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Posts Tagged ‘marin cilic’

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 »

La Marseillaise.

Posted by gauloises1 on February 19, 2011

Marchons, marchons, Marin Cilic! You’re not going to believe this, but he actually won a match. A quarterfinal. Against Mikhail Youzhny. Let us pause for a small picspam.

Not the most comprehensive victory, but a satisfying one nonetheless. Marin said after the match that he wasn’t playing his best in the first set (which he won 6-2), but it looked pretty damn close to me; clean, confident and powerful, like the Marin of old. Youzhny picked his game up in the second set, which coincided with a dip in Marin’s first serve in particular, and for much of the third set Youzhny led by a break and looked like the better player. Marin had his chances to get back into it, but Youzhny was really playing a very clever match and retrieving brilliantly, and under the circumstances a few loose errors from Marin cost him severely.

It would have been very easy, especially for the Marin we’ve known for the last year or so who has the mental fortitude and structural integrity of a clock painted by Salvador Dali, to give up at that point. But he saved two match points on his serve at 3-5 and was rewarded when a little wobble by Youzhny let him break back as the Russian was serving for the whole shebang. He came up with the goods on his serve and in the rallies to nick the match out from under Youzhny’s nose, 7-5. And it was good.

Marin talked in his post-match interview about the importance of focussing on his own game – or trying to find his own game, as he put it; has it been down the back of the sofa for a year? – rather than whether or not he’s expected to beat his opponent and “not trying too hard for it”. That seems to go to the heart of the problem for him; trusting himself and his game enough to let it happen, not over-pressing in a frantic attempt to live up to what he feels are the expectations on him. Back-to-back victories over Berdych and Youzhny, and getting to a final, should do him the world of good. I’m excited.

Unfortunately he’s facing Robin Soderling, gunning for his second title in as many weeks. The Swede looked fairly pumped to overcome Dmitry Tursunov, who was up for it for a set and quickly faded. He’s obviously riding some major confidence at the moment and I can’t see him losing to Marin. But you never know …

Posted in marin cilic, marseilles | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Not So Much Marchons, Marchons in Marseilles

Posted by gauloises1 on February 19, 2011

Not a great day for the home nation in Marseilles. Defending champion Michael Llodra went down 61 64 to top-seeded and frankly scary Robin Soderling in the quarterfinals. Can we all agree Soderling is the real deal here? OK, he hasn’t won a Slam, but he’s kicked on from his initial breakthrough against Nadal at Roland Garros and kept himself consistently in the conversation, and right now he’s looking pretty fair to take the Marseilles title in addition to defending in Rotterdam. I get the feeling that people are waiting for his particular flash in the pan to be flushed. It doesn’t look like it’s going to happen any time soon.

Speaking of pans and flashes, or flushes; Tomas Berdych, often bracketed with Soderling, lost his quarterfinal to Marin Cilic today. Yes, you heard me. Marin Cilic. In straight sets. I didn’t see it, but he was apparently rather good.

I shan’t comment except to say that at the very moment or thereabouts that he was closing out his victory, I was holding forth to my lunchtime companion about how very gorgeous he is in person. The word “dreamy” was employed. Coincidence?

A further unseeded upset was provided by Dmitry Tursunov, who is making quite the renaissance of late, defeating Jurgen Melzer in three; and to pile woe upon the French, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga played a cracking match against Mikhail Youzhny and still lost despite keeping it interesting to the very end.

Posted in jo-wilfried tsonga, marin cilic, marseilles, robin soderling | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

The Mystery of Marin & Other 250 Tales.

Posted by gauloises1 on February 5, 2011

Marin didn’t exactly got his revenge on Florian Mayer today. Instead, he notched up his second straight-sets loss to the German in a year, 63 64. I watched, and it was dreadful.

Marin himself said that he made a lot of unforced errors and couldn’t find any rhythm, which is a pretty accurate summation. I’ve been making light and making fun of Marin’s downward spiral for a long time, but I may have just reached the end of my tether. I intend no disrespect to Mayer, who is an incredibly improved player over the last year and making himself dangerous to all sorts of people. But it was the same match that Marin has basically been playing for a year now and I have just had enough.

What is going on?! This is the man who has been tipped for the top since forever, because he’s always looked to be nothing but upside. This is the man who made the quarterfinals of the 2009 US Open by beating Murray, blasted Rafa off the court in Beijing, then went straight on to the semifinals of the Australian Open. He struggled his way through Zagreb afterwards through sheer willpower, and then … what? I don’t know. OK, so he’s had his moments – finals of Munich, semis in Washington, round of sixteen at Roland Garros – but that is the very least he should be accomplishing, and those moments should not be interspersed with losses to the likes of Andreas Seppi and Andreas Haider-Maurer. And I just don’t understand it. He hasn’t had any major injury problems that have been reported in the press, and it’s a fact that he didn’t forget how to serve, hit his forehand or approach the net. He just became unable to do any of them on a consistently successful basis, for no apparent reason whatsoever.

Watch him these days and he’s a wreck of a player. Even when he’s winning, he’s still a bundle of nerves and errors being held together by sheer strength of will that’s always liable to shatter. The Marin of two years ago would have at least made a concerted effort to take it to Rafa in Melbourne. And the kind of errors he routinely made against Mayer were simple flinching at the moment of potential victory, like choking on a point-by-point level, and I just … don’t … understand … why!

Personal problems? Injuries or illnesses we don’t know about? Or he’s tired and burnt out after his first major semi-final, so he has a couple of random losses, and that combined with the unprecedented pressure combines to rock his confidence, and he feels like he can’t play freely, and it just gets worse and worse and worse and every time he thinks he’s getting out of it, he starts thinking too much and loses and it gets worse again?

I have literally been wondering about this for a year, and I’m fed up with it. I don’t care what it is any more. I just want him to stop it. Like, now. Because the way he’s going, he’s going to end up Joe McDisappointment and he is far too good for that. He should be a challenger. He should be a contender. He should be in the top ten. He’s good enough. I know he’s good enough. Honestly, I could just grab him and shake him and yell that into his face until he gets that through his divinely-moulded Croatian head.

…. But then, I know about twenty people who want to do the same thing to me. OK, they wouldn’t call my head ‘divinely-moulded’ – or Croatian, come to that – but the general gist would be the same. You’re good! You can do things! Believe! And frankly, it would just make me want to prove them wrong so they would leave me alone. And then I could go to bed. With a bottle of gin. And a pie. All right, I just talked myself out of being angry with Marin. I suppose I’ll just keep hanging on until he starts winning again, however long it takes. And in the meantime, if he wants to join me in bed with a bottle of gin and a pie, I suppose that would be OK as well.

Er … where was I?

Well done Florian Mayer.

There was a bit of a big-name exodus in Zagreb today in fact. Ivan Dodig took out compatriot Ivan Ljubicic in straight sets, and Richard Gasquet retired after seven games (being in the quarterfinals after Arnaud Clement retired against him).

So Michael Berrer is through to the semi-finals, along with Mayer, Dodig and Garcia-Lopez. Well done all round.

Johannesburg semi-finals, meanwhile, are mainly populated by people you’ve sort of heard of, but only sort of. Two locals, Kevin Anderson and Izak Van der Merwe, are through along with Adrian Mannarino, who’s a yummy Frenchman in a fey sort of way, and Somdev Devvarman, who beat another local, Rik de Vroest.

And in Santiago, Interior Minister-meeting defending champion Thomaz Bellucci lost to certified living Ken doll Fabio Fognini in a fairly thrilling three-set match. Fognini led 4-1 before Bellucci fought back to take it to a tiebreak, only to be taken down by Foggers’ superior speed. Fognini will be joined in the semi-finals by compatriot Potito Starace (yes, Potito Starace has had a better week than Marin), who beat Nalbandian’s conqueror, the suddenly-relevant Horacio ‘Onion’ Zeballos. Also hanging around? Hot Santi Giraldo and Vanilla Robredo. So it’s still a bit sexy.

… And that is what has been happening on the ATP tour.

Posted in florian mayer, ivan ljubicic, johannesburg, marin cilic, richard gasquet, santiago, santiago giraldo, somdev devvarman, zagreb | Tagged: , , , , | 9 Comments »

Mixed Fortunes For Marin.

Posted by gauloises1 on February 3, 2011

Don’t look now – I SAID DON’T LOOK!!! – but Marin won a match in Zagreb, where he’s the two-time defending champion, beating Igor Kunitsyn 76(3) 62. He’ll be facing Florian Mayer in the quarterfinals after Stupid Flowery Girlie Girl beat Radek Stepanek in three sets. Mayer, let us not forget, is the man who dismissed Marin in straight sets at Wimbledon last year before the horrified eyes of yours truly, and he recently beat Nikolay Davydenko in the first round of the Australian Open.

This isn’t going to end well for the Mariners, is what I’m saying.

Marin fared slightly worse in the doubles, as he (somewhat bizarrely) teamed up with sometime(s) coach and tournament director Goran Ivanisevic to lose to Filip Polasek and Ivan Zelenay in straight sets, in a match that was mainly memorable for (i) Goran’s inability to get a serve in the court, (ii) Goran cracking Marin up on changeovers, and (iii) this ridiculous pair of trick shots by Polasek, which you can watch here.

But have some photos anyway, because it’s been scientifically proven that there is nothing more pictorially engrossing than a pair of lanky Croatians playing doubles. Also … Marin actually makes Goran look a little bit fat, or at least three-dimensional.

 

 

Elsewhere, Johannesburg has been mainly notable for the exploits of a couple of Canadians; Milos Raonic, who beat second seed Yen-Hsun Lu before losing to Simon Greul in the second round, and Frank Dancevic, currently ranked 234, who knocked out defending champion Feliciano Lopez in a rain-interrupted match that went to 10-8 in a third set tiebreak.

And in Santiago, the hotness of the tournament took a blow when Juan Monaco lost to hermano Maximo Gonzalez in the first round, but is still ensured after David Nalbandian beat Carlos Berlocq in three and Thomaz Bellucci, defending champion, is into the quarterfinals after Rui Machado. As a reward, he got to meet the Chilean Minister of the Interior.

He looks pretty happy about it, I suppose.

Posted in florian mayer, goran ivanisevic, johannesburg, marin cilic, santiago, thomaz bellucci, zagreb | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

The Week Ahead Now: Johannesburg, Santiago, Zagreb

Posted by gauloises1 on February 1, 2011

Johannesburg

250; Feliciano Lopez defending; draw here.

Top 8 seeds: Feliciano Lopez, Yen-Hsun Lu, Janko Tipsarevic, Kevin Anderson, Florent Serra, Adrian Mannarino, Rainer Schuettler, Michal Przysieny

Points of interest: Adorable Canadian giant Milos Raonic has qualified and will play second seed Yen-Hsun Lu in the first round. Also, that’s once more than I hoped to have to type “Michal Przysieny” in 2011. Twice now.

Santiago

250; Thomaz Bellucci defending; draw here.

Top 8 Seeds: David Nalbandian, Juan Monaco, Thomaz Bellucci, Juan Ignacio Chela, Potito Starace, Tommy Robredo, Fabio Fognini, Santiago Giraldo

Points of interest: David Nalbandian, Juan Monaco, Thomaz Bellucci. Seriously, the South American clay swing? Sexy. Also, Robredo also got through a potentially challenging first round match with Federico Gil. Is Ex-Disco Tommy a thing again? Can he not be?

Zagreb

a.k.a the Marin Cilic peep show

250; Marin Cilic defending; draw here.

Top 8 seeds: Marin Cilic, Ivan Ljubicic, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Richard Gasquet, Florian Mayer, Marcel Granollers, Philipp Petzchner, Michael Berrer

Points of interest: Well, it depends. If you think Marin Cilic has to hit rock bottom before he can begin to climb again, then you probably want him to lose in the second round. If you think he has to arrest the slide somewhere, anywhere, then you probably don’t want to watch his second round. He’s got a tough draw to get to the semis; first a  probable match with Igor Kunitsyn, then either the suddenly-scary Florian Mayer (who beat him in straights at Wimbledon last year) or the always-sexy Radek Stepanek. There’s always Richard Gasquet and last year’s finalist Michael Berrer in his half, too. And watch out for Lukas Lacko hanging around the bottom half as well. No insinuation intended.

Also: Marin is playing doubles with Goran. Seriously. Their first match is 6 p.m. local tomorrow.

Posted in ATP week ahead, feliciano lopez, johannesburg, marin cilic, santiago, thomaz bellucci, zagreb | Tagged: , , | 11 Comments »

Spaniard on Spaniard.

Posted by gauloises1 on January 24, 2011

All is set for the fifteenth meeting between Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer. Imagine my excitement.

Rafa, wearing what for him is a distinctly baggy shirt, looks to be recovered from his fever and put in probably his best performance of the tournament so far in defeating Marin Cilic 62 64 63. He didn’t play his best, but he really didn’t have to; it was businesslike more than anything, not expending too much energy and giving Marin enough rope to hang himself (these days, a tennis racquet).

It’s a step forward for Marin to have won three consecutive matches to get this far, but his performance today was a perfect example of everything that’s bedevilled his game for the last 12 months; lack of first serves, lack of confidence, lack of confidence and lack of confidence. He consistently managed to get to 30 or deuce on Rafa’s serve, but from there only got three break points which he couldn’t convert, and he didn’t help his cause by getting irritated by Rafa’s slow pace of play, which will never change despite getting twice warned by the umpire. He wasn’t anywhere near good enough today.

David Ferrer was too good for young Canadian qualifier Milos Raonic, who took the first set but couldn’t sustain the red-hot quality of play that has got him through the tournament so far. Hurt by a lack of first serves, he was predictably outsteadied by Ferru, who played well and was sweet to him at the net.

I really wish I could muster some excitement about Nadal-Ferrer in the quarterfinals, but there’s a reason that Ferrer’s not won since 2007, and as well as he’s playing right now, I don’t see that changing.

Enjoy happy Ferru while it lasts.

Posted in australian open, david ferrer, marin cilic, milos raonic, rafael nadal | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

The Kite Runner?

Posted by gauloises1 on January 22, 2011

Marin Cilic d. John Isner 46 62 67(5) 76(2) 97

The impossible has happened; after months, and I do mean months, of being out in the cold, Marin Cilic has won three consecutive matches and is into the fourth round of the Australian Open. And I was so sure he’d lose, I didn’t even watch (sleeping also had something to do with it). Five sets, too. Someone get that man a pie.

The AO website posted a ’10 questions’ thing which is quite amusing, you should check it out. And then explain to me the difference between ‘Pop-Rock’ and ‘Rock-Pop’. Marin’s got Rafa next, so, you know. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Posted in australian open, marin cilic | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

Image is Everything: D Cup Quarter-finals

Posted by gauloises1 on July 12, 2010

Because nothing generates quite so much fantastic photoage as Davis Cup. You know it to be true.

sorry but ive to say i fcking won davis cup!omg

Pretty sure I could snap him like a twig. A twig.

Marin’s left arm makes a desperate bid for freedom.

Get the man a Big Mac, a big drink and a big vuvuzela.

“Did I leave the gas on …?”

This is not the face I’ve missed.

This is the face I’ve missed.

Put it away, Nole. Or I will come to Serbia and show you where to … never mind.

“Mr. President. What the hell.”

Nothing beats a good old-fashioned Serbian love huddle.

Eduardo Schwank looking in no way ridiculous.

Eduardo Schwank being no way ridiculous.

Kind of impossible to dislike Gael when he finds himself on this planet long enough to win a big match.

Tipsy wants a cuddle. No-one on this earth can blame him.

They shoot horses, don’t they?

Premature celebrating.

Yeah, Youzh better run.

Having beaten Spain at tennis, France take them on at the art of the manly hug. And win.

Have him caramelised and sent to my room.

Nole Major and Nole Minor.

Look who showed up to ‘help’.

“I’m a little lamb who’s lost in the woods …”

Kolya contemplates the many tragedies of life.

Shamil contemplates finding another job.

You’re not helping.

Homoerotic celebrations: must try harder.

Posted in david ferrer, david nalbandian, davis cup, eduardo schwank, gael monfils, gilles simon, horacio zeballos, igor andreev, ivan ljubicic, janko tipsarevic, julien benneteau, marin cilic, markko djokovic, michael llodra, mikhail youzhny, nenad zimonjic, novak djokovic | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

D Cup: Croatia 1 – 4 Serbia

Posted by gauloises1 on July 12, 2010

I have to say, this one got a bit short-changed for me this weekend; I was focused on Argentina and France. Much has been said and written about the political background to this one, and the sad behaviour of some fans in Split. But at the end of the day, the players all showed up, did their jobs, played some fantastic tennis and treated each other and the spectators with respect. So that’s what I’m going to hastily honour.

Nenad Zimonjic and Janko Tipsarevic, or as I mentally refer to them ‘Errol Flynn and Crazy Eyes’ won their doubles rubber.

Marin once again veered wildly between thrilling …

… and enormously disappointing.

Markko Djokovic was there as a reserve for no adequately explained reason.

And Nole did the absolute business, winning both his matches to put Serbia into their first ever Davis Cup semi-finals.

A fine effort, but less clothing and much more wetness required for full marks, Serbia.

R1 – N.DJOKOVIC (SRB) def. I.LJUBICIC (CRO)
7-6(3)  6-4  6-1
R2 – M.CILIC (CRO) def. V.TROICKI (SRB)
6-4  7-5  6-2
R3 – J.TIPSAREVIC / N.ZIMONJIC (SRB) def. M.CILIC / I.DODIG (CRO)
6-3  6-2  6-4
R4 – N.DJOKOVIC (SRB) def. M.CILIC (CRO)
6-3  6-3  6-2
R5 – J.TIPSAREVIC (SRB) def. A.VEIC (CRO)
6-2  7-6(5)

Posted in davis cup, janko tipsarevic, marin cilic, markko djokovic, nenad zimonjic, novak djokovic | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »