Posted by gauloises1 on February 18, 2011
Milos Raonic: still happening. Fresh from his victory over Fernando Verdasco in the finals of San Jose, the pair met in the first round of Memphis and the result was the same, Raonic winning 64 36 76(5).
Verdasco, with a hint of sour grapes, was less than complimentary:
“For me that’s not a real match in tennis,” Verdasco said. “I hope to play soon against him in clay court to show him what it is to play tennis, and play rallies, and run, and not only serve.”
Saucer of milk, etc. Anyway, Raonic’s run continues after defeating Radek Stepanek tonight in the second round. Steps was on ebullient form, coming up with some superb play to save match points and snatch the second set tiebreak out from under Raonic’s feet, 10-8.
He celebrated thusly.
The third set also went to a tiebreak, but Raonic showed impressive composure to close it out with an ace even when some typical Steps-like antics were employed (going around high-fiving the linespeople at 1-6 down, for example). The Canadian has to be feeling the effects of so many matches now, emotionally and physically, but his confidence is frankly absurd and this mini-tear continues to be so much fun to watch. It may not be real tennis, but it’ll do me.
Posted in fernando verdasco, memphis, milos raonic, radek stepanek | Tagged: milos raonic, radek stepanek | 11 Comments »
Posted by gauloises1 on February 15, 2011
Or in fact already happening, as the Canadian is up to 59 in the rankings after defeating Fernando Verdasco 76(6) 76(5) to take the San Jose title at the weekend.
I’ve got to confess I didn’t see this match. Well, I saw some of it – it started at 3 a.m. and I wanted right up until the point that Milos went something like 0-6 down in the first set tiebreak, at which point I assumed (with what I feel was some justification) that Verdasco would close out the tiebreak and use that boost to win in straights. How he didn’t, I’m not quite sure.
But he took it well.
But I’m assuming that Raonic carried on playing the way that he did for the first twelve games – mahoosive serving, confident aggression and a total lack of fear. The hype will now officially be out of control, given that he comes from a country with only slightly more top-flight players than Great Britain (and no Andy Murray), and while his talent is unquestioned, he’s been on a ridiculous run in 2011 and it remains to be seen what kind of consistency he has once that white-hot adrenaline has worn off. So the jury’s out – but it has plenty to deliberate upon.
Posted in fernando verdasco, milos raonic, san jose, titlists | Tagged: fernando verdasco, milos raonic | 5 Comments »
Posted by gauloises1 on February 13, 2011
So while I was
mooching around in Palace at novel-writing bootcamp with intermittent internet, Delpo continued to be winny, beating Lukas Lacko and then Lleyton Hewitt in straight sets to reach the semi-finals of San Jose. Where he lost. To Fernando Verdasco. But that’s OK.
Soul-burningly, blood-boilingly, teeth-grindingly, buttock-clenchingly OK.
No, really. I don’t know if it’s because I’m trying to keep my expectations very low, but I was really pleased with the way Delpo played this week. Admittedly it wasn’t the best tennis I’ve seen from Lacko or Hewitt, but their opportunities were limited because Delpo was hitting the ball well – and most importantly, serving solidly and well. If he can keep that up, he’ll get through a lot of matches while his confidence behind the ball comes back. Last night, he dropped his first service game against Verdasco and never got the initiative back, as the defending champion was just too good and even the customary second-set wobble was only momentary. But it’s totally OK.
Even in an orange tent, it’s OK.
Delpo will be heading on to Memphis next, where he’s drawn John Isner in the first round.
Meanwhile, Verdasco will face Milos Raonic in the final after the wee curly-topped Canadian was given a walkover by Gael Monfils, who withdrew suffering from a wrist injury that’s apparently been bothering him for some time. That’s Milos’ first ATP final, and he beat Xavier Malisse, James Blake and Ricardas Berankis to get there, so we’ll say he earned it, shall we? Good. I rather think Verdasco on this form may be quite a large step too far, but it’s still been another great week for Mr. Momentum.
Posted in fernando verdasco, juan martin del potro, san jose | Tagged: fernando verdasco, juan martin del potro | 3 Comments »
Posted by gauloises1 on February 7, 2011
500; Robin Soderling defending; draw here.
Top 8 seeds: Robin Soderling, Andy Murray, David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych, Jurgen Melzer, Mikhail Youhzny, Ivan Ljubicic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Points of interest: What isn’t of interest? Soderling’s no. 4 ranking is on the line unless he can defend his title or Murray puts in a dismal performance, which is pretty likely given his draw: Baghdatis, Lopez or Mayer, probably Ljubicic … Just the kind of draw that a man recovering from a battering in a major final needs. Look out for first round meetings between Dimitrov-Tsonga, Gulbis-de Bakker, and Paire-Simon. Fun on the bun.
