Tag Archive | "Andreev"

Federer on Track for Seventh Title at Wimbledon

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Federer on Track for Seventh Title at Wimbledon

For the second year in a row, Roger Federer is on course to equalize Pete Sampras’ record of seven Wimbledon titles. Defending champion Rafael Nadal is also through to the second week as he goes for his third French Open-Wimbledon duo. While Novak Djokovic, the hottest player this season, is in great form through three matches.

The world’s top three players are still the ones to beat heading into the round of 16 while world number four and hometown pick Andy Murray is also alive with an outside chance. Here’s a review of the past few days and a look at the rest of the tournament.

Federer has looked superb through the first three rounds of play. The Swiss dominated his third round match against a less than 100% David Nalbandian who’s had his number previously.

In the fourth round, Federer takes on Mikhail Youzhny. Federer has won all ten of their prior meetings and the Russian has never been beyond the round of 16 at this event.

David Ferrer tied his best showing at the All England Club by reaching the round of 16 and will face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who was a quarterfinalist last year. The winner of that contest will probably battle Federer in the quarterfinals.

After straight sets triumphs his initial two matches, Djokovic had to bear down against Marcos Baghdatis to move on in four in the third round. On Monday, Djokovic meets Michael Llodra in the fourth round. Although Llodra is sensational on grass, he should be no match for Djokovic.

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Djokovic Squelches Istomin, Del Potro Resists to Reach 3rd Round

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Djokovic Squelches Istomin, Del Potro Resists to Reach 3rd Round

No one these days can touch Novak Djokovic.  Djokovic cruised through his second round match at the Sony Ericsson Open.  The Serb thrashed Denis Istomin 6-0, 6-1 to book a spot in the next round against American James Blake.

It’s perhaps safe to surmise that Denis Istomin had a feeling of impeding doom prior to his match.  Of late, most players seeing Djokovic across the net would share a similar uneasiness.

After having a bagel besides his name in the first set, Istomin held his first service game of the second set.  However Istomin’s, next time around, Djokovic obtained the break.

Djokovic went down double break point while trying to consolidate.  Any notion of Istomin showing signs of life were quickly eradicated as Djokovic guarded serve for 4-1.

For Istomin the winners were too few while the errors were many.  Consequently, it took Djokovic just 48 minutes to dispatch his adversary.

Subsequent to the match, MiamiTennisNews.com wanted to know:  You’ve played so much tennis, is it helpful that tonight’s match was so short?
DJOKOVIC:  Definitely helpful.  In opening rounds. . . you’re trying to get used to the conditions and you don’t want to underestimate your opponent.  So you want to step into the court and try to be focused from the start and try to get as quickly as possible out of the court.  I did a great job tonight.

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Del Potro Advances In Delray Beach Debut

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Del Potro Advances In Delray Beach Debut

Juan Martin Del Potro advanced to the second round of the Delray Beach Tennis Championships Tuesday night with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Richard Berankis of Lithuania.

Del Potro and Berankis traded breaks early in the first set before going back on serve in the sixth game. Serving at 4-5, Berankis was broken, handing Del Potro the first set. In the second set, Berankis was no match for Del Potro who easily ran away with the second set and the match.

In the post match interview, Del Potro responded to following questions from MiamiTennisNews.com:

Q: Since your return from your wrist surgery have you had to adjust the way you play or are are playing at the same level when you won the US Open?
Del Potro: It depends on the climate and how I feel on a given day. I do not have the same strength however my game remains the same. I try to be aggressive with all my shots as that is what has allowed me to win tournaments.

Q: Are you taking any special measures to protect your wrist or are you back to 100%?
Del Potro: No, I’m still rehabbing and receiving treatments. It is a very long process. It still hasn’t been a year since I had the surgery. The norm would be that I would have some pain. At the moment [the recovery] is going well.

Del Potro, who is making his first appearance in Delray, will face Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia in the second round. On Monday night Gabashvili upset the fourth-seeded American John Isner in a three sets.

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Delray Beach Draw Displays Potential for an Exciting Final

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Delray Beach Draw Displays Potential for an Exciting Final

As usual, Delray Beach will be the ATP’s first stop in South Florida.  This year, the field is more spectacular than ever with 2003 U.S. Open title holder Andy Roddick and 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro gracing fans with their appearance.  Moreover, former champions Marty Fish, Kei Nishikori, Xavier Malisse and Ricardo Mello will also take part in the festivities.  The draw has been announced, here’ a closer look as to how this thrilling week may unfold.

Roddick, the top seed, may have to face Janko Tipsarevic for the second consecutive week.  This time, Roddick would battle Tipsarevic or 2010 finalist Ivo Karlovic for a spot in the semifinals.

Third seed and wildcard entry Sam Querrey may be another threat to Roddick’s quest to the final.  However, prior to a potential date with Roddick, Querrey may have to overcome either Nishikori, Russian Igor Andreev or the always dangerous Benjamin Becker in the quarterfinals.

In the bottom section, 2009 titlist Fish is the second seed.  Veteran Rainer Schuettler could present a grave challenge for Fish in the second round.  Then, in the quarterfinals, Fish could contend with Radek Stepanek.

Also, in Fish’s part of the draw are John Isner and Del Potro.  These latter two just clashed in Memphis and could see each other again in the second round.  American teenager Ryan Harrison has a terrific opportunity to get to the quarterfinals.  But, in that round, Isner or Del Potro may await him.  Consequently, Fish, Del Potro, Stepanek and Isner appear the ones with the truest chance to advance to the final.

While the likelihood of an all American final exist, Roddick vs. Isner or Roddick vs. Fish, there are plenty of potential spoilers.  Since returning from his wrist injury, Memphis seems to be a turning point for Del Potro.  The Argentine looks to have regained some of the form and confidence which propelled him to the top ten.  As a result, it would not be surprising to see two former U.S. Open champions Del Potro and Roddick duke it out for the ITC title.

Click here for a complete look at the draw as it appears on the ITC tournament website.

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Djokovic Done In By Rochus, Wozniacki Worms Through

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Djokovic Done In By Rochus, Wozniacki Worms Through

Whilst rain had been forecasted in Miami at the Sony Ericsson Open on Friday, what was unexpected was Novak Djokovic’s second round departure.  Olivier Rochus ousted the world number two 6-2,6-7,6-4.  Simultaneously on court 1, Caroline Wozniacki, the women’s number two, was on the verge of an early exit herself.  However, Wozniacki survived against Tsvetana Pironkova 3-6,6-3,6-4.

Rochus broke in the opening game.  After consolidating, Olivier placed a beautiful backhand down the line winner to set up triple break point.  Rochus converted a second break when Djokovic’s backhand sailed long.  After erasing a break point and extending his lead to 5-1, Rochus closed out the set his next time out.

In the second set, Rochus again obtained triple break point and with a backhand down the line winner took a 3-2 lead.  But, Djokovic got back on even terms promptly breaking the next game.  The set went to a tiebreaker where Rochus got ahead early on.  Yet, Djokovic weathered the storm and stole the set.

The decisive set, after holding serve, Rochus was gifted a double fault by Djokovic and broke for 2-1.  Then, by donating to his opponent a couple of errors, Rochus lost his edge. Soon though, Rochus worked his way to double break point and capitalized when Djokovic’s forehand traveled long. Later on, Rochus fought off a break point and stretched his advantage to 4-1.  After failing to secure the insurance break, serving at 5-3, Rochus committed a string of errors allowing Djokovic to stay in the match.  Still, with miscues by Djokovic, Rochus manufactured break point/match point.  Olivier pocketed the match when another Novak forehand went astray.

After the match, MiamiTennisNews inquired:
Q.  Were you having problems breathing on the court?  Looked like the conditions were a little bit heavy out there.
DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, it was a bit humid, but, you know, he was making me run a lot so points were really long.  That was exhausting.

Q.  You’ve been playing a lot of tennis.  Are you thinking of maybe rescheduling for the clay season?
DJOKOVIC:  I don’t know.  I will have more time now I guess to rest and prepare well for clay.

On to the ladies, after dropping the first set to Pironkova, Wozniacki was behind in the second set.  The world number two battled back and captured the break for 5-3.  Subsequently, Wozniacki held to push the match to a third set.

In the ultimate set, Pironkova got a break early on and consolidated for 3-0.  After finally getting on the board, Wozniacki earned triple break point and converted.  Later at 3 all, Wozniacki took a go ahead break for 4-3.  However, Pironkova fought back to 4 a piece.  But, a resilient Wozniacki manufactured another break point and put herself in front 5-4 when Pironkova’s forehand up the line sailed long.  Then, on her third match point, as a forehand from Pironkova landed wide, Wozniacki punched her ticket into the third round.

With the rain backlog, Kim Clijsters’ match originally scheduled on stadium court was bounced to an outer court.  Regardless, for Clijsters, it turned out to be a practice session with a 6-1,6-1 thumping of Petra Kvitova.  Like Clijsters, Vera Zvonareva put on a clinic against Melanie Oudin 6-1, 6-2. Maria Kirilenko crawled out of a 5-2 deficit in the third set against Melinda Czink to pilfer the match in the tiebreaker.  After losing the first set, Lucie Safarova seized the second set tiebreaker then rolled over Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 4-6.7-6,6-2.  Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the 22nd seed, continues to impress; the youngster beat Tamira Paszek  7-6,4-6,6-3 for a third round berth.   Before the rain came, Victoria Azarenka, the defending champion, had a 6-3,6-2 victory over Alexandra Dulgheru. Jelena Jankovic, Dominika Cibulkova, Elena Vesnina and Shahar Peer were straight sets winners.  Samatha Stosur was pushed to a third set by Carla Suarez Navarro and made it through.

Elena Dementieva, the 5th seed, suffered her 11th defeat to Justine Henin 6-3,6-2. Alisa Kleybanova, the 24th seed, fell to Sara Errani 6-4,7-5 while Jie Zheng, seeded 20th, was upset by Virginie Razzano in straight sets.  For Alize Cornet, it was another disappointing tournament with an early ousting, this time by Francesca Schiavone.  Schiavone prevailed 6-3,6-2.  After being on the road six weeks and some heartbreaking losses, Cornet’s 2010 record is now 6-9.

MiamiTennisNews wanted to know about Cornet’s state of mind:

Q. You look physically tired, are you also mentally tired?
CORNET:  Maybe a little, it’s already many weeks that I’m away from home.  I have not cut back in terms of training and I am someone who trains a lot usually. I rarely give myself time off, days of rest. I am becoming cognizant that I should take resting a little more seriously and from time to time award myself a day off. However, I think it’s difficult with long stretches of tournaments as such.

Djokovic was followed on stadium court by Rafael Nadal.  In no time, Nadal dispatched Taylor Dent 6-4,6-3.  Andy Roddick and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had a no drama night with straight set wins over their opponents Igor Andreev and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez respectively.  Ivan Ljubicic, the champion at Indian Wells last week, was forced to retire against Benjamin Becker after carrying the first set and the first game in the second due to a back injury.  It was a tough day for the American males with Sam Querrey and James Blake going down after winning their first sets to Jeremy Chardy and Thomas Bellucci respectively. But, John Isner avoided the upset with a 7-6,2-6,7-6 victory over Michael Russell.  David Nalbandian, Ivo Karlovic, Juan Carlos Ferrero, David Ferrer, Tommy Robredo, Nicolas Almagro and Phillip Kohlschreiber advanced.

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On Tap At the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open For Friday March 26

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On Tap At the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open For Friday March 26

Second round play for the WTA and ATP continue today at the Sony Ericsson Open with many top ten players from both tours on the schedule.

The morning starts with last year’s Sony Ericsson Open champion, Victoria Azarenka, on stadium court squaring off against Alexandra Dulgheru. Jelena Jankovic and Caroline Wozniacki, the winner and runner up at Indian Wells, are on the grandstand and court 1 respectively. After her great play in Federation Cup, a rejuvenated Melanie Oudin faces a struggling Vera Zvonareva. This is another chance for the U.S. Open quarterfinalist, Oudin, to claim yet another Russian scalp. In the afternoon, Kim Cljisters works on sealing a third round spot versus Petra Kvitova on stadium court.

Novak Djokovic, the 2009 Sony Ericsson finalist, has a date with Oliver Rochus while Rafael Nadal will need to sidestep Taylor Dent to book a third round bid. Americans John Isner and Sam Querrey attempt to reach the third round for the first time in Miami, they will be in session on the outside courts. Charismatic Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a quarterfinalist in 2009, hopes to make short work of Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

Saving the best for last. In the night session, Elena Dementieva will look to avenge her second round Australian Open loss to Justine Henin, as these two face each other for the 13th time. Although Henin has a commending 10-2 record in their head to head, this one will likely have spectators on the edge of their seats. The women will be followed by Andy Roddick and Igor Andreev. After a tough outing in the finals at Indian Wells, Roddick will try to rebound. With the players tied after four meetings, Roddick may have his hands full.

Below is a complete list of the matches and court location for Friday:

STADIUM start 11:00 am
A Dulgheru (ROU) vs [4] V Azarenka (BLR) – WTA
O Rochus (BEL) vs [2] N Djokovic (SRB) – ATP
[14] K Clijsters (BEL) vs P Kvitova (CZE) – WTA
T Dent (USA) vs [4] R Nadal (ESP) – ATP

Not Before 7:00 pm
[5] E Dementieva (RUS) vs [WC] J Henin (BEL) – WTA
[6] A Roddick (USA) vs I Andreev (RUS) – ATP

GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
[15] D Ferrer (ESP) vs M Llodra (FRA) – ATP
[7] J Jankovic (SRB) vs [Q] M Koryttseva (UKR) – WTA
[27] T Bellucci (BRA) vs J Blake (USA) – ATP
[30] V Troicki (SRB) vs [WC] D Nalbandian (ARG) – ATP

Not Before 5:00 pm
[8] J Tsonga (FRA) vs G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) – ATP

COURT 1 start 10:00 am
D Gimeno-Traver (ESP) vs [24] I Karlovic (CRO) – ATP
[Q] T Pironkova (BUL) vs [2] C Wozniacki (DEN) – WTA
C Suarez Navarro (ESP) vs [9] S Stosur (AUS) – WTA
[17] J Isner (USA) vs M Russell (USA) – ATP
A Medina Garrigues (ESP) / C Wozniacki (DEN) vs [4] L Raymond (USA) / R Stubbs (AUS) – WTA

COURT 2 start 10:00 am
[32] M Kirilenko (RUS) vs M Czink (HUN) – WTA
D Koellerer (AUT) vs [12] J Ferrero (ESP) – ATP
J Chardy (FRA) vs [21] S Querrey (USA) – ATP
M Oudin (USA) vs [11] V Zvonareva (RUS) – WTA

Not Before 5:00 pm
B Becker (GER) vs [11] I Ljubicic (CRO) – ATP

COURT 3 start 10:00 am
T Paszek (AUT) vs [22] A Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) – WTA
[WC] R Harrison (USA) / N Lapentti (ECU) vs E Butorac (USA) / R Ram (USA) – ATP
A Kudryavtseva (RUS) vs [17] S Peer (ISR) – WTA
[18] T Robredo (ESP) vs [Q] I Marchenko (UKR) – ATP
M Llodra (FRA) / A Ram (ISR) vs F Lopez (ESP) / F Verdasco (ESP) – ATP

COURT 4 start 11:00 am
[29] M Martinez Sanchez (ESP) vs L Safarova (CZE) – WTA

Not Before 12:30 pm
[15] F Schiavone (ITA) vs A Cornet (FRA) – WTA
M Damm (CZE) / F Polasek (SVK) vs I Karlovic (CRO) / D Vemic (SRB) – ATP

COURT 6 start 10:00 am
[33] N Almagro (ESP) vs E Schwank (ARG) – ATP
[Q] S Arvidsson (SWE) vs [26] D Cibulkova (SVK) – WTA
J Melzer (AUT) / P Petzschner (GER) vs [6] S Aspelin (SWE) / P Hanley (AUS) – ATP
F Mayer (GER) vs [28] P Kohlschreiber (GER) – ATP
S Stakhovsky (UKR) vs [32] J Benneteau (FRA) – ATP

COURT 7 start 10:00 am
L Dekmeijere (LAT) / P Schnyder (SUI) vs V Dushevina (RUS) / A Rodionova (AUS) – WTA

Not Before 11:30 am
[20] J Zheng (CHN) vs V Razzano (FRA) – WTA
[24] A Kleybanova (RUS) vs S Errani (ITA) – WTA
[1] C Black (ZIM) / L Huber (USA) vs N Grandin (RSA) / A Spears (USA)
T Garbin (ITA) / V Ruano Pascual (ESP) vs K Peschke (CZE) / K Srebotnik (SLO) – WTA

COURT 8 start 11:00 am
A Bondarenko (UKR) / G Voskoboeva (KAZ) vs J Coin (FRA) / V King (USA) – WTA
J Goerges (GER) vs [28] E Vesnina (RUS) – WTA
[6] B Mattek-Sands (USA) / Z Yan (CHN) vs M Kirilenko (RUS) / A Radwanska (POL) – WTA
I Senoglu (TUR) / Y Shvedova (KAZ) vs [8] E Makarova (RUS) / S Peng (CHN) – WTA

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ATP Australian Open Early Round Rewind

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ATP Australian Open Early Round Rewind

img_0642_mcAfter one week of play, the cream of the ATP has risen to the top at the Australian Open.   Although some had a tougher road than others, eight of the top seeds are still in the hunt.  Here’s a look back at the tournament’s key moments to date.

In the first round, Igor Andreev’s forehand gave world number one Roger Federer all sorts of headache.  After stealing the first set, Andreev was just one forehand winner away from serving for a two set to one lead.  When Andreev’s shot sailed long, so did his opportunity at an upset.  Thereafter, Federer cruised through his matches.

Another difficult challenge lays ahead for Federer in the fourth round in Aussie Lleyton Hewitt who will have the support of the crowd.  Still, Federer is favored in that match.  Should Federer advance, his tasks gets more complicated since he could face Nikolay Davydenko in the quarters, a man who has beaten him their last two meetings.

While Fernando Verdasco, a semifinalist last year, struggled through his first round match then benefited from a retirement his last round;  Davydenko, his fourth round opponent, has been in peak form through three rounds.  If Davydenko moves on to the quarterfinals, Federer’s streak of 22 consecutive majors semifinal will be in serious jeopardy.

An astounding fatality in the first round was French Open finalist, Robin Soderling. Playing Marcel Granollers ranked 113, Soderling let a two set to none advantage evaporate.  Current U.S. Open champ Juan Martin Del Potro who has been dealing with a wrist injury also made an early exit. After defeating James Blake in a thrilling second round match, in the fourth round, Del Potro fought hard but came up short against Marin Cilic in another five setter.  Cilic who has now gotten to the quarterfinals in the last two majors will battle Andy Roddick.

Although Roddick has been pushed with each passing round, he’s had the answers.  After straight sets wins in rounds one and two, Roddick required four sets against Feliciano Lopez, then five versus Fernando Gonzalez, the Australian Open 2007 finalist and his coach’s former pupil. If Roddick aces the Cilic exam, it will be either Rafael Nadal or Andy Murray his next nemesis.

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Analysis of the 2010 Australian Open Draw

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Analysis of the 2010 Australian Open Draw

australian_open_logoThe Australian Open draw is out.  More than any prior year, in this imprecise game of predictions, the only certainty is the uncertainty in determining a frontrunner for the trophy on both the ladies’ and gentlemen’s side.  With no one having a conspicuous edge, with few exceptions, anyone in the top ten can be regarded as a legitimate contender.  Moreover, on the women’s side, the return of some old faces with previous success at majors means that it’s is truly anybody’s title.

In the top half of the draw, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Nikolay Davydenko and Robyn Soderling are the highest seeds respectively. Astonishingly, if the last couple of months are an accurate barometer, Davydenko is for the first time a true threat to make it all the way to the final.  After wrapping 2009 with the ATP World tour finals trophy, just  days ago, Davydenko brought down Federer and Rafael Nadal to take the title in Qatar.  However, the question remains as to whether Davydenko can translate that type of success to a best of five set tournament over two weeks. If the draw proceeds as expected, Davydenko will have a crack at Federer in the quarters and Djokovic or Soderling in the semis.

For his part, Federer has a pretty challenging road in attempting to reach the final.  In the first round, the world number one faces the ever dangerous Igor Andreev.  Subsequently, there are possible match-ups with Australian Open finalists Lleyton Hewitt and Marcos Baghdatis in the round of 16. Other than Davydenko, Fernando Verdasco, a semifinalist in ’09, is a potential in the quarters. So, Federer will need to be on his toes to advance beyond the quarters.

Third seed Djokovic should have a fairly unobstructed run to the quarters.  Still, Richard Gasquet who is getting back in the swing of the game may be a problem for Djokovic in the round of 16. Furthermore, on that side of the draw, majors’ finalists Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Soderling could clash in the round of 16.  With both Tsonga and Soderling potential quarterfinal opponents for Djokovic and with both having wins over the latter, a Djokovic/Federer semifinal is in far from a foregone conclusion.

In the bottom half of the draw, for the defending champion Nadal and Andy Murray, technically, their path to a quarterfinal showdown appears uncomplicated. Yet, Radek Stepanek, a potential round of 16 encounter for Nadal, is perhaps the sole question mark.  In Murray’s case, a healthy Gael Monfils can spell trouble in the round of 16.  But, with Monfils fighting injury, Murray will not be bothered.

Last year’s semifinalist Andy Roddick has another golden opportunity to move at least to the quarterfinal despite Fernando Gonzalez seemingly in his way.  Also, with U.S. Open champ Juan Martin Del Potro fettered by a wrist injury, his progress deep into the draw is in doubt.  Del Potro is slated to see Marin Cilic in the quarters or Roddick in the semis.

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Murray Subdues Simon In Madrid To Get Second Masters’ Shield This Year

The finalists at the Mutua Madrelena Masters Madrid were Frenchman Gilles Simon ranked 16th and Brit Andy Murray ranked fourth. Murray trumped Simon 6-4, 7-6 to obtain his second career masters’ shield.

Although Simon was a first time participant at a Masters’ series event final, he had won 5 out of 6 career finals and showed no signs of jitters. Aided by various unforced errors from his opponent, Simon held serve without difficulty his first two times out 2-1. For his part, Murray had no problems on his service games. Content with hitting from the baseline, the Brit kept the ball in play and tried to exploit the Frenchman’s forehand weakness. Thus, the rallies were usually exhaustive and decided by errors. Finally, Simon blinked in the fifth game, committing three consecutive forehand unforced errors to give Murray triple break point. After saving the second break point with a backhand crosscourt winner in a 33 stroke rally, Simon mistimed a backhand to hand Murray the break 2-3. Thereafter, Murray’s serve was the deciding factor. With excellent placement and speed, Murray never faced a break point, wrapping up the first set with an ace.

After a tough hold to start the second set where he erased a break point, Simon became more aggressive on Murray’s second serve with partial success. Up 3-2 with Murray serving, Simon saw a sliver of daylight after making a backhand volley winner for 15-30. Yet, with a couple of aces, Murray pulled off the game 3-3. Play after play, Murray had Simon running sideline to sideline, but the Frenchman stayed firm. Fittingly, the set was settled by a tiebreak. With a deep service return producing an error from Murray, Simon took a 2-0 lead. However, with a backhand down the line winner, Murray soon wiped out the advantage. Enamored with the dropshot, Murray had kept it in check throughout the match. But, with the score tied 4-4, Andy pulled out the dropshot which Gilles tracked down for a winner. Then with a crosscourt forehand winner, Simon arrived at double set point 6-4. Unfortunately, with two forehand miscues, Simon failed to capitalize on these opportunities 6-6. A backhand crosscourt winner gave Murray championship point. Once more, Murray resorted to the dropshot. Despite getting to the ball, Simon was unable to convert the volley.

Although Murray defeated second seed Roger Federer in the semifinals, Gilles was the giant killer this week. Close to being ousted in the first and third rounds, Simon survived tiebreaks against Igor Andreev and Robby Ginepri respectively to move on. Moreover, in the quarterfinals, the diminutive Frenchman returned Ivo Karlovic’s gargantuan serves adroitly to win 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, a task at which his predecessor Novak Djokovic had failed. Yet, the week’s marquee match was Simon’s semifinal against world number one, Rafael Nadal. After being bludgeon in the first set, Simon retooled his game to twice break Nadal in the second set and force a third. Then after being down 2-4, Simon pushed the set to a tiebreak and prevailed after Nadal had a minibreak 3-6, 7-5, 7-6. In addition to improving his ranking, Simon has positioned himself as a contender for a spot at the year end championship.

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Intrepid Del Potro Puts Argentina Into Davis Cup Final

Urged on by the hometown fans, Argentine teenager Juan Martin Del Potro was the hero on Sunday as he defeated Russian Igor Andreev to secure Argentina’s place into the Davis Cup final 6-4, 6-2, 6-1.

On Friday, Argentina cruised to a 2-0 lead with superb performances by David Nalbandian and Del Potro. In the first rubber, Nalbandian beat Andreev 7-6, 6-2, 6-4. After losing a tight first set in a tiebreak, the Russian simply disappeared. An unforced error by Andreev in the second allowed Nalbandian to capitalize on triple break point and go up 3-1. Andreev had several chances to get back on serve but his erratic forehand proved to be his Achilles heel. Nalbandian closed out the second set with another break; then with his consistent play prevailed in the third for the straight sets win.

In the second rubber, Del Potro took on Nikolay Davydenko who turned out to be no match for the talented youngster 6-1, 6-4, 6-2. With his crushing forehand, Del Potro broke at will to take the first set. After getting a double break at 4-1, Del Potro’s game hit a wall. As a result of unforced errors, he let Davydenko back in the second set. Yet, Davydenko failed to convert on two opportunities to equalize the set and Del Potro eventually secured it. The third set was a cakewalk for the teenager.

On Saturday, the Russian team of Dmitry Tursinov and Igor Kunitsyn defeated Argentines Guillermo Canas and Nalbandian in an exhilarating five set match 6-2, 6-1, 6-7, 3-6, 8-6. After a blazing start whereby the Russians were up two sets to none lead, the relentless Argentines carried the third set in a tiebreak after saving three match points. After winning the fourth, the Argentineans coasted to an early break in the fifth set. However, the Russians broke at love to get back on serve. Then, with multiple unforced errors from their rivals, Russia converted a break point. Subsequently, Tursinov served out the match with a strong game to keep Russia alive.

On Sunday, Davydenko bounced Nalbandian 3-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-0. With a drop shot winner, Nalbandian went up a double break and won the first set. But once Davydenko cleaned up on the unforced errors, he converted on his fifth break point chance in the second set to take a 3-1 lead and eventually the set. Despite some dicey play, in the third, Davydenko broke Nalbandian at love to edge in front 3-2. But serving for the set at 5-4, the Russian missed a backhand crosscourt allowing Argentina back into the set. However, in the tiebreak, Nalbandian double faulted to concede the set. Then, a barrage of unforced errors followed from the Argentine in the fourth allowing Russia to comfortably win.

In the decisive rubber, unaffected by the magnitude of the moment, Del Potro, the hottest player on tour besides Rafael Nadal, began the match by breaking the Russian. Andreev’s inability to contain the unforced errors helped Del Potro to prevail in the first set. In the second set, a net court went in Del Potro’s favor giving him another break point which he converted. Then with that unstoppable forehand, Del Potro hit a couple of winners to extend to a double break lead. In the third set, with his steady play, Del Potro jumped out to a 4-0 advantage then with some thundering forehand winners, the Argentine closed out the match 6-4, 6-2. 6-1. Argentina will face Spain in the finals at home. For sure, the ultimate match up would be Nadal versus Del Potro considering the extraordinary season these two are having.

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