Posts Tagged ‘Blake’

Blake won! No gold for Fed

August 14, 2008

You have to feel bad for the man. This season has truly sucked for him. No GS, no Masters, no important bigger tournament win, no beating Nadal on clay, no GOLD! How will he ever recover? Will he be so down from this terrible season that it just keeps on going into USO? Or will he continue his continued win since 2004? But what happened?

Very simple, very straight forward tennis talk: Blake played better than Federer almost every game. To about 3-3 in the first set, Blake held easily, Federer struggled. At 4-4 and 5-4 it looked like Federer was coming up with some answers to Blake’s continued pounding. However, that last service game was so full of errors, winners, u name it, that it was decided by the best player of 1st set and that was Mr. Blake. 2nd set started with some other Federer I haven’t seen in a while. Got broken and Blake eased to 3-0 lead. Federer was not angry, but just walking around looking confused. Nothing worked at that point. However, at that point, IMO, it was Blake who was the best on all terms. Serve, forehand, even backhand sat on the line, hard and woops! 3-0. Federer played like 8 or 9 points on that world class level, but only enough to level it at 3-3. Then Blake played like in the 1st set, and Federer could answer on occasions. But not enough! Blake won the tiebreak comfortably 7-2. Blake was better and the h2h is now 1-8.

Djoko, Rafa, Gonzo are coming up…

Olympics last 8 breakdown

August 14, 2008

Federer – Blake
Oh no. Blake is going in way too confident with a 0-8 record against the #1. He has even won ONE set in their 8 “close” battles. I’m not making fun of Blake, but if he were to pull a win today, it would be biggger than Roddick’s Miami win, Gonzo’s MC win, even Djokoivc’s SF Aussie Opne win. Blake has to my recollection never played his absolute best against Federer. I remember watching them in USO in 2006, Blake’s best fall season, where they battled in 2 intense tiebreaks, one of which Blake won. It doesn’t do him good to lose the 2nd set 6-0 though. That’s just plain embarassing. I would be stunned to see Roger losing a set today, but Blake seems to be tuning up his engine for the most important part of the season for him. But hey… Federer has lost to so many different jokers this year, maybe Blake can finally get a win as well.

Mathieu – Gonzalez
How about that Gonzalez?! He beat tiny Rochus 6-0, 6-3 and has eased through the opponents to reach another QF for Chile. Is he like a patriot or something? He hasn’t really done what he did last year and I can’t see him returning to Shanghai regardless of what he does here. But is he here to defend his Bronze? Just one more win now and that’s a good possibility. Although, likely opponents will be either Nadal or Djokovic. What about Mathieu? I big talent IMO, but somehow will never break through. He looked decent during French Open, but hasn’t done much since. Could be close, but Gonzo seems strong.

Monfils – Djokovic
Now this is interesting. Monfils took out Nalby in 2. I’m not saying that’s so great, but he has gone silently through the draw and ended up in a QF against Novak. I assumed Novak would have problems getting fresh air in his lungs on the very first day. However, he seems to come with the humid and non-fresh conditions. I think this match is all in Monfils’ hands. If he plays confidently like in French Open, he should have a shot at Djokovic. I haven’t seen Djokovic play at all, but I have a feeling he’s not giving 100%, maybe only 99.5. That’s usually enough to go 8-6 in a tiebreak in contrast to 6-8. However, my gut tells me Djokovic sees the Big 3 all still in and wants a damn medal just as bad as the rest. Beating Nadal in a SF on hard court shouldn’t be the hardest thing in the world.

Melzer-Nadal
I don’t know how Melzer would beat Nadal. I have to place him in the same category as Mathieu, only lower. He has never met Nadal, I’m sure he’s happy, and I think that he will be sent home packing. There’s no way Nadal will lose this match, now that he’s in a position to take on Djoko in the next round. Nadal will win. Safest bet of the day.

Last 4, with several top 10 players

June 13, 2008

First of all… congratulations to Nadal. What a frickin’ fighter! You’d think that he was sick and tired of getting aced at the wrong moments during his QF against IVO.. but NO. As on clay, he has that sick ability to fight back and regain lost territory. 3 tiebreaks against Karlovic would certainly not indicate an easy match for the world #2. No rest allowed from the fireguns, tomorrow 4 times champ Roddick will fire his serves at Nadal. This could be interesting. Roddick and Nadal have been the only two in the Wimbledon finals since 2004. Roddick wins like 90+% on grass and Nadal has 1400+ points in the last couple of years. Wouldn’t you say that the winner of this match is the second best grass player? I would…

The other SF will be another surprise.. Djokovic! and last but not LEAST Nalbandian who just took care of Gasquet in a third set tiebreak. Djokovic looked good today, way better than against Tipsarevic and will need to play his best in order to defeat a Nalbandian on the rise. Of the two, Nalby can say that he has been in a grass final (Wimbledon) and Djokovic has not. Won’t matter. I think it will be close as heck.

