Archive for November, 2007

Davis Cup final draw

November 30, 2007

The Russians have decided to exclude Davydenko from the singles matches, which I was sure they would. Davydenko has 0-11 against Roddick and Blake. So h2h-wise it was probably the right thing to do. In addition we know that Youzhny’s and Turnunov’s play is more effective on faster courts and it was probably the right thing to do.

Roddick and Blake have not played Youzhny and Tursunov a lot, and total h2h count between these four is 5-3 for the Americans. Roddick has had a few close matches with Youzhny, but has won the last 3. He also got that marathon clay-inferno last year where Tursunov took the decider at 17-15!! Don’t think it will happen in Portland.

Doubles? Well….. Bryan/Bryan is the world’s best doubles team. Andreev/Dayvdenko is NOT the best doubles team. The Bryans simply cannot lose this match.

Here is the final schedule:

Friday
Roddick v Tursunov
Blake v Youzhny

Saturday
Bryan/Bryan v Andreev/Davydenko

Sunday
Roddick v Youzhny
Blake v Tursunov

Who will win today?
Roddick gave Tursunov some of his Wimbledon-prep play at Queen’s club this year, taking the SF in straight sets. I see something like that happening again. Best of five can be in Tursunov’s favor but only if he plays well. Where has he been the last few months? Well last week he made the final of a challanger in Ukraine and lost in straight sets to world # 102! Last good performance was his title in Bangkok in September and Indianapolis this summer.
Roddick doesn’t lose too many DC matches on fast surface and he is so close to achieving one of his top goals in his career he can smell it already. Roddick takes it in 3

Blake has had the same type of form as Tursunov. Last good performance was Stockholm and then back in the US opens series period. Youzhny has had a few good performances, but not good enough to stick around and fight for 10th spot anymore. QF in Paris, SF in St.Petersburg are the only ones where he played ok. I think it’s more open than the first one, but Blake is better at closing up sets once he’s on a roll. Might be a match with several breaks each set or a close one with tie-breakers and excellent play. Lets hope for the latter. I think Blake will win, mostly because I doubt Youzhny will handle the pressure IF Roddick wins the first match.

Davis Cup prep

November 28, 2007

Davis Cup final is right around the corner and there are a few facts that don’t make a lot of sense. You would think the country with the best players (on an objective average) would be the best. Russia and the US have had the best players (on average), perhaps with Spain, the last 20+ years. Russia has 4 finals and 2 vicotries since 86. USA has 6 finals 3 victories, but only 3 finals and 1 victory since 95. My point is that Davis Cup seems a lot more unpredictable than ATP singles and doubles. In 2005 the final was Croatia d. Slovakia. It’s been a while since two so non-dominant singles and doubles players have gone so far in DC.
No compaining… That’s actually the beauty of it. But this year we have #1 and defending champion Russia against #2 and quite the favorite US of A.
#1
russia.jpg
#2
usa.jpg

Past DC champs:
2006: Russia d. Argentina
2005: Croatia d. Slovakia
2004: Spain d. USA
2003: Australia d. Spain
2002: Russia d. France
2001: France d. Australia
2000: Spain d. Australia
1999: Australia d. France
1998: Sweden d. Italy
1997: Sweden d. USA
1996: France d. Sweden
1995: USA d. Russia (Time for a sweet-tasting revenge in 2007?)

One thing to note is that USA and Russia have been in a few finals these years, but none have been able to do it several times in a row. We see that Sweden hit the final 3 times a row 96-98
Australia did the same in 99-01.

But the fact that not one DC team since 1995 (before Sampras’ reached his top) has won the damn cup is a big, big, big dissapointment. If the Americans don’t make it this year either, IN PORTLAND, I think they will be so down they all retire. Especially Roddick. Poor bastard must get a victory-feel after being bullied around the court by Feddy and Ferry.
Prediction: USA d. Russia 4-1

Sampras/Federer…

November 26, 2007

I was asked why I didn’t say anything about the three matches played in the far east. First reason is that the only thing I’ve seen is the clips on youtube. But from what I’ve seen…:

People have got to start to talk about the matches as if they are EXHIBITION matches, nothing more, nothing less. There’s almost no point in comparing the two in trying to find the best. People have mentioned reasons like age diff of 10, Pete has not competed in a pro setting since 2002, he has gained a little weight I think?, and other obvious little facts.
My problem is that you cannot compare Federer on his best with Sampras five years after retiring. And certainly not in a show-match! If this was a Wimbledon-final… well first of all Pete would not be able to win the 6 matches to get there, but IF it were to happen, Federer would destroy the American with a lot of breaks.

