Tag Archive | "French Open"

Venus and Serena Williams Maneuver Their Way into the Second Week at Wimbledon

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Venus and Serena Williams Maneuver Their Way into the Second Week at Wimbledon


A definite truism which applies to Serena Williams is that she’s always hungry for another major. The two time defending champion demonstrated that despite some first week cobwebs, she is prepared to fight for a “three-peat” at the All England Club.

Venus Williams, a five time champion at Wimbledon, is still in contention for another title on her most successful surface. Maria Sharapova, the 2004 champion, is almost playing to the standards expected of her. Sharapova is trying to get pass the fourth round for the first time since 2006 at this venue.

The most stunning early departure was 2010 runner-up Vera Zvonareva. Here’s a mid-tournament summary and a preview of the interesting match-ups to come.

After going the distance her first two rounds, Serena Williams cruised in the third round against Maria Kirilenko. The next round, Serena will have to bring her best stuff against Marion Bartoli, the 2007 Wimbledon finalist. Bartoli is playing with great confidence since winning her maiden grass court title in Eastbourne.

Subsequent to a comfortable opening match, Venus Williams clawed past 40 year old Kimiko Date-Krumm in the second round. However, in the third round, Venus coasted to victory. Next up for Venus is Tsvestana Pironkova.

In a rematch of last year’s semifinal, Pironkova avenged her lost to Zvonareva in the third round. In 2010, Pironkova reached the semifinals by upending Venus in the quarterfinals. Pironkova also ousted Venus at the Australian Open in 2006. With Pironkova’s 2-1 against Venus, this tussle could be another doozy.

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Wimbledon Draw 2011: Nadal and Djokovic Steer the Field

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Wimbledon Draw 2011: Nadal and Djokovic Steer the Field


For the first time at the All England Club, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are the top two seeds. Defending champion Nadal will fight to collect his third hardware at this venue and his third French Open-Wimbledon combo. Djokovic who registered his maiden loss of the year at the previous major after a forty-one match unbeaten run will attempt to reach his first final at SW 19.

Two other competitors are also hoping to make history. Third seed Roger Federer tries to equalize Pete Sampras’ all time record of seven titles while fourth seed Andy Murray carries the aspirations of an isle on his shoulders. This fortnight, Murray aims to terminate his nation’s 75 year drought at its home major. Here’s the breakdown of the 2011 Wimbledon draw.

For world number one Nadal, it should be smooth sailing until the third round. In that session, the defending champion could be bothered by phenom Milos Raonic. Again in the round of 16, Nadal will be on crash alert with Juan Martin Del Potro his likely opponent. Consequently, there are various rocks along the road early on for the top seed.

In the quarterfinals, Nadal could face a rematch of last year’s final with Tomas Berdych. Considering Berdych’s average performance this season, the Spaniard should have the advantage. However, a semifinal against either Andy Roddick, a three time finalist, or Murray will be a harder challenge.

Having won the Queen’s Club trophy for the second time, Murray has once more found his mojo. Murray’s potential third round counterpart is Marin Cilic and either Stanislas Wawrinka or Richard Gasquet in the fourth round. While these are all worthy adversaries, Murray should have the upper hand.

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Nadal Balks Federer for Record Sixth French Open Title

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Nadal Balks Federer for Record Sixth French Open Title



For the second consecutive day, the French Open became a part of history as Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer 7-5,7-6,5-7,6-1 to equal Bjorn Borg with six French Open titles. Nadal also became the seventh man in the exclusive club of those with 10 or more major trophies.

The last time the two clashed in a final at a major was the 2009 Australian Open. This was the twenty-fifth meeting between Nadal and Federer, their fifth at Roland Garros and their fourth final.

In 2008, Nadal blew Federer off the court 6-1,6-3,6-0. After ending Novak Djokovic’s 2011 unbeaten run at 41 matches, Federer came in rejuvenated and relaxed, it was evident in the first set.

Subsequent to guarding serve, on a backhand error by Nadal, Federer had double break point. Despite Nadal getting to deuce, on his fourth opportunity, Federer seized the break and consolidated for 3-0.

After constructing a 5-2 advantage, as Nadal’s forehand sailed long, Federer had set point. However, with the dropshot missing its mark, Nadal was at deuce and later captured the game.

Serving for the initial set, Federer’s first serve which was instrumental in building his lead deserted him. Federer netted a backhand to hand Nadal break point. When the Swiss misfired on a volley after a passing shot, the players were back on serve.

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Chinese First:  Li Na Clutches French Open Title

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Chinese First: Li Na Clutches French Open Title



From the outset, this year’s French Open title was up for grabs. Still, a final featuring world number five and defending champion Francesca Schiavone and world number six Li Na was a surprise. Today, Li defeated Schiavone 6-4,7-6 to become the first Chinese player to capture a major.

With a combined age of over sixty, this was the most mature major women’s final since Wimbledon 1998 whereby Jana Novotna prevailed over Nathalie Tauziat. At 30 years of age, in her first final since her title at Roland Garros, Schiavone was hoping to end her trophy drought by successfully repeating.

Since becoming the first Chinese individual to reach a major final, Li fell off the radar. After the Australian Open, the 29 year old failed to advance beyond the second round at any hardcourt event. Ultimately, the clay proved therapeutic with two semifinal showings by Li in Madrid and Rome.

After each woman held her initial two games, with a backhand volley winner, Li had double break point. With Schiavone’s forehand up the line sailing wide, Li pocketed the break. By consolidating with a love game, Li moved ahead 4-2.

With Schiavone unable to fabricate a break point, the one game difference was all Li required to seize the first set.

There was a serenity about Li which was absent in her first major final. Li had clearly learned from her loss to Kim Clijsters in Melbourne. With sizzling forehands, Li had double digit winners in the first set.

Furthermore, early on, it was conspicuous that Schiavone’s use of spin, slice, volley and overall variety were not throwing Li off balance. Instead, it was the Italian who was finding herself on her back heel.

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Women’s Field Wide Open at French Open

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Women’s Field Wide Open at French Open



With the exception of one Federation Cup match last year, Kim Clijsters has not competed on clay since the French Open in 2006. Nevertheless, with Clijsters triumphant at the last two majors and considering the state of the women’s game, the Belgian can play herself into form and is consequently a serious contender for the French Open trophy.

Strangely enough, Maria Sharapova is also a favorite on clay. The Russian’s victory in Rome two weeks ago demonstrates that she can power her way to a title on this surface. As such, Sharapova deserves to be in the column of players to beware of.

More so than previous years, there has been no standout on the red clay this season. Julia Goerges surprised world number one Caroline Wozniacki in the final in Stuttgart. Petra Kvitova made her debut into the top ten with her victory in Madrid, stunning world number four Victoria Azarenka.

Therefore, any one residing in the vicinity of the ten best from world number three Vera Zvonareva to Azarenka to defending champion Francesca Schiavone to Kvitova has a fair shot at hoisting the title. The French Open draw is revealed. Here’s an analysis of the key match-ups.

Wozniacki’s first round opponent is Kimiko Date-Krumm. The Japanese is know for pulling upsets at majors. Last year, she shocked Dinara Safina in the same round. As a result, Wozniacki will have no time to relax early on.

Another challenging encounter for the world number one could come in the third round where she may face 2009 French Open winner Svetlana Kuznetsova. Wozniacki’s progression to the final could be further complicated by 2010 finalist Samantha Stosur or Goerges in the quarterfinals and either Jelena Jankovic, Zvonareva, or Schiavone in the semifinals.

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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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Djokovic Sandbags Nadal for Seventh Title of the Season

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Djokovic Sandbags Nadal for Seventh Title of the Season



Since 2005, Rafael Nadal has been the undisputed proprietor of the red dirt. Anyone intending to set up camp on his estate would have to muscle him out. This year, Novak Djokovic has come with eviction notice in hand. Djokovic stunned Nadal 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Internazionali BNL D’Italia to collect his second straight clay ATP Masters 1000 championship trophy.

Last week, when Djokovic defeated Nadal in the final of the Mutua Madrid Open, it could have been dismissed as a fluke. Moreover, after being four points from kissing his perfect season goodbye and needing over three hours to get by Andy Murray in the semifinals, Djokovic appeared at a distinct disadvantage against Nadal. Yet this season, Djokovic, the 2008 champion in Rome, knows no limit.

After the first seven game of the match went to the server, Djokovic manufactured double break point when Nadal’s forehand sailed long. When the Spaniard flubbed the backhand, Djokovic captured the break for a 5-3 lead in the first set.

However, with Djokovic serving for the set, Nadal forced the Serb into a forehand mistake to arrive at double break point. When Djokovic dumped the forehand into the net, Nadal banked the break.

Unfazed by his prior miscue, Djokovic pressured Nadal and fabricated another break point. With a backhand crosscourt winner, Djokovic sealed the initial set.

Subsequent to easily holding serve, Djokovic obtained a break point in a game where Nadal was in control 40-0. After Nadal salvaged the first break point, Djokovic produced a second by inciting Nadal into a mistake. With Nadal slicing a backhand wide, Djokovic jumped to a 2-0 lead.

Although Nadal quickly broke to get back on serve, Djokovic kept the Spaniard on his back foot. Nadal had to erase double break point before squaring the set at 2 all.

It’s a strange sight witnessing Nadal being pushed around on clay, Djokovic had an answer to every shot. The angles the Serb generated were surreal, even the net courts were partisan with the majority favoring Djokovic.

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Sharapova Razes Stosur to Carry Title in Rome

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Sharapova Razes Stosur to Carry Title in Rome



Maria Sharapova has been candid in admitting that clay is not her strong suit. Yet, in today’s final at the Internazionali BNL D’Italia, one would have thought that the Russian was a court specialist. Sharapova bullied 2010 French Open finalist Samantha Stosur around to claim her first premier clay court trophy with a 6-2,6-4 victory.

Sharapova and Stosur last collided in the round of 16 at the Sony Ericsson Open with the Russian triumphing in straight sets. With a 7-0 record against the Australian, Sharapova came in oozing confidence.

From the initial strike, Sharapova used her powerful forehand to assert her will and broke in the opening game. Then, with a brilliant volley winner, Sharapova consolidated at love. Later, with Stosur slicing a backhand long, Sharapova took a double break lead for 3-0.

After Sharapova went ahead 4-0, Stosur broke to narrow the gap to 2-4. However, with another forehand from Stosur traveling out of play, Sharapova had triple break point and converted. Next, Sharapova overcame a 0-30 deficit and closed out the set.

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Del Potro Stifles Verdasco to Capture the Estoril Open Title

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Del Potro Stifles Verdasco to Capture the Estoril Open Title



The last time Juan Martin Del Potro competed on clay, he was battling Roger Federer in the 2009 French Open semifinals. Del Potro demonstrated that he can be a threat on this surface in Paris this year. The Argentine annihilated Fernando Verdasco 6-2, 6-2 for his second title of the season.

After failing to consolidate on an opening service break, Del Potro fabricated double break by forcing a backhand error from Verdasco. With the latter making another miscue, Del Potro went ahead 2-1. This time, with an ace at 40-0, Del Potro solidified his lead.

With Verdasco burying a backhand into the net, Del Potro again had double break point. Then, as Verdasco’s forehand flew long, Del Potro broke a third time for a 4-1 lead. By easily guarding serve his next two service games, Del Potro bedded the first set.

In the second set, Del Potro’s persistent power proved too much for Verdasco. Thus, as Verdasco’s forehand crosscourt went wide, Del Potro manufactured double break point. Del Potro burned Verdasco with a forehand crosscourt pass winner to break the initial game of the second set.

Once more with a comfortable hold, Del Potro moved in front 2-0. The Argentine consistency on serve meant that Verdasco had no break point opportunity.

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No Doubt on Clay:  Nadal Carries Barcelona Title for the Sixth Time

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No Doubt on Clay: Nadal Carries Barcelona Title for the Sixth Time



Last year, Rafael Nadal made the painful decision to skip his home tournament, the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. This season though, Nadal was determine not to disappoint his loyal hometown fans. Taking on compatriot David Ferrer for the second consecutive week in a final, Nadal fought off Ferrer 6-2, 6-4 to capture the championship and his 45th career title.

At the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters seven days ago, Ferrer forced Nadal to work hard to claim the title. Thus, nothing less was expected in this match.

Ferrer was the first to earn a break point when Nadal netted a forehand. However, by sending a return long, Ferrer wasted that opportunity. On the other hand, when Nadal obtained double break point on a Ferrer backhand miscue, he connected with a forehand up the line winner for a 2-1 lead.

After consolidating, Nadal broke Ferrer at love to widen his advantage to 4-1. Yet, Ferrer narrowed the gap to a single break by breaking right back.

Still following a bevy of errors by Ferrer, Nadal retook a double break lead for 5-2. Then, after dismissing double break point, Nadal bedded the set.

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