Posts Tagged ‘Wawrinka’

Contenders for Roland Garros

May 23, 2008

All right. The draw is out. What d’ y’all think?! Before I get to the draw, here’s a list of the top contenders. There’s no point in analyzing the draw without the missing qualifiers. They are, more often than not, good enough to beat some of the other jokers.

1. Rafael Nadal
King of clay. Rafa will get the #1 position to win this title for many years to come I think. I mean, are there really any indications that this is wrong? All things considered, his clay season has been better than people want to say. Every player must experience an injury or some sort of problem SOMETIME!
Blisters was Nadal’s stop. Could this be decisive? I thought that this might be a problem for Rafa, but Hamburg proved that predictions wrong. I don’t know how two weeks of best of 5 sets will be any different. He might get the same problems, but he might also be perfectly fit. Perhaps he has grown a new layer of skin, who the heck knows? Let’s just say that if he doesn’t reach a final, it will be more surprising than any year.

2. Roger Federer
Will he make the final? I cannot see why. Like with Rafa, for every year he plays excellent tennis on clay, the bigger the upset will be if he DOESN’T make the final. Yes, there is Djokovic, but that’s it.
His clay season has only had 1 downside. Losing to Stepanek was bad timing. That Rome title was a must-win, especially after Nadal was out. Instead he let Djokovic take it and get CLOSER and CLOSER!
He will make the final, don’t you worry.

3. Novak Djokovic
Okay. Now this is new material. This time last year, we wasn’t too far away from #3, but still wasn’t in the same position he is today. Djokovic has had a great clay season. In fact, SF, W and SF in the masters is better than the two kids further up. He played a good match against Nadal and might play another one in the SF in Paris. He is still behind Nadal on clay. Best of 5 sets, is not gonna help.

4. Davydenko
As we speak, Davydenko is playing for the title in Austria. Doesn’t he EVER get tired? He actually had to play two 3 set matches in like a half a day! Do they make robots in Russia?! So no surprise to see him in another SF against Federer. A year (or 2) ago it would not be a big upset if he lost early. These days he gets to SFs and still has points to hunt in Wimbledon. The more he plays, the better he gets it seems.

5. Ferrer & Robredo
From this point on, I don’t believe we are speaking about contenders for the title. Ferrer finished 2007 on a perfect note. 2008 has been more routine-Ferrer. He hasn’t really too many good results to show in Paris, and based on the draw he has a good chance of getting to the SF, if he wants to.
I need to place Robredo just as high. They have performed almost equally on clay, and they might meet before getting to a potential SF with Federer. A match between the two would favor Ferrer (3-1) but you never know with Ferrer.

7. Almagro
Has done a good job this season. Started things good on HC and has improved on clay. He hit a career-high rank of 17 (now 20) and this might be the year where he can break through top 10. However, HC and Grass isn’t something he loves so that would be weird. He has only 35!!! points to defend. I can see him in 4th round, this year. But playing his best clay tennis, who knows?

8. Andreev
Has not impressed anyone on clay this year. Still a clay lover and last year’s QF must be defended. He seems to perform a little better in bigger events. It all depends on that forehand.

9. Wawrinka
Will Federer be able to say that they have a strong DC team, finally?!?! Wawrinka made quite a name of himself by reaching the final in Rome. The SF that Nadal was supposed to play. So a little lucky? You frickin’ bet! HOWEVER!! he has played well this year and if he has enough points to be #10, then sure why NOT?! No realistic contender of course, but one of the few who could surprise.

10. David Nalbandian
Likes to play on clay from what I know. He just needs to grab his you-know-what and get more disciplined or something! He has bigger potential than most people believe but hasn’t done anything big since Wimbledon final almost a damn decade ago. Okay, and TMC final where he beat Federer. But why not on clay? He has two SF to show in Paris. If you can get there, you can make the final. only #10 on my list though.

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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.

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.

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?

AMS Madrid

October 15, 2007

Here we go again. Last full month of tennis.
A closer look at the draw reveals that there are no good reasons to believe the top 3 will not make the semifinals. Nadal is a question mark, but if he is 100%, he should be good to go into the semi as well.
Federer has a potential quarter with Ferrer. BUT! There’s a very big but! Canas is first on Federer’s schedule. I think third time is a charm for the world #1.
Further south on the same half, there’s Davydenko and Gonzalez as potential quarter finalists.
Could Youzhny take Davydenko? I don’t know. Youzhny is far from where he was last year.
Could Haas take Gonzalez? Yes, but he needs to find the form he had earlier this year. If not, Gonzalez is still a fireball.

In the third quarter, we have Blake and Djokovic. Joining them is Gasquet and Moya. They can all make the semi, but only one will. I think Djokovic is riding the momentum far more than the other three. Then we have Robredo and Nadal, with Berdych and Chela in a 3rd round. Berydych beats Nadal again for a semi final spot? I would put some money down, yes.

Then, as this is a masters tournament, the field is packed with great players.
1st Q: Tursunov, Lopez
2nd Q: Karlovic!, Safin, Wawrinka
3rd Q: Ancic, Mathieu
4th Q: Del Potro, Nalbandian, Stepanek, Murray, Baggy.
… and of course many more. These are hot shots for the moment in my opinion.

I think Karlovic can be a great threat and take out Davydenko in his first match (2nd round)
Maybe Tursunov can play around with Canas, and Lopez with Ferrer. Wawrinka can beat Youzhny, while Ancic and Mathieu seem to be back on track. 4Q is packed with potentials, but I think that consistency wins and therefore Nadal and Berdych remain favorites.

My prediction:
Federer – Ferrer
Karlovic – Gonzalez
Blake – Djokovic
Nadal – Berdych

Federer – Karlovic
Djokovic – Berdych

Federer – Djokovic

Tokyo & Metz

October 2, 2007

It is time to predict who’s up for the titles. In Tokyo we have 6 rounds for unseeded players and Bye’s for those seeded. It has to be said that when Michael Russel is seeded we are not in a very prestigous looking tournament, but nevertheless Tokyo had Federer on their board last year. If Ferrer can continue the play he showed us in New York, he can go all the way here too. However, Tokyo might turn out to be very hard to call. We have Berdych, Gasquet, Hewitt, Tursunov…. and the list goes on of potential title challengers. I think these four have a real chance of taking it. Berdych is always a danger, and is on his way back to the form he showed last year. Gasquet just won his first hard court tournament in India. Hewitt is always a title contender, this time no exception. Tursunov must try to ride a consistency wave to win titles, but he just captured the Bangkok title. Who would have thought that?
ferrer.jpg
Can Ferrer win this one as top seed?

In France we have almost an equally close tournament. Top seed is Robredo and names like Canas, Murray, Mathieu, Kohlschreiber and Andreev appear on the list. Should also point to players like Grosjean, Mahut, Santoro, Wawrinka, Tsonga and Tipsarevic who all are in the underachiever category ranking-wise. I think Wawrinka and Grosjean can take the title withouth the need to be seeded. Santoro is always a question mark. Mahut and Tsonga… well personally I’m just waiting for a breakthrough from both these guys. Tipsarevic is also filled with potential. My prediction is that Robredo doesn’t win it, but I cannot call this one. There’s at least 12 players I would pick for the title. If I had to pick, I would go for either Wawrinka or:
grosjean.jpg