Archive for the ‘AMS Madrid’ Category

Are you kidding me?!

October 21, 2007

What I “wanted” to predict would happen…. happened! I just thought Federer had been to damn dominant this week to “yield” his title to Nalbandian. After 30 min of play I was 100% sure that I would be right. Then Nalbandian breaks for the 2nd set, where Federer made more errors than he normally does, and Nalbandian started to hit some sweet winners. Nalbandian’s serve was still a little week after the first two sets.

Then came the third, which statistically had Federer written all over it. Federer continued to place his forehands long and at some point I thought: Is he drunk!?! There were at some point three in a row or something! Nalbandian remained ice cold, which I also excpected to change, and improved his record against Federer to one victory short of a TIE.
nalba.jpg

The victory is great by itself, but Nalbandian came with no hopes to go this far in Madrid. He has plummeted from 3rd to 25th faster than players who quit. He got to SF in Shanghai last year and ended the year well. This year has been a nightmare for him. 19-17 says it all. Not a top player. Now it’s up at 25-17 after Madrid. Best performance this year is a QF in Barcelona!
There’s a long way from there to winner of Madrid Masters. Not only that. To get the title he had to overcome:
Clement (in 3)
Berdych (in 3)
Del Potro (in 2)
Nadal (in 2 short ones)
Djokovic (in 2)
Federer (in 3)

Only three players have beaten # 1, 2 and 3 consecutively since 1994.
Nalbandian’s should be ranked the 1st of these three. Becker did it in Stockholm in 94 and Djokovic did it in Montreal in August this year. Roddick was actually seeded 3rd there, but Djokovic is almost 2000 points ahead of Roddick and almost twice as many points in the Race.
It doesn’t really matter who did it the best, but any player who has the ice in his stomach to beat the world’s three best players in 3 days deserves all the praise he can get.
Good job, David!

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Nalbandian in Madrid better than Djokovic in Montreal?

October 21, 2007

Think about it. Djokovic was crowned the new great tennis player and has been compared to Federer lately, after he beat Roddick, then Nadal, then Federer on the hard courts of Montreal. Might be the three best hard court players on the tour, right?
Well, Nalbandian can do that today, and it might just be even more impressive. Nadal, then Djokovic, then Federer?

No offense to Djokovic, actually quite the opposite, when I say he is better than Roddick.
Conclusion…? Well, if Nalbandian takes Federer today, he will have topped Djokovic’s achievement from August with an even greater performance.
Yes, you are probably going to say that Djokovic played a Roddick @ his best, a Nadal @ his best, and even Federer @ his best. Don’t think neither Nadal nor Djokovic were at their best here in Madrid. But no excuse! If he makes it.. it will look very good on a piece of paper.
If he makes it, I’m sure beating Federer is far more important than beating the other two “youngsters”.

Really want Nalbandian to win this today!

Wrapping up

October 20, 2007

Yesterday for a great day for Nalbandian and a pretty horrible day for Madrid! You’d expect Rafa to be smokin’ all opponents off the court, but there was no smokin’ going on in the QF. He lost 6-1, 6-2, which I believe it’s his worst defeat since 2004? Read it somewhere.

I liked the way Nalbandian moved Nadal, but I think Nadal had a very OFF day. Only 3 winner and errors in the 20s, that’s not the same Nadal who dominanted on HC in spring.

AND! To add to that achievement, he took out the always on the roll Djokovic in straight sets to reach the final. Welcome back Nalbandian! He will have to take on Roger for the title, but he has beaten him before. Actually, he is one of few players with a healthy Head2Head stat against Federer. 8-6. He has lost the last 4, but we all remember the Masters Cup final in 2005!
If we have the 2002-2003 Nalbandian back, I think he can threaten the great Roger, but I don’t know if that’s a possible outcome.

I think Federer takes it in three close sets. But I will be cheering for the underdog.

Another ball girl update:
the ball girls wore baby blue today, and as intended, were the center of attention in the Federer- Kiefer match. On two occasions, two ball girls were almost fighting for the ball, and hence took the player’s attentions. Still to skinny to run quickly, but it seems that they handle the balls pretty well.

