Posts Tagged ‘Llodra’

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)

3 finals & Next week

February 24, 2008

Soderling – Llodra
Soderling has had a smooth ride into the final. I haven’t seen any match of his, but the numbers speak for themselves. He has beaten every player pretty seriously, except for Baghdatis in the first round. I think he wil be the favorite going into the final. Llodra took out the big Ivo and might be heading for his second title of this year. They have never met, and the rankings could not be less decisive… Llodra at 58th and Soderling 59th. Coin toss goes to Soderling.

Roddick – Stepanek
So Stepanek managed to dismantle Ginepri after being down 1 set. People say that he has played consistent good tennis throughout this week, but when I look at his opponents.. well I don’t really know them! Capdeville, Reynolds, Lu, Ginepri – well I’ve heard of all of them but they haven’t really pierced into my tennis memory. Roddick’s opponents quite more difficult. Guccione – in good form, Nishikori – just won a title, Fish, Garcia-Lopez.
Anyway, it will probably be close like all of their 3 previous meetings, but Roddick will grap it.

Nalbandian – Acasuso
Now here I am not so sure. Nalbandian is predictable, but Acasuso is very good when he plays his absolute best. He has overcome players like Moya, Andreev, Volandri to get here and Nalbandian might be in for a ride. Important thing is, both are Argentinians and Maradona will probably not mock the opponent this time. Should we say Nalbandian in 3 due to lack of insight?

Next week is ALSO a tennisful week, if anyone didn’t know. Apparently some of the top 10 players don’t know it. Draw for Acapulco is not out as far as I can see, but in Memphis (soon to become masters 500) has Roddick and Blake in it. 8th and last seed is Soderling. Relatively strong field but still far from ideal if this trend continues next year. Then there’s Zagreb where Ljubicic (23) is top seed with Karlovic (24) as second. I still cannot see how all of the other top players benefit from NOT playing tennis in several weeks.

Federer still not activity since Aussie Open, Nadal failing miserably against Seppi in Rotterdam this week, Djokovic *cough, cough* sick sick sick (?), Davydenko has probably aged.. he used to play almost every week… the list goes on.

Lets just hope that Dubai will be a firecracker as a result of this “absence”. Strongest 32 draw in quite some time and we will see how players who play these two weeks will do in Dubai.
BTW.. what the hell happened to Tsonga?!

Youzhny d. Nadal

January 6, 2008

Not the first time, probably no the last either. But the numbers, damn! 6-0, 6-1!! Nadal had absolutely no answers in today’s match against the Russian, who consistently ripped deep groundstrokes almost every rally. Nadal seemed a little off physically and at 4-1 in the second called in the trainer. I am sure only to say that “I’m dead tired”.

What was most stunning was not how poor Nadal performed, because he did hit an awful lot of unforced, but the way Youzhny seems to handle Nadal’s extreme topspin. That one-handed backhand is sometimes just magic. Being able to blast those off at Nadal is something even Federer has trouble doing.

Youzhny also aced Nadal quite a lot and won many points off his serve. Close to perfect day at the office for Youzhny and great revenge from the defeat in Wimbledon, when he was up 2-0. 

The questions is, how important was this tournament for Nadal? Yesterday’s 4 hour SF, emptied his batteries quite a lot, and was it really necessary for him, with the knees and all? I would rather see Nadal contesting in Kooyong classic rather than getting these tough early matches that have injury written all over them.

Regardless of why he lost with 12-1 is two sets, Youzhny seems to know what he needs to do in order to beat Nadal. Deep groundstrokes with little spin and low bounce is not Nadal’s favorite. Most of his errors came of good deep shots by Youzhny. If you guys remember Nadal-Roddick in Indian Wells, that was exactly one of the problems for the American. He his most of his groundstrokes well inside the baseline, too often inside the service line. That is suicide against Nadal, and if Youzhny would have done that today, he would be the 6-0, 6-1 loser. Certainly easier said than done!

In Doha Murray claimed his 4th title and is good to go for Aussie Open. The kid needs to keep his head cold and start winning the important points.

Llodra won in Australia defeating Nieminen in the final. I don’t think Australia is very happy with their chances at the Open this year either. Hewitt must at least beat these lower ranked players. He doesn’t seem to have any chance against the top players.

Tomorrow there is action in Syndey and Auckland. Gasquet leads a strong field in Sydney with several top 20-25 players and Auckland has Ferrer as top seed with A lot of clay court nerds.