Q. Your thoughts on that?
ANDY MURRAY: Disappointed. You know, I had chances in all of the sets. You know, I haven’t seen the stats, but I would guess it was the difference of maybe five or six points in the match.
Yeah, he just played better than me. But I’m disappointed because I had chances.
Q. Did you feel you got into the rhythm of your own game during the match?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, yeah. But, I mean, you’re not going to be able to play every single point on your terms against the best player in the world, one of the best players ever. You can’t.
You know, you’re going to need to, you know, go through periods in the match where he can be dictating, and there’s periods in the match where, you know, I was dictating.
You know, it was tough. But, yeah, I didn’t feel like I wasn’t in a rhythm. I won a lot of points off my serve. You know, until the end of the match, he didn’t have a breakpoint until the last couple of games. Was obviously doing something right.
Q. When he hit that the double‑fault in the tiebreaker, I mean, it as a bit of a shocker. Did it throw you off?
ANDY MURRAY: No, not at all. I mean, not if you look at the next point he played. No, it didn’t at all. He played a really good point. He hit a big forehand. Hit a good pass. He hit a great angle volley on the next point. Hit a let cord passing shot on the next one.
You know, there’s nothing you can do about it.
Q. With all that was at stake today, how does this compare to what could have been for you in this tournament?
ANDY MURRAY: I’m annoyed I lost this match. There’s a great player in the final, and the other half has just beaten the No. 1 player ‑‑ No. 2 in the world and No. 3 in the world in back‑to‑back matches pretty convincingly, as well.
I’m disappointed I didn’t win today, because I wanted to reach my first final here.
Q. What was the game plan against him?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, you know, to serve well, which I did for a majority of the match. And when you get the opportunity, to dictate the points.
You know, the one thing I didn’t do particularly well today was return well. His serve is a lot harder to return than a lot of people think. A lot of slice, a lot of spin, and it’s heavy.
I didn’t return particularly well, but the rest of my game was good.
Q. Was it also about targeting his backhand particularly?
ANDY MURRAY: No, I mean, his backhand is good. He has a very good backhand. You know, his backhand’s good. His serve’s good. His forehand’s good. His movement is good. He does everything really, really well.
You know, there’s certain shots that, you know, you need to play to both sides, you know, to not let him get into a rhythm.
You know, like I say, I got myself in some good positions, and just couldn’t quite take it.
Q. Nadal played a stunning match. Is that any consolation now, or will it become one in the future?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I mean, I’m not coming here feeling like I played terrible. You know, I’m disappointed to have lost. You know, I didn’t play a bad match at all. You know, I’ve had some good wins against Rafa where I played great tennis.
You know, it’s not like I played badly. Yeah, he played great, and that was the difference.
Q. Is that the best he’s ever played against you?
ANDY MURRAY: I have no idea. I mean, you know, a lot can depend on a few points. You know, but he’s playing very, very well. He’s obviously got a lot of confidence just now.
Q. Who do you pick in the final, Rafael or Berdych?
ANDY MURRAY: I think Rafa is the favorite. You know, he’s the best player in the world. He hasn’t lost here. He’s played three finals in a row, or four finals in a row now.
But, you know, Berdych is a great player, too. If he plays well, like he has been the last couple of matches, it will be very tough.
Q. Talk about the extra weight on your shoulders because of trying to win it for the home team here.
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, there’s a lot much pressure playing here. You know, it doesn’t affect the outcome of the matches. It’s not a valid excuse to make. I’ve played really well the whole tournament. I obviously want to win for myself. I want to win for the guys I work with. I want to win for, you know, the UK.
You know, a little bit more disappointing than other Grand Slams because this one is, you know, the biggest one of the year for me. And, uhm, yeah, it’s tough.
Q. What are you going to do now?
ANDY MURRAY: I have no idea. I’ll probably, yeah, go on holiday and stay away from the tennis court for a while.
Q. When you look back at tennis tournaments as a whole, are you pleased taking this result out of it, that you’re improving, heading in the right direction?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, a few weeks ago no one would have given me much of a hope of getting to the semis because I wasn’t playing well. Then, you know, I played a good tournament.
But, yeah, right now I’m very disappointed at the match today. Yeah, I’ll look back at the tournament as a whole in a few weeks as a good one, just not great.
Q. Does it strengthen your result to one day come back and win a slam, or does it spur you on in moments like this?
ANDY MURRAY: I hope it does. In the past it has made me work harder. But, yeah, I’ll have to wait and see. But I hope so.
Q. After the Australian you found it difficult to sort of get back into it straightaway. Are you concerned it might happen again after this result?
ANDY MURRAY: I have no idea. You know, just because it happened to me once, whether it was to do with the loss in Australia, whether it was, you know, other things going on, you know, you never know.
But, you know, I work hard, you know, and I hope it doesn’t happen again. I’ve normally played well in the American hard court stretch after Wimbledon. Yeah, hopefully I’ll play well again now.
Q. In what ways, if any, has Nadal changed his game since you played him in Australia?
ANDY MURRAY: No, there’s no huge change. I mean, you know, he obviously missed a solid chunk of the year last year and a little bit at the beginning of this year. You know, he plays ‑‑ the more matches he plays, the better he plays.
I don’t know, you know, if he hasn’t played a lot, you know, he makes a few more mistakes maybe. But, no. He was playing great in Australia. He’s playing great here. He’s one of the greatest players ever, so he’s always gonna play well.
Q. Is there a frustration factor out there when you play a lot of really good tennis and somehow it just keeps coming back?
ANDY MURRAY: No, ’cause you go on the court expecting it. It’s not a surprise. You know, I’ve always felt like, for me, it’s been one of the best parts of my game is making my opponent play more balls, chasing everything down. It’s just something that all of the, you know, best players tend to do. They’ll make you play a lot of balls.
No, I played him, I don’t know, over 10 times now, so nothing surprises me when I play against him. But I expect an incredibly tough match every time.
Q. I know you’ve only just come off court, but where does this one sit with your other disappointments?
ANDY MURRAY: I don’t know. I’m very disappointed just now. I’m upset, you know, which is understandable. I have no idea. Yeah, just very disappointed.
Q. You’re good at opening up the court, playing far back. Is that a particularly tough strategy to pursue with him, given his skill set athletically?
ANDY MURRAY: No, I mean, it has worked in matches I’ve played against him. It’s worked very well. I’ve had some great matches with him. I’ve had obviously some tough losses, as well.
But, no, I mean, I think that, you know, I have my game style. I adapt to all of the guys that I play against. I’m sure the stats will say I came to the net more than I did in any of the other matches; I served and volleyed more than I did in any of the other matches; I was going for a little bit more.
That’s how you have to play against him. Just didn’t quite work.
Q. You again had great support today from fans who will be looking forward to you coming back next year. What will you say to them?
ANDY MURRAY: No, the support was great the whole tournament. Every year I’ve played here the support’s been great, yeah. Yeah, I’m disappointed for them, as well. You know, I obviously gave it my best.
But like I said earlier, I want to try and win the tournament. Yeah, I couldn’t quite do it. But the support I’ve had, you know, the whole two weeks has been great.
Q. You had a couple of conversations with the chair. Were you unhappy about the time he was taking?
ANDY MURRAY: No, I wasn’t unhappy with the time he was taking. I asked him once when we were changing balls, and that was it. I didn’t complain once about him taking too much time.
Q. What did Rafael say to you after the match?
ANDY MURRAY: He said, Bad luck. I just said, Good luck for the rest of the tournament. You know, that was it.
But, you know, I’ve said it for a few years. I love watching him play. He’s my favorite player to watch. That’s why I enjoy playing him so much. So I hope he wins.
Q. If you could somehow go back and change one thing about the match, what would that be?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I mean, I think the second set, you know, it’s difficult to pick out one thing. I had chances in the second set. I thought I played a little bit better tennis in the second set and didn’t give him many chances on my serve. I created a few on his. Obviously, in the tiebreak, yeah.
Q. Is it annoying to have to wait so long to receive serve?
ANDY MURRAY: No, I don’t care. He can take as long as he wants on any point. I love watching the guy play. No, I don’t care. He can take as long as he wants.
Q. Coming off court, Rafa said he thought you’d win a slam and win one soon. What does that mean to you when someone you respect so much has got some faith in your ability?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, yeah, it’s nice. Nice obviously to hear. Uhm, doesn’t make losing in one any easier.
Archive for the ‘andy murray’ Category
Posted by gauloises1 on July 3, 2010
Posted by gauloises1 on July 3, 2010
Rafael Nadal d. Andy Murray, 64 76(6) 64
OK, let me get this out of the way: Rafa was incredible. Irresistible, indomitable … you know what, pick your own superlative and I’ll sign off on it. He deserves all of them. I may be lacking a lot of things (the ability to muster any attempt at graciousness right now, for example), but respect for Rafa is not one of them. He was [insert superlative], a true [insert noun], and demonstrated once again that his [insert superlative and noun] and [insert superlative and noun] are second to none.
It’s just that for me, Rafa being [insert superlative] is not … inspiring me right now. A flaw in me, no doubt, but we all know Rafa is both a magnificent player and an astounding competitor. It’s not a revelation. It’s not new. It’s yet another chapter in an unfolding tale of [insert superlative]. For me, it’s not the story. The story is where Murray came up short.