My gut tells me Roddick is slightly better than Nadal on the Queen’s club grass, even though Nadal will fight superhumanly as always. And that Djokovic somehow is more consistent than Nalbandian, even on grass, and will reach his first grass final.(I hope that’s a fact!)

Federer sailed past Baghdatis today, and IMO will be meeting Blake in the final. Somehow Queen’s seems to be superior in importance to Halle. I say give them less points over there in Germany! Less status = less points, for crying out loud! No offense, it’s public opinion…

AMS Rome QFS – my favorite kind

May 9, 2008

…is when seeds fall and other players have a chance to do some title hunting. I watched Robredo-Davydenko last night and the frustration just grew and grew. On behalf of both players really. 12 og 13 breaks of serve!! 2hrs 40min!! Robredo was ahead 3-0 and 5-3 AND behind in the breaker. Robredo and Davydenko sure are good players, but both have that little something which classifies them as top 10, but not top 5. Unforced errors on key points was pretty much the description of the match. He did manage to save the Spanish pride by having two left in the last 8. You know what other countries have two players?

Switzerland and USA! Federer sailed past Karlovic, and Wawrinka passed the Nadal-slayer Ferrero. And James frickin’ Blake… how did he beat Verdasco? Blake is almost worse than Roddick on the red stuff, and Verdasco simply loves this type of rally-sliding-angleling tennis. They said that conditions are relatively fast due to warm weather the last days. That certainly helps the Americans on the way. Roddick is perhaps not the same hero, but beating local hope Bollelli was also a good performance.

And then, there are Stepanek and Djokovic who seem less stable at times. Both played one bad set each in their respective 3rd rounds. Why? Djokovic still seems to struggle with his breath and Stepanek…no clue..age or volleys letting him down…who knows? I know that inconsistency won’t work against Federer, so Fed will get to the SF. Djokovic will have to battle clay lover Almagro who didn’t play yesterday as Gonzo chose not to play. That might just be enough for Almagro to pull off an upset, not because he isn’t tired, but because Djokovic is. I still think Federer-Djokovic is the top half SF.

On the bottom half, Roddick goes in with a perfect 7-0 against Robredo. In fact he beat Robredo here in 2002 in straight sets. Somehow Roddick played better on clay in 01-03 so who knows if he’s still on that level. Due to this record I hold Roddick as slight favorite, BUT Robredo with more consistency on the baseline will get a mediocre-serving Roddick. 51-49 to Roddick.

James Blake will get a tough time against Wawrinka. Wawrinka is one of those players with GREAT potential, but never being able to show or use his ability over a long period of time. Blake seems to have found his confidence and will probably take a set. But this is also open, and I see Wawrinka as a slight favorite, but not more than Roddick is in the other match. I can also mention Wawrinka won their only meeting, which was in Paris. Wawrinka won a 5 set match which, yes, Blake had a 2-0 lead. But the match is definately OPEN.

Based on this Fed wil beat the heck out of Djokovic and Roddick will beat Wawrinka for his first clay final in decades. Federer will of course WIN.

Welcome back Safin!

April 12, 2008

Where have you been? I like that tennis.com have picked out three heros for the first day of Davis Cup QFs. Marat Safin was able to beat Berdych in 5!!! sets being 0-2! That’s an accomplishment he has never achieved before and from what I’ve heard was BACK! Too bad that he can only do this in DC. This year, so far, has been his worst.

Robin Soderling was given the assignment to level things up in Argentina, after Nalbandian had taken down Johansson in 4. Acasuos on clay doesn’t sound like an easy task (ON CLAY). Score was 6-0, 6-4, 6-1! Does Sweden stand a chance? If they win dobles today, sure!

