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Archive for the ‘paris masters’ Category

It’s Not Finished …. It’s Finished

Posted by gauloises1 on November 11, 2009

Good news? Juan Martin del Potro is through to the third round of the Paris masters to face Fernando Gonzalez after a three-set win. (I feel the urge to go ‘YEAH BABY!’ a la Ola Jordan at this point, but I shall restrain myself. Oh, what the hell. YEAH BABY!). The bad news? Said win came over Marat Safin, ending his career 64 57 64.

marat safindelpo

 

I thought JMDP played quite well overall. He made only 2 UFEs in the first set, served his 500th ace of 2009 somewhere during the second set, and if it hadn’t been for a badly-timed wobble (probably the lack of match practice) serving to stay in the second set he may well have got it done in two. I think Marat was reasonably satisfied to have his final match be against del Potro – if only because, as he said during the post-match presentation, that may possibly entitle him to a share of the prize money should JMDP win the whole shebang – and there was, er, shall we say genuine warmth between them at the net.

marat delpo

delpo marat

delpo marat

JMDP was basically wholly adorable, directing the crowd to applaud Marat, sitting down next to Marat for a chat, and printing ‘MARAT’ on the camera and getting Safin to sign it instead of signing it himself. All of which was making me wibble a little bit, and that was before Marat’s goodbye ceremony, where a bunch of players past and present came on to wish him well and applaud while he was presented with the key to the Bercy stadium.

marat safin

Here’s video of the whole thing, from match point on, in case you missed it:

I realise I’ve spent most of this post talking about JMDP and not Marat. The truth is that my fandom relationship with Marat has been so long and rocky that I don’t quite know what to say. Still, I’ll miss him. I think we’ll all miss him.

Oh just have some more photos.

marat delpo

marat greeting line

marat goodbye

marat goodbye2

marat goodbye3

marat

Posted in juan martin del potro, marat safin, paris masters, video | Tagged: , , , , , , | 24 Comments »

In the Eye of the Storm

Posted by gauloises1 on November 11, 2009

Juan Martin del Potro has apparently given an interview published today in L’Equipe where he talks about how unrepared he was for the aftermath of winning a Slam. Unfortunately, I’ve been stabbing ineffectually at the L’Equipe website on and off all day and I can’t find the bloody thing. But! I did find this from Clarin.

delpo

In the article (as far as I can tell from Google Translate), JMDP referred to the experience of being mobbed by the media and fans as ‘truly destabilising’ and says he barely saw his family when he returned to Argentina, his first chance to rest coming on the plane to Tokyo. He also said that he’s been isolating himself, practicing on a private indoor court on Buenos Aires to avoid attention, and that he once again needs to learn from the likes of Federer and Nadal because they don’t go and lose in the first round after winning a Slam. (So hard on himself!)

He also says his season has been ‘almost perfect’ and that winning the YEC (or Bercy, I’m not sure what he’s referring to) would make it perfect.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that he lost his doubles with Gonzo today. I was avidly watching the scoreboard and deduced that it was all Gonzo’s fault.

UPDATED: Proper translation of the article in the comments, courtesy of AmyLu. Thanks!

Posted in juan martin del potro, paris masters | Tagged: | 18 Comments »

Wednesday’s OOP

Posted by gauloises1 on November 11, 2009

How sexy is this?

paris oop

Posted in paris masters | 4 Comments »

Paris Day Two: Jo, Gilles, Julien Survive; Guez Upsets Wawrinka

Posted by gauloises1 on November 11, 2009

Pretty good day for the home players in Bercy today. Well, unless you’re Jeremy Chardy. He put in a classic WTF?! (not the tournament) performance against Pico, who didn’t have to be any more than solid. Although, being Pico, he managed to sneak in some agony and drama-queen behaviour as well.

juan monaco paris masters 20092

Toys. Pram. Out of.

Anyway, it was a disappointing end to the season for Chardy. Also out and not happy about it? Philipp Petzchner, who was ousted by Julien Benneteau in an odd match of wildly varying quality which also included more than a bit of handbags. I was trying to watch two matches at once (and work at the same time), so I’m not sure exactly what’s going on here:

philipp petzchner julien benneteau paris masters 2009

But I did see Petzchner behaving badly in the last game, making ridiculous challenges on balls that were quite clearly three feet wide, and as he shook Lars Graf’s hand at the end, I could have sworn he said something like ‘Thanks for taking the money’. Apparently he also told Benneteau he was going to be aim for his face. In which case, don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out of 2009.

More good news for France came in the unlikely form of French qualifier David Guez, 179 in the world, who upset Stanislas Wawrinka in not-even-hugely-close straight sets. Seriously, what has Wawrinka done for anyone lately? OK, I’m not a fan, but thinking back on 2009, I remember him for (a) beating Federer in Monte Carlo and (b) stretching Murray to five under the Wimbledon roof. Am I missing something? Because from where I’m sitting, two good matches in a year (one of which he still lost) isn’t really cutting it.

Anyway, Verdasco narrowly avoided being upset by Seppi himself, so there’s that good news to consider, and Kolya was in suitably crushing form, rolling over Becker with the loss of just three games. But back to the French. Qualifier Arnaud Clement dismissed Feliciano Lopez 63 61, and then defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga delighted the home crowd with inspired play in the first night match. Montanes was actually playing great tennis, I thought, even in the first set, but Jo was just that damn good. Loved it. Hope he hasn’t peaked too soon.

jo-wilfried tsonga paris masters 2009

Also loving his hair at the mo.

I didn’t even mean to watch Simon-Ljubicic, as Gilles was 0-3 down against Ljubicic in the H2H and I thought it would be depressing, but I got sucked in and I’m glad I did. Gilles was playing very not like himself in the first set, being really aggressive, going for his shots and hitting big winners, and he took it 63. An inevitable lull came in the second set, but by the time the match was into the decider, it was really good stuff. Gilles finally earned a break point with Ljubicic serving at 2-3 down (I think), only to hurt his knee lunging for a return (which he missed). He immediately limped to the net and asked for the trainer; Carlos Bernades told him he would have to wait until the end of the game, only for Ljubicic to sportingly say that it was fine by him. After medical treatment, he somehow held serve for 4-3 despite double-faulting twice and received more treatment, saying to the trainer that came on that he was in pain but that stopping play wasn’t an option. And that point, you would be forgiven for thinking that Ljubicic really had the match on a plate, but oddly, it didn’t work out that way. Despite barely running for anything and clearly being in pain, Gilles chipped, sliced, drop-shotted and volleyed his way through two more service games to take the match to a tiebreak. Which he won. And I still don’t quite know how. Yes, he hit some ridiculously good shots, but all Ljubicic had to do was go for his shots or even just make Gilles run. Instead, Gilles seemed to hypnotise him into just chipping the ball right back. It was bizarre and not a good way to end the season for Ljubicic, but I’m a Gilles fan. So I don’t really care. Allez!

gilles simon paris masters 2009

Singles – Second Round
[6] N Davydenko (RUS) d B Becker (GER) 62 61
[7] F Verdasco (ESP) d A Seppi (ITA) 67(3) 64 64
[8] J Tsonga (FRA) d A Montanes (ESP) 61 75
[11] G Simon (FRA) d I Ljubicic (CRO) 63 36 76(4)

Singles – First Round
N Almagro (ESP) d M Chiudinelli (SUI) 62 64
[Q] D Guez (FRA) d S Wawrinka (SUI) 63 64
J Monaco (ARG) d J Chardy (FRA) 76(6) 75
J Benneteau (FRA) d P Petzschner (GER) 46 75 63
[Q] A Clement (FRA) d F Lopez (ESP) 63 61

Doubles – First Round
B Soares (BRA) / K Ullyett (ZIM) d P Cuevas (URU) / O Marach (AUT) 61 76(6)
M Granollers (ESP) / T Robredo (ESP) d J Del Potro (ARG) / F Gonzalez (CHI) 76(2) 62
C Kas (GER) / P Kohlschreiber (GER) d J Monaco (ARG) / R Nadal (ESP) 46 75 15-13 – saved 2 M.P.
J Kerr (AUS) / T Parrott (USA) d M Damm (CZE) / J Erlich (ISR) 63 64
J Brunstrom (SWE) / J Rojer (AHO) d [WC] S Grosjean (FRA) / F Santoro (FRA) 63 36 10-5

Posted in gilles simon, jo-wilfried tsonga, juan monaco, julien benneteau, paris masters, philipp petzchner | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Sometimes, I Post Things Just Because.

Posted by gauloises1 on November 11, 2009

This is one of those times.

gilles jo paris

Love these two.

Posted in gilles simon, jo-wilfried tsonga, paris masters | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Va-Va-Voom

Posted by gauloises1 on November 10, 2009

Various members of the French football team were in Bercy today, although to be honest I only really recognise Thierry Henry and possibly Anelka (and Cedric Pioline, and yes I do know he’s not a footballer). Anyway, I thought the better educated might be interested …

tsonga pioline henry

tsonga henry anelka french football team

gilles simon thierry henry

Posted in gilles simon, jo-wilfried tsonga, paris masters | Tagged: , | 14 Comments »

Tuesday’s OOP

Posted by gauloises1 on November 10, 2009

paris oop

Posted in paris masters | 11 Comments »

Paris Day One: Marat’s Career. Still Not Over.

Posted by gauloises1 on November 10, 2009

Marat Safin survives for at least one more match at his last tournament. He was up against French qualifier Thierry Ascione, but it obviously wasn’t devoid of drama; a brain cramp in the second set took them into a decider and Marat had to save three match points with aces before taking the final tiebreak 7-3.

marat safin paris masters 2009

That means Marat will face Delpo in the second round in what is known as a ‘no-win scenario’. Either Delpo gets to be the guy who ends Marat’s career, or (in the more likely scenario, given that Delpo hasn’t won a match since the US Open), Marat wins and it’s no more Delpo till London. Sigh.

philipp kohlschreiber paris masters 2009victor hanescu paris masters 2009

PEHK’s erratic form continues as he fell to Andreas Seppi in straight sets, and Victor Hanescu went out after a great match against Albert Montanes; Hanescu had break point after break point in the third set but couldn’t convert, and Montanes stepped it up significantly in the tiebreak. Hanescu even attempted serving underarm after going about a zillion match points down (and won the point), but he couldn’t forestall the inevitable. And John Isner overcame a tough challenge from Alejandro Falla, saving three match points to advance.

Singles – First Round
A Seppi (ITA) d P Kohlschreiber (GER) 63 63
I Karlovic (CRO) d P Cuevas (URU) 76(3) 64
T Berdych (CZE) d [Q] V Millot (FRA) 63 76(4)
[Q] L Kubot (POL) d A Beck (GER) 64 36 64
V Troicki (SRB) d P Mathieu (FRA) 76(4) 30 ret. (right calf)
A Montanes (ESP) d V Hanescu (ROU) 36 63 76(3)
J Isner (USA) d [Q] A Falla (COL) 46 76(10) 75 – saved 3 M.P.
[WC] M Safin (RUS) d [Q] T Ascione (FRA) 64 46 76(3) – saved 3 M.P.

Doubles – First Round
S Aspelin (SWE) / P Hanley (AUS) d J Chardy (FRA) / G Simon (FRA) 64 36 10-7
[WC] A Clement (FRA) / M Llodra (FRA) d J Levinsky (CZE) / F Polasek (SVK) 36 61 10-4
J Benneteau (FRA) / J Tsonga (FRA) d J Coetzee (RSA) / M Melo (BRA) 63 64

Posted in marat safin, paris masters, philipp kohlschreiber, victor hanescu | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

ATP Week Ahead: Paris

Posted by gauloises1 on November 9, 2009

tsonga paris trophy

All aboard for the final Masters of the year. Draw here.

Conspicuous absences include Andy Roddick (knee injury), David Ferrer (hamstring), Lleyton Hewitt (something), and Mikhail Youzhny (unbelievably not wildcarded in). As for those that are there, questionable physical form is the order of the day: defending champion Tsonga has a wrist thing, as does Elf; Soderling has an elbow issue; Haas has swine flu (ha). In fact, it’s the top four seeds that seem to be in better physical condition than basically everybody else. Maybe there’ll be no surprise winner this year …

First Quarter: A probable second-round meeting between Gael Monfils and Stanislas Wawrinka catches the eye immediately, with the winner taking on Federer in the third round. Marin Cilic doesn’t have a bad draw and is certainly capable of beating Verdasco, but I get the feeling Marin may be running out of steam after his good results lately – and he needs the Paris title and a miracle to make London, whereas Verdasco is right on the edge of clinching his spot. I’d expect a Federer-Verdasco quarterfinal with Federer winning.

Second Quarter: The Murray-del Potro quarter. Other seeds Steps and Gonzo are still in with a tiny chance of making London (although they need the title or a final spot respectively), and I wouldn’t put it past either of them to make the semis. Having said that, if Gonzo’s on any kind of form of late, he’s been hiding it well. Murray will open against James Blake, and I don’t quite trust Murray’s form yet; Blake is certainly capable of hitting him off the court, but hopefully Murray’s greater mental toughness will tell. A third-round meeting with Steps should be well within his capabilities. As for JMDP … I don’t expect much (best way to be). He’s only played two matches since the US Open and won neither; even if the wrist is better, there’s a whole rust issue. He will open against the winner of Thierry Ascione and Marat Safin, and with Marat looking for some glory in his final tournament, I wouldn’t bet against the upset. Gonzo has to deal with recent nemesis John Isner in his first match. I call it like this: Isner-Safin meet in the third round and Steps beats the winner. Am I crazy? Hope so.

Third Quarter: The Kolya-Djokovic quarter. Two of the most in-form players at the moment against an injured Soderling and a swine-flu’d Haas? Yeah, I call Kolya for the semis right now. Some fun first-rounds though; Karlovic vs. Pablo Cuevas, Lopez vs. Clement, and Chardy vs. Pico, which is what we call a tragedy.

Fourth Quarter: Bookended by Tsonga and Nadal. Big question marks around Tsonga’s fitness, and he has to deal with the winner of Hanescu-Montanes in the second round. Things don’t look much better for Simon, who has to cope with recent nemesis Ivan Ljubicic (probably) in his first round. I think Ljubicic will make the quarters. Tomas Berdych is certainly capable of upsetting Tommy Robredo in the second round, but can you ever really bet on Berdych? Almagro-Chiudinelli should be an interesting match, but the winner (and probably everybody else) will be steamrolled by Nadal.

Predicted finalists: Federer, Nadal

Winner: …. Nadal

If that depresses you like it does me, check out the doubles draw. Pico is playing with Rafa, and JMDP is playing with Gonzo. LET THERE BE PHOTOS, TENNIS GODS. LET THERE BE PHOTOS.

Oh, and tomorrow’s OOP:

paris oop  

Posted in ATP week ahead, jo-wilfried tsonga, paris masters | Tagged: | 12 Comments »

Gulbis Ends Season With No-Show

Posted by gauloises1 on November 8, 2009

Taking ‘failing to show up’ to a new, literal level, Ernests Gulbis was nowhere to be found for his qualifying match at the Paris Masters. Because he was in Moscow.

From the tournament blog:

Ernests Gulbis was a no-show! Mathieu Rodrigues, ATP 410 who turned 24 today, knocked up with the ball-kids, waited for 15 minutes while the crowd sang “’appy burssday” (with a French accent) and then strolled into the second round. He was an alternate – i.e. he was only here because other higher-ranked players did not sign up for qualifying – and now he is only two sets away from making it into the main draw. Poor show from Gulbis though – a no-show like that won’t enhance his already somewhat flaky reputation. A poor end to a poor season for such a talented young man.

Really well done on that one, Ernie. Although shouldn’t the tournament have some way of checking that players are actually in the country before they call their matches? Such as, I don’t know, some form of register?

ernie

Also: does this count as breaking the whereabouts rule?

Posted in ernests gulbis, paris masters | Tagged: | 6 Comments »