In case there was any doubt I’m British, that should have removed it.
Because Andy played well. He played really well. That’s just one of the many beautiful dimensions to this particular loss. He was in the points, in the games, threatening Rafa’s serve. He had break points in the first set, set points in the second set tiebreak, and led 4-2 in the third set. And what happened? Tame netted returns on second serves. Idiotic shot selection. Wild unforced forehand errors. Working brilliantly and courageously to earn himself an open court – and I don’t need to underline how hard that is to do against Rafa, do I? – and then time and again netting or going out when all he had to do was put it away.
I haven’t read much about this match yet (what do I need, ulcers?) but I gather the prevailing narrative is comprised primarily of (a) Rafa is [insert superlative] and (b) Murray was too passive. Well, that’s not what I saw. I thought Andy’s game plan was absolutely fine and would have been very effective. It was his execution that was the problem. Clearly, part of the credit for that goes to Rafa for being so damn [insert superlative] that his opponent feels he has to hit a perfect shot in order to win the point. Equally clearly, part of the blame goes to Andy. It isn’t as if he doesn’t have the experience, either of playing Nadal in Slams or being in a Wimbledon semi-final. And it certainly isn’t that he doesn’t have the ability.
What he didn’t have was what was required, or quite enough of what was required. Whatever you want to call it – heart, guts, balls, courage. The winner’s mentality. Whatever it was, he didn’t have it. And so the fact remains that he was close in every respect to Rafa (91 points to 98, if that helps). But he still lost in straight sets. Which rather raises the question of what the fucking point was, exactly.
Would it have been easier if Rafa had steamrolled Andy and been unquestionably superior from first to last? Possibly. The grass is always greener (although in fairness, the grass has almost always been greener than it is this year). I do feel that that possibility might have held out more hope for the future. It’s not unknown, after all, for a player to go from being double-bagelled in the quarterfinals of a Slam to beating that same opponent in five sets in a different Slam barely nine months later. A bad day can become a good day. But when a good day, a very good day, is still not enough – not nearly enough – and the responsibility lies primarily at your door, precisely what hope is there?
No, I’m really asking.
Posted by gauloises1 on July 1, 2010
Something truly shocking was said in the press conference room at Wimbledon today, people. I’m not going to judge, I’m just going to present the quote to you so that you can make up your own minds.
Q. Are you a hundred percent fit going into the semifinals?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes.
No, seriously. I did find some of the things said here and there quite interesting today.
There was an understandably difficult presser from Federer:
Q. Difficult moment, but what couldn’t you do that you wanted to do? What let you down?
ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, well, I mean, I don’t think I played poorly. But, uhm, I think he went after it. I mean, I know Berdych. I think I’ve played him 10 times already before. That’s the way he plays, you know.
I think he’s been able to play more consistent last year or so, and I was just not able to defend well enough and I didn’t come up with the good stuff when I had to. So it was disappointing, you know. Yeah.
Q. You beat him almost every time you played him. Was he any different?
ROGER FEDERER: Like I said, I think he was a bit more consistent than in the past. I lost to him in Miami this year, where it was a really tight match as well.
But from my end, obviously, you know, I’m unhappy with the way I’m playing. I couldn’t play the way I wanted to play. You know, I am struggling with a little bit of a back and a leg issue. That just doesn’t quite allow me to play the way I would like to play.
So it’s frustrating, to say the least. Looking forward to some rest anyway.
Q. How do those physical things affect you the most?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, when you’re hurting, it’s just a combination of many things. You know, you just don’t feel as comfortable. You can’t concentrate on each and every point because you do feel the pain sometimes. And, uhm, yeah, then you tend to play differently than the way you want to play.
Under the circumstances I think I played a decent match, you know. But I’ve been feeling bad for the last two, three matches now. It’s just not good and healthy to play under these kind of conditions, you know.
So if there’s anything good about this it’s I’m gonna get some rest, that’s for sure.
Q. Some of these big, flat hitters seem to be having an effect on you. Do you need to alter your game to adjust to that?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, if I’m healthy I can handle those guys, you know. Obviously it’s a pity that Del Potro is not around, because I think he would have a run at world No. 1 or a run at another Grand Slam. It’s unfortunate for him.
But, you know, he’s been playing well, and these guys do play very well. I played these guys 10 times. They’re not going to reinvent themselves in a year, you know.
But I’m definitely struggling at the moment. That’s a bit disappointing.
Q. When did you first start feeling the problems?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, the leg came in the finals of Halle. That kind of never really quite got away from me. Came back a little bit after the first‑round match, and then went away again and just kept creeping back sometimes during the matches.