Only 8 left

October 19, 2007

Federer – Lopez
Kiefer – Gonzalez
Ancic – Djokovic
Nalbandian – Nadal

Federer did his thing yesterday. No problems against Canas, but Canas is still a good player, he just happened to meet a Federer who was prepared to avoid the unforced errors he made in California and Miami.
Nadal impressed me yesterday. He played very good and did not allow Murray to dominate at all. There were rallies where you just felt sorry for Murray. Nadal always had answers, to rips, spins, drops++++
Kiefer is the definite underdog, and he has a great opportunity to make the SF. Gonzalez is not the Gonzalez we saw in AO, but he is far better than in many other HC tournaments this year.
Instead of picking wins, I’m going to weigh the players in a % chance of winning

Federer 98 – Lopez 2
Kiefer 45 – Gonzalez 55
Ancic 49 – Djokovic 51
Nalbandian 20 – Nadal 80

Madrid Day 3

October 18, 2007

Nadal is back in action and back in winning action. He was down 1-3 in the first, but as the rust was cleaned off he got in full control and took the match in 2.
Djokovic struggled a bit against Verdasco. He took the first set in the breaker, which I was so sure he wouldn’t. Verdasco had so many chances in this match to, not only get important breaks, but get the whole match. 2nd set was even, but Djokovic breaking as he should. Then in the 3rd Verdasco was winning his service games at 40-0 and Djokovic had to face several break points. I think Verdasco had a total of 10 break points. How many did he convert? Not one! That’s where he lost the match. Had he broken at least 4 or 5, he would have won it.

Ancic is back, and playing well. It looked like top 10 play against Blake yesterday. While Ferrer is out, after the WC Lopez won in 2 close sets.
Kiefer defeated Youzhny… Youzhny seems to have problems with Germans?!
Ferrero defeated Moya… ready for the Djoker
AND Canas defeated Calleri in 3, and is ready for Roger. For me, that’s the match to watch today. Don’t think I’ll see it, so I excpect a full report from comments tomorrow!

At around 8pm, Nadal will face the in-form Murray. Murray is a potential Nadal beater. The match in AO was awesome and lets just hope that we see something similar tonight.

W-L ranking

October 17, 2007

I think that ranking the best players according to their winning % is in many cases more accurate than point distribution. I wanted to prove to a friend that Davydenko doesn’t even belong in the top 10. I even said that Andy Murray could take his place. Am I right? Well.. I will do it again after Shanghai, but so far (as of Monday) here is the list based on winning %.

1. Roger Federer 90%
2. Rafael Nadal 84.9%
3. Novak Djokovic 82.3%
4. Andy Roddick 79.7%
5. David Ferrer 74.3%
6. Andy Murray 73.9%
7. Tommy Haas 71.7%
8. James Blake 70.4%
9. Juan Monaco 70.4%
10. Richard Gasquet 69.8%
11. Mikhail Youzhny 68.8%
12. Lleyton Hewitt 68.6%
13. Ivan Ljubicic 67.7%
14. Tomas Berdych 67.2%
15. Tommy Robredo 67.1%
16. Guillermo Canas 66.7%
17. Carlos Moya 66.7%
18. Nikolay Davydenko 64.9%
19. Juan Ignacio Chela 64.5%
20. Fernando Gonzalez 62.7%

Gonzalez is a good example of what I mean. He made the final of AO and had some good tournaments last year + final of Rome this year. But that’s pretty much it. Is he a top 10 player? 32-19 is not impressive at all. Doesn’t matter what titles or finals you achieved, but 32-19 is quite poor if you want to make the top 10 cut.

The ranking also shows the level of dominance from Federer and Nadal, and of course Djokovic as well. He has played a lot and made incredible runs at all slams but AO. Next year might, and should, be even better for him I presume.

Another example is Roddick vs. Davydenko. If these two met, I would put my savings on Roddick. Not only is he 4-0 h2h, but also wins roughly 80% of his matches. Davydenko wins only 65%. We know that Davydenko plays a lot! Still he has only played 77 matches this year, and Roddick 64. Roddick has skipped several important tournaments and had he played them he would have been on court almost as much as Davydenko, even with many fewer tournaments.

I don’t think it’s bad that the ranking favors players who play a lot, but I think that W-L ratio paints the picture more accurately.

other stats:
most wins: Djokovic 65
least wins: Gonzo 32
top loser: Davydenko 27!
bottom loser: Federer 6
roger.jpg

Results Tuesday

October 16, 2007

No BIG surprises on day 2.
Federer just got through his first match, defeating Ginepri 7-6, 6-4. Ginepri played some good tennis, but Federer led the way on the important points… same old story.
Have to say that Ginepri deserved a little more, especially after playing so well at times during the 1st set. He was also at break point at 4-3 in the second I think, could have made it 4-all. But, hey… it’s Federer. An ace here, a ridiculous drop shot there, and no problem.

Nalbandian beat Clement in three. The old Nalbandian would have done it quicker, but perhaps he can make it this time around. Have to remember he was in the SF in Shanghai last year. Solid player, but lately I don’t know what’s up…

Karlovic served his way past a very uninspired Safin. But, sometimes I don’t understand how anyone can return that serve. How high does he get when he streches his arm way up there? 10ft? It’s a smash, and it’s almost unfair! ALMOST!

I said watch out for Tursunov. Well… don’t. He’s out. Lost to qualifier Calleri in three. I place him in the Safin category. Great potential, no consistency.

Tomorrow, Gonzalez hits the court, as does Canas. Then comes Ferrer, Berdych vs. Nalbandian!, Gasquet, Blake, Djokovic and many many more!
I will watch THE match. Nadal-Baghdatis. Cannot go wrong. Nadal is 3-0, but you never know when it comes to Marcos, do you?

Oh!! Forgot to update on the ball girls (women) today! They’ve replaced the pink top with a more conservative baby blue… nice touch! A little concerned on whether they get to eat or not. Some of them are too skinny to be running around chasing balls.
ballĀ girls

Wawrinka’s early exit

October 16, 2007

Kiefer needed two sets to take Wawrinka down, who in my opinion played some of his absolute best tennis in Vienna with the exception of parts of the final. Maybe he wasn’t 100% on top of his game, I don’t know. But once again, my predicting skills are questionable as I REALLY thought he could do some damage in this tournament.

Don’t wanna state the obvious, but this sport is unpredictable! Just a tiny little bit. It’s almost incredible that Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are pretty safe bets these days. At least into SF and F. That’s just painting a very good picture on how dominant they are compared to the rest of the field.

Should also mention that my disapointment continues to increase for Safin as he is three games from defeat against Karlovic. Where did the racket breaking 2000 version of Safin go?

Why the models?!

October 15, 2007

Just watched the end of Baghdatis-Pavel, and realized that once again…. there are the ball girl models. There are probably a lot of players who have a relationship, but there are still more who are single! Must be a distraction in any case! Get them out! They can’t run or catch the damn ball either!
ballĀ girls
Not only do they look like this, but this year they come in pink!
As a viewer…. I don’t mind too much

AMS Madrid

October 15, 2007

Here we go again. Last full month of tennis.
A closer look at the draw reveals that there are no good reasons to believe the top 3 will not make the semifinals. Nadal is a question mark, but if he is 100%, he should be good to go into the semi as well.
Federer has a potential quarter with Ferrer. BUT! There’s a very big but! Canas is first on Federer’s schedule. I think third time is a charm for the world #1.
Further south on the same half, there’s Davydenko and Gonzalez as potential quarter finalists.
Could Youzhny take Davydenko? I don’t know. Youzhny is far from where he was last year.
Could Haas take Gonzalez? Yes, but he needs to find the form he had earlier this year. If not, Gonzalez is still a fireball.

In the third quarter, we have Blake and Djokovic. Joining them is Gasquet and Moya. They can all make the semi, but only one will. I think Djokovic is riding the momentum far more than the other three. Then we have Robredo and Nadal, with Berdych and Chela in a 3rd round. Berydych beats Nadal again for a semi final spot? I would put some money down, yes.

Then, as this is a masters tournament, the field is packed with great players.
1st Q: Tursunov, Lopez
2nd Q: Karlovic!, Safin, Wawrinka
3rd Q: Ancic, Mathieu
4th Q: Del Potro, Nalbandian, Stepanek, Murray, Baggy.
… and of course many more. These are hot shots for the moment in my opinion.

I think Karlovic can be a great threat and take out Davydenko in his first match (2nd round)
Maybe Tursunov can play around with Canas, and Lopez with Ferrer. Wawrinka can beat Youzhny, while Ancic and Mathieu seem to be back on track. 4Q is packed with potentials, but I think that consistency wins and therefore Nadal and Berdych remain favorites.

My prediction:
Federer – Ferrer
Karlovic – Gonzalez
Blake – Djokovic
Nadal – Berdych

Federer – Karlovic
Djokovic – Berdych

Federer – Djokovic