The third hero I don’t agree on as much, but saving two match points in a 5th set deserves an A. Blake had to fight against Mathieu and needed 5 sets to get the match. 7-6, 6-7, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5. Hero for getting the win, but not so much hero for not getting the win in 3 sets. France also should get a good deal of the credit for being down 0-2 against the US. Tsonga and Gasquet are stronger players and could have done more damage. But both had problems with their body and left the job for Llodra and Mathieu. Well done, France… you just have to hope that the Bryan’s have a off day and get a 2-1 before Sunday.

 

 

First semifinal

April 3, 2008

Nadal and Berdych “cruised” to the semis and will battle it out in a semifinal. Nadal got to see what Blake can do in the first set, but was able to turn around a match that seemed to favor Nadal every minute it progressed after 1st set. Once again Blake looked slightly tired of sun, heat, wet towels on head, and too much Nadal. What I liked about the first set, was that Blake was doing perhaps what annoys Nadal the most. Keeping the rallies to a minimum, and those that were, had no more than 5 seconds of play. That and good serving allowed Blake to play well in his service games, and once he got a big swing at a Nadal serve he broke and sat down. I believe it was over in 33 minutes. Considering that Nadal spends 10 of those to adjust his socks and hair and underwear, it was short and painful for him. But sets 2 and 3, Blake didn’t serve as well and that was probably the single most important reason why Nadal was able to turn it around. No serve, no good game.

Then there’s this man:

berdych.jpg

Mr. Berdych is on a roll and will, I AM SURE, give Nadal the battle of his life. In fact, watching some of Berdych’s game reminded me a lot of the attacking game of Federer. Serve is just as big, or bigger. Second touch is either a big forehand (flat) or a good volley. I see some similarities in the way he sets up the points and the way he is able to hit the forehand flat and deep when he is inside the baseline. The reason Federer is better is simply better defense, better backhand (yes I said it) and a somewhat better coverage at the net. But defense is important, and the ability to qucikly turn defense into offense and punish any weakness of opponent. But I say this on a general baisis, not based on this week. Because this week Berdych has been getting better numbers than Federer against better players, so considering that Berdych is a Nadal-slayer this should be interesting.

Second semifinal is decided today. Federer-Davydenko is the most likely SF, but I don’t like to think that Roddick or Tipsarevic are outsiders. Well, Roddick is but not Tipsy. But Roddick with a home crowd is always a fighter and Tipsarevic surely would like to get another chance to beat Federer. I just assume EVERYBODY knows what happened last time they met. My predictions say;

Federer d. Roddick, Davydenko d. Tipsarevic. This will take Federer to the final against Berdych where Federer gets his first title of the season. RIGHT?!

Only 2 scenarios are likely

April 2, 2008

So the QFs are:

Federer-Roddick
Davydenko-Tipsarevic
Berdych-Andreev
Blake-Nadal

The only likely outcomes are; either a Federer-Nadal final, which is always wanted; or a Federer-Blake finals, which is doomed to be boring (for Americans)

The third outcome, which I don’t believe in too much anymore is that you replace the name Roddick with Federer and might get an all American final. As long as there are 6 other condenders I say… lets wait for another day or two and then we’ll see if it will happen.

But!! I still don’t want to exclude Berdych. I finally wachted him play against Tursunov, and he should absolutely be included as a possible champ. If he plays like he has all week, there is no reason Blake or Nadal should feel safe in a SF.

Roddick-Federer has become a classic. Not because you get to see great tennis all the time, but because you’d think that Roddick might actually get a win one of these days. I think it’s more unlikely that the record will get to 20-1 rather than for example a solid 18-3. Currently it’s 15-1 and one win for Roddick would make the greatest achievement of the year for him. But there is no statistical evidence that he will turn it around, and Federer will take it in 2. (I was optimistic the last two, and AR lost – I will be pessimistic this time)

Last 16

April 1, 2008

Originally I wrote that Monday was boring. Strike that. The evening matches weren’t bad at all. Youzhny-Almagro was a rollercoaster. Ancic-Monaco wasn’t too bad either. BTW, if you wanna see some real Russian fury, you should look for the highlights of the the Youzhny match and see what a player can do with his racket, without balls being involved. Might be rated R though, if you don’t like blood and/or violence.

Federer is closing up on a deja-frickin’-vous. In IW he got through the first few matches and got a sick Haas who didn’t show up in the QF. This time Soderling chose to bail after a set and a half. Both were playing poor and Soderling had shown some muscles these past few matches, not to say weeks. All of their matches have been close and this was supposed to be even closer. Federer actually looked happy to end it, considering he wasn’t enjoying the extra breeze they had to deal with.