The back’s been feeling stiff the last five days, six days really badly. Also in the finals of Halle. It’s just something that’s been lingering on the grass. It’s normal that the back tends to get stiff, you know, in the grass court season because you have to, uhm, go for many more lower shots.
I’ve had that for many years. I think many players have it. But it’s not just not nice when it doesn’t go away and you can’t play freely. That’s what I was missing today.
Q. Did it affect your level of motivation or anxiety about the match before the match or in the early stages of the match?
ROGER FEDERER: No, it wasn’t that bad, like that I was just hoping to get to the finish line. I mean, once I enter the court, I am there to battle and to try to win with what I got. You know, otherwise I’m not going to walk on the court like I did once in my life prior in Bercy against Blake.
But it’s nowhere close to being that bad. It’s just uncomfortable. Yeah, like I said, you can’t play freely. When you can’t play freely, that’s the kind of performance you get.
[...] Q. Will this make you hungrier to make you come back and show you can lift this title again?
ROGER FEDERER: Sure. God, I can’t wait for Paris and Wimbledon to come around next year again, that’s for sure. So, uhm, because they’ve been frustrating tournaments for me, even though it wasn’t too bad.
Quarters is a decent result. Obviously people think quarters is shocking, but people would die to play in quarterfinal stages of Grand Slam play. It’s not something I’m used to doing, losing in quarterfinals, because it’s not something I’ve done in the last six years.
So I am winning my matches. Today was a different story than Paris. I mean, I think in Paris conditions were tough. Robin played fantastic. Today was different. You know, I was struggling with my own game and with my physique.
Yeah, I’m looking forward to a rest, and then attack again in North America.
Then there was Berdych’s reaction:
Q. With your game, we’ve been expecting big results for a while. What’s changed in the last couple of tournaments that you’ve been able to pull off these kind of wins?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Yeah, I think, you know, it’s many things. First of all, it’s that you win a couple of matches in the beginning of the year, and then you get a confidence. It keeps going and going.
I mean, it’s not only like about last two weeks. It’s already start I would say maybe, I don’t know, in the United States, Indian Wells, Miami. So it’s quite far ago.
You know, it’s many things. You get more and more experience. I get, you know, a little bit older to be, you know, more focused, you know, mentally stronger than before. That’s what you need.
But it’s many things together, so I’m very happy that it works. They are all together like in one pack. It works pretty well.
[...] Q. Roger said he had some physical problems; that his back and leg were bothering him. What did you notice and what is your reaction to him saying that?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Yeah, I mean, I don’t know if he just looking for some excuses after the match or something like that. I mean, it happened to all of us. You know, I think he’s been every time when he played, he was I think hundred percent ready.
So maybe right now he’s getting some more troubles with the health. But, you know, I think it just happen today. So I didn’t know that. I just heard it first time like you said it right now. So, yeah, just to him hope that he’s gonna get back soon and that’s it what I can just wish him.
Q. He also said he was unlucky and that he definitely gave the match away. What are your thoughts about that? [...] He was saying generally or on big points.
TOMAS BERDYCH: Okay. I mean, yeah, maybe you can take it for both ways. You can say that he was unlucky or you can say that maybe the opponent was a little bit better and he just won the big points against him. In his position, then he lost the match.
You know, I think, yeah, he’s a great player. I mean, but still, I mean, when I just read some newspapers in the morning, I was not surprised, but, you know, to heard something from him to the way that he’s fine, nothing is bothering him. When we played the last match, I lost. But last time in Wimbledon, I won pretty easily. You know, stuff like that.
You know, I saw him quite first time from him the reactions like that. So whatever. I’m in different position. I’m just enjoying the win today, and this is just everything behind me.
Andy Murray displayed his renowned ability to find the bright side in everything:
Q. What did you make of Federer’s shock defeat? Given he’s beaten you in your two Grand Slam finals, do you feel his exit has improved your chances?
ANDY MURRAY: I don’t know if it’s improved my chance or not. You never know what’s going to happen on any given day in this sport.
But, yeah, it was surprising. But, you know, Berdych is a great player. You know, if he plays his best tennis, he can, yeah, beat the best guys. He’s won against Rafa a few times; he’s obviously beaten Roger a couple of times now; and I obviously lost to him at the French Open a few weeks ago.
You know, doesn’t look like such a terrible result anymore.
And let us in to some secrets regarding the requisite tactics against Nadal:
Q. What are your thoughts on the keys to playing well against Nadal?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, you need to serve well and you need to play great tennis. It’s not, you know ‑‑ there’s not one way to play against him. You don’t want to leave the ball in the middle of the court to his forehand, because you’ll do a lot of running.
