Posts Tagged ‘Roddick’

Del Potro wins in silence

August 11, 2008

I bet half of you didn’t know, but Del Potro just won his third straight title! The NINETEEN year old Argentine has really drilled through the last three tournaments, beating bigger and smaller tennis names. Last night he got his biggest win so far. Not only did he beat Roddick, but he did it quite convincingly. 6-1, 7-6 is far better than most had expected. 6-1 against one of the best servers isn’t bad. 7-6 against one of the best tiebreak players isn’t bad either. 19 year old vs soon-to-be 26 years of routine on this level just shows where Del Potro is at today. He beat a top 10 player and entered the top 20. There’s something promising with a skyskraper of 6’6 with a forehand that worked great yesterday. He hit far more winners than Roddick, and was able to move him around like a junior. Roddick did play a bad first set, putting a lot of balls wide and in the net, but second set was well-played from both and Del Potro came out victorious in the deciding tiebreak. Good Job! Now Washington is up, and both of them could face off in another final on Sunday as Del Potro is 2nd seed. I actually think that we’ll see them again on Sunday.

I Beijing they’ve just started playing the first round, and from what I can tell, there are no upsets yet. Nadal beat Starace in 3. Federer def. Tursunov in 2. Murray and Djokovic are still waiting for some available court, and Davydenko secured his 2nd round after defeating Gulbis yesterday. It seems that the heat has left Beijing, so maybe there won’t be too many upsets early. I don’t know if and when the heat returns, but after having watched the beach volley players sweating after 10 seconds, I assume it’s not pleasant in the hot humid conditions. Several players said it’s the worst they’ve experienced. And Cincy, Montreal, Indy are usually all super hot places during the US summer. Well.. if you want the gold, you’ve got to put out a little sweat.

T-7 days until Nadal can finally call himself the best player. Fun to know that regardless of how they do in Beijing, Nadal will be seeded first in New York.

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Is Federer’s racket his “problem”?

July 31, 2008

I found a very interesting point in this article from tennis.com.  Is Federer’s racket the weakness in his tennis bag? The point is that Federer’s old style mid-size or small size racket is very difficult to handle because of the small sweet spot. The surface area of this spot is significantly smaller than on the more regular 100 inch rackets. Those 10 inches could have been what ultimately decided the Wimbledon final. In darkness and wind, there’s no doubt that a larger racket would do any player good. The difference could be a slight miss or a complete shank into the crowd. For the best player in the world, you would think that he could perhaps hit the ball in his sleep. Well.. he cannot. There’s a reason Federer watches the ball longer and better than any other player. The 90 inch head is hard to handle and takes Federer’s talent magnitude.

Many will probably contradict this point saying that it’s just like anything else. If you have used ONE type of racket your whole career, it won’t do you any good to switch. Same might apply to Federer. Question being, will he still be able to hit his forehand as hard as he does now? Will he be able to create the same angles, spins, volleys…etc.? Probably not. He will have to work hard to be satisfied with the strokes.

On the other end, there’s some truth to the point in the article. Wouldn’t you think that Federer could beat you with a frying pan if he wanted? Roddick has done some trials in his charity events, hitting the ball like there was nothing to it. All I’m saying is that I think Federer’s talent is so big and his clean game is so good that any racket he picks up, he can play almost just as well with. It always takes some time to get used to, but I assume he would be one of the best to adjust as well. From the sound of Federer’s view on this issue, it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll switch any time soon. But it would be interesting to see how a Fed-Rafa racket swap would turn out. My tip would be Federer winning 0 and 0, because of Nadal hitting every other ball on the frame. Federer, on the other hand doesn’t need to change anything to be able to hit his normal shots. U see?

And one big point, which isn’t disputed anymore, is the fact that YES, Federer would have beaten Nadal more on clay, if he’d had a few more square inches. The only shot that Federer hates (when playing only Nadal it seems) is the high hit backhand. The 4800 rpm spin into Federer’s backhand at nose height, is VERY hard to get back with some decent pace. Running around is Federer’s desperate answer, but clay monster Nadal will outrun him on them. Evindently, Federer would have appreciated a bigger sweet spot on those occasions. If Youzhny can hit such a good backhand with a 100 incher, so could Federer.

I don’t think Federer would get any help now on the hard stuff in N.America, but switching racket on clay, or making a custom CLAY racket for the guy sounds interesting. If I was him, after 3 consecutive RG final losses, I would certainly do anything to try and improve my chances against the RAFA. If we get a Fed-Rafa final in Cincy, and Federer misses many on his backhand side, I’m going to conclude that the theory is at least close to true.

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…

Worst Masters SFs ever

May 11, 2008

I cannot remember being more dissapointed about two promising semifinals in a masters tournament. While everybody else wants to watch Fed-Djoko, Fed-Nadal over and over again, this was the one tournament where that was not the case. Roddick’s back has been in the spotlight before and now he has pulled out from Hamburg as well. Excellent opportunity to get closer to Ferrer and Davydenko and maybe get an advantage for the two upcoming slams with regard to the draw, is GONE. Instead he will have to defend the Queen’s club title and try to get past that tough first round in Paris.

On the other side. If you remember as far back as US OPen 2007, Stepanek and Djokovic have us the match of the tournament. 5 close hard fought sets, from an in-form Stepanek and a Djokovic who just had broken that top 3 with victories over all of the top 3 players in Montreal. Well, there wasn’t too much that reminded me of that match. 6-0, 1-0ret is the score and Stepanek had problems with the wrist? and the heat?. Wow, what an anti-climax this was. The only thing now is if Wawrinka has something to give against Djokovic. Wawrinka has beaten some good players but not close to the level of Djokovic. I think he’s happy with being a top 10 player regardless of the result.

AMS Rome QFS – my favorite kind

May 9, 2008

…is when seeds fall and other players have a chance to do some title hunting. I watched Robredo-Davydenko last night and the frustration just grew and grew. On behalf of both players really. 12 og 13 breaks of serve!! 2hrs 40min!! Robredo was ahead 3-0 and 5-3 AND behind in the breaker. Robredo and Davydenko sure are good players, but both have that little something which classifies them as top 10, but not top 5. Unforced errors on key points was pretty much the description of the match. He did manage to save the Spanish pride by having two left in the last 8. You know what other countries have two players?

Switzerland and USA! Federer sailed past Karlovic, and Wawrinka passed the Nadal-slayer Ferrero. And James frickin’ Blake… how did he beat Verdasco? Blake is almost worse than Roddick on the red stuff, and Verdasco simply loves this type of rally-sliding-angleling tennis. They said that conditions are relatively fast due to warm weather the last days. That certainly helps the Americans on the way. Roddick is perhaps not the same hero, but beating local hope Bollelli was also a good performance.

And then, there are Stepanek and Djokovic who seem less stable at times. Both played one bad set each in their respective 3rd rounds. Why? Djokovic still seems to struggle with his breath and Stepanek…no clue..age or volleys letting him down…who knows? I know that inconsistency won’t work against Federer, so Fed will get to the SF. Djokovic will have to battle clay lover Almagro who didn’t play yesterday as Gonzo chose not to play. That might just be enough for Almagro to pull off an upset, not because he isn’t tired, but because Djokovic is. I still think Federer-Djokovic is the top half SF.

On the bottom half, Roddick goes in with a perfect 7-0 against Robredo. In fact he beat Robredo here in 2002 in straight sets. Somehow Roddick played better on clay in 01-03 so who knows if he’s still on that level. Due to this record I hold Roddick as slight favorite, BUT Robredo with more consistency on the baseline will get a mediocre-serving Roddick. 51-49 to Roddick.

James Blake will get a tough time against Wawrinka. Wawrinka is one of those players with GREAT potential, but never being able to show or use his ability over a long period of time. Blake seems to have found his confidence and will probably take a set. But this is also open, and I see Wawrinka as a slight favorite, but not more than Roddick is in the other match. I can also mention Wawrinka won their only meeting, which was in Paris. Wawrinka won a 5 set match which, yes, Blake had a 2-0 lead. But the match is definately OPEN.

Based on this Fed wil beat the heck out of Djokovic and Roddick will beat Wawrinka for his first clay final in decades. Federer will of course WIN.

Roddick completes his mission impossible

April 4, 2008

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I used to think that no one beats Roddick 10 times in a row (US open 07 prediction). The answer was that no one beats him 12 times in a row. It really doesn’t matter for him if it was 50-1 og 100-1 before this match. The goal was to get a win against the one and only Federer, and here we are.

Scoreline was 7-6, 4-6, 6-3. There are several ways to describe the match, but the one word that should be used is SERVE. Both players served HUGE pretty much every single service game. First set, Roddick held easily almost all games, Federer was taken to deuce a couple of times, but pretty much dominated the important rallies in his own service games. The tie-break is probably what made the difference at last. Federer missing that first point with an unforced, only to follow a couple more to take Roddick into a 4-1 lead was key. From that point on Roddick could afford to lose a couple of points on own serve (which he did); but with the serves Roddick produced yesterday it was never an issue. Apart from Federer’s 3 (I think) unforced in the breaker, Roddick should get half the credit for being able to break Federer’s serve with two nice second serve returns. In other words, more reason to cheer for Roddick. You don’t wanna win solely on opponents mistakes.

Second set looked a little scary for the American. He started to struggle holding AS EASILY, but managed until the 8th game of the set where Federer got a couple of break points and Roddick approached the net with a poor approach shot. LUCKILY, he did not do that too many times this time, which might be another reason why he won this match.

Third set was a copy of first, but both players holding their serve very fast and effective. In my opinion Federer looked at his very strongest during his 3 service games during third set, but did not make the vital first serves he needed on 3-4, and Roddick was allowed to hit balls from the baseline. Normally this would mean points to Federer, but he placed one wide, one long, one in the net. These were what decided the outcome. Roddick serving for the match means only one thing and that was it.

But what I didn’t like about the match was the way they played their baseline rallies. Federer had like 5 or 6 great shots only he can make, Roddick a few nice ones as well. But for the most part, it was BIG SERVE, followed by a good second touch. I was thinking that Roddick will have to find the Dubai game to beat Federer. I don’t think he did. Roddick was hitting flat, deep and nasty shots against Nadal and Djokovic. Yesterday was old Roddick but with more intelligence. No more silly approaches on important points (except for set point). No more hopeless running around 5 feet behind the baseline trying to defend the Federer rocket shots.

If you didn’t get to see it, I would not recommend to watch it. Well, maybe if you want to study serving. Or just fast forward to those few spectacular shots. But the end is probably going to be historic. There aren’t too many players who have met 17 times and the h2h is so one-sided. The relief on Roddick’s face says it all. In fact, it was kinda funny that he looked as if he was praying to god that he’d get that last serve in on 40-0 and 3 match points. PLEASE! just this once!!

I also want to give credit to him for his honesty. There aren’t too many who admit that they are brats and cocky. I think I’ve heard him say this a few times. Last night he did it again. Roddick served a big serve down the T that was called out. A fast challenge proved that it hit inside on the T. Problem was that Federer got his racket on it and Roddick was given 1st serve instead of game. I totally agree that Federer, who hit it on the frame and far out, would not be able to return it. Roddick, all fired up asked the umpire why Federer gets away with the calls in these situations and he never gets. This part I don’t agree, but I loved his comment that elaborated the point; “I know he’s nicer and all, but…”

NOW, Davydenko is up. Roddick leads 5-0, but Davydenko has perhaps never looked better. He took down Tipsarevic brutally 6-2, 6-1. Wow.

First up though, Berdych-Nadal. This has the potential of being the match of the tournament.  Both players have played better than expected and both of them REALLY REALLY want this win.

I think the Sunday final will be a serving show between Roddick and Berdych. Or a baseline inferno with Davydenko and Nadal. I really don’t know.

First semifinal

April 3, 2008

Nadal and Berdych “cruised” to the semis and will battle it out in a semifinal. Nadal got to see what Blake can do in the first set, but was able to turn around a match that seemed to favor Nadal every minute it progressed after 1st set. Once again Blake looked slightly tired of sun, heat, wet towels on head, and too much Nadal. What I liked about the first set, was that Blake was doing perhaps what annoys Nadal the most. Keeping the rallies to a minimum, and those that were, had no more than 5 seconds of play. That and good serving allowed Blake to play well in his service games, and once he got a big swing at a Nadal serve he broke and sat down. I believe it was over in 33 minutes. Considering that Nadal spends 10 of those to adjust his socks and hair and underwear, it was short and painful for him. But sets 2 and 3, Blake didn’t serve as well and that was probably the single most important reason why Nadal was able to turn it around. No serve, no good game.

Then there’s this man:

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Mr. Berdych is on a roll and will, I AM SURE, give Nadal the battle of his life. In fact, watching some of Berdych’s game reminded me a lot of the attacking game of Federer. Serve is just as big, or bigger. Second touch is either a big forehand (flat) or a good volley. I see some similarities in the way he sets up the points and the way he is able to hit the forehand flat and deep when he is inside the baseline. The reason Federer is better is simply better defense, better backhand (yes I said it) and a somewhat better coverage at the net. But defense is important, and the ability to qucikly turn defense into offense and punish any weakness of opponent. But I say this on a general baisis, not based on this week. Because this week Berdych has been getting better numbers than Federer against better players, so considering that Berdych is a Nadal-slayer this should be interesting.

Second semifinal is decided today. Federer-Davydenko is the most likely SF, but I don’t like to think that Roddick or Tipsarevic are outsiders. Well, Roddick is but not Tipsy. But Roddick with a home crowd is always a fighter and Tipsarevic surely would like to get another chance to beat Federer. I just assume EVERYBODY knows what happened last time they met. My predictions say;

Federer d. Roddick, Davydenko d. Tipsarevic. This will take Federer to the final against Berdych where Federer gets his first title of the season. RIGHT?!

Only 2 scenarios are likely

April 2, 2008

So the QFs are:

Federer-Roddick
Davydenko-Tipsarevic
Berdych-Andreev
Blake-Nadal

The only likely outcomes are; either a Federer-Nadal final, which is always wanted; or a Federer-Blake finals, which is doomed to be boring (for Americans)

The third outcome, which I don’t believe in too much anymore is that you replace the name Roddick with Federer and might get an all American final. As long as there are 6 other condenders I say… lets wait for another day or two and then we’ll see if it will happen.

But!! I still don’t want to exclude Berdych. I finally wachted him play against Tursunov, and he should absolutely be included as a possible champ. If he plays like he has all week, there is no reason Blake or Nadal should feel safe in a SF.

Roddick-Federer has become a classic. Not because you get to see great tennis all the time, but because you’d think that Roddick might actually get a win one of these days. I think it’s more unlikely that the record will get to 20-1 rather than for example a solid 18-3. Currently it’s 15-1 and one win for Roddick would make the greatest achievement of the year for him. But there is no statistical evidence that he will turn it around, and Federer will take it in 2. (I was optimistic the last two, and AR lost – I will be pessimistic this time)

Last 16

April 1, 2008

Originally I wrote that Monday was boring. Strike that. The evening matches weren’t bad at all. Youzhny-Almagro was a rollercoaster. Ancic-Monaco wasn’t too bad either. BTW, if you wanna see some real Russian fury, you should look for the highlights of the the Youzhny match and see what a player can do with his racket, without balls being involved. Might be rated R though, if you don’t like blood and/or violence.

Federer is closing up on a deja-frickin’-vous. In IW he got through the first few matches and got a sick Haas who didn’t show up in the QF. This time Soderling chose to bail after a set and a half. Both were playing poor and Soderling had shown some muscles these past few matches, not to say weeks. All of their matches have been close and this was supposed to be even closer. Federer actually looked happy to end it, considering he wasn’t enjoying the extra breeze they had to deal with.

Acasuso looks to be in good shape, but should be an easy task for Federer. 2-0 h2h and just plain better than Acasuso on hard. Roddick got through his match in straight sets, although with tie-break in the the first. He also announced that he got engaged earlier in the month, to a 20-year old swim suit model. He was fast pointing out that she is very…very smart. Well… congrats Roddick. The only question is if he will be better against Federer in a potential QF or if she’s gonna be a distraction. He will have to pass Julien Benneteau first, to whom he lost in their last encounter.

So today I think all of them will play, resulting in 4 QFs. Here are my humble predictions. I will give up if these are way off.

Federer d. Acasuso
Roddick d. Benneteau
Ancic d. Davydenko
Youzhny d. Tipsarevic
Berdych d. Tursunov
Canas d. Andreev
Blake d. Stepanek
Nadal d. Mathieu

I think Ancic looks strong. He has had a good run beating Murray, Simon and Monaco. Berdych as well. He actually looks like the strongest contender. He has only lost 7 games in two matches against very good players. Blake I’m not so sure about, but he is ahead on h2h, but lost their last meeting in LA. This should be the match to watch. Only problem might be that they are set at 11am, which for Blake doesn’t seem to be the best time. Last time in the sun he almost looked like he as gonna pass out. If you cannot watch one that early, Roddick-Benneteau might be a close and fun night match. Should be Roddick’s toughest opponent thus far.

Roddick d. Lopez 6-7, 6-4, 6-2

March 8, 2008
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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.