Tag Archive | "Murray"

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“It’s Showtime”: U.S. Open Draw Announced Today


The U.S. Open draws have been posted with Rafael Nadal and Ana Ivanovic the top singles seeds on the men and women’s side respectively.

Nadal should sail through to the quarterfinals where one possible tricky match up could be Argentine David Nalbandian. Despite a disappointing year, Nalbandian has always been dangerous on a hardcourt. Another David, countryman Ferrer who eliminated Rafa in the round of 16 last year may be a nuisance, although Nadal is not the same player. Yet, perhaps, the most dangerous potential opponent is Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro who has been blazing the last few weeks. If Del Potro continues to ride this wave, Nadal could be in trouble in the semifinals. Great Britain’s Andy Murray may have a lot to say in the matter, Del Potro and he could face off in the quarters.

Czech Radek Stepanek who beat him at the ATP Masters in Rome could test second seed and defending champion Roger Federer in the third round. Moreover, Serbian Jarko Tipsaravic who almost defeated Federer in Australia could be a potential quarterfinal challenge. But another Serbian 2007 finalist Novak Djokovic may be Federer’s biggest obstacle as the two may end up clashing in the semifinals. Djokovic has been stumbling of late but his draw looks manageable particularly with a struggling Andy Roddick as a possible opponent in the quarterfinals.

For Ivanovic, the task appears doable until the quarterfinals where she could meet Russian Dinara Safina who’s surely out for revenge after the French Open. Ivanovic’s thumb injury may be factor in the tournament. No possible Williams sisters finals, these two are on the same side of the draw and could clash in the quarterfinals. Moreover, both have intricate first round matches. Standing in the way of Serbian Jelena Jankovic could be China’s Jie Zheng in the third round or Russian Vera Zvonareva in the quarterfinals. The Russians are blessed with many contenders for the trophy. The road to the semifinals for Elena Dementieva and Svetlana Kuznetsova may mean motoring through one another. So it may not be a question of which country but which Russian will hoist the trophy, in my opinion, Safina has to be the favorite.

Miami native Ahsha Rolle is a wildcard entrant. Click here to access all of the draws for the 2008 US Open.

 

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Murray Demounts Djokovic In Cincinnati Final


After terminating Rafael Nadal’s 32 match winning streak to get into the finals, world number 3 Novak Djokovic seemed to be destined to take the title at the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters in Cincinnati. Yet, no one clued in Great Britain’s Andy Murray on that part of the script. After beating Djokovic for the first time last week in Toronto, Murray was poised to demonstrate that he could give an encore performance. The Brit dismantled his Serbian rival 7-6, 7-6 to earn his first ATP masters’ shield.

After getting off the blocks in a positive light, Djokovic’s serve started to trouble him in the fifth game. Despite two double faults and break point, Novak escaped to get to 3-2. In the seventh game, Djokovic again faced break points which he dismissed. For his part, Murray’s service games were uncomplicated, not facing a single break point. Moreover, Murray did not lament his lost opportunities while an exasperated Djokovic had numerous one sided heated exchanges with his coach. A 71 minute first set was decided by a tiebreak and 31 unforced errors by Djokovic helped Murray to prevail.

Turning a new leaf, Djokovic held comfortably in the second set’s opening game. Then, Novak attacked Andy’s serve to attain break points which he banked to lead 2-1. But, the shift in the tides was momentary. Novak’s shaky serve deserted him and with consecutive double faults, Murray eventually leveled the set at 2-2. Subsequently at 3-4, Djokovic missed a makeable smash which handed Murray the break and the chance to serve for the title. Down 3-5, Novak had a drop shot bounce off the net to land for a winner, swatted away four championship point and broke Andy for another lifeline. The set was settled by a tiebreak. After a seesaw of points, Murray produced a delicious crosscourt backhand down the line winner in an interminable rally to get to 5-4. On the next point, Djokovic double faulted giving Murray match point which he then converted. The Bryan brothers, who have been struggling this year, won the doubles trophy in a compelling three set match over Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram 4-6, 7-6, 10-7.

Belief is everything. The combination of an ineffective serve and the inability to connect on his favorite shot, the backhand down the line, caused Djokovic’s undoing in the finals. Murray’s return of serve was key in the match. By winning, Murray improves his ranking to number 6. With so many players peaking at this stage, it’s difficult to say who will claim Olympic gold or for that matter the U.S. Open trophy.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Nadal Knocks Out Kiefer To Take Rogers Cup In Toronto


As expected, the finals at the Rogers Cup between Rafael Nadal and Nicolas Kiefer did not turn out to be much of a contest with Nadal winning in straight sets 6-3, 6-2.

After keeping close the first couple of games, Kiefer surrendered his serve for Nadal to take a 4-2 lead. Then in trying to stay in the first set, Kiefer made a bevy of unforced errors then double faulted to give Rafa the set.

The pivotal game in the second set came at 2-2; with Nadal serving, Kiefer finally earned a break point. But, an overhit went on to erase that chance. Yet, Nicolas obtained another break chance. With a good drop shot, Kiefer drew Rafa in the forecourt, but the Spaniard had all the answers producing an even more spectacular stroke of his own to get back to deuce. After six deuces and dismissing a third break point, Nadal secured his serve. Demoralized after taking 30-0 lead, Kiefer threw in two double faults to be broken the very next game. Thereafter, Rafa pressed on the accelerator and broke Kiefer to close out the match.

Last year’s finalist, Roger Federer was defeated in the second round, his first match since Wimbledon, by Gilles Simon. Simon made it to the semifinals where he fell to Kiefer. Andy Murray eliminated Novak Djokovic, the defending champion, in the quarterfinals. In doubles news, Nenad Zimonjic and Daniel Nestor beat the Bryan brothers 6-2, 4-6, 10-6 in front of the latter’s home country.

With this title, Nadal edges even closer to the number one spot. So far, Roger Federer has been a non-factor this hard court season. The playground shift to Cincinnati this week where Federer is the defending champion. All eyes will be on Rafa to see whether he will wrestle the number one ranking away from Roger.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Good Fortune Helps Djokovic Win First ATP Masters Title On Clay: Warwinka Comes Out Second Best


At the ATP Masters Series in Rome, the finals came down to Novak Djokovic and Stanislas Wawrinka, a Swiss player on the rise. This was the latter’s first ATP Masters Series final. After dropping the first set, Djokovic recovered to claim his first ATP Masters trophy on the red dirt 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

After starting his first service game with a double fault, Wawrinka, who looked a bit edgy, calmed down and kept toe to toe with the world number three, who himself appeared on his heel throughout the first set. Wawrinka’s one handed backhand, his most prolific shot, had good depth and range getting him off the hook on a couple of close service games. In the seventh game with Djokovic serving, a fortuitous net court, a superb backhand winner and a double fault presented the first break points for either player which Wawrinka eventually capitalized on to lead 4-3; the Swiss took the first set 6-4.

The second set began without much to differentiate the two players. Yet, one conspicuous fact was that Djokovic had trouble with finding the right distance on his backhand with 8 unforced errors to 2 winners. Djokovic tried to mix things up by coming to the net, but without much success. On the other hand, Wawrinka did not have a strangle hold on this match either. As the rallies became longer the Swiss competitor commenced to produce more errors on both wings. In the first set, Stanislas won over 70% of his second serve points while Novak less than 40%. The contrary was happening in the second set. A frustrated Djokovic finally seized an opening in the sixth game, converted the break taking a 4-2 lead and carried the set 6-3.

At the commencement of the decisive set, Wawrinka again flirted with danger and that cost him dearly. With his first opportunity to break, Djokovic put his nose in front 1-0. From then on, Djokovic’s opponent withered away, paralyzed by a litter of unforced errors. As the net play and the drop shots which were not clicking for Djokovic earlier, started to find their mark, the match turned around. In the ninth game of the set with Wawrinka in dire straits, Djokovic broke one last time to take the championship.

With two retirements clearing his path and his not facing any seeded player for the duration of the tournament, Djokovic’s win is difficult to put into perspective vis-à-vis Roland Garros.

Posted in NewsComments Off

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Compact Clay Court Schedule Impacts Rome ATP Masters


Anticlimactic appears the operative word to describe ATP Masters tournament in Rome. A rash of retirements, five in total, plagued the event with Novak Djokovic, twice the beneficiary. In the quarterfinals, Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, a multiple clay court titleholder, retired against Djokovic in the second set due to a wrist problem. After the euphoria of defeating Roger Federer in the quarterfinals 7-6, 7-6, Radek Stepanek suffered an overnight transformation. In the semifinals, Stepanek cited dizziness and weakness for his stoppage of play against Djokovic. Capping off a bizarre day, Andy Roddick also withdrew from his semifinal match in the first set due to back spasm. In the first round, Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina retired in the third set against Andy Murray with back problems in a match where the two traded insults. Murray alleged that the Argentine made disparaging remarks about his mother. In the third round, Fernando Gonzalez of Chile, a winner on clay at the BMW Open the week prior, was forced to retire with a right leg injury.

Controversy has arisen because in the past, the clay period has been spread out over seven weeks with players normally choosing to take two weeks of rest. This year, in order to accommodate the August Olympic Games, the ATP altered the schedule, shortening it by one week. Rafael Nadal has vociferously expressed his displeasure over the curtailed calendar, fearing that the recovery time between tournaments would be inadequate. Nadal’s concerns were validated this week when feet blisters contributed to his lost in the second round to Juan Carlos Ferrero. As a result, Nadal was unable to defend his title in Rome. This marked only the second defeat for Nadal in 105 clay court matches in nearly five years. The penultimate leg of the clay court season is in Hamburg this upcoming week. Subsequently, the players will have a week to recuperate before stepping on the court at Roland Garros. With so many athletes having to contend with injuries and the grinding nature of clay court play; this year’s French Open may be a case of the survival of the fittest.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Mighty Have Fallen: Federer, Nadal Ousted


For the first time since the 2005 Australian Open, where Marat Safin was victorious, a major’s trophy will be engraved with a name other than that of Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal. The projected clash between these two in the Australian final was unceremoniously interrupted by two of the game’s young tikes, Novak Djokovic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

If Federer is not one with the tennis gods, he is certainly their favorite son. He has been a constant at the last ten major’s final. From the opening rounds, Federer, the world’s number one, appeared a little out of sort and off his game. In the third round, he needed five sets, since he converted only 5 of 21 break point chances, to fight off a stubborn opponent, Janko Tipsarevic 6-7,7-6,5-7,6-1,10-8. In the Round of 16, Thomas Berdych also proved to be a tough competitor even though Federer escaped with a straights set win 6-4,7-6,6-3. Against James Blake in the quarterfinals, again Federer advanced in straight sets, but it was obvious that Blake had the answers to some of Federer’s shots that were troublesome in the past. Blake broke Federer’s serve a few times, resulting in a far closer match 7-5, 7-6, 6-4 than the latter would have preferred.

Where his colleagues had failed, Djokovic succeeded, beating Federer in the semifinals. The two played in the finals at last year’s U.S Open where Djokovic lost in straight sets; clearly, the moment was overwhelming for the young player. But in Australia, after being initially irritated by his poor play and unsatisfied with his racket tension, (Djokovic switched his gear several times), Novak settled down and broke Federer as he served to secure the first set. From that point on, the dynamics of the match changed as Djokovic continually applied pressure on Roger’s serve and guarded his own. Djokovic, ranked third, was on fire the entire tournament. In fact, up to then, he had won all his matches in straight sets including against Lleyton Hewitt ranked 19 and David Ferrer ranked 5. Overall, Djokovic just looked a few steps faster than Federer, even “borrowing” shots from his opponent’s arsenal. In short, Djokovic made the normally extraordinary play of the world’s number one appear ordinary with a straights set win 7-5,6-3, 7-6. Thus, Djokovic will be making his second consecutive major final appearance.


Posted in NewsComments Off

Facebook

Twitter

Archives