Tag Archive | "Monte Carlo"

Djokovic Retains Sony Ericsson Open Title

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Djokovic Retains Sony Ericsson Open Title

Novak Djokovic banked his 30th ATP title in Miami. The world number one downed Andy Murray 6-1, 7-6 to capture his third trophy at the Sony Ericsson Open. Djokovic became the first player to successfully defend at this event since Roger Federer in 2005-2006.

This was a repeat of the 2009 Miami final. On that occasion, Murray hoisted the big prize. The Brit was appearing in his third final of 2012, victorious in Brisbane and beaten by Federer in Dubai.

At this juncture in 2011, Djokovic was 24-0 with the Australian Open and BNP Paribas Open under his belt. Since winning at the Australian Open, Djokovic has had two defeats, each in the semifinal stage, one of them to Murray.

Out of nowhere in the opening set, after leading 40-0, Murray made two consecutive backhand errors and allowed Djokovic to later get to deuce. Down the road, three successive backhand miscues by Murray resulted in Djokovic converting.
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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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No Surprises: Nadal Comes Out on Top In Monte-Carlo

In their first final meeting of 2008 at the ATP Masters Series tournament in Monte-Carlo, Rafael Nadal defeated Roger Federer 7-5, 7-5. This victory marks the first time since the 1910’s that the same individual has won this trophy on four consecutive occasions.

Federer started the match well by breaking Nadal’s serve in the very first game, but the Spaniard broke back right away wiping out the advantage. After things settled down, in the 7th game with Nadal serving, Federer built a 0-40 advantage courtesy of two drop shots and went on to take the lead 4-3. Yet, on the next game, poorly executed shots and a net court friendly to Nadal leveled the match at 4-4. Nadal continued to apply pressure on Federer’s service, his tactic of almost exclusively playing to Federer’s backhand began to click whereby through the 11th game of the first set, Federer had committed 8 unforced errors on that side while failing to produce a single winner. As Federer went down 15-40 on his serve, Nadal proceeded to break him for the third time and took the set 7-5.

Nevertheless, in the second set, Federer appeared to shake off the disappointment of losing the first and came out swinging, grabbing a two break advantage and a 4-0 lead. Unperturbed by this new development, Nadal broke Federer to get to 2-4. Then on the subsequent game, Rafael held at love to narrow the deficit to 3-4. In the 8th game, Federer saw his lead evaporate when Nadal broke him at love to equalize things at 4-4. At this stage, as Federer’s first serve percentage was going south and his unforced errors were going north (16 unforced errors to 8 winners), Nadal obligingly assumed the initiative. At 4-5, Federer continued to walk the plank, yet, clung to his serve despite a difficult game. A poised Nadal held once again at love reverting the pressure to the other side of the net. Now, it was Federer’s turn to extend the set into a tiebreak. After multiple chances to prevail in the game, Federer missed some uncomplicated shots anew. With the first opportunity of an ad point, Nadal converted and shut the door on Federer’s chances at winning his first ATP Masters Series title of the year. Probably the most telling statistics of the match was the fact that Federer made 23 winners and 44 unforced errors while Nadal had 15 winners and committed only 20 unforced errors.

Nadal continues to look at home on clay, producing the type of shots that stump his opponents. The Spaniard had an unblemished road to the finals, winning all his matches in straight sets against Mario Ancic, Juan Carlos Ferrero, David Ferrer and Nikolay Davydenko. On the other hand, Federer was lucky to reach the finals after being down 1-5 in the third set and two points from defeat against Spanish qualifier Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo ranked 147. Granted, from that stage on, Federer tidied up his game. Roger was particularly impressive in the quarterfinals after losing the first set against David Nalbandian 5-7, 6-2, 6-2. The same can be said against Novak Djokovic who ended up retiring with a “sore throat” after the Serbian lost the first set, was broken twice in the second and was three games from being ousted. In the finals, for at least the first four games of the second set, Federer appeared to have a reply to Nadal’s game. This included using the drop shot, not one of Federer’s favorite, and the forehand down the line followed by the rush to net which have produced positive results for Roger during this tournament. As Federer goes forward this clay court season, perhaps, coach Jose Higueras and he will come up with a formula which works for the duration of the match on this surface and particularly against Nadal. After all, Nadal’s strategy is no secret, on clay play to Federer’s backhand. For Nadal, this is only the first of many clay court titles to defend, he will be in action next week in Barcelona where he will be searching for his 100th victory on the red dust in the last 4 years with only one lost. Absolutely incredible!

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