New Balls, Please

"Climbing the Comeback Mountain with the Tower of Tandil."

  • Recent Posts

  • Unhealthily Obsessed With

    agnieszka radwanska alize cornet amelie mauresmo ana ivanovic andy murray andy roddick aravane rezai ATP ATP week ahead australian open beijing belgrade british tennis bstaad caroline wozniacki cincinnati daniela hantuchova david ferrer david nalbandian davis cup dinara safina doha dubai elena dementieva ernests gulbis estoril fed cup feliciano lopez fernando gonzalez fernando verdasco flavia pennetta francesca schiavone french open gael monfils gilles simon image is everything indian wells jelena jankovic jo-wilfried tsonga john isner juan carlos ferrero juan martin del potro juan monaco julien benneteau justine henin kim clijsters kuala lumpur li na lleyton hewitt los angeles madrid marat safin marcos baghdatis maria kirilenko maria sharapova marin cilic marion bartoli melanie oudin miami mikhail youzhny montreal munich nikolay davydenko novak djokovic paris masters philipp kohlschreiber queens radek stepanek rafael nadal richard gasquet robin soderling roger federer rome sabine lisicki samantha stosur sam querrey serena williams shahar peer shanghai sorana cirstea stuttgart svetlana kuznetsova sydney the withdrawal method thomaz bellucci titlists tokyo tomas berdych tommy robredo us open venus williams vera zvonareva victoria azarenka video wimbledon WTA wta week ahead WTFs yanina wickmayer
  • Categories

Posts Tagged ‘roger federer’

Wimbledon: It Begins

Posted by gauloises1 on June 20, 2010


Draw here.

Projected QFs: Federer-Davydenko, Djokovic-Roddick, Murray-Verdasco, Nadal-Soderling


Draw here.

Projected QFs: Serena-Radwanska, Wozniacki-Stosur, Jankovic-Clijsters, Venus-Schiavone

I have to leave in about 8 hours to camp for tickets, so no posting from me at least until Wednesday (sorry, sorry, sorry, I know I suck). I’ll be drunkenly tweeting from @newballsplease along with @crystaleyesd, my camping buddy. Wave if you see me on TV!

We’ll see you there.

In the meantime, can I recommend (i.e. plead) that you participate in the Battle of the Boards bracket challenge, courtesy of the amazing Steve from Just fill in the draw according to who you think will win each round, select ‘NB – NewBallsPlease’ from the teams dropdown, then sit back and watch the carnage visited by this blog on all other would-be challengers. Because that will how it will be.

Back Wednesday I promise (I know, nothing but sweet, sweet words that turn to bitter orange wax in your ears). And if anybody out there is going to be at Wimbledon on Monday or Tuesday, or camping tomorrow, drop me a line on, and come and say hi. Or just look for the girls with the pink tent and the total lack of any sort of suitable camping equipment drinking Pinot Grigio frizzante and talking loudly about Mario Ancic …

Posted in wimbledon | Tagged: , | 12 Comments »

Halle: Welcome To The H-Word

Posted by gauloises1 on June 14, 2010

Lleyton Hewitt d. Roger Federer, 36 76(4) 64

The year of the former pigeon continues as Lleyton Hewitt overturned a run of fifteen straight defeats to Roger Federer to take the Halle title. I missed the first set, but from what I saw Federer became increasingly erratic and unfocussed as the match went on. Lleyton, by contrast, just became more and more cool and accurate with his groundstrokes and sealed the win in veteran style long after it felt like it was inevitable.

I just like this photo.

Clearly, the days in which you knew which Federer was going to turn up week to week are gone. This has been the case for a while, but it still seems to surprise, particularly when the victor is someone who Federer partly built his reputation on being able to consistently demolish at will. I’m of the opinion that it doesn’t mean terribly much for Wimbledon, except maybe that it makes it a tiny bit more interesting, but there’s no way that Federer is going to turn in the same kind of somewhat listless performance there he did here.

Somewhere in here is the knowledge of how to play this game.

I don’t want to take anything away from Rusty, because I thought he played brilliantly. And this is, let’s forget, when he’s still getting back into the swing of things after his second hip surgery. Age and adversity have definitely mellowed him, or maybe just my response to him, because I love to see him get a great win these days. And this time he can’t follow it up by beating Elf in the second round at Wimbledon. Yay.

‘maaaaawn the little Aussie battler.

Posted in halle, lleyton hewitt, roger federer, titlists | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

RG Day 10: And Yeah, This Guy

Posted by gauloises1 on June 2, 2010

And now a word from (hopefully) the slightly saner part of my brain concerning Roger Federer. And the word is: ouch.

That ballkid’s face. Says it all.

Just so we’re keeping score, that pretty much ends Roger’s hopes of equalling Pete Sampras’ record for consecutive weeks at no. 1. It definitively (spoiler alert!) ends his hopes of defending his title here. Oh, and that little matter of twenty-three consecutive Grand Slam semi-finals; that number’s going to stay static now. When will someone ever – ever – have a record like that again? When my long-held plan of stealing Delpo’s sperm and conceiving a child that will be raised to be a ruthless tennistical assassin with no human emotions to get in the way finally comes to fruition, that’s when. But probably not before. And I really have to wait for the LTA to sort itself out first. Or move to Spain.

Anyway. I’m being flippant because it’s a tough, tough loss for Roger and his fans. But he’s still the GOAT, he’s set benchmarks in the sport that may never be equalled, and he’s got plenty of time to rest up for Wimbledon now. Ponder that. Also, he seems to have taken it pretty well.

Q. Two hours after the match, tell me something about the emotions. You must be very disappointed.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, disappointed to a certain degree. You know, I don’t think I played a bad match, so it’s easier to go out this way, I think.
Conditions obviously were on the rougher side for both of us, and I thought he came up with some great tennis.
You know, it’s a touch easier to digest this way. […]

Q. You have, of course, the great semifinal streak that is now broken. What does that mean to you? Obviously all good things come to an end at some point.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, like you say, they all come to an end at some stage. You hope they don’t happen, but they do.
No, I mean, it was a great run. Now I’ve got the quarterfinal streak going, I guess. (laughter.)
No, I mean, it’s been an amazing run. I think it sort of started here when I lost to Kuerten back in ’04, I guess it is. If then I could have signed for all those semis in a row, I would have done it right away.
I’ve made, how you say, incredible progress in terms of my play at the highest of level to be able to always come back and play semis after semis after semis in Slams and give myself chances to win in Slams. I was able to win many of them.
I was proud to have that streak, and it’s probably one of the greatest ones I have in my, you know, history books, really, for me. […]

Q. Once you got in the rallies, do you think the lower bounce because of the heavier conditions favored him over you?
ROGER FEDERER: Look, I don’t mind slow clay. When it gets rainy, it’s tough, you know. Not only for me, but for the opponent too, usually. It’s not a lot of fun for the fans either, and for us, the players, it’s hard, you know, because you never know when it’s gonna be interrupted.
You know, your mind starts wandering. It was tough conditions. I guess today they favored him, but I really felt like he played great. He was able to hit consistently through the ball, and on the offensive I put them close to the lines. That’s something, you know, that was impressive.

Q. As you look inside yourself, what is worse for you: having been beaten in quarterfinals and have no chance to win another Grand Slam title, or let the chance open to lose the No. 1?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, you just take the defeat as it is. You don’t think of the consequences. I guess most disappointed I am that I can’t defend my title here. I really felt like my tennis was good enough to come here and do it again, but that was not the case today.
So it’s more the disappointment in having maybe not delivered my very best performance today, conditions and opponents didn’t allow me to.
And, yeah, then you move on. You know, you move on to the grass and forget a little bit.

And on we go.

(He also, incidentally, gets many brownie points for shouting out Delpo in his presser. And for turning up at an ITF function to present an award to Guga Kuerten, the last man to beat him before the semi-finals in a Slam. Well played.)

Posted in french open, roger federer | Tagged: | 6 Comments »

RG Day 10: Cometh The Time

Posted by gauloises1 on June 2, 2010

I didn’t like Robin Soderling very much in the past. I always thought of him as a somewhat grumpy, slightly odd player who couldn’t control his temper and while that’s exactly my flavour, I wasn’t enchanted enough with his game to root for him in earnest. His match against Nadal at last year’s Roland Garros changed that – not just because he blew the tournament wide open, but because he achieved the impossible and played at what seemed like an inconceivably high level for long enough to beat Nadal in his house, and you have to take notice of that. His emotional reaction to the victory, his run to the final and his behaviour throughout made me like him too, and more and more frequently after that I found myself rooting for him. Still, I’ve kept underestimating him ever since. How often have we seen players have one great season and then fade away? After he lost first round in Melbourne, I expected him to keep right on plummeting, unable to sustain whatever magic he’d found in 2009. I think it’s fair to say he hasn’t.

Robin Soderling d. Roger Federer, 36 63 75 64

How fucking impressive was this? I have to come clean and admit that I missed the conclusion of the match after the rain delay; I had to leave work and by the time I got home it was over and the expletive-worthy Eurosport player only archived the first portion of the match. I’m hoping to catch a repeat tomorrow morning, but in the meantime I’m just going to assume that Robin kept on doing what he did in the second and third sets, which is … what he does; powerful serving, big clean hitting, relentless attacking. He’s done it before against Federer – most memorably at last year’s US Open when he came *this* close to seriously unsettling the defending champion – but whether because he executed better, or because clay gives him just a fraction of a second longer to set up, or because the conditions let him impose more when he let fly as he consistently did, or just because it was his day, it worked. It really quite a lot worked.

I really don’t need to reiterate the magnitude of what he’s achieved; for the second year in a row, breaking a domination that seemed inevitable, turning history and a head-to-head on its … head. But I do want to say why I think I find it so satisfying, and not just because it’s always great to see an underdog win (or because I now have a cool kind of ‘what’s going to happen?!’ feeling about the next few days of tennis, which is always nice). I think it’s because before Roland Garros 2009, Soderling really seemed to have maxed out, not in terms of what he could achieve, but what he was ever going to achieve. After all, don’t we usually assume that once a player has reached their mid-20s without a really big victory to their name that they won’t ever get there, or that if they do they won’t stay long – that they’re lacking whatever crucial element it takes to truly make an impact? One great tournament, fair enough, but it’s usually rapidly followed by a return to their previous level. Soderling, on the other hand, took a huge step up and then kept going; presented himself as a new man and then sustained that transformation, even I think improving over the past twelve months. He interrupted the Fedal dialogue and has now irrefutably made himself part of the conversation, and it’s great not just because I like him, but because I think every fan out there has one or two players that they’ve always believed was capable of more if they could just get their head on straight, shake those niggling injuries, rise to the occasion, put it all together on the day. And Soderling for me really proves that it is possible, it is always possible, not just to reinvent yourself as a contender but to keep on challenging at the highest level. That’s a magnitude of impressive that I don’t have the words for. And I love seeing it.

All of which is to say … pizza and jelly beans in bed, Robin.

You earned it.

Posted in french open, robin soderling, roger federer | Tagged: , | 6 Comments »

RG Day Four: Some Stuff

Posted by gauloises1 on May 27, 2010

Lovely Andrea Petkovic led by a set, 5-4 and 40-0 against Svetlana Kuznetsova.

She lost.

Robin dropped just two games to Taylor Dent and looks to be on awesome form (oh please, let that be true!)

Aravane literally doesn’t know the meaning of backing off, and it’s working for her as she survived a tough challenge from Angelique Kerber.

This guy’s playing. In case you didn’t know.

This girl’s playing. In case you care.

Marin is into the third round after playing a mere seven sets. Weird.

The more I have to listen to male journalists snigger and judge about Venus’ dress, the more I love it. Sod them all, she looks amazing.

Say hello to Julian Reister. Before this tournament, he’d played three ATP matches in his career and lost them all. Now he’s beaten Feliciano Lopez and Olivier Rochus and he’s in the third round of Roland Garros. And stuff like this is why I love Slams.

Jo meanwhile put in a beatdown on good buddy Josselin Ouanna …

… and Flavia did the same for Roberta Vinci.


Singles – Second Round
[1] R Federer (SUI) d A Falla (COL) 76(4) 62 64
[4] A Murray (GBR) vs J Chela (ARG) 62 33 – play suspended
[5] R Soderling (SWE) d T Dent (USA) 60 61 61
[8] J Tsonga (FRA) d J Ouanna (FRA) 60 61 64
[10] M Cilic (CRO) d D Gimeno-Traver (ESP) 63 76(4) 62
[11] M Youzhny (RUS) d L Lacko (SVK) 67(8) 63 63 62
[12] T Berdych (CZE) d E Roger-Vasselin (FRA) 75 61 64
F Fognini (ITA) vs [13] G Monfils (FRA) 26 46 75 64 55 – play suspended
[17] J Isner (USA) vs M Chiudinelli (SUI) 67(3) 55 – play suspended
[20] S Wawrinka (SUI) d A Beck (GER) 61 64 64
M Granollers (ESP) vs [25] M Baghdatis (CYP) 46 61 75 – play suspended
[29] A Montanes (ESP) d T Kamke (GER) 63 62 61
T de Bakker (NED) d [32] G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) 63 36 76(5) 75
L Mayer (ARG) d J Benneteau (FRA) 67(4) 63 64 64
V Troicki (SRB) d C Ball (AUS) 64 63 63
J Reister (GER) d O Rochus (BEL) 62 62 76(5)

Singles – First Round
X Malisse (BEL) d S Greul (GER) 64 76(7) 64

Doubles – First Round
[5] M Bhupathi (IND) / M Mirnyi (BLR) d J Melzer (AUT) / P Petzschner (GER) 63 62
[9] F Cermak (CZE) / M Mertinak (SVK) d R de Voest (RSA) / D Tursunov (RUS) 63 46 62
[10] J Knowle (AUT) / A Ram (ISR) d A Clement (FRA) / N Mahut (FRA) 75 76(0)
S Gonzalez (MEX) / T Rettenmaier (USA) d [14] R Lindstedt (SWE) / H Tecau (ROU) 64 64
B Becker (GER) / S Lipsky (USA) d [16] E Butorac (USA) / R Ram (USA) 63 57 64
S Greul (GER) / P Luczak (AUS) d J Marray (GBR) / J Murray (GBR) 64 63
J Erlich (ISR) / D Sela (ISR) d S Prieto (ARG) / K Vliegen (BEL) 76(2) 76(4)
L Mayer (ARG) / H Zeballos (ARG) d M Kohlmann (GER) / J Nieminen (FIN) 75 63
D Bracciali (ITA) / P Starace (ITA) d M Damm (CZE) / F Polasek (SVK) 61 63
O Dolgopolov Jr (UKR) / D Istomin (UZB) d V Hanescu (ROU) / G Trifu (ROU) 67(4) 61 75
M Lopez (ESP) / P Riba (ESP) d J Eysseric (FRA) / B Paire (FRA) 62 64
V Troicki (SRB) / D Vemic (SRB) d J Coetzee (RSA) / A Seppi (ITA) 63 64


Singles – Second Round
(2) Venus Williams (USA) d. Arantxa Parra Santonja (ESP) 62 64
(3) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. Tathiana Garbin (ITA) 63 61
(6) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) d. Andrea Petkovic (GER) 46 75 64
(14) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) d. Roberta Vinci (ITA) 61 61
(15) Aravane Rezai (FRA) d. Angelique Kerber (GER) 62 26 63
(19) Nadia Petrova (RUS) d. Agnes Szavay (HUN) 61 62
Polona Hercog (SLO) d. (24) Lucie Safarova (CZE) 61 62
(26) Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) d. Varvara Lepchenko (USA) 46 62 60
(30) Maria Kirilenko (RUS) d. Yvonne Meusburger (AUT) 63 63
(31) Alexandra Dulgheru (ROU) d. Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) 64 62
Akgul Amanmuradova (UZB) d. Johanna Larsson (SWE) 76(2) 62
(Q) Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) d. Gisela Dulko (ARG) 36 63 64

Doubles – First Round
(7) Raymond/Stubbs (USA/AUS) d. Rosolska/Shvedova (POL/KAZ) 76(4) 64
(10) Chan/Zheng (TPE/CHN) d. Amanmuradova/Voskoboeva (UZB/KAZ) 61 61
(12) Peschke/Srebotnik (CZE/SLO) d. Borwell/Kops-Jones (GBR/USA) 60 61
(13) Benesova/Zahlavova Strycova (CZE/CZE) d. Chuang/Molik (TPE/AUS) 76(2) 63
(14) Dushevina/Makarova (RUS/RUS) d. Poutchek/Senoglu (BLR/TUR) 67(5) 76(3) 64
(16) Hlavackova/Hradecka (CZE/CZE) d. Bammer/Barrois (AUT/GER) 64 61
Safina/Szavay (RUS/HUN) d. Baltacha/Dekmeijere (GBR/LAT) 61 61
Niculescu/Peer (ROU/ISR) d. (WC) Lefèvre/Védy (FRA/FRA) 64 63
Gallovits/Oudin (ROU/USA) d. Rodionova/Rodionova (AUS/RUS) 63 62
King/Krajicek (USA/NED) d. Olaru/Savchuk (ROU/UKR) 64 63
Brianti/Dulgheru (ITA/ROU) d. Craybas/Pavlyuchenkova (USA/RUS) 61 64

Suspended due to darkness
Jurak/Martic (CRO/CRO) vs. (WC) Feuerstein/Foretz (FRA/FRA) 67(6) 62

Posted in andrea petkovic, aravane rezai, caroline wozniacki, flavia pennetta, french open, jo-wilfried tsonga, julian reister, marin cilic, robin soderling, roger federer, venus williams | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »


Posted by gauloises1 on May 17, 2010

And in ‘definitely a thing’ news …

Much of this sort of thing has been happening.

Yep, while I was AWOL Rafa won Madrid for the first time since it became a clay-court event, becoming the first player to win all three clay Masters’ events in one year and the holder of the record for most Masters series titles, pipping previous record-holder Andre Agassi. And just to underline the point, he did it by beating Federer in the final.

It wasn’t the greatest match and I was surprised by how nervous both of them were, although it serves as a good reminder that this rivalry is as real for them as it is for the fans and the media (albeit often friendlier). Rafa made an astute comment after the match that because they know each other’s games so well, the focus becomes breaking down the other person’s game rather than producing glorious tennis themselves. It still makes for a fascinating battle, even if – to me anyway – there only really looked like being one winner.

Have a small picspam.

And a good time was had by all.

Posted in madrid, rafael nadal, roger federer, titlists | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

ATP Week Now: Madrid

Posted by gauloises1 on May 10, 2010

Weird to remember I didn’t even bother watching last year’s final because the Wimbledon Centre Court celebration was on at the same time and I was so sure of the result.

Draw here.

Notable absences: Novak Djokovic (pollen), Juan Martin del Potro (right wrist), Nikolay Davydenko (left wrist), Juan Carlos Ferrero (knee tendonitis)

Quarters: Federer-Roddick, Murray-Cilic, Soderling-Verdasco, Nadal-Tsonga

And how about David Nalbandian-Tomas Berdych as a first round to watch …?

Main draw play kicked off today with three matches. Dr Ivo, who’s been somewhat quiet this year, beat Korolev to set up a second-round meeting with Fernando Verdasco; Pico beat Simon Greul to face the winner of Nose Job/Pere Riba; and a certain David Ferrer beat Jeremy Chardy. He’ll face the winner of Marcos Baghdatis-Marco Chiudinelli in the next round, and I could really live with getting some more of this …

Because this? Is working for me.

Full Results

 Singles – First Round
[9] D Ferrer (ESP) d J Chardy (FRA) 63 76(2)
I Karlovic (CRO) d E Korolev (KAZ) 64 76(5)
J Monaco (ARG) d S Greul (GER) 61 61

Posted in ATP week ahead, david ferrer, madrid | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Americans in Belgrade, Marin in Munich, F(r)ed in Estoril

Posted by gauloises1 on May 9, 2010

So here’s the state of play. Somewhat ironically, there’ll be an all-American final in Belgrade.

 John Isner had a great win over Stanislas Wawrinka and Sam Querrey disposed of little Filip Krajinovic, in his first ATP semi-final courtesy of Novak Djokovic’s withdrawal. He lost 61 62 in front of his home crowd.

Welcome to the wonderful world of the ATP!

In Munich, Marin Cilic has somehow cobbled enough wins together to be in the final. Yes, it’s one of those weeks. He actually played really well against Marcos Baghdatis today and got better as the match went on, which is, I suppose, a good thing.

It’ll be Mikhail Youzhny facing him in the final, after Youzhny disposed of Philipp Petzchner who had knocked out the defending champion Tomas Berdych. Youzhny is up 3 -0 in the head-to-head with Cilic, by the way. I’m just saying.

And the shock of the day in Estoril was Roger Federer’s 62 76(5) loss to Albert Montanes, the defending champion, in Estoril. It was a rain-delayed day, the conditions were terrible and for whatever reason, Federer just didn’t adapt at all. It was a mystifyingly lame performance from him, although he insists he isn’t worried – his post-match comments basically added up to ‘meh, these things happen’. I was fairly impressed with Montanes, though, who didn’t let either the conditions or the unexpected lack of resistance throw him off and is now in an excellent position to defend his title.


Lost in the Federer shuffle, however, has been the fact that Frederico Gil has become the first Portuguese player to reach an ATP final and he’s done it on his home ground, beating Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 62 57 63. Heartwarming stuff.

Posted in albert montanes, belgrade, estoril, filip krajinovic, frederico gil, john isner, marin cilic, mikhail youzhny, munich, roger federer | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Standing With Scissors

Posted by gauloises1 on April 28, 2010

Roger and Raf a took part in the inauguration ceremony for the new centre court in Rome today, and at least one of them was rocking some very unfortunate hair:

Meh. Give me dressed-down, chilled-out, Nole-bromancing Rafa any day.

Posted in rafael nadal, roger federer, rome | Tagged: , | 12 Comments »

Ernie Beats Federer, Still Not That Into Tennis

Posted by gauloises1 on April 27, 2010

Biggest shock ever/mildly surprising result (depending who you ask) in Rome today as Ernests Gulbis came back from a set down to hand Roger Federer his earliest defeat at this event in seven years.

I didn’t see the match and I’m not really sure what to think about it. I do find the fact that Ernie apparently squandered six match points, including two double faults, before serving it out to love, somehow delightfully reassuring. He said afterwards:

“I couldn’t put a serve in […] I was shaking. I didn’t know what to do. It was a terrible feeling.”


Or, according to possibly more frank sources on twitter, he admitted to “shitting his pants”. Which Roger won’t be doing.

“You cannot be 100 per cent all the time,” Federer said. “Sometimes it takes a loss like this to wake up and shake your mind. It can be that things are too simple, and days like this make you realise how difficult it is to dominate the tour. I didn’t feel safe at any time today, my game wasn’t up to its normal standard. Of course Roland Garros is in the back of my mind but I have two tournaments to get the wins I need. And I’m still in the doubles.”

As for Ernie, I’m feeling more and more like he’s destined to be a dangerous floater; the guy who drives his fans to distraction, but who none of the top seeds want to see in their part of the draw. I’m not convinced yet about his ability to put together back-to-back wins with enough frequency to be, say, a fixture in the top 10 despite all his talent, but there are more deep runs at Slams in his future. What do you think?

Anyway, I was amused by this quote from him:

“I just started concentrating more on tennis, treating it more like my job,” Gulbis said. “Last year I didn’t take it as a job. It was more like a hobby. I didn’t have a system.

“Before I was practicing maybe three days and then going out with friends two days. I’m still not a big tennis freak … but I have a better system. My team is perfect now. It’s my coach, my fitness coach and my father.”

Imagine what he could accomplish if he ever became a ‘big tennis freak’. The mind boggles.

Eye of the tiger.

Hair of a mad geography teacher.

Ernests Gulbis, ladies and gentlemen.

Posted in ernests gulbis, roger federer, rome | Tagged: , | 6 Comments »