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 ‘indian wells’ Category

Played For and Got.

Posted by gauloises1 on March 21, 2011

Much to be said about tonight’s final between Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic, and indeed their respective semi-final victories over JMDP and Federer at Indian Wells. Unfortunately it’s late here and I have been beaten into submission by blueberry vodka this weekend, but I will say this …

Is there any doubt that Novak Djokovic is the best player in the world right now? He is 18-0 in ATP matches since the start of the season, he has just beaten Federer to reclaim the world no. 2 ranking, and in beating Nadal 46 63 62 today for the Indian Wells trophy, he has become just the third player to twice beat Federer and Nadal in the same tournament. And unlike Nalbandian and Davydenko, the other two members of that little club, the man has two Grand Slam titles. No other player has had a run like this in the Fedal era.

Today’s match was a strange one. Neither player was quite at their best and inevitably, Nadal’s kerplosion midway through the second set will garner a lot of attention. But you can’t consider it in isolation from the man on the other side of the net, and Djokovic simply kept getting better and better. In a battle of wills, it was Nadal who blinked and Djokovic who bore down relentlessly. How cool is that?

It won’t last, because form is evanescent, because the body and mind can only give so much, because there is Nadal to contend with and clay season is approaching fast. But right now, Djokovic is supreme.

It’s fun. 

Posted in indian wells, novak djokovic, titlists | Tagged: | 12 Comments »

Mr & Miss Intensity

Posted by gauloises1 on March 18, 2011

Congratulations to Maria Sharapova and Rafael Nadal, who competed their way into the Indian Wells semi-finals last night.

Sharapova effortlessly dominated the first set, then completely lost her way, struggling with Peng’s retrieving and resistance and above all her own serve, which totally collapsed. It really looked like she was going out until with her back against the wall, she reeled off two clean and beautiful backhand winners in consecutive points and from that point on, never looked back. Very well done to her, although I don’t favour her chances in the semi-final, given that Wozniacki is (I think) her equal in competitive tenacity and has a game built to elicit the kind of unforced errors she’s so prone to.

Huge props to Peng Shuai for her run here. She’s going to be in a Slam quarter-final before the year is out. /bold prediction

Yet again, I didn’t see Rafa play because it was in the middle of the night. I did watch the first set and thought that Karlovic’s excellent play rather than anything Nadal was doing or not doing was responsible for the good doctor taking it 75. Nadal came back strongly in the second set and finally scraped through (quoting the headlines) 9-7 in the final tiebreak.

Sad for the good Dr. Ivo but he’s had an absolutely amazing run here in Indian Wells and should be getting a wildcard anywhere he wants one from now on. And he’s 32. Christ on a bike.

Posted in indian wells, ivo karlovic, maria sharapova, shuai peng | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Indian Wells Runs Dry

Posted by gauloises1 on March 17, 2011

Bit of a damp squib, today’s day session as Wozniacki and del Potro both progressed to the semi-finals without playing a whole match.

Azarenka played a hotly-contested first two games with Wozniacki, went down an immediate break after having chances to break in the first game, and then was 30-0 down in the third when she pulled up mid-point as her left leg buckled under her. She hobbled off court, returned after an injury timeout and, limping, finished out the game. Her coach Samuel Sumyck advised her to “be wise” and retire, and she did. Really sad, a great disappointment and a worrying sign for the rest of the season, given that a left thigh problem troubled her for much of 2010 and prevented her getting any rhythm. Apparently the injury is to the left hip flexor. Get better soon, Vika. I’m sadfacing all over the place for you.

It was particularly poignant after Wozniacki brought a Japanese flag on to the court and asked for a minute’s silence to mark the events there, apparently something she and Vika had cooked up together.

I know I disparage Wozniacki a lot, but really, the WTA couldn’t hope for two nicer women than her and Vika.

Hot on the heels of that particular crapfest, Tommy Robredo was forced to pull out due to what I’ve heard reported as a left abductor injury, which was troubling him during his previous match with Querrey and reportedly has been a worry for some time. Robredo said he has a strain in two different places and is risking a tear. Absolutely right for him to pull out, but it’s a shame – for him, for the ticket-holders, the fans, everybody. I hope he recovers quickly.

About the only person it doesn’t entirely suck for is JMDP, who can probably go back to bed now as he is in the semi-finals, which should be happy but really isn’t under these circumstances. He will play the winner of the Nadal-Karlovic match later on tonight.

Posted in caroline wozniacki, indian wells, tommy robredo, victoria azarenka | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Men’s Quarter-Finals Set at Indian Wells.

Posted by gauloises1 on March 17, 2011

Juan Martin del Potro and Tommy Robredo we know about. But who else is in the quarter-finals? Stunningly, these three:

Neither Roger nor Rafa had a particularly easy time of it during last night’s night session – which I didn’t watch because it was in the middle of the bloody night – as Ryan Harrison and Somdev Devvarman respectively put up a good fight, but they still won in straight sets and progress. It doesn’t quite match Djokovic’s frankly terrifying 60 61 victory over Viktor Troicki, but then what does? I’m starting to idly wonder if Nole kept on being unbeatable for the next, say, two years, whether I would eventually find it boring. I don’t think so.

Rafa will face Ivo Karlovic in the quarters after the Croatian with a mission beat Albert Montanes, 76(7) 62. I must admit I haven’t watched Karlovic since he upset Ferrer earlier in the tournament, but he does seem to be doing something right. The winner of that will meet either JMDP or Robredo.

Based on the fun last night, it looks as if Djokovic’s next match might finally be a challenge for him after Richard Gasquet completely outplayed Andy Roddick for a 63 76(5) victory. I can’t really do justice to the way Gasquet played except to say that it was a beautiful, brief shining reminder of exactly why we’ve all talked about this man forever. He backhanded Roddick to death, was cool and clutch in the biggest moments, and had the American so frustrated that he tossed his racquet more than once and attempted to give the umpire a warning for “freaking ineptitude”. I can understand his emotions at being so publicly trampled upon, but he doesn’t win my respect with that attitude – particularly because I don’t think he would have behaved like that if he’d been across the net from, say, Federer. Anyway, Gasquet moves on with a well-deserved victory, and if he brings the same form to the court against Djokovic, we could have a classic.

Completing the final eight is Stan Wawrinka, who has quietly been having a dead impressive tournament, proving too good for Nikolay Davydenko, Marin Cilic and Tomas Berdych in succession. It’s hard to put your finger on what separates top-flight Stan from regular Stan, and harder still to predict if he can bring it to the court against Federer, but if he does this could be another brilliant match. All in all, it’s a sensational quarter-finals lineup with the tantalising possibility of upsets. I’m excited.

Men

Singles – Fourth Round
[1] R Nadal (ESP) d [Q] S Devvarman (IND) 75 64
[2] R Federer (SUI) d [WC] R Harrison (USA) 76(4) 63
[3] N Djokovic (SRB) d [16] V Troicki (SRB) 60 61
[12] S Wawrinka (SUI) d [7] T Berdych (CZE) 36 64 64
[18] R Gasquet (FRA) d [8] A Roddick (USA) 63 76(5)
[25] T Robredo (ESP) d [21] S Querrey (USA) 61 63
I Karlovic (CRO) d [23] A Montanes (ESP) 76(7) 62
J Del Potro (ARG) d [32] P Kohlschreiber (GER) 76(3) 76(7)

Doubles – Quarter-finals
A Dolgopolov (UKR) / X Malisse (BEL) d A Murray (GBR) / J Murray (GBR) 67(7) 63 10-8
R Bopanna (IND) / A Qureshi (PAK) d N Djokovic (SRB) / V Troicki (SRB) 61 76(5)

OOP

STADIUM 1 start 11:00 am
[1] C Wozniacki (DEN) vs [8] V Azarenka (BLR) – WTA

Not Before 1:00 PM
J Del Potro (ARG) vs [25] T Robredo (ESP) – ATP

Not Before 3:00 PM
[16] M Sharapova (RUS) vs S Peng (CHN) – WTA
M Knowles (BAH) / M Mertinak (SVK) vs R Federer (SUI) / S Wawrinka (SUI) – ATP

Not Before 7:00 PM
[1] R Nadal (ESP) vs I Karlovic (CRO) – ATP
D Hantuchova (SVK) / A Radwanska (POL) vs S Mirza (IND) / E Vesnina (RUS) – WTA

STADIUM 2 start :
Not Before 1:00 PM
[6] V Azarenka (BLR) / M Kirilenko (RUS) vs [8] B Mattek-Sands (USA) / M Shaughnessy (USA) – WTA – After Suitable Rest

Not Before 3:30 PM
A Dolgopolov (UKR) / X Malisse (BEL) vs R Bopanna (IND) / A Qureshi (PAK)

STADIUM 3 start 12:30 pm
R Turner (USA) vs V Verma (USA) – IWTG CHAMPIONSHIP 4.0
N Dechant (USA) vs R Romero (USA) – IWTG CHAMPIONSHIP 3.5

Posted in andy roddick, indian wells, ivo karlovic, novak djokovic, rafael nadal, richard gasquet, roger federer, stanislas wawrinka | Tagged: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Indian Wells: Bartoli and Wickmayer to Meet in Semi-finals

Posted by gauloises1 on March 17, 2011

And yes, catty people, I would buy a ticket for that match.

OK, maybe I wouldn’t. But that’s mainly because Bartoli’s match with Ivanovic was so dreadful. Marion was clearly having some serious physical issues to the extent that she looked about to die between points, and although she played well, particularly in the first set, it would only have taken a small amount of fortitude from Ivanovic on her serve to take it to a third set, which would have put paid to Marion’s challenge. So a bit of an UFE-fest, all told. But it’s still an encouraging tournament for Ivanovic, who’s so nearly put herself back together, and as for Marion – it’s her third Premier semi-final in different events, and I say allez to that.

A bit of revenge and a first Indian Wells semi-final for Wicky, who beat Peer 63 63. I didn’t see the match – did anyone? – but no doubt Wickmayer’s shorter fourth round match served her well against Peer, who had to battle for hours. I like her chances against Bartoli.

Posted in ana ivanovic, indian wells, marion bartoli, shahar peer, yanina wickmayer | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Indian Wells: Quarter-finals. QUARTER-FINALS.

Posted by gauloises1 on March 17, 2011

It’s official, Juan Martin del Potro has killed what remains of my brain. I am now unable to express myself in any fashion more eloquent than short and inane statements repeated in capitals. Sorry.

Juan Martin del Potro d. (32) Philipp Kohlschreiber 76(3) 76(7)

Eye of the tiger.

It was not a classic match. I shall resist the temptation to say ‘who cares?!’ and elaborate the point; in both sets JMDP was unable to hold on to his initial, early break and the points he played to surrender said break in the second set were among the worst you will ever see. He called the trainer midway through the first set, complaining (I gathered) of dehydration and fatigue, and he certainly looked to be in a bit of a fugue. Even having his banana confiscated by the trainer (clearly using the Mrs Landingham method of motivation) didn’t get him going.

In fact, he was doing that thing he used to do when he’s tired and not really feeling it, when he more or less wanders through the set playing a good point here and there, then suddenly conjures some magic out of nowhere to take the tiebreak. That’s certainly what happened tonight; he took the minibreak in the first-set tiebreak courtesy of a ridiculous cross-court sprinting get reminiscent of a certain USO-final-crowd-high-fiving moment. He had his chance to shut out Kohlschreiber in the second set and didn’t take it – and nearly got burned when the magic didn’t turn up (or turned up on the wrong side of the net) in the tiebreak. Kohlschreiber raced out to a 6-1 lead. Reports differ as to what happened after that. Some say Kohlschreiber choked. I say JMDP started hitting out.

Probably a bit of both. Sorry Phil.

However you see it, five match points came and went before JMDP took the tiebreak and the match 9-7 with a big roar. And I may be mad, but for me the most encouraging thing was – paradoxically – the somewhat lackadaisical quality JMDP brought to the court today. He was sufficiently relaxed not just to save his best for the key moments, but to exhibit his deadpan humour for the crowd – at one point, after he had chased down a drop shot and just failed to pop it back over the net, he smacked at the ball with his hand as if admonishing it until it finally obeyed him; at another (having been warned by Mo before the match not to take too long challenging between serves) he wandered up to the net, taking an inordinately long time to decide to challenge, lifted his finger – and then wagged it to say no, he wouldn’t challenge. OK, it’s not Oscar Wilde, but it was funny. It was meant to be.

I know that as a semi-official Delpo swooner I may not be the most objective person. But today he really looked to me for the first time like he was back to being comfortable out there. I don’t think the title at Delray Beach has meant as much to him as being able to hold his own for four rounds at a Masters series tournament, and against opponents who have been no slouch. Of course, he’s cruising for a bruising as soon as he meets a top-flight player (or possibly sooner), and that’s going to suck. But it’s a necessary part of the process and I feel for the first time like I can face that prospect with equanimity. Because he’s back.

(At this point I am contractually obliged to add the qualifier, “as long as his body holds together”.) 

Come on, body, hold together.

Anyway. According to the man himself, it was mainly fatigue and heat that was bothering him today, which is either good or bad, depending on how you look at it:

“It was really hot and I play many, many matches, so I getting tired,” he said, “but the people tell me to fight all the match, and that’s what I did.”

source

He will face Tommy Robredo next, who has been having rather a nice 2011 and beat Sam Querrey 61 63 tonight. He did have something of a hamstring issue, which he’s hoping is recovered by the time he plays JMDP. I hope so too. No, I really do. What? I mean it. No players should be injured.

Injuries = bad.

Posted in indian wells, juan martin del potro, philipp kohlschreiber, tommy robredo | Tagged: , , | 6 Comments »

Indian Wells: Warriors & Wet Blankets

Posted by gauloises1 on March 16, 2011

In addition to the Ivanovic-Bartoli clash, there’s a few more exciting quarter-finals on tap in the next few days.

It’s Wozniacki against one of her many best friends again after the world no.1 recovered from dropping the first set to Alisa Kleybanova to win quite comfortably in three. Vika, on the other hand, is never comfortable. Radwanska served for the match twice against her in the third set before Vika somehow squeaked it out. Which doesn’t exactly bode well for this particular clash.

Also battling was Shahar Peer, who took what I clocked as ‘forever’ (roughly) to maintain her hard-court dominance over Francesca Schiavone, triumphing eventually 64 36 76(3). She last met Yanina Wickmayer in Dubai where the Israeli prevailed, but both these girls have been off the radar so far this tournament, so who knows …

Maria Sharapova was deadly and dominating against Dinara Safina. I have a feeling Peng Shuai might prove a little trickier.

No surprises on the men’s side, unless you count Richard Gasquet winning a match. He beat Jurgen Melzer, but the men’s draw has yet to get really interesting. We’ll see tonight maybe.

Men

Singles – Third Round
[2] R Federer (SUI) d [29] J Chela (ARG) 60 62
[3] N Djokovic (SRB) d [31] E Gulbis (LAT) 60 61
[7] T Berdych (CZE) d [26] T Bellucci (BRA) 63 62
[8] A Roddick (USA) d [30] J Isner (USA) 75 62
[18] R Gasquet (FRA) d [10] J Melzer (AUT) 61 63
[12] S Wawrinka (SUI) d [17] M Cilic (CRO) 75 63
[16] V Troicki (SRB) d [24] M Llodra (FRA) 63 63
[WC] R Harrison (USA) d [WC] M Raonic (CAN) 76(1) 46 64

Doubles – Quarter-finals
M Lopez (ESP) / R Nadal (ESP) d L Dlouhy (CZE) / P Hanley (AUS) 75 67(3) 10-7

Doubles – Second Round
A Dolgopolov (UKR) / X Malisse (BEL) d [1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) 75 67(9) 10-7
R Bopanna (IND) / A Qureshi (PAK) d [3] M Bhupathi (IND) / L Paes (IND) 63 64
M Knowles (BAH) / M Mertinak (SVK) d [WC] J Erlich (ISR) / A Ram (ISR) 63 64

Women

Singles – Fourth Round
(1) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. (22) Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) 26 63 61
(15) Marion Bartoli (FRA) d. (2) Kim Clijsters (BEL) 36 31 ret. (right shoulder injury)
(10) Shahar Peer (ISR) d. (5) Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 64 36 76(3)
(19) Ana Ivanovic d. (6) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 64 62
(8) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. (9) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 46 63 76(3)
(16) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. Dinara Safina (RUS) 62 60
Peng Shuai (CHN) d. (18) Nadia Petrova (RUS) 64 57 63
(23) Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) d. (25) Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 75 75

Doubles – Quarterfinals
(6) Azarenka/Kirilenko (BLR/RUS) d. (WC) Jankovic/Pavlyuchenkova (SRB/RUS) 64 75
Mirza/Vesnina (IND/RUS) d. Jans/Rosolska (POL/POL) 64 61

OOP

STADIUM 1 start 11:00 am
[21] S Querrey (USA) vs [25] T Robredo (ESP) – ATP
Not Before 1:00 PM
[19] A Ivanovic (SRB) vs [15] M Bartoli (FRA) – WTA
[16] V Troicki (SRB) vs [3] N Djokovic (SRB) – ATP
[8] A Roddick (USA) vs [18] R Gasquet (FRA) – ATP
Not Before 7:00 PM
[1] R Nadal (ESP) vs [Q] S Devvarman (IND) – ATP
[WC] R Harrison (USA) vs [2] R Federer (SUI) – ATP

STADIUM 2 start 11:00 am
[32] P Kohlschreiber (GER) vs J Del Potro (ARG) – ATP
[7] T Berdych (CZE) vs [12] S Wawrinka (SUI) – ATP
[23] A Montanes (ESP) vs I Karlovic (CRO) – ATP
A Dolgopolov (UKR) / X Malisse (BEL) vs A Murray (GBR) / J Murray (GBR) – ATP
Not Before 7:00 PM
[10] S Peer (ISR) vs [23] Y Wickmayer (BEL) – WTA

STADIUM 3 start 12:30 pm
D Hantuchova (SVK) / A Radwanska (POL) vs [4] V King (USA) / Y Shvedova (KAZ) – WTA
[3] L Huber (USA) / N Petrova (RUS) vs [8] B Mattek-Sands (USA) / M Shaughnessy (USA) – WTA
R Bopanna (IND) / A Qureshi (PAK) vs N Djokovic (SRB) / V Troicki (SRB) – ATP – After Suitable Rest

Posted in caroline wozniacki, indian wells, maria sharapova, shahar peer, shuai peng, victoria azarenka, yanina wickmayer | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Indian Wells: Blaze of Glory

Posted by gauloises1 on March 16, 2011

(WC) Ryan Harrison d. (WC) Milos Raonic, 76(1) 46 64

Blame Canada the U.S.A.

I was really hoping that Raonic would take care of Harrison in this particular battle of the North American young guns / wildcard recipients. For one thing, I really do like Raonic; for another, I don’t care for Harrison at all, mainly based on how he behaved at Queens last year (a lot like Roddick at his worst without the charm). But I was nothing but impressed by his game yesterday and his attitude; he threw himself neck-or-nothing at Raonic’s serves and the net equally and displayed great touch and a cool head at the biggest moments.

Not that Raonic played badly at all. It was a fun, high-quality match that had a lot of wild predictions being thrown around (the Grand Slam rivalry of the future? We’ll see) and Harrison’s play definitely definitely justified a big celebration.

He gets Federer next. Best of luck with that, young man.  

Posted in indian wells, milos raonic, ryan harrison | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Indian Wells: Are You Being Serb’d?

Posted by gauloises1 on March 16, 2011

(My thanks to ShankTennis for the title.)

A very Serbian day in Indian Wells today. First of all, we had Novak Djokovic crushing Ernests Gulbis with the ridiculous score of 60 61. Ernie threatened to break in the first game and then did nothing for the rest of the match. I didn’t see it, but one feels I didn’t miss very much.

Djokovic will face compatriot Viktor Troicki after the latter defeated Michael Llodra 63 63. And then we had these two.

Ana Ivanovic beat defending champion Jelena Jankovic 64 62, and she did it by looking to dominate the points whenever she could and not getting down on herself when she missed. Simple, right? You’d think so, but the time it’s taken for her to get back playing this way suggests that’s not the case, despite the fact that she makes it look so natural when she plays as well as she did today. Ivanovic is still too tense and desperate to be relaxing to watch, but there was a real sense of joy in her tennis today. The fact that she managed to win the first set despite only breaking serve once speaks volumes.

JJ … JJ, in a familiar refrain, was disappointing. She had so much success moving Ana from side to side that it was infuriating to watch her squandering the opportunities she got to put width on her shots, she didn’t return at all well and some of her net approaches were frankly baffling. There was simply no spring in her step or, apparently, in her brain.

But the way Ana played today, JJ would have had to be near her best to beat her. The openings to rattle her were there, but she came up with big serves at important moments and went for her shots at the right moments and with conviction. Again, it sounds simple but she has a simple game – simple, but terribly effective when it’s on. Her entire problem is overthinking and she kept that in check today. If she can repeat that against Bartoli, she’ll be in the semi-finals and there will be no repining.

Well, maybe a little bit.

Sssshhhh … JJ 4EVA.

Posted in ana ivanovic, indian wells, jelena jankovic, novak djokovic | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Indian Wells: Clijsters Retires (Not Like That).

Posted by gauloises1 on March 16, 2011

Sad news today as Kim Clijsters was forced to retire with a sore shoulder despite leading Marion Bartoli by a set.

It was a dreadful first set which frankly Bartoli could and should have won, especially as Kim clearly was not physically 100% and was rolling in her serves ready to be attacked. She took a medical timeout after going a break down and then retired from the match.

Reportedly she has been taking painkillers since the Australian Open for a pinched right shoulder and doesn’t want to play until she’s sure she can do so without damaging the shoulder further.

“I just wanted to see how it would go here,” she said. “I had treatment with my trainer, but I wasn’t playing. I had my usual mobilisations, some acupuncture, a lot of loosening up.

“In Paris, I had a really bad neck injury, which was probably a little bit related with the shoulder. Obviously something is not the way it should be in this area so I’m gonna have to figure out, have some tests and then try to solve it.”

Clijsters said her osteopath was not with her at Indian Wells but would join here in Miami for the WTA tournament starting next week.

“After Miami we have Fed Cup, which I’m taking very seriously,” the 27-year-old added. “And also obviously the clay court season, which is a very tough part of the season for the shoulders. I’m gonna have to make sure that I’m fully healed until I start playing on that surface.”

source

Get better soon, Kim.

Posted in indian wells, kim clijsters | Tagged: | 1 Comment »