. John Isner defeated Niemienen like I predicted. Isner has come to stay on the tour. Donald Young won! I told you… Nobody believed in him. The only other big surprise is Baghdatis who is out of the Open after losing to Max Mirnyi. Not an easy opponent, but Baghdatis is a better player, nowhere near what we saw of him last year but still should have beaten Mirnyi.

Well I did get 16-8 on my picks for yesterdays matches.

Here are the picks for today
Leyton Hewitt d. Amer Delic
James Blake d. Michael Russel
Andy Roddick d. Justin Gimelstob
Novak Djokovic d. Robin Haase (did I miss something? where is Ancic?)
Sam Querrey d. Stefan Koubek
David Nalbandian d. Ivan Navarro Pastor
Xavier Malisse d. Kristian Pless
Danai Udomchoke d. Wayne Odesnik
Radek Stepanek d. Carlos Berlocq
Chela d. Michael McClune
Ivan Ljubicic d. Kristof Vliegen (should)
Fabrice Santoro d. Albert Montanes
Jurgen Melzer d. Diego Hartfield
Jose Acasuso d. Martin Vassallo Arguello
Juan Monaco d. Edouard Roger-Vasselin
Fillipo Volandri d. Michael Llodra (I think)
Ivo Karlovic d. Arnaud Clement
David Ferrer d. Florian Mayer
Andrei Pavel d. Dominik Meffert
Thomas Johansson d. Nicolas Massu
Florent Serra d. Werner Eschauer (shouldn’t he?)
Juan Martin Del Potro d. Nicolas Mahut (close though)
Andreas Seppi d. Augustin Calleri
Nicolas Lapentti d. Dudi Sela (maybe close?)

US Open 1st round predictions

August 26, 2007

Schedule of play is out and here are my predictions:

Roger Federer d. Scoville Jenkins
Marcos Baghdatis d. Max Mirnyi (close?)
John Isner d. Jarrko Nieminen (sorry, but I actually see this happening)
Nikolay Davydenko d. Jesse Levine
Andy Murray d. Pablo Cuevas (is Murray fine??)
Vincent Spadea d. Nicolas Kiefer
Nicolas Almagro d. Alex Kuznetsov
Tomas Berdych d. Marc Giquel
Sebastien Grosjean d. Paul Goldstein (should defeat him)
Robert Kendrick d. Igor Andreev (close??)
Hyung-Taik Lee d. Dominik Hrbaty
Juan Carlos Ferrero d. Feliciano Lopez
Fernando Verdasco d. Paul-Henri Mathieu
Benjamin Becker d. Phillip Petzchner
Luis Horna d. Peter Luczak
Jonas Bjorkman d. Juan-Pablo Guzman
Donald Young d. Chris Guccione (REALLY NOT SURE!)
Guillermo Canas d. Ruben Ramirez-Hidalgo
Julien Benneteau d. Simone Bolleli
Gilles Simon d. Alexander Waske
Richard Gasquet d. Sergio Roitman
Tommy Haas d. Steve Darcis
Thierry Ascione d. Rik De Voest
Rainer Schuettler d. Paul Capdeville

Top 8 USO contenders

August 26, 2007

#1 Roger Federer
Absolute favorite once again. There’s nothing that proves otherwise. Djokovic? If he makes the final, he will impress more than ever, having the toughest draw of the top seeds. In his L16 section, Richard Gasquet is the threat and this is most likely the 4th round match-up.
Gasquet and Roddick are the only ones who actually stand a slight chance. He COULD run into Canas in the SF, but I really don’t think Canas will make it that far. Davydenko and Blake stand in his way. Does it matter who he plays in the final? Not really, unless it’s a fired up Novak who has sailed through in easy short matches. BUT: watch out for Gasquet, Roddick and Djokovic.

# 2 Rafael Nadal
I genuinely believe this guy is capable of winning this. Don’t care what experts are saying, but his draw is harder than Federer’s. Tipsarevic, Tursunov, Ferrer, Nalbandian, Safin, Ljubicic. These guys are very good on HC. Nadal is just better than these guys, who have not delievered on HC. Maybe except Tursunov and Ferrer. I think Nadal’s “Canas” is actually Mikhail Youzhny, who I just don’t see losing to Nadal on these fast HCs. Loved their match last year, and it could well be that they meet in the SF. If Youzhny keeps his shots deep and low, like he usually does, Nadal will not be the threat he is. I am positive that Youzhny would have won in Wimbledon had his back been ok.

#3 Novak Djokovic
Ever which way you want to put it, Novak is still a top 3 final contender. Poor guy, he has Ancic (on his way back), Stepanek (maybe playing his best tennis), Del Potro (on the rise), and Hewitt (also getting there) before an QF against Youzhny or Fish. I’m getting tired by just lookin at the names! Yes, Novak is 20 and young but this could easily be a 4 set average for him in the early rounds! That’s why I don’t think Djokovic will make it past Hewitt. If he does, he still needs to beat Nadal and Federer.

#4 Andy Roddick
Poor Andy. He should sail past his two first matches. But then comes Karlovic! Always tiebreakers! Both are excellent servers, lousy returners, hence 6 all. Then comes Berdych potentially. That’s the key word. He hasn’t done anything on HC this year due to illness. No good prep at Roger’s and Cincy. But still, it’s Berdych. Do I hear another tiebreak? At last QF and here is the great Swiss. Roddick said that nobody beats him ten times in a row. We believe him and want him to succeed. But he needs to find the level he had last year and especially try to figure out how he got match points in the Masters Cup last year. I mean, even with a 13-1 h2h, he actually is relatively close each time they meet. This is his chance in front of his home croud and NOT in a final where Federer usually plays his best.

#5 Lleyton Hewitt
What? Did I run out of players. No, I think Lleyton’s chances, considering the draw, are way better than many of the higher ranked players. I think 3 relatively easy rounds and then BAM a tired Djokovic. If Djokovic is rusty after tough matches, Hewitt will take advantage. If not.. OUT! He could meet Youzhny and Nadal after that. Not easy but Lleyton has won here before and I think at his best he should beat these two. I would be surprised, but not extremely surprised if Hewitt is in the final and Nadal or Djokovic is not.

#6 James Blake
Good draw, except for Roger Federer. This takes him from maybe #4 spot to #6 because he has never beaten Federer and just won’t do it here either. SF would be a good run for him and I think that’s where he goes. His only major threat is Baghdatis if he plays well.

#7 Nikolay Davydenko
This guy is good, but not good enough to wipe out any top 10 player in this slam. SF is his greatest achievement and I think that’s where it stops. He has an ok draw, but I think QF against Blake is where to road ends for him.

#8 Mikhail Youzhny
Great potential! A little more luck against Roddick last year would have given him a final spot. Played really well on HC at the start of the year, but has had back problems and not seen great results recently. If he is 100% fit, the draw gets him to a QF against Hewitt which he surely can beat. And then Nadal in the SF. Why not finally breaking through and beating Federer in the final? Inconsistency and finally a nerve or two will probably not allow that.

That is it. Just don’t think there are other players even worth discussing in this list. Although I would give fairly small chance for any other player to beat Federer. Like I said, he needs to be taken down early on, either by Gasquet or Roddick.

Killer Qualifiers (?)

August 24, 2007

When I first saw that Federer has a two rounds Qualifier guarantee, I thought that those are simply practice sessions for later thougher matches like Gasquet or Roddick. However! There must be at least one qualifier Federer might see as a threat?! First seed Franc Dancevic has proven himself good enough at this level. What can he hope, L64 or L32? I do not know how they decide who goes where on the drawboard, but I sure hope Dancevic can go in and play Federer in first or second.
Dancevic made the finals at Indy, beating Becker, Del Potro, Roddick on the way, and a couple of weeks later making QF at Montreal AMS. I know Federer doesn’t fear these Qualifiers, and I think that’s where you would want to take out Federer. It’s a clear pattern that Federer plays only ok the first 2, maybe even 3 round, and is ready for tougher opposition later on.

2nd seed Robin Haase is like Dancevic in a critical time I think. It seems like he has played a lot better in the states, taking Safin to 3 sets in Washington. Then beating Berdych in Montreal AND taking Baghdatis to 3 sets. Again, this quy has a chance to advance, I think now it’s the time.

3rd seed Andrei Pavel is a whole other story. (an old one) Pavel is the oldie who still dedicates all his energy into slams. This time around, he must qualify after a non-productive year, but we must remember this is an AMS champion we’re talking about. He should qualify and pose a great threat to any opposition. We remember (and a lot of Americans) last year’s intense 1st round against the retiring Agassi. There were 3 brutal sets decided in breakers and if I remember correctly a fourth set were Agassi took Pavel down for a lesson. This guy will also advance… well if it’s not Federer.

New Haven

August 24, 2007

James Blake is the only top seed to make it to SF. What a day of work! Saving match points in the first match, then taking Verdasco in straight sets. Mathieu didn’t need to worry about Davydenko and beat Simon comfortably. Karlovic has had Johansson in 3 and then Andreev in 3. Close match that ended 7-1 in the 3rd set tiebreaker. Last one is Mardy Fish. He has had a good week it seems, making a couple of 6-0 and taking a comfortable 6-3 6-3 win over Wawrinka.

The semifinals have to be very close, but I think Blake is going to beat Mathieu. I don’t know about Fish. It seems like Karlovic is better when Federer and other top players aren’t around, so I do think that he can win this. It all comes down to how much Fish can do with Karlovic’s serve.
My guess:
Blake d. Mathieu
Karlovic d. Fish

US Open draws

August 22, 2007

First thoughts on the draw..
It seems as Federer gets all the help he can get to claim another US Open title which he is defending for the 3rd time now. Federer will meet qualifiers in his first two matches, which could not have been a better start. Never underestimate the qualifiers, but no qualifier will beat Federer. Federer could meet Isner or Nieminen in 3rd. No threat there.
The only even remote threat that could make him sweat just a bit, is a 4th round encounter with Gasquet. Don’t think Gasquet has a chance, but should be a good match.

Then comes the big loser of the draw. Roddick lost the 4th position to Davydenko and is now seeded 5th, which meant that worst case scenario was to meet Federer earlier than semis. Worst case scenario is not so much a scenario. Roddick should be good to go into the QF, he has Karlovic, Johansson, Berdych, Mathieu and Verdasco as potential opponents before that, players he usually beats.

Davydenko has a decent draw and should be headed for a QF. I think Bjorkman and Canas are his main threats. Murray is there too, but is far from any QF the way he’s been playing.
Blake has a tough draw, but if he can profit from being at home, he should be in a QF against Davydenko. He has Baghdatis, Haas, Becker and Querrey to name a few of his possible opponents. Means he needs to work hard.

I think that Nadal has, once again, been given a draw that is way tougher than Federer’s, but I think that he should take Tipsarevic, Tursunov, Nalbandian and Safin. He is way to confident to start losing to these guys. Besides, he actually is better.
I feel sorry for poor Novak. He has Mario Ancic in the 1st! Possibly Stepanek in 2nd!! Perhaps Del Potro in 3rd!! And maybe a hewitt who slaughtered him this time last year in 4th!! I think for him, that’s as far as he goes.

If there is one player who once again can surprise everyone, it is Youzhny. He made it to SF last year, who would have thought? He has no challenge that is very hard. Moya and Fish are the only one’s I think are in the way. And we know who made sure Nadal was nowhere near the final last year.

To sum it up, these are my early predictions (thinking no qualifiers will get there)
1st quarter: Federer, Roddick
2nd quarter: Davydenko, Blake (Baghdatis??)
3rd quarter: Youzhny, Hewitt (no Djokovic this time, sorry!!)
4th quarter: Nadal, Safin