Posts Tagged ‘Lopez’

The Brits are confident

July 2, 2008

Maybe too confident, about Murray’s chances, not only to win today against Nadal, but the whole damn thing. You can read BBC online and see how Murray’s chances are evaluated as very good. I’m not as sure. Even though Murrays has some of the elements we saw in Youzhny (when he beat him), he will also struggle against Nadal’s big forehand. As they all do. Murray’s chance is to slice it as much as possible to Nadal’s forehand, and preferably deep. Nadal used to struggle against the nasty flat hit backhand of Youzhny. Murray hits it with more spin and doesnt’t have the same quality in hitting it deep and low, but rather creating angles and placement. Murray has never beaten Nadal, so why start now?

I do think that the newfound confidence, and his actual improved physical condition, will help him make it a close battle. But when we saw him being 2 sets down against Gasquet we though he wouldn’t be able to turn it around. He did, but that was Gasquet. 16-12 for the year and because of his “early” loss he is now out of top 10 once again. In other words, he struggled big time against one of the worst top 40-50 players of the year. If he’s 2 sets down, or even 2 sets up, why should he be able to outsmart Nadal? I don’t think that’s statistically safe to think. If he can maintain focus for 3 sets and try to prevent from hitting hopeless dropshots again today, he might make it a close battle. If he gets broken early and never feels like getting a break in Nadal’s serve, then it’s a 3 set defeat in 2 hours.

In the other matches Federer will take care of Ancic. Though I would love to see Ancic giving the old Fed a hard time taking a set or 2. Safin has to win. Lopez, I think, has never been in a SF before, so this is Safin’s backyard. The last one is so hard to predict I’m gonna leave it to the pros themselves. Clement is old. Schuettler is old. Both have solid career records, but I don’t think any of them thought they would reach a SF this year either. Chance of a frickin’ lifetime!! The winner will be one tiny match away from a Wimbledon final. Question is, who will think of this first. I bet he loses.

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Now that is tennis!

July 1, 2008

Phenomenal performance from Murray and Gasquet yesterday. They didn’t show their best tennis of all time, but managed to pull some good stuff to please the crowd and the millions of viewers. The errors were always just around the corner, but the stunning winners were also always close by.

It did help the match that Murray won @ home, but boy was he close to defeat! 2-0 and I think even a break down in the third. Doesn’t matter, really. Gasquet received the same brutal turnaround like he showed Roddick same time last year. Now Murray has to see what he can do with Nadal. I don’t think Nadal’s ease past Youzhny makes Murray a stronger believer, but didn’t we all think he would lose as they were playing set 3? We’ll see….

Federer past his “ultimate” test, probably the player with best results with the exception of Nadal. The tiebreak was a killer, but then somehow Hewitt fell apart. Don’t give up people! If you get Federer to 7-9 in a breaker, you are good enough to get it 9-7 the next time!

And then there was Super-Mario! Ancic was also heading for home, as he was struggling to do anything with Verdasco. 2 sets down and hope out. No… wait the score is 11-all in the final set! Yes 13-11 to Ancic after finally being able to break and hold, in that order. Now he’s played 10 sets the last two matches, both being intense. Don’t think it will help him going into the match against Federer on Wednesday.

Safin also pulled a win against 13th seed Wawrinka, and is heading towards a SF clash with the player he beat in Australia 2005. Cannot wait!

Lastly, Schuettler took out Tipsarevic, which came as a surprise to many. This was probably the most important match in terms of getting futher into Wimbledon than any one of them had hoped. So Clement or Schuettler will play Nadal/Murray in the SF. Who would have thought?!

Oh.. and also Baggy is out. Still can’t understand why he lost. He had match point in the final set, but never took it and gave it away to Lopez instead a few games later. Too bad, because I think Baghdatis could have given Safin more trouble than Lopez. So the winner of Wimbledon is hiding in these QFs:

Federer – Ancic
Safin – Lopez
Schuettler – Clement
Murray – Nadal

 

Kuerten has lost it

April 22, 2008

When you get 1-6, 2-6 against Ljubicic on clay, you really cannot hope to do very good in Roland Garros. The difference was Ljbubicic had firepower and weapons, while Kuerten couldn’t do much. Shame, but when you have your mind and one foot in the retired business, you have pretty much lost it.

Murray got through Lopez in 2, which didn’t sound easy, but Lopez might be one spaniard who probably doesn’t favor a clay court over a faster harder one. I think Volandri will pose a greater threat to Murray in the next round. Kohlschreiber took out Acasuso, Tipsy downed Mathieu in 3, Ancic set up Nadal clash, and Ferrero got Llodra after being in trouble with poor tennis for 1 set.

Some of Tuesday’s hightlights include:

Safin-Malisse (two great talents in the waste bin?)
Djokovic-Ljubicic
…. and that’s it.. I think Murray will take Volandri, but it might be close.
Nadal and Federererer will hit the dirt tomorrow.

Roddick d. Lopez 6-7, 6-4, 6-2

March 8, 2008
roddick2.jpg

What a match! Although, I did enjoy the QF and SF more from Roddick’s half where he was far more agressive. One reason for not being agressive today was Lopez. Lopez did not allow Roddick to do anything really. The few times he made poor approaches to the net, Roddick was more efficient and took those vital points. I was actually wondering, when is Roddick going to get a chance to hit a big forehand?

I can’t remember it happening ONCE. Lopez kept hitting to Roddick’s backhand, which on defense, isn’t always poison. But several times, it bit Lopez pretty hard in the butt, especially in the final set.

One thing that was close to last night’s SF was the serving. Man, do those boys know how to serve! Lopez kept hitting himself out of tough situation with the lefty advantage and was brilliant on serve. At the net I don’t think he could have been better, although he missed a few easy volleys here and there. But we knew Lopez for serve-volleying, not effective baselining. Well how good was his forehand! 1st set, I thought Lopez was better than Roddick in most baseline rallies. If he can keep up that little “detail” for the rest of the year, he should be a type of Berdych, Karlovic, Ancic type of player who hunts a spot in top 10-15.

This coming week should be exciting in terms of candidates for the IW title. Will the top 3 return in their respective positions in tournaments? Will Federer even show up with his illness? Can Roddick make a mid-career breakthrough and “rejuvenate”? What about Murray and Nalbandian? It’s safe to say that March will be interesting.

Roddick 2 – Djokovic 0

March 7, 2008
roddick.jpg

How about that!?

In my opinion this was the greatest achivement by any player so far this year. WHAT?! Did I forget Nole’s straight set win over Federer? Nope.

The thing is, one has to look at how well players play over a longer period of time. Yes, Federer was his usual self during those first matches in AO, but the first threat was Djokovic. Roddick has had to content with GS champ Ferrero, PH Mathieu, Nadal and Djokovic. What’s more important is not being broken once, winning all sets and beating number 2 and 3 back to back in two days.

It doens’t measure up with Nalby and Nole’s 1-2-3 runs last year, but for Roddick this is a huge boost. Only thing that would set him back is losing tomorrow against Lopez, who clearly is in a “once in a lifetime opportunity” situation. Did not realize Lopez is a year older than Roddick.

But what I saw in today’s match was some brilliant tennis. And certainly 80% of it goes to both player’s serving performance. Stunning from Djokovic throughout 1st set, hitting more aces than Roddick winning virtually all 1st serve points. Roddick…. well you know the story, 145mph serves are not easy to return, period!

They pretty much built their game from their serves all of 1st set and in the tie-break, Roddick was slightly more engaged in the situation and won it fair. HOWEVER! I must give enormous props and sportmanship of the year to Djokovic. At 5-4 on Roddick’s serve, Roddick hit a huge serve that was called let. Djokovic (and Andy I assume) both saw that the ball did not touch it. Hard to see from a bird’s eye view (me). Umpire Murier could not overrule that decision and gave Roddick set point. Don’t think all players would have that kind of gesture at 5-4 in a tie-break! Roddick also very fair and, I think that their shake/hug at the end shows what kind of sincere players they both are.

Second set was a break hunt for Roddick, when he himself was holding easily. Break came and serving for the match was synonumous with victory.

What surprised me, was one thing. Roddick was not allowed (or did not manage) to play AS agressive from the baseline today as he did against Nadal. Djokovic hits less spin and that might be all there is to it, but some of the balls Roddick could of hit flat and hard, turned into loops. Some were probably a miss or not very clean, but even more agressive forehand attacks would do him good. Djokovic was in some rallies dominant from the baseline, but once Roddick got some of them with pace and depth, he was very defensive.

I’ve seen Djokovic play better (especially in set 2) but he did not look to bad, and I think it was his best match so far this tournament. Any way you put it, a good warm-up for him when heading for California where he needs to defend a title and a cr…load of points.

Haven’t seen a minute of Lopez, so I cannot approach tomorrow’s final, but there is a favorite and an underdog. You be the judge. 

Roddick and Djokovic powering through…

March 6, 2008

…and will meet for their second match. Roddick will most likely meet more opposition tomorrow, although tonight his performance must be one of his very best.

I don’t want to brag, but I’ve written about people like Youzhny and Soderling, who hit a lot of flat and deep shots, as the biggest Nadal-threats. Deep and flat shots (with pace) is what you see Nadal struggles with the most. When you are on a fast hard court, that’s the way to go. In Indian Wells, Roddick kept hitting all his groundstrokes around the service line, and Nadal got in and angled the shots with his enourmous forehand and precise backhand. Today Roddick went for his shots and for the first time in a while, I see Roddick hitting flat and deep several times in a row. Just don’t get why he doesn’t do it more often and against Federer as well.

