Archive for October, 2007

The downside of 2 or 3 dominant players…

October 31, 2007

The race to Shanghai is quite exiting, isn’t it? It would be a lot more competition and fighting if there were 8 spots toward the end of the season, not 1 or 2 like we have had for a few weeks now. Federer and Nadal in reality qualified sometime in June, Djokovic was really secure after Wimbledon.

The race for the last spot is really on. Maybe the last two spots, who knows.
Those with a good shot are:
Haas, Robredo, Murray, Berdych, Gasquet and Blake.
Berdych has a good shot, Murray needs to overcome Santoro but really close now, Gasquet can still do it. I think Haas will lose against Youzhny and Youzhny will be in the race if he makes the SF.
I think Gonzo takes the 7th and Murray takes the last one. If not Berdych can do it.

BTW… Santoro is a magician. How effective is that two-handed forehand slice? Wow!
he played great, but Djokovic looked bored and careless at times. Don’t know if the numbers 6-3, 6-2 really means anything to him.

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Great matches on Court 1 today

October 31, 2007

Chela-Wawrinka will be close
Del Potro-Davydenko might be a good one
Ljubicic-Baghdatis (on home turf, sort of)
Nalbandian-Moya

Center Court will host Nadal-Volandri, Gasquet-Tsonga (again), Federer-Karlovic (nth time), Mahut(@home)-Blake(very far away from home)

Also… a question to all experts out there. Does anyone know if anything is confirmed regarding the point distribution for Grand Slams in 2009? Will it be 2000, the only logical thing to do?

Will Gonzalez qualify?

October 30, 2007

Well… he is history in Paris, taken out by Youzhny today and got only 1 point. That might be enough, but now his spot is open for anyone who can do some damage in Paris. Murray? Haas just won and got 15 points I think. Robredo? Blake? Plenty of players who can get around SF which brings 50 points. Gonzalez will be knocked out if two of these make SFs.

Race still open and we are in the final lap!

Players with potential

October 30, 2007

Was watching the Youzhny-Clement fight and thought that if Youzhny played his best at all time, he should clearly be in the top 10. The guy seems cool and relaxed on court, but runs into walls to often. Why did he not beat Murray in St. Petersburg? Why isn’t he able to perform like in USO 2006 in every slam?

There are other players on the tour I feel could, and should have been better in terms of results and achievements based on their game.

The first one is Murray. Murray is still young and still has a lot of unused talent. I believe it’s a matter of time before he can challenge the top 3 in every single tournament. Needs to stay injury-free and perhaps work on little things, like footwork details and mental strength.

Gasquet was predicted to be Federer’s big threat back in 04. He was 18 then and “the greatest talent”. Talent is still there, but the ability to perform time after time after time, still a missing link. Wimbledon this year proves what kind of potential he has. And I think he could have done even better.

I’ve mentioned Youzhny who has been playing good in the last few years, but has been on the tour for a long time now. I any case, talent is great, potential is great, ability to perform like a champ every time… no. I more effective serve could help, but mental weakness is still key in my opinion.

Baghdatis. Oh what a great player. This is a player who loves what he’s doing. Talented like heck, complete game on his better days. Lacks results and stability, perhaps therefore confidence. AO was an adventure that ended a little to abrubtly. He IS of top 10 material if can go back to his AO-game.

Verdasco is in the same category as Youzhny. Mid 20s, been around in the ATP for a while. Has the game to challenge the best players, never able to actually pull it off. Mental strength seems once to be the key factor.

Tursunov. Loved the groundstrokes of good “old” Tursunov. For me it’s seems like he has what it takes to be the best, but to mee I don’t see a guy who wants to be champ. I don’t know if anyone else gets that impression. I’m not saying he would not like to win GS, but I have a feeling he doesn’t work quite as hard to obtain these kinds of results.

Then there are players like Lopez, Monfils, Tsonga, Del Potro, Mahut, GULBIS, Ancic++++ who we have seen really play well against the top players, but just aren’t able to perform every time. Many of these are still young and we can just wait for them to bloom, but you never know who will and who won’t.

Let the last week of tennis begin!

October 29, 2007

For all players but 8. Paris is the end of the road for some 100+ players who play only ATP-level. I thought Federer would take a rest this week, but it seems that he wants to do all of the “mandatory” tournaments this year. If he takes this one too, 2007 has been almost as good as 2006 for the great Roger.

For Federer, the only threat (if he really is a threat anymore) is Nalbandian. We now know Nalbandian can beat Federer, but can he do a “Canas”. Something tells me… NO
Berdych needs to overcome both Ferrer and Federer if he wants to qualify for Shanghai
Murray, the poor bastard, must beat Djokovic to make it. Of course, these are estimates as the last (2) spots for Shanghai will depend on a lot of other players and their performance.

Blake has a tough draw too, so Blake’s way to Shanghai is longer than for example Haas. He has a couple of Qualifiers and Gonzo to shoot down for Shanghai. Ljubicic get Davydenko, which I think he’ll manage and can possibly qualify for Shanghai this year too.

Robredo has a fair chance as well, only big obstacle is Canas who needs to win the whole thing to really be sure for a spot in China.

If Federer and Nadal are motivated enough, it seems like a new encounter between the grand slammers on Sunday. Federer will of course win it…right?

