Posts Tagged ‘Stepanek’

Last 16 and end of 1st week

May 31, 2008

Finally we have made it to the players who have deserved to be going into 2nd week. RG is IMO the hardest of the 4 slams to get past the first 3 rounds. There are so many clay lover below top 100 who could take the advantage and get instant fame. Who am I talking about…hmm
Well, there’s Chardy!! That’s the only one who’s left, but there are always a few players who come from nothing and get big wins against big guys.

Let’s go to today’s action and find the man of the day… IVAN LJUBICIC!!!

Why, you say? Firstly he was down 2-0 against the 4th best clay player, the robotic Davydenko. Second, he has fallen down from top 3-4 to #30 very fast and with no good results to show in recent time. Third, he is one of the BIG guys with the big serve as main weapon. History shows that these guys succeed more on hard courts and grass. Fact of the matter is Ljubi played great tennis, few errors and made Davydenko come up with the good stuff. He wasn’t able anymore after the first two sets, and Ivan took over. Great match, great setting and a great result for the big guy from Croatia. Kinda the only surprise left, apart from Chardy in the last 16.

Gonzalez did the same thing today, but you would excpect him to play a lot better than what he showed during the first two sets. Gonzo is a rollercoaster of another dimension and needs stability to get a big title. Wawrinka playing his best is perhaps not as good as Gonzo playing his best. That’s why Gonzo won, I think.

Ok, here’s a breakdown of the remaining candidates:
Federer-Benneteau (Federer just torn Ancic apart, will do it to Benne as well)
Gonzo-Ginepri (is this for real?! If Gonzo loses this, shame on him!)
Ljubicic-Monfils (this could go either way, depending on mental strength+best tennis possible)
Stepanek-Ferrer (probably to of the biggest dark horses to win the entire thing, super match!)
Gulbis-Llodra (big chance for both of them, is Gulbis mature enough to take it? 50-50 IMO)
Mathieu-Djokovic (either Mathieu plays his best and has a chance, or plays poorly and gets humiliated at home)
Chardy-Almagro (bye bye Chardy, Almagro losing this would be a big upset! who knows?)
Verdasco-Nadal (bye bye Verdasco. never beaten him, never even close, except for once on grass..Nadal in 3 I’m afraid)

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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.

What the hell just happened?!?!

May 9, 2008

Did Radek just beat Rog? Good lord, this tournament is just weird!

Yes, Federer hit too many backhands in the stands and forehands in the lower part of the net, but that was not the reason for his loss. Stepanek just outplayed him at times, and was able to win two breakers! Incredible! Oh.. and Wawrinka took out Blake as expected, but being close to defeat in the second set.

Now what? Roddick gets “bagelized” by Robredo and Djokovic forgets his match?!

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.

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?

Vienna, Stockholm, and Moscow

October 12, 2007

All big tournaments. Also at an important stage in the season. A lot of players are feeling the 9 months of tennis now, but the points, the ranking, the race, everything really remains the same. These tournaments are just as important as any other.

We are in the QFs and Djokovic is the only top player in Vienna. He will meet Chela in the QF.
He will probably beat Chela and meet Ljubicic in the semi. Ljubicic is defending champ, so that’s a tough one. On the other half Ferreo-Gonzalez and Lopez-Wawrinka. I think maybe Ferrero will meet Wawrinka in the semi.

In Sweden Blake is still going strong and getting ready to lift the trophy for the third time. He will have to beat Nieminen, last year finalist. T. Johansson/Ancic will be opposition in the Semi.
On the other half, there is Clement-Karlovic, Monaco-Haas. Karlovic against Haas in the semi?

In Moscow, the Russians are hot. Well not, really. Davydenko will meet Andreev in the QF, which will leave only one Russian in the semi. But at least they will have ONE there.
One of these two, will meet either Tipsarevic or Stepanek. Further down, Kohlschreiber against Berrer, and Serra against Mathieu.

My prediction:
Vienna: Ljubicic d. Ferrero
Stockholm: Blake d. Haas
Moscow: Stepanek d. Kohlschreiber!! Davydenko will lose!