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Archive for the ‘marseilles’ Category

Consolidation.

Posted by gauloises1 on February 20, 2011

Rising a spot in the rankings isn’t any good unless you’re going to sink your teeth into it and make it yours. Enter Caroline Wozniacki and Robin Soderling.

What I like about Wozniacki is that she wants to be no. 1. She’s only ever reached the third round in this tournament before, but with the ranking on the line, she not only beat the woman who beat her last year, but recorded back-to-back victories over Jankovic and Kuznetsova, beating the latter 61 63 in a composed and assertive performance which showed her terrier-like mentality as the weapon it is. Due respect.

Kuznetsova was pretty disappointing, I thought; a great tournament and a collapse in the final. But she still looks on course to do something big this year, if you ask me. Wimbledon champion 2011?

Speaking of doing big things, Robin Soderling further justified his claim to the world no. 4 spot by winning his second title in two weeks at the Open 13 in Marseilles, beating Marin Cilic 67(8) 63 63. It was far from his best match, but what was very impressive was the way that he dug deep, battled himself and his own demons and got through it with a resounding win. That’s his third title in 2011, and if anybody out there still thinks he’s a one-trick pony, then I don’t know who you’re watching. I think he looks more like a major contender than he ever has before.

As for skinny love there, it wasn’t his best but it was so far from his worst. One woeful game in the third set was pretty much all it came down to, and he showed a lot of heart and confidence that’s been missing for the last year or so. He called it a “good start” in his post-match interview and said that he hoped to build on it in Indian Wells and Miami. I’ll drink to that.

Posted in caroline wozniacki, dubai, marin cilic, marseilles, robin soderling, titlists | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

La Marseillaise.

Posted by gauloises1 on February 19, 2011

Marchons, marchons, Marin Cilic! You’re not going to believe this, but he actually won a match. A quarterfinal. Against Mikhail Youzhny. Let us pause for a small picspam.

Not the most comprehensive victory, but a satisfying one nonetheless. Marin said after the match that he wasn’t playing his best in the first set (which he won 6-2), but it looked pretty damn close to me; clean, confident and powerful, like the Marin of old. Youzhny picked his game up in the second set, which coincided with a dip in Marin’s first serve in particular, and for much of the third set Youzhny led by a break and looked like the better player. Marin had his chances to get back into it, but Youzhny was really playing a very clever match and retrieving brilliantly, and under the circumstances a few loose errors from Marin cost him severely.

It would have been very easy, especially for the Marin we’ve known for the last year or so who has the mental fortitude and structural integrity of a clock painted by Salvador Dali, to give up at that point. But he saved two match points on his serve at 3-5 and was rewarded when a little wobble by Youzhny let him break back as the Russian was serving for the whole shebang. He came up with the goods on his serve and in the rallies to nick the match out from under Youzhny’s nose, 7-5. And it was good.

Marin talked in his post-match interview about the importance of focussing on his own game – or trying to find his own game, as he put it; has it been down the back of the sofa for a year? – rather than whether or not he’s expected to beat his opponent and “not trying too hard for it”. That seems to go to the heart of the problem for him; trusting himself and his game enough to let it happen, not over-pressing in a frantic attempt to live up to what he feels are the expectations on him. Back-to-back victories over Berdych and Youzhny, and getting to a final, should do him the world of good. I’m excited.

Unfortunately he’s facing Robin Soderling, gunning for his second title in as many weeks. The Swede looked fairly pumped to overcome Dmitry Tursunov, who was up for it for a set and quickly faded. He’s obviously riding some major confidence at the moment and I can’t see him losing to Marin. But you never know …

Posted in marin cilic, marseilles | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Not So Much Marchons, Marchons in Marseilles

Posted by gauloises1 on February 19, 2011

Not a great day for the home nation in Marseilles. Defending champion Michael Llodra went down 61 64 to top-seeded and frankly scary Robin Soderling in the quarterfinals. Can we all agree Soderling is the real deal here? OK, he hasn’t won a Slam, but he’s kicked on from his initial breakthrough against Nadal at Roland Garros and kept himself consistently in the conversation, and right now he’s looking pretty fair to take the Marseilles title in addition to defending in Rotterdam. I get the feeling that people are waiting for his particular flash in the pan to be flushed. It doesn’t look like it’s going to happen any time soon.

Speaking of pans and flashes, or flushes; Tomas Berdych, often bracketed with Soderling, lost his quarterfinal to Marin Cilic today. Yes, you heard me. Marin Cilic. In straight sets. I didn’t see it, but he was apparently rather good.

I shan’t comment except to say that at the very moment or thereabouts that he was closing out his victory, I was holding forth to my lunchtime companion about how very gorgeous he is in person. The word “dreamy” was employed. Coincidence?

A further unseeded upset was provided by Dmitry Tursunov, who is making quite the renaissance of late, defeating Jurgen Melzer in three; and to pile woe upon the French, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga played a cracking match against Mikhail Youzhny and still lost despite keeping it interesting to the very end.

Posted in jo-wilfried tsonga, marin cilic, marseilles, robin soderling | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Monday’s Results: Dubai, Bogota, Buenos Aires, Marseilles, Memphis

Posted by gauloises1 on February 15, 2011

No time wasted in getting going in Dubai, where probably the biggest upset was qualifier Chanelle Scheepers (apparently pronounced ‘Skeppers’, at least according to the Eurosport commentators) upsetting Maria Kirilenko in straight sets. Scheepers was on really sharp form and Kirilenko … was wearing shorts, which looked nice.

Jeepers creepers.

Alisa Kleybanova came back from the brink of defeat against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, in what was an all-too-familiar Pavs tale; unable to close out the match from a commanding position, she utterly collapsed in the third set. I still think Pavlyuchenkova has all the game in the world, but she has to improve her movement so that she can defend her way through a rocky patch, otherwise this is just going to happen again and again and again. Here endeth.

Speaking of improved movement, a back-from-injury Marion Bartoli beat Kimiko Date-Krumm. And we all know how an in-form Marion can lend a frisson to things. Go Marion.

Memphis saw a seed massacre in a not-particularly-strong draw, as lucky loser Alexandra Stevenson accounted for second seed and defending finalist Sofia Arvidsson, fifth seed Olga Govortsova went down to a qualifier (in what could be a stroke of luck for Heather Watson, now facing Foretz Garcon in the second round), and top seed Barbora Zahlalova Strycova lost to big-serving Michaella Kraijcek.

On the plus side? Wins for Melanie Oudin, Rebecca Marino and last year’s semi-finalist Anne Keothavong. Up the British.

In Bogota, I talked up Simona Halep and she promptly lost to Mathilde Johansson. And Annabel Medina Garrigues lost too, to Colombian wildcard Catalina Castano. What has happened to AMG of late?

Not much to report on the men’s side. Grigor Dmitrov lost rather disappointingly to Dmitry Tursunov in Marseilles, and that’s about it.

Full results under the cut.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in barbora zahlalova strycova, bogota, buonos aires, dubai, maria kirilenko, marion bartoli, marseilles, memphis | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

ATP Week Ahead: Buenos Aires, Marseilles, Memphis

Posted by gauloises1 on February 14, 2011

Memphis

500; Sam Querrey defending; draw here.

Top 8 seeds: Andy Roddick, Fernando Verdasco, Mardy Fish, Sam Querrey, John Isner, Yen-Hsun Lu, Kevin Anderson (Gael Monfils withdrew)

Points of interest: Delpo, Delpo, Delpo … and his first round match with defending finalist John Isner. Delpo’s won both of their meetings so far, but Isner’s improved since 2009 and it’s just a big ask for Delpo right now. Having said that, at least he’s sharp. Otherwise, it’s mainly seeing how many of the eight American men in the draw can make it past the first round and being amused that San Jose finalists Raonic and Verdasco will be meeting in the first round.

Buenos Aires

250; Juan Carlos Ferrero defending; draw here.

Top 8 seeds: Nicolas Almagro, Stanislas Wawrinka, David Nalbandian, Albert Montanes, Juan Monaco, Tommy Robredo, Alexandr Dolgopolov

Points of interest: The South American clay swing is so incestuous, I feel like I’ve thought about all these match-ups many, many times in the past two weeks. Anyway, if we’re not going to get this level of sexy bromance, then this may not be the tournament for me. But you know … I wish them well. And does anybody else think that Stan Wawrinka looks really quite like French international Dmitri Yachvilli?

Marseilles 

250; Michael Llodra defending; draw here.

Top 8 seeds: Robin Soderling, Tomas Berdych, Mikhail Youzhny, Jurgen Melzer, Ivan Ljubicic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Ernests Gulbis, Michael Llodra

Points of interest: It’s everybody who played in Rotterdam, just on slightly faster courts. And yet … the interest. Former better-half-of-Bendra, restaurant victim Julien Benneteau, returns to the tour only to face not just the defending champion, but the man who dumped him for Nenad Zimonjic in the doubles department, in the first round. Wildcard Grigor Dmitrov gets abs-flashing partner in crime Dmitry Tursunov, while Nikolay Davydenko and Gilles Simon – both unseeded! – will play each other.

Posted in ATP week ahead, buonos aires, marseilles, memphis | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Hometown Triumphs

Posted by gauloises1 on February 22, 2010

Two winners in their home countries this week. Mariana Duque Marino beat my one-to-watch Angelique Kerber 64 63 for the Bogota title. She was adorably happy about it, as she should be, considering she hadn’t won a WTA tour match in nine months before this.

Enjoy your testicular trophy, Mariana. And in Marseilles, Michael Llodra defeated Julien Benneteau 63 64 for the title. Still a good week for Lamb, even if he wasn’t able to back up his defeat of the defending champion, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, in the semifinals.

Posted in bogota, julien benneteau, mariana duque marino, marseilles, michael llodra | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Your Tennis News Round-Up: Who’s In …

Posted by gauloises1 on February 19, 2010

Shahar Peer, mainly.

She’s now beaten Yanina Wickmayer, top seed Caroline Wozniacki, and now Li Na after the latter was forced to retire with a back injury trailing 75 30. She may be surrounded by a small fleet of bodyguards and yet to play on the main court, there may be bizarre Twitter assassination nonsense going on, but Shahar is doing her job and doing it incredibly well under difficult circumstances. Good girl.

Victoria Azarenka had an impressive 61 63 over Vera Zvonareva, a titlist last week in Pattaya City and the conqueror of Jelena Jankovic one round earlier. Before today, Azarenka was 1 for 4 against Zvonareva. Nice to see her making inroads in the head-to-head.

Agnieszka Radwanska is also having a quietly impressive tournament, bagelling Flavia Pennetta and then earning a three-set win over Regina Kulikova, who took out Svetlana Kuznetsova. And props to Venus Williams for overcoming temporary nemesis Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to progress to the semi-finals.

 In Memphis, Maria Sharapova is into the quarterfinals, which means she’s won her first matches of 2010. She’ll be hoping to join Anne Keothavong, playing her first proper tournament since her extended lay-off with that knee injury, who beat Karolina Sprem in straights to progress to the semifinals. But another Brit, Elena Baltacha, stands in her way …

On the men’s side, Andy Roddick is the only top seed left after he defeated James Blake. He’ll be facing Lu later for a place in the semifinals.

Jo and Gael will be facing off in Marseilles after they both had tough wins today over Ouanna and Seppi respectively.

And I have no idea what’s going on in Bogota or Buenos Aires. But the latter seems to have involved wins for Boss and Ferru, so I’m in favour, in general.

 

Posted in agnieszka radwanska, andy roddick, buonos aires, david ferrer, dubai, gael monfils, juan carlos ferrero, maria sharapova, marseilles, memphis, shahar peer, venus williams, victoria azarenka | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

ATP Week Ahead: Buonos Aires, Marseilles, Memphis

Posted by gauloises1 on February 15, 2010

Buonos Aires

Draw here.

Top Seeds: David Ferrer, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Nicolas Almagro, Juan Monaco

Marseilles

Draw here.

Top Seeds: Robin Soderling, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gael Monfils, Tommy Robredo

Memphis

Draw here.

Top Seeds: Andy Roddick, Fernando Verdasco, Radek Stepanek, Tommy Haas

Posted in andy roddick, ATP week ahead, buonos aires, jo-wilfried tsonga, marseilles, memphis, tommy robredo | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

The Withdrawal Method: JMDP Out

Posted by gauloises1 on February 12, 2010

And this just in, filed under reasons not to be cheerful: Juan Martin del Potro has withdrawn from Marseilles, Dubai and the March Davis Cup tie against Sweden due to tendonitis in his right wrist.

The reports describe him having injured himself in practice today, or presumably exacerbated the tendonitis, and according to Martinininiano, he’ll need four weeks of rest and then four weeks of practice before he’s ready to play. Maths isn’t my strong point, but I’m pretty sure that’s two months.

So, no Elf action for the foreseeable future. Not to mention that without Delpo, and with David’s participation in doubt, Argentina is basically screwed against Sweden.

Bugger.

Posted in davis cup, dubai, juan martin del potro, marseilles, the withdrawal method | Tagged: | 39 Comments »

 
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