Posts Tagged ‘Davydenko’

And the winner is…

June 15, 2008

Nadal! Two-time finalist Nadal beat two-time finalist and 4 times AC champ Roddick
and Djokovic! who completely anihilated poor big Nalby
Now the question is who is the best on grass so far this year?

Djokovic started the tournament poorly, but has mentioned the “transition from clay” as the main reason he gets better every day. Rafa was incredible yesterday and looked more than ready for Wimbledon. What struck me in the Nadal-Roddick match, was how incredible he served all the way through! Always high 1st serve % and kept Roddick guessing for either extreme right or left, with the lefty spin. I actually thougth he was able to use his serve better than what Roddick did. I was really impressed with Rafa, but Roddick seemed a little bored. I didn’t hear any reactions when winning, neither when losing and seemed like the Connors-effect has faded a little bit. I hope he’s more fired up for Wimbledon, or he’ll never get his hands on the golden trophy. Maybe the shoulder is still in the back of his head. I think all players prefer to be 100% for Wimbledon, than 99% in Queens against Rafa.

Then there was Federer who still, IMO, has a more impressive record on grass than Nadal on clay. Less titles, less matches, less factors like injuries and so on, but he hasn’t lost since frickin’ Ancic in 2002!!! And will Kohlschreiber do the damage in the final?! Might give him most headache of the week, but still a straight sets victory for Federer. My question is… is Rafa and Djoko better prepared for Wimbledon, having played some REAL grass threats, while Federer sailes past #340 something, Kiefer, Baggy and so on? We’ll see. But I think both finals are worth watching, if they don’t go at the same time, and show us who is in real grasssy form!

Oh, yeah… Davydenko-Robredo in the Warsaw final…. what a waste of ATP calendar space. Why not make grass season a week longer instead!?

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Contenders for Roland Garros

May 23, 2008

All right. The draw is out. What d’ y’all think?! Before I get to the draw, here’s a list of the top contenders. There’s no point in analyzing the draw without the missing qualifiers. They are, more often than not, good enough to beat some of the other jokers.

1. Rafael Nadal
King of clay. Rafa will get the #1 position to win this title for many years to come I think. I mean, are there really any indications that this is wrong? All things considered, his clay season has been better than people want to say. Every player must experience an injury or some sort of problem SOMETIME!
Blisters was Nadal’s stop. Could this be decisive? I thought that this might be a problem for Rafa, but Hamburg proved that predictions wrong. I don’t know how two weeks of best of 5 sets will be any different. He might get the same problems, but he might also be perfectly fit. Perhaps he has grown a new layer of skin, who the heck knows? Let’s just say that if he doesn’t reach a final, it will be more surprising than any year.

2. Roger Federer
Will he make the final? I cannot see why. Like with Rafa, for every year he plays excellent tennis on clay, the bigger the upset will be if he DOESN’T make the final. Yes, there is Djokovic, but that’s it.
His clay season has only had 1 downside. Losing to Stepanek was bad timing. That Rome title was a must-win, especially after Nadal was out. Instead he let Djokovic take it and get CLOSER and CLOSER!
He will make the final, don’t you worry.

3. Novak Djokovic
Okay. Now this is new material. This time last year, we wasn’t too far away from #3, but still wasn’t in the same position he is today. Djokovic has had a great clay season. In fact, SF, W and SF in the masters is better than the two kids further up. He played a good match against Nadal and might play another one in the SF in Paris. He is still behind Nadal on clay. Best of 5 sets, is not gonna help.

4. Davydenko
As we speak, Davydenko is playing for the title in Austria. Doesn’t he EVER get tired? He actually had to play two 3 set matches in like a half a day! Do they make robots in Russia?! So no surprise to see him in another SF against Federer. A year (or 2) ago it would not be a big upset if he lost early. These days he gets to SFs and still has points to hunt in Wimbledon. The more he plays, the better he gets it seems.