One thing I noticed was the willingness to try to play for the audience rather than trying to win every point. That applies for both but especially for Federer. Sampras could have gotten more returns if a Wimbledon trophy was at stake, and Federer would not let Sampras get those beautiful volley shots he made if he REALLY wanted to do serious damage.
But Sampras surprised me in how fit he is and how his footwork is ALMOST the same as it was in the early 00s. I did not see the big difference, but he came to the net very easily and seemed to be a greater threat to Federer at the net than most other current players. That just shows what kind of generation we left behind in the 80s and 90s.

Federes’s claim that Sampras could beat top 5 players is obvious. Sampras brilliant serve-volleying is a threat at any age, and it seems to be the style that never grows old in the being offensive-sense. Sampras would never get bagaled against other top 5 players if he gives 100% today. His placement of the serve and the volley is still on the highest level. In reality I think stamina is the only critical factor that prevents Sampras from being able to still be a top player.

Another thing is that I really believe Federer is stronger mentally. Regardless of who hits the best and nicest shots, Sampras often showed weakness in situations he perhaps shouldn’t have. Federer does not fit that description at the same level. I’m certainly not referring to the exhibition matches, but in comparison as dominant tennis players Federer seems to have a mental edge. Yes, this is not a strong argument but if you just compare the years Sampras dominated 93-98 with Federer’s 04-07 there’s a clear pattern that Federer is more likely to both go far into the tournament or win it than Sampras. Competition? I would say Sampras had more but weaker competition in comparison to Federer’s Nadal and Djokovic and other fire crackers like Nalbandian. And Sampras didn’t lose only to Agassi.

The only big difference between the two, besides their somewhat different playing styles, is their record on clay. Sampras was not once dominant on clay. Federer is dominant on clay where there is not Nadal, and just imagine how many clay titles Federer would have if Nadal wasn’t around!

But what matters is, who is the best?
I think the match in 2001 says it all. Sampras was GOOD! Federer was not as good as today, but during that match, every aspect of Federer’s game came out and he was able to press out every talent-unit he had in him. Federer played great, Sampras played great, great match, great win by Roger. And today’s Roger is even better! His groundstrokes were not as good as today and that includes that match in 2001. But I STILL don’t want to compare them!!

Sampras was the best player of 1990s.
Federer is the best player of 00s, and will continue for a few more years.

That’s a frickin’ wrap!!

Federer and Nadal in 2007

November 25, 2007

Rafael Nadal
He played 20 tournaments this year and won 6. His results were shaky in the start, but primarily due to bad timing. AO he ran into Gonzo and a few weeks later into Youzhny in Dubai. Still Chennai and Sydney were dissapointing for him and his first 4 were only 400 ranking points. Then things turned around quickly. Nadal has never been best on HC, but in March he was, perhaps only in competition with Djokovic.
He won in Indian Wells in straight sets and started out just as good in Miami. Djokovic was his only competitor and was able to beat him in the QF. But even with that going into the clay season, Nadal looked better than ever.
Then a 19-winning streak followed, which is kind of normal for Nadal in the spring only to be cut off by the great Roger in Hamburg. That did not prevent Rafa from stealing another RG title from Federer’s face. London was probably a good prep for Nadal going into Wimbledon. He was surely not aiming for that title, but a few matches on grass right after RG did most likely not hurt.

Nadal’s best performance this year is Wimbledon, in my opinion…. Those two weeks were a nightmare for the poor guy in which he for almost a week played ONE match, while in the same period Federer was at the hotel and playing card games with Mirka. This shows how good and fit Nadal is. The 241 minute match against Soderling (which in reality was several days longer) let him standing almost stripped off a QF when he was down 0-2 against Youzhny. Youzhny was a few games away from victory when his back started to hurt. That was a turning point, as Nadal demolished Berdych and Djokovic in short matches before getting a 6-2 set against Federer in the Wimbledon FINAL! Damn that was close! BUT unfortunately the best man won.

Why he needed to win Stuttgart I don’t know, but still a good victory for Nadal. Reason might be that he wanted to stay clear of US open Series and only play Canada, Cincy and USO. This was perhaps his worst part of the year, but losing to Djokovic and Ferrer in this period was reason enough for an excuse. This fall the final in Paris was clearly the high point and I was certain he would take it from Nalbandian. But he managed to beat Nadal twice in a couple of weeks and leave Nadal high and dry before Shanghai. It’s been a long year for him but even with Djokovic in the fight he is #2 and #1 by far on clay.

Ranking: 2 all year
Titles: 6
W-L: 70-15 (82.35%)
Grade: A

Roger Federer
I am tired of people implying that Federer is soon-to-become history. 2005 and 2006 were inhuman in any way possible, 2007 was almost the same. Biggest difference was actually the amount he spent on court. This year he only played 16 times and won 8! He won 50% of the tournaments he entered! Not as good as last year, but still best by almost 1500 points.
Is that not enought?! He owned everybody at AO, to losing one damn set! Winning Dubai was no problem either. Then Canas x2 hit him hard, but he can also have bad days at the office and Canas knew how to annoy him. Then the loss to Volandri is the only loss I did not understand, but perhaps Federer spent more time practicing and testing Nadal-tactics than concentrating on clay wins. He wanted that big RG title not Rome!
The only problem, if it is a problem really, was that he got Nadal a couple of weeks too early. He took Hamburg and ruined Nadal’s endless clay court streak, but did not repeat in Paris. From Wimbledon and on he only lost to Djokovic in Canada and Nalbandian x 2 in a Canas kinda style. Is that BAD!?!? Last year was approaching perfection, this year he made some human errors which finally makes me believe he is from our planet. The stats speak for themselves:
Ranking: 1 (and has been since early 2004!!)
Titles: 8
W-L: 68-9 (88.3%) by far the best
Grade: A

Player Assessment #4 & #3

November 24, 2007

#4 Nikolay Davydenko
I have no problem with Davydenko. He’s a devoted and great player. I just think that the two guys behind him are just a little better. But he gets his points by working harder than anyone else and playing every tournament he can.

Davydenko has been in the top 10 since May 2005. That shows stability, but not enought to be the best. He still gets most wins in tournaments where he is top seed and gets most points on playing well at a lot of these. This year he has done a good job in the GS arena which probably is his goal. He got some good wins in AO, but ran into Haas in the QF where he stumbled to a energetic German at a 2-1 lead.
Rotterdam was also a good performance, but once again it prooves he just isn’t good enough against the really good guys. Lost to Ljubicic in the SF, which he probably shoud’ve won, considering that he was 3 points away from the match. IW and Miami AMS were a little dissapointing, but Murray and Delic found ways to take him down in straight sets.
Clay season was not impressive, but Rome and Roland Garros stood out quite nicely.
He reached the semis in Rome and played one of his best matches against Nadal. He fought off several match points and won the second set tie-break. Unfortunately Nadal took the last one.

Davydenko had a great tournament in Paris. Won all matches in straight sets with the exception of Nalbandian (of course). He even showed Canas a thing or two about clay in the QF. Federer made sure Davydenko stopped at the semis but had to fight in two breakers before sending him home.

Wimbledon was a positive change for him. Reached the 4th round, which was his best performance there. Then the rest of the season was one long big miserable soap opera. The betting-scandal was a foggy matter which I never understood what the conclusion was. He lost three straight 1st rounds and got to 2nd round in Poland. Okay, not the best timing if he actually is innocent. With all of this, he managed to end the season on a high note, with QF in Montreal, SF in Cincy and SF in US Open.

The problem is, #4 did not win one tournament before finally catching a break in Moscow in October. He certainly got enought points to reach Shanghai, but a lot of the points came from solid performances at the all GS. Yeah even Wimbledon!
Overall, Davydenko is still a good top 10 player and has been for quite some time and probably will be for another year. That being said, he really needs to start winning bigger tournaments than Moscow and Sopot. In the Federer-era Grand Slams are impossible, but Roger isn’t playing and winning all the Masters.

Ranking: 3 to 4 (bottom was 5!!)
Titles: 1
W-L: 53-31 (63.1%… not good not good!)
Grade: C+

#3 Novak Djokovic
Say who? Anyone know where this guy was Nov. 2005? #83!!! Fall of 2006, Djokovic started playing some great tennis, but even then there were no indications that he would go into 2007 and dominate several tournaments and beat the 3 best players in the world in 3 days!
He got off to a good start winning in Adelaide, only losing one set.
Aussie Open would have been a break-through if he’d have a higher seeding. He ran into Federer just a little to early and ONLY got to R16. From the end of February, Djokovic was the third best player in the world. No… not officially but still third best.
SF in Rotterdam, QF in Dubai losing to Federer once again. Then came the FINAL in Indian Wells where he won every match in straight sets, but couldn’t get Nadal who also was on a great run. He destroyed Ferrer and Murray back-to-back in 2, 3, and 4. Simply incredible
In Miami it was his turn to lift the nasty Masters trophy. Beating Nadal 6-3, 6-4, Andy Murray 6-1, 6-0, AND the Federer-killer Canas in the final 6-3, 6-2, 6-4!!!
That must have been Djokovic’s best memory from 2007…right?

Clay was not the same, but won Estoril and got to QF in both Rome and Hamburg before going to Paris and going all the way to the SF.
Queen’s Club did not really give him much, but showed that he is an all-surface player reaching yet another SF after getting serious match time in several marathon matches.
After some rust in Umag, the rest of the summer/fall was one big celebration for the young Serb. Won AMS Canada, final in USO, won Vienna, SF in Madrid and met Nalbandian; enough said there…. In words, this shows what a great potential Djokovic is to become the next great player. If he hurries up he can pass Federer’s records due to his young age. Federer was nowhere near this level at age 20. He had 1380 points this time last year, now he has 4470. Clearly the player who has grown the most in 2007. Can’t wait to see if he can dethrone Nadal/Federer from their GS seats.

Ranking: 16 to 3, up up up
Titles: 5 !!
W-L: 68-19 (78.2%)!!
Grade: A

Player Assessment #6 & #5

November 23, 2007

Andy Roddick #6
I feel sorry in many ways for Roddick. This guy suffers most playing in the Federer era it seems. Remember that this is the guy who last had the #1 spot before Federer started his dictatorship. 2007 has been once again mixed for Roddick. He started out playing very well; actually beating Federer in the Kooyong exhibition tournament. He wanted to do that again in the AO Semifinal, but Federer does not lose grand slams semifinals. Arguably best serve in business got bageled and humiliated.
I haven’t mentionded Davis Cup for the other players, but Roddick’s record is impressive and needs to highlighted. He played and beat Berdych ON CZECH CLAY and took the DC squad to QF.

Roddick played both San Jose and Memphis before IW and Miami and lost to the players who won the tournaments in the semi of San Jose and final of Memphis. At Indian Wells I was certain that he would go all the way and win the whole thing after Federer was out. Nadal did not allow him and taught him a thing or two about how to play on hard courts.
Miami looked even more convining for Roddick, getting some easy wins until the QF against Murray where he had to retire. That injury slowed Roddick down all the way to the grass season. He played, still injured, the Davis Cup tie against Spain and won his only match.

The only impressive performance on clay was 1st round of Rome, where he beat former RG champ Gaudio 6-1, 7-6. He also played well against Andreev in Paris, but Roddick just doesn’t seem to catch a break on clay.
Roddick finally got his first title at Queen’s club, not playing great but effective tennis. Same thing in Wimbledon. I’ve seen Roddick better there before but got quite easily to QF and was only a few points away from another SF encounter with Federer. Gasquet made sure that didn’t happen by taking 3 sets in a row and shattering Roddick’s confidence.
US Open series period was probably THE biggest dissapointment for him, even with the title in Washington. Once again, only two matches stood out this whole summer. US open 3rd round against Johansson and QF against Federer. Could not have played any better in my opinion.
The rest of the season Roddick healed from another injury, but still managed to reach his only big goal for 2007, reaching the finals of DC and being able to play it at home. I’m pretty sure he won’t let this opportunity slip. Overall, including the ups and down of TMC, Roddick could have done better in 3 of the 4 slams and probably in every single tournament on hard court.
In 2008, if Roddick wants to get motivation to continue at all he need to stay injury-free and MUST BEAT FEDERER! If not, end of the road I’m afraid
Ranking: 6 to 6, topping at #3 for quite some time
Titles: 2 (only!) but 5 SF, 5 QF and 1 F shows he is close
W-L: 53-16 (76.8%)
Grade: B

David Ferrer #5
No doubt that this guy has really shown what he’s capable of on a tennis court. His potential is clearly higher than shown all these years, but this time around he has shown more consistency of great play over a longer period of time. He started out the year with a great win in Auckland and followed up with a 4R at Aussie Open. He should have won against Fish in Melbourne, but Fish was just a little better than he usually is. Then the Ferrer spotlight break was long and lasted into Indian Wells where he got taken out by Djokovic in straight sets. In Miami, Roddick took him out comfortably in R16.

Ferrer really started his confidence build-up on clay. Quarters in Monaco, Semi in Barcelona, Quarters in Hamburg are a few OK consistent performances. He also got 3 straight wins in WTC in Germany before going down against Verdasco at Roland Garros.
Clay might still be Ferrer’s best surface based on his ability to stay more consistent in clay tournaments than other types. He got his 2nd title on clay in Bastad and ended clay season in Umag with a QF. His clay record for 2007 is 22-7 which for a #16 player is not too bad.

The first highlight was actually beating defending champ Roddick in Cincy on his favorite surface. That was probably a good confidence boost after a 50-50 1st part of the season still trying to break top 10. Little did he know that he would actually do it a few weeks later after beating Nalbandian, Nadal and Chela to reach the semi-final of US Open. That gave him enought confidence to go to Tokyo (without d.champ Federer) and win the whole thing.
The problem still though is the inability to stay consistent, even though he was just that for parts of 2007. Before heading to Shanghai and destorying everybody in RR, he had 2-3 the whole indoor season! Why? No clue…
For 2008, if he wants to stay where he is today, as I don’t see him moving too many spots UP the rankings, he really needs to start beating players he knows he is better than and run on momentum like most other top players do rather than KILL it completely.
Ranking: 14 to 5!! (lowest on 16th as late as mid-August!)
Titles: 3
W-L: 72.62%
Grade: C+ (Did you just call me crazy? Fact is US Open, Tokyo and TMC were the only tournaments where he performed above expectation, that’s the +… C is for average)

Player Assessment #8 and #7

November 21, 2007

#8 Richard Gasquet
Gasquet did his job this year and turned around the mixed and salty 2006. Last year he had some good results, reached the final at Rogers Cup, 4th round in USO and got himself three titles. This year was a no turning back trip for Gasquet. He never managed to pull off the big results, but slowly and steady climbed from 18 to 8 with consistent OK results.
Highlights include final in Estoril, SF in Wimbledon after failing to defend his Nottingham title.
This fall he actually was a top quality player winning in Mumbai, reaching the final in Tokyo a week later and making it to the SF in Paris, only to lose against Nalbandian who was the best of the best that tournament. This great fall, in addition to a strong SF performance in Wimbledon sent him into the top 10 and to Shanghai. Has to be mentioned that he mangaged to beat world #2 and 3 in a few days, playing very well.
Ranking: 18 to 8, topping out at 7
Titles: 1
W-L: 49-24 (67.1%)
Grade: B

#7 Fernando Gonzalez
How great was this guy in January?! From R32 in AO there was no stopping Gonzo! I think from the way he moves and hits the balls, the rebound ace surface was probably optimal speed and bounce. If not optimal, close to. He was 10 at New Year’s eve, shot up to 5th after the brilliant show in Melbourne. Then thing kind of slowed down. IW and Miami was not impressive and clay season started out with two first round exits. He was able to bounce right back to get some impressive wins in Rome and reach the final only to get brutally beaten by Nadal.
Same procedure in Hamburg, same opponent.

French Open is still a mystery to me. Why he lost 2, 2, and 4 against Stepanek is hard to understand. From all I know, he wasn’t injured or anything. Yes Stepanek is a good player, but those numbers on clay makes little sense.
Then grass treated him with some close matches at the Queen’s club and Wimby.

Starting US open series he was still 6th best and was ready to make a good run on the HCs.
The problem was until Bejing in mid September, Gonzalez was 0-4. The reason he made Shanhai was actually not Aussie Open final, rather winning Beijing. Had he continued losing in 1st and 2nd rounds Shanghai spot would have been history.
He sort of ended the year with some magic. Lost to Roger in Melbourne, then taught him the game of forehand in Shanghai. Had he just done something against Roddick and Davydenko as well… This just proves how important consistency is in tennis. His name would have been all over the place had he been able to take Roddick. Oh well… better luck next time.
Ranking: 10 to 7 (not bad really, topping out at 5)
Titles: 1 (0 last year)
W-L: 37-24 (60.65%) this should’ve been higher!
Grade: C+ (+ for Aussie Open)

 

ATP 2009?

November 20, 2007

A lot of people are googling ATP 2009. Perhaps someone out there knows when they’ve planned to publish the 2009 calendar? 

It was said that the 2009 calendar would be announced at TMC in Shanghai. I hope it wasn’t 2008! Anyone know what’s going on?

Year-End Player Assessment

November 19, 2007

Let us look at #10 and #9. The ones just missing out of Shanghai. How has 2007 treated them?

#10 Tommy Robredo
The #3 player in Spain is actually one of the most experienced by now and has been playing on the pro tour since 2001 when he shot up to #30. 2007 has not been a bad year, but he’s been locked in the shadow of Ferrer and Nadal who happen to be better.

The face is 2007 started out quite good for Robredo. In Auckland he made the final and lost to Ferrer which also gave him a good 6th seed for Aussie Open. In Melbourne he made a good run to the QF where he (as most other players) was shot down by The Roger.

Another QF followed in Rotterdam where he lost to Djokovic in 3 sets. If people would’ve known what lies in Djokovic (then ranked 14) this loss is actually not a bad performance.
In Indian Wells Gilles Simon fired past Robredo and sent him to Miami, where he lost in the QF against Canas. Remember him? The guy who was in a Federer-killing mood in March?

The first obvious dissapointment came with the clay season, where he usually collects most of his ranking points. His best results were a SF in Estoril and the QF in Roland Garros, once again taking a beating from Federer.

Grass did not work out this year either and Wimbledon ended in 2nd round against the oldy Arthurs. Robredo continued on clay and played Bastad, Stuttgart, Kitzbuhel, and Sopot. First three were no good at all, though he got his first title of the season in Sopot.

From that point on he did not restore his best tennis until after the USO where he made the 3rd round and got a lesson from Gulbis. That sent the poor man down to #11.

In September and October things changed as he got to the final in Beijing and won Metz. That would perhaps have built up his confidence and give him enough points to qualify for Shanghai. That was not the case as he failed to perform in Madrid, Lyon and Paris, where he needed quite a few points to be competitive in the race. Overall, just OK

Ranking: 7 to 10, high at #5
Titles: 2
W-L: 49-26 (65.3%)
Grade: C

#9 David Nalbandian
If this was end of September, this guy would not get this spot in the blog! It was even a coincidence point-wise that he made the top 10. Nalbandian is a great player, when he plays with some consistency and stability. He started out the year in top 10, made the R16 in Melbourne and got some below average results in the start. The problem is that he had some big points to defend from 2006 and was not able to defend too many of them. By the time they hit the clay in Europe, he was #12. After Roland Garros Nalby was out of top 20. He actually entered Wimbledon as #25. The problem was that the first half of 2006 he was playing better than ever and this spring he had no results to show. In the fall there were less points to defend and showed that he had some skills against Ferrer in New York. He lost it, but the 5 set encounter was a breath of fresh air for Nalby fans. He’s still around!

Prior to October 15th his best result was a QF in Barcelona! 4th, 4th, 3rd, and 3rd rounds at the slams. Not top 10 material. I don’t know what sort of preparation he did for the last two masters tournaments, but Nalby was back to his early 2006 level. In Madrid he took out the three best players in the world in three days. A couple of weeks later he managed to beat Nadal, Gasquet, and Federer to get his second AMS title in a month. Now people are talking about him being a favorite for AO. I can see why!

Ranking: 8 to 9, but hitting a deep, deep low at #26 in the summer.
titles: 2 AMS
W-L: 31-18 (63.3%)
Grade: C+ (yeah! that’s right)

Shhh.. A genius at work

November 18, 2007

federer1.jpg

Federer d. Ferrer   6-2, 6-3, 6-2
The world has run out of superlatives in their description of Federer and his game. Magnificent from the 1st touch of the ball to the phenomenal match point passing shot. Genius is the word that has been placed on the posters around the stadium in Shanghai and a word that has been used quite a few times by the ATP commentators throughout this season. Perfection is a word used rarely and I don’t want to even be close to claiming that Federer is a perfect tennis player. HOWEVER, if approaching perfection is allowed then Federer’s name would stick to it all the time. His shots were outstanding today, as yesterday and on friday. People have been questioning if Federer is heading down after the “close-to-perfection” year 2006. Even if he has more losses and fewer titles this year, his game has not suffered any downs. I think he competition has strengthened and have started to figure him out. That is only when he plays like he did in his first two matches in Shanhai. The last three he was the best and not one player would beat him at that level of play.

He’s now closing up on a record year-end championships titles as well. This year he tied Nastase for a 4th title and looking to take on Sampras’ 5 in 08.
And for Ferrer… I hope that this marked the breakthrough he needed to stay within top 5 and be a full-time favorite to win Grand Slams and Masters. Runner-up was acutally optimal for him all things considered in this Federer-era.

The only event remaining before we enter 2008 is the Cold War final between the Russians and the Americans in Portland, Oregon. May the best team win, and may it be USA…