250; Fernando Verdasco defending; draw here.
Top 8 seeds: Fernando Verdasco, Gael Monfils, Sam Querrey, Xavier Malisse, Denis Istomin, Benjamin Becker, Lleyton Hewitt, Kei Nishikori
Points of interest: I thought Fernando Verdasco had a broken foot – and yet. Two men attempting to bounce back from a disappointing Australian Open – Monfils and Querrey – along with Nishikori and Ivo Karlovic on the comeback trail. Also? Delpo, Delpo and Delpo. In that order. He plays Teimuraz “Basher” Gabashvili in the first round.
Costa do Saiupe
250; Boss defending; draw here.
Top 8 seeds: Nicolas Almagro, Albert Montanes, Thomaz Bellucci, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Juan Ignacio Chela, Tommy Robredo, Potito Starace, Victor Hanescu
Points of interest: Sexy men on sexy clay.
Posted in ATP week ahead, costa do saiupe, fernando verdasco, juan carlos ferrero, robin soderling, rotterdam, san jose | Tagged: fernando verdasco, juan carlos ferrero, robin soderling | 1 Comment »
Posted by gauloises1 on January 21, 2011
After I talked up the chances of young guns Robin Haase and Kei Nishikori against big dogs Andy Roddick and Fernando Verdasco, the inevitable happened.
Nishikori was overpowered and generally blasted off the court by Fernando Verdasco, especially that whole forehand thing he’s got going on. Kei wasn’t at his best – he needed medical attention on his back – but Verdasco beat him 62 64 63, so that’s fairly comprehensive.
Haase made a better fist of it in a weird match which started with him breaking Roddick’s serve and injuring his ankle almost at the same moment, prompting a rash of greatly exaggerated rumours that he had retired on the ever-more-cursed Hisense Arena (Troicki retired there earlier after one set against Djokovic). Whether it was feeling the ankle or just the usual way Robin starts a big match – and I’ll go with the latter – he was absolutely untouchable for the first set, slamming forehands past Roddick and passing the American every time he ventured to net. After taking the set 6-2, he continued to look quite good, but Roddick forced it to a tiebreak. It was one of those moments when you knew with some certainty that the winner of the tiebreak would take the match, and Haase wasn’t quite up to the challenge, throwing in a couple of excruciatingly-timed double faults. After that, the fight went out of him and Roddick won the match in four.
This is the doubt I have with Haase. He’s absolutely unstoppable when he’s on, and I think if he can play like that in a three-set match, he’ll make a lot of noise this year (as long as his body stays in one piece). Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of middle ground between redlining and deflating. If he can learn to take a deep breath before the start of each match and get his efforts a little more under control, he could be a force to be reckoned with. If not, he’s destined to be a flashy loser to top seeds forever.
Far from seeing new faces in the round of sixteen, then, we’ve got Roddick facing Stanislas Wawrinka, whose whole midlife crisis-inspired departure from wife and child to focus on tennis seems to be working out pretty well for him so far, and Verdasco taking on Tomas Berdych in a match that could be glorious, or hideous.
But it’s not over until Tomic and Berankis lose, which should be later tonight. So stay tuned.
Posted in australian open, fernando verdasco, kei nishikori, robin haase | Tagged: fernando verdasco, kei nishikori, robin haase | 4 Comments »
Posted by gauloises1 on June 23, 2010
Stick with me while I attempt to catch up on everything that I missed at Wimbledon while I was there. (And yes, I know I may be stretching the definition of ‘upset’ somewhat with some of these …) This is who we’ve lost so far that we wouldn’t have expected to …
Sam Stosur and Francesca Schiavone crashed out to Kaia Kanepi and Vera Dushevina respectively. That’s an entire French Open final gone right there. You’d almost think it was played on a different surface or something.
Verdasco lost to Fognini in five. And still needs a haircut.
Damn Croatians. You’re supposed to be the reliable one, Marin! Although why anyone thinks that, I don’t know. Anyway, I watched this match. It made me sad.
Please don’t let that be your last Wimbledon, OK?
Grass is not Shahar’s best ever surface, it must be said. She lost to Angelique Kerber in three. Still, I’ve been vaguely touting Kerber as a thing-in-waiting, so there’s that.
Big win for bronzed god Daniel Brands, who took out Kolya in straights. Kolya is another one who doesn’t thrive on the grass at all, though. Plus that whole fractured wrist thing.
If a result doesn’t upset anyone, is it still an upset? I’ve decided that this qualifies on the basis that Robin Haase did the upsetting, which means he actually won a match. Shock face.
Not sure what’s the bigger not-really-a surprise, Mel losing in the second round or the fact that she made it.
And how about a big hand for our upsetters …
Posted in angelique kerber, daniel brands, fabio fognini, fernando verdasco, florian mayer, francesca schiavone, james blake, jarmila groth, juan carlos ferrero, kaia kanepi, marin cilic, nikolay davydenko, robin haase, samantha stosur, vera dushevina, wimbledon, xavier malisse | Tagged: angelique kerber, daniel brands, fabio fognini, fernando verdasco, florian mayer, francesca schiavone, james blake, jarmila groth, juan carlos ferrero, kaia kanepi, marin cilic, melanie oudin, nikolay davydenko, robin haase, samantha stosur, shahar peer, vera dushevina, xavier malisse | 4 Comments »
Posted by gauloises1 on May 5, 2010
Sorry for the long hiatus in posting. It was a bank holiday here in the UK and that means a lot of, well, not sitting in front of a computer. Then I was too depressed to blog. But I’m here, my sexual orientation is none of your business, and let’s have a look at what I missed over the weekend, shall we?
Rafa won the Rome Masters for the fifth time in six years. This is the sort of thing that happens. It’s his 17th Masters title, equalling Andre Agassi’s record. That sort of thing happens more rarely. And it’s Madrid next week, so who wants to take bets on how long that record is going to stand? Anyone?
Spare a thought for Ferru, though, who beat Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (thanks to AmyLu for the reminder!) and Fernando Verdasco to reach the final, only to be soundly beaten … again.
Just go hang out with Boss, David. At least he buys you dinner when he beats you.
While we’re thought-sparing, how about Fernando Verdasco? He outlasted Djokovic in a three-set epic, only to run out of gas against Ferru – understandably, after his excellent showings in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona. Nobody’s going to want him anywhere near them in the draw in Madrid – or Paris.
The same (ish) goes for Ernests Gulbis, who backed up his win over Federer by reaching the semis and becoming the first player to break Rafa’s serve or take a set from him all week. Can we consider him tennistically resurrected?
Meanwhile in Stuttgart, other oddly familiar things were afoot.
Justine Henin beat Samantha Stosur for the first title of her comeback. I can’t quite figure out how I feel about Justine these days. But that’s by the by to a hearty well done. Going to give a shout-out though to Sam Stosur – she really can play on clay, if that Roland Garros semi-final didn’t clue you in already – and Anna Lapushchenkova, who qualified into the draw and beat Govortsova, Azarenka and Safarova on her way to the semi-finals. The jury’s out on whether she’s a thing, but I thought she played really well all week.
On the subject of people who might be things, the de-boobed Simona Halep reached the finals of Fes in only her third tour event.
She lost to Iveta Benesova, but still.
And that is what happened while I was on a bender. I think.
Posted in anna lapuschenkova, david ferrer, ernests gulbis, fernando verdasco, fes, iveta benesova, justine henin, rafael nadal, rome, simona halep, stuttgart, titlists | Tagged: anna lapuschenkova, david ferrer, ernests gulbis, fernando verdasco, iveta benesova, justine henin, rafael nadal, simona halep | 4 Comments »
Posted by gauloises1 on April 25, 2010
Fernando Verdasco d. Robin Soderling, 63 46 63
I’m from Barcelona, let me introduce my enormous trophy.
Rather a nice couple of weeks for Fernando Verdasco, backing up his final in Monte-Carlo by claiming his fifth and biggest career title to date in Barcelona. He did well enough to get to the final, surviving an inspired David Ferrer in three sets to face Robin Soderling, who took out Boss- and Tsonga-killer Thiemo de Bakker in straights.
I didn’t see the final, but I’m not surprised by the result; I had a feeling after Rafa withdrew that this was going to be Verdasco’s tournament. It seems like he’s playing of late with the kind of confidence and focus that we haven’t seen in his game since the beginning of 2009 and it’s not surprising that he’s reaping unprecedented rewards, as well as breaking some personal boundaries. Good stuff all round.
Not quite as bendy as Nole, but it’ll do.
Posted in barcelona, david ferrer, fernando verdasco, thiemo de bakker, titlists | Tagged: david ferrer, fernando verdasco, thiemo de bakker | Leave a Comment »
Posted by gauloises1 on April 19, 2010
So, the 2010 ATP red clay season is well and truly underway. How do we know?
After coming valiantly and in some cases agonisingly close over the past ten months, Rafa is gnawing on silverware again. I know it’s seemed like forever for his fans, but re-entering the winners’ circle by becoming the first man in the Open era to win the same title six times in a row is not too shabby.
He dropped just 14 games throughout the tournament and handed out three breadsticks and three bagels, including one of each in the final, and never for a second looked like losing. It’s hard to write about, because superlatives seem both excessive and insincere, but it really was a breathtakingly dominant performance from first to last. I think what I’m trying to say is … did you know that Nadal guy is actually quite good at tennis? He is.
So far, so laudable. But what was genuinely moving was the fact that after celebrating match point, he walked over to his chair, sat down, hid his face in a towel, and melted into tears. It was such a sweet moment, but unlike so many after the past months, untinged by bitterness. Nice to see.
It’s easy to forget, given his thorough destruction in the final, that it was a seminal tournament for Fernando Verdasco, who twice came back from a set down against Berdych and Montanes respectively before handing out a straight sets beatdown against an (admittedly somewhat listless) Novak Djokovic. He was mastered completely in the final, but I can’t think of many – maybe any – who wouldn’t have been, and never stopped fighting despite physically struggling – the fact that he won the point of the match by dint of sheer effort when 06 14 down is evidence of that.
And both cheered up to provide a sufficiently bromantic trophy ceremony:
This was fully Rafa’s moment though, and it’s about time – if only because Jewell might stop having double-bagelled nightmares and AmyLu will hopefully be around a bit more now …
Posted in fernando verdasco, monte carlo, rafael nadal, titlists | Tagged: fernando verdasco, rafael nadal | 5 Comments »
Posted by gauloises1 on April 15, 2010
So the quarter-finals in Monte-Carlo are set after a full day’s play highlighted by Boss’ incandescent three-set victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 61 36 75. Jo’s no clay-courter but from what I saw he was playing some fantastic stuff in the third set especially and Boss had to be both gritty and inspired to beat him. Love it.
His dubious reward? A meeting with Rafa Nadal, who’s dropped just two games so far and was this close to double-bagelling Michael Berrer today.
That’s one quarterfinal to look forward to; the other comes courtesy of Novak Djokovic and David Nalbandian, who had almost identical scores in wins over Stanislas Wawrinka and Tommy Robredo respectively. Am I mad to think this one might actually be close? I’m excited.
Less compellingly, Fernando Verdasco – who did well to overturn his recent record against Tomas Berdych – will be taking on Albert Montanes, who dusted a frankly pathetic Marin Cilic; and a Ljubicic-bagelling Ferru faces off with Philipp Kohlschreiber. If you like that sort of thing.
Singles – Third Round
 N Djokovic (SRB) d  S Wawrinka (SUI) 64 64
 R Nadal (ESP) d M Berrer (GER) 60 61
A Montanes (ESP) d  M Cilic (CRO) 64 64
 D Ferrer (ESP) d  I Ljubicic (CRO) 60 76(4)
 J Ferrero (ESP) d  J Tsonga (FRA) 61 36 75
 F Verdasco (ESP) d  T Berdych (CZE) 57 63 62
D Nalbandian (ARG) d  T Robredo (ESP) 63 64
P Kohlschreiber (GER) d P Petzschner (GER) 63 64
Doubles – Second Round
 D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) d J Melzer (AUT) / M Youzhny (RUS) 63 76(1)
 B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) d [WC] R Hutchins (GBR) / A Murray (GBR) 67(4) 62 10-2
 L Kubot (POL) / O Marach (AUT) d N Almagro (ESP) / I Ljubicic (CRO) 64 67(4) 10-4
 S Aspelin (SWE) / P Hanley (AUS) d E Butorac (USA) / M Kohlmann (GER) 57 62 10-6
 M Knowles (BAH) / B Soares (BRA) d [WC] R Gasquet (FRA) / J Tsonga (FRA) W/O (Tsonga – right groin)
Friday’s OOP is brought to you by how much better this kit looks on Verdasco in blue.
COURT CENTRAL start 10:30 am
 D Ferrer (ESP) vs P Kohlschreiber (GER)
 J Ferrero (ESP) vs  R Nadal (ESP)
 N Djokovic (SRB) vs D Nalbandian (ARG)
A Montanes (ESP) vs  F Verdasco (ESP)
 D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) vs [WC] R Gasquet (FRA) / J Tsonga (FRA)
COURT DES PRINCES start 1:00 pm
 W Moodie (RSA) / D Norman (BEL) vs  L Kubot (POL) / O Marach (AUT)
 M Bhupathi (IND) / M Mirnyi (BLR) vs  B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA)
 S Aspelin (SWE) / P Hanley (AUS) vs D Ferrer (ESP) / M Lopez (ESP)
Posted in david nalbandian, fernando verdasco, juan carlos ferrero, monte carlo, novak djokovic, rafael nadal | Tagged: david nalbandian, fernando verdasco, juan carlos ferrero, novak djokovic, rafael nadal | 6 Comments »