Posts Tagged ‘Djokovic’

Here they are. Medals for three very different nations.

August 17, 2008

Tennis nations that is. Chile has really carved itself into Olympics history by having players in the Olympic final the last two events, Nadal has given Spain a whole new respect in tennis this year, which is also true for Djokovi’s Serbia. Chile has had several good players over the years, but isn’t known for producing a large amount of them. There has been a lot from Spain, but most have done their job on clay. Now Nadal does it on every surface. This will probably go into history as one of the best years for a singles player (winning RG, Wimb AND Gold on hard) That’s hard stuff!

Nadal had no problems giving Gonzo the hard court lesson by two easy breaks of serve in the 1st and 3rd sets, with a slightly closer 2nd set tiebreak. The best man (without too much doubt) won the Gold medal. A very dedicated Olympics nation won the silver, and a new force in tennis got the Bronze. Good Job guys!

Now the biggest open of the fall, the US Open is 1 week away.

BTW… go to atptennis.com and look closely for a historic moment in about 5 or 6 hours.

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.

Andy or Novak?

August 3, 2008

Andy Murray has finally started to live up to his potential as described by the “experts” on the flat screen. It actually reminds of the Federer days in 02 and 03 when he was on his way up, but too many poor results made the fast rise impossible. Tonight Murray will face the ONE week younger Djokovic in his first Masters final. Djokovic is probably one of the fastest risers through the ranking, by jumping from unknown to #3 behind two superstars in no time. Very similar styles of play, but one of them has a bigger weakness. Can you guess?

Murray’s serve, right. The reason he passed the Ivo test yesterday, was because he knows how to return and played very well every time Karlovic didn’t hit the T or out-wide aces. So every time Ivo mixed it up with a net approach or just a more “sophisticated” serve, Murray knew what to do. From what I saw, Murray was able to lob over the giant sucsessfully almost every damn time. Against Novak, he must raise his game significantly. Karlovic is easy to crack, if you get his serve back more than half of the time, but Djokovic has less limitations. In fact, yesterday’s Nadal beating showed that Djokovic might be headed for the Olympics just to represent his country, but I think that US Open title sounds far better to him. And winning Cincy will be the best prep.

So who will win? Murray won their last meeting in Toronto last week, but Djokovic seemed a little out of his element. Murray did play great, but it cannot be unsaid that every time they met before this, Djokovic had almost no problems beating him. Novak is 4-1 h2h and 8-3 in sets. But who SHOULD be the most determined to win this? Murray. If he wants to get close to slams, he must start beating the top guys more than just “that once” and win THESE events, not San Jose and Memphis. I actually think both players have more than enough reason to give 101% today, and therefore we could get their closes match. If there’s a favorite, it’s gotta be Djokovic, but if he doesn’t play like he did against Nadal, Murray might find a way to beat him. But Murray…… YOU HAVE TO SERVE WELL! Hold it over 70%, man!

New World #1

August 2, 2008

The question is now, when? If he loses to Novak tonight, he’s gonna have to wait another couple of weeks before passing Federer. If he wins, but loses the final, he will have to wait another week, I believe. But best of all, if he wins the whole damn thing, he will get a sweet winning streak from April and #1 position on Monday. Can he pass Novak? I see NO reason why not.

In the other SF a couple of “newcomers” have entered the arena. Karlovic is one big man, and Murray has started to play very consistent compared to earlier in his career. This time in 2006 he defeated the virtually unbeatable Federer, but was losing many 1st rounders. This year he is reaching several QFs and SFs.

Who will play the final? Is it possible to NOT pick Nadal? The guy isn’t losing matches anymore. And do I dare guess that Karlovic will hit 10+aces? Scoreline will be something like 7-6, 6-7, 7-6. Murray is a good returner so I can’t tell who wins the third set tiebreak. I go with Murray.

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.

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

New King of Queen’s

June 15, 2008

What a final! Rafael Nadal has finally cracked the Queen’s club code and won his first title on grass. 7-6, 7-5 took some time to complete because of some tight, incredible, high level rallies. It was the match of the tournament and one of the best so far this season. Somehow the Nadal-Djokovic rivalry usually is more entertaining than Fed-Nadal. When Nadal and Djokovic meet there are few errors and some stunning rallies and general quality of tennis. Maybe the Wimbledon final will be Nadal-Djokovic. Who knows?!

Going into the final, I had Nadal as a favorite because of his immense fighting abilities and reluctancy to go home empty handed. Djokovic played over any excpectations IMO, but just didn’t get the important points in the breaker and towards the end of the 2nd set. Being up 3-0 in the first probably marked the turning point in the match, in terms of momentum shift. Because from 3-3 or 4-4 it was a battle for every inch, every chalk mark and every serve. The tiebreak was one of the best in a long time and Djokovic, much like in Hamburg and Paris, had the goods, but Nadal came out victorious. Poor guy!

Nadal and Djokovic are now grass integrated and I bet Federer is sweating just a little bit more as he heads for Heathrow. Nadal has not lost since Ferrero in Rome, which wasn’t a real loss, so in reality the final in Miami was the last real loss for him. My only concern about that is getting worn out and tired before the 2nd week in Wimbledon. 

Federer, on the other hand, got his winning streak to 59 on grass and there’s no reason to predict Nadal as the winner of Wimbledon 2008 quite yet. I agree with Roddick, “what does the guy need to do to show that he’s favorite?” Win Wimbledon 5 times in a row? Perfect record since 2002, meaning 59-0 in the last 6!! years!? I say Federer is still a big favorite until proven otherwise. And Djokovic? He will get his chances, but has to settle with #3 favorite for now.  

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!?

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…

How about those SFs, huh?

June 5, 2008

And the winner is……………..MONFILS!! Not the winner of Roland Garros, but the winner of the critical LAST SF spot available. Isn’t that how you see it? I mean, Davydenko is always a question mark in regards to how far he can get, although RG was probably the best bet that he could once again reach the SF. Ferrer was up close to, but Monfils just came out so much stronger. So congrats to Monfils! Just a reminder, Monfils is French! A French player in the SF of RG doesn’t happen every year and this is the time to really hope that they get somethign to cheer about in Paris. Or do we all want Fed-Nadal, AGAIN?!?!

I see no point in analyzing tomorrow’s matches. I think the winners will be Federer and Nadal. Federer because he is completely starved in Paris, and because Nadal has never looked this strong in Paris (really weird fact) and still undefeated at age 22 (sick, sick, sicker fact!!)
But what kind of damage could Monfils and Djoko do to get a Serbian-French final?
Monfils has got to get Federer running around and varying with big shots on both sides. Federer seems to enjoy predictable players, though still the best anticipator I’ve ever seen. My point is that he usually destroys players that are too predictable. On the top of my head I have Davydenko and Roddick as examples. There are probably a bunch of them…

Also, being patient might be a way to go against Federer. If he start hitting errors (I said IF!) then he might get frustrated enough to infuriate the edgy home crowd and turn them against him. He won’t get too much support tomorrow I presume, but Monfils has to really overplay and Federer be on a lower level if he want a French winner. I say Federer in 4, to be nice. For all I care, I hope I’m wrong.

Djokovic played his best tennis in Hamburg. P-E-R-I-O-D. While watching the match I remember thinking that there was nothing he could have done much better in order to win. Yes, there was an important point here and there, but it all came down to Nadal’s errors. Nadal is proably one of the most consistent players, but I’m surprised so few mention his rare, but still quite a few bad games and even sets (no, not in Paris, not this year). But rarely would you go and say that Nadal played an awful match. That’s why he is a champ and still an underachiever ranking and GS-wise. But still, and no offense to Djoko, Nadal in 3!!!

So match of the day tomorrow?! I say watch both! Monfils is able to pull a miracle, and Djokovic has plenty of talent and was actually dangerously close in Hamburg. Tennis matches are a lot closer than they sometimes seem, and even the two best players have won a big chunk of titles with the closest matches ever seen. That’s why tomorrow, as always!, anything can happen!