Posts Tagged ‘Cilic’

Cilic strengthens the generation shift

August 24, 2008

Cilic won in New Haven last night, beating (home)favorite Mardy Fish in 3 sets. The scoreline, or even the win itself, isn’t that important. Being the 8th player to win his first ATP title this year is a clear indication that new players emerge more than in quite a few years. Mix that with the Federer (not-so-dominant-anymore)fall and youngsters like Djokovic, Murray blending in, it’s beggining to look a lot like 2002-2003. That was the transistion season between Sampras, Agassi, Kafelnikov generation to Federer, Roddick, Safin, Hewitt. All world #1s and born in the early 80s. 2003 season was when we went from a RELATIVE weak no.1 in Hewitt to Ferrero and Roddick before Federer started his reign of a great no.1 player.

We have seen that Safin, Hewitt and now even Roddick maybe, are all struggling to keep up. Of course, they’ve been injured and motivation have rollercoastered, but Cilic, Nishikori, Del Potro, Gulbis, Djokovic, Murray, Young? are all still very young and seem to be some key players to look out for in the coming years, if not next year. Cilic and Del Potro have had some great wins and now both have won tournaments. Gulbis isn’t there yet, but his climb to no.40 is quite impressive for a young gun. No.419 in 2006, no.140 next year and 61 going into this year. Good and steady rise is a good sign for a talented kid like him.

Del Potro, even younger, popped up to the no158 in 2006, but has had a longer way to his top 50 spot. Regardless of time and place, they’ve all climbed fast and are in the same position Djokovic was when he was their age. The question remains; will they go all the way to the top or will they be like Gasquet and Murray who have struggled several years on the tour now to make the top 10.

Here are the hopefuls in the top 100:
Murray – still needs some work I think
Del Potro – seems like the biggest potential at the moment
Cilic – needs to gather the Del Potro consistency, but big potential
Gulbis – very clean and solid game, needs to win tournaments.
Querrey? – yet to turn 21 and without a doubt his best season, but little consistency.
Troicki? – you never know with the Serbians these days, breaking through as we speak
Fognini? – best season, age 21, slow riser, but still rising…
Bellucci – WHO? Yes has gone from 500s in the start of 07 and was 67th in the clay season.
Haase? – Same category as Cilic and the gang. Was 56th earlier this year. Probably will return.
Korolev – Has been around for some time. Still age 20 and needs a breakthrough match or tourney.
Young – Big potential and talent, but after a fast rise from 500 to 100 in one season is now stuck.

Let’s see who makes it!

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!

Nadal headed for a PB

January 20, 2008

Personal Best that is. Less time on court can hardly hurt Nadal. Especially if knees and legs are still a concern this week. Now he only needs to get past Nieminen (never past QF in any slam) in the QF.  Nadal is 3-0 against the Finn, but there is a big BUT. Never met on hard court. I don’t know what surface Nieminen prefers but hard court must be his best chance against Nadal. I want to think that the Finn has a chance, but it doesn’t look good. Nadal is ready for his first hard court SF, and this is his best chance!

For tomorrow, there are a lot of goodies. Federer will beat Berdych. PERIOD. Blake-Cilic is another story. This past week was Cilic’s first win in a GS event ever! Born in 88 and big serve (that works) tells me this guy will hit top 10 in a short time. Blake is excpected to win and anything else with be a major upset. Cilic advancing to QF would be a BIG achivement. So.. at lot at stake here.

And for THE MATCH of the day. Hewitt-Djokovic. These two have met twice, both winning one. Their last encounter at Wimbledon was a tiebreak fest and a nailbiter. Given that Hewitt went to bed at sunrise yesterday does not help him. Djokovic has the advantage both physically and mentally. However, Hewitt is at home and won’t give it away. It will probably be Djokovic’s first real test. WATCH IT!

And lastly there is the civil war of Spain. Two guys with almost identical last names. Ferrero-Ferrer. The story here is that even if Ferrero is the one with most titles and experience in the top, Ferrer is 4-1 h2h. Ferrer kills Ferrero on clay, but the two HC matches were close battles. But you could ask yourself… isn’t Ferrer at his best these days? He probably wasn’t as good back when they met on HC. Stats tells me Ferrer takes it in 3. But I would certainly like to see this civil war go to 5 sets.

Just a last thought…. did you know that if Youzhny makes the final (which is not impossible) he will enter top 10 and pass players like Gonzo, Gasquet and Roddick?

Just another tuesday

January 1, 2008

For some it is new year’s day. For the tennis pros, it’s tuesday.

Hewitt made his anticipated strong start to the year by taking out Dudi Sela 6-2, 6-2. Tsonga is on his way as well. Beating Hansescu in the final set. Like I said, Spadea has the ability to beat Grosjean, and so he did.

The local favorite (next to Hewitt) Guccione defeated Odesnik in straight sets.  Ancic was supposed to play Korolev, which would have been THE first round match, but Ancic and his immune system….. What’s wrong with the boy? Well… a big pheeww there for Korolev who advanced to 2nd round.

In Doha, there won’t be any reason to jump up and down, but it’s always fun to watch the giant Karlovic play the midget-like Rochus. Don’t remember which Rochus is the shortest, but it doesn’t matter. Roddick seems like a midget when he stands next to Karlovic, just think about Rochus!

In India, there will be more action today. Nadal, Moya, Mahut, Cilic are a few of the player going at it today. Youzhny, Melzer and Malisse all advanced to the 2nd round.