Posts Tagged ‘Gulbis’

QF @ Roland Garros

June 3, 2008

Finally, we have come to the point where the BEST of the best remain!
Let’s start with today’s action:

Almagro – Nadal
No doubt that Almagro has made a good run here in Paris. He has never been past a 4th round of a slam and as his chance now against Nadal. Is is a chance, or is it merely an event that needs to be completed. IMO Almagro has never looked this strong, the only problem being that Nadal has arguably never looked this strong either. It’s Spain vs. Spain, Murcia vs. Mallorca, Defense vs. Offense. What I love about Almagro’s game is that he is not even clos to mainstream Spain clay game. He tries to hit winners ASAP and has probably the most vicious serve of the top ranked Spaniards. (not including Lopez) Could he pull it off? No, I would be surprised to see Nadal lose a set, but again.. I think this is the first match where Nadal plays an in-form player who just hit the highest rank a few weeks ago. He is actually en route to a place for Shanghai, being #9 at this point.
Nadal takes it in 4.

Gulbis – Djokovic
Ok. Logically this is Djokovic in three short sets, right? And it could be… However! Gulbis is probably the biggest talent since.. well Djokovic. I don’t know if he’s much of a talent, but he has a very mature and fine tuned game. Big serve, big groundstrokes, and if I’m correctly informed… clay is his least favorite surface. QF is his best, like Almagro, so argument is NOTHING TO LOSE! The only problem for Gulbis is that he hasn’t had a real opponent yet. Nothing compared to Djoko. Blake, Llodra, Lapenti, Greul… not the list of the best clay players. I think the match will go to Serbia, but this is a real battle between two miniscule countries with two great talented players. Think about it… Serbia vs. Latvia!! Where the heck is Russia and the US? I’m afraid Djokovic will take the advantage of having the lowest ranked player as opponent and do a fast workout in 3 sets
Djokovic in 3

Yesterday… all of Stepanek’s troubles seemed so far away..
Ferrer-Stepanek was a sick match. Physically sick, mentally sick… anyway you want it. Rollercoaster is a mild expression to a match where both players had momentum every other point, every other, game or most significant every other set. Stepanek took the third set 6-1, but still managed to lost the 4th quite easily. Was down 0-4 in the final, came back to 4-4 just to be broken back and losing the incredible momentum. It’s not only Stepanek who contributed to the rollercoaster, Ferrer was just as inconsistent with his groundstrokes. I don’t know how Ferrer will get past Monfils if he doesn’t show some more consistency.

Monfils on the other hand impressed me. He was more consistent than ever. He got broken too many times, but seemed to break back with ease a couple of times, against Ljubicic who has hit a very low number of unforced this tournament. Not the best tennis, but both players played a reasonable medium-paced game with a lot of combos and flat hit shots. Very nice to watch, and very nice for France to at least have gotten one out of the 5 players into the QF.

Federer and Gonzo sailed through in 3 sets and didn’t sweat their brains out. Therefore it might be some high quality tennis when they meet next time. Remember Shanghai 2007? Gonzo has actually beaten Federer now, so nothing is impossible.
That’s tomorrow… for now.. Enjoy today’s tennis

Last 16 and end of 1st week

May 31, 2008

Finally we have made it to the players who have deserved to be going into 2nd week. RG is IMO the hardest of the 4 slams to get past the first 3 rounds. There are so many clay lover below top 100 who could take the advantage and get instant fame. Who am I talking about…hmm
Well, there’s Chardy!! That’s the only one who’s left, but there are always a few players who come from nothing and get big wins against big guys.

Let’s go to today’s action and find the man of the day… IVAN LJUBICIC!!!

Why, you say? Firstly he was down 2-0 against the 4th best clay player, the robotic Davydenko. Second, he has fallen down from top 3-4 to #30 very fast and with no good results to show in recent time. Third, he is one of the BIG guys with the big serve as main weapon. History shows that these guys succeed more on hard courts and grass. Fact of the matter is Ljubi played great tennis, few errors and made Davydenko come up with the good stuff. He wasn’t able anymore after the first two sets, and Ivan took over. Great match, great setting and a great result for the big guy from Croatia. Kinda the only surprise left, apart from Chardy in the last 16.

Gonzalez did the same thing today, but you would excpect him to play a lot better than what he showed during the first two sets. Gonzo is a rollercoaster of another dimension and needs stability to get a big title. Wawrinka playing his best is perhaps not as good as Gonzo playing his best. That’s why Gonzo won, I think.

Ok, here’s a breakdown of the remaining candidates:
Federer-Benneteau (Federer just torn Ancic apart, will do it to Benne as well)
Gonzo-Ginepri (is this for real?! If Gonzo loses this, shame on him!)
Ljubicic-Monfils (this could go either way, depending on mental strength+best tennis possible)
Stepanek-Ferrer (probably to of the biggest dark horses to win the entire thing, super match!)
Gulbis-Llodra (big chance for both of them, is Gulbis mature enough to take it? 50-50 IMO)
Mathieu-Djokovic (either Mathieu plays his best and has a chance, or plays poorly and gets humiliated at home)
Chardy-Almagro (bye bye Chardy, Almagro losing this would be a big upset! who knows?)
Verdasco-Nadal (bye bye Verdasco. never beaten him, never even close, except for once on grass..Nadal in 3 I’m afraid)

Interesting match-ups

January 2, 2008

In India, def.champ Malisse is going against 6th seed Melzer. Malisse is probably a favorite in this one, but in this case ranking is not just a number. Melzer is good enough to get past Malisse.

In Doha, we will get some nice action. Davydenko will have to come up with some solutions against the magician Santoro. Santoro almost always plays close matches and this should be one of those too. If Davydenko gets a fairly high number of unforced Santoro will take it. Regardless of future predictions, it will be a good one.

Remember Tipsarevic? Defeated Gonzo in Wimbledon last summer? He will go against def.champ Ljubicic. I haven’t followed Tipsarevic closely since Wimbledon, but I haven’t seen anything impressive since then. Ljubicic is the favorite in every which way, but Ljubicic is far from where he was one year ago. At #3.

In Adelaide, a little ahead time-wise… players are ready for QFs. The one match I would look at is the newcomer battle of Gulbis-Tsonga. They’re 0-0 h2h and predicting the winner is a perfect gamble. Tsonga is seeded 6th, Gulbis is just short of a seeding. If these kids play their best tennis, it should be the one to watch today.(tomorrow)