Tag Archive | "Ferrer"

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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France Ousts Defending Champion Spain to Reach Davis Cup Semifinals

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France Ousts Defending Champion Spain to Reach Davis Cup Semifinals


The year was 1923 the last time France carried a Davis Cup tie against Spain.  Today, the Frenchmen rectified that situation as Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra defeated Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez 6-1,6-2, 6-7,7-6 to secure the crucial third point.  In so doing, France advances to the semifinals for the first time since 2004.

Yesterday in the city of Clermont-Ferrand, on a hardcourt stadium with over 6,000 rowdy fans, Gael Monfils set the tone of the quarterfinals with a 7-6,6-2,4-6,5-7,6-4 win over David Ferrer.  Ahead two sets to none, Monfils took a detour which permitted Ferrer to force the match into a fifth set.  After getting the early break, Monfils wiped out a break point to maintain a 5-2 advantage.  But, with Monfils serving at 5-3, Ferrer climbed back into the set.  However, after dropping serve, Monfils broke to give France the first rubber.

The second rubber was a battle of lefthanders, Llodra versus Verdasco.  For Llodra, the world number 10 presented a daunting challenge.  Nevertheless, by utilizing his serve supremely, Llodra defeated Verdasco 6-7,6-4,6-3,7-6.  After Llodra failed to capitalize on two set points, Verdasco prevailed in a first set tiebreaker.  Still, Llodra blocked out his previous misfortunes to break Verdasco in the initial game of the second set.  That was all the Frenchman needed to square the match.  The second set, Llodra again captured a sole break to carry that set.  After Llodra obtained the break early on in the fourth, Verdasco was able to manufacture his first break point of the match.  Nonetheless, Llodra managed to turn the Spaniard away.  Yet, in the sixth game, Verdasco procured a second break point opportunity and converted.  Ultimately, the set was settled in a tiebreaker in France’s favor.  With Llodra’s first triumph in singles in Davis Cup play, France was one victory away from a semifinal berth.

Today, following an easy hold by Llodra, Lopez started his game with a double fault.  Later, with a backhand mid-court winner, Llodra gave France double break point.  When Verdasco’s backhand volley found the bottom of the net, France secured the break.  The next game, courtesy of a forehand error by Benneteau, Spain had break point.  However, Benneteau served well enough to force the Spaniards into mistakes and extend France’s lead to 3-0 in the first set.  With Lopez serving, after a good backhand return by Llodra, Verdasco dumped a forehand volley into the net to hand France double break point.  When Benneteau connected on a forehand return winner, France stretched its advantage to 5-1. Shortly thereafter, Benneteau closed out the set.

With a forehand up the line return winner, Benneteau brought France to break point.  When Verdasco netted another forehand, France broke to open the second set.  With a love game, Llodra consolidated for 2-0.  Comfortable games by both teams kept the Spaniards just one game behind.  However, serving at 2-4, Lopez committed two consecutive double faults to stare at double break point.  After saving the initial, Lopez sent a forehand volley into the net.  As a result, France took the game and later with a forehand volley winner by Llodra sealed the second set.

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Week One at Wimbledon: Federer and Nadal with a pulse, barely! Murray and Soderling Looking Strong

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Week One at Wimbledon: Federer and Nadal with a pulse, barely! Murray and Soderling Looking Strong


As customary, the middle Sunday at Wimbledon serves as a no play holiday which is a welcomed respite.  No words can fully underscore the uniqueness of the events that transpire this week.  From a seemingly never ending first round match, to the champions of the last two years limping their way into the last 16, to the Queen making a rare appearance, to a scandal involving Victor Hanescu.  Here’s a homage to the initial six days and a take on what’s ahead.

The French are known for their flare and Nicolas Mahut is undoubtedly part of the establishment.  In the second round of qualifying, Mahut outlasted his opponent 24-22 in the third set to advance.  Then, Mahut went five sets to make it into the main draw. In the first round of the main draw, Mahut faced John Isner. On Tuesday, the match was interrupted due to darkness after the two split four sets.  When the players returned on Wednesday, the night ended with a 59-59 draw in the fifth. Even the scoreboard was exhausted, crashing when the score got to 40+.  On Thursday, the match concluded when Isner hit two consecutive winners to break Mahut and grab a 70-68 victory.

The encounter which lasted 11 hours and 5 minutes, shattered all previous records and redefined the meaning of marathon match. The fifth set alone spanned 8 hours and 11 minutes.  However, despite a full day’s rest, Isner could not recuperate.  The next round, Thiemo De Bakker, who won his prior round 16-14, dismissed a depleted Isner in just 1hour 14 minutes.  For Isner, the physical consequences may reverberate for months.

While defending champion Roger Federer did not go to such extremes, it was a struggle to survive nevertheless.  Federer was nearly a spectator as 60th ranked Alejandro Falla forced Federer to climb out of a two sets to love deficit, even serving for the match.  With a bit of “luck” as Federer put it, he moved on.  The Swiss’ second round was also tough as qualifier Ilijac Bozoljac prevailed in the second set tiebreaker. Federer carried the match by capturing the fourth set tiebreaker.  The third round, Federer played close to flawlessly against Arnaud Clement.

Rafael Nadal also willed himself to advance.  After a routine initial round, Nadal required five sets the second and third round against Robin Haase and Philipp Petzschener respectively.  More importantly, Nadal had a flare up of his niggling knee problem and was treated for elbow issue.

Following a five setter with Oliver Rochus, Novak Djokovic thumped his next opponents Taylor Dent and Albert Montanes in the subsequent rounds.  British hopeful Andy Murray has been efficient, booting his counterparts in straight sets.  Even the Queen’s first appearance at Wimbledon since 1977 did not distract her subject as Murray dispatched Jarkko Nieminen in the second round.

After an uncomplicated primary round, Andy Roddick was rattled a bit by Michael Llodra and Philipp Kohlschreiber the next rounds, pushed to four sets by each.  Roddick has friendly company into the second week as Sam Querrey secured a fourth round berth after a five set tussle with Xavier Malisse.

Unsurprisingly, his second tournament back from injury, Nikolay Davydenko fell in the second round.  Shocking though was Fernando Verdasco, the 8th seed, Marin Cilic, the 11th seed, Marcos Baghdatis, the 24th seed, and Stanislas Wawrinka, the 20th seed, all exiting their first day out.

Robin Soderling, the 6th seed, has been on cue this week.  The Swede has sailed through his matches, duration under two hours.  His first event since his back injury, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s performance has been mixed.  In the second round, Tsonga went five sets after having a two sets to none lead against Alexandr Dolgopolov.  Yet, the following round, Tsonga cruised against qualifier Tobias Kamke.

This tournament has seen a revival of the French veterans.  Paul-Henri Mathieu knocked out 13th seed Mikhail Youzhny and De Bakker in the second and third round respectively to earn a spot in the final 16 at a major for the first time since 2008.  Also, Julien Benneteau is into the second week after surviving two five set matches.

Conversely, Gael Monfils had his fortnight cut short by Lleyton Hewitt in the third round.  Monfils was no match for Hewitt who recently beat Federer in Halle. The Aussie is grooving on grass despite two hip surgeries.

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Federer and Nadal on Track for Showdown in the Finals

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Federer and Nadal on Track for Showdown in the Finals


The first week of play has come to a conclusion at the French Open.  While Andy Murray, the fourth seed, going out in the fourth round to Tomas Berdych was a shock.  The biggest eye popper was David Ferrer, the ninth seed, a definite threat to Rafael Nadal in the bottom half, being ousted in the third round in three sets by Jurgen Melzer.  With both Roger Federer and Nadal methodically working through their sections, the possibility of a final between these two is very much alive.

Despite stumbling at times, Federer, the defending champion, has pulled through all four matches in straight sets.  Robyn Soderling, the 2009 finalist, has played steady ball.  Soderling had no difficulty with Albert Montanes in the third round nor Marin Cilic in the fourth round.  Now, Soderling faces Federer in the quarterfinals and will get the opportunity to seek revenge for last year’s defeat.  Although Federer has an ATP 12-0 record against him, Soderling prevailed in an exhibition in Abu Dhabi this January.  Therefore, Soderling will not be intimidated.

The French will have to wait for their homegrown champion yet another year.  In the first round, Richard Gasquet went down to Murray in a thrilling five setter. Then, in the second round, Gael Monfils was sent packing in a marathon two day drama.  Lastly, in the fourth round, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was compelled to retire against Mikhail Youzhny due to a back injury.  Youzhny battles Berdych as the other quarterfinalist in the top half of the draw.

In the bottom half, after outlasting Mardy Fish in a five set brawl, Ivan Ljubicic could not withstand another assault from 22 year old Thomaz Bellucci.  Yet, in reaching the fourth round for the first time at a major, Bellucci’s prize is Nadal.

At the start of the tournament, Americans with authentic possibilities were likely Andy Roddick, John Isner and Sam Querrey.  The greatest hope was for Isner and Querrey, the latter had prevailed over the former in the finals in Serbia.  With no prior clay court competition, for Roddick, it was going to be an uphill battle to make it deep into the draw.  In the third round, Roddick was outplayed by qualifier Teimuraz Gabashvili and went out in straight sets.  Similarly, in the third round, Berdych expedited Isner.  Still, there is a Stars and Stripes bearer into the second week, he is Bobby Ginepri ranked 98th.  After beating Querrey in the first round, Ginepri outfoxed former champion Juan Carlos Ferrero in the third round.  In the fourth round, Ginepri battles Novak Djokovic.  Djokovic has not been performing at his peak, needing four sets in the first round against Evgeny Korolev, had a tough second round match versus Kei Nishikori and another four setter against Victor Hanescu.  If that pattern continues, Ginepri has a good shot at an upset.

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Preview of the Men’s French Open Draw 2010

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Preview of the Men’s French Open Draw 2010


On Sunday, the 2010 French Open gets underway.  Before the first ball is struck at Roland Garros, here’s a taste of how the proceedings may unravel on the gentlemen’s side.

Since 2006, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer had made it a habit of contesting for the trophy on the final Sunday. Last year, Robin Soderling interrupted that cycle by ousting Nadal in the fourth round.  After descending a wee bit in the rankings, with a record three Masters clay court titles, Nadal returned to his familiar spot at number two this week.  Therefore, this sets up the possibility of a final featuring defending champion Federer and his old nemesis Nadal.

By far, Nadal has been the best clay court player this season.  As such, it’s almost a given penciling his name as a finalist.  In examining the draw, Nadal, the top seed in the bottom section, appears to have a green line through the round of 16.  In the quarterfinals, the Spaniard could see slight resistance from fellow countrymen Fernando Versdasco and Nicolas Almagro.  The latter in particular competed well against Nadal in Madrid.  Still, Nadal should pull through.

Also in the bottom half are Andy Roddick and Novak Djokovic, potential semifinal adversaries for Nadal.  Last year, Roddick had a career best showing in Paris by reaching the round of 16.  In the first round, Roddick takes on veteran Jarkko Nieminen, then, a possible third round match with Juan Monaco.  Hence, the American may say his goodbyes to Paris early. Assuming Roddick advances to the quarters, he could face the second best performer on clay this year, David Ferrer.  Considering that Roddick has not competed since the Sony Ericsson Open and with clay being his least successful surface, it hard to imagine Roddick progressing to the second week.

Despite a clay title and two other finals, Djokovic went down in the third round in 2009.  This year, Djokovic withdrew early in Serbia and his best result was the semifinals in Monte-Carlo. Consequently, for Djokovic, resting may be a blessing.  On the other hand, it could be a curse, not allowing the Serb to be clay fit.  With former French Open winner Juan Carlos Ferrero potentially as a third round opponent and Ferrer in the quarterfinals, the third seed could have his hands full before getting a crack at Nadal.

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Nadal Marks Another Milestone in Madrid

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Nadal Marks Another Milestone in Madrid


Incredibly, an entire year had gone by since Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal clashed in a final.  At the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open, these two rectified that by battling for yet another Masters 1000 shield.  Nadal, the 2009 finalist, vanquished Federer, the defending champion, 6-4, 7-6 to claim an unprecedented 18th Masters shield surpassing Andre Agassi and a historic third straight Masters trophy.

Since prevailing at the Australian Open, Federer has been in a slump with early exits in Indian Wells, Miami and Rome.  The top seed in Estoril last week, Federer was stopped in the semifinals by the defending champion Albert Montanes.  Conversely, this season, Nadal has been again the “it guy” on clay with titles in Rome and Monte-Carlo.  By avenging his loss to Ernests Gulbis in Rome and beating David Ferrer, the hottest player on clay besides Nadal, in the semifinals, Federer seemed to be finding his form.  Still, Nadal would be the most intricate puzzle to solve.

Following a love opening game, with a forehand up the line error by Nadal, Federer had break point.  But, by provoking mistakes from Roger, Rafael held for 1 all.  Quickly, Nadal turned the tables and as a result of errors captured a break for 2-1.  However, as a backhand crosscourt by Nadal sailed long, Federer had triple break point.  Roger converted when Rafael’s forehand missed its mark.  With the players at 3 all, three successive miscues by Federer gave Nadal triple break point.  An unreturnable serve and two forehand winners allowed Federer to get to deuce.  Yet, after Federer failed to capitalize on a game point, Nadal connected on a backhand crosscourt pass for a winner and his fifth break chance.  When Federer netted the backhand, Nadal took a 4-3 lead.  Then, despite resistance from Federer, Nadal consolidated for 5-3.  Subsequent to a love hold, Federer hit a couple of great forehands and with a Nadal double fault obtained double break point.  Promptly, with back to back errors by his rival, Nadal got to deuce. Still, Federer manufactured two more break points,  But, with the return finding the bottom of the net on the next point, Federer could not get over the hump.  Finally, with a forehand crosscourt pass for a winner, Nadal punctuated the first set.

After Federer flubbed a volley on game point, Nadal went on to break to start the second set.  However, by baiting Nadal into a few mistakes, Federer arrived at double break point.  With a backhand crosscourt winner, Federer leveled the set.  Then, at 2 all, leading 40-15, Federer found himself at deuce.  By passing Federer two consecutive times, Nadal broke for 3-2.  After Nadal consolidated with an easy hold, Federer had a love service game to maintain a one game difference.  Taking the dropshot out of his arsenal for the first time, Federer fabricated triple break point.  When Nadal misfired with the forehand, the set was equalized at 4.  Then, with back to back aces, Federer crept ahead 5-4.  As neither guy was able to gain a break point, the decider was the tiebreaker.

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Nadal Dusts Off Ferrer For Fifth Masters Title In Rome

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Nadal Dusts Off Ferrer For Fifth Masters Title In Rome


Despite giving it the old college try, neither the rain nor David Ferrer could alter Rafael Nadal’s destiny.  In the finals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia ATP Masters 1000, Nadal bested Ferrer 7-5,6-2 to grab his fifth trophy in Rome. In addition to garnering his 27th clay court title, Nadal tied Andre Agassi’s record of 17 Masters shields.

Following two easy service holds, Ferrer sent a forehand crosscourt long to face double break point.  With two un-returnable serves, Ferrer got to deuce. After dismissing five break points, with a forehand crosscourt winner, Ferrer held for 3-2.  The subsequent game, Ferrer had 15-30 with a crosscourt backhand pass for a winner.  However, Nadal connected on a few forehand winners to guard serve.  Then, by double faulting and netting a forehand, Ferrer was behind 0-30.  Still, by serving well and being aggressive at the right time, Ferrer maintain serve for 4-3.  Upon the heels of an uncomplicated game by Nadal, with Ferrer at play and 40-15, sprinkles turned into heavy rain causing the match to be suspended.

After nearly an hour intermission, Ferrer double faulted when play resumed.  Yet, with a return error by Nadal, Ferrer stayed ahead 5-4.  Next, with two consecutive miscues by Nadal, Ferrer had a 0-30 opening.  Unfortunately, Ferrer misfired on a second serve return. With three additional errors, Nadal equalized the set.  Subsequent to committing a double fault to allow a third game point to evaporate, Ferrer’s mistakes on two forehands gave Nadal the break and a 6-5 edge. Later, Ferrer crushed a backhand crosscourt return resulting in an error by Nadal on the next stroke and Ferrer’s first break point.  However, that break point was quickly wiped off when Ferrer sent a return long.  With a forehand volley winner, Nadal arrived at set point.  Nadal converted when Ferrer’s return missed its destination.

Ferrer started out the second set with mistakes leading to 15-40.  But, with well struck serves, Ferrer got to deuce.  Then, with a volley winner off a dropshot, Ferrer carried the game for 1-0.  After a comfortable hold, Nadal terminated a long rally with a volley winner for 0-15.  Perhaps feeling the effect of the prior point, Ferrer committed two miscues to hand Nadal triple break point.  Although Ferrer got to deuce, because a few more errors, Nadal eventually captured the break.  Again, there was a prolonged pause due to rain.  Upon returning, with backhand down the line winner, Nadal consolidated at love for a 3-1 lead.  Following an easy game, Ferrer placed pressure on Nadal at 30 all. Once more, let down by his forehand, Ferrer failed to progress further as Nadal maintained serve for 4-2.  Then, with back to back double faults, Ferrer eyed double break point.  As another of Ferrer’s forehand landed long, Nadal widened his advantage to 5-2.  Next, with a forehand volley winner, Nadal had double championship point.  When Ferrer’s returned sailed out of play, Nadal secured for the fifth time consecutive Masters shields in Rome and Monte-Carlo.

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Verdasco Vanquishes Soderling for Barcelona Trophy

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Verdasco Vanquishes Soderling for Barcelona Trophy


One week after being routed by Rafael Nadal in the finals in Monte-Carlo, Fernando Verdasco was all smiles today.  Verdasco prevailed over Robyn Soderling 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in the finals of the Barcelona Open BancSabadell, an ATP 500 tournament, for his 5th and mightiest career title.

Following a love opening game, Soderling faced break point his second time out when Verdasco’s return clipped the net and dropped for a winner.  Although Soderling held for 2-1, he was having difficulty getting free points on serve.  A few games later, with a forehand crosscourt winner, Verdasco arrived at triple break point and cashed in when Soderling netted a forehand.  Then, with a second serve ace, the Spaniard consolidated for 5-3.  Next, with Soderling’s backhand down the line miscue, Verdasco had his fourth set point.  The Spaniard sealed the first set with a forehand up the line winner.

By forcing mistakes from Verdasco, Soderling opened the second set with a break.  However, with a couple of nonchalant forehand strokes, Soderling stared at break point.  With a forehand up the line winner, Verdasco got back to 1 all.  After Soderling netted an easy forehand to give Verdasco 30-40, a forehand initially deemed long was reversed.  Soderling won the next three points to equalize the set at 3 all.  Later, with an overhead winner, Soderling arrived at break point.  With Verdasco dumping his backhand into the net, Soderling secured the break for 4-3.  A couple of games down the road, at double set point, Soderling connected on a forehand volley winner to send the match into a third set.

After a comfortable hold by Verdasco, Soderling looked at 0-30.  In part, thanks to Verdasco’s pass clipping the net and sailing long, Soderling eventually held for 1 all.  Still, with two straight backhand errors his second time out, Soderling was again at 0-30.  Subsequently, with another backhand error, Soderling stared at a double break point.  Once again, with a net court going in his favor, Soderling put away a forehand volley to save the first break point.  Yet, with a forehand crosscourt mistake, Soderling handed Verdasco the break for 3-1.  By readily consolidating, Verdasco extended his advantage to 4-2.  Despite Soderling holding easily, Verdasco never allowed him a bite on his service games.  Thus, with Soderling netting a backhand return, Verdasco arrived at double championship point.  As Soderling’s next shot, a backhand, traveled long, Verdasco captured the trophy.  With this victory, Verdasco continues the Spaniards domination of this event with 10 successive wins since 2001.

The doubles team of Nenad Zimonjic and Daniel Nestor follow up their triumph in Monte-Carlo by defeating Lleyton Hewitt and Mark Knowles 4-6, 6-3, 10-6 in the finals for their fourth title this season.

With five time defending champion Nadal citing fatigue and opting not to aim for an historic sixth consecutive trophy for the second week in a row, the door was left wide open for the other contestants.  Verdasco, the fifth seed and a wildcard entrant, made the most of his opportunity. Tested in the third round by Jurgen Melzer, after losing the first set, Verdasco took a tiebreaker to push the match to a third set.  After coming through a tough quarterfinal versus Ernests Gulbis, countryman David Ferrer forced Verdasco to carry the last two sets after stealing the first in a tiebreaker.  This represents Verdasco’s third career trophy on clay and his second title this year.  The Spaniard defeated Andy Roddick in San Jose back in February.

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Federer Tipped Over by Berdych, Venus Saunters Into Semis

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Federer Tipped Over by Berdych, Venus Saunters Into Semis


Nearly a year, Madrid May 2009, has elapsed since Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal butted heads in an ATP final.  Fans were hopeful that Federer and Nadal would rekindle their rivalry at the Sony Ericsson Open.  That possibility was dashed in the fourth round as Tomas Berdych beat Federer 6-4,6-7,7-6.

Federer had been fumbling his way through the tournament.  Still, the wish was that the world number one’s luck would not run out.  Subsequent to Berdych and Federer’s first meeting at the 2004 Athens Olympics where the former prevailed, the latter has claimed their next eight bouts.  At the 2009 Australian Open, Berdych carried the first two sets, but still went down in flames.  Perhaps that performance bolstered Berdych’s morale leading him to believe that his fortune could be better in a best of three sets contest.

After a double fault gave Federer a break point, the world number one broke to open the match, then consolidated for 2-1.  In a game where Federer donated a double fault, Berdych got two chances to break.  On his second opportunity, Berdych knotted the set at 3 all.  Down the road as Federer served to push the set to a tiebreaker, at love-40, he double faulted to gift Berdych the set.

From the opening game of the second set, Federer applied pressure, but failed to convert on four break point opportunities.  The same story was repeated in the 7th and 9th games.  Finally in a tiebreaker, Federer captured the second set.

In the third set, after breaking, Berdych stretched his advantage to 3-1. However, serving at 4-3,  Berdych double faulted on double break point to equalize things at 4 all.  With no break point the rest of the way, a tiebreaker settled the set.  Post saving match point at 6-7, Berdych won the next three points to seal the victory and quarterfinal spot.

Fernando Verdasco, Berdych’s quarterfinal opponent, is probably relieved not to see Federer against whom he has a 4-0 lifetime mark.  Verdasco triumphed over the 7th seed, Marin Cilic, 6-4,7-6.

In the round of 16, Nadal clashed with countryman David Ferrer.  After the two exchanged early service breaks and neither manufactured another break point, the set went to a tiebreaker.  In the latter stages, Nadal finally strung together two consecutive points to claim it.  In the second set, Nadal went up by a break.  However, again, Ferrer crawled back to 4 all.  With Ferrer serving to tie the set at 5 all, Nadal gained the upper hand and penned his name into the quarterfinals .  Nadal takes on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.  Earlier in the day, Tsonga sent Juan Carlos Ferrero home in straight sets 6-2,6-2.

Also into the quarterfinals are Andy Roddick and Nicolas Almagro.  Roddick defeated Benjamin Becker 7-6,6-3.  Almagro prevailed over Thomaz Bellucci in three sets.  These two will do battle in the next round.

Unfortunately for Mardy Fish, a sciatic nerve injury caused him to pull out of his match against Mikhail Youzhny.  Fish was on the losing end 1-6,0-1 when he retired.  Youzhny has Robin Soderling as his quarterfinal adversary.  Soderling dismissed Fernando Gonzalez in three sets 6-0,6-7,6-2.

After fighting off Daniela Hantuchova tooth and nail to advance to the quarterfinals, Williams eased her way to the semifinals with a 6-3,6-1 win over Agnieszka Radwanska. Williams secured a break for 2-1 on Radwanska’s opening game.  Promptly though, Radwanska squared the set at 2 a piece.  Then, with back to back double faults, Radwanska went down 15-30, Williams won the next two points for a 5-4 lead.   With an easy game, Williams closed out the first set.  The second set, Williams once more took Radwanska’s first service game.  By allowing Radwanska only one game the entire set, Williams walked into the semis.

Venus meets Marion Bartoli.  Bartoli defeated Yanina Wickmayer 6-4,7-5 to advance to her first semifinal in Miami.

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Nadal Averts the Upset, Roddick Swiftly Through

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Nadal Averts the Upset, Roddick Swiftly Through


In the third round at the Sony Ericsson Open, Rafael Nadal was severely tested by David Nalbandian.  Still, Nadal booked his passage into the round of 16 with a 6-7,6-2,6-2 victory. Andy Roddick breezed through, beating Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-2,6-1 to advance.

After Nadal secured the early break at 2-1, Nalbandian knotted the first set at 3 when Nadal double faulted on break point.  From that point on, these two guarded serve.  In the tiebreaker, Nadal dumped a backhand into the net to give Nalbandian a 2-1 mini-break lead.  Later, Nadal leveled things at 4 all.  Nalbandian erased a set point by Nadal, then, on his third set point captured the set when Nadal missed a forehand up the line.

Although Nadal began the second set with a couple of errors, he held serve.  After wiping out a break point by Nalbandian, Nadal converted on a break point courtesy of his rival’s miscue.  With a love game, Nadal consolidated for 5-2.  Subsequently, the next game, Nadal broke a second time to close out the set.

After a love hold, Nalbandian faced break point his second time out in third set.  Nadal went on to grab the break for 3-1.  Again, with a love hold, Nadal moved ahead 4-1.  Following an easy game for 2-4, Nalbandian tried to make a charge, but failed.  Nadal extended his lead to 5-2.  Then, at triple break/match point, with a forehand up the line winner, Nadal finished off the match.

Next up for Nadal is fellow Spaniard David Ferrer.  The 15th seed defeated Ivo Karlovic 7-6,6-3.  After his smooth entrance into the round of 16, Roddick has another potential easy adversary in Benjamin Becker.  Becker prevailed over 18th seed Tommy Robredo 1-6,6-4,7-6.

After his glorious victory over Novak Djokovic, Oliver Rochus was brought down to earth by Thomaz Bellucci.  Bellucci stopped Rochus, winning 6-3,6-4. In the succeeding round, Bellluci battles Nicolas Almagro.  Almagro fought off Jeremy Chardy 6-2,6-7,6-3.

Juan Carlos Ferrero downed American John Isner 6-2,3-6,6-3.  The upcoming challenge for Ferrero is Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.  The Frenchman ousted Phillip Kohlschreiber in straight sets 6-2,7-5.

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