Roddick-Djokovic will be a nice one but I think it’s all up to Roddick. If he plays like today I cannot see why you should rule him out. I am sure 17 aces against Nadal should be 17 aces against Djokovic as well, maybe more. Djokovic, on the other hand, beat Andreev quite easily and must be filled with eager and motivation to be the only remaining top 3 player left. Big chance for him to take two of Federer’s titles before IW and Miami.

Davydenko-Lopez could go either way, but I haven’t seen Lopez play, so I don’t know how to rate his chances, but beating Ferrer doesn’t sound easy whether you’re Spanish, Japanese or Russian. Davydenko…. well he won against Murray. Murray was nowhere near the 1st round performance. Great chance for both for an important final, so this should be just as fun.

Seeds are actually falling…

March 6, 2008

Ferrer lost to Lopez and Andy “upsetter” Murray lost in straight sets against Davydenko. Now the first semifinal will be a fairly surprising encounter between Davydenko and Lopez. I don’t think too many predicted this as a plausible semifinal match. Davydenko has a real chance now of going into a Dubai final and making a “I belong in the top 5” statement. That’s the clue, stability, stability and more stability = good player.

Dubai – seeds still in

March 6, 2008

Although Federer, Gasquet and Berdych are out, we have some strong candidates for the title. Davydenko will have to overcome Murray (I’m sure he prefers him over Federer). Murray however, struggled against Verdasco and needed a third set tie-break to take the match. Why?

Ferrer has looked strong and taking Rochus to 3 sets isn’t always a weakness for him. He will have to down Lopez who took out big gun Berdych. Battle of Espana.

Andreev, who has not started strong this year, seems to have gotten in a good rythm. He took out Gasquet in 2 and should have something to say against Djokovic. But realistically the road stops here for him.

Then there are two guys who probably will give us the more interesting match. Hard court lover Roddick against hard court trainee (but one of the best) Nadal. Nadal won their last meeting in Indian Wells but the faster court in Dubai might motivate Roddick. I underestimted Nadal the last time they met on hard, I won’t do it again. But Roddick has played well and a clean service match and he might take it. A toin coss on this one.

Only 8 left

October 19, 2007

Federer – Lopez
Kiefer – Gonzalez
Ancic – Djokovic
Nalbandian – Nadal

Federer did his thing yesterday. No problems against Canas, but Canas is still a good player, he just happened to meet a Federer who was prepared to avoid the unforced errors he made in California and Miami.
Nadal impressed me yesterday. He played very good and did not allow Murray to dominate at all. There were rallies where you just felt sorry for Murray. Nadal always had answers, to rips, spins, drops++++
Kiefer is the definite underdog, and he has a great opportunity to make the SF. Gonzalez is not the Gonzalez we saw in AO, but he is far better than in many other HC tournaments this year.
Instead of picking wins, I’m going to weigh the players in a % chance of winning

Federer 98 – Lopez 2
Kiefer 45 – Gonzalez 55
Ancic 49 – Djokovic 51
Nalbandian 20 – Nadal 80

AMS Madrid

October 15, 2007

Here we go again. Last full month of tennis.
A closer look at the draw reveals that there are no good reasons to believe the top 3 will not make the semifinals. Nadal is a question mark, but if he is 100%, he should be good to go into the semi as well.
Federer has a potential quarter with Ferrer. BUT! There’s a very big but! Canas is first on Federer’s schedule. I think third time is a charm for the world #1.
Further south on the same half, there’s Davydenko and Gonzalez as potential quarter finalists.
Could Youzhny take Davydenko? I don’t know. Youzhny is far from where he was last year.
Could Haas take Gonzalez? Yes, but he needs to find the form he had earlier this year. If not, Gonzalez is still a fireball.

In the third quarter, we have Blake and Djokovic. Joining them is Gasquet and Moya. They can all make the semi, but only one will. I think Djokovic is riding the momentum far more than the other three. Then we have Robredo and Nadal, with Berdych and Chela in a 3rd round. Berydych beats Nadal again for a semi final spot? I would put some money down, yes.

Then, as this is a masters tournament, the field is packed with great players.
1st Q: Tursunov, Lopez
2nd Q: Karlovic!, Safin, Wawrinka
3rd Q: Ancic, Mathieu
4th Q: Del Potro, Nalbandian, Stepanek, Murray, Baggy.
… and of course many more. These are hot shots for the moment in my opinion.

I think Karlovic can be a great threat and take out Davydenko in his first match (2nd round)
Maybe Tursunov can play around with Canas, and Lopez with Ferrer. Wawrinka can beat Youzhny, while Ancic and Mathieu seem to be back on track. 4Q is packed with potentials, but I think that consistency wins and therefore Nadal and Berdych remain favorites.

My prediction:
Federer – Ferrer
Karlovic – Gonzalez
Blake – Djokovic
Nadal – Berdych

Federer – Karlovic
Djokovic – Berdych

Federer – Djokovic