Posts Tagged ‘Safin’

Outstanding and unstoppable

July 3, 2008

Federer and Nadal are in a different league I’m afraid. Nadal was expected to play better as the grass turned into hard soil, but I also thought that Murray has something more to show against the muscles from Mallorca. I’m sorry I had doubts, even at this stage, that Nadal would run into trouble. It wasn’t Murray who didn’t deliver, it was Nadal who completely ruined everyones hopes of having a Brit in the final. He simply outplayed him almost in every rally. That’s not a good sign.

Same thing goes for Federer. I didn’t expect him to lose a set against Ancic, but I was sure we would see a tiebreak! Kinda close in 2nd, but in reality Federer was in control and had no problems passing his troublemaker from 2002. I feel sorry for Safin and the winner of Clement/Schuettler because I would bet my blog that for the third year and for the 100th time we will get a Fed-Rafa final. That’s what everyone is hoping for it seems. For me, I want some more players to step up and take some slammers. The late 80s generation (Gulbis, Del Potro, +++) need to get better and take over soon.

We will see each other for the final on Sunday. I don’t think I’ve ever been more disapointed in the SF of a slam. When you know the outcome, you kind of don’t wanna watch. I think I preferred Djokovic and Roddick as the two other SFist just to spice it up a bit. But hey! They need to play! Two best of five matches and it’s not impossible we could have the sensation of a lifetime and see Safin play Schuettler in the final. Right….

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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

 

Safin runs over Djokovic

June 25, 2008

BIG UPSET! BIG BIG BIG! Why? I don’t know… Safin raised his game to a 2005-2006 level and was able to use Djokovic’s medium-poor play to his full potential. 10 double faults and way too many errors who are worth mentioning just helped a hot Safin on the way. I have actually excpected either Djokovic or Nadal to go on a big letdown these days. It happened to almost every player of Safin’s 80-82 generation, including the big talent Hewitt, Roddick and of course Safin. All of them have hit #1, won slams and beaten the best players of that time at a very young age. That description goes for Djokovic too. Now it will be interesting to see if Djokovic can let this pass and focus on maintaining the awesome consistency for the rest of the year. My point is; give the guy a break. He is only 21 (has he turned yet?) and got his slam and has done best on hard court in 2008 of ALL players including beating the best of all time in a slam. I hope for his sake, that Hewitt-Safin-Roddick story doesn’t repeat itself for Djokovic.

BTW. I forgot to mention the Ferrer-Andreev match. I didn’t realize the importance. Andreev has a tasty record against Ferrer, and being freinds won’t help Ferrer a lot more. I thought Ferrer in 3 initially, seeing how well he did in Holland. Maybe Andreev can pull a Safin and take out another top 5 player. #3 and #4 are out, why not #5? Can it happen? Sure! That would leave Fed-Rafa-Rod-Gasq-Blake-Waw. I bet the last three don’t last too long.

Welcome back Safin!

April 12, 2008

Where have you been? I like that tennis.com have picked out three heros for the first day of Davis Cup QFs. Marat Safin was able to beat Berdych in 5!!! sets being 0-2! That’s an accomplishment he has never achieved before and from what I’ve heard was BACK! Too bad that he can only do this in DC. This year, so far, has been his worst.

Robin Soderling was given the assignment to level things up in Argentina, after Nalbandian had taken down Johansson in 4. Acasuos on clay doesn’t sound like an easy task (ON CLAY). Score was 6-0, 6-4, 6-1! Does Sweden stand a chance? If they win dobles today, sure!

The third hero I don’t agree on as much, but saving two match points in a 5th set deserves an A. Blake had to fight against Mathieu and needed 5 sets to get the match. 7-6, 6-7, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5. Hero for getting the win, but not so much hero for not getting the win in 3 sets. France also should get a good deal of the credit for being down 0-2 against the US. Tsonga and Gasquet are stronger players and could have done more damage. But both had problems with their body and left the job for Llodra and Mathieu. Well done, France… you just have to hope that the Bryan’s have a off day and get a 2-1 before Sunday.

 

 

The end for Safin?

March 28, 2008

Marat Safin just completed the worst three months of his career perhaps. A horrible 1-5 going into April and clay is not where he wants to be. Need I mention that he is on his way out of top 100? He started the year on a poor 56th position and has fallen like a rock. His career has been filled with ups and downs and injuries and breaks, but I can’t seem to find one time where he has fallen consistently over the course of 1,5 years.

So what is wrong with today’s Safin? Has he grown old at 28? Is he tired of his job? Does he need another trip to the Himalayas? There’s certainly some level of carelessness when you see him on court these days and that is not what characterized him back in 2000-2002 when he was fighting for the #1 spot.

His last final appearance was in October 2006 when he lost to Davydenko in Moscow. You would not believe when he won his 15th and currently latest title. Does Australian Open 2005 ring any bells? Wasn’t that supposed to be his comeback?

I don’t see the road ahead for Safin, but he is clearly a guy who needs to win matches to keep himself going. If this form continues this year, I don’t see why he should continue playing. I just hope he does find his old self and starts challenging some of the top 10 clowns. In my opinion, he still belongs in the top 10 today.

First post on Australian Open

January 8, 2008

is dedicated to Marat Safin

Australian Open has been his best grand slam. 28-6 is quite good for a player who hasn’t been in the top for quite some time. Finalist in 2002, 2004 and winner in 2005. There must be something about Melbourne that Safin likes. Is he a good pick for the title? After Federer, Nadal and Djoko…  I think so. Even if we haven’t heard of him in a long time, and he hasn’t won 2 straight matches since Washington in July, he still has that talent and fighting qualities which makes him a contender.

Hard to believe? I don’t know what Safin is doing with his career at this point, but he seems like a guy who doesn’t like to devote ALL of his time to tennis. He climbed frickin mountains and did other stuff while his team mates were preparing for Davic Cup final. He has had come-backs before and can do it again. 2004 he started in the 80s and ended it as 4th best player. A few weeks into 2005 and he won Aussie Open by beating Federer in the SF. It has to be said, ALMOST no other play is able to do that. In fact, you probably know that Safin and Nadal are the only ones who have taken Federer out of a slam since French Open in 2004, when he lost to Kuerten.

I am not even trying to say that I think Safin could beat Federer. But hey… with a little stomach problem, a new surface, an unpredicted event takes place…. you know.

Fact is, Safin’s rankings have been a rollercoaster since his short dominance in the early 00s; perhaps he just needed some time off again to recharge his batteries and do damage in 2008 and get back in the top 10.  We will see! Only a few days to go!

Meanwhile in Melbourne, Kooyong tournament starts in a few hours with Davydenko – Baghdatis. Roddick and Ljubicic will then make sure we get some tie-breaks. Then an interesting battle between Gonzo and Nalbandian. We will finally see if Nalby is ready for Aussie Open and if he has taken his great end to 2007 into the new year. At last, Murray will test at what level Safin is at the moment. Is he really 57th in the world? I think it might be close.

safin.jpg

Will this happen again? Might be as early as first round this year. This is from SF in 2005 where Safin defeated Federer in probably the closest match in a loooong time.

News….

November 13, 2007

First of all, BRAVO Gasquet! Once again I doubted him for no reason. But in reality it was Djokovic who seems to have emptied every little electron in his battery. He needs some re-charging. Against Ferrer, there were indications of him being pretty much done energy-wise. Today it became obvious. Probably played just a little too much this year, especially in the fall. Tough matches throughout Wimby and USO did not help him either. Two lost matches, 0-4 in sets… he needs an injury on another player to get through. I say go and start organizing your packing.

And then the soap drama; Davydenko will NOT be fined after all. ATP has admitted that they did a mistake in their analysis of the Cilic match and clears his name all the way. Everything about this case smells bad. Something tells me we have not been told everything and it’s really just a stupid case; not one good thing came out of it. Tennis is an individual sport and placing a frickin’ bet only hurts yourself.

Why not get Nadal and Sharapova for spending between 25 and 40 damn seconds between points? That includes the ball bounce freak Djokovic. I say $1,000 a second. No, dollar is weak… make it €1,000 a second. That in addition to losing the point.
BTW, smashing a racket should be rewarded €1,000. Imagine how much attention tennis gets when players do that! Let Safin do his thing!

Wawrinka’s early exit

October 16, 2007

Kiefer needed two sets to take Wawrinka down, who in my opinion played some of his absolute best tennis in Vienna with the exception of parts of the final. Maybe he wasn’t 100% on top of his game, I don’t know. But once again, my predicting skills are questionable as I REALLY thought he could do some damage in this tournament.

Don’t wanna state the obvious, but this sport is unpredictable! Just a tiny little bit. It’s almost incredible that Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are pretty safe bets these days. At least into SF and F. That’s just painting a very good picture on how dominant they are compared to the rest of the field.

Should also mention that my disapointment continues to increase for Safin as he is three games from defeat against Karlovic. Where did the racket breaking 2000 version of Safin go?