Tennis.com gives an updated week 4 week overview of the race standings. As you can see there are plenty of players who still have a fair chance.
I think that Gonzalez will lose his spot only if he loses first and two other players get to the Final. SF gives 45 points and he is 51 ahead. He will not make it if for example Blake meets Haas in the final and he loses first match….. I think

My prediction is that Gonzo will buy his ticket this evening and joining him later this week will be either Murray or Haas. Hopefully Haas has a stable stomach all week!

Ferrer qualifies

October 28, 2007

leaving two open spots. These are up for grabs at Paris and there are still several players who are in reach. I think Gonzalez might hold on to at LEAST 8th spot.

Today’s finals:
Federer-Nieminen
Murray-Verdasco
Grosjean-Giquel

I’m gonna watch Mr. Federer play

Action from Europe + French dominance in Lyon

October 26, 2007

The three tournaments have a sum of 12 semifinalists, great players all of them I might add.

In St. Petersburg Verdasco won in 2 against Starace, while Cilic took out Gulbis; two guys with a bright future in tennis. Cilic will no have to face the somewhat more experienced Verdasco.
Youzhny brought a stop to the “German crisis” he had going. Won the first 6-4, when Kohlschreiber retired due to illness. He will meet Murray in the sermi who beat Tursunov in 3 tight sets. Tursunov had a great match and was “only” a tie-break away from a SF. Murray handled the pressure better and won the breaker and took the match.

In Basel Federer won. Had to deal with Kiefer once again, and won against all odds!
Then a match I didn’t see but I would call a serve-mania anyway. Karlovic-Berdych had to be close to 100 aces in total, right? No, but 38 for Karlovic and 14 for Berdych does tell me that it was a serve fest after all. Not very viewer friendly I assume, but after two very predicted tie-breaks came an even more predicted 3rd set tie-break. Let’s just say that both players had some match points and that Karlovic won coincidentally at 15-13. JEEEZ!!
SF: Federer – Karlovic (can Karlovic do it this time?!)

In the other semi we’ll be pleased to see the old Baghdatis back and meeting Gonzo (I thought), NO! Jarkko Nieminen. Nieminen seems to have found his place in Basel and will give Baggy a good fight I think.

In Lyon there is not one top player left. Forgot to express my great enthusiasm for Tsonga who beat France’s #1 Gasquet. Tsonga will now have to face another great Frenchman; Grosjean. In the other SF there’s Falla who took out Ljubicic in 3 and the third (out of 4) French Giquel. France is back!

I want to let Murray take the Russian title, Baghdatis in Basel, and Tsonga in France. Key word: want

Why can’t I make the pro tour?!

October 26, 2007

How many times have you watched a tennis match and said..”even I would make a better shot”
Or how many times have you been really dissapointed with the level of the players?
I found a couple of 10min clips on Youtube proving why not anyone is the best in this sport.

Personally I love the long rallies regardless of how sweet shots we see in them. It’s a greater performance than one great shot. Enjoy!

Silly season

October 25, 2007

Different meanings in different sports, but I think October describes it well. Why top seeds and key players who need points to get to Shanghai don’t perform? Really don’t understand…

Perhaps those who spent the first 8 months to relax have started to take advantage of tired higher ranked players… or is it this incredible depth in the ATP?

Ferrer is out, Robredo (2nd seed) is out, Roddick is out, Haas had stomach problems?… I don’t know if I have a valid point, but this time of season looks more shaky than any other.
And I cannot predict Roddick (top seed) as winner of Lyon when he gets beaten by a 35 year old local in 3 sets. Either impressive by Santoro or so much more dissapointing by Roddick. Not that Santoro isn’t a good player; he really is, but somehow people excpect Roddick to win most 1st rounds he plays.

No other upsets so in the other two tournaments I think my picks still go. For Lyon I want to say Gasquet. But first he has to overcome Tsonga… if Tsonga wins that one, he can go all the way. I don’t know, and I don’t feel like predicting cuz I’ll mess it up anyways.

Meanwhile, I am still waiting for Paris, Shanghai and the 2009 ATP calendar.

Ball girls most popular

October 24, 2007

I have perhaps 20-30 loyal readers a day, who I think and hope are interested in tennis. This past week I have had a record of readers, which I think is great. But the most popular post is without comparison the one with the ball girls from Madrid! That’s fine but please read the rest too!

Anyway, I predict that the title of this post will bring me around 50 hits today.
Yesterday the three ongoing tournaments brought some upsets.
The most talked about is Ferrer’s first round exit in Basel against Calleri. Ferrer is probably somewhere in the outskirts of Shanghai already, but he needs to get those few points to make it official.
Federer opened with a 2-1 victory over Berrer. A lot of talk once again about the extremely small difference between the best and the rest.
Gonzalez and Karlovic look strong and seem to be two players with potential to stay in Basel for a few more days.

In Russia, no surprises. Murray seems to be back and will be fighting for the title for sure.
In Lyon both Clement and Mahut fell short against Becker and Hartfield respectively in their home tournament. Ljubicic and Monaco are through and go for the title.

Some goodies for today:
Berdych – Lopez
Nalbandian – Wawrinka
Roddick – Santoro
Ancic – Youzhny

Happy watching for those of you who get it on the tivo