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Posts Tagged ‘rafael nadal’

Wimbledon Day 7: … And The Rest

Posted by gauloises1 on June 29, 2010

On the ladies’ side, three somewhat surprise packages join the usual suspects in the Wimbledon quarterfinals. First up, Petra Kvitova, who beat Caroline Wozniacki 62 60 to book her spot. Wozniacki won just five points in the second set.

Kvitova, who had never won a grass court match coming into this tournament, will meet Kaia Kanepi, who will insist on occasionally being a thing. She took out Klara Zakopalova in straights.

The third unpredictable entrant is Tsvetana Pironkova, who defied my prediction by taking out former finalist Marion Bartoli in straights. Her reward is a meeting with Venus Williams, who – despite a little trouble finding her court – beat a feisty Jarmila Groth to book her spot in the quarterfinals.

Elsewhere, it was a sad day for fans of Jelena Jankovic, as she was forced to retire with a back injury when trailing Vera Zvonareva 16 03. Wimbledon just isn’t her tournament, is it?

Rounding out the last eight is Li Na, who demolished Agnieszka Radwanska in a reversal of last year’s round of sixteen to face Serena Williams, and then offered some wise words for us all:

Q. What have you done well this week and last week and in Birmingham, do you think?

NA LI: After I win in Birmingham, I was feeling more confident, more positive thinking on the grass court. But because my coach didn’t come to Birmingham, so after I meet him, he was like, Just forget Birmingham. This much different tournament.

So every time, he always talk like. Every time he talk like, Forget, forget, forget that one. I was like, Okay. I couldn’t forget. I played five rounds of match, win tournament. How I can forget that? But he always like, Forget. This is much different game.

On the men’s side, guess who is in the quarterfinals! Yeah, you guessed it.

What depth. They will be joined by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who put out Benny in four, and Andy Murray, who was frankly sensational against limited opposition in his victory over Sam Querrey.

C’mon Andy.

Not a bad quarter-finals lineup on either side, is it?

Posted in andy murray, caroline wozniacki, jelena jankovic, kaia kanepi, petra kvitova, rafael nadal, roger federer, tsvetana pironkova, venus williams, vera zvonareva, wimbledon | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Wimbledon Manic Monday Preview: Gentlemen

Posted by gauloises1 on June 28, 2010

I’ve decided the best way to sum up Friday and Saturday’s action at Wimbledon is to look forward to Manic Monday, a.k.a. the greatest day of tennis in all the year, when the entire R16 – men and women – play on the same day.

Roger Federer v Jurgen Melzer

H2H: 0-0

Roger’s got his Wimbledon back on track with a straight sets victory over Arnaud Clement, a good match-up for him at the best of times. Jurgen Melzer toiled slightly more with a four-set win over Feliciano Lopez. Doubles partners in the juniors, these two have unbelievably never played on the senior tour. Melzer can be a tricky opponent and knocked out Novak Djokovic at the French Open, and Roger has obviously looked wobbly, but I reckon he’s found his feet now. Prediction: Roger in four.

Winner to meet …

Tomas Berdych v Daniel Brands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

H2H: 0-0

Daniel Brands has, for me, been one of the surprises of the tournament; after beating Igor Andreev, Nikolay Davydenko, and Victor Hanescu (albeit in circumstances which bear examination, more on that later), he’s now through to the round of sixteen in his very first Wimbledon. And that’s not something that every bronzed sex god can pull out of the bag (I saw him at several points during Wimbledon, and he is.) He’s been excellent in tiebreaks and high-pressure situations, but Berdych certainly should be a bridge too far; he won his first two matches in straights and did get taken to five by Denis Istomin – but Istomin has been having some very good results of late. Definitely the hottest match of the day, anyway … Prediction: Berdych in three.

Novak Djokovic v Lleyton Hewitt

H2H: 3-1

Probably the most eagerly anticipated match-up of the day on the men’s side, what’s surprising to me is that Nole has won both of their previous meetings on grass; once at Queens in 2008, and once at this stage during Wimbledon in 2007. Since that time, however, Nole has been floundering – not least at Wimbledon – and Lleyton is arguably riding a great wave of confidence, coming off a win against Federer in Halle and a very decent Wimbledon last year. Everyone seems to be giving the edge to Hewitt, who’s had a good run including a straight sets defeat of Gael Monfils in the third round; Nole, on the other hand, seemed to make progress in his defeat of Taylor Dent, but laboured to a victory over a dreadful Montanes. I’m going with Nole, however, in the hope that that will Make It True. Prediction: Nole in five.

Winner to meet …

Andy Roddick v Yen-Hsun Lu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

H2H: 3-0

Please. Despite many predictions of an early exit, Roddick has withstood inspired tennis from Michael Llodra and Philipp Kohlschreiber to be in the fourth round. When he does go out, it won’t be to Lu – no disrespect to the player from Chinese Taipei, who I saw putting paid to Horacio Zeballos in the very first round. Prediction: If it isn’t Roddick in three, something’s gone seriously wrong somewhere.

Julien Benneteau v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

H2H: 3-3

Neither of these two have had a very smooth route through, but through they are as part of a stellar showing for France at this year’s Championships. Benneteau has played fourteen sets in beating Vliegen, Beck and Fognini’s eyebrows, while Jo was stretched to the limit by the artist formerly known as Oleksandr Dolgopolov Jr. in the second round. I’m surprised their head-to-head is so evenly balanced, but Jo won their only other meeting on grass, and I’d be surprised if it didn’t go the same way – especially since Benny has had to work so hard to get here. I just hope it isn’t a total disappointment, as it is all too often when the French play each other. Prediction: Jo in three.

Winner to meet …

Sam Querrey v Andy Murray

H2H: 0-3

Sam has never taken so much of a set off Andy in their previous meetings. And Andy has yet to drop a set at this year’s championships. I think both these things might be about to change. Murray has yet to be seriously tested – and now has the full weight of our nation’s expectations back on his shoulders after the abysmal performance of England’s footballers at the World Cup today – while Sam has had two tough matches against Malisse and, er, Ivan Dodig. He also has his famously laid-back attitude (when he’s not storming back off to the States in a snit) which serves him well on an occasion like this. Still, I think Andy will win. I have to believe that when Andy loses here, it won’t be to Sam Querrey, Queen’s champion though he might be. Prediction: Murray in five.

Robin Soderling v David Ferrer

H2H: 5-2

Two of my favourite players still in this year’s draw. I’m excited. But not that excited, because Robin has looked in fearsome form and while that sometimes means a player is ripe for an upset, especially when they’re being tipped as a strong contender, it’s not going to come from Ferru (bless him), who narrowly escaped defeat at the hands of Jeremy Chardy last round when the latter enacted what I don’t think it’s unfair to describe as a massive choke. Will Ferru prove me wrong and deny everyone a Nadal-Soderling quarterfinal? No. Prediction: Robin in straights.

Winner to meet …

Rafael Nadal v Paul-Henri Mathieu

H2H: 9-0

You’ll notice Paul-Henri Mathieu is pictured running into a wall. There’s a reason for that. Rafa encountered a spot of bother in his last match, courtesy of an inspired and determined Philipp Petzchner, eventually triumphing in five sets during which he called the trainer more than once and was warned for coaching. However, Rafa says the knee (for which he called the trainer – also, something in the armular region, possibly) is not an issue, and while Mathieu has been on a good run, most impressively beating Mikhail Youzhny, it ends here. Honestly, we all know Mathieu is frantically talented, but does anyone really think he’ll keep it together enough to seriously challenge Rafa? Prediction: Rafa in straights.

What do you think?

Posted in andy murray, andy roddick, daniel brands, david ferrer, jo-wilfried tsonga, julien benneteau, jurgen melzer, lleyton hewitt, novak djokovic, paul-henri mathieu, rafael nadal, robin soderling, roger federer, sam querrey, tomas berdych, wimbledon, yen-hsun lu | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Wimbledon Day 4: Now Everyone’s Doing It

Posted by gauloises1 on June 25, 2010

It’s the new dance craze – let’s all go five sets in the early round at Wimbledon! Today’s offenders: Rafa Nadal and former (and possibly future) next big thing, lanky Robin Haase. Nadal won 63 in the fifth, but there were definitely scary moments; Haase is somewhat in the mould of Delpo and Cilic, a tall and lanky hitter of big, clean shots, and it showed.

Rafa didn’t play badly at all and his victory owed a lot to his remarkable ability to pull something magical out of the bag at exactly the right moment, so not too much cause for concern. I’m sure we’ll be seeing plenty more of this sort of thing.

Because god knows you can never have enough.

Also guilty: Rafa’s next opponent, Philipp Petzchner, who put away Lukasz ‘zombie’ Kubot 6-2 in the fifth; Julien Benneteau, who survived his second five-setter in as many matches against Andreas Beck; Jeremy Chardy, whose 8-6 fifth set scoreline against Lukas Lacko looked frankly feeble; Fabbers Fognini against Michael Russell; and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who was given all he could handle by the artist formerly known as Oleksandr Dolgopolov Jr.

Battling valiantly but finding themselves unable to compete in the marathon stakes, the winners in four: Sam Querrey, who beat Ivan Dodig; Tobias Kamke, who sent Andreas Seppi back to his ground state of porn and tears; Xavier Malisse, who backed up his victory against Boss by putting out Julian Reister; and Nose Job, who took four to subdue Martin Fischer.

Must try harder.

Posted in jo-wilfried tsonga, rafael nadal, robin haase, thomaz bellucci, wimbledon | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Now That’s Over With …

Posted by gauloises1 on June 8, 2010

Let’s get on to the fun stuff. The good stuff. The green stuff. QUEENS.

Defending champion Mandy had a haircut. Looking businesslike. I approve.

I am genuinely looking forward to watching Roddick on grass. What a difference a year makes.

Rafa practiced in the rain, just to be *deliberately* cute about it.

And Momo was there for no reason. Just there. Hanging around. Being perfect.

This is the magic of Queens.

Posted in amelie mauresmo, andy murray, andy roddick, queens, rafael nadal | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

RG Day Fifteen: Now With Words

Posted by gauloises1 on June 8, 2010

Not good words, though. So first allow me to distract you with the coolest photo I may have ever seen.

Gladiator.

OK, so. I’ve been putting off blogging about this, not because I’m not happy about it, but because I’m not really sure what I can say about it, apart from ‘wow’. (Although I recommend everyone reads C Note’s fantastic post on Rafa’s mentality, if you haven’t already.) In the nicest possible way, the final felt like going back in time, in that I didn’t really learn anything from it that I didn’t already know. To wit …

… Rafa is awesome. He is. He was. Ruthless in defense, relentless in his pursuit of every single ball and every single point, and able to bring again that twist of wonder (slightly sick wonder, if you’re rooting for the other guy) at doing things not just that no-one else can do, but that it seems no-one should be able to do. If you want that slightly more technically, you’re on the wrong blog I was particularly impressed with the consistent depth he got on his shots and how well he served, two elements that were missing last time he played Soderling at Roland Garros. And if you want it in numbers … well, it’s his fifth Roland Garros title; he got the Clay Slam (it’s a thing); he won twenty-two straight matches; and he dropped just two sets doing it (neither in Paris). I mean, what can you say about that? Apart from ‘please can you donate some of your sperm to British tennis’? I know some ladies who will volunteer to, er, take care of the logistics.

Love the look on the ballgirl’s face.

… Rafa likes winning. I amused myself throughout the third set by wondering whether he’d cry. He did. And if you saw his celebrations, it was impossible not to get some sense of just how much it meant to him. It can be a little mystifying, but it’s never less than moving. And it’s not about the numbers or the ranking; it’s just about being there, playing his tennis, and winning. It’s as pure and impenetrable as that.

Q. When you won, did you feel that this was a triumph of all the hardships that you’ve experienced over this past year?
RAFAEL NADAL: The feeling is when you win you know how many hours you had on court, how many hours you was thinking and working to play your best tennis, how much time you wait to win another time a title.
For me was 11 months without win a title, so a lot of tournaments going back to home without a victory. A lot of moments, difficult moments, because in a few of these tournaments I had to retired for the problems.
So is difficult moments to accept I say before, and this, sure, it’s very important for me. It was personal goal to be back at my best. So I did.
And for me, sure, the important thing is Roland Garros. But for me the biggest thing is the personal satisfaction to be here, to be here another time and to be at the top level.

And he really means it.

… Winning Slams is really, really hard. And no, this didn’t just dawn on me, but it did grow out of the similarities I saw on Sunday to Murray’s performance against Federer in Melbourne, and Stosur’s performance against Schiavone on Saturday. In all three cases, the losing player had been to some extent the player of the tournament, providing the upsets, the drama, the out-of-this-world performances. Robin’s tennis against Marin and against Federer reached a level for me, like Sam against Justine and JJ, that their opponent had not matched throughout. And yet it gets to the final, and that tennis simply isn’t there.

For the record, I don’t think Robin played a bad match at all. He wasn’t superlative, but honestly I think that was Rafa as much as anything else. Rafa played so well and gave Robin so few opportunities that when Robin did work himself into a position that he had the point on his racquet, he overpressed and missed. And while Robin is perfectly capable of overcoming that – we’ve seen him do it – on the day, in the moment, for the final, he just didn’t have it.

And then this happens.

The situation is of course exacerbated when you have two players at the top of the rankings who are so consistently and phenomenally capable of bringing it on the big occasion, which really underlines how incredibly bloody difficult it is to beat Federer and Nadal in the same Slam (raise your hand, Delpo – the left one, please. And carefully.) Honestly, what kind of absurd heights is someone going to have to reach in order to beat Nadal in a final at Roland Garros? Are we ever going to see it? Answers on a postcard.

… Robin is adorable. In case this message hasn’t filtered through. He is as nice, as sweet and as gracious as you could ask for. So there.

But like I say … I already knew all of the above. I really did. There may have been some ridiculous premature burial of Rafa by elements of the media and the fandom over the past twelve months, but I believed that it would be revealed to be totally myopic once Rafa got his feet (and functioning knees) back on clay, and so it has proved. I know that often being a fan leads more readily to despair, whether because you care more or because it’s an effective method of insulating yourself. But did anyone really believe that we wouldn’t see this again?

I’m really asking. Now that the dust has somewhat settled, what did you make of the final? Deja vu all over again, or did you find this triumphant reprise of familiar themes satisfying? To quote Daniel Bedingfield … I wanna know.

Posted in french open, rafael nadal, robin soderling, titlists | Tagged: , | 7 Comments »

RG Day Fifteen: In Case You Didn’t Know

Posted by gauloises1 on June 8, 2010

Rafael Nadal d. Robin Soderling, 64 62 64


Now you do.

Posted in french open, rafael nadal | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Your 2010 Roland Garros Champions

Posted by gauloises1 on June 7, 2010

Working on dredging up some thoughts from my World Cup-wearied brain … any second now.

Posted in francesca schiavone, french open, rafael nadal | Tagged: , | 6 Comments »

RG Day 11: This Is Why I Shouldn’t Say Things

Posted by gauloises1 on June 3, 2010

Oh, those whacky tennis gods. I knew my long rant yesterday about the existential satisfaction of seeing an underachiever come good was a bit ‘be careful what you wish for’.

Pretty sure I did not wish for this.

Novak. What’s happened to you? Where have you gone? And I don’t mean losing from 63 62 20 up, although that was a treat. Where has the confidence gone? The authority? How did your game become so ineffectual? And why can’t you ever seem to be in control of a match any more?

At least his time might be better served rummaging down the back of the sofa for his serve rather than enduring a beatdown at Rafa’s hands, which is probably the fate that would have awaited him and the last thing he needs.

Meanwhile, the laws of the universe require me to be pleased for Melzer.

It’s a work in progress.

Save it for the inevitable final, Rafa.

Posted in french open, jurgen melzer, novak djokovic, rafael nadal | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »

RG Day Three: So, Yeah

Posted by gauloises1 on May 26, 2010

Just checking out what I missed while I did things yesterday (working, drinking and buying bosom-accenting clothes for Queens, if you must know.)

David won in straight sets. However, based on the photos, his shirt did not fly up nearly enough. Must try harder, David.

Old guys winning and flashing a bit of bellyflesh. That’s the stuff.

Every so often I remember Daniela Hantuchova exists. Then I forget again.

 

Andy Roddick and Jarkko Nieminen went five sets before Roddick emerged victorious. Despite being on tour together since the year dot, this was their first ATP match. I hear a rumour that Nieminen beat Roddick like 60 63 or something during RG juniors, but I can’t be bothered to look it up right now. What am I, the fact girl? Leave me alone, I’ve got a headache.

Am I still drunk, or does this work a bit?

Hi, Gianni Mina!

Bye, Gianni Mina!

Don’t even get me started on this one.

ATP

Singles – First Round
[2] R Nadal (ESP) d G Mina (FRA) 62 62 62
[6] A Roddick (USA) d J Nieminen (FIN) 62 46 46 76(4) 63
[7] F Verdasco (ESP) d I Kunitsyn (RUS) 64 62 62
[9] D Ferrer (ESP) d D Guez (FRA) 61 63 61
[16] J Ferrero (ESP) d P Cuevas (URU) 64 63 61
R Ginepri (USA) d [18] S Querrey (USA) 46 76(3) 64 62
[22] J Melzer (AUT) d D Sela (ISR) 75 62 64
G Zemlja (SLO) d [26] J Monaco (ARG) 76(6) 36 75 63
[28] L Hewitt (AUS) d J Chardy (FRA) 75 60 64
[30] P Kohlschreiber (GER) d K Beck (SVK) 76(7) 61 61
N Mahut (FRA) d M Zverev (GER) 61 62 64
P Riba (ESP) d M Gicquel (FRA) 63 62 76(5)
A Seppi (ITA) d S Ventura (ESP) 75 64 75
B Kavcic (SLO) d E Schwank (ARG) 36 63 75 40 ret. (heat stroke)
D Istomin (UZB) d B Becker (GER) 75 75 63
F Serra (FRA) d M Russell (USA) 64 60 61
T Gabashvili (RUS) d D Koellerer (AUT) 62 62 61
H Zeballos (ARG) d M Fischer (AUT) 76(6) 67(8) 16 64 86
P Starace (ITA) d I Marchenko (UKR) 67(5) 61 63 63
X Malisse (BEL) vs S Greul (GER) – To Finish 64 76(7) 1-1

WTA

Singles – First Round
Kimiko Date Krumm (JPN) d. (9) Dinara Safina (RUS) 36 64 75
(12) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (Q) Ksenia Pervak (RUS) 63 62
(13) Marion Bartoli (FRA) d. Maria Elena Camerin (ITA) 62 63
(16) Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) d. Sandra Zahlavova (CZE) 61 61
(18) Shahar Peer (ISR) d. (Q) Nuria Llagostera Vives (ESP) 61 64
(21) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) d. Alberta Brianti (ITA) 63 61
(22) Justine Henin (BEL) d. Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) 64 63
(23) Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) d. Tamarine Tanasugarn (THA) 61 61
(25) Zheng Jie (CHN) d. Ekaterina Bychkova (RUS) 75 64
(29) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d. Alizé Cornet (FRA) 64 62
Olga Govortsova (BLR) d. Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) 76(9) 61
Sybille Bammer (AUT) d. Mariana Duque Marino (COL) 60 61
Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) d. Ayumi Morita (JPN) 61 64
Klara Zakopalova (CZE) d. Katarina Srebotnik (SLO) 76(3) 46 62
Anastasia Rodionova (AUS) d. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 63 62
Jill Craybas (USA) d. Katie O’Brien (GBR) 60 46 62
(Q) Anastasia Pivovarova (RUS) d. Ioana Raluca Olaru (ROU) 64 63
(LL) Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) d. Vania King (USA) 62 62
(WC) Jarmila Groth (AUS) d. Chan Yung-Jan (TPE) 62 63
(WC) Olivia Sanchez (FRA) d. Shenay Perry (USA) 76(4) 60

Doubles – First Round
(1) Williams/Williams (USA/USA) d. Flipkens/Tanasugarn (BEL/THA) 60 61
(3) Huber/Medina Garrigues (USA/ESP) d. Koryttseva/Kustova (UKR/BLR) 26 61 64
(4) Petrova/Stosur (RUS/AUS) d. Pavlovic/Thorpe (FRA/FRA) 64 64
(5) Dulko/Pennetta (ARG/ITA) d. Coin/Pelletier (FRA/CAN) 61 63
(6) Black/Vesnina (ZIM/RUS) d. Ruano Pascual/Shaughnessy (ESP/USA) 46 63 63
(8) Kleybanova/Schiavone (RUS/ITA) d. Beltrame/Fedossova (FRA/FRA) 60 62
(9) Mattek-Sands/Yan (USA/CHN) d. Bacsinszky/Garbin (SUI/ITA) 63 63
(11) Kirilenko/Radwanska (RUS/POL) d. Chang/Rybarikova (TPE/SVK) 61 61
(15) Govortsova/Kudryavtseva (BLR/RUS) d. Cirstea/Razzano (ROU/FRA) 62 62
Bondarenko/Bondarenko (UKR/UKR) d. Gullickson/Hercog (USA/SLO) 63 62
Azarenka/Zvonareva (BLR/RUS) d. Czink/Parra Santonja (HUN/ESP) 61 63
Hantuchova/Wozniacki (SVK/DEN) d. Malek/Petkovic (GER/GER) 75 76(8)
Cornet/Rezai (FRA/FRA) d. Grandin/Spears (RSA/USA) 63 46 62
Safarova/Wozniak (CZE/CAN) d. Arvidsson/Kerber (SWE/GER) 62 75
Cibulkova/Goerges (SVK/GER) d. Cohen-Aloro/Parmentier (FRA/FRA) 36 62 61
Kondratieva/Uhlirova (RUS/CZE) d. Dzehalevich/Voracova (BLR/CZE) 64 62
Kvitova/Voegele (CZE/SUI) d. Daniilidou/Hsieh (GER/TPE) 75 76(1)
Kulikova/Sevastova (RUS/LAT) d. Jans/Schnyder (POL/SUI) 67(4) 64 63

Posted in andy roddick, bethanie mattek-sands, daniela hantuchova, david ferrer, dinara safina, french open, gianni mina, jarkko nieminen, juan carlos ferrero, lleyton hewitt, rafael nadal | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Bring Me Sunshine.

Posted by gauloises1 on May 20, 2010

I’ve been hoping for something cheerful to blog about.

This will have to do.l

Posted in french open, jo-wilfried tsonga, rafael nadal | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »