Tag Archive | "Tsonga"

Djokovic Bewilders Nadal for First Wimbledon Crown

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Djokovic Bewilders Nadal for First Wimbledon Crown


Today, Rafael Nadal went in search of his third consecutive Wimbledon title. Unfortunately for the Spaniard, someone got in his way. Novak Djokovic downed Nadal 6-4,6-1,1-6,6-3 to bank his initial trophy at the All England Club.

With a record of 47-1 this season and four victories over Nadal, the Serb realized he had “a mental advantage”. Yet, the finals of Indian Wells, Miami, Rome and Madrid were three set affairs. Consequently, in a five set major final against Nadal, Djokovic knew it would be a bear of a task.

Nine games into the initial set, neither player had problem holding serve. Then, at 4-5, Nadal misjudged a forehand to give Djokovic set point. When the Spaniard sent another forehand wide, Djokovic took the first set.

After Djokovic recovered from 0-30 in the opening game of the second set, Nadal netted a backhand crosscourt to hand his rival double break point. Great anticipation by Djokovic off the forehand dropshot by Nadal resulted in a backhand volley winner for the break and a 2-0 lead.

Next, Djokovic consolidated with another comfortable hold. Later ahead 4-1, Djokovic manufactured another break chance. When Nadal pushed a backhand wide, Djokovic had a 5-1 advantage in the second set.

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Federer on Track for Seventh Title at Wimbledon

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Federer on Track for Seventh Title at Wimbledon


For the second year in a row, Roger Federer is on course to equalize Pete Sampras’ record of seven Wimbledon titles. Defending champion Rafael Nadal is also through to the second week as he goes for his third French Open-Wimbledon duo. While Novak Djokovic, the hottest player this season, is in great form through three matches.

The world’s top three players are still the ones to beat heading into the round of 16 while world number four and hometown pick Andy Murray is also alive with an outside chance. Here’s a review of the past few days and a look at the rest of the tournament.

Federer has looked superb through the first three rounds of play. The Swiss dominated his third round match against a less than 100% David Nalbandian who’s had his number previously.

In the fourth round, Federer takes on Mikhail Youzhny. Federer has won all ten of their prior meetings and the Russian has never been beyond the round of 16 at this event.

David Ferrer tied his best showing at the All England Club by reaching the round of 16 and will face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who was a quarterfinalist last year. The winner of that contest will probably battle Federer in the quarterfinals.

After straight sets triumphs his initial two matches, Djokovic had to bear down against Marcos Baghdatis to move on in four in the third round. On Monday, Djokovic meets Michael Llodra in the fourth round. Although Llodra is sensational on grass, he should be no match for Djokovic.

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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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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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Nadal Moves On to the Fourth Round at the Sony Ericsson Open

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Nadal Moves On to the Fourth Round at the Sony Ericsson Open



In the third round at the Sony Ericsson Open, Rafael Nadal faced fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez. Nadal eased his way into the fourth round with a solid 6-3, 6-3 triumph.

After a few comfortable holds by Lopez, Nadal got the critical break to go ahead 4-3. Subsequent to promptly consolidating, Nadal arrived at triple break point. Although Lopez fought back to deuce, Nadal eventually secured the break to claim the first set.

In the second set, with a forehand down the line winner, Nadal manufactured double break point. Nadal then won the next point to take a 4-2 advantage.

Again, Nadal quickly consolidated for 5-2. Despite Lopez guarding serve the next game, with a volley that threaded the needle, Nadal had double match point. With a forehand winner, Nadal progressed to the fourth round.

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Federer On Cruise Control at the Sony Ericsson Open

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Federer On Cruise Control at the Sony Ericsson Open



Despite a 10-2 record against his second round counterpart, Roger Federer is acutely aware that Radek Stepanek can be a dangerous player. However, from the outset, Federer was in full control of the match. Federer vanquished Stepanek 6-3, 6-3 to move on to the third round at the Sony Ericsson Open.

At love, Federer broke to go ahead 4-3. Federer sustained the cushion all the way through to seal the first set.

His first time out serving in the second set, Federer stared at break point in the second game. Yet, the world number three wiped that out in a hurry. Subsequently, Federer obtained the break in the third game.

Thereafter, Federer was supreme breaking Stepanek one last time as he served to extend the match.

Federer has been a fixture on the tour for over a decade. It seems every time he steps on court there’s another record he is equalizing or shattering. With the victory this afternoon, Federer knotted Pete Sampras with 762 wins.

Federer was asked his thoughts on this new feat “It’s nice tying Pete, but he could have played for many more years. He could still win some matches on tour now if he wanted to. . . It’s a funny stat, but it shows how long I have been around already, how much I’ve won, all around the world and all the different surfaces. . . over 10, 12 solid seasons. I’ve never missed big chunks of seasons. That’s how you end up with so many wins, I guess.”

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Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray Still In the Hunt at Australian Open

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Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray Still In the Hunt at Australian Open




Seven days of competition have passed at the Australian Open.  While Rafael Nadal has breezed through his matches to get to the round of 16, defending champion Roger Federer had a hiccup in the second round.  As usual, there were a few unexpected departures in the first week.  Here’s a summary of what has taken place this initial week.

It’s been smooth sailing for Nadal in getting through to the round of 16.  The world number one’s excellent form will come in handy as he faces 2010 semifinalist Marin Cilic.  After two easy matches, Cilic edged out John Isner 9-7 in the fifth to earn a crack at Nadal.

After a thrilling first round five setter against Lleyton Hewitt, David Nalbandian called it quit in the second round, four games away from being handed a straight set loss.  Mikhail Youzhny also departed earlier than expected.  The tenth seed was sent packing in the third round by Milos Raonic.  The 20 year old Canadian qualifier with the humongous serve also ousted Michael Llodra, the 22nd seed in the second round.  Next up for Raonic will be David Ferrer who is a relentless competitor.  Ferrer’s experience may prove too much for the youngster.  Thus, a Ferrer-Nadal quarterfinal showdown is the likely scenario.

Without much fuss, both Robyn Soderling and Andy Murray have been taking care of business.  Soderling’s fourth round match will be against Alexandr Dolgopolov.  The Ukrainian upset 13th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the third round.  Following an impressive second round match versus Juan Martin Del Potro, Marcos Baghdatis was forced to retire down two sets to one with a hand injury in his third round match against Jurgen Melzer.  As such, Murray will battle Melzer for a quarterfinal berth.

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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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Nadal Levels Monfils in Tokyo for Seventh Title of the Season

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Nadal Levels Monfils in Tokyo for Seventh Title of the Season


Rafael Nadal added another trophy to his cabinet today.  The world number one manhandled fifth seed Gael Monfils 6-1,7-5 to collect his first prize at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships.

Following a comfortable opening game, Nadal put the Frenchman on his heels and broke.  Subsequently, with an easy game, Nadal consolidated for a 3-0 lead.  As Monfils’ racket bled mistake upon mistake, Nadal closed out the initial set in just 25 minutes.

As a defensive player, Monfils would have a great shot at victory by camping out in the backcourt against any other opponent.  However, when it comes to Nadal, any strategy which involves overpowering the Spaniard from the baseline is not only risky, but usually a losing one.  Therefore, Monfils altered his game plan slightly resulting in a competitive second set.

By varying his serve, Monfils held without difficulty to start the set.  Still, the issue for Monfils was finding a way to rattle Nadal’s serve.  Serving at 2 all, with two winners from Nadal, Monfils got himself into a tight spot at love-30.  Yet, with a sensational pick-up on a low volley and good serves, Monfils stayed in front for 3-2.  Monfils’ best opportunity at manufacturing a break point arrived when Nadal double faulted for 30 all.  But, the Frenchman failed to pressure the Spaniard so the set was equalized at 4 a piece.  After falling behind love-30 again, Monfils managed to rescue the game and remained ahead at 5-4.  Nadal is quite stingy in handing get out of jail free cards, thus, eventually Monfils would have to pay for his miscues.  Serving at 5 all, Monfils misfired on a forehand down the line and had the ball go under his racket on an attempted volley.  Next, Nadal connected on a forehand winner up the line for double break point.  As Monfils approached the net, Nadal flicked a forehand return winner up the line to bank the break and secured a 6-5 advantage.  Later, on his first champion point, Nadal watched Monfils’ return sail long and celebrated yet another title.

In accepting the runner-up trophy, Monfils congratulated Nadal on being the better performer.  Despite the result today, the Frenchman was positive in saying “it was a great tournament . . . and I love to come here”.  Turning to his coach, he stated “not a win, but maybe next time”.  Indeed a productive week for Monfils; he took out second seed Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals.  Countryman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also rejoined the tour at this tournament but suffered a first round defeat.

A stupendous championship for Nadal who salvaged two match points in the semifinals against Victor Troicki.  Nadal wished Monfils the best of fortunes for the rest of the year, particularly in Davis Cup final, France plays Serbia.  His debut event in Tokyo, Nadal has been overrun by fans wherever he shows up and the world number one was appreciative commenting “the crowds are fantastic . . . it was my first visit, but certainly not my last”.  The champion even ended with a couple of words in Japanese to express his gratitude.  From Japan, the ATP travels to Shanghai for a Masters’ 1000 series event.

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Fish and Knowles Scramble For Legg Mason Classic Title

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Fish and Knowles Scramble For Legg Mason Classic Title


Mardy Fish and Mark Knowles fought back in the final of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic overcoming Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek 4-6,7-6,10-7 to bag their second title as a team.

Berdych and Stepanek sprinted to a 3-0 advantage by breaking Knowles and Fish twice in the first set.  Then, with a love hold, Stepanek further extended their lead to 4-0.  Knowles and Fish managed to break once. Nevertheless, with the insurance break, the Czechs took the set.

Knowles and Fish have been a tandem since February 2008 while their Czech counterparts usually play doubles only in the Davis Cup.  Moreover, for Berdych and Stepanek, this was their first ATP doubles final as a team.  Thus, Knowles and Fish called upon their experience to weather the storm especially after Knowles double faulted in the second set to give their opponents a 3-2 edge which they consolidated for 4-2.  Later though, with Berdych serving at 40-30, Fish struck a forehand down the line winner to force a deciding point.  With Berdych double faulting, the set was squared at 4 all.  Ultimately, a tiebreaker was played.

Off a sensational forehand return by Fish, Stepanek dumped the forehand volley in the net.  Down the road, Fish made another volley winner to give his team a double mini-break for 5-2.  Next, on a miscue from the Czechs, Knowles and Fish had three set points.  Stepanek and Berdych battled back for 6 all.  Subsequently, on an error, Stepanek and Berdych were at 7-6 and championship point.  Again, Fish and Knowles produced some remarkable shots to stay afloat and steal the tiebreaker.

In the super-tiebreaker, with Berdych’s backhand sailing long, Knowles and Fish had a mini-break for 1-0.  On a Fish forehand error, Berdych and Stepanek got back on serve for 3-4.  But, with a net court favoring Fish and Knowles, that pair regained a mini-break for 5-3.  Again, the Czechs climbed back to make it 7 all. Soon, on a superb return by Fish, Stepanek flubbed the volley giving Fish and Knowles championship at 9-7.  The pair won the next point to capture the trophy.

After the match, MiamiTennisNews and one other media outlet sat down to talk to Fish and Knowles.  For 38 year old Knowles, this was his 53rd doubles title.  Therefore, MiamiTennisNews wanted to know:
Q. At your age, what keeps you still motivated and what has been the key to your success?
Knowles:  I still enjoy playing and competing . . . It’s a challenge competing against the current players.  I’ve seen the game evolve a little bit from when I first started.  It still gives me a high to compete at this level and win.

Q. Is it more difficult though with having a family?
Knowles: I play less now because of a wife and two kids.  This year was a little difficult.  I was injured at the start of the season and I was out for three months.  Mardy and I have agreed to play doubles this year which is an exciting prospect.  Things have taken a while to develop because of my injury but things are going well now.

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