Posts Tagged ‘Murray’

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.

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.

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

 

Shaky #1

April 24, 2008

What the heck is happening to Federer? Is that mono stuff over or not?! I understood that worst case scenario was that it could affect his physical condition for months. I’ve never seen Federer sweat the way he did yesterday, in probably the coolest condition of the season, so far. He will not win this tournament, and I will be surprised to see if he can take down the fast and furious Monfils. Monfils surely must be a bigger threat the Ramirez-Hidalgo. The reason for his loss, as far as I can observe, was his unforced errors. 1st serve was nothing out of the ordinary, but too low if he wants to beat the best guys. Everything on the baseline failed and his mental game was close to failing too. You got to give him some credit for getting the match after being 4 points away from defeat in not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 games! Wow! Good luck Fed!

Nadal looked a hell of a lot better! Ancic is not a clay monster, but if his serve is working well and he can manage to get some fast and easy points, he should be able to pull something against Nadal. Nadal wasn’t too interested and did his job perfectly as quickly as possible and wore down the big Ancic before he knew it. 6-0, 6-3! BigFed… watch out!

Djokovic also got a serving machine in Ljubicic. This was actually a home derby between Monte Carlo residents, where Djokovic came out victorious. 6-3, 6-3 is a good start for Novak. Murray is next, who defeated Volandri a lot easier than I though possible. I think Murray has improved his clay game, with the improved “maturity” and fitness. Could be an upset. Murray had enough weapons to send Novak home.

I would also like to give PatMac a message…. If Sam Querrey beats Gasquet today… You have to play him in Spain! I don’t know what the American has done to beat Moya and Seppi on clay, but with a win over Gasquet today he will be the biggest headline of the clay season.

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.

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.

Murray d. Federer! 6-7, 6-3, 6-4

March 3, 2008

murray.jpg 

Surprised are you? Well, I’m not gonna lie and say that it wasn’t a surprise win, but if you think about it, and put yourself in Murray’s shoes for a moment, you would be fairly pissed if you lost against a guy who hasn’t played a single tournament since the SF of Aussie Open. Federer has no match practise and that might have been the decisive factor. Murray on the other hand, has worked his a-s-s off and won two titles in two months. You would be dissapointed to lose this match with that kind of record.

On the other hand Federer is always better than his opponent, except for the times he loses. Brilliant conclusion, right? This time, he played a good match, not the best I’ve seen, but good enough to win the entire tournament. First set was his to lose, hit some errors and let Murray take over the tie-break only to come back and take it after being down 2-5.

Second set started out with Federer winning his serve more easily and Murray struggling more and more. Murray got a break in a game he didn’t play better than he had done that far and was able to serve well and take the set. Third set Murray started dominating some of the rallies at 1 games all and soon found himself a break up, but this time with Federer struggling to hit winners and to keep errors away. It was like their roles swapped; Murray appearing as the more confident and stable player, and Federer being the underdog who took the first set. That was harsh, but that’s what I thought during that last set.

Conclusion is that Federer played probably as good as he could after 1 month + rest, and Murray was able to hold serve and annoy Federer enough to break him twice and take the match. Some bloggers and media sites are already calling this an upset. It was not! Murray was the best player of the two and had Federer played at least one tournament in February, well that might have been enough to get that competition feel into his system. I just cannot believe that “resting” for a month will do anyone any good in a very physically and mentally demanding sport like tennis.

Murray gets an A, Federer gets a C for not doing his homework, but an B+ for his game.

Big News from Holland

February 20, 2008

Andy Murray, fresh Marseille champion, went down big time against local hero Robian Haase. Was it Murray’s less than optimal performance or was it Haase, the rising star’s good performance? It’s really up to you to decide. But one thing is certain, Murray is far from any “change” in his up-and-down trend the past few years. Question remains if he can stay in the top 10 this time. If he continues to go from title to 1st round loss… no!

But hey…. go Haase!

Tennisful week

February 17, 2008

A couple of important notes from Marseilles is that Baghdatis has played a good tournament, reaching the semi final and losing to another “surprise” Ancic.  Ancic was the man who ended Tsonga’s ATP momentum. He then managed to take out Baggy in straight sets. Now Andy Murray is the man to beat in the final. He has also played convincingly, apart from being a few points away from defeat against Wawrinka.

I think this will be a real nice match. If Ancic can serve his best, Murray should be in trouble. In fact, Ancic is up 1-0 in straight sets against Murray. How about that!

Too bad I can’t watch it. I welcome some reports!

The clay tournament in Brasil was nothing but a routine from the best players. Moya and Almagro will fight like crazy for their first 2008 title

The most important news this week comes from Delray beach. You thought this would be an American tournament? You bet! 3 of 4 semi finalists from USA is not bad for a nation who struggles to find top 20 players. Who is that last guy? A Japaneese player (Nishikori) ranked 244!! He had 3-5 career record before the tournament, and his best result is the QF in Indianapolis last year. This guy hasn’t won any challenger, but has played consistent good tennis and has gone from no ranking to 244 in 2 years. Last night he saved 4 match points and was able to beat Sam Querrey. You think Blake is scared?

I hope for the sake of tennis that more players from China, Japan and the rest of Asia pushes up the rankings and makes tennis a WORLD sport. Like I’ve written before, if we go back a couple of decades, there weren’t too many nations on the ATP ranking. We know how good potentially Chinese and Japanese can become in any sport with increasing interest. I like, I like! But for Blakes’ sake I hope he will clinch his home title and return in the top 10.