Acasuso looks to be in good shape, but should be an easy task for Federer. 2-0 h2h and just plain better than Acasuso on hard. Roddick got through his match in straight sets, although with tie-break in the the first. He also announced that he got engaged earlier in the month, to a 20-year old swim suit model. He was fast pointing out that she is very…very smart. Well… congrats Roddick. The only question is if he will be better against Federer in a potential QF or if she’s gonna be a distraction. He will have to pass Julien Benneteau first, to whom he lost in their last encounter.

So today I think all of them will play, resulting in 4 QFs. Here are my humble predictions. I will give up if these are way off.

Federer d. Acasuso
Roddick d. Benneteau
Ancic d. Davydenko
Youzhny d. Tipsarevic
Berdych d. Tursunov
Canas d. Andreev
Blake d. Stepanek
Nadal d. Mathieu

I think Ancic looks strong. He has had a good run beating Murray, Simon and Monaco. Berdych as well. He actually looks like the strongest contender. He has only lost 7 games in two matches against very good players. Blake I’m not so sure about, but he is ahead on h2h, but lost their last meeting in LA. This should be the match to watch. Only problem might be that they are set at 11am, which for Blake doesn’t seem to be the best time. Last time in the sun he almost looked like he as gonna pass out. If you cannot watch one that early, Roddick-Benneteau might be a close and fun night match. Should be Roddick’s toughest opponent thus far.

Nadal and Blake closing up

March 31, 2008

nadal.jpg

One more match sends the two players in yet another QF clash. Who is better? Nadal beat Kiefer 2 and 4 with a rain delay. Blake spent 2hrs 15 min on what appeared to be a hot court. It was more like a freak show for the heat intolerant. I understand that the Miami sun can be opressing, but don’t tell me that was the hottest conditions they’ve played in. I checked the weather right after the match and the temp was mid 70s and humidity didn’t bring the felt temp up. Was the sun burning that badly in March? At 3 all in the third set, both players didn’t really give a damn and where sort of hitting the balls in the net to get themselves under the umbrella ASAP.

If Blake cannot handle that, he will have to book the 7pm matches from now on. Nadal looks like the favorite in a potential QF, even with unfavorable h2h.

So bottom half of the draw is at Last 16, and matches are;
Tursunov – Berdych
Canas – Andreev
Stepanek – Blake
Mathieu – Nadal

The two QFs should be Berdych-Canas and Nadal-Blake
If Nadal can pass Blake, there should be a final waiting for him.

Monday’s action is ahead. Federer will have to beat a figuratively speaking hot Soderling. Roddick needs to get past another qualifier, maybe in 2 sets this time. Johansson will be interesting to watch. And question is whether Davydenko can take advantage of being top seed in his quarter and get to the SF. Answers will come within the next 18hrs.

Clay tournaments more predictable?

February 27, 2008

I cannot see how the seeds will lose in Acapulco. Andreev is the only clay profile to lose early, but he didn’t do a great job in Argentina either. I think these “early” clay tournaments have got to move towards the rest of the clay season. It seems that the only players turning up are those who feel more comfortable or those who belive that they could go further in compared to the hard court ones. Oh well, I want the players to have countless options so no change is needed. It just seems that these tournaments aren’t of great importance or very prestigous.

I’m not too impressed with Zagreb either unfortunately. Apart from Ljubicic, who needs to win this tournament if he wants to go back upwards, there are few players who I would watch. There are three though. The Croats Ancic, Cilic and Tipsarevic. How good are they and is Ancic on his way back to the top 10? Is Cilic the new young gun? Can Tipsarevic get his first title? In addition to Ljubicic, I think these are the favorites to win. 3 from Croatia and one from Serbia. One thing is for sure, they all want this title.

Memhis is according to the 2009 changes probably the more prestigous of the three. But here too, the field is far from impressive. After Blake pulled out, Roddick remains the only top 10 player. Favorite? You bet! The only real threat, and I mean REAL threat, is Tommy Haas. Last year he gave Roddick something to think about in the final where he humiliated Roddick in front of his home crowd. Although sometimes it seems like Tommy is the local hero in Memphis. He seems to treat it like his second home. But Roddick will have to face Fish again to get to a potential Haas final.

Ah well… this is still a sleep in progress week, as we all wait for DU-freakin’-BAI next week. This year it represents a mini-Grand Slam, with the strongest field ever. Goody!