New Balls, Please

"Climbing the Comeback Mountain with the Tower of Tandil."

  • Recent Posts

  • Unhealthily Obsessed With

    agnieszka radwanska alize cornet amelie mauresmo ana ivanovic andy murray andy roddick aravane rezai ATP ATP week ahead australian open beijing belgrade british tennis bstaad caroline wozniacki cincinnati daniela hantuchova david ferrer david nalbandian davis cup dinara safina doha dubai elena dementieva ernests gulbis estoril fed cup feliciano lopez fernando gonzalez fernando verdasco flavia pennetta francesca schiavone french open gael monfils gilles simon image is everything indian wells jelena jankovic jo-wilfried tsonga john isner juan carlos ferrero juan martin del potro juan monaco julien benneteau justine henin kim clijsters kuala lumpur li na lleyton hewitt los angeles madrid marat safin marcos baghdatis maria kirilenko maria sharapova marin cilic marion bartoli melanie oudin miami mikhail youzhny montreal munich nikolay davydenko novak djokovic paris masters philipp kohlschreiber queens radek stepanek rafael nadal richard gasquet robin soderling roger federer rome sabine lisicki samantha stosur sam querrey serena williams shahar peer shanghai sorana cirstea stuttgart svetlana kuznetsova sydney the withdrawal method thomaz bellucci titlists tokyo tomas berdych tommy robredo us open venus williams vera zvonareva victoria azarenka video wimbledon WTA wta week ahead WTFs yanina wickmayer
  • Categories

Archive for the ‘dubai’ Category

Djokovic, Zvonareva Winning in the Gulf

Posted by gauloises1 on February 28, 2011

Novak Djokovic d. Roger Federer, 63 63

You can’t spell “hat-trick” without “ha”.

Late to the party, I know, but what can we say except that Djokovic was outstanding in the final, and after a less than stellar route there, absolutely dismantled Federer? I don’t think Federer was on top form, but I really don’t think the match was about him. From the beginning, Djokovic was all over him with the return, that lethal forehand of death, and kept putting the ball in fairly impossible positions. No wonder Federer butchered a couple of shots. That’s Djokovic’s third Dubai title, and he’s now been unbeaten for fifteen matches. You may, you know, worship him.

Vera Zvonareva d. Caroline Wozniacki, 64 64

Pretty impressive for Vera Zvonareva in Doha, who hasn’t won a trophy in … ages, and beat Wozniacki 64 64 in a straightforward final. Wozniacki has had a good two weeks, picking up the Dubai title and beating a couple of former bugbears in Jankovic, Peer and Bartoli, so she was a bit fatigued and reportedly ill, but Zvonareva’s game had more than a little to do with a petulant final performance, so well done to the world no. 3.

Posted in doha, dubai, novak djokovic, titlists, vera zvonareva | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

ATP Week Ahead: Acapulco, Dubai, Delray Beach

Posted by gauloises1 on February 21, 2011

Acapulco

500, David Ferrer defending; draw here.

Top 8 seeds: David Ferrer, Fernando Verdasco, Nicolas Almagro, Stanislas Wawrinka, Albert Montanes, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Juan Monaco, Juna Ignacio Chela

Points of interest: How about a first-round meeting between Thomaz Bellucci and Fernando Verdasco? There’s also the question of how new kid on the block Milos Raonic, due to play Carlos Berlocq in the opening round, will respond after his astonishing last couple of weeks – and on a different surface too. And, you know, Ferru.

Oh, and there’s always the question of whether everyone will make it out alive, particularly after this.

Dubai

500, Novak Djokovic defending; draw here.

Top 8 seeds: Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Tomas Berdych, Mikhail Youzhny, Ivan Ljubicic, Viktor Troicki, Marcos Baghdatis, Ernests Gulbis

Points of interest: This was the first title Novak had ever defended in his career, but he’s got a tough road to make it a third year in a row; starting off with Michael Llodra, match-tough from Marseilles.  In contrast, Federer’s quarter looks rather lightweight. Keep an eye out for an unseeded Nikolay Davydenko lurking about, and note the first-round meeting of qualifier Grigor Dmitrov and Richard Gasquet. Battle of the Baby Feds …

Delray Beach

 

250, Ernests Gulbis defending (or not, given that he’s opted to go and lose in the first round of Dubai instead); draw here.

Top 8 seeds: Andy Roddick, Mardy Fish, Sam Querrey, John Isner, Kevin Anderson, Janko Tipsarevic, Benjamin Becker, Adrian Mannarino

Points of interest: Another American hard court tournament in spring, another brace of Americans, none of whom (with the exception of Roddick, who is clearly ill and may or may not play) particularly impressed last week in Memphis. But there’s a lot of interest in this draw: Dudi Sela, due for a rematch with Roddick; Julien Benneteau and Ivo Karlovic, both making their way back from injury, starting off with Ivan Dodig and Janko Tipsarevic respectively; former champion Kei Nishikori; and of course Delpo, Delpo, Delpo and Delpo, who will be playing Richard Berankis in the first round. Fair warning: he will probably lose to Berankis, who’s an infuriating bundle of counter-punching energy. Unfair warning: if he does, I’m cliffing myself.  

Posted in acapulco, ATP week ahead, david ferrer, delray beach, dubai, ernests gulbis, novak djokovic | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Biggest Rivalry In Tennis?

Posted by gauloises1 on February 20, 2011

The boys (well, Federer and Djokovic) have been chatting in Dubai ahead of next week’s 500, and it’s got me thinking. Federer as usual has been talking a good game, and seems a little peeved with the media:

“There was huge hype as [Rafael] Nadal went for the ‘Rafa Slam’. Novak, Andy [Murray] and Rafa played well, but the changing of the guard [in world tennis] doesn’t happen over three days. Just because a top player doesn’t play well, don’t jump to conclusions that it’s the end.”

source

Federer said he was frustrated that immediately after losing to Djokovic, some reporters were ready to suggest a new era had begun with him and Nadal on the decline. Nadal lost in the Australian Open quarterfinals after tearing a muscle in his right leg.

“That is where it gets a bit annoying,” he said. “Sometimes in the press conference where you have to explain something that doesn’t need any explaining. One guy throws a stupid question at you where you unfortunately have to answer it. That’s why I said let’s see in six months how things are. Maybe they’re quite different. Maybe they are the same. Don’t jump to conclusions after three days of tennis during a season that goes for 11 months.”

source

I see his point, but expecting the media not to ask those questions is unrealistic, to say the least. Anyway, it got me thinking. I know that it’s written in stone that Federer-Nadal is the biggest rivalry in tennis, but is it – really? It seems to me that the biggest rivalry is between Federer/Nadal and the rest of the field. Certainly for me, the biggest question is whether it’s still the Federer-Nadal era – or just the Nadal era – or the yet-to-be-named, some-other-people era. That’s what’s keeping me watching, anyway. Just a thought.

Anyway. Nole, meanwhile, was thoughtful and hot.

“I always knew everything is in my head. I needed to make that switch,” Djokovic said. “I was always aware of the fact that it’s a process that takes time. I won a Grand Slam title in 2008. I was very young, careless. I didn’t feel any pressure, I didn’t feel anything. In 2009 and 2010, I was introduced to pressure and expectations and faced situations I didn’t face before. It wasn’t easy to cope with all that. It took me some time to gain that experience that I’m using in this moment.”

source

He also announced he’ll be playing doubles with Andy Murray in Miami. I’m not a big fan of these publicity-stunt pairings, but god knows I’d rather see him playing with Mandy than Rafa.

Posted in dubai, novak djokovic, roger federer | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

At Home With the Davydenkos.

Posted by gauloises1 on February 20, 2011

OK, in a random resort in Dubai, but still.

They hope to see you soon for tea.

Posted in dubai, nikolay davydenko | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

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 »

False Alarm.

Posted by gauloises1 on February 19, 2011

Svetlana Kuznetsova and Caroline Wozniacki both won in straight sets today, so they’ll face each other in the Dubai final. Kuznetsova can win, of course. But she probably won’t.

Singles – Semifinals
(1) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. (6) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 75 63
(16) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) d. (11) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 64 64

Doubles – Semifinals
(1) Peschke/Srebotnik (CZE/SLO) d. (4) Azarenka/Kirilenko (BLR/RUS) 62 61

Posted in caroline wozniacki, dubai, flavia pennetta, jelena jankovic, svetlana kuznetsova | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Indulge Me.

Posted by gauloises1 on February 19, 2011

OK, I know she only got to the semi-finals so far, but … really, I just want to do a JJ picspam.

Jelena Jankovic makes me smile.

Posted in dubai, jelena jankovic | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

JJ, Sveta and Flavia Into Dubai Semis

Posted by gauloises1 on February 19, 2011

Head-to-heads are weird things, aren’t they? Take the third of today’s quarter-finals, Flavia Pennetta v Alisa Kleybanova. Not only was Kleybs coming into this match with straight set wins over Jarmila Groth and Vera Zvonareva under her belt, she was facing a woman who you would think she could hit off the court – a woman moreover who had gone to three in her previous two matches (against Azarenka and Zakapalova) and was suffering a leg strain sustained in the former. Yet Pennetta led the H2H 3-0, and Kleybs barely got a look in today. Against Pennetta’s speed, retrieving and all-court game, she looked pretty helpless and hopeless. She just couldn’t get her feet under her and you’re left thinking … 3-0, there’s a reason for that.

Which brings me to JJ, another winner today against Stosur. Not that reason is any particular help in considering the counterpunching conundrum that is Jelena Jankovic. I mean, why is it that she can go from looking so woebegone in Australia to making a good, deep run here? She’s got her family around her, she’s smiling, and while she isn’t precisely going about things in the most straightforward fashion – Kanepi served for the match against her, let us not forget, and she squandered a commanding position in today’s match before eventually winning in a third set tiebreak – she doesn’t look lost out there. She looks like she knows what she’s doing, and a knowing-what-she’s-doing-looking JJ is a dangerous JJ, if you know what I mean. Under the circumstances, it’s a day when you can look at her H2H with Wozniacki – JJ leads 4-0 – and think … there’s a reason for that. I hope she proves me right.

 

Don’t even get me started on these two, who played what I thought was the most entertaining match of the day. Radwanska spends much of 2010 looking listless, playing error-strewn tennis, and generally giving the impression that the rest of the field has caught up with her precocity and left it behind. Then she suffers a bad injury, and although she returns absurdly soon in Australia, I assume that the early months of 2011 are going to be pretty much a write-off. But no. She reaches the quarter-final in Melbourne, looking stronger with every match; equals that accomplishment here and really should have taken at least a set off Kuznetsova before succumbing. And she seems energised, and strong, and committed. Let her build up a head of steam and I really think she could be a thing this year.

As for Kuznetsova, I did say I had a feeling about her …

All of this is to say: WTA, you put the “fun” in “funemployment”. Don’t ever change.

Singles – Quarterfinals
(1) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. (9) Shahar Peer (ISR) 62 64
(6) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. (4) Samantha Stosur (AUS) 63 57 76(4)
(16) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) d. (8) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 76(7) 63
(11) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) d. (15) Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) 62 60

Doubles – Semifinals
(2) Huber/Martínez Sánchez d. (WC) Kuznetsova/Zvonareva (RUS/RUS) w/o (Zvonareva: right elbow injury)

Doubles – Quarterfinals
(1) Peschke/Srebotnik (CZE/SLO) d. (6) Mattek-Sands/Shaughnessy (USA/USA) 62 64
(2) Huber/Martínez Sánchez (USA/ESP) d. (7) Raymond/Stosur (USA/AUS) 63 46 107
(4) Azarenka/Kirilenko (BLR/RUS) d. Mirza/Vesnina (IND/RUS) 64 62
(WC) Kuznetsova/Zvonareva (RUS/RUS) d. Hantuchova/Radwanska (SVK/POL) 76(7) 64

Posted in agnieszka radwanska, dubai, flavia pennetta, jelena jankovic, svetlana kuznetsova | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Hot Potato.

Posted by gauloises1 on February 18, 2011

And so the mixed curse and blessing that is the WTA no. 1 ranking drops back into Caroline Wozniacki’s lap merely one week after she relinquished it to Kim Clijsters, courtesy of a 62 64 victory over Shahar Peer in Dubai.

Good luck with that, Caro.

Posted in caroline wozniacki, dubai | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

The Withdrawal Method: Murray Out Of Dubai

Posted by gauloises1 on February 18, 2011

Andy Murray has withdrawn from Dubai next week with a wrist injury. There’s not a lot to be said beyond that really. Coupled with his first-round loss to Baghdatis in Rotterdam, it looks like we’re in for another post-AO final slump. To be honest, given the beating he took after showing up last year and losing to Tipsy, I don’t blame him for withdrawing.

On the other hand, maybe he does have a really serious wrist injury. You know, like a certain JMDP who shall remain unnamed. Wouldn’t that be fun? 

*searches for “sarcasm” tag*

Posted in andy murray, dubai, the withdrawal method | 1 Comment »