But you’ve got to serve well and, you know, try and, you know, keep a good length and play well really, really, really well.
Amazing that no-one’s ever thought to play really, really, really well against Rafa.
It was left to Rafa himself along with Nole to be the voices of reason:
Q. When did you find out that Berdych had beaten Roger and what was your reaction?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, for sure was a difficult match before, before the match start. You know when you play against these kind of players, like Soderling, like Berdych, they have a very good serve and very powerful shots from the baseline. It’s very difficult sometimes to stop these player, no?
Roger did amazing the last seven years here, so someday must happen this. Happen today. Well, sorry for him, and wish him the best of luck for the rest of the season.
Q. Are you really surprised that Berdych beat Federer today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Look, I mean, Federer is the best player that ever played this game. And still to be able to play this way after he has won so many Grand Slams is just great. I mean, you have to give him credit for everything he has done.
So it’s normal for him to lose. I mean, you guys, you know, you think he shouldn’t lose at all? I mean, you have to congratulate to Berdych for playing that well.
Jo, meanwhile, was focussed on charming the pants off everyone:
Q. Everyone in England will get excited about Murray maybe winning Wimbledon. How do you rate his chances?
JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA: Yeah, I hope is gonna be him. I told him, you know, at the net, Make me a pleasure; go all the way, you know.
And Roger had the last word with what is one of the most enjoyable pieces of sarcasm I’ve observed in quite a long time:
Q. I wonder if you think this might be his year, given some of the really threatening players haven’t been doing so well this year.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, true, Rafa played terribly lately; Soderling is not a threat either. He’s got an easy ride to this victory, that’s for sure. Djokovic can’t play tennis anymore it seems like.
Got to make your own work, please. Respect the players. Obviously Andy is a fantastic player and he’s got all the chances to win here. We all know that.
Posted in andy murray, jo-wilfried tsonga, novak djokovic, roger federer, tomas berdych, wimbledon | Tagged: andy murray, jo-wilfried tsonga, novak djokovic, roger federer, tomas berdych | 8 Comments »
Posted by gauloises1 on July 1, 2010
OK, I’m so tired I can barely see, so let’s just wrap the other guys up in one mammoth, picture-heavy post …
Rafael Nadal d. Robin Soderling, 36 63 76(4) 61
Odd match, this one. I didn’t see much of it, but what I did see confused me. I looked at the score and Robin was leading 5-0 in the opening set; then I looked back and he was going off on Pascal Maria.
Weirdness. Anyway, Rafa obviously righted the ship and that’s about all I can say about that. So the closest thing that the draw has to a defending champion left is through to the semi-finals. Yay. As for Robin, he fizzled a bit after a devastating start to the tournament, but it’s still a good Wimbledon for him. I want him to keep this up and kick on in the summer. It can happen.
Novak Djokovic d. Yen-Hsun Lu, 63 62 62
It’s remarkable how under-the-radar Nole has been this tournament, even in the quarterfinals. Perhaps that’s exactly what he needed, because something’s working. OK, so it was a tough ask for Lu to back up his win over Roddick with a win over Nole, but from what I saw, Djoko (heh) was playing absolutely fantastic. His semi-final against Berdych should be a cracker, and if Berdych has any kind of a letdown from the form he displayed against Federer, Nole has an excellent chance to make the final. Nole. In the final. It could happen. And he looks like he’s having fun. I think that deserves a small picspam.
Fly, Nole. Fly high.
Andy Murray d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 67(5) 76(5) 62 62
This was billed, I think deservedly, as Murray’s first real test of the tournament, and in some ways it didn’t quite live up to the expectations. Murray came out worryingly passive, wasn’t serving great, and the imperious form of the early rounds looked like it might be proving to be an illusion.
As Murray’s early break in the second set dissolved and Jo went up a minibreak in the tiebreak, it looked like a lot of the glee I heard from people in my office at the thought that Federer was out of the way (hello, Nadal?) was going to get the kind of response it deserved. Luckily for Murray, however, Jo made a bizarre decision at 5-5 in the tiebreak to leave a reflex stretch return from Murray, and it dropped in to give Andy a set point which he duly took. That decision seemed to take the wind out of Jo’s sails completely and he rather faded away in the third and fourth sets, allowing Murray to cruise to the finish line.
So a lucky escape for Murray in some ways, but he got the win. He’s through. And from now on, what with that Nadal bloke and everything, getting the win is all that matters.
Keep it going, handsome.
Posted in andy murray, jo-wilfried tsonga, novak djokovic, rafael nadal, robin soderling, wimbledon | Tagged: andy murray, jo-wilfried tsonga, novak djokovic, rafael nadal, robin soderling | 10 Comments »
Posted by gauloises1 on June 29, 2010
On the ladies’ side, three somewhat surprise packages join the usual suspects in the Wimbledon quarterfinals. First up, Petra Kvitova, who beat Caroline Wozniacki 62 60 to book her spot. Wozniacki won just five points in the second set.
Kvitova, who had never won a grass court match coming into this tournament, will meet Kaia Kanepi, who will insist on occasionally being a thing. She took out Klara Zakopalova in straights.
The third unpredictable entrant is Tsvetana Pironkova, who defied my prediction by taking out former finalist Marion Bartoli in straights. Her reward is a meeting with Venus Williams, who – despite a little trouble finding her court – beat a feisty Jarmila Groth to book her spot in the quarterfinals.
Elsewhere, it was a sad day for fans of Jelena Jankovic, as she was forced to retire with a back injury when trailing Vera Zvonareva 16 03. Wimbledon just isn’t her tournament, is it?
Rounding out the last eight is Li Na, who demolished Agnieszka Radwanska in a reversal of last year’s round of sixteen to face Serena Williams, and then offered some wise words for us all:
Q. What have you done well this week and last week and in Birmingham, do you think?
NA LI: After I win in Birmingham, I was feeling more confident, more positive thinking on the grass court. But because my coach didn’t come to Birmingham, so after I meet him, he was like, Just forget Birmingham. This much different tournament.
So every time, he always talk like. Every time he talk like, Forget, forget, forget that one. I was like, Okay. I couldn’t forget. I played five rounds of match, win tournament. How I can forget that? But he always like, Forget. This is much different game.
On the men’s side, guess who is in the quarterfinals! Yeah, you guessed it.
What depth. They will be joined by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who put out Benny in four, and Andy Murray, who was frankly sensational against limited opposition in his victory over Sam Querrey.
Not a bad quarter-finals lineup on either side, is it?
Posted in andy murray, caroline wozniacki, jelena jankovic, kaia kanepi, petra kvitova, rafael nadal, roger federer, tsvetana pironkova, venus williams, vera zvonareva, wimbledon | Tagged: andy murray, caroline wozniacki, jelena jankovic, kaia kanepi, petra kvitova, rafael nadal, roger federer, tsvetana pironkova, venus williams, vera zvonareva | Leave a Comment »
Posted by gauloises1 on June 28, 2010
I’ve decided the best way to sum up Friday and Saturday’s action at Wimbledon is to look forward to Manic Monday, a.k.a. the greatest day of tennis in all the year, when the entire R16 – men and women – play on the same day.
Roger Federer v Jurgen Melzer
Roger’s got his Wimbledon back on track with a straight sets victory over Arnaud Clement, a good match-up for him at the best of times. Jurgen Melzer toiled slightly more with a four-set win over Feliciano Lopez. Doubles partners in the juniors, these two have unbelievably never played on the senior tour. Melzer can be a tricky opponent and knocked out Novak Djokovic at the French Open, and Roger has obviously looked wobbly, but I reckon he’s found his feet now. Prediction: Roger in four.
Winner to meet …
Tomas Berdych v Daniel Brands
Daniel Brands has, for me, been one of the surprises of the tournament; after beating Igor Andreev, Nikolay Davydenko, and Victor Hanescu (albeit in circumstances which bear examination, more on that later), he’s now through to the round of sixteen in his very first Wimbledon. And that’s not something that every bronzed sex god can pull out of the bag (I saw him at several points during Wimbledon, and he is.) He’s been excellent in tiebreaks and high-pressure situations, but Berdych certainly should be a bridge too far; he won his first two matches in straights and did get taken to five by Denis Istomin – but Istomin has been having some very good results of late. Definitely the hottest match of the day, anyway … Prediction: Berdych in three.
Novak Djokovic v Lleyton Hewitt
Probably the most eagerly anticipated match-up of the day on the men’s side, what’s surprising to me is that Nole has won both of their previous meetings on grass; once at Queens in 2008, and once at this stage during Wimbledon in 2007. Since that time, however, Nole has been floundering – not least at Wimbledon – and Lleyton is arguably riding a great wave of confidence, coming off a win against Federer in Halle and a very decent Wimbledon last year. Everyone seems to be giving the edge to Hewitt, who’s had a good run including a straight sets defeat of Gael Monfils in the third round; Nole, on the other hand, seemed to make progress in his defeat of Taylor Dent, but laboured to a victory over a dreadful Montanes. I’m going with Nole, however, in the hope that that will Make It True. Prediction: Nole in five.
Winner to meet …
Andy Roddick v Yen-Hsun Lu
Please. Despite many predictions of an early exit, Roddick has withstood inspired tennis from Michael Llodra and Philipp Kohlschreiber to be in the fourth round. When he does go out, it won’t be to Lu – no disrespect to the player from Chinese Taipei, who I saw putting paid to Horacio Zeballos in the very first round. Prediction: If it isn’t Roddick in three, something’s gone seriously wrong somewhere.
Julien Benneteau v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Neither of these two have had a very smooth route through, but through they are as part of a stellar showing for France at this year’s Championships. Benneteau has played fourteen sets in beating Vliegen, Beck and Fognini’s eyebrows, while Jo was stretched to the limit by the artist formerly known as Oleksandr Dolgopolov Jr. in the second round. I’m surprised their head-to-head is so evenly balanced, but Jo won their only other meeting on grass, and I’d be surprised if it didn’t go the same way – especially since Benny has had to work so hard to get here. I just hope it isn’t a total disappointment, as it is all too often when the French play each other. Prediction: Jo in three.
Winner to meet …
Sam Querrey v Andy Murray
Sam has never taken so much of a set off Andy in their previous meetings. And Andy has yet to drop a set at this year’s championships. I think both these things might be about to change. Murray has yet to be seriously tested – and now has the full weight of our nation’s expectations back on his shoulders after the abysmal performance of England’s footballers at the World Cup today – while Sam has had two tough matches against Malisse and, er, Ivan Dodig. He also has his famously laid-back attitude (when he’s not storming back off to the States in a snit) which serves him well on an occasion like this. Still, I think Andy will win. I have to believe that when Andy loses here, it won’t be to Sam Querrey, Queen’s champion though he might be. Prediction: Murray in five.
Robin Soderling v David Ferrer
Two of my favourite players still in this year’s draw. I’m excited. But not that excited, because Robin has looked in fearsome form and while that sometimes means a player is ripe for an upset, especially when they’re being tipped as a strong contender, it’s not going to come from Ferru (bless him), who narrowly escaped defeat at the hands of Jeremy Chardy last round when the latter enacted what I don’t think it’s unfair to describe as a massive choke. Will Ferru prove me wrong and deny everyone a Nadal-Soderling quarterfinal? No. Prediction: Robin in straights.
Winner to meet …
Rafael Nadal v Paul-Henri Mathieu
You’ll notice Paul-Henri Mathieu is pictured running into a wall. There’s a reason for that. Rafa encountered a spot of bother in his last match, courtesy of an inspired and determined Philipp Petzchner, eventually triumphing in five sets during which he called the trainer more than once and was warned for coaching. However, Rafa says the knee (for which he called the trainer – also, something in the armular region, possibly) is not an issue, and while Mathieu has been on a good run, most impressively beating Mikhail Youzhny, it ends here. Honestly, we all know Mathieu is frantically talented, but does anyone really think he’ll keep it together enough to seriously challenge Rafa? Prediction: Rafa in straights.
What do you think?
Posted in andy murray, andy roddick, daniel brands, david ferrer, jo-wilfried tsonga, julien benneteau, jurgen melzer, lleyton hewitt, novak djokovic, paul-henri mathieu, rafael nadal, robin soderling, roger federer, sam querrey, tomas berdych, wimbledon, yen-hsun lu | Tagged: andy murray, andy roddick, daniel brands, david ferrer, jo-wilfried tsonga, julien benneteau, jurgen melzer, lleyton hewitt, novak djokovic, paul-henri mathieu, rafael nadal, robin soderling, roger federer, sam querrey, tomas berdych, yen-hsun lu | 5 Comments »
Posted by gauloises1 on June 24, 2010
A nation quaked, but it all turned out surprisingly well; Andy Murray bowed. Quite decently. One hand on the stomach, one on the back. All very respectable and with a definite air of having been practiced in front of the mirror.
You can find the bow here for post-game analysis. If you’re British. Sorry, everyone else.
He also won the match, by the way. There’s been some excited muttering about him not having played so well since Melbourne, and that’s probably true, but let’s face it, that’s really not that difficult. Anyway, it can’t have been easy out there today, despite Mandy’s claims he felt no particular additional pressure.
Bless you, you little liar.
You have to love the way that Wimbledon, in a year when for once most people’s attention will not be on Murray’s performance, still finds a way to pile on the pressure, as Mandy was duly sent up to have a private chatette with HRM immediately after the match.
How lucky is the AELTC that Mandy was playing someone as nice and polite as Jarkko, by the way? I mean, imagine if say, Daniel Koellerer was Mandy’s second-round opponent. He probably would have nutted her one. Or propositioned her.
HRM left before watching Wozniacki, for reasons which just boggle the mind, but she did have a full tour earlier on and meet a little receiving line of players past and present.
And then she was gone, and Wimbledon metaphorically heaved a sigh of relief, got out the beers and undid the top button of its trousers. Which is not something that is often said. Anyway, it was lovely to see her there. I just hope she doesn’t leave it so long this time.
See you soon, Liz II.
Posted in andy murray, jarkko nieminen, wimbledon | Tagged: andy murray, andy roddick, caroline wozniacki, jarkko nieminen, jelena jankovic, novak djokovic, roger federer, serena williams | 7 Comments »
Posted by gauloises1 on June 15, 2010
Andy hits it about in Shoreditch for HEAD:
Every so often, I forget why I love him. Then he reminds me. It’s not a classic anecdote, but it has the benefit of being true.
(Also you can see the building where I used to work at several points. I feel so close to you right now, Andy. And not just because I’m watching you through my night-vision binoculars while you sleep. Nice Bananaman bedcovers, by the way.)
Posted by gauloises1 on June 8, 2010
Top 8 seeds: Roger Federer, Nikolay Davydenko, Mikhail Youzhny, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Radek Stepanek, Jurgen Melzer, Marcos Baghdatis, Lleyton Hewitt
The good news? Kolya and Steps are back. The bad news? Boss and Baggy are already out. Somehow.
Singles – First Round
[LL] D Meffert (GER) d  J Ferrero (ESP) 63 75
P Petzschner (GER) d  M Baghdatis (CYP) 64 63
 L Hewitt (AUS) d P Luczak (AUS) 62 62
L Lacko (SVK) d J Chardy (FRA) 75 76(0)
T de Bakker (NED) d [Q] R Bopanna (IND) 64 76(11)
V Troicki (SRB) d G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) 61 76(4)
Doubles – First Round
S Stakhovsky (UKR) / M Youzhny (RUS) d  M Kohlmann (GER) / J Nieminen (FIN) 16 76(8) 10-5
C Kas (GER) / P Kohlschreiber (GER) d [WC] Y Allegro (SUI) / R Federer (SUI) 64 76(6)
Top 8 seeds: Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Andy Roddick, Marin Cilic, Gael Monfils, Sam Querrey, Feliciano Lopez
The good news? I’m going to be there Wednesday and Thursday, and @rachaelsimpson is already there tweeting in classic style. The bad news? Rain. Lots of rain.
Singles – First Round
 J Benneteau (FRA) d A Clement (FRA) 62 64
 R Gasquet (FRA) d K Nishikori (JPN) 63 63
 M Llodra (FRA) d A Golubev (KAZ) 63 62
E Korolev (KAZ) vs  S Giraldo (COL) – to finish 33
 D Sela (ISR) d C Guccione (AUS) 67(4) 76(5) 64
 D Istomin (UZB) d [WC] J Baker (GBR) 61 64
R Ginepri (USA) d [WC] J Ward (GBR) 63 75
[Q] A Bogdanovic (GBR) vs [WC] G Dimitrov (BUL) – to finish 46 63 21
K Anderson (RSA) d T Dent (USA) 67(7) 63 75
M Fish (USA) vs S Devvarman (IND) – to finish 61 32
R Schuettler (GER) d D Gimeno-Traver (ESP) 61 62
R Ram (USA) d K Beck (SVK) 16 63 64
J Levine (USA) d [WC] R Harrison (USA) 63 63
I Navarro (ESP) d D Koellerer (AUT) 63 64
P Lorenzi (ITA) d P Riba (ESP) 64 64
I Kunitsyn (RUS) d I Marchenko (UKR) 16 64 63
G Muller (LUX) d M Przysiezny (POL) 76(3) 63
M Daniel (BRA) d B Kavcic (SLO) 61 64
Doubles – First Round
A Murray (GBR) / J Murray (GBR) vs S Lipsky (USA) / S Querrey (USA) – postponed due to rain
[WC] J Delgado (GBR) / J Marray (GBR) vs N Djokovic (SRB) / J Erlich (ISR) – postponed due to rain
[WC] C Eaton (GBR) / D Inglot (GBR) vs M Cilic (CRO) / A Sa (BRA) – to finish 26
A Clement (FRA) / N Mahut (FRA) vs M Granollers (ESP) / F Lopez (ESP) – to finish 52
Posted by gauloises1 on June 8, 2010
Let’s get on to the fun stuff. The good stuff. The green stuff. QUEENS.
Defending champion Mandy had a haircut. Looking businesslike. I approve.
I am genuinely looking forward to watching Roddick on grass. What a difference a year makes.
Rafa practiced in the rain, just to be *deliberately* cute about it.
And Momo was there for no reason. Just there. Hanging around. Being perfect.
This is the magic of Queens.