Tag Archive | "Berdych"

Battle for Number One Set:  Men’s French Open Draw Disclosed

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Battle for Number One Set: Men’s French Open Draw Disclosed



With world number two Novak Djokovic prevailing over world number one Rafael Nadal at the last two Masters tournaments, the clay universe’s order of the past six seasons has been thrown into chaos. Djokovic could upstage Nadal on his home turf and yank away the number one ranking from the Spaniard.

The French Open draw has been released and by far, the top two players are the favorites. However, with seven rounds to be disputed prior to someone being awarded the trophy, any number of persons can trip Nadal or Djokovic. Here’s a more detailed look at the draw.

Although his performance has been patchy this year, Nikolay Davydenko has a 6-4 record against Nadal. With ten titles on clay including one recently in Munich, Davydenko, the twice semifinalist at Roland Garros, is a formidable potential challenger for Nadal in the round of 16.

Despite a downward slide the last two months, Robin Soderling can at any time regain the form which brought him three consecutive titles early this year. As such, the two time French Open finalist, the only person to defeat Nadal at Roland Garros, could be a serious obstacle in the quarterfinals.

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It’s official: Nadal and Federer in the Semifinals at the Sony Ericsson Open

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It’s official: Nadal and Federer in the Semifinals at the Sony Ericsson Open



Tonight in the quarterfinals at the Sony Ericsson Open, world number one Rafael Nadal collided with 2010 finalist Tomas Berdych. Nadal staved off Berdych 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 to get to the semifinals against archrival Roger Federer.

With Nadal winning nine of the twelve meetings against Berdych and the last eight, the contest at first seemed a formality. Particularly the manner in which Nadal got out of the gates.

Nadal raced to a 3-0 advantage in the primary set by taking Berdych’s first two games. Then, by provoking a backhand miscue from Berdych padded his lead to 4-0.

With Berdych serving, Nadal hit an awesome forehand crosscourt pass off a backhand overhead by Berdych which summed up the miserable time that Berdych was having. Still, Berdych held to make the score respectable at 4-1.

While Nadal had no trouble carrying the set, the next couple of games, Berdych demonstrated that he finally awoke.

In the opening game of the second set, Berdych overcame double break point to maintain serve. Subsequently, when Nadal double faulted and had a forehand go long, Berdych had double break point. With a forehand up the line winner, Berdych grabbed the break for 2-0.

Then, Berdych consolidated for a 3-0 lead. During the changeover, Nadal called for the trainer and the Spaniard had his shoulder and neck attended to. After the treatment, Nadal held for 3-1.

Nadal received treatment again during the second set. In the eighth game, Nadal fought off two set points to guard serve for 5-3. However, with strong serving, Berdych closed the set with a love game.

Prior to the commencement of the third set, Nadal was manipulated by the trainer for the third time. By slicing a backhand long, Nadal stared at triple break point.

A mistake by Berdych and three consecutive aces gave Nadal game point. The Spaniard finished the game with a forehand volley winner.

Both players had relatively fast service games with no break point until the eighth game.

When Berdych dumped a forehand into the net after Nadal’s penetrating stroke, the latter had double break point. Nadal went up 5-3 when Berdych again netted a forehand.

As a result of a winner, Nadal arrived at triple match point. With Berdych’s backhand sailing long, Nadal wrote his name opposite Federer’s in the semifinals.

A conspicuously disappointed Berdych said “to break after winning the second set, that would have been a great chance for me. But, he just served unbelievably well. . . You can expect three or four aces from somebody like [Andy] Roddick or [Ivo] Karlovic. But from Rafa [not really], just too good for him”.

Still, Berdych said there are positives to take away from this encounter when asked by MiamiTennisNews.com “the matches since the last time I beat him, I had not won a set against him. . . I was trying something different today. Until maybe the last service game it was working pretty well and I had a good run”.

After the match, Nadal cited that it was unusual that his serve actually saved the match. Something that would not have been possible probably four years ago.

As far the right shoulder injury, Nadal stated that he felt a pinched nerve, something that had never occurred before. The Spaniard expressed that he just blocked out the injury in the third set. After all, it’s the quarterfinals of a Masters Series one of the most important tournaments.

Nadal felt confident that he would be well for the challenge of playing Federer tomorrow night. In their head to head, Nadal leads Federer 14-8.

Speaking of Federer, Nadal iterated that it’s always nice and “special” to play Federer. Over the years, they’ve developed a friendship and he does not view it as a “rivalry”. The two have battled in so many finals and he has great respect for Federer.

Nadal is in his second straight semifinal in Miami. In 2005 and 2008, Nadal advanced to the final but was stopped by Federer the first time, then surprised by Nikolay Davydenko the second.

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Nadal Dissects 4th Round Win at Sony Ericsson Open

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Nadal Dissects 4th Round Win at Sony Ericsson Open




Rafael Nadal sat down with the media after his fourth round win over Alexandr Dolgopolov. Nadal answered questions about today’s rain delay, the conditions out on the court due to the high humidity and his next round match with Tomas Berdych. Here is his interview with the media.

Q. The weather today, did that cause you any disruptions, or just you know what you have to do in those sort of situations? ​

RAFAEL NADAL: No, you know, be calm and wait. That’s all. Nothing else. You can’t do a lot of things in days like today. Relax in the players’ lounge, be with the friends. That’s it. ​It’s nothing new. It’s something that happen a lot of times in the tennis. ​

Q. Playing Alexandr today, did you feel that he was maybe a little bit tired having to finish off against Tsonga today? ​

RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I don’t know if he was tired or not, but you can ask him, I think. But maybe is possible, no? But I think when we play matches, fiveset matches in Grand Slam is more than what he had. ​So I think probably is not easy play end of the match and after start of the match. That’s sure. But that’s part of the game, no? It happen to me a few times, and I think in general I played at very good level, no? ​Probably he had more mistakes than usual, but I don’t know if because he was little bit tired or not. ​

Q. Did you find the conditions heavy because of the rain from earlier on? ​

RAFAEL NADAL: No, heavy, very humid. That’s why I am sweating a lot. ​

Q. What about playing Tomas in the next round? ​

RAFAEL NADAL: Difficult match always, no? We know each other. We played a lot of times, and I know just play my best tennis I gonna have chances against him, no? ​He can play very, very good, and I have to play very solid all the time with my serve and wait a chance on the return. ​

Q. One question about being an ambassador for Bacardi. I was just wondering, was that a difficult decision, seeing that alcohol and sponsorship for alcohol might be a little strange for some people? Or was it more you saw the good it can do with the company? ​

RAFAEL NADAL: Did you see the campaign? ​

Q. Yeah. ​

RAFAEL NADAL: So, I mean, I am not presenting alcohol party, you know. It’s a responsible campaign, a social campaign. ​Anyway, I think alcohol is inside our lives, so is nothing new, no? But the campaign is not against alcohol but about be responsible when you go out. ​So wasn’t difficult decision, because I think is very important social campaign, and I believe in this campaign. So it was a very easy decision, because I think is very good thing to do for Bacardi.

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Federer Progresses into the Fourth Round at the Sony Ericsson Open

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Federer Progresses into the Fourth Round at the Sony Ericsson Open



The last encounter that Roger Federer had with Juan Monaco was three years ago at the Masters Series in Hamburg whereby he was victorious. Although the Argentine is known to excel on clay, he gave Federer a good fight on hardcourt today. Federer pulled away with a 7-6, 6-4 win to pen his name into the fourth round.

As a result of a double fault, Federer gave Monaco break point in the opening game. However, Federer managed to hold. By misfiring on a forehand, Monaco gifted Federer a break point and threw in a double fault for the break.

At this point, it seemed Federer would make short work of world number 35. But with a couple of mistakes of his own, Federer surrendered the next game allowing Monaco to get back on serve.

At 2-1, Federer had a couple more chances to break. Still, Monaco was unflappable and guarded serve.

With Monaco saving six out of seven break points, the first set went to a tiebreaker which Federer claimed.

In the second set, Monaco dominated on serve while Federer had a few tight games. Consequently, it seemed that the match could go to a third set. As usual though, Federer stepped it up at the right time.

After an ace for game point, Monaco double faulted for deuce. Then, with a forehand winner, Federer had his second break point opportunity of the game. When Monaco’s forehand landed long, Federer went up 5-4.

With Federer serving for the match, Monaco continued to resist. Finally, with a forehand up the line winner, Federer arrived at 40-30. With Monaco’s stroke going out of play, Federer penned his name into the next round.

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Spotlight Miami: The Sony Ericsson Open Has Arrived

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Spotlight Miami: The Sony Ericsson Open Has Arrived


 
The Sony Ericsson Open singles draws for the women and men have been released.  There are a bevy of potential semifinal match-ups to salivate over.

On the ATP side, Rafael Nadal, the world number one may battle 2009 finalist Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals.

With Roger Federer dropping to the number three in the rankings, the Swiss could clash with Nadal in the semifinals.  Moreover, Federer may contend with defending champion Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals.

If the draw plays out according to the seeding, in the bottom half, David Ferrer and Robin Soderling will be slated to meet in the quarterfinals.  However, Juan Martin Del Potro could spoil that face-off.

Also located in the bottom section is the hottest player on tour, world number two Novak Djokovic. The Serb could have a rematch of this year’s Australian Open final in the quarterfinals with Andy Murray.

Whether it’s Del Potro, Ferrer or Soderling in the semifinals, at this stage, Djokovic seems ready to mow over all comers.

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Soderling Picks Up Third Title of 2011 in Marseille

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Soderling Picks Up Third Title of 2011 in Marseille



Robin Soderling thrives playing indoors.  Six out of his eight previous titles have been in that setting.  After defending in Rotterdam last week, Soderling grabbed his second straight title by beating Marin Cilic 6-7,6-3,6-3 at the Open 13.  With that, Soderling bagged his third title of the season.

By netting a forehand, Soderling gave Cilic a break point to open the first set.  With a forehand crosscourt pass for a winner, Cilic converted.  Next, at game point, Cilic threw in an ace for a 2-0 lead.  Soderling finally got back on track with a quick hold.  Cilic continued to have comfortable games, however, so did his opponent.  Yet, serving at 4-3, Cilic could not find his first serve and was made to pay.  In provoking another backhand error from Cilic, Soderling obtained double break point.  When Cilic’s forehand up the line misfired, the players were locked at 4 all.  With a prompt hold, Soderling edged in front for the first time at 5-4.  At 5-6, Cilic guarded serve without difficulty to force a tiebreaker.

With a sensational stab at a booming serve, Cilic forced a backhand miscue from Soderling to secure a mini-break at 5-3.  After Soderling failed on a crosscourt pass, Cilic was at 6-4.  However, Soderling managed to wipe out both set points.  Later, when Soderling’s backhand down the line landed long, Cilic had his fifth set point.  As a result of Soderling’s return going long, Cilic finally had the set.

Following a love game to start the second set, at 1 all, Cilic sent a forehand out of play to hand Soderling his second break opportunity of the game.  Soderling banked the break when Cilic dumped a backhand into the net.  Subsequent to consolidating with a love hold for 3-1, his next time up, Soderling committed three successive errors to gift Cilic triple break point.  As Soderling’s backhand crosscourt sailed long, the players were knotted at 3 all.  Yet, after having multiple game points, Cilic produced an unforced mistake to give Soderling a break chance.  By anticipating Cilic’s shot, Soderling struck a forehand pass up the line winner to regain the lead at 4-3.  Soderling solidified the break by holding, then broke again at love to push the championship into a final set.

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Can Nadal Make it Four in a Row or Will Federer Defend?  Australian Open Preview

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Can Nadal Make it Four in a Row or Will Federer Defend? Australian Open Preview


1969 was the year when Rod Laver accomplished the calendar grand slam for the second time.  Laver had done so previously in 1962.  At the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal will attempt to become the first person to hold all four majors simultaneously, although not in the same calendar year.  Like Nadal, Roger Federer has won three majors in a single year on multiple occasions, but never held all four.  With a historic sixteen majors, Federer, the defending champion, will be one of the competitors trying to halt Nadal from revising  the tennis annals.  Indeed, if the Australian Open draw holds up, Nadal’s route to his second title is fraught with red flags.

After seemingly comfortable initial two rounds, Nadal may see Marin Cilic in the round of 16.  Despite disappointing results the remainder of 2010 after a semifinal placement in Melbourne, for Cilic knowing that he’s gone that far at this major can be an inspiration.  Moreover, the only time these two met in 2009, Cilic was the victor. In the quarterfinals, Nadal also has a few pesky potential opponents to look forward to: Mikhail Youzhny, David Ferrer and David Nalbandian.  On any given day, these men can be a real thorn on any individual’s side.

The second part of the top half of the draw has Robin Soderling and Andy Murray as the top seeds.  Either player could clash with Nadal in the semifinals.  Soderling appears to have a favorable trek until the round of 16 where he will possibly collide with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 2007 Australian Open finalist and 2010 semifinalist.  On the other hand, 2010 finalist Murray may get Juan Martin Del Potro, Marcos Baghdatis or Jurgen Melzer.  Del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, and Baghdatis, the 2006 Australian Open finalist, would be a contest for anyone.  Whether it’s Murray, Soderling or Tsonga in the semis, Nadal will have to his hands occupied in order to reach his second Australian Open final.

To say Federer is hungry for the title is an understatement considering the implications if Nadal prevails. Could Mardy Fish or Sam Querrey trouble the defending champion in the round of 16?  Possibly.  However, with Federer’s four titles out of five his last five tournaments, it’s unlikely anyone will down him early on. Both Gael Monfils and Stanislas Wawrinka have a win over Federer, but are a combined 2-11.  Therefore, it’s inconceivable that either Monfils or Wawrinka will upend Federer in the quarterfinals.  Once again, Andy Roddick may find himself in the position of needing to go through Federer to advance to the semifinals.  Despite Roddick’s 2-20 against Federer, he is the most formidable rival who can actually put a crimp in Federer’s style.

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Nothing but Nadal in 2010

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Nothing but Nadal in 2010


No room for dispute, 2010 was a banner year for Rafael Nadal.  The Spaniard captured three majors, regained the world number one ranking and completed the career grand slam.  As such, Nadal’s domination left no ambiguity as to who was the most outstanding player in 2010.  With the year at a close, here’s a snapshot of the stories which caught the headlines this foregone season.

After a slow start, Nadal found his footing on clay with his first calendar title at the Monte-Carlo Masters.  Subsequent to banking titles at the Masters in Rome and Madrid, Nadal culminated his clay campaign with his fifth big prize at Roland Garros.  At Wimbledon, the Spaniard defended his 2008 title to seize his second major at the All England Club.  Finally, at U.S. Open, with troublesome obstacles removed from his half of the draw,  Nadal reached his first final in New York.  Nadal stared down a strong challenge from Novak Djokovic to hoist his first U.S. Open trophy.  With a total of seven titles, Nadal topped his peers in 2010.

For Roger Federer, this year was a mixed bag.  After grabbing his sixteenth major in Australia, Federer had a fourth round loss at the Sony Ericsson Open to Tomas Berdych which sent him into a tailspin.  As defending champion at the French Open, Federer was beaten in the quarterfinals by Robin Soderling which ended an unprecedented streak of twenty-three consecutive semifinals at the majors.  Furthermore, defending champ Federer was ousted in the quarterfinals by Berdych at Wimbledon.  In fact, Federer’s ranking dropped to number three, his lowest since November 2003.  Yet, with his second title of the season at the Cincinnati Masters, Federer seemed again on the right road.  However, Federer failed to take advantage of match points in the U.S. Open semifinals against Djokovic and went down in flames.  After the New York fiasco, Federer resurfaced with a fresh coach, Paul Annacone, and won three of four finals including the ATP World Tour finals where he toppled Nadal.

The Australian Open appeared a turning point for Andy Murray.  Easily handled in the final by Federer, Murray could do nothing right with the racket for a while. Eventually at Wimbledon, Murray advanced to the semifinals only to be disappointed by Nadal.  With the defense of his title at the Rogers Cup, Murray seemed to be back.  But, another setback occurred at the U.S. Open where Murray was stunned in the third round by Stanislas Wawrinka.  In besting Federer in the Shanghai Masters final, Murray looked to be heading for a strong finish.  Yet, at the ATP World Tour Finals, Murray took another  downturn.  This was emblematic of the Scot’s tumultuous year which included a rupture with coach Miles Maclagan, a brief ceding of the world number four spot to Soderling and only two titles.

With solely two titles and a U.S. Open final appearance, Djokovic had a so-so year.  The Serb even ascended to number two for a bit, but finished at number three.  While individual success was sparse, Djokovic led his country to its first Davis Cup title.  Along with countryman Viktor Troicki, Djokovic mounted a brilliant comeback to stop France from a tenth trophy.

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Nadal and Federer Headline ATP World Tour Finals in London

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Nadal and Federer Headline ATP World Tour Finals in London


Intense anticipation is building for the year-end climax to the men’s professional tennis season whereby at The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals the top eight singles players and doubles teams in the world will compete for the crown at London’s imposing 02 Arena.

The Finals kick off in spectacular style on Sunday, 21 November, with home grown, Brit, Andy Murray taking on in-form Robin Soderling in the first Group B singles match.

The players have been competing all season long for South African Airways ATP Rankings points in a bid to earn a coveted place in the final eight and a chance to win the $1.6m prize money on offer to the winner.

Competition for places was fierce in the run up to the finals, with Fernando Verdasco narrowly losing out to Andy Roddick, David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych for the remaining three spots.

This year, world number one, Rafael Nadal faces a rejuvenated Novak Djokovic, Czech, Tomas Berdych and plucky American, Andy Roddick in Group A, while five-time finals champion and world number 2, Roger Federer faces the prospect of in-from Robin Soderling, Britain’s Andy Murray on home turf and diminutive Spaniard, David Ferrer in Group B.

All eight players were greeted by Britain’s Prime Minister, David Cameron – an avid tennis fan – at a reception held at 10 Downing Street on Thursday 17 November to signal the start of what bodes to be an incredibly exciting week.

“It’s fantastic that the ATP World Tour Finals tournament is back in London for the second year running. It’s great for London and great for the country,” Mr Cameron said.

The PM himself gave Murray a warm up in the dining room with a series of volleys back and forth, and the young Scot hopes to have the home crowd on his side on Sunday.

“Every tennis player will tell you when you play at home it really helps you to have the crowd behind you,” Murray said at a press conference in London.

Last year, despite winning two out of his three group matches, Murray failed to qualify for the semi-finals on game difference, but what are his chances now?

The Scot began the year in fantastic form reaching the Australian Open final, only to lose to his nemesis, Roger Federer. The psychological impact of this loss caused Murray to incur mixed fortunes and an inconsistent season which saw him overtaken by Robin Soderling in the world rankings. However, in reaching the semi-finals at Wimbledon, Murray proved that a home crowd could play a significant role.

Soderling is arguably the man to beat. Currently riding high on the back of his victory over Gael Monfils to claim his first Masters title in Paris in November, coupled with his penetrating ground strokes indoors, many are tipping Soderling to win the year-end title.

After a break following tendinitis in his arm, world number one, Rafael Nadal, despite having a fantastic season, winning three out of the four majors and completing a career grand slam, is not favoured to do well, but anyone would be mad to bet against him.

Nadal, who failed to win a single match at the O2 last year, appeared relaxed outside Downing Street on Thursday, but insists he has put no pressure on himself.

“This tournament is a more difficult one for me because of the surface, because of the opponents,” he said.

Andy Roddick was forced to watch the 2009 World Tour Finals from the stands, after suffering from a knee injury earlier in the season. Roddick will want to prove his critics wrong, after many believed he would not even make it to London this year. Many feel he could well cause an upset this year, starting with his huge opening match against crowd favourite, Rafael Nadal, in his opening match on Monday.  At their last encounter in Miami, Roddick defeated Nadal at the Sony Ericsson Open.

Not only did David Ferrer look out of place, being the only player in a grey suit when meeting Britain’s Prime Minister, many have written off the diminutive Spaniard’s chances. However, it would be wrong to dismiss him. His victories against Andy Murray and Robin Soderling this season, as well as a string of consistent performances in the past few tournaments, including his impressive win at the Valencia Open at the start of November, suggest he is in good form.

The 2010 Wimbledon runner-up, Tomas Berdych from the Czech Republic, will be experiencing his first World Tour Finals, after rising to a career-high six in the world this year. However, the 25-year-old has faltered in recent weeks, failing to progress past the third round of any tournament. But could the buzz of London help him to end his season on a high?

Last but not least, anyone would be crazy to write off the 16-time Majors Champion, Roger Federer. But, despite his success at the recent Swiss indoor event in Basel, throwing away several match points to the unpredictable Gael Monfils in November’s Paris Masters semi-final has thrown a shadow of doubt over his invincibility.

The Bryan brothers are clear favourites to retain their doubles title from last year.

Follow Melina Harris’ coverage for MiamiTennisNews on twitter under the username @thetenniswriter

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Federer and Nadal in Awesome Form Going into the Second Week at the U.S. Open

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Federer and Nadal in Awesome Form Going into the Second Week at the U.S. Open


The initial week at the U.S. Open is complete and the men’s field has been scaled down to sixteen players.  Two names missing from the roll call are Andy Roddick and Andy Murray.  These two touted favorites were upset early on. Here’s a summary of the past seven days and an analysis of what could unfold the next few rounds.

While Rafael Nadal barely passed his pre-tournament exams in Toronto and Cincinnati, in his first three matches at the Open, the Spaniard gets an A plus.  Despite being tested, with a beefed up first serve to the tune of 130 miles per hour at times, Nadal has dispatched each adversary in three sets.  In the fourth round, Nadal will face compatriot Feliciano Lopez.  With Nadal’s 5-2 record against his fellow citizen, Lopez is likely the subsequent sacrificial lamb.

After surviving a five set tussle in the first round against Fabio Fognini ranked 86th, Fernando Verdasco is in the round of 16 and will take on David Ferrer, the tenth seed.  Although Verdasco has a 6-4 edge in their encounters, Ferrer prevailed at their last meeting on clay and at their only battle on hardcourt in 2004.  David Nalbandian, one of the few players who could have troubled Nadal, was easily given his marching orders by Verdasco in the third round.

Also in the top section of the draw, seventh seed Tomas Berdych was surprised in the first round by Michael Llodra.  However, the jaw dropper came today with  Murray, the 2008 finalist and fourth seed, dismissed by Stanislas Wawrinka in the third round. The Swiss advanced for the third occasion to the fourth round in New York.   Wawrinka will meet Sam Querrey for a spot in the quarterfinals.  Consequently, for Querrey, this is the ideal scenario to book his maiden quarterfinal berth at a major.

The Spaniards have ruled and Tommy Robredo made sure to partake in the round of 16 festivities. With John Isner beaten by Mikhail Youzhny in the third round, Robredo and the Russian will fight for a place in the quarterfinals.

Another American  propelled into the limelight this week was eighteen year old Ryan Harrison.  After coming through three rounds of qualifying, Harrison stunned Ivan Ljubicic, the fifteenth seed, in the first round.  Furthermore, Harrison was one point from a win in a fifth set tiebreaker in the second round.  Harrison became the first American teen to vanquish a top twenty player at a major since Roddick in 2001 also at this event.

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