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Archive for the ‘novak djokovic’ 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 »

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: 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 »

I Think Nole’s Knees Speak For Us All.

Posted by gauloises1 on March 16, 2011

Posted in indian wells, novak djokovic | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

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 »

If This Doesn’t Make You Smile …

Posted by gauloises1 on February 19, 2011

… you just aren’t having enough fun in show business.

I can’t believe how hard he works to share the moment with everyone.

Posted in australian open, novak djokovic, video | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

The Withdrawal Method: Nole Out Of Rotterdam

Posted by gauloises1 on February 4, 2011

Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic has pulled out of the ABN AMRO 500 in Rotterdam next week, citing a shoulder injury which will reportedly prevent him from practicing for a week. He did, let’s recall, have that shoulder taped in Melbourne.

Any excuse for topless, bendy, victorious, gasping Nole …

Let’s hope it’s preventative and he just needs a little rest after his feats in Belgrade and Melbourne. Soderling and Murray are still in the Rotterdam draw.

Meanwhile, Novak has been being unbearably hot at a watch shop, or something. I don’t know. Does it matter? He looks hot.

There’s also a video of the visit, courtesy of Noleksa on twitter. If you can’t get enough Nole – and who can? – check it out.

Posted in novak djokovic, rotterdam, the withdrawal method | Tagged: , | 6 Comments »

You and Me Could Have a Sad Bromance.

Posted by gauloises1 on January 31, 2011

Q. Did you speak English back when you were 11? Could you talk to him?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I had it in school so already I knew some basic things. Back then, yeah, we were speaking kind of more with the signs, you know, hands and legs and stuff (smiling). He was using more of a Scottish accent, so he was really hard to understand.

Q. You also played doubles with him.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: He had the hair (laughter).

[…] Q. Now is it hard to balance the friendship and the professional rivalry or do you achieve that?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, I sent him a message yesterday after his semifinal saying like, Perth final, because we practiced in Perth a couple times this year. We had fun. We played football there. He won, unfortunately.

It’s fun. It’s been a fun couple of weeks. I think we, as well, reconnected a little bit with the friendship in the last 12 months.

Well, we have to forget about all that when we step on the court. It’s all business. I’m sure he’s going to be very eager to win a first Grand Slam title.

source

“I was letting it [our friendship] go in the last few months and allowing Andy to feel what he wants to feel about our relationship, as friends,” Djokovic said. “If he thinks we should be friends regularly and hang out more or not.”

“That was more or less on him to decide because I always liked him as a person. We grew up together playing junior events, we knew each other really well and had a lot of fun.

“But then we basically came up to the top of tennis at the same time and were rivals. At some stage we were playing a lot of matches against each other and now we haven’t played for a long time.

“Right now I feel we are getting closer because we grew up and this period of three, four years being at the top of men’s tennis has kind of passed and now we know that OK, we are rivals, that’s obvious. But off the court it doesn’t mean that we can’t have dinner or play golf or things like that.

“I definitely wish him to have it [a first grand-slam title] because I think he deserves it. He has all he needs to have in order to be a champion.”

source

Rah, rah, uncontrollable weeping.

Posted in andy murray, australian open, novak djokovic | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »