Posts Tagged ‘Soderling’

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.

 

 

Advertisements

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.

2008 – the year of breaking through?

March 2, 2008

Tsonga can already say that I guess. He must keep up the good work of course, but when you go from relatively unknown to world star with nickname “Ali” in 2 weeks… well it doesn’t hurt your career! Nishikori became the youngest ATP title winner in ages a few weeks ago and will most likely rise into the top 50 if he plays like he did in Delray.

Yesterday another sensation struck the world of tennis. The Ukrainian Stokhovsky, that I mentioned yesterday, did in fact take down home favorite Ljubcic in straight sets. Not only is this a big performance, but he came in as lucky loser! A week ago he was probably not even ready to play 1st round and today he just clinched his first ATP title!

Robin Soderling doesn’t need to break through anymore, but there is clearly top 10 potential if he can play as well outdoors as he does indoors. But he is stil young and could be the Swede that carries the tradition to have at least one Swedish top player as Johansson and Bjorkman will fade out soon. Speaking of which, Memphis SF turned out to be the battle of the young guns vs the old guns. Soderling took care of Stepanek with the same numbers as against Roddick and Steve Darcis!! took care of Bjorkman in 3.

darcis.jpg

Who is this? Steve Darcis I think I’m the only one (with some exceptions) to have mentioned him as a possible rocket this year. I haven’t really seen him play, but roumors say that he has the game to start hunting titles and upsetting big names. It will be a big test for him to go against the unstoppable Soderling, and see what level he can play on and if he handles the final pressure.

And if these players aren’t enough; here are a few more to look out for in 2008:
Cilic, Del Potro, Querrey, Sela, Zverev, Haase, Gulbis!, Ancic (come-back), Young…

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?!

No top 5 players in sight, but…

February 23, 2008

There are plenty of players who show great potential for the upcoming master’s mania in March. One of them is Karlovic. He has played a picture perfect tournament so far, and based on ranking, is the favorite to clinch it tomorrow. Michael Llodra stands in his way today, who also has performed over his ability in Rotterdam. Both players show straight set wins over good players. On the other half, Gilles Simon and Robin Soderling seem just as strong. Soderling-Simon is hard to predict, but Karlovic’s 6-4, 6-4, win over Berdych is so impressive that I will give him the edge against Llodra.

I believe this year could be it for the big Ivo, and will probably have to win a lot on grass to achieve something before he gets old. Maybe finally win at Queen’s club?

Or maybe Roddick won’t allow him this year either. Roddick beat his pal Fish in 3 sets in San Jose and will hit Spain’s!! Garcia-Lopez in the semis. Fish had plenty of opportunities in the first set and won the second 6-1! I think it was Fish’s lack of ability rather than Roddick’s excellence that decided the outcome. Stepanek is another guy who looks back on track, but he will have to beat Ginepri who simply tore Blake apart 6-2, 6-2 in the QF. It might just be an all American final here.

By the way… if any of you saw Isner-Garcia-Lopez, please tell us what the hell separated the two… 7-6(4), 6-7(1), 7-6(11) tells me this match was relatively close, right? I imagine that Isner was inches away from victory and Garcia-Lopez was less than a game from defeat in second set. Based on this, Garcia-Lopez will probably struggle against Roddick tonight.

And on the red clay, Nalbandian seems to be on his way back, but I don’t know if he has had the real test yet. He will meet Chela in the SF, while Volandri and Acasuso will fight for the second spot. This could go Nalby’s way and catapult him into success in March. Err….maybe not solely based on this, but still a kick.

BTW, the post title could have been “no top 10 players in sight, but….” if Roddick wasn’t around. Federer, Nadal, Djoko, Davy, Ferrer, Gasquet, Youzhny, Blake, Murray… what the hell are they doing? Is losing early a part of their prep plan for Dubai and Indian Wells?

And I don’t really understand why Federer, will go through January and February only having played ONE tournament! 6 competitive matches! How is this good prep for Dubai?