5. Ferrer & Robredo
From this point on, I don’t believe we are speaking about contenders for the title. Ferrer finished 2007 on a perfect note. 2008 has been more routine-Ferrer. He hasn’t really too many good results to show in Paris, and based on the draw he has a good chance of getting to the SF, if he wants to.
I need to place Robredo just as high. They have performed almost equally on clay, and they might meet before getting to a potential SF with Federer. A match between the two would favor Ferrer (3-1) but you never know with Ferrer.

7. Almagro
Has done a good job this season. Started things good on HC and has improved on clay. He hit a career-high rank of 17 (now 20) and this might be the year where he can break through top 10. However, HC and Grass isn’t something he loves so that would be weird. He has only 35!!! points to defend. I can see him in 4th round, this year. But playing his best clay tennis, who knows?

8. Andreev
Has not impressed anyone on clay this year. Still a clay lover and last year’s QF must be defended. He seems to perform a little better in bigger events. It all depends on that forehand.

9. Wawrinka
Will Federer be able to say that they have a strong DC team, finally?!?! Wawrinka made quite a name of himself by reaching the final in Rome. The SF that Nadal was supposed to play. So a little lucky? You frickin’ bet! HOWEVER!! he has played well this year and if he has enough points to be #10, then sure why NOT?! No realistic contender of course, but one of the few who could surprise.

10. David Nalbandian
Likes to play on clay from what I know. He just needs to grab his you-know-what and get more disciplined or something! He has bigger potential than most people believe but hasn’t done anything big since Wimbledon final almost a damn decade ago. Okay, and TMC final where he beat Federer. But why not on clay? He has two SF to show in Paris. If you can get there, you can make the final. only #10 on my list though.

Last 4 = Best 4

April 25, 2008

No question about that. The remaining players in Monte-Carlo are #1 through #4 on the ATP ranking. I would also say that it’s the four best of this season, AND add that it’s the four best on clay.

I was not surprised to see Davydenko knock out Andreev, but I thought that clay-Igor would have that extra something to tame the ever-fighting Niko. But when you rely on a big forehand, which doesn’t stick within the lines all the time, you have to give way for the Russian who takes the ball ruthlessly early and gives you no time to react. I cannot see Davydenko giving Nadal more trouble than he did in Rome last year, but it might happen.

Federer, oh the so-called GOAT….Why did you even lose that first set?! Federer finally got Mr. Nalby, but why in 3 sets?! Federer controlled most rallies in the first, though it was close pretty much every time. Federer had control until he got broken in a mediocre service game at 5-all. Anyway you want to see it, this was the QF and perhaps the match of the tournament so far, in terms of quality, shot-making, charm, talent… the whole fifteen yards. I felt sorry for Nalbandian, because I think he would have done good against any one of the other last 8. Federer will have to finally get a AO revenge on the kid from Serbia tomorrow, and based on today, I think it might happen!

Are you ready for another Federer-Nadal final?!

Last 8 Monte-Carlos

April 25, 2008

First of all. How many of you thought that Querrey would beat Gasquet when the score was 6-2 in the first? I didn’t think he would. But now it seems like this might be his break on the ATP tour, or mini-break, ON CLAY! Good JOB!

Federer will have his first exam on clay, and it will be somewhat tougher to pass. I think of Nalbandian as an excellent clay player, and it cannot be easier for Federer on the slower stuff. I don’t know, but Nalbandian lost only 1 game against another clay lover, Robredo, yesterday so…. ouch!

Djokovic defeated Murray quite fast, and will probably end Querrey’s run. Errr? Yes he will…

Andreev is probably in ecstasy, first because he won yesterday’s 50 match balls match, and second because the ATP tour finally hit the dirt. After a struggle in the first 3 months he seems more than qualified for the clay, and I think he will beat Davydenko today.

Ferrer vs. Nadal… Now this might be interesting, but Nadal still takes it in 2. Anything else would be a major, major shock.

So.. can we predict a couple of finalists?! No way… but I think that Djokovic and Nadal are most likely to reach it, based on a little h2h throughout the draw and some common sense. Nadal will of course take that match in 2 sets and be crowned Monte-Carlo dictator. But that’s me….

Federer clinhes title #1

April 20, 2008

Davydenko played a close and good match against Rog, but chose to retire up 2-1 in the second set. Why???

Anyway.. very weird start to the year for Rogerer. But let us steer the attention away from the practise in Estoril and head to the serious business in Monaco.

Federer is on the road again

April 16, 2008

There’s no question that losing a set to little Rochus was no good. Rochus is a tough opponent, but should be taken in 2 quick and painless sets. I thought 08 will be Fed’s RG year. I don’t really see it happening if he plays even matches with people outside top 50 (?)

I am aware that Fed has given Higueras a shot to be his clay coach or whatever, but he should spend this time on Estoril dirt to figure out tactics and specific areas where he must improve to be the best on clay this year. It seems that the real test will, in fact, be the final. Davydenko seems to fear no one these days and if he has taken down Roddick and Nadal in Miami he can certainly give Fed a headache on clay. That final might be an interesting encounter and a good indication on how Fed and Niko will perform in Paris.

BTW. Ryan Harrison 15-years of age has won an ATP match!!! Should not be allowed! No just kidding, but that is a flying start to a potentially good tennis career! Didn’t we say that about Gasquet back in 02 as well?!

Davydenko is Miami Champ

April 7, 2008

How many guessed this outcome?! This guy has NOT played great this tournament, all in all. When you struggle to beat very low ranked players in the first three rounds and having to save match point on the way, it just doesn’t help that you are able to play like a Federer in the last three. Though I would prefer that over anything else. He got the title, didn’t he?

In the start of the match, it looked like it would be Nadal who would control the match and break Davydenko time after time. Nadal was up 2-0, but Davydenko started to attack a far-from-perfect service game play by Rafa. Managed to break back and at 3-all I believe, Davydenko started to play like he did much of the match against Roddick. Vicious forehands from any angle, deep backhands, taking the ball as early evert time he was allowed by the nasty spin, it all just worked very good.

Nadal was far from his best performance, but he seemed more shaken and stirred than out of shape. He was having a bad day at the office because of Davydenko, not just because he woke up on the wrong side of the bed. He play great, no? You bet!

Now this sport finally got a interesting start to the season and the clay season. Nadal and Federer still with no titles this year. Djokovic is closing the gap, if not only by points, but rather by winning slams and important events. Dayvdenko winnin a masters while the other three failed is a another element of suprise that might backfire into clay. Roddick has made a statement by playing some good tennis AFTER Aussie Open. He has announced that he’s gonna skip Beijing to focus his attention on winning the US Open. That might be a wise decision.  And there are other players further down who have shown some of what we could except from them in the future, do I need to mention #3 on the race Tsonga?

Anyway.. Davis Cup week is up and the players have an ATP break. I’m really curious to see if Nadal will play the tie against Germany. And of course, the big match should be USA-France, where several close matches are excpected. ENJOY!

Nadal – Davydenko final!

April 5, 2008

Nadal and Davydenko both won 7-6, 6-2 and advanced to the semifinal of Sony Ericsson Open. Why they did is still a mystery. I think Berdych and Roddick both had a better position to beat their opponent. Berdych had played great all week and his game favors him over Nadal on faster hard courts. He was not able to continue his great play and both serving and baseline rallies became a problem as the match progressed.

Same story on Roddick. Started out OK, serving perfect service games but after the tie-break and into the second set, Roddick did not do anything on the baseline and serving was probably the worst so far this week. He simply looked very, very tired. Too much partying last night with swimsuit models? I don’t know, but Davydenko should get 90% of the credit. He served like never before and completely dominated baseline rallies. It was a very, very big difference between the two and Roddick was pretty much trying to hold on his own serve as the only weapon. Did not work.

The final should be a tiresome baseline match. The two will probably need some patience, but if Davydenko can hit the balls like he did in the SF, he will and should win. But stepping up the court against Nadal is sometimes impossible, so this should be tougher for him. I say Nadal wins in 2 and looks down to the rest of the hard court lovers and laughs out loud as he reclaims his authority on his worst surface. Don’t tell me Nadal doesn’t have potential to be #1. He just proved it this week.

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)