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Posts Tagged ‘roger federer’

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 »

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 »

Business End of Slams Can Be a Bit Dull.

Posted by gauloises1 on January 25, 2011

Too good.

Too focussed on tennis.

Too …. fond of sleeping?

Too outclassed.

Too fucking epic for this Slam.

That concludes your pictorial round-up of a slightly boring day nine at the Australian Open.

Posted in andrea petkovic, australian open, caroline wozniacki, francesca schiavone, li na, novak djokovic, roger federer, stanislas wawrinka, tomas berdych | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Everybody’s Doing It.

Posted by gauloises1 on January 19, 2011

First David Nalbandian and Lleyton Hewitt treated us to a five-set battle under the lights on Rod Laver, then Roger Federer and Gilles Simon had to follow suit. In the past both of their meetings had gone Simon’s way – but they hadn’t played since 2008, with Simon struggling with knee problems and plummeting in the rankings before starting to climb again late in 2010. Today looked like it was going to be a straight sets victory, with Federer fairly imperious in the first two sets and Simon’s record against him seemingly set to be relegated to the status of a fluke.

It also didn’t help that he was dressed like an eight year-old being taken on holiday to the Costa del Sol with an all-new wardrobe purchased for him to ‘grow into’.

I’ll confess to dozing through the next set and a half, and things looked a bit different when I woke up, because Gilles was playing the sort of tennis that got him to Masters series finals back in the day. I really don’t know any other player, apart from Andy Murray, who is so good at forcing the opposition to play his way, seducing them into long exchanges which end in an attempt to hit past him out of sheer frustration. For a while there he had Federer on a string, and it was beautiful to watch.

Of course, Federer didn’t help himself by sticking with his attempts to hit through Gilles long past the point it was clear it wasn’t working. The man is stubborn, after all, and he doesn’t like looking like he’s adapting to his opponent. There were moments at the beginning of the fifth when it seemed possible for a moment that it actually would go Gilles’ way. Federer was visibly anxious, and went 0-30 down on his serve. It could have changed the course of the match, but Gilles didn’t put the next ball back over the net and from there, Federer pulled himself together and remembered the key to playing against Simon; more angle, less pace and force the Frenchmen to generate winners from nothing. He got the break and that was the match, 63 in the fifth.

By the end, the weathervane that is Mats Wilander in the Eurosport commentary booth was making Federer the favourite for the tournament. I wouldn’t go that far – there’s that Spanish guy somewhere, what’s his name again? – but nor do I think this match means a lot in the context of Federer’s chances. He got sucked in and knocked around for two sets by a Gilles Simon on top form; it can happen. There aren’t too many other players in the draw who can get to him that way, and one of them – Andy Murray – will have to go through Nadal to get to him.

What I did find interesting was the level of visible emotion displayed by Federer – the depth of the jubilation when he got the break and the match in the fifth. Whether it’s the Annacone effect or not, it seems that both in London and Melbourne he’s seemed … keener, more intense, more up for it – even to the extent of being slightly ragged at times (by Federer’s standards). If he does lose in this tournament, it’s not going to be because he comes out listless or flat.

As for Gilles, I just hope he continues playing in this vein. It’s a pleasure to watch.

Next up for a night match on Rod Laver? Delpo and Marco Baghdatis. Can they make it three five-set thrillers in three nights?

Posted in australian open, gilles simon, roger federer | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Wimbledon Day 9: Reactions

Posted by gauloises1 on July 1, 2010

Something truly shocking was said in the press conference room at Wimbledon today, people. I’m not going to judge, I’m just going to present the quote to you so that you can make up your own minds.

Q. Are you a hundred percent fit going into the semifinals?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes.

No, seriously. I did find some of the things said here and there quite interesting today.

There was an understandably difficult presser from Federer:

Q. Difficult moment, but what couldn’t you do that you wanted to do? What let you down?

ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, well, I mean, I don’t think I played poorly. But, uhm, I think he went after it. I mean, I know Berdych. I think I’ve played him 10 times already before. That’s the way he plays, you know.

I think he’s been able to play more consistent last year or so, and I was just not able to defend well enough and I didn’t come up with the good stuff when I had to. So it was disappointing, you know. Yeah.

Q. You beat him almost every time you played him. Was he any different?

ROGER FEDERER: Like I said, I think he was a bit more consistent than in the past. I lost to him in Miami this year, where it was a really tight match as well.

But from my end, obviously, you know, I’m unhappy with the way I’m playing. I couldn’t play the way I wanted to play. You know, I am struggling with a little bit of a back and a leg issue. That just doesn’t quite allow me to play the way I would like to play.

So it’s frustrating, to say the least. Looking forward to some rest anyway.

Q. How do those physical things affect you the most?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, when you’re hurting, it’s just a combination of many things. You know, you just don’t feel as comfortable. You can’t concentrate on each and every point because you do feel the pain sometimes. And, uhm, yeah, then you tend to play differently than the way you want to play.

Under the circumstances I think I played a decent match, you know. But I’ve been feeling bad for the last two, three matches now. It’s just not good and healthy to play under these kind of conditions, you know.

So if there’s anything good about this it’s I’m gonna get some rest, that’s for sure.

Q. Some of these big, flat hitters seem to be having an effect on you. Do you need to alter your game to adjust to that?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, if I’m healthy I can handle those guys, you know. Obviously it’s a pity that Del Potro is not around, because I think he would have a run at world No. 1 or a run at another Grand Slam. It’s unfortunate for him.

But, you know, he’s been playing well, and these guys do play very well. I played these guys 10 times. They’re not going to reinvent themselves in a year, you know.

But I’m definitely struggling at the moment. That’s a bit disappointing.

Q. When did you first start feeling the problems?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, the leg came in the finals of Halle. That kind of never really quite got away from me. Came back a little bit after the first‑round match, and then went away again and just kept creeping back sometimes during the matches.

The back’s been feeling stiff the last five days, six days really badly. Also in the finals of Halle. It’s just something that’s been lingering on the grass. It’s normal that the back tends to get stiff, you know, in the grass court season because you have to, uhm, go for many more lower shots.

I’ve had that for many years. I think many players have it. But it’s not just not nice when it doesn’t go away and you can’t play freely. That’s what I was missing today.

Q. Did it affect your level of motivation or anxiety about the match before the match or in the early stages of the match?

ROGER FEDERER: No, it wasn’t that bad, like that I was just hoping to get to the finish line. I mean, once I enter the court, I am there to battle and to try to win with what I got. You know, otherwise I’m not going to walk on the court like I did once in my life prior in Bercy against Blake.

But it’s nowhere close to being that bad. It’s just uncomfortable. Yeah, like I said, you can’t play freely. When you can’t play freely, that’s the kind of performance you get.

[…] Q. Will this make you hungrier to make you come back and show you can lift this title again?

ROGER FEDERER: Sure. God, I can’t wait for Paris and Wimbledon to come around next year again, that’s for sure. So, uhm, because they’ve been frustrating tournaments for me, even though it wasn’t too bad.

Quarters is a decent result. Obviously people think quarters is shocking, but people would die to play in quarterfinal stages of Grand Slam play. It’s not something I’m used to doing, losing in quarterfinals, because it’s not something I’ve done in the last six years.

So I am winning my matches. Today was a different story than Paris. I mean, I think in Paris conditions were tough. Robin played fantastic. Today was different. You know, I was struggling with my own game and with my physique.

Yeah, I’m looking forward to a rest, and then attack again in North America.

source

Then there was Berdych’s reaction:

Q. With your game, we’ve been expecting big results for a while. What’s changed in the last couple of tournaments that you’ve been able to pull off these kind of wins?

TOMAS BERDYCH: Yeah, I think, you know, it’s many things. First of all, it’s that you win a couple of matches in the beginning of the year, and then you get a confidence. It keeps going and going.

I mean, it’s not only like about last two weeks. It’s already start I would say maybe, I don’t know, in the United States, Indian Wells, Miami. So it’s quite far ago.

You know, it’s many things. You get more and more experience. I get, you know, a little bit older to be, you know, more focused, you know, mentally stronger than before. That’s what you need.

But it’s many things together, so I’m very happy that it works. They are all together like in one pack. It works pretty well.

[…] Q. Roger said he had some physical problems; that his back and leg were bothering him. What did you notice and what is your reaction to him saying that?

TOMAS BERDYCH: Yeah, I mean, I don’t know if he just looking for some excuses after the match or something like that. I mean, it happened to all of us. You know, I think he’s been every time when he played, he was I think hundred percent ready.

So maybe right now he’s getting some more troubles with the health. But, you know, I think it just happen today. So I didn’t know that. I just heard it first time like you said it right now. So, yeah, just to him hope that he’s gonna get back soon and that’s it what I can just wish him.

Q. He also said he was unlucky and that he definitely gave the match away. What are your thoughts about that? […] He was saying generally or on big points.

TOMAS BERDYCH: Okay. I mean, yeah, maybe you can take it for both ways. You can say that he was unlucky or you can say that maybe the opponent was a little bit better and he just won the big points against him. In his position, then he lost the match.

You know, I think, yeah, he’s a great player. I mean, but still, I mean, when I just read some newspapers in the morning, I was not surprised, but, you know, to heard something from him to the way that he’s fine, nothing is bothering him. When we played the last match, I lost. But last time in Wimbledon, I won pretty easily. You know, stuff like that.

You know, I saw him quite first time from him the reactions like that. So whatever. I’m in different position. I’m just enjoying the win today, and this is just everything behind me.

source

Andy Murray displayed his renowned ability to find the bright side in everything:

Q. What did you make of Federer’s shock defeat? Given he’s beaten you in your two Grand Slam finals, do you feel his exit has improved your chances?

ANDY MURRAY: I don’t know if it’s improved my chance or not. You never know what’s going to happen on any given day in this sport.

But, yeah, it was surprising. But, you know, Berdych is a great player. You know, if he plays his best tennis, he can, yeah, beat the best guys. He’s won against Rafa a few times; he’s obviously beaten Roger a couple of times now; and I obviously lost to him at the French Open a few weeks ago.

You know, doesn’t look like such a terrible result anymore.

source

And let us in to some secrets regarding the requisite tactics against Nadal:

Q. What are your thoughts on the keys to playing well against Nadal?

ANDY MURRAY: Well, you need to serve well and you need to play great tennis. It’s not, you know ‑‑ there’s not one way to play against him. You don’t want to leave the ball in the middle of the court to his forehand, because you’ll do a lot of running.

But you’ve got to serve well and, you know, try and, you know, keep a good length and play well really, really, really well.

Amazing that no-one’s ever thought to play really, really, really well against Rafa.

It was left to Rafa himself along with Nole to be the voices of reason:

Q. When did you find out that Berdych had beaten Roger and what was your reaction?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, for sure was a difficult match before, before the match start. You know when you play against these kind of players, like Soderling, like Berdych, they have a very good serve and very powerful shots from the baseline. It’s very difficult sometimes to stop these player, no?

Roger did amazing the last seven years here, so someday must happen this. Happen today. Well, sorry for him, and wish him the best of luck for the rest of the season.

source

Q. Are you really surprised that Berdych beat Federer today?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Look, I mean, Federer is the best player that ever played this game. And still to be able to play this way after he has won so many Grand Slams is just great. I mean, you have to give him credit for everything he has done.

So it’s normal for him to lose. I mean, you guys, you know, you think he shouldn’t lose at all? I mean, you have to congratulate to Berdych for playing that well.

source

Jo, meanwhile, was focussed on charming the pants off everyone:

Q. Everyone in England will get excited about Murray maybe winning Wimbledon. How do you rate his chances?

JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA: Yeah, I hope is gonna be him. I told him, you know, at the net, Make me a pleasure; go all the way, you know.

source

And Roger had the last word with what is one of the most enjoyable pieces of sarcasm I’ve observed in quite a long time:

Q. I wonder if you think this might be his year, given some of the really threatening players haven’t been doing so well this year.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, true, Rafa played terribly lately; Soderling is not a threat either. He’s got an easy ride to this victory, that’s for sure. Djokovic can’t play tennis anymore it seems like.

Got to make your own work, please. Respect the players. Obviously Andy is a fantastic player and he’s got all the chances to win here. We all know that.

Well played.

Posted in andy murray, jo-wilfried tsonga, novak djokovic, roger federer, tomas berdych, wimbledon | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »

Wimbledon Day 9: Smile

Posted by gauloises1 on June 30, 2010

Tomas Berdych d. Roger Federer, 64 36 61 64

I seem to recall describing Rafa’s 2009 loss to Soderling at Roland Garros as ‘tectonic’. This isn’t quite that, but it comes pretty damn close. The king of Wimbledon has been handed his earliest loss on Centre Court since 2002, at the hands of someone who played exuberant, fantastic tennis that made him look at times both glum and mediocre. It’s a thing.

There will be plenty of good match analysis elsewhere, but I’ve just rewatched most of it and for me the match could be summed up in two moments. Both came in the last game, when Berdych was serving for the match. With Tomas struggling to land first serves, Roger worked his way back in to break point, only for Tomas to miss his first serve again. The second serve came in, nothing special, to the forehand – and Roger dumped it in the net, stiffly and brokenly, all his fluidity having temporarily deserted him. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred you’d back Federer to make that return, especially given his astonishing abilities to make the big play when it counts. Today, it looked like his arm had simply seized up and stopped working, refusing to hit through the ball. It was a miserable shot that distilled a miserable day.

The second moment, the one that I’m taking away from today, actually came a few points earlier. 15-30 down, Berdych had just been passed at the net by Federer, a shot that was greeted by a huge cheer and a roar from the defending champion. Again he missed his first serve and in the ensuing rally, Federer had him well on the run when he hit a defensive lob that just landed inside the baseline. Berdych worked his way back into the point, up to the net, and hit a backhand volley that everyone, I think, expected to go wide. Instead it struck smartly off the line for 30-30. Berdych turned away from the net, bit his lip, and smiled broadly. It was a great smile; half that of a little boy who knows he’s got lucky, got away with something and is almost embarrassed by it, and half that of a man who knows deep down that he’s earned his luck, because he’s playing the tennis of his life and it’s his day for once on Centre Court. It was the same smile on match point. He’s probably still smiling now.

I’m not insensitive to how painful this loss must be for Roger Federer and his fans. I promise, I’m not. I just want to take a moment to celebrate what I watched today; a player coming into a Wimbledon semi-final against the defending champion, and playing with such expansiveness and joy that it put the anxiety-ridden fans to shame. It was infectious. Berd flu; I think I’ve caught it.

Normal cynicism will resume shortly.

Posted in roger federer, tomas berdych, wimbledon | Tagged: , | 13 Comments »

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: Royally Right

Posted by gauloises1 on June 24, 2010

A nation quaked, but it all turned out surprisingly well; Andy Murray bowed. Quite decently. One hand on the stomach, one on the back. All very respectable and with a definite air of having been practiced in front of the mirror.

You can find the bow here for post-game analysis. If you’re British. Sorry, everyone else.

He also won the match, by the way. There’s been some excited muttering about him not having played so well since Melbourne, and that’s probably true, but let’s face it, that’s really not that difficult. Anyway, it can’t have been easy out there today, despite Mandy’s claims he felt no particular additional pressure.

Bless you, you little liar.

You have to love the way that Wimbledon, in a year when for once most people’s attention will not be on Murray’s performance, still finds a way to pile on the pressure, as Mandy was duly sent up to have a private chatette with HRM immediately after the match.

How lucky is the AELTC that Mandy was playing someone as nice and polite as Jarkko, by the way? I mean, imagine if say, Daniel Koellerer was Mandy’s second-round opponent. He probably would have nutted her one. Or propositioned her.

HRM left before watching Wozniacki, for reasons which just boggle the mind, but she did have a full tour earlier on and meet a little receiving line of players past and present.

And then she was gone, and Wimbledon metaphorically heaved a sigh of relief, got out the beers and undid the top button of its trousers. Which is not something that is often said. Anyway, it was lovely to see her there. I just hope she doesn’t leave it so long this time.

See you soon, Liz II.

Posted in andy murray, jarkko nieminen, wimbledon | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Wimbledon Daze: Tested

Posted by gauloises1 on June 24, 2010

And now a little shoutout to those who have struggled, some unexpectedly, but are still standing. And, possibly, better than they ever did.

Did you know Roger Federer came *this* close to losing to Ale-Alejandro Falla? He didn’t, though, because he’s a big tease.

Just to underline the point, he then dropped a set to Ilija Bozoljac, best known for dating a housemate from Serbian Big Brother. Which is very much like the Queue. See? It all comes back to the Queue.

After narrowly avoiding a third set against Laura Robson, JJ dropped the first set to Aleksandra Wozniak tonight before coming through in three. Her dress was and is amazing, though.

After cruising through his first match against Rajeev Ram, Wimbledon’s favourite son the Other Andy struggled initially with an inspired Michael Llodra before knuckling down and winning in four.

Sveta went three with Akgul Amanmuradova in her opening match, because that’s how she rolls.

Nole struggled mightily against Olivier Rochus on Monday night, finishing two minutes shy of curfew (yes, there is one). Better news? He looked much improved against Taylor Dent today.

Aravane Rezai survived 75 in the third against the occasionally-good on grass Magdalena Rybarikova.

Benny came back from two sets to love down against an utterly obnoxious Kristof Vliegen. I take full credit for this (along with @crystaleyesd, of course). We “allez Julien!” and “c’mon Benny!”‘d him through this match, and don’t let anyone tell you differently.

Yanina Wickmayer went three with surprise Edgbaston semi-finalist Alison Riske on Monday, before narrowly beating her doubles partner Kristen Flipkens in two today. ‘mon Wicky.

And Philipp Kohlschreiber was forced to bagel Potito Starace in the fourth set of his opening match before outlasting Teimuraz Gabashvili in the battle of players who scare Roddick fans. His reward? A third-round meeting with Andy Roddick …

Posted in andy roddick, aravane rezai, jelena jankovic, julien benneteau, novak djokovic, philipp kohlschreiber, roger federer, svetlana kuznetsova, wimbledon, yanina wickmayer | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »