Archive for June, 2008

Final 16 predictions

June 30, 2008

I know I have some betting fans reading this blog, and try to help them on the way to a positive cash flow. I stopped betting as money vanished at a dangerous rate. Still I think my predictions for this Wimbledon have been quite ok.

1st round: 40-24
2nd round: 25-7
3rd round: 14-2
Total: 79-33

Here is the rest:
Federer d. Hewitt
Ancic d. Verdasco
Safin d. Wawrinka
Baghdatis d. Lopez
Tipsarevic d. Schuettler
Cilic d. Clement
Murray d. Gasquet
Youzhny d. Nadal!!!

Federer d. Ancic
Baghdatis d. Safin
Cilic d. Tipsarevic
Murray d. Youzhny

Federer d. Baghdatis
Murray d. Cilic

Federer d. Murray

I’m not trying to make any British friends, but if there’s one player who can and should be close to beating Nadal, it’s the flathitting Youzhny. I think he has a better shot at Nadal than Murray. And I think Nadal celebrated too hard last night following Spain’s victory in Euro 2008.


Last 16

June 29, 2008

On Monday there will be some matches who are impossible to call, while some are 100% safe bets.
Federer will beat Hewitt. Why? Hewitt hasn’t beaten him since the year he was #1, 2003. So 11 in a row for Federer will make it 12 on Monday.

Verdasco-Ancic will be quite fascinating. Spain vs an ideal grass player. Ancic was able to take out Ferrer, but not by much. Will he get in trouble with the lefty? Verdasco has been the most positive surprise of the tournament and I see few reasons he will completely fail against the tall Croat. Close battle, but Ancic is favorite going in IMO. Why? Grass game + the fact that their only meeting was in Queen’s a couple of weeks ago, which Ancic won in straight sets.

Safin-Wawrinka is another question mark. Safin has never beaten the Swiss, but with the form and winning mood he is in, the outcome shouldn’t be predictable. I haven’t been able to spot Wawrinka on the grass court this season, but you’re not a bad player if you get to the 4th round on grass. Besides, Wawrinka is a top 10 player! I see problems for Safin, but if he can go on with the play he has, almost no one can stop him.

Wow. Another hard nut. Baghdatis seems to have found his fighting skills. Lopez… well has he ever been this far in a slam? Yes, he actually went to the QF in 05. He was able to pull wins against Safin and Ancic! Not too bad! I can actually see him in another QF. Sorry Baggy

Tipsarevic-Schuettler is probably harder to predict than what it seems. Schuettler is an old man though. The firing hot Tipsarevic should see the fantastic opportunity in just a couple of matches away from a SF in Wimbledon. But maybe the more experienced Schuettler keeps his cool better than Tipsy. Hard to say, but this is a tie of Schuettler’s best performance here and I think it will be the last.

Potential to be a great match. The young gun vs the experienced gun. Cilic is one of the big serving guys who is 1 of maybe 4 or 5 players with top 10 potential the next few years. A QF will be a small breakthrough for him and I can see him serving his way past the shorter Frenchman. He too, will have a chance of a lifetime in a QF against Tipsy/Schuettler to get to a SF.

Gasquet-Murray could go in as a classic. Both lack consistency, but probably two of the most talented guys to play the game today. Gasquet has had a horrible season, and seems to be back. Murray is at home and will want nothing more than to play Nadal on centre court and show the world what he can do to the French Open champ. I think this match could either be high quality or 100 errors each. Either way, 4 or 5 sets looks likely.

Youzhny-Nadal is a perfect match for us who like to see underdogs win. But who is the underdog? Nadal has a 6-4 advantage h2h, but minus the two on clay they are pretty even. Remember last year? Youzhny was up 2 sets to LOVE and got some backpain which fueled Nadal’s hopes and played what he called the best 3 sets ever on grass? Only questions are; is Youzhny as good as last year? Is Nadal better than last year? Maybe no and clearly yes respectively. Most likely outcome is Nadal in 3 hard fought sets, but I’m gonna give Youzhny another chance to take out the favorite. IMO, if Youzhny wants to hit a slam final, he just needs to beat Nadal and the road will clear up to some extent. I’ll give Nadal a 60-40 chance, but Youzhny playing his best seems to bother Nadal into defeat.

Come on people! Wouldn’t you love to see a Safin-Youzhny final?!

Rain came, improved the quality

June 27, 2008

Was it just me, or was pretty much every match better today? Federer played his usual outstanding against Gicquel. Hewitt probably did his best match of the year and actually looks dangerous before meeting the King. Verdasco got Berdych in 3 sets, only giving him 8 games! Didn’t see it, and I assume it wasn’t the best of the matches, but congrats to the lefty from Spain. He will have to show what he’s made of against Mario (aka Super-Frickin-Mario) Ancic. He just finished his match against Ferrer in the dark, by taking the 4th set tiebreak. Amazing tennis from him, amazing from Ferrer, who IMO was just unlucky getting a Ancic who was probably doing his best in years. A few minutes later, under even darker skies, Safin pulled through a 4th set win against Seppi. Also some decent tennis from the Russian who actually looks like a hot SF candidate. He will face Wawrinka, who has sort of sailed through silently (at least for me). He won by retirement today and will have to rely on good practice before facing the Marat. Baggy and Lopez will meet after they won their matches today.

This means we can start look at the QF possibilities.


That’s my picks anyway.

Tomorrow it’s the bottom half:

I think Stepanek-Youzhny has the potential to be the match of the day. But what do I know?!


Roddick OUT

June 27, 2008

What can you do when you are completely outplayed in the 2nd round? You can head for home and hope that the hard court season can bring you some luck. It wasn’t a bad pick to get a Roddick-Nadal SF here in Wimbledon, but Tipsarevic prevented that with some incredible play. Especially the serve. How Tipsy was suddenly able to use his serve as his main weapon is realy something. And how he just didn’t make many error even thouh he sent those balls at 100mph even on the groundstrokes, is also quite something. This was IMO even more unexpected than the Djokovic upset, because Roddick hasn’t been shot out this yearly EVER. Even in 2001 he made the 3rd round and was ranked 33.

Not a good day for Americans as Blake also took a beating from Schuettler. Not AS surprising, but disapointing from a top 10 player, not doubt. What will be interesting now is who the heck will replace the “Roddick” spot in the SF? Clement, Melzer, Cilic, Mathieu, Schuettler, Garcia-Lopez, Tursunov, Tipsarevic. I’ve only watched Tipsy play in this tournament. I’m assuming Tipsy is the actual favorite for that spot, if he can play his game a few more matches.

Nadal lost a set, but was able to cruise through the next three and take himself into the 3rd round. One upset at a time, please! From the names I mentioned above, only two of them are seeds. Meaning that there is a good chance he won’t face a seed in the SF. However, tomorrow Kiefer (27) is next, and the winner of Stepanek-Youzhny after that. Not easy.

Let’s get back to today. With the big names going out, this might be the most boring day so far. Roger will beat Gicquel. Hewitt will take care of Bolelli. Berdych-Verdasco can be longer. Verdasco has really found his best grass shoes and seems to enjoy the green stuff a little more. Berdych might be too strong for the spaniard. The only match I’m gonna wanna watch is Ancic-Ferrer. I think these two are the hottest candidates for the Federer SF. One of them has to go and I think it’s Ferrer. Even though he has established himself as a top 5 (now 4) player, he probably doesn’t have that perfect grass play for 7 straight matches. He might win today, but I can see him lose again on Saturday. I say Ancic will win the closes match in Wimbledon so far.

Safin must beat Seppi, if he hasn’t gone bored and tired and lost the motivation again. Wawrinka should take Zverev, Baghdatis over Stadler and¬†Lopez over the last? American Reynolds.

I don’t know who can threaten a Fed-Nadal final anymore, but I see the threat in Stepanek/Youzhny and Murray to take out Nadal before the SF. Not impossible.

Day 4

June 26, 2008

Are you ready for some more seed shootin’?

Yesterday Serbia almost cried twice as Djokovic was in trouble for 3 whole sets and Ivanovic for 3 sets and 3+ hours. One went home, one was the luckiest I’ve ever seen. 1mm from defeat, then winning 10-8 in the finals set. Ain’t that something?! Gonzo took an early beating from Bolelli, Federer sent Soderling back to Sweden, Baggy passed another Swede and Safin’s road to 2nd week looks great. After today, we will have 32 contenders left. Here are some of today’s big matches.

Has the grass slowed down enough? Is Gulbis hitting few enough errors? Will he return well against the brutal lefty? If there’s a time to take out the potential finalist Nadal, it’s NOW! Ball bounce is still low and a flat hitter like Gulbis is usually what troubles Nadal. If he can serve great, make just as few errors like he did against Isner (15 in 4 sets) and return some of the big Nadal serves (yes I said frickin’ BIG), he will actually stand a chance. However, Gulbis wants to make this a straight set win. That’s the only indication giving him a chance. If it does to 4 or 5, Nadal’s strength will overtake. But from a realistic standpoint, and just like my idiot prediction in the Djokovic-match, I think this will be a close 3 set battle where Nadal comes out as winner. I’ll give Gulbis one set because he has impressed me in slams, but not in smaller tournaments. The 4th round in USO last year was great at such a young age, and I’m sure he has top 5 potential.
Nadal in 4

No way will Murray lose this. If he does, British tennis will once again hit rock bottom. If there’s a year where Murray is looking like a L8 or L4 candidate, it’s this year. He can certainly be a threat to Nadal in a QF, if they get that far. This should be a smooth win in 3 sets. With Murray you never know when he plays a horrible error-filled set, but on center court against a player he knows he should beat…..
Murray in 3

Tipsy needs to save Serbia’s honor for the gentlemen’s singles. The Federer-match is still fresh in mind, but I don’t know if he’s the best grass player. IMO, his game should be good for fast grass, because of relatively short swings, good returning skills and flat powerballs. Question is just; can he return the Roddick serve? I don’t think Roddick will lose quite yet. I think he gets even more motivated to see people like Davydenko and Djokovic on their heads out and will take his game one step further from 1st round. Can he lose a set? Only if his first serve goes under 60%. I was, and still am, very impressed with some of his second serves going at 110 mph with a sick kick. Bye, bye Tipsy
Roddick in 3

I’ve never seen the Brit play, but I’ve heard his just like any other newly discovered star; quite good when playing his best, but more often than not… not so good. He has clearly nothing to lose, and I think we can see a close battle. What will be interesting to see if he can deal with Court 1 and having like 10,000 screaming fans in his head at all time. Tursunov is just a little more experienced and cold enough to make this into a one-sided battle. But I think he’s inconsistent enough to make it longer than necessary.
Tursunov in 4 or 5

This is important. If Gasquet can pass Grosjean, he can go towards Nadal and into 2nd week. I don’t know if he will be able to defend his SF and stay inside the top 10, but he can certainly pull off a win today. I liked what I saw against Fish. I think it was his best match so far this year. That says something about his motivation to advance further. Grosjean is another type of hitter. Mixing a little more, coming for some volleys more often and will probably try to neutralize some of Gaquet sick backhands and just get them back in play rather than hitting them insanely hard like Fish tried. Two smart players playing smart tennis could give us some good tennis. Grosjean is no joke on grass and has a chance if he can get some momentum going. I’ll still give Gasquet a head start based on first round performance.
Gasquet in 3

Safin runs over Djokovic

June 25, 2008

BIG UPSET! BIG BIG BIG! Why? I don’t know… Safin raised his game to a 2005-2006 level and was able to use Djokovic’s medium-poor play to his full potential. 10 double faults and way too many errors who are worth mentioning just helped a hot Safin on the way. I have actually excpected either Djokovic or Nadal to go on a big letdown these days. It happened to almost every player of Safin’s 80-82 generation, including the big talent Hewitt, Roddick and of course Safin. All of them have hit #1, won slams and beaten the best players of that time at a very young age. That description goes for Djokovic too. Now it will be interesting to see if Djokovic can let this pass and focus on maintaining the awesome consistency for the rest of the year. My point is; give the guy a break. He is only 21 (has he turned yet?) and got his slam and has done best on hard court in 2008 of ALL players including beating the best of all time in a slam. I hope for his sake, that Hewitt-Safin-Roddick story doesn’t repeat itself for Djokovic.

BTW. I forgot to mention the Ferrer-Andreev match. I didn’t realize the importance. Andreev has a tasty record against Ferrer, and being freinds won’t help Ferrer a lot more. I thought Ferrer in 3 initially, seeing how well he did in Holland. Maybe Andreev can pull a Safin and take out another top 5 player. #3 and #4 are out, why not #5? Can it happen? Sure! That would leave Fed-Rafa-Rod-Gasq-Blake-Waw. I bet the last three don’t last too long.

Last 64

June 25, 2008

Still plenty to send home. Who will it be?
Today the upper half will hopefully get through their 2nd round matches, and you can expect som good tennis from start to finish. First up is Djokovic-Safin.

I cannot say that this is hard for Djokovic. I know who we’re dealing with here, but Safin hasn’t been a top player in years and will most likely go home around 3 p.m. local time. Safin may have won AO and USO, but has never passed the QF in Wimbledon, which is by far his best result here back in 2001. Tell me why he would beat the 2nd best player of 2008… Anything else but straight sets, will look good on Safin’s half, but I’m afraid Djokovic isn’t willing to give anymore sets away.
Djokovic in 3

Commentator’s said this will be a real test for Rog. I agree. Soderling is probably a top 10 player indoor and maybe even on grass. He has a poor record here, but last year he seemed better in all of his matches. However, for some reason, he hasn’t been able to win any tournaments outside, and hasn’t even reached a final in the fresh air. So he is struggling with the natural elements, and when you meet Federer….. BAM!
Federer in 3

REMATCH! of 1st round in AO, where Baggy won in 4. We are on grass which suits the Swede better on many levels. Most important is that he too has started to grow old (like comrade Bjorkman).
I’m sorry for the blond, but Baggy looked uncharacteristically strong on Monday and will take this match. It could go long, but that doens’t favor an already tired Johansson.
Baghdatis in 4

Del Potro-Wawrinka
I just cannot call it. Del Potro has the potential to become a top player in a few years. Being an 88′ production he still has the time to develop his game. If it’s a good time to break through, it’s now. He hasn’t done a lot this year (8-7), but last week was able to make the SF in Holland. Wawrinka on the other hand has broken the top 10, but it’s still the same guy who seems to enjoy clay and slow rather than grass, slippery and fast. Excellent opportunity for Del Potro to advance.
Del Potro in 3

The rest of the matches either speak for themselves, or the players are both to unknown for me to care.

Tomorrow is the bottom half. Just a quick thing about Nadal. He served 17 aces! You know what? So did Roddick! I’m starting to see why maybe Nadal-Roddick wouldn’t be as close as you’d think. There’s no doubt Nadal looked good out there, but like I’ve said, he has a tough couple of matches ahead. As long as the grass turns brown, his chances to stay in increases. Gulbis is next and Youzhny waits in the 4th. Both have a fair chance of knocking him out. What do you think?

Day 1 over – into Day 2

June 24, 2008

Nothing BIG happened yesterday. Federer, Djokovic, Hewitt, Ferrer and other top players pulled through. HOWEVER! David Nalbandian, the most inconsistent top 10 player I’ve ever seen, lost to Dancevic in straight sets. Nalbandian is a player who makes predicting very difficult.
Some surprises includes the matches of Hewitt-Haase, which went to 5 tight sets; so did Berdych-Korolev which was even closer; I think Verdasco beating Kohl in 3 was pretty impressive; AND AND AND…. Karlovic is once again out of a slam as early as possible! Simon Stadler?!?! was able to pull through in 4 sets against the giant Croat. He seems to like Queen’s and Nottingham (7-1 I think), but Wimbledon seems to be a nightmare. Don’t get it. Here is some of today’s action:

Roddick should not only get this one in straight sets, he should so it fast. I’m not so worried for his health, because I don’t know the status, but when the shoulder of the fastest serving player is not 100%, then you know he’s in trouble. Let’s hope he’s 100% and is able to use this relativley easy draw to get to a SF (or final).
Roddick in 3

Although I predict that Mahut-Roddick is a likely 3rd round, I don’t know if Mahut is good enough to beat Tursunov. They’ve never met so it’s hard to say. Mahut is the better grass player, IMO, but Tursunov knows how to deal with best of 5 sets. This could easily go to 4 or 5 and then Tursunov should be able to win, but if Mahut finds his best tennis, then it could be a straight set win. Being in doubt I’m gonna give it to the Russian.
Tursunov in 5

Veterans’ tennis! I think these guys will be happy for any win they can get here. Both have passed 30, well.. Bjorkman has passed 35, but both are capable of playing well on grass. As I see it Bjorkman is a huge favorite, with a better Wimbledon record. But the age will hamper if the match goes long, which it could, and Clement could take it. I’m gonna go and say that Bjorkman will dominate what might be his last Wimbledon appearance.
Bjorkman in 3

OH YES! Match of the day, no dobut! These guys have never met either. The thing is, the winner has a good shot of going all the way towards a Nadal QF. I don’t know who is in a better shape, but Fish has had a lot of positive results this year, while Gasquet has not done anything. As a top 10 player, Gasquet has a poor 13-12 record, while Fish #39 has 19-13. That’s not normal. Fish’s game should fit perfectly onto the fast grass and could trouble an already troubled Gasquet. I think Gasquet might almost get a similar comeback like last year, but Fish will take him down.
Fish in 4

Why isn’t thin match of the day? Because I know the outcome. Murray will get this match. I think he has a very big chance even if Santoro takes a set or two, then Murray is favorite due to his younger body. Santoro is heading out of pro tennis and couldn’t have gotten a worse 1st round (of course he could), but the point is that he has a poor 10-11 record, which doesn’t translate into sudden wins right now. Murray will go in as huge favorite, and with a loss the Brits have a reason to make a riot.
Murray in 3

Isner…no Gulbis… no Isner… no Gulbis. I actually believe in Gulbis, and I think most people do. There’s something about the tall people not being able to perform on best of five on grass, and I think it’s the surface character. If you are 7 ft or whatever and weigh more than two regular players combined, then momentum shift of the body is HARD on grass. It’s hard to manouver such a body on grass. Therefore if Isner wants to win he needs to hit like 40 aces and have no errors. I think he would have had a better chance on a fast hard court. Just look at the Federer match at US Open where he won the first set. There the movement of the big body is easier as you get more grip. Okay, enough with the physics… I’ve been impressed with Gulbis in big events, especially the last 3 slams.
Gulbis in 3

I usually write about interesting matches, but if I have Roddick I need to include Nadal. I think Nadal’s match is even easier, but you never know. I think Berrer gave Djoko enough trouble. That can be the story today as well. Beck is one of the tall guys, who I can only assume has a huge serve. But even in 3 tiebreaks Nadal will get it.
Nadal in 3

Roger Federer 1st up

June 22, 2008

The schedule for tomorrow’s matches will be from Roger’s half of the draw, including Novak and Lleyton, Nalby, Baggy and more…

Most people will probably watch the center court + court 1 action, but there are several great matches on the smaller courts. Here are the ones I would prefer watching:

Kohlschreiber – Verdasco
Kohlschreiber just got to the final in Halle (lost to the King), while Verdasco went all the way to the final in Nottingham, taking a set off Karlovic. No doubt that both players are ready for grass and seem to be more consistent than previous years when hitting grass. They’ve met twice, both won by Kohl, but both matches went to a third set. I’ve been asked to predict, but I feel an obligation to tell you that I get like 20% right, so don’t use them for betting.
Kohlshreiber will win in 5 great sets.

Gicquel – Nishikori
Both have done well so far on grass. Giquel lost to Ferrer in the final in Holland (I’ve given up trying to type the name of the location), Nishikori gave Nadal a light headache in Queen’s. And we remember him from earlier beating Blake and other big names. Fun to watch, and could be heading for a Federer clash.
Nishikori in 4.

Baghdatis – Darcis
Baghdatis has struggled a lot all year. He hasn’t been able to do anything special. Only two reasons he’s still at #25. 1 is QF in Wimbledon last year, 2 is SF in AMS Paris. Darcis is one of the (young) guns, actually older than Baggy, who has climbed from 485 in 2007 to a career high of 46 in March 08. He’s clearly heading up, Baggy is sort of going down. But we know how good Baggy plays on grass, and we’ve seen a lot of good stuff from Darcis this year (not A LOT, but winning Memphis is a big achievement). I believe it will be a tight battle and good baseline rallies.
Baghdatis in 4

Hewitt – Haase
Hewitt hasn’t performed to his full potential this year and hasn’t proven to be consistent enough to get himself back inside top 20, or maybe 10. Haase is like Darcis, going up. Hasn’t proven anything that should scare Hewitt, but could give him some trouble. I’ve seen Haase playing with Safin, and beating him in 3 sets back in Valencia; he was able to beat Murray in Rotterdam in straight sets AND took out Ljubicic in the first round of AO. Maybe not the favorite going into the match, but no joke.
Hewitt in 3

Federer – Hrbaty
Okay, this is interesting. Federer has a relatively bad record against this guy. Lost in 2000, when Hrbaty was much higher ranked, but also beat him in 2004 at Cincy. I cannot see Federer losing tomorrow, but can we get an early mid-term exam from Hrbaty? Why not?! Well… because he has a horrible 2-3 record this year, playing more on the Challenger tour and doing some doubles as well. Ranked 272 and really not going up anytime soon. I can only assume that Federer will play badly to lose a set tomorrow, but what do I know?!
Federer in 3

Wimbledon draw

June 20, 2008

T-3 days and they are off!!
Who got lucky, who can cry? I think Federer and Djokovic are happy and Nadal a little stressed out. Why? Well, Fed and Novak are in the top half, which is a pain for the two… but the road TO the semis is actually pretty aaaight. Federer got Soderling (AGAIN!!) early on, Monfils (AGAIN!!) or Nishikori?… Many interesting names, but all of whom lose big time to the FedXpress.

Djokovic will get players like Berrer, Safin, Seppi? and Wawrinka and last but not least, the bagel and breadstick specialist Nalbandian in a potential QF. Federer-Djokovic semifinal should be a very safe bet.

Nadal, on the other hand will get some of his good old battle horses like Youzhny, Murray, Fish, Stepanek… well not really any big threats. His only problem has been Youzhny, and could pose a threat in a R16.

How about Davydenko, the newly crowned Warsawa champ on clay? I think he will pass the 1st round, but players like Bjorkman, Ljubicic, Mathieu can and will get him out on grass. If not, Roddick in a QF is a pretty safe pick.

Yes, how about the grass lover Roddick? He finally got himself on the bottom half, away from Fed. He will face Tipsy in 2nd, MAHUT!! in 3rd, and possibly Blake in 4th. There are quite a few qualifiers who can make it, but it’s hard to tell who. I see that there are some new east-europeans and a few unknown latinos. There are some upsets lurkin in the back of people’s head….
Ferrer might get a handful with Stakhovsky, Ferrero could be downed by Querrey, Dancevic over Nalby?, Odesnik over Nieminen?, Becker over Davydenko?, Fish over Gasquet?!?!!?… there are plenty of 1st round upsets to come. The biggest match to me might be Fish-Gasquet.

Their season have been in a strong contrast. Fish has moved up the rankings, Gasquet is not really moving anywhere, but I’m sure that he will pop out of top 10 in 2,5 weeks’ time. There’s no way he will get to the SF this year. I actually think Fish has a very good chance to advance from this 1st round match and clash with Murray in a 3rd round.
Other interesting 1st round encounters include: Isner-Gulbis, Santoro-Murray, Bjorkman-Clement, Mahut-Tursunov, Baghdatis-Darcis, Kohlschreiber-Verdasco, Hewitt-Haase… +++

Here are my predictions for L16 based on intuition and “expert” guessing:





I’m pretty confident about my picks so far, but the 4th round matches sure have some 50-50s. I genuinely think that Youzhny can take Nadal, OR Murray in a QF. Bjorkman’s best slam is Wimbledon and can surprise us. Hasn’t the worst draw and can get past Mathieu in a QF. Roddick should be able to beat Blake but when two friends play you never know. Baggy is the biggest question mark, but also the biggest potential. I really wish for and believe in a Fed-Ancic QF. REMEMBER… Ancic is the last player to beat Federer on grass! Not relevant now, but fun fact